Four Weddings and a Funeral came back for a same-sex wedding (Photo: Twitter) More than 25 years after the classic film Four Weddings and a Funeral first showed in cinemas, it came back for a Red Nose Day mini-sequel.
And, LGBTI comedy fans delighted that the British comedy classic centered on a same-sex wedding.
Daughter of the two original leads – Charles (Hugh Grant) and Carrie (Andie MacDowell) — married the daughter of Fiona (Dame Kristen Scott Thomas).
Lily James and Alicia Vikander played the two women respectively.
A bumbling Rowan Atkinson reprised his role as vicar.
If that wasn’t enough, Sam Smith made a cameo as a wedding singer in the short film.
Smith this weekend came out as non-binary genderqueer.
Titled One Red Nose Day and a Wedding, it aired on BBC on Friday (March 15) as part of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day fundraising efforts.
It raised £63 million (US$84 million) for charity. LGBTI Twitter loved it
‘Lily James and Alicia Vikander is the celebrity couple we all deserve’ Grace Louise West wrote. Wait,,,, did they make four weddings and a funeral even more gay,, — cow boy (@lucymooring) March 16, 2019 SEEING LILY JAMES’ CHARACTER ABOUT TO MARRY A WOMAN IS THE GREATEST THING OF MY LIFE MY GAY HEART IS SINGING #ComicRelief2019 — Serena (@morganasluthor) March 15, 2019 Sooo…
Alicia Vikander and Lily James went and got married…
LARA CROFT AND CINDERELLA!!!
I am soo happy rn #comicrelief2019 — LNDCSTR (@liiinndz) March 16, 2019 watching lily james and alicia vikander declare their love to each other has ignited parts of me that i can’t even begin to explain. WE WON YALL! GAY RIGHTS! pic.twitter.com/QCPlciX4XG — nicole (@FifthJauregui_) March 15, 2019
Ambiga Sreenevasan (Photo: Twitter) Prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan has accused Malaysia’s ruling party of ‘cowardice’ over its treatment of LGBTI people.
She urged the government to drop its investigation into organizers of the Women’s March Malaysia last week.
LGBTI Malaysians are once again under attack after the Women’s March Malaysia included demands for LGBT rights last week.
‘It is easy to attack a minority group. That is not courage. That is cowardice’ she said on Saturday (16 March).
‘What takes courage and leadership is to fight for their fundamental liberties even if you disagree with them,’ she added.
Muslim-majority Malaysia, led by politicians and religious leaders, is becoming increasingly intolerant towards its LGBTI population.
The human rights advocate and former president of the Malaysian bar Sreenevasan asked leaders: ‘Are they proud of the way they attacked a minority community with their non-scientific based views?’
LGBTI people face discrimination at workplaces and at hospitals, Sreenevasan said. They are at risk of violence and even murder, she said.
But, she said, ‘every human being deserves to live free from fear’. Leaders were acting like bullies, she argued.
‘The Federal Constitution does not discriminate on the grounds of gender or sexual identity’. LGBTI rights in Malaysia
Human Rights Watch on Friday (15 March) urged Malaysia to drop its investigation into organizers of the Women’s March last week.
The government and mainstream media condemned the march for including demands for LGBTI rights.
A member of parliament said organizers had ‘abused democratic space to defend something that is wrong by Islam’.
‘The government is firm that LGBT practices will never be accepted in this country’ he also said.
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia . A colonial-era law punishes gay sex with up to 20 years in prison.
Shariah courts following Islamic law run parallel to the secular judiciary.
Last week, the country’s tourism minister claimed the country had no homosexuals.
Police have raided gay clubs and arrested individuals.
One conservative state caned women for attempting lesbian sex . And, importantly, the government continues to spew anti-LGBTI rhetoric.
Malaysia’s prime minister last year said Malaysia could not accept LGBT rights and labeled them a Western import.
The welcome sign painted on a building in downtown Newark, Ohio. (Photo by Mark Spearman) A lesbian couple in Ohio is filing a complaint against the transitional housing facility that forced them out. What happened?
Melanie Dingess and Leslie Conners lived at The Gardens apartment complex in Newark, Ohio. Managed by St. Vincent de Paul Housing Facilities, The Gardens is a transitional housing facility for people working toward independent living, such as people who were homeless.
The two women were forced to leave after management allegedly told them that gay couples were not welcome to live together in this facility. They cited their Catholic funding as a reason.
The couple moved into The Gardens in January 2018. A month later, they learned from Donna Gibson, the director of operations for St. Vincent de Paul Housing, that they had to leave.
‘The first week of February it was brought to our attention that there was a problem with gay couples residing at this residence,’ the couple stated in their complaint. ‘Donna Gibson told us it was an issue coming down on her that we were gay and living in the same apartment.’
This stressful situation in part caused Dingess, who was in the court’s drug program, to relapse. The relapse led to a seven-day jail sentence for Dingess.
‘Donna coming to my apartment and telling us we need to keep it down and lay low, that was a factor, but I relapsed because I made a bad decision,’ Dingess told the Newark Advocate. ‘That’s on me.’
After her weeklong jail stint, Dingess attempted to return to The Gardens. She was denied entry and Connors was then forced out as well.
‘There were others who had relapsed that were not asked to leave,’ Dingess stated. Donna Gibson
According to Gibson, it was her boss, John Paul Munhall (executive director of St. Vincent de Paul) that took issue with the couple’s living situation.
‘It was the end of January, beginning of February, when he said there’s girls here, both in the same apartment, and they’re a couple,’ Gibson told the Newark Advocate. ‘I didn’t know where it was leading. I said what is the issue, and he kept saying they’re a couple.’
‘He said we can’t have a gay couple here. The Catholic Foundation would not fund us. I was dumbfounded.’
Gibson was the one to bear the bad news to the couple instead of Munhall.
‘I was more concerned at that point what he might say to her,’ Gibson explained. ‘People have lost their lives when they’ve relapsed. We’re trying to help the addicted, not make it worse.’
According to Gibson, Munhall directed her to ask residents if they’re gay, married, or having sex.
‘I said I’m not doing that,’ Gibson said. ‘I said you’re asking me to do stuff that’s against the law.’
Gibson left her job at St. Vincent de Paul Housing in October of 2018, about 14 months after she started.
‘It was a very harassing situation,’ Gibson said. ‘I was really upset. I was trying to help people.’ St. Vincent de Paul Housing Facilities’ statement
Tom Harvey, president of St. Vincent de Paul Housing Facilities, released the following statement:
‘The St. Vincent de Paul Housing Facilities have received the complaint from the Newark Fair Housing Board and believe the complaint to be groundless and intend to cooperate with the Fair Housing Board in its investigation. That is the only statement we wish to make at this time.’ Filing the complaint
Dingess decided to file the complaint before the one-year deadline. The reasoning for this was they learned of another gay couple that were in a similar situation.
‘I met with another couple dealing with [St. Vincent de Paul], and some of the things they were going through and how they were being mistreated,’ she said. ‘And it made me realize it’s not just me and not the relapse, and it’s wrong and it’s heartbreaking.’ Local reactions
Dennis Harrington, managing attorney at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services, said he received many complaints about housing discrimination at The Gardens last summer.
The United Way of Licking County denied a request for funding by St. Vincent de Paul Housing Facilities last year due to their alleged discrimination.
According to United Way Executive Director Deb Dingus, local organizations can only receive funding from them if they pledge not to discriminate. In fact, they must sign a diversity and inclusion agreement.
‘They signed the agreement, but it was clear they were not going to be able to abide by all the statements in the agreement,’ Dingus told the Newark Advocate.
Newark City Councilman Sean Fennell said that without the Council’s 2016 ordinance amendment, these couples would have no legal recourse locally.
‘I think it was an incredibly brave thing for these individuals to do,’ Fennell said. ‘I know it took a tremendous amount of courage to come forward like this. It’s the first time this process has been put to the test. It’s an opportunity to see how well this process does. The allegations have been made. I think it’s important we look into it.’
Mark Mauter, the city’s development director and secretary of the Fair Housing Board, is in the process of investigating these claims. See Also:
Children rehearsing for the Pink and Blue play in Russia | Photo: Vk Police hauled the organizer of a youth festival in Russia in for questioning as she received online death threats.
Yulia Tsvetkova put together the Colour of Saffron festival in the far eastern town of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Due to run this weekend, local authorities cancelled the event over concerns one of the plays in the festival promoted a ‘LGBTI agenda’.
The play called Blue and Pink featured teenage actors and discussed gender. But the colors blue and pink are often represent the gay and lesbian community in Russia.
A police anti-extremism unit questioned Tsvetkova and the child actors in the lead up to the festival. Authorities accused her of subversive activity and promoting ‘hatred against men and non-traditional family relations’.
But Tsvetkova told a local media source the festival featured no LGBTI content.
‘Pink and blue are seen as typically “male” and “female colors”, that’s it,’ she said.
‘That’s what the play is about, the name was suggested by one of the actors, a 11-year-old child.’ Gay propaganda
In 2013 Russian president, Vladimir Putin, passed the ‘gay propaganda law’ which banned ‘information promoting the denial of traditional family values’ and ‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations’. Activists argued the law censored the LGBTI community.
Its introduction has led to a vast increase of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic attacks. Support groups for LGBTI minors have been shut down, gay festivals have been raided and attack groups torturing and murdering LGBTI people have surfaced.
On Friday (15 March), authorities told festival organisers it would not be going ahead. They accused Tsvetkova of importing ‘corruption and persecution’ from Europe.
‘Our director Julia is accused of living in Europe and bringing out corruption and propaganda from there,’ festival directors wrote on Russian social media site, VKontakte (VK).
‘We will look for how to show our productions as widely as possible – in Russia and in the world.
‘We ask to spread information as widely as possible. Because Russia is the bottom, and the city of Komsomolsk is the bottom of the bottom — a place where people have not heard about human rights and where the names of colors are considered propaganda.’
During the days of the police interrogations, Tsvetkova received death threats online.
‘I haven’t eaten or slept in three days–I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown,’ she wrote on VK.
‘I have only one question, why is someone so intent on sabotaging our small and peaceful youth festival. Can it be that youth activism so frightens our authorities?’
Despite the ban, organizers ran a downsized version of the festival in a small classroom.
Lawmakers in the Illinois state House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a plan that includes historical figures in the LGBT civil rights movement in K-12 textbooks, NPR reported .
The measure, which now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) desk for a signature, requires schools to include "the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State" in official textbooks.
Supporters of the rule say the measure is intended to reduce anti-LGBT bullying in schools by teaching students about the historical place of LGBT figures in American society.
"We think all students are better off when we teach them the full breadth of history," Brian Johnson, the CEO of the LGBT organization Equality Illinois, said of the bill last year. "It makes them more likely to understand that a diverse cast has contributed to our society."
The measure previously passed the state Senate by a vote of 34-18 last May.
Some Republicans in the state’s legislature opposed the bill’s passage, questioning why it was relevant to include history about LGBT figures in children’s textbooks.
“Here’s what parents in my district said, ‘How or why is a historical figures’ sexuality or gender self -identification even relevant? Especially. when we’re talking about kindergarten and elementary school history,’ " state Rep. Tom Morrison (R) said, according to NPR.
The bill was also opposed by some conservative Christian organizations who accused Democrats of trying to "normalize" LGBT Americans.
"The left’s motive is what it always is: It is to normalize homosexuality," said Laurie Higgins with the Illinois Family Institute, a Christian organization, last year.
Protesters address the crowd outside Parkfield community school (Photo: SWNS) On a bright spring morning in Birmingham, hundreds of parents could be found milling around the gates of their children’s primary school. But this was not the usual hubbub of drop-off time: this was a protest sparked by a row about teaching LGBT sexuality and gender equality.
Around 600 children aged four to 11 were withdrawn from the city’s Parkfield Community School this month over the “No Outsiders” programme in a series of weekly demonstrations by parents.
“Stop confusing our children,” read one banner tied to railings at the school, which has been subject to weekly protests, with parents claiming it is promoting gay and transgender lifestyles. “My child, my right,” read another.
In January, more than 300 parents at the school, which is 98 per cent Muslim, signed a petition calling for the lessons to be dropped from the curriculum.
The “No Outsiders” project was created by assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, who was awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017.
i told in December how Mr Moffat, who has written several books on equality and teaching, was one of three British teachers named among the 50 best in the world after being shortlisted for the Varkey Foundation Global Teaching Prize, which has a prize of $1m. His website says the project’s aim is to teach children about the Equality Act 2010 and British values, prepare children for a life in modern Britain and “create a positive school ethos where everyone feels they belong”. Outstanding – and exempt
Parkfield was rated outstanding in 2016 and is thus exempt from routine inspections, but Ofsted arranged a monitoring visit after concerns were raised over the school leadership.
Birmingham City Council said earlier this month following the protests at the school that Birmingham was a city “built on diversity” and “celebrated difference as a strength”. It urged parents and the school to “come together in the spirit of co-operation in the best interests of the children”.
Just this week, inspectors backed the school, saying there was “no evidence” that the education and equalities curriculum “focuses disproportionately on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and that this work is not taught in an age-appropriate manner”.
They recommended the school “further develop” its engagement with parents so they all have a “clear understanding of the school’s policies and procedures, the curriculum content and how it is taught”.
The school said on Wednesday that it was working with the Regional Schools Commissioner to “find a solution” that will support the children to continue their education “in a harmonious environment. Until a resolution has been reached, ‘No Outsiders’ lesssons will not be taught at Parkfield and we hope that children will not be removed from school to take part in protests.” ‘Nothing to do with diversity’
Parent Mariam Ahmed stages a protest outside Parkfield community school (Photo: SWNS) But Amir Ahmed, a leading member of the parents’ campaign, says the protest is about families “holding a different moral position” to those being taught at the school. “The material that is being taught has nothing to do with diversity,” he says. “It’s about asking four-year-olds to change their moral position on sexual relationships.
“The school should know the local community and its values. There is no intolerance here, but the community has strong values and a conservative attitude towards sexuality. The school should have known parents would never approve of this. It feels as though the children are being indoctrinated to accept a moral viewpoint. It’s not acceptable to us. It has nothing to do with the Equality Act, it is about proselytising four-year-olds who can’t say anything back.”
The row at Parkfield has raised concerns about a larger backlash against schools when new guidance on relationships and sex education comes into force next year. Primary schools will have to educate children about different kinds of relationships and family structures.
A Department for Education document published last month, says: “The content must be age and developmentally appropriate, provide schools with the flexibility to deliver the subjects in a way that will be most beneficial for their pupils, and be delivered in schools in a way that engages parents and recognises that they are the primary teachers of their children.” LGBT bullying
In 2017, the Stonewall School Report highlighted that anti-LGBT bullying and language had decreased across Britain’s schools. But it added that almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school and more than two in five trans young people have tried to take their own life.
Just one in five LGBT pupils has been taught about safe sex in same-sex relationships, it revealed.
A Government Equalities Office report said the UK’s education system is failing to prepare LGBT young people for later life and that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is a problem that still needs to be tackled.
“It’s really important to emphasise that this isn’t about promoting a particular sexuality or gender identity,” says Professor Jonathan Glazzard, an academic at Leeds Beckett University, whose research focuses on the experiences of learners who identify as LGBTQ. “It is about educating children to develop inclusive values, which are essential for when they go into secondary school, college, university and the world of work, where they will encounter diversity. Respecting views
“Schools have a legal duty under the Equality Act to educate them about these issues. Parents need to understand it isn’t about trying to convert children to be gay – it’s about respecting difference.
It should never be about a school challenging people’s moral values. It should be about promoting that culture of respect and understanding people have different points of view.
“We need to respect people’s views, but this is a legal issue as well. In the new relationships and sex education guidance published by the Department for Education, there is a very clear message that children need to be taught about different kinds of lifestyles.”
(Reuters) – The United Methodist Church voted on Tuesday to uphold and strengthen its ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy in a move likely to alienate large numbers of followers who had pushed for reform.
By a vote of 438-384, delegates from around the world attending the church’s General Conference in St. Louis reinforced a United Methodist Church policy established in 1972 stating that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Known as the Traditional Plan, the new policy includes penalties for breaking its rules and asks those who will not obey it to find another church.
The Traditional Plan is designed to serve as a coherent United Methodist Church policy on LGBT clergy and their marriage practices after years of inconsistency among individual United Methodist churches, with some churches denouncing homosexuality as a sin and others embracing gay and lesbian clergy members.
Before opting for the Traditional Plan, delegates rejected an alternative known as the One Church Plan, which would have allowed individual churches to decide whether to perform same-sex marriages and welcome gay and lesbian clergy members. Under that plan, the statement that homosexuality is at odds with Christianity would have been eliminated.
The vote roiled many in America’s second-largest Protestant denomination. Tom Berlin, a delegate, told Reuters that some supporters of the One Church Plan held small protest demonstrations afterward. LOSE CREDENTIALS
“This is devastating,” Lucy Berrier said on Twitter. “Above all, the United Methodist Church is supposed to be a place of grace and service, not this bigotry and hate. My heart is broken into a thousand pieces.”
Berlin, who is a pastor in the Washington suburb of Herndon, Virginia, said with the new plan in place, some church members would risk losing their credentials to practice their belief in LGBT rights.
“Some churches will begin to do what they desire. They will test this new legislation by performing marriages and some conferences will ordain gay clergy,” he said in an interview after the final vote.
At least 12 million people, including 7 million in the United States, belong to the United Methodist Church. A 2014 Pew survey found that 60 percent of U.S. Methodists said homosexuality should be accepted by society. About half of U.S. Methodists said they supported same-sex marriage.
The rift in opinion over gay marriage and clergy members’ sexual orientation is along geographic as well as ideological lines.
Supporters of the Traditional Plan include many African and Philippine members as well as evangelical members from Europe and the United States. The One Church Plan derived most of its support from members in the United States who have witnessed a wave of social change regarding LGBT rights and awareness.
The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states in 2015. But the law does not apply to religious institutions.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, remains strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. But a growing number of U.S. Protestant denominations allow gay marriage and clergy, including the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Human rights activists were quick to defend the Women’s Day march and excoriate deputies for their remarks. What many consider the first gay-pride march ever held in Central Asia has unleashed a storm of controversy in Kyrgyzstan, with threats of violence against participants, counterprotests, and fiery parliamentary debate over whether to rein in civil society.
The peaceful march by some 400 people in central Bishkek on Women’s Day on March 8 promoting women’s rights and "equality for all" was fiercely criticized by socially conservative lawmakers in the predominantly Muslim country.
"The men who do not want to have children and the girls who do not want to pour tea…must not only be cursed, they must be beaten," Kyrgyz parliament deputy Jyldyz Musabekova wrote on Facebook of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) supporters who took part in the march in the Kyrgyz capital, with several of them carrying rainbow flags.
"We have to beat the craziness out of them," she added. "Are there any decent guys out there [willing to do that]?"
She warned later during a March 13 debate in parliament that "if we sit silently…Kyrgyzstan will become a ‘Gayistan.’" Kyrgyz parliament deputy Jyldyz Musabekova: "We have to beat the craziness out of them." Musabekova’s comments were harshly criticized by some parliament members and on social media but echoed in gentler terms by other deputies.
Deputy Ziyadin Zhamaldinov said that in allowing the march to take place Kyrgyzstan had "disgraced" itself in front of neighboring countries. No women’s marches were held in any of the four other Central Asian states.
Zamaldinov’s colleague, Ainuru Altybaeva, said the march had "damaged" the concept of the traditional family.
Such comments are emblematic of a deep societal division within Kyrgyzstan, the region’s only democracy and arguably its most progressive country.
Human rights activists were quick to defend the Women’s Day march and excoriate deputies for their remarks.
"We are not offended by this parliament — these deputies have in past years expressed even more absurd ideas," rights activist Tolekan Ismailova said.
"I think it’s very cool that the LGBT community came on the march, because this is also related to the rights of women if we are talking about lesbians and transgender girls who face tremendous violence in Kyrgyzstan," said Bektour Iskender, the founder of the popular Kloop.kg website and a participant in the march.
"This is part of the women’s rights movement — it’s impossible to separate them. And I’m very proud of Kyrgyzstan that this has become possible here."
Iskender added that it wasn’t the only time that supporters of sexual minorities in Kyrgyzstan had been taking part in the women’s march — only that this was the first time opponents of the LGBT community had noticed.
"I urge people in Kyrgyzstan to stop being afraid of LGBT people — they’re also part of our society," he said. "I think that parliament deputies would also do well to get some kind of education in the field of human rights, because they’re saying some very uneducated things."
30 Or 40?
Bektour told RFE/RL that this year’s women’s march had more participants than in previous years because of actions by the nationalist 40 Warriors (Kyrk Choro) organization, which had made threats to marchers and city officials allowing the event to be held.
City officials initially tried to discourage organizers from the Bishkek Feminist Initiatives (BFD) from holding the march, saying that it could cause traffic jams and lead to confrontations.
But the BFD was undeterred.
"The city police told us that for ‘security reasons’ you should not go out because members of Kyrk Choro could ‘come and do something,’" BFD representative Gulaiym Aiylchy said. "We told them that despite your warnings we will still come out [and march]."
While there were 40 Warriors members present at the march, they didn’t directly interfere with the procession. However, they are accused of making threats to female activists and others who attended.
Rights activist Rita Karasartova, political analyst and former government deputy minister Edil Baisalov, and ex-lawmaker Ravshan Jeenbekov also said they had been intimidated or threatened for taking part in the march.
40 Warriors was also criticized for the behavior of its leader, Zamirbek Kochorbaev, who was accused of intimidating Mira Tokusheva, a march organizer, during a public TV program on March 11 in which he said he had the organizers’ "addresses." Kyrk Choro leader Zamirbek Kochorbaev addresses media in Bishkek on March 11. 40 Warriors called on March 11 for Bishkek Mayor Aziz Surakmatov to resign for permitting the march, and two days later the nationalist group held a counterprotest in front of parliament, warning its members that it and its "thousands" of supporters would take action if lawmakers did not.
Only about 30 people attended the nationalist group’s rally. "We propose that 40 Warriors rename themselves," Iskender said, "to 30 di**heads."
Sociologist and anthropologist Altyn Kapalova said the statements by deputy Musabekova on social media and in the parliament may have violated the law.
"What Musabekova wrote can be regarded as a violation of the fundamental rights of every Kyrgyz citizen," she said. "It is not just rudely expressed, but also calls on other people to commit violence. To this we must not just respond but bring to justice."
The debate in parliament on March 13 included the national security agency deputy chairman, Orozbek Opumbaev, who said he "shared" deputies’ concerns about the participation of LGBT members in the Women’s Day march.
He told the deputies it was "necessary" to pass a law similar "to what was adopted in Russia" that would monitor the finances of NGOs — a reference to the controversial "foreign agents" law passed in Russia in 2012.
"This is the main problem — that the financing [of NGOs] goes unchecked," he said. "In particular, on LGBT [groups]. How much money comes in [from abroad]?" he asked. "If we pass this law we have control."
For activist Ismailova, the idea is a nonstarter for Kyrgyzstan, where there are more than 14,000 registered NGOs.
"To those who say that NGOs should be checked, I would say: Read the constitution! NGOs openly show where they get funding from, provide all reports, and pay taxes," she said. "The companies of [some parliament] deputies do not pay as much taxes as we do."
Written by Pete Baumgartner based on reporting by RFE/RL Kyrgyz Service correspondents Ernist Nurmatov, Eleonora Beyshenbek Kyzy, and Kasym Rakhmankulov, and Current Time
Protesters support same-sex marriage in 2017—the issue has long been dividing the Anglican Church, with the Archbishop of Canterbury refusing to invite gay bishops’ partners to the Lambeth 2020 conference. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images) A gay bishop has protested the Archbishop of Canterbury’s decision to exclude same-sex partners from attending the Anglican Church’s once-in-a-decade, 2020 Lambeth Conference.
Reverend Kevin Robertson, from Toronto, was personally told by Archbishop Justin Welby in January that his husband Mohan Sharma would not be invited to attend the meeting.
“It was disappointing not only for me and my spouse, Mohan, but I also asked him what message does this send to more progressive Anglicans, not only in the UK and North America, but to gay and lesbian Anglicans in places in the Communion where it’s very difficult to come out,” Robertson said an interview with Church Times published on Thursday (March 14).
Robertson, a father of two, was elected bishop in 2016 . He married Sharma, his partner of 10 years, in December. The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (L) with American bishop Michael Curry, whose Episcopal Church has protested the exclusion of LGBT spouses. (Steve Parsons – Pool/Getty Images) It was announced on February 15 that Welby had barred same-sex spouses from attending the 2020 Lambeth Conference, a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world.
The meeting was expected to take place in 2018, but it faced delay following fears of boycott from African bishops over openly gay members attending.
The global Anglican church is facing an increasingly fractious split between liberal Western churches who embrace LGBT+ people, and a faction of hardline African churches who do not.
Robertson said he believed Welby’s decision to exclude same-sex spouses from the conference to be motivated by homophobia, as other heterosexual spouses have been invited regardless of whether they are the bishops’ first partner.
“I know as we approach 2020 that there are bishops who have been divorced and remarried, in some cases more than once, who are being invited, and their spouses are also being invited,” Robertson told the Church Times. Episcopal Church joins backlash to ban on same-sex spouses at 2020 Lambeth Conference
Robertson is not the only bishop affected by the ban. The Episcopal Church—whose leader, bishop Michael Curry, gave a memorable sermon about the power love at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle—also voiced concerns about Welby’s decision.
The ban on same-sex spouses directly affects one of their bishops, New York Bishop Assistant Mary Glasspool, who is married to Becki Sander, her partner of more than 30 years. “Exclusion of same gender spouses [from Lambeth 2020] seems like a simplistic reaction to this complex issue.”
Addressing the House of Bishops on Thursday , Reverend Glasspool said she was “shocked, hurt and enraged” when she received notice of the decision in December.
In a statement published on Episcopal News Service on Friday (March 15) , the church’s House of Bishops describe being “aggrieved and distressed” the decision, and also “concerned by the use of exclusion as a means of building communion.”
The Episcopal Church’s Bishops’ spouses planning group also issued a statement regarding the Lambeth 2020 conference, expressing solidarity with Sander.
It read: “The spouse community understands that the Anglican Communion is not of one mind with regard to marriage, and that, in the life of the Communion, this is a complex issue. Exclusion of same gender spouses, however, seems like a simplistic reaction to this complex issue. It saddens us that all are not welcome to walk, listen, and witness with us, and that all voices will not be heard at this gathering.”
The Bishop of Liverpool Paul Bayes condemned the Archbishop’s stance last month , saying his wife would not attend the conference to show solidarity with gay bishops.
A strong supporter of LGBT+ rights , he said: “I deeply regret that in the fractious complexities of our life as a worldwide people this act of exclusion has taken its place.” Skintology MD My Skin Tags Just Vanished Like That
LGBTI wrestlers from left to right – Dave Marshall (@davemarshall89), Sonya Deville (@sonyadevillewwe), Darren Young (@realfredrosser) and Nyla Rose (@nylarosebeast). | Photos: Instagram Like most competitive sports, seeing openly LGBTI wrestlers can be a rare occurrence.
But that’s all slowly changing.
There are a handful of LGBTI wrestlers making waves in the wrestling game, smashing stereotypes and living their lives out and proud.
These eight LGBTI wrestlers are showing the world how it’s done: 1. Sonya Deville
Sonya Deville (real name Daria Rae Berenato) is an American professional wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) SmackDown brand, although she started out in Raw.
The 25-year-old wrestler made her professional wrestling debut in December 2015 in WWE’s developmental brand NXT.
In 2017, she formed a trio with wrestlers Mandy Rose and Paige, known as Absolution.
Although Paige retired from wrestling in April 2018, Deville still wrestles alongside Mandy Rose. She’s also competed in big wrestling events, like Royal Rumble and Survivor Series. Deville came out as a lesbian on national television four years ago during a televised Tough Enough competition.
‘Mandy and I were both on the show,’ she recalled to Sky Sports . ‘During the preliminary taping of the first premiere episode, they asked me if I was in a relationship.
‘I had a girlfriend at the time,’ she said.
Deville then explained: ‘I thought “What do I do… well, tell the truth, right?” So I said, “Yeah, I have a girlfriend, but she’s not my wife yet”.
‘I got nervous, and they all started smiling.
‘I said “Oh my god, I just came out on national television”. And Triple H replied “Yeah you did!”
On why coming out is important , she said: ‘If you’re scared to do it, my advice would be do it, because it was the best thing that ever happened.’ 2. Dave Marshall
Dave Marshall made international headlines in November last year when Gay Star News broke the story of his charity fundraising efforts.
Marshall is a personal trainer and openly gay wrestler from Perth, Australia.
He started his wrestling career in 2015, at the age of 26. He now wrestles for Perth-based wrestling company Southern Hemisphere Wrestling Alliance.
Marshall initially came out as bisexual to his now ex-girlfriend at the age of 23, then came out again as gay at 25.
‘I owed it to myself to explore [it] at a mature age,’ he said. ‘My family – even a very homophobic uncle – were all very supportive.’
What makes Marshall remarkable is his hugely successful charitable initiative of making homemade porn to fight LGBTI suicides.
Marshall explained he wanted to do something to give back to the community after his father took his own life two years ago.
In an Instagram post, Marshall revealed he saw ‘how big depression and anxiety has become in society and almost overlooked.’
Marshall then added: ‘Older men have a “Harden the fuck up” mentality they were brought up with.
‘Stats on LGBT in this area are quite scary too so I hope I can in some way, give back to my community. Positivity is everything,’ he said.
He initially donated the money to suicide prevention charity Beyond Blue, but they informed him they couldn’t accept his money because it came from pornography.
So he decided to instead donate his money to mental health charity, the Black Dog Institute . He’s raised $10,000 AUD ($7,228 US) in a year. 3. Nyla Rose
Washington-born Nyla Rose (aka Nyla the Destroyer) actually started out as an actress.
She starred in the 2016 Canadian television comedy series The Switch as the lead character. Rose played a Native American IT manager who comes out as a trans woman and has to rebuild her life after losing her job and her apartment as a result of her announcement.
The show aired six episodes over one season. Just last month, Rose made history by becoming the first transgender person to sign onto a major wrestling league.
All Elite Wrestling (AEW) made the announcement on 7 February and Rose confirmed the news on Twitter by posting a photo of the AEW logo, with the caption: ‘Oh it’s true alright.’
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with Nyla Rose getting into a heated argument with Kylie Ray on stage: Kylie Ray vs. Nyla Rose #DoubleOrNothing pic.twitter.com/9IB5vCIit4 — GIF Skull – #RAW #ThankYouKurt (@GIFSkull) February 8, 2019 The transgender wrestler has won the Warriors Of Wrestling Women’s Championship twice, the Covey Promotions Women’s Championship three times and the United Pro Wrestling Association Women’s Championship once. 4. Darren Young
Darren Young (real name Frederick Douglas Rosser III) is a hugely successful professional wrestler.
He made several appearances on WWE’s Sunday Night Heat, Velocity, Raw and SmackDown and is best known for his time as one half of the Prime Time Players with Titus O’Neil, as well as being part of the seven-member team Nexus.
In an interview in 2015, Darren Young publicly came out as gay . This made him the first ever active wrestler to come out as gay. The 35-year-old revealed his sexuality to a TMZ photographer after he was asked if a gay wrestler could be successful.
Laughing, he said: ‘Absolutely, absolutely! Look at me. I’m a WWE Superstar, and to be honest with you I’m gay. And I’m happy, very happy.’
Young then added: ‘It’s very important to me that people understand that someone’s sexual preference shouldn’t really matter. It should be about the person.’ A post shared by Freddie fka Darren Young (@realfredrosser) on Aug 2, 2018 at 9:53am PDT He’s since gone on to participate in anti-bullying campaigns and be vocal against WWE touring the United Arab Emirates , due to the country’s anti-gay laws.
Young was also a playable character in WWE’s 2K14 video game.
He now wrestles on the independent circuit under his real name. Young also revealed his mother is a lesbian. 5. Paige
Paige (real name Saraya-Jade Bevis) is an English professional wrestler, making her debut at the age of 13.
She signed on with WWE in 2011 and debuted on their main roster in 2014. In her debut match, she won the Divas Championship, becoming the youngest champion in the title’s history at the age of 21.
Paige quickly became one to watch, winning several big titles throughout her professional wrestling career. She’s also amassed a huge online following, with over 5.3 million followers on Instagram to date.
She announced her retirement from in-ring wrestling in April 2018, but then became the general manager of SmackDown. At the end of last year, she stepped down from the position, but remains in the show.
Alongside her wrestling career, Paige joined the cast of Total Divas – an American reality television show on the lives of female professional wrestlers.
During one of the episodes, fellow WWE colleague Rosa Mendes kissed Paige, who then revealed she’s bisexual.
As the cast were discussing if they’ve kissed girls in the past, Paige said: ‘I feel like it’s ok to do these days. It’s like the 21st century – I’m not very fussy.’
Mendes responds: ‘So you have been with a girl then?’Then Paige replies: ‘Well yeah, it’s the 21st century – I just said that.’Paige said she doesn’t discriminate between genders when it comes to finding love. She is currently dating rock band Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke. 6. Kris Wolf Kris Wolf (real name Kris Hernandez) is a Chicago-born professional wrestler. She spent her childhood years in New Jersey, but eventually settled in San Fransisco before moving to Japan to be an English teacher in Tokyo.After a year and a half of teaching, she entered a competition to start joshi puroresu – a popular form of professional wrestling in Japan. She signed with World Wonder Ring Stardom.Over the next four years, she won a couple of championships, including the High Speed Championship and the Alternative Wrestling Show Women’s World Championship.In January this year, Wolf posted to Twitter about her wedding to her wife.‘I found my human,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘She makes me feel like existence is slightly less terrifying. Thank you, universe.‘P.S. All of my in-laws are tall vikings. The universe has quite a sense of humor,’ she tweeted.Last month, Wolf announced her latest tour will be her last and she’ll retire due to injuries. 7. Mack Beggs Mack Beggs made international headlines in 2017 when the state of Texas forced him to compete in the female state wrestling tournament, despite identifying as male.According to guidelines, athletes must compete in tournaments that match their gender assigned to them at birth.As a result, Beggs won both the 2017 and 2018 state championship tournaments.The crowd ended up booing Beggs after his 2018 win.He said in a recent interview with Daily Dot : ‘I still get upset about it sometimes. Yeah, I won two state titles. But I identify as a dude.’Beggs then added: ‘I couldn’t do anything about it. Technically, I did win but I didn’t win. It’s a fucked situation.’The 19-year-old wrestler recently announced on his Instagram page that he will now be wrestling for Life University in Georgia.ESPN created a new documentary entitled Mack Wrestles, which follows his inspiring story. It also features the unique relationship he has with his supportive grandmother. 8. Jake Atlas California resident Jake Atlas (real name Kenny Marquez) came out as gay at the end of 2017. He made the announcement on Twitter, right after winning the Southern California Rookie of the Year award.The 24-year-old said winning the award was the ‘proudest’ moment of his life and it gave him the confidence to live his truth.He first realized he was gay in the sixth grade, when he liked a boy in his class.But when he actually came out to his mother and brother three years later, they didn’t react well.‘Being openly gay is still something I struggle sharing with my mom,’ he told Gay Star News in 2018. ‘She’s fully become accepting, but she always admits that in her heart, it hurts her.’Atlas found Santino Bros Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles in July of 2014 and initiated his training then.He trained at least three to four days a week for the next two years until finally achieving his professional debut on 6 August 2016.He’s now on the independent scene and said he’s ‘having a blast’. See also: Wrestler stripped of college scholarship for yelling ‘F**k f*ggots!’ at Trump rally