Deacon found guilty of throwing holy water on lesbian has to pay her compensation

Deacon found guilty of throwing holy water on lesbian has to pay her compensation

Birmingham Pride to expand out of gay village due to major redevelopment Ghenadie Valuta (L) and Angelica Frolov. | Photo: Facebook & Supplied An Orthodox Deacon in Moldova who threw holy water on a lesbian during a live television broadcast will have to pay her compensation and publicly apologize to her.

A court found Deacon Ghenadie Valuta guilty of ‘incitement to discrimination based on beliefs and signs of sexual orientation’ for splashing LGBTI activist, Angelica Frolov. The court ordered him to pay Frolov $715 in damages and to cover her legal fees.

The former Soviet Union country, Moldova is located near Ukraine and is one of the poorest countries in Europe.

The incident happened in 2014 during a televised debate. Valuta splashed Frolov to ‘help drive the impure spirits out of all representatives of the LGBT community’.

Frolov submitted a complaint to the Council on Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality for incitement to discrimination and violation of the freedom of belief which also includes the lack of any religious beliefs.

‘He brought holy water and splashed me with it even when I said that I am not a religious person and asked him not to do it,’ Frolov told Gay Star News.

The Council ruled in favor of Frolov in June 2014.

Then she sued the Deacon to force him to publicly apologize. She also sued him to pay her moral damage and her legal fees, all of which comes to about $715.

The activist said she was happy with the Council and court rulings, because it shows ‘Moldovan law works’.

‘In our country the orthodox religion is very insolent. Some representatives of this religion consider that they can do whatever they want they’re not interested in the feelings and rights of other people,’ she said.

‘So, this decision is a good reminder about equality and the rule of law. The Deacon’s LGBTI obsession

The Deacon has made it his mission to rid Moldova of its LGBTI community. He turns up to LGBTI Pride events to cover the participants with holy water in an attempt to cleanse them.

‘He is obsessed, indeed, he comes to our Pride march every year and splashes us and the place where we marching with holly water. I can’t say that he represents the opinion of all Moldovan people, but the level of homophobia and transphobia in Moldova is still high,’ Frolov said.

But not all Moldovans are anti-LGBTI.

Frolov is a lobbyist and program coordinator at Moldova’s only LGBTI organization, Gender-Doc M. She says its their educational programs that have helped shape the positive view of LGBTI people in the country.

‘At the same time, there are more and more people who are supportive and friendly, we believe that main reasons for this are possibility of Moldovan citizens to travel to European countries and our social information campaigns,’ she said.

Valuta has a different version of events and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

‘Persecution has begun. Lying has been legalized. There’s a video where it’s clear that I didn’t sprinkle Holy Water on this lesbian. But DPM [Democratic Party of Moldova—O.C.] justice was, to the joy of liberals and LGBT creditors, on their side,’ he wrote on the Pro Ortodoxia blog, an organization which he heads.

‘That’s how it will be with everyone who won’t tolerate sin. We’ll be getting prison sentences soon. But we will not give up.’ LGBTI rights in Moldova

According to Frolov many LGBTI people in Moldova keep their gender identity and/or sexuality a secret. That’s even though same-sex activity is legal and the country has laws banning discrimination based on sexual and gender identity.

‘Usually LGBT people prefer not to be open, because it is a risk to be rejected by family, friends and colleagues. At the same time there are many cases of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, hate incidents and discrimination,’ Frolov said.

But she is clear that LGBTI people need to keep up the fight for themselves. Her legal wins against the Deacon show the country is open to protecting the LGBTI community.

‘We should protect our rights and freedoms, even when we think it does not work. No one will change this world for us,’ she said.

‘And I know now that it is possible to win a case against religious leader even in a very religious country.’

Bisexual actor Mara Wilson ‘slam dunks’ IT Crowd creator for trans comments

Bisexual actor Mara Wilson 'slam dunks' IT Crowd creator for trans comments

Birmingham Pride to expand out of gay village due to major redevelopment Mara Wilson came out as bisexual in 2016. Actress Mara Wilson has just shut down mansplaining by the creator of IT Crowd who called her a Scientologist because of her opinion.

Wilson who starred in Matilda decided to weigh on a debate on Twitter about trans women and the controversial opinion that their existence erases cisgendered lesbians.

One person who shares that view is Graham Lineham, creator of iconic TV shows the IT Crowd, Black Books and Father Ted. The IT Crowd about a team of IT help desk technicians in an office became famous for their often repeated tech advice: ‘have you tried turning it off and on again?’.

He’s been on Twitter all day debating people about the issue. He replied to Wilson who had criticized gay writer, Skylar Baker-Jordan for an opinion piece he wrote about trans women. Wilson suggested Baker-Jordan shouldn’t be writing about the issue because he was a cisgendered man.

‘and Mara, do we have to be effected by an issue to comment on it? That’s a basic tenet of progressivism, isn’t it, that we do not? And anyway, how does erasing the reality of homsexuality (sic) NOT effect him?’ Lineham wrote to Twitter.

Then they really got into it.

‘Yep. The bottom line is that I just don’t think that consistently going after transgender people, one of the most vulnerable populations in the world, is a positive, ethical, progressive thing to do,’ Wilson replied.

But then Lineham escalated the conversation questioning what was ‘wrong’ with Wilson.

‘once again, I’m going after a regressive ideology that says the guy talking about forcing a woman’s head into a dog bowl full of piss is the same sex as my wife and daughter. What is WRONG with you?’ he wrote.

To which Wilson replied:’And I highly doubt you, Mr. Linehan, (or the people railing against me for suggesting that calling transgender people “mentally ill” implies that mentally ill and transgender people both are to be subjugated and ostracized) are going to change my mind on this.’

Lineham had a bit of a meltdown after that accusing the people in the discussion of ignoring his point.

‘Yer a bunch of scientologists,’ he bizarrely wrote.

But then Wilson came out with a gold medal winning reply.

‘Graham have you considered turning yourself off and on again,’ she told Lineham on Twitter. Graham have you considered turning yourself off and on again — Mara “Get Rid of the Nazis” Wilson (@MaraWilson) August 23, 2018 Nicely played, Wilson. Read the exchange here:

“Name a more impressive crossover” The IT Crowd guy just tried to mansplain to Matilda and got slam dunked by her instead. — Laura Shortridge (@DiscordianKitty) August 24, 2018

Queen’s Nurse breaks new ground for LGBT people with dementia

Queen's Nurse breaks new ground for LGBT people with dementia

A Queen’s Nurse from Cornwall aspiring to revolutionise care for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) patients with dementia is set to have her ground-breaking work featured in a documentary.

Allison O’Kelly will have a production crew follow her on a trip to Australia next month where she hopes to learn more about how the condition affects this group of people, and to find examples of best practice to bring back to the UK.

Ms O’Kelly, a clinical lead for memory services in East Cornwall, developed an interest in the subject when working with a transgender woman who became confused and distressed about her identity after developing Alzheimer’s disease.

After digging deeper Ms O’Kelly found wider understanding of the issue in the UK was “limited” so she applied for funding to carry out research in Australia, which is considered to be leading the way in training and services for LGBT people.

She was selected out of more than 1,000 applicants for a fellowship award from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT), which aims to help UK people travel overseas in pursuit of innovative ways of tackling challenges in their home nation.

In winning the award, Ms O’Kelly will be named a Churchill Fellow for life.

Film production company, BILLO Studio, will be creating a documentary about LGBT people with dementia that will feature findings from Ms O’Kelly’s project.

Ms O’Kelly, who works for Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, hopes to use her results to develop tools and frameworks to deliver as a training package for care staff in Cornwall.

With an ageing population Ms O’Kelly said there were a growing number of people in the county who were both LGBT and over the age 65 so it was important to get care services right for them.

Ms O’Kelly said her vision was for all health services in Cornwall to be truly LGBT inclusive.

She said: “Many older people who identify as LGBT lived through a time when it was a criminal offence, so kept themselves hidden.

“It is really important for people to be who they want to be and to change attitudes; my Winston Churchill quote for my interview was ‘attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’,” she said.

Ms O’Kelly added: “My vision is for all health services in Cornwall to be LGBT inclusive. There is the potential to incorporate training into GP practices and for primary care nurses to be LGBT aware.

“I hope that this will encourage people who identify as LGBT to engage in health screening and prevention programs without fear of judgement or prejudice,” she said.

According to Alzheimer’s Society, unique challenges faced by LGBT people with dementia may include reluctance in accessing services due to past prejudice or discrimination, and fear about being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity around professionals.

Ms O’Kelly has already completed an article about the LGBT community and dementia that was published in the Journal of Dementia and is considered recommended reading by the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

‘Carol’ unused lesbian sex scenes feared to be kept by Harvey Weinstein

‘Carol’ unused lesbian sex scenes feared to be kept by Harvey Weinstein

Insiders who worked on the movie Carol have shared worries that Harvey Weinstein kept unused lesbian sex scenes between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara .

In a Hollywood Reporter feature on how lawyers are demanding more specific protections for their clients during nude scenes and want to sue for leaked footage, the accusations against Weinstein are made.

The article alleges that sources involved with the 2015 Todd Haynes drama Carol, told the Hollywood Reporter that Weinstein, who distributed the movie, kept nude scenes from the movie for his own personal collection.

According to the piece, if a shot scene doesn’t make the final cut most legal agreements call for the producer to use “good faith efforts” to delete the scene.

But one Carol insider reportedly told the paper “”I don’t even think it’s possible to destroy anything in the digital age, the idea of anything being erased from existence is naive.”

While a rep for Weinstein allegedly told the reporter he never kept any footage from the film.

In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and when the allegations against Weinstein began to surface, Blanchett spoke about his involvement with the film.

In an interview with Variety , Blanchett – who has spoken in solidarity with women who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment – insisted he had little involvement.

She said: “He was brought on as the producer on many films that I had absolutely no say on. I didn’t have a creative or functional relationship with him.” In a comment on the piece, Carol producer Elizabeth Karlsen added that Weinstein was given an Executive Producer credit on the film as “one of the non negotiable terms of the distribution agreement.”

Karlsen added: “He was not a producer on the film. Neither he nor TWC were involved in the development of the film nor had any script, editorial, casting or other type of creative involvement in the film whatsoever.” “This is a frequent and frustrating misrepresentation of Harvey Weinstein and his role – he was a distributor, who stole the producing credit from the actual producers who sourced, developed, filmed and fully created the work as we did with CAROL.

“He simply released and distributed it into cinemas.”

Blanchett also appeared to confirm to Variety that she had been targeted by Weinstein.

Asked if Weinstein ever sexually harassed her, Blanchett said: “With me, yes.

“I think he really primarily preyed, like most predators, on the vulnerable. I mean I got a bad feeling from him.

“He would often say to me, ‘We’re not friends’, [because] I wouldn’t do what he was asking me to do.”

Another source, who is a lawyer, spoke to the Hollywood Reporter discussed the security risk that is carried with nude and explicit scenes.

“We used to say, ‘You’ve got to destroy it,’ And they said, ‘We’ll keep it in a secure location.’ But things get hacked, things get stolen, so we definitely push for outtakes, trims, deleted scenes, alternative takes — all that stuff — to be destroyed and for the destruction to be confirmed to us in writing.”

“[But] Some intern puts it out. That’s up [online] forever. So we need to be able to force the studio to go take that down, or even threaten injunctive relief or liquidated damages.”

Artists repaint Gothenburg trams for LGBT rights

Artists repaint Gothenburg trams for LGBT rights

Gothenburg Public Transportation company Västtrafik invited artists from Sweden’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities to repaint six trams as part of August’s EuroPride celebration.

Prints of the tram photographs will be auctioned at the Proud Trams art exhibition, with all proceeds going to charity RFSL to support LGBT rights.

The colours of the rainbow are represented by the tram line numbers from red to purple – the trams travelled through Gothenburg during EuroPride from 14-19 August.

The artists involved in the project include Ebba Chambert, Linnéa Teljas Puranen, Oscar Andersson, Nathalie Ruejas Jonson, Gustav Gigi Sandin, Linden Carter and Mira Cederwall Victorin.

Rising concern in Malaysia’s LGBT community after attack on transgender woman

Rising concern in Malaysia's LGBT community after attack on transgender woman

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have long suffered discrimination in Muslim-majority Malaysia. RANTAU (THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION) – In her dimly lit room in a Malaysian village, Ms Suki rests on a bed as she recovers from a brutal attack that has highlighted what campaigners say is growing hostility towards gay and transgender people in the country.

A transgender woman, Ms Suki was beaten up by a group of assailants on Aug 15 with sticks and plastic pipes in Seremban, a town south of the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

She suffered broken ribs, a ruptured spleen and head injuries that required seven stitches. Police have arrested eight men suspected of carrying out the attack.

"They hit me and stepped on me repeatedly, I couldn’t move," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at her home in Rantau, a sleepy village in the central state of Negeri Sembilan.

"I tried to call out for help, but I couldn’t speak," said Ms Suki, a part-time make-up artist in her 30s, who asked not to be identified in full to protect her privacy.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have long suffered discrimination in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Gay sex remains banned under a British colonial-era law, while dressing as the opposite sex is illegal. Activists say a law against public indecency has been used to target sexual minorities.

But several incidents in recent weeks have stoked concerns among rights groups that the climate for the country’s LGBT community is deteriorating further.

The Islamic affairs minister has spoken out against gay people, and ordered the removal of portraits of two LGBT activists from an art exhibition this month, sparking public outrage.

Last week, two women in the conservative state of Terengganu were sentenced to be caned under Islamic syariah law after being caught attempting to have sex in a car. Last Saturday, officers raided a gay bar in Kuala Lumpur.

Activist Dorian Wilde said anti-LGBT statements from officials cause stigma and discrimination towards the community, and transgender people in particular have to bear the brunt of the hatred due to their visibility.

"The more and more (is) being said, the more misinformation, the more violent things will be," said Mr Wilde, a transgender man who founded the support group Transmen of Malaysia.

There has been a surge in homophobic and transphobic commenting on social media in recent days, which included describing LGBT people as from "hell" and calling for them to be killed, according to Mr Wilde.

Three cases of trans women being killed were reported in 2017, according to the trans rights group, Justice for Sisters, while hundreds of other trans women were arrested in recent years under the law against cross-dressing.

The group’s co-founder, Ms Thilaga Sulathireh, said Malaysia had a tolerant attitude towards transgender people until the early 1980s, when a council of Muslim leaders issued a religious edict against gender re-assignment surgery for Muslims.

Since then, there has been a steady rise in discrimination.

"This kind of oppression is very systemic, from their identification cards, to jobs, housing and healthcare."

"At this point, we are only asking for the violence and discrimination to stop, we are not asking for any special rights – just let people be who they are," Ms Sulathireh said.

Rising conservatism has fuelled fears that Malaysia’s moderate brand of Islam is coming under threat from hardliners.

Over 60 per cent of its 32 million population are Malay Muslims, but the South-east Asian country is also home to a large number of ethnic minorities who practise other religions.

"People are feeling anxious," said Mr Numan Afifi, an openly gay Muslim man who runs the Pelangi Campaign group that fights against LGBT discrimination.

"We hear cases of trans women being harassed in the workplace, like employers forcing them to cut their hair."

The government, which swept into power in May elections after campaigning on a reform agenda, has been urged – by campaigners as well as members of the administration – to act against the spread of hatred toward LGBT people.

"This hate campaign against those with different sexual orientations has to stop," said Ms Hannah Yeoh, the deputy minister for women, family and community development.

"You can disagree with them but using violence is a cowardly act. Hate crime is just wrong and must be condemned," she added.

Ms Mia, a trans woman who lives in Seremban where Ms Suki was attacked, said the local transgender community was fearful and in shock.

"We have been through so much trauma because of who we are, but we have not seen such violence in years," said the 40-year-old, who declined to give her full name due to fears of repercussion.

"I don’t feel safe. Today, the victim is Suki, what about tomorrow or the day after? Will it be me?" Ms Mia asked, as tears welled up in her eyes.

Mental health care responses are failing LGBT people – some ideas…

Mental health care responses are failing LGBT people - some ideas...

LGBT mental health care responses need to be tailored and shaped by role models, argues Jenny Richards. In 1967, homosexuality was partly decriminalised in Britain. In 1987, homosexuality was taken out of the American classification of mental disorders.

In 2014, a survey by the University of Cambridge found Britain’s LGBT population are twice as likely to suffer from chronic mental health problems than those not in the LGBT community.

In 2016, PACE, London’s leading LGBT mental health charity, had to close due to lack of funding.

In June this year, the World Health Organisation said they would stop classifying being transgender as a mental disorder.

Last month the government announced its plan to make gay-conversation therapy illegal.

It’s clear to see that the history of the LGBT community and the mental health system is a fraught one. Today, these services are still failing us. Almost one in five LGBT people have a negative experience of accessing public health services because of their sexual orientation and one in three because of their gender identity. "It was only when a counsellor looked at how my difficulties in understanding self-worth were rooted in issues I had with my own queerness and also my disability, that my mental health really began to improve." It’s clear to see that the history of the LGBT community and the mental health system is a fraught one, and today, these services are still failing us. Almost one in five LGBT people have a negative experience of accessing public health services because of their sexual orientation and one in three because of their gender identity.

The reality is that mainstream mental health services were not designed with LGBT people in mind, and though I’m pleased that the government is currently investigating these mental health inequalities, there has previously been little work to rectify the situation. The contradiction of systematic oppression existing in what is a supposed sphere of care needs to be understood and addressed. Context

Currently, when people try to access the mental health system, they are quickly labelled and boxed into one service that doesn’t meet their needs. Mental health services instead should look at each person as a complete individual, understanding their unique needs.

If an LGBT person has depression, their mental health condition should be not looked at in isolation. When I was a teenager, I went through various forms of counselling, but it was only when a counsellor looked at how my difficulties in understanding self-worth were rooted in issues I had with my own queerness and also my disability, that my mental health really began to improve.

Though it is rarely considered in practice, it does make sense that our individual life experience naturally affects our mental state. That’s why Wish , the women’s mental health charity I am a member of, created the Women’s Mental Health Network . This project is about getting organisations from across different sectors to work together to provide a more holistic approach in looking at a person’s mental health. Working with charities who specialise in LBGT needs, homelessness, refugee women and other areas enables us to combine our different areas of knowledge to ensure someone is getting the access to services they need. Role models provide a sense of safety

This all ties into building a community to support an LGBT person who currently feels let down by the mental health system. This is not just about different services working together, but is also about creating an environment where an LGBT person feels safe to talk about their experiences.

Though it’s been great to see the mental health conversation opening up recently, there’s been a lack of LGBT role models talking about their mental health in the mainstream media. The same role models who I avidly searched for when I first began to realise my mental health was affected by how I felt about my sexuality.

That’s why we need to give a platform to LGBT mental health campaigners like Tanya Compas , Rowan Ellis, and Ellen Jones . Seeing someone who reflects you in the media no doubt makes a huge difference in providing a supportive and safe environment for someone to open up about both their sexuality and mental health. It was no coincidence that I came out as queer after I read, for the first time, a book that had a lesbian protagonist. And it’s also no coincidence that my mental health dramatically improved after I came out, again highlighting how these issues do not exist in isolation.

We need to advocate for services that recognise the unique needs of people who live at the intersections of mental health, such as being LGBT and suffering with depression, or perhaps being a woman of colour and experiencing anxiety. To address the fact that LGBT people, as well as other minorities, are being failed by mainstream mental health services, we need to listen to these voices rather than simply decide for them how they must feel.

That’s why Wish are consulting with as many people who identify as women or non-binary as possible to find out what changes they want to see in the mental health system. This consultation will be closing on the 1 st October and we will then be developing user-led campaigns to improve these issues. Your voice is vital and needs to be heard; please fill out our survey here to let us know what’s important to you.

We are all entitled to better mental health care and Mental Health Today needs your help to continue its work and stay free to read. Please consider a small donation.

Gay Utah GOP leader says high LGBTI suicide rates partly caused by too much sex

Gay Utah GOP leader says high LGBTI suicide rates partly caused by too much sex

Man charged with hate crime for his disturbing outburst at Delaware Pride This priest ‘cleansed’ his city with holy water after it held a Pride parade This year’s Utah Pride (Photo: Utah Pride | Facebook) An openly gay Republican leader in Utah has said that too much casual sex is partially responsible for high LGBTI suicide rates.

Dave Robinson, the Republican Party’s communications director for Salt Lake County, made this claim during an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune .

Robinson said that too much sex can cause people to feel ‘self-loathing’. This can, in turn, drive many LGBTI people to suicide, he said.

During the interview, he began recounting a conversation he had with his neighbors, telling them the Republican Party is not homophobic.

‘I said you can own your own business, you can run for office — I don’t think there’s a better time on this planet in history to be gay than right now,’ he said.

When his neighbors then asked about the high suicide rates in the LGBTI community, Robinson replied: ‘So then I walked through and I said, “I actually think it has more to do with the lifestyle that the gays are leading that they refuse to have any scrutiny with”.’

He claimed he knows some men who have had over 2,000 sexual partners.

‘You talk to some of these people that have had grundles of sex partners and the self-loathing and basically, the unhappiness and the self-hatred level is tremendously high,’ he said.

‘The gay community really needs to start having some conversations within their community, saying how is our lifestyle [is] affecting our mental health.’

Robinson also said that some LGBTI people use sex as a way to numb the pain of not feeling like they are socially accepted. Alarming figures of youth suicide

The rate of youth suicide in Utah has been alarming in recent years.

A recent study found that Utah’s suicide rate for youths aged 10 to 17 more than doubled between 2011 and 2015. 150 youths died over the five-year period, with LGBTI youths being especially at risk.

This is one of the highest youth suicide rates in the US.

Some activists and mental health professionals say this is partially because of the homophobia and transphobia of the Mormon Church, which is based in Utah. More than 60% of the state’s residents are Mormons, says the Advocate .

LGBTI youths are also at high risk of sexual violence.

A study carried out in 2016 found that 45.5% of bisexual people and 33.6% of lesbian/gay respondents living in Utah reported having experienced some form of sexual violence. This compares with just 8.7% for straight people.

Utah’s Brigham Young University also featured on Campus Pride’s 2017 ‘ shame list ‘.

The list highlighted US universities and colleges which are ‘the worst for LGBTQ youth,’, and which ‘openly discriminate against LGBTQ youth in policies, program, and practices.’

Priest urges Catholics to welcome LGBT community

Priest urges Catholics to welcome LGBT community

US priest Father James Martin speaking at the world meeting of families in Dublin, on how the Catholic Church can welcome members of the LGBT community A pro-LGBT priest has said that members of the gay Catholic community have been made to feel like "lepers" by the church.

Fr James Martin urged Catholics to examine their own attitudes towards LGBT Catholics and to welcome them into their parish.

Speaking at the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin, Fr Martin, who is outspoken in his support for the LGBT community, said the church has caused "deep hurt" against fellow Catholics.

The WMOF was criticised for inviting him to speak after his objectors accused him of promoting views that same-sex marriage is acceptable in the Catholic Church.

An online petition started by the Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) organisation attracted over 10,250 signatures.

There was huge demand for him to be withdrawn from the list of speakers, however up to 1,000 people attended his speech on Thursday in Dublin.

People were refused entry to the hall where he was giving his speech as all seats were taken. However, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin stepped in and allowed them to watch it from the back of the room.


Fr Martin, who is the editor of Jesuit Magazine in America, addressed the crowd about welcoming and respecting LBGT people into parishes.

The American Jesuit and LGBT campaigner, who belongs to the same order as the Pope, said that the more recent challenges facing Catholics is how to welcome LGBT parishioners and their families.

"LGBT Catholics have felt excluded from the church for so long that any experience of welcoming can be life-changing," he said.

"Over the last few years, I have heard really sad stories from LGBT Catholics who have been made to feel unwelcome in their parishes.

"They’ve have often been treated like lepers in our church. Never underestimate the pain that LGBT people have experienced not only at the hands of our church but from society at large.

"Parishes need to be aware of the consequences of stigmatising LGBT people.

"Many if not all LGBT have been deeply wounded by our church. They may have been mocked, insulted, excluded, condemned or singled out for critique either privately or from the pulpit.

"They never heard the terms gay or lesbian expressed in positive way."

Earlier this year, references and images to the LGBT community were removed from WMOF material.

A number of LGBT say they were denied a stand at the WMOF event taking place at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS).

Fr Martin said that he made a number of observations about how LGBT people are treated and advised Catholics as to how they can be more welcoming.

He said this included six "fundamental insights".

"Parishes need to remember that LGBT people and their families are baptised Catholics, they are as much as part of the church as Pope Francis, your local bishop, your pastor or me," he continued.

"It’s not a question of making them Catholic, they already are.

"Just to remain in the church, LGBT Catholics have endured years of persecution and rejection. Our welcome should reflect that reality."

He also said the LGBT people don’t choose their orientation.

"Sadly many people still believe that people chose their sexual orientations despite the testimony of almost every psychologist, biologist, and more importantly the lived experiences of LGBT people.

"You don’t choose your orientation or gender identity any more than you choose to be left handed.

"It’s not a choice and it’s not an addiction thus it is not a sin to be LGBT, far less it is not something to blame on someone like parents."

He also urged Catholics to "examine your own attitudes" towards the LGBT community and their families.

He continued: "Do you hold the parents responsible for a gay teen’s orientation. Do you think a person is transgender only because it is fashionable.

"Are you discriminating against them in your heart. We tend to focus on whether they are full conforming to the church’s teaching on morality. Are you doing the same thing with straight parishioners.

"Be consistent about whose lives get scrutinised. Be honest about your attitudes, but also get facts not myths about sexual orientation and gender identity from scientific and social scientific sources not from rumours and homophobic online websites."

Fr Martin received a standing ovation at the end of his 45-minute speech.

Meanwhile, a number of LGBT campaigners sang outside the front gates of the RDS in protest of the exclusion of gay people and their families from the WMOF.

The Rainbow Choir, made up of LGBT singers, wore T-shirts emblazoned with "hear our voices".

One of the organisers of the choir and former TV3 political correspondent Ursula Halligan said that the Catholic church needs to take more action.

She said: "Fr James Martin is just talking about welcoming and that’s great but we need actions, so if the church is truly welcoming they will get rid of this language that calls us objectively disordered and intrinsically evil, and they will say we love you LGBT families and we have no problem with having pictures of LGBT families – but they do.

"So until they change those things everything else is fig leaf, it’s window dressing, it’s not real but it is a start in the right direction.

"It’s not near far enough, the church has to go much further.

"The language they use is damaging and the church in this country controls 90% of schools so I’m doing this for younger people coming out. I don’t want them to have to wait until there are 50 years of age before they come out.

"Love is the most important thing in life, why would you try and stunt that in any human being.

"The Catholic teaching is wrong and they have to change that."

Chiba city to recognize partnerships for LGBT couples from April

Chiba city to recognize partnerships for LGBT couples from April

A parade is held in Tokyo on May 6, 2018, to promote support for sexual minorities. (Kyodo) CHIBA, Japan (Kyodo) — The city of Chiba, east of Tokyo, said Thursday it will begin issuing partnership certificates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples as well as common-law marriage couples from April.

Municipalities in Japan are starting to issue such certificates for sexual minorities, since the Tokyo’s Shibuya and Setagaya wards became the first local governments to recognize such partnerships in 2015. They were followed by the cities of Iga, Takarazuka, Naha, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Osaka.

Chiba will be the first municipality not to limit the recognition to LGBT couples, saying applicants only need to meet a set of requirements such as that both people are at least 20 years old, without a spouse, and either lives or plans to live in the city.

"We will create a foundation where people can live the way they want to," Mayor Toshihito Kumagai said at a press conference, adding he hopes his city’s move would be a "catalyst" for people to think about the concept of families and partnerships.

While Japan has been making efforts to eliminate discrimination against sexual minorities, a recent string of anti-LGBT comments by lawmakers has sparked public criticism.

A female lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party drew criticism by writing an article in July saying the LGBT couples are "unproductive" because they don’t reproduce. Another LDP lawmaker also came under fire for saying on an internet show that same-sex relationships are "something like a hobby."