Kenya High Court upholds law criminalising gay sex

Kenya High Court upholds law criminalising gay sex

An LGBT activist holds a rainbow flag at a court hearing in Nairobi on February 20. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images) The High Court in Kenya has ruled not to decriminalise gay sex in a disappointing decision for LGBT+ activists hoping to repeal sections of the country’s penal code.

Three judges made the judgement on Friday (May 24).

Justice Aburili opened the reading and Justice Chacha Mwita then read his judgement, followed by Justice John Mativo .

It has been three years and one month since queer activist Eric Gitari first filed a discrimination lawsuit challenging the constitutional validity of two sections of Kenya’s colonial-era penal code.

The ruling means that Sections 162 (a) and (c), 163 and 165 of Kenya’s penal code remain in place and homosexual relations are still criminalised.

These parts of the penal code – introduced by the British Empire in 1930 – criminalise sodomy, and make sexual acts “against the order of nature,” interpreted as including same-sex sexual relations, currently punishable by 14 years’ imprisonment.

LGBT+ activists in Kenya had been “cautiously optimistic” ahead of Friday’s ruling, Mercy Njueh of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) in Kenya told PinkNews their hopes are now shattered.

“A positive ruling would have allowed LGBTIQ+ persons to enjoy their basic human rights, and be able to live as equal Kenyans,” she said.

The High Court was supposed to issue its verdict in February, but postponed it at the last minute.

Téa Braun, director of the Human Dignity Trust, told PinkNews that the judgment is “very significant for Africa, as it will be worldwide.”

“This would have been the first court decision on the continent since South Africa in 1994 to rule on the issue of LGBT criminalisation, and could have signalled the beginning of the wider dismantling of these archaic and discriminatory laws,” Braun said.

“The trend across the Commonwealth and the world is already clear: these laws have no place in a constitutional democracy and they must go. At the Human Dignity Trust, we hope that other Commonwealth governments will save litigants and taxpayers the time and expense of going to court and just repeal these laws,” she said. Trying to repeal sections of Kenya penal code was about “human rights”

Njueh, a communications assistant at NGLHRC, previously told PinkNews that Friday’s (May 24) court ruling was about human rights.

Activists argue that under the penal code any private sexual acts beyond penetrative vaginal sex between a man and a woman is illegal—including anal and oral sex, regardless of the gender of those involved.

“Even heterosexual people, if the law was followed to the very end, would be persecuted,” Njueh told PinkNews.

“What we’re fighting for is not just about gender and sexual minorities. It’s about human rights. We are pushing for Kenyans, who are recognised by the constitution, to be allowed to enjoy their human rights, without having to fear.”

Altogether, four human rights group petitioned in the lawsuit: NGLHRC, the Gay And Lesbian Coalition Of Kenya (GALCK), Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Kenya Network (NYARWEK) and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

It was hoped that today’s verdict would open the floodgates for the repeal of similar legislation in other countries in Africa, where homosexuality is still illegal in 32 out of the continent’s 54 nations.

In particular, it was hoped that a positive ruling would have a strong impact on countries in the eastern African region, including Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.

That is no longer the case.

“Attitudes do not change overnight. Education and awareness are key. LGBTQ+ people being able to speak out and be themselves is key, so that people can see that they are just like everyone else, but for who they choose to love,” says Braun.

Frameline: the world’s biggest LGBTI film festival is back

Frameline: the world's biggest LGBTI film festival is back

Frameline is a reminder about why it’s so important to

Frameline is one of the world’s biggest LGBTI film festivals | Photo: Frameline

One of the directors at the world’s oldest LGBTI film festival says it’s the audiences that inspire him.

Paul Struthers is Frameline’s director of Exhibition and Programming. He joined the team last year after extensive global experience in curating some of the world’s biggest film festival.

Based in San Francisco, Frameline is returning for its 43rd year and is bigger and better than ever.

Frameline’s executive direction Frances Wallace explains to Gay Star News why people would love this year’s festival.

‘Of the 174 films that will screen at Frameline43 – 59 of these films have never played in the US – cinephiles will turn out in droves to see the freshest in LGBTQ+ films from the US and around the globe,’ Wallace says.

‘We always work to extend the boundaries of queer representation on the screen and behind the camera, and the audience want to see what’s on the horizon for the queer culture and creatives.’

According to Struthers, there are a lot of reasons to attend this year’s Frameline and he’s proud of a lot of the lineup. He also admits that he had to fight hard to get some films confirmed.

‘I think the one I was happiest about was BENJAMIN, directed by Simon Amstell,’ he says.

‘They literally told me on program lock day that we could play it. I was desperate to screen the film, as it is a light, fun, and charming film, and we need more queer films like that, especially in the dark times we are living in.’ Why Frameline is important

While there is a lot of LGBTI festivals and events out there, especially in San Francisco, Struthers explains why supporting Frameline is important.

‘We keep putting on Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, because the LGBTQ+ need a place they can come and see themselves represented,’ he says.

‘Also, popular queer films often only show a very limited representation of queer life, and we really try to have as many different representations of LGBTQ+ life onscreen as we can find.’

More than 62,000 people attended last year’s Frameline festival, making it one of the biggest in the world. It’s that audience that remind Struthers why LGBTI festivals are so important.

‘The Frameline audience keeps me going,’ he says.

‘I have never encountered such a vocal and engaged audience anywhere else. Between the standing ovations, hissing, and feet stamping, it is an experience like no other.’

Frameline43 , the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, takes place June 20-30, 2019 in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland. This year’s slate includes 59 films screening for the first time in the US. It also includes 22 world premieres, eight international premieres, 12 North American premieres, and 17 US premieres.

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Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Campus

Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Campus

From certain angles, cutouts in the frit align to form circles on the glazing. Pride Hall opens to the main plaza. Courtyards break up the building’s mass and infuse interiors with daylight. The campus presents a distinct face to each side of its corner site. Every year, June is Pride month, a festive time for the LGBTQ community and allies. But this year, June is especially notable: it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York—a landmark event in the history of LGBTQ rights. There’s even further cause for celebration at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which is also turning 50 this year. Located in the heart of Hollywood, the Center’s $141 million new Anita May Rosenstein Campus has just opened, presenting a striking, dignified face to the neighborhood.

Designed by New York–based Leong Leong, a 2011 RECORD Design Vanguard winner , and Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA) in Los Angeles, the 70,000-square-foot building dramatically expands the Center’s capacity to serve the LGBTQ community. Rendered in white stucco and located across the street from an existing Center facility, the new building includes activity centers for youth and seniors, an educational and work-training academy for young people, event space, offices, and 100 beds for temporarily housing homeless youth. The firms also developed the master plan for the campus; Phase II, currently under construction and slated for completion in 2020, includes 98 units of affordable senior housing and 25 supportive apartments for young people. Photo © Iwan Baan Both the intergenerational nature of the Center’s clientele and the diversity of programs offered to them informed the design, says Dominic Leong, principal of the firm he founded with his brother Chris Leong in 2009. “We had to create a campus that negotiates this idea of cohesion and unity, but also holds space for differences and multiplicity.” A series of internal courtyards brings daylight to areas deep within the plan while buffering different program spaces from each other, yet also creating connections between them.

The main entrance and a flexible event space called Pride Hall are located just off a large plaza, which fronts the sidewalk and connects by elevator to underground parking. Five other entrances to the facility allow staff and visitors to enter through a door that gives them access to the program area—and level of privacy—they may desire. “It fits the Center’s mission to have multiple points of entry, so you feel welcome however you approach,” says KFA partner Barbara Flammang.

The massing and materials of the steel-frame building work to engage the project’s urban context. The building comprises volumes of two to four stories, keeping the senior and youth centers at a more intimate scale, while allowing staff offices and the temporary youth housing to become taller. Because function generated form, the building has a unique profile from each side: “There isn’t one singular, iconic point of view,” says Dominic. “We thought that was important, because the Center isn’t about the singular; it’s about multiplicity.” A frit pattern on the glazed upper stories adds to the lively street presence (while also reducing solar gain); from certain perspectives, oblong cutouts in the frit align to form circles, echoing the Center’s logo.

Creating a space for clients to feel safe, both physically and emotionally, was paramount to the Center and the designers, so security comes primarily in the form of on-site personnel, rather than an abundance of cameras or tightly controlled entrances and exits. “As an organization, the Center is very open, and they wanted that to be maintained in our design,” says Jesse Ottinger, the lead designer and project manager of KFA. “They’re very sensitive to the youth population and don’t want them to feel as if they were under surveillance, because many people come to the center after having traumatic experiences.”

The project is Leong Leong’s largest building to date. “It affirmed our belief that architecture is fundamentally about self-actualization,” says Dominic. “It’s about how we relate to ourselves and others, and how we create spaces that meet our needs as we evolve as individuals and as a society. Architecture can nudge us along that path, and this project was validation of that.”

KFA has operated in Los Angeles for some 40 years and, for their part, says Flammang, “If we can look back and say we’ve helped make the people who live here more comfortable, with access to the things that they need to live a good life, then we’ve done a good job.” Miriam Sitz is the senior news and web editor for Architectural Record. She runs the news section, both in print and online; oversees RECORD’s website and digital presence; and writes for the magazine and the web. A native Texan, she previously worked for daily and alt-weekly news publications in San Antonio. She holds a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University.

LGTB People Rage At Pete Buttigieg For Not Being Gay Enough

LGTB People Rage At Pete Buttigieg For Not Being Gay Enough

Gay representation has certainly come a long way from Patrick Stewart and Steven Weber in the classic 1995 gay film, “Jeffrey.” That same year, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Wesley Snipes shocked audiences with their hilarious and stunningly relatable performances as urban drag queens taking a long road trip across middle America in “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.”

And of course, who could forget Robin William’s heartfelt comedy performance in “The Birdcage”the following year? These movies were promises of societal acceptance as big-name, straight actors played proud gay characters for straight audiences who laughed, cheered, and empathized with them.

As acceptance and normalcy have rained out the gay pride parade and “coming out” no longer requires a party or the prospect of never speaking to one’s parents again, the appreciation for sharing LGBT culture has significantly dwindled. Where we once tearfully cheered on our straight allies, today we see LGBT writers and actors smugly lecturing them on the appropriate distance to keep between themselves and sacred artifacts of LGBT culture and identity.

If a straight actor plays a gay role today, the movie is likely to be boycotted by LGBT activists. If a gay actor plays a transgender role, the same can happen. Although we were once thrilled by mainstream representation, we now find LGBT people complaining that even the first openly gay candidate running for president just isn’t queer or diverse enough. ‘Heterosexuality Without Women’

In an essay featured in the Los Angeles Review of Books , writer Greta LaFleur provided the perfect illustration of where leftist identity evolution has brought the movement. The essay is titled, “ Heterosexuality Without Women .” Analyzing the portrait of Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg and his husband standing in front of their home on the cover of Time, LaFleur laments, “This photo also tells a profound story about whiteness, above and beyond the fact that almost everything in this photo is, itself, white.”

While lingering on in the deeply confusing world of race-obsessed power theories so popular on the intersectional left—and struggling to precisely explain why she feels such an overwhelming discomfort with the Time magazine image—she finally comes to the conclusion, “The argument I am making, of course, is that this photo is about a lot of things, but one of its defining features is its heterosexuality. It’s offering us the promise that our first gay first family might actually be a straight one.” She even goes so far as to point out that the word “family” in the title of the headline is in bold, white letters.

The second aspect of her discomfort is represented by the idea that the “First Family” is appealing to the LGBT community in contrast to the reality that 1980s and ’90s conservatism was so greatly focused on protecting the family from gay culture. She writes, “The tulips; the Chinos; the notably charming but insistently generic porch; the awkwardly minimal touching that invokes the most uncomfortable, unfamiliar, culturally-heterosexual embrace any of us have ever received—offers a vision of heterosexuality without straight people.” Somehow a happily married gay couple is just a bit too comfortable for her.

The Daily Beast also noted this mindset is growing within the queer female community, beginning a recent piece with the premature conclusion, “But for some queer women, the primary star is just another white man running for president.” Ara Wilson, a professor at Duke University, bluntly told The Beast that her priority in electing the president did not include a young, white, gay man. She argued, “Simply put, living as a queer woman, a queer woman of color, or even a queer man of color, is markedly different than living as an educated, cisgender, well-dressed, white gay man.”

In a long tweet thread analyzing the situation, Steven W. Thrasher, a doctorate candidate at New York University, lamented that the word “gay” represents cisgender white homosexual men, while “queer” means everyone else. He began his argument, “Prediction regarding Peter Buttigieg: this candidacy will expose the major faultiness between white gay men and the rest of the LGBTQ community.” Not Enough Intersectionality for Queer People?

His main contention revolves around his perception that only white gay men seem excited for Buttigieg, while the remaining members of the LGBT community show little support—many are even hostile to what he represents. There is a strong dislike for his race, his Christianity, his military service, and the fact that he is in a monogamous marriage, all things the writer associates with a “white, gay man.”

Despite Buttigieg acknowledging his lack of intersectional qualifications by saying, “I have no idea what it is like personally, what it is like to be a transgender woman of color, but I know that I need to stand up for her, just as others have stood up for me,” it seems inadequate to quell the criticism. Another queer lesbian woman remarked, “I do like that he’s an openly gay man running for president. But at the same time, I’m a black queer woman and sometimes it just gets a bit discouraging that the first person to open the way always has to be white.”

Christina Cauterucci, a writer at Slate, contends that because Buttigieg looks straight, is well-dressed, well-spoken, and has no overt flamboyance, he is unable to empathize with the hurdles other LGBT community members have to face . Jacob Bacharach of The Outline went a step further and demanded that Buttigieg is actually bad for the LGBT community .

Complaining, once again, that Buttigieg is white, educated, and boring, his main argument posits Buttigieg is far too conservative to adequately represent LGBT Americans. Aside from the common list of minority statuses Buttigieg lacks, Bacharach recoils at the idea of what Buttigieg and his husband portray to America—a clean, sexually monogamous, polite, financially secure, heteronormative stereotype. He seems uneasy that Buttigieg is not actively on the gay hook-up app Grindr, which he finds suspicious and offputting. The Narrow Confines of Identity Politics

Long past are the days of “We are just like everyone else” and “We just want to be treated equally!” Today, it seems, the only thing that matters is what makes you different from everyone else. Unfortunately, identity politics defines this exclusively through skin color, gender identity, and class. Where the rainbow flag once represented the endless diversity of personal expression, with the explicit understanding that everyone in society is welcome, today it seems every individual is assigned a stripe and must never venture too far outside of its restrictions.

It is profoundly odd to me that, as a gay teenager in the late ’90s, my ideal social dream was exactly what Buttigieg represents to America today. But it seems it took us too long to grow up and the next generation has a new dream of their own, of which they do not seem as sure as we were. But they are very adamant about what they do not want.

What is progressive today will be unacceptably conservative tomorrow. Intersectional identity politics moves faster than society can keep up with. It is remarkably sad that we live in a time when a genuinely accomplished young politician can run for president and be popular based on his character, experience, and policy positions, while also being a gay married man. The left is too obsessed with his superficial characteristics to appreciate how wonderful this truly is.

We have become so normal as to be boring to young activists eager to wave their fists in the air for some revolutionary idea or another. And the end result of the long fight for gay rights and normalcy in America is the potential of the first openly gay married president in American history being dismissed for not being diverse enough for the current LGBT set.

Brazil’s top court votes to make homophobia and transphobia a crime

Brazil's top court votes to make homophobia and transphobia a crime

US President Donald Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ t-shirts Photo: Pixabay Brazil’s top court voted to make homophobia and transphobia illegal under the country’s constitution.

Six out of 11 Supreme Federal Tribunal judges voted in favor of the new legislation, claiming the majority. The remaining five ministers will be able to cast their vote on 5 June.

Anyone who discriminates, offends or assaults someone because of their sexual orientation will be subject to the same penalties as the crime of racism — three years and a fine.

The final result could water down the new ruling in favor of religious exemptions.

It comes about as Brazilian rights groups Associação Brasileira de Lésbicas, Gays, Bissexuais, Travestis, Transexuais e Intersexos (ABGLT) and Grupo de Advogados pela Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero (GADVS) asked the court to acknowledge Congress’ failure to criminalize violence against gay people as ‘unconstitutional’.

Four out of the 11 judges on Brazil’s top court already ruled in favor of criminalizing homophobia and transphobia in Febraury. But proceedings ran over time so remaining votes couldn’t go ahead, until today.

Brazilian gay politician David Miranda tweeted: ‘We cannot close our eyes to so many of us who are raped and die everyday.’ President of Mothers for Diversity, Majú Giorgi, tweeted: ‘When a person is threatened by the simple reason for being, there is not a full existence but a daily resistance.’

She then added: ‘It takes laws to guarantee the rights of these people.’ Brazil’s anti-LGBTI president

A recent study released last week found Brazil registered 141 murders of LGBTI people so far in 2019.

Brazil elected homophobic politician Jair Bolsonaro as president on 1 January this year.

Known for his far-right policies and anti-LGBTI, misogynistic, and racist comments, some people call Bolsonaro ‘the Trump of the Tropics’.

LGBTI activists have warned Bolsonaro will usher in a new wave of terror for Brazil’s LGBTI community .

Many LGBTI Brazilians who said they were fearful for their rights and safety under the rule of the openly homophobic Bolsonaro.

Prior to the presidency, Brazil saw a spate of same-sex weddings , as same-sex couples rushed to marry before Bolsonaro took office.

Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, many LGBTI people worry that Bolsonaro might begin rescinding LGBTI rights during his presidency .

2018 was one of the deadliest years for Brazil’s LGBTI community.

In September, Brazilian LGBTI rights group reported more than 300 LGBTI people have been murdered in Brazil in 2018. Importantly, that’s from 220 by the same time the previous year.

‘I would be incapable of loving a homosexual child’ Bolsonaro once said.

‘If your son starts acting a little gay, hit him with some leather, and he’ll change his behavior’ he also said. See also

5 sickening anti-gay rants by Brazil’s new far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro everyone should read

US President Donald Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ t-shirts

US President Donald Trump is selling 'LGBTQ for Trump' t-shirts

US President Donald Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ t-shirts In a move that has baffled people, US President Donald Trump has unveiled a new ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ t-shirt for Pride month.

The slogan emblazoned over a watercolor rainbow flag retails for $30, but is currently on sale for $24. It is available just days before the start of the 2019 Pride season on the Trump/Pence merchandise website.

‘Show your pride and your support for Trump with this exclusive equality tee,’ the website reads.

While Trump promised to support the LGBTI community during his 2016 election campaign. During his campaign he said he would ‘do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology.’

He also sold Trump LGBTI merchandise during his 2016 campaign.

But since becoming president he has introduced a number of anti-LGBTI laws. They included banning trans troops from serving in the US military and denying immigration rights to the adopted children of same-sex immigrant couples. He is also considering allowing homeless shelters to deny service to trans people.

LGBTI advocates quickly pointed out Trump’s hypocrisy in trying to court LGBTI support and money.

‘The Trump Administration is trying to pull yet another con job on LGBTQ Americans, but like their other desperate ploys, this idea will fall flat,’ said GLAAD’s chief program officer, Zeke Stokes.

‘Trump should hold the sales pitch and try issuing a statement honoring June as National Pride Month and the countless of LGBTQ Americans who fought tooth and nail for the level of acceptance our nation sees today.’

Gay democratic presidential hopeful, Pete Buttigieg, labelled Trump’s nod to the LGBTI community as ‘lip service’.

New LGBT nightclub could be built in Wolverhampton

New LGBT nightclub could be built in Wolverhampton

The unit where the LGBT club could be An application has been submitted to Wolverhampton Council to convert Bargain King, in Pitt Street, into the club which would be called Purity.

Applicant Clive Thomason said the club would be a place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning) and others to meet without ‘prejudice or judgement’.

He added it would be a members-only club, to help control entry and avoid tourists and ‘predators’ and be strictly for for over 18s. Six parking spaces would be provided.

The interior of the building is described as dilapidated and in need of a re-fit but no changes would be made to the exterior.

In his application, Mr Thomason said: “We already operate a social network and have managed bars in Southside Birmingham and our members come from around the UK and require somewhere to meet in the Midlands area.

“There are also visitors from other groups both in the UK and in Europe who may visit now and again and are always looking for a suitable social venue to meet friends in.

“We offer a place that is not judgemental or critical of any personal orientation and offer a safe environment where people can act in any way they wish to if legal and consensual.

“We are mindful of child protection, those with social anxiety and awkwardness and reduced capabilities and we have mentored and protected many in the past.

“Our group management consists of gender fluid personnel, T-girls, bi males, gay females, pre and post-op persons, so we have a large area of expertise.

“Within the venue will be alternative make-up and changing rooms, with assistance and access to counselling if required.

“The club will be called Purity and advertised as an LGBTQ+ friendly social club, with room hire facilities.

“We operate as a members club, but not in the legal sense; the membership is to control entry and avoid tourists and predators.

“It will be an over-18s venue, requesting all alternative persons to dress appropriately on arrival as we have changing rooms inside; although we accept that the law now accommodates for sexually diverse groups, we are sensible when it comes to the protection of children and moral decency. There will be no windows viewing into the building.

He added: “We will have workshops regularly, social events such as cocktail parties, steam punk events, 80s disco, specialist gender events and music nights.”

If permission is granted, the club hopes to operate from 10am to 11pm week nights, until 2.30am on Fridays, 3.30am on Saturdays and closed at 9pm on Sundays.

Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ T-shirts for Pride month

Trump is selling ‘LGBTQ for Trump’ T-shirts for Pride month

The Trump Pride Tee. ( US President Donald Trump is marketing a “Trump Pride Tee” in his online shop, next to “Make America Great Again” hats.

The T-shirt , which reads “LGBTQ for Trump,” is now on sale for $24, down from $30.

The caption for the T-shirt reads: “Show your pride and your support for Trump with this exclusive equality tee.” It is “proudly made in the USA.”

As of April 2019, the Trump administration had attacked LGBT+ rights more than 100 times, according to GLAAD.

The 100 actions include the Trump administration’s well-documented attacks on transgender rights, banning trans people from serving in the military and stripping protections for trans kids in schools.

GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project recorded almost one regressive action against LGBT+ people every week since Trump took office. Trump has ignored Pride month

Trump has not officially acknowledged Pride month since becoming president in 2017.

June is officially LGBT Pride Month, chosen to commemorate the Stonewall protests of June 1969. The Stonewall protests took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York, when trans women of colour led patrons of the Inn in protests against police raids on the LGBT+ community.

The Stonewall protests are commonly regarded as the beginning of the modern gay rights movement.

Stonewall, the UK LGBT+ charity and campaigning organisation named after the riots, turns 30 on Friday . Twitter mocks Trump Pride T-shirts

“Trump — who banned trans troops, is against LGBT employment protections, wants ppl to be able to turn away LGBT customers, & is denying citizenship to kids of US gay couples born out of wedlock — is selling LGBTQ for Trump shirts for Pride,” David Mack of BuzzFeed tweeted .

He added , “Worth noting that the Trump White House has never even put out a symbolic statement to mark June as Pride Month. But, sure, his campaign will take your rainbow dollars.”

“This is probably the stupidest, most hypocritical, most ridiculous thing I have seen today,” tweeted another user.

This week, it was revealed the Trump administration is considering allowing homeless shelters to turn away transgender women under religious discrimination protections.

LGBT representation in Hollywood up, but trans characters still shut out

LGBT representation in Hollywood up, but trans characters still shut out

Deadpool 2. (20th Century Fox) 18.2 percent of films released by the seven major studios featured LGBT+ characters in 2018, up from an all-time low of 12.8 percent in 2017 .

GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index report tracks the quantity and diversity of LGBT+ people in films released by the seven largest studios in the past year.

Out of 110 releases, 20 featured LGBT+ characters in some capacity. There were an equal number of films including gay and lesbian characters , both at 11 (55 percent). Bisexual characters were featured in three films (15 percent).

Despite successful television shows featuring transgender characters, such as Pose and Supergirl , there were no transgender characters featured in any of the films released by the top studios.

“We know that inclusion is both the right thing to do and good for the bottom line. Audiences supported stand out LGBTQ-inclusive wide releases last year with both their dollars and social buzz. Nielsen found that LGBTQ audiences are 22 percent more likely to see a theatrical release more than once,” said Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Director of Entertainment Research & Analysis.

“The studios should recognise the power of LGBTQ moviegoers and the desire for stories that reflect ourselves, and create and market more films for this audience who is ready to buy tickets.”

The report also identified that no animated or family films released by the major studios in 2018 featured LGBT characters — the first time this has happened in five years. GLAAD report only gave two out of seven studios a ‘good’ rating

Out of the seven studios, only 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures were able to receive a ‘good’ rating, while Lionsgate Entertainment and Walt Disney both received ‘failing’ ratings.

Ratings are given based on the Vito Russel Test, with the criteria considering whether a film incorporates identifiable LGBT characters yet are not defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity and must play a significant role in the film.

Love, Simon , Crazy Rich Asians, The Girl In The Spider’s Web, and Deadpool 2 were four out of the 13 (65 percent) of LGBT-inclusive films to pass the Vito Russo test. Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale in Love, Simon. The number of films passing the test marked the highest percentage since the Studio Responsibility Index began.

“The successful releases of films including Love, Simon , Deadpool 2 and Blockers , brought fresh LGBTQ stories to audiences around the world and have raised the bar for LGBTQ inclusion in film,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO.

“While the film industry should include more stories of LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, studios are finally addressing the calls from LGBTQ people and allies around the world who want to see more diversity in films.”

Films to be released in 2019 that include LGBT+ characters include Elton John biopic Rocketman.

You can see the full report here .

House Democrats Approve LGBT Anti-Discrimination ‘Equality Act’

House Democrats Approve LGBT Anti-Discrimination 'Equality Act'

(WASHINGTON) — Democrats in the House approved sweeping anti-discrimination legislation Friday that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.

Called the Equality Act, the bill is a top priority of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said it will bring the nation “closer to equal liberty and justice for all.”

Sexual orientation and gender identity “deserve full civil rights protections – in the workplace and in every place, education, housing, credit, jury service, public accommodations,” Pelosi said.

The vote was 236-173. The Brief Newsletter

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The legislation’s chief sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said it affirms fairness and equality as core American values “and ensures members of the LGBTQ community can live their lives free from the fear of legal discrimination of any kind.”

Cicilline, who is gay, called equal treatment under the law a founding principle of the United States, adding “It’s absurd that, in 2019, members of the LGBTQ community can be fired from their jobs, denied service in a restaurant or get thrown out of their apartment because of their sexual orientation or gender identify.”

Most Republicans oppose the bill and call it another example of government overreach. Several GOP lawmakers spoke against it Friday on the House floor. President Donald Trump is widely expected to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

At a news conference Thursday, the Republicans said the bill would jeopardize religious freedom by requiring acceptance of a particular ideology about sexuality and sexual identity.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., called the legislation “grossly misnamed” and said it is “anything but equalizing.”

The bill “hijacks” the 1964 Civil Rights Act to create “a brave new world of ‘discrimination’ based on undefined terms of sexual orientation and gender identity,” Hartzler said. The legislation threatens women’s sports, shelters and schools, and could silence female athletes, domestic abuse survivors and other women, she said.

A similar bill in the Senate has been co-sponsored by all but one Senate Democrat, but faces long odds in the Republican-controlled chamber.

A Trump administration official who asked not be identified, because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the president’s intentions, said the White House “opposes discrimination of any kind and supports the equal treatment of all. However, this bill in its current form is filled with poison pills that threaten to undermine parental and conscience rights.”

Some critics also said the bill could jeopardize Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. Former tennis star Martina Navratilova co-wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post urging lawmakers not to “make the unnecessary and ironic mistake of sacrificing the enormously valuable social good that is female sports in their effort to secure the rights of transgender women and girls.”

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., called the House bill “horrifying” and said it could cause Catholic schools to lose federal grants for school lunches or require faith-based adoption agencies to place children with same-sex couples.

Neena Chaudhry, a lawyer for the National Women’s Law Center, said the bill does not undermine Title IX, because courts have already found that Title IX protects against gender-identity discrimination.

“It is way past time to fully open the doors of opportunity for every American,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., one of the Senate bill’s lead sponsors. “Let’s pass the Equality Act, and let us rejoice in the bells of freedom ringing for every American.”

In the Senate, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also supports the bill, while Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the sole Democrat who is not a co-sponsor.

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