Michael D. Cohen attends Nickelodeon’s 2019 Kids’ Choice Awards. (Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images) Michael D. Cohen, who plays Schwoz Schwartz on Henry Danger , Nickelodeon’s longest-running live-action sitcom, has opened up for the first time about his transition.
In an interview with TIME , Cohen revealed that he transitioned from female to male almost 20 years ago.
Cohen said he was “misgendered at birth” and his “core being” has always been male.
“I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience — a transgender journey,” he said.
The 43-year-old actor, who has also appeared on Modern Family and 2 Broke Girls , said he was coming out about his transition as he had noticed an increase in transgender characters on television, such as Pose and Transparent .
“In my experience, I was born male,” Cohen said. “What my body said about it was irrelevant. No matter how hard I tried, it was not up for negotiation. Believe me, it would have been so convenient if I was actually a woman.” Michael D. Cohen says misunderstanding of trans issues is “so destructive”
Cohen said that while he doesn’t like using the ‘transgender’ word to describe himself, as he believes it doesn’t exactly define who he is, he still views himself as part of the community that accepts that term. “These are my people. I belong to this group.”
The actor said he was also inspired to open up about his journey due to the way transgender people are being treated in the media and by the American government .
“This crazy backlash and oppression of rights is happening right in front of me,” Cohen said.
“I can’t stay silent. The level of — let’s be polite — misunderstanding around trans issues is so profound and so destructive. When you disempower one population, you disempower everybody. Michael D. Cohen with the cast of Henry Danger (Neilson Barnard/Getty) “These are my people. I belong to this group.”
Cohen said his fellow cast mates on the Nickelodeon sitcom are already aware of his transition.
Cohen’s character, Schwoz, had been a recurring character since it launched in 2014 and became a series regular last year for the latest season.
MADRID (Reuters) – Attacks by the far-right Vox party on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are testing years of political consensus on the issue in Spain, which in 2005 became only the third country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. FILE PHOTO: Santiago Abascal, leader of far-right party VOX, attends the first session of parliament following a general election in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2019. Bernat Armangue/File Photo
In the campaign for this Sunday’s local, regional and EU elections, Vox has pledged to curtail gay pride parades, heaped ridicule on diversity lessons it wants to scrap in schools and has even drawn parallels between homosexuality and bestiality.
The nationalist, anti-immigration Vox won about 10 percent of the votes in a national election last month to become the first far-right party with a significant number of lawmakers since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
It now hopes to enhance its clout in Sunday’s new batch of elections, and in its hunt for votes has shifted the focus of its attacks away from Catalonia’s independence drive and on to the LGBT community.
Since the 2005 approval of the same-sex marriage bill by the parties of the left, centre-left and centre-right, even the main conservative People’s Party (PP) which vehemently opposed it has changed tack, approving various bills in defence of LGBT rights. Some of its politicians have come out as gay and married their partners.
“Vox has broken the consensus,” said Ruben Lopez, head of the Observatory for anti-LGBTphobia in Madrid. “Those intolerant (of the LGBT community) had lacked a voice that would represent them. Vox is seizing those votes.”
Vox leader Santiago Abascal has said it supports same-sex civil unions but not marriage, and is against LGBT activism even though he said it has “many gays and lesbians” in its ranks. Vox’s one senator made his debut in the upper house of parliament in February by blocking a motion against homophobia in sport.
The Vox candidate for the Madrid regional leadership Rocio Monasterio said on Wednesday that school children as young as eight were being encouraged in class in publicly-funded schools “for boys to try being girls … and talk about zoophilia”, or a sexual interest in animals.
“Certain laws of ideological nature are … imposing gender ideology on our kids,” she said. MADRID CANDIDATE: “PROBLEMS AND TRAFFIC JAMS”
Regional authorities said no classes of the sort described by Monasterio existed. LGBT rights group Arcopolis, which holds workshops at the region’s schools, said its brochures and classes are aimed at preventing hatred of LGBT people and suppression of one’s sexual orientation by schools and families.
A strong result for Vox at a regional level could place a question mark over educational programmes such as Madrid’s that have been run by various regions over the past few years.
The Vox candidate for the Madrid city mayorship, Javier Ortega Smith, said earlier this month he would move the Madrid Gay Pride Parade to a park in the suburbs from the centre “because they cause problems and traffic jams”, and make organisers pay to clean up afterwards.
LGBT activists called the comments insulting.
Its anti-LGBT and anti-feminism rhetoric puts Vox closer to the ruling right-wing parties in Poland than to most western European countries, such as France or Holland, where rightist populists have courted LGBT voters by saying they want to protect them from any threats from radical Islamists.
Whether Vox’s tactic pays off remains to be seen. But some have joined the party because of it.
Vicente Robisco, the mayor of a small village, says he left People’s Party for Vox. “Hearing in the news that PP supported kids studying the LGBT community at school made me take the decision right away,” Robisco, 79, told Reuters when asked why he had switched parties.
But some potential voters were less impressed.
“On this, I’m a little against it because I believe that you have to respect gays, lesbians and all this, everyone has the right to be free and decide how they want to be,” said Alejandra Parres, 35, who works in an investment firm, adding that the Gay Pride parade in central Madrid was good for tourism.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration proposed Friday to roll back Obama-era discrimination protections for transgender people in health care, a move LGBT groups warn will unleash a wave of discrimination.
The Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says "gender identity" is not protected under federal laws that prohibit discrimination in health care.
It is part of a backdrop of administration actions to limit or move back some of the new recognition for LGBT people, in areas ranging from military service to housing.
The proposed rule from HHS reverses the Obama administration, which found that the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination section does indeed protect transgender people seeking health care services.
Friday’s action had been long-expected by activists on both sides of the nation’s social issues divide. Trump’s religious conservative base has argued that the Obama administration stretched the meaning of "sex discrimination" when it included gender identity as a protected class. Civil rights and LGBT groups say that view is logically and legally flawed.
The rule is unlikely to have immediate consequences beyond the realm of political debate. It faces a 60-comment period and another layer of review before it can be finalized. Court challenges are expected.
"Despite the goals of this White House…courts have been clear for decades that prohibitions on sex discrimination encompass discrimination against transgender individuals," said Louise Melling, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union. Her organization, she added, will see the administration in court.
Melling said the impact of the proposed rule goes beyond transgender people and could also subject women to discrimination for seeking an abortion. The proposal would remove "termination of pregnancy" as grounds for making a legal claim of discrimination.
HHS official Roger Severino told reporters that the administration is going back to the literal text of the ACA’s anti-discrimination law to correct what it sees as an overly broad interpretation. Severino heads the HHS Office for Civil Rights, which is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination protections.
He pushed back on the charge that the rule would open the door to widespread discrimination, for example, when a transgender person seeks emergency room care after an auto accident. He said other laws protect individuals in such situations, adding that the administration is committed to making sure health care services are provided fairly to all.
Severino also said that the proposed rule does not come with a new definition of sex discrimination. Earlier, a leaked internal document suggested the administration was debating whether to issue an immutable definition of sex, as based on a person’s genital organs at birth.
The Obama-era rule dates to a time when LGBT people gained political and social recognition. But a federal judge in Texas said the rule went too far by concluding that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is a form of sex discrimination, which is forbidden by civil rights laws.
Under the original rule, a hospital could be required to perform gender-transition procedures such as hysterectomies if the facility provided that kind of treatment for other medical conditions. The rule was meant to carry out the anti-discrimination section of the Affordable Care Act, which bars sex discrimination in health care but does not use the term "gender identity."
In the Texas case, a Catholic hospital system, several states and a Christian medical association argued that the rule went beyond the law as written and would coerce providers to act against their medical judgment and religious beliefs.
Hundreds of protestors have joined the latest action at Anderton park Primary School A school head embroiled in a row with parents over LGBT issues has vowed to "never stop" teaching pupils about equality.
Hundreds of protesters have gathered once more outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham as demonstrations reached their eighth week.
Pupils were sent home early before the biggest crowd yet arrived at the gates.
The protests’ organiser, Shakeel Afsar, said action would continue after next week’s half-term break.
Those against the inclusion of LGBT issues in classes have said the content contradicts their Islamic beliefs, and have accused the school of not listening to parent’s concerns.
Head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson described the protests as "horrific" and said that learning about equality was "crucial".
"That’s not my opinion, that is the law," she said.
"That is the thin end of a very sinister wedge and our country will fall apart if that happens." ‘Sour and sinister’
Mrs Hewitt-Clarkson said she felt "real despair" over the demonstrations that have been held outside her school for two months.
"It’s not peaceful, it’s aggressive, it’s rude, it shouts accusations at me, at the governors. Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson described the protests as "horrific" "They use a megaphone – this is a cul-de-sac, there’s no traffic noise to get over. It’s really unpleasant, it’s really aggressive, it’s sour and it’s sinister."
She also condemned Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff, who agreed with protestors that five was too young for children to hear about LGBT issues.
"It’s the fabric of British of society is at stake here. Because the equality laws hold us together," she said.
"The law is there as a mark in the sand that we all have to promote, and understand and aspire to."
She said the action was bringing "hatred and division to a beautiful primary school’s pavement". ‘Our children, our choice’
The row over the inclusion of LGBT and transgender issues at primary schools in Birmingham began earlier this year.
Protests started outside Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock before spreading to Anderton. The LGBT teaching row explained
Friday’s protest was thought to be the largest yet, with those from the local Muslim community as well as LGBT campaigners arriving to have their say on the issue.
Outside the school, protestors chanted "our children, our choice", "let kids, be kids", and "head teacher, step down". Parents waved banners, including one that said "don’t class us as homophobic".
Parents complained books that demonstrated homosexual relationships should not be shown to children as young as five.
Ansar Ashraf, who has three children at the school aged between five and nine, said the school was not listening to the parents’ concerns.
"We are protesting for them to hear us, that we have a right about what should be taught," he said.
"We are not homophobic or discriminating in any way, we just think there should be an age category." Shakeel Afsar spoke to one of his biggest crowds yet Businessman Zafar Majid said: "The issue we have is the education being given, the indoctrination of the young children is that they are expected to affirm, to celebrate, to embrace LGBT ideology, which is against the moral ethics of the many Abrahamic religions and faiths.
"We can co-exist, live peacefully together, but what we cannot do is force each other’s ideology on one another."
Nazakat Hussein collected his children from school on Friday and said he felt the situation was getting "out of hand".
"It shouldn’t be like this," he said. "The kids are getting scared. They are losing out on precious studying time here." ‘Not what Birmingham is about’
Ferhan Khan, from Glasgow, came to the school to oppose the protesters. Ferhan Khan said it wasn’t up to protesters to "define who is homophobic" "I’m a queer Muslim campaigner and I’m very worried about the homophobia," he said.
"Muslims are not compelled to be homophobic and they are being homophobic – they don’t get to define who is homophobic or not because they are not members of the LGBT community."
Olivia Everett, who lives nearby said she was "frustrated" by the protests.
"Why do it outside a school where people are coming to get an education?" she said.
"I just think ‘when is it going to stop?’ because it’s been weeks now and there’s no resolution.
"I’m so over this, having to listen to homophobia every day. You can say it’s not homophobic but it is.
"This is not what Birmingham is about, Birmingham is about multicultural values, accepting people. Think of the children having to go through this every day."
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.
An Israeli teen wrapped in a Gay Pride flag near the settlement of Efrat, June 3, 2018. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel) SDE BOAZ, West Bank — Bounding up the poorly paved, narrow road to the Sde Boaz outpost on Monday evening, I couldn’t help but immediately notice how the scenery provided the perfect ostensibly paradoxical backdrop for the event on religious LGBT youth that I had traveled from Tel Aviv in order to cover.
A pair of soldiers were walking back from their guard post at the edge of the wildcat community of mostly mobile homes located on one of the West Bank’s highest hilltops southwest of Jerusalem, on land that neighboring Palestinians say belongs to them.
But inside the boutique guesthouse that the troops walked past, some 30 head-covered Israelis had gathered for a presentation on making space for non hetero-normative individuals — a particularly progressive idea for any Orthodox space, be it east or West of the Green Line.
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Last June, I covered a nearly identical version of the now annual event that served as the basis for an article on the hesitant movement of religious Israelis — specifically those in the Gush Etzion Regional Council — toward LGBT acceptance.
Nearly a year had passed and I was interested in receiving a status update, particularly on the support group that had just been formed to serve LGBT youth in “the Gush,” as the bloc of suburban-like settlements south of Jerusalem is known. Israelis listen to Rabbi Rafi Ostroff (seated at couch to left) and Jonathan Maman (seated to right of him) at a home in the Sde Boaz outpost during an event on LGBT youth in the religious community. (Jacob Magid/Times of Israel) Of course, movement on such issues takes time, but in this case, what recent progress there was had been met with an equal amount of pushback.
Like last year’s event that had been hosted in the large nearby settlement of Efrat, Rabbi Rafi Ostroff opened the gathering with an address asserting that one’s sexual identity is not a choice and that members of the community should treat those struggling with the issue as their own children who cannot be neglected.
Ostroff, a youth educator and head of the Gush Etzion Religious Council, argued that teens who lean closer on the spectrum to heterosexuality should be encouraged to pursue such relationships, but clarified that those who do not should be supported in finding partners of the same sex and in “following as much of the Torah as possible.”
Next to Ostroff, on a couch surrounded by attendees seated in wicker chairs, was Jonathan Maman, a religious educator and LGBT activist, who also spoke at the 2018 Efrat event. This time, instead of sharing his personal coming out story, he discussed the dangers of being gay in an Orthodox community, whose silent (at best and antagonistic, at worst) approach to the issue has left such youth “statistically” vulnerable to self-harm, drugs and unsafe sexual encounters.
What followed were a series of questions from parents in the room eager for tips on how to best respond to a child who confided in them about their sexual identity.
“What do you say if he tells you he’s not completely sure?” “What if it is someone else’s child that confides in you? “How do you balance the child’s ‘coming out’ with the family?” Religious participants in the annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem, Sept. 18, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90) In their questions, it was clear that the attendees — mostly mothers from the adjacent religious settlement of Neve Daniel, with a handful of husbands and an equal amount of teenage girls — came to Sde Boaz intent on receiving the tools necessary to help a long-neglected subset of their youth.
One woman said she had never heard of the Gush’s LGBT support group and asked where she could find information about it. This was when the optimism some might have felt in the room appeared to hit a snag.
Maman said that municipal officials have been supportive of the group he runs to a fault, offering buildings to host meetings, but refusing to take it officially under its wing or post about it in message boards because “the conditions aren’t ripe.”
In a phone conversation with The Times of Israel the day after the event, he disclosed that it had been held in Sde Boaz, even though most of the attendees were from Neve Daniel, because the rabbi of the latter community barred the gathering from being held there.
The call was held as official school and municipality notices were going out to residents informing them of the death by suicide of Netta Hadid, a 23-year-old transgender woman who grew up in the Gush Etzion settlement of Alon Shvut.
She was found dead in Tel Aviv on the same night as the Sde Boaz event. However, to the frustration of her friends and LGBT activists and allies, notices about her death referred to Netta as Yitzhak — her name given at birth that she stopped going by when she transitioned. A gay couple has a wedding ceremony under a hupa during the annual Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, July 21, 2016 (Hadas Parush/Flash90) Reflecting on how the issue has evolved over the past year, Maman made clear that there were certain points of growth that he does not take for granted: The Gush’s LGBT group has steadily grown to 20 individuals between the ages of 18 and 23 that meet twice a month. (Maman said he is still forced to refer minors to resources in Jerusalem, as his group is not qualified to cater to children)
Area yeshivas have become more sensitive to the subject over the past year and have “turned a blind eye” when students are referred to the Gush LGBT group, according to Maman.
“The group has brought de facto improvement, but de jure it has led to a group of negative voices that are responding to something that is no longer taboo,” he explained. “The question is whether no longer being taboo [and coming under attack as a result] is something positive. I tend to think that it is.” THC Free Drops
Theresa May resigns as prime minister. UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Friday (May 24) that she will resign next month after failing to negotiate a Brexit deal in parliament ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Standing outside 10 Downing Street on Friday morning, May revealed she will stand down as leader of the Conservative Party on June 7. She will remain prime minister until a new leader has been elected to take over.
“It is a matter of deep regret that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” said May. “My successor will have to find a consensus. Consensus will only be possible if those on both sides of the debate ‘compromise’.”
A tearful May said it has been “the honour of my life” to serve “the country that I love.”
May has a complex legacy on LGBT+ issues. We explore the former Prime Minister’s stance on LGBT+ rights and why she will no longer be UK Prime Minister. British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Number 10 Downing Street. (Jack Taylor/Getty) The politician first entered politics as a firm opponent of equality, but evolved her stance as Home Secretary, and as Prime Minister reaffirmed the party’s commitments on LGBT+ rights—though she also faced criticism from LGBT rights activists. Why is Theresa May resigning as Prime Minister?
Theresa May has faced staunch opposition to her proposed Brexit deals enshrining Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Parliament has rejected May’s deals three times and called for her to resign as prime minister.
The writing was on the wall this week when her latest deal failed to make it through parliament and was derided by members of her own party. Theresa May’s Early career
Theresa May began her career in Parliament when she was elected MP for Maidenhead in 1997.
Under Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership, May obeyed the Tory whip to vote against many early reforms, opposing an equal age of consent and same-sex adoptions, even where others including George Osborne and Boris Johnson rebelled in favour of equality.
But within a few years, pro-LGBT voices had become more mainstream within the Conservative Party, and May’s stance was evolving. Theresa May at the Conservative Party Spring Forum on April 26, 2009 in Cheltenham, England. (Matt Cardy/Getty) In 2004, under leader Michael Howard, she abstained on gender recognition laws, and voted in favour of civil partnerships for same-sex couples, backing a LGBT rights measure for the first time.
May would later apologise for her early votes.
In 2010, she conceded on gay adoption: “I have changed my view. If those votes were taken today, I would take a different vote.
“On gay adoption I have changed my mind… because I have been persuaded that when you are looking at the future for a child, I think it’s better for a child who is perhaps in an institutional environment, if they have an opportunity of being in a stable, family environment — be that a heterosexual couple or a gay couple.”
Also in 2010, May, then-Minister for Women and Equalities, wrote an opinion piece for PinkNews calling for a cultural change in Britain to make it more inclusive of LGBT+ people. Was Theresa May an ‘Unsung hero’ of Equal marriage?
Theresa May’s stance on LGBT+ rights continued to shift under David Cameron’s leadership. It was May who helped first ensure that proposals for same-sex marriage made it onto the Conservative agenda, promising a review ahead of the 2010 election.
In the Conservative Party’s ‘Contract for Equalities’ penned by May in 2010, the party pledged: “We will also consider the case for changing the law to allow civil partnerships to be called and classified as marriage.” Theresa May is no longer the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (Getty) After May became Home Secretary in the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government, she worked alongside Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone to secure agreement for equal marriage to proceed, after the proposals were left out of the initial coalition agreement.
Featherstone, the architect of the equal marriage law, later affirmed that May’s support was instrumental in convincing the Conservative leadership and the Cabinet to agree to move forward with equal marriage in England and Wales, which resulted in the 2013 Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.
In her book Equal Ever After , Featherstone praised the Home Secretary as an “unsung hero” of the push for marriage.
May was also key to ensuring that proposals allowed for religious same-sex weddings as well as civil weddings. Troubled legacy as Home Secretary
Despite her work on equal marriage, May came in for frequent criticism from LGBT groups while serving as Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016.
May was frequently criticised by asylum groups for the degrading treatment of LGBT+ asylum seekers, who fled homophobic persecution. Home Secretary Theresa May and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephens visit the York Road Estate, Clapham on May 13, 2010 in South West London, England. (Dominic Lipinski/Getty) Under May’s tenure, LGBT+ asylum seekers were often subjected to humiliating ‘tests’ and ordered to go to bizarre lengths to ‘prove’ their sexuality.
May commissioned a review of the treatment of LGBT asylum seekers in 2014, but LGBT+ asylum groups said systemic failures persisted.
As Home Secretary May also mooted plans to withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights , which guaranteed some of the UK’s earliest LGBT rights protections.
The Home Secretary ditched the “divisive” plan as she launched her leadership bid in 2016. Theresa May on Transgender rights
Theresa May took over from David Cameron as Prime Minister on July 13, 2016, in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
Although Brexit would consume much of her premiership, May also sought to forge a new consensus on LGBT+ rights.
The leader’s most significant intervention came on transgender rights. Prime Minister Theresa May at the PinkNews Awards 2017. Speaking at the PinkNews Awards in November 2017, she pledged: “We’ve set out plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act, streamlining and de-medicalising the process for changing gender, because being trans is not an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such.”
The government launched a consultation on gender recognition laws in June 2018, aiming to streamline the process for trans people to gain legal recognition.
The consultation provoked a divided reaction, but May stuck behind the plan despite a concerted campaign from anti-transgender activists. Theresa May: Deal with the DUP
May’s decision to call a snap election in 2017 backfired, with the Conservative Party losing its majority in Parliament.
The Conservatives opted to enter a confidence-and-supply arrangement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, an ultra-conservative party that is opposed to LGBT+ rights.
May insisted that the pact would not impact her government’s agenda on LGBT+ issues. In fact, in July 2017, May wrote an opinion piece for PinkNews to mark the 50th anniversary of decriminalisation of homosexuality in Britain.
In the piece, May reflected on the Conservative Party’s past hostility to LGBT+ rights, admitting the party had been “wrong” in the past. Arlene Foster with British Prime Minister, Theresa May (Getty) However, the leader has been criticised for blocking progress on equal marriage in Northern Ireland.
Activists from Love Equality have said that the onus is on the UK government to ensure the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland is lifted, due to the ongoing suspension of devolved power-sharing in the region.
However, May has declined to act. Outing of Shahmir Sanni
One of the most contentious elements of May’s record came in March 2018 when former Brexit campaigner Shahmir Sanni came forward to allege misconduct by the Vote Leave campaign.
The Downing Street press office put out a briefing to media that cast Sanni, who was in the closet, as the bitter ex-boyfriend of May’s political secretary Stephen Parkinson.
Subsequent stories in the media outed Sanni as gay to the world, including to his family in Pakistan.
May flatly rejected calls to sack Parkinson over the ‘outing’ scandal. Brexit whistleblower Shahmir Sanni (Nick Duffy) She told Parliament: “Any statements issued were personal statements… they were personal statements… they were personal statements that were issued.
“I of course recognise the importance of ensuring that we do recognise that for some, being outed as gay is difficult because of their family and circumstances. What I want to see is a world where everyone is able to be confident in their sexuality and doesn’t have to worry about such things.”
She added: “My political secretary does a very good job as my political secretary.” Sex and relationship education
In June 2018, the government issued new draft guidance for the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), which will become compulsory in all schools across the country from September 2020.
The guidance, which was last updated in 2000, has been significantly re-written to include teaching about same-sex relationships and gender identity, as well as issues relating to consent and staying safe online.
Under the proposals, relationships education in primary schools would provide children with the basic understanding of diverse structure of families and the types of relationships they are likely to encounter.
The draft guidance states: “By the end of primary school, pupils should know that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, sometimes look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care for them.”The guidance for secondary schools adds: “Pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way.” Theresa May and International LGBT+ rights May has a mixed record on LGBT+ rights around the world. She continued to pursue a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, where gay people can be put to death, and also shied away from criticising US President Donald Trump when he launched broadsides against transgender people. Prime Minister Theresa May (Joe Giddens – WPA Pool/Getty) However, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018 , she urged countries to back LGBT+ rights and said that the UK “deeply regrets” its legacy on colonial anti-gay laws.May said: “As the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, I deeply regret the fact that such laws were introduced, and the legacy of discrimination, violence and even death that persists today.“Nobody should face discrimination or persecution because of who they are or who they love.”She added: “The UK stands ready to support any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes such discrimination possible, because the world has changed. Straight civil partnerships In October 2018, May announced that civil partnerships would be opened to all couples as an alternative to marriage, thus permitting heterosexual couples to enter civil partnerships for the first time.Tony Blair’s Labour government introduced civil partnerships in 2004 as a segregated form of union for same-sex couples, separate from marriage.May said: “This change in the law helps protect the interests of opposite-sex couples who want to commit, want to formalise their relationship but don’t necessarily […]
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.
The Trump Pride Tee. (donaldjtrump.com) 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.
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 .