The Latest Gay News and World Events

I knew we Tucsonans are pretty proud of our fun little city, but there is a whole gay world out there full of amazing people and we should know a little about their lives.  With that in mind, I present to you the Gay News section; a few of my favorite news sources talking about Gay News and Events around the world.  Check back regularly for constantly updated news and information that truly matters.

LGBTQ Nation Gay News

LGBTQ Nation

The Most Followed LGBTQ News Source

The highest court in the nation let stand a lower court's decision that the bed and breakfast discriminated against a lesbian couple.
HB 3515 "is harmful physically, it is harmful mentally, it is anti-science, and it seems to be designed to be personally hurtful to a group of people very intentionally."
Donna BrazileFor once the left and the right came together - to scream about Fox's decision to hire Donna Brazille.
The drag queen on a table performing the song for the baby.The toddler was so happy to hear his favorite song, it's no wonder the video went viral.
American Idol judges Lionel Ritchie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan were blown away by contestant JorgieHe says his father "doesn’t know anything about me. He’s gonna see me and he’s gonna find out about everything.”
The flyer in questionThe flyer says that churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages if a lesbian wins.
Former Log Cabin Republicans president Gregory AngeloHe says it would impinge on Christians' "religious freedom" to discriminate.
Pete Buttigieg65,000 people have donated to Buttigieg's exploratory committee - qualifying him to join the heavy hitters in the first Democratic debate.
A bench that says "homosexuals only."The country will now pay $1700 to people who were held in prison on suspicion of being gay.
The Guardian LGBT News Feed
The Guardian LGBT News Feed

LGBT rights | The Guardian

Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice

Complaints to seven primaries follow suspension of lessons at some Birmingham schools

Primary schools in Manchester have been contacted by parents unhappy over sex and relationships lessons that teach children about LGBT rights, in the wake of similar classes being withdrawn in Birmingham after protests.

The Guardian understands that parents at seven primary schools have contacted school management to discuss the inclusion of the lessons in the curriculum.

Related: Pupils shouldn’t be denied LGBT lessons – whatever their parents say | Benali Hamdache

Related: An LGBT education would have spared me years of misery | Letters

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Five years ago, breakfasting while being serenaded by a Geri Halliwell impersonator was a novelty. Now, mainstream venues are serving up drag – and LGBT venues are suffering

It is 1pm on an unseasonably warm Sunday in February, and I am eating a BLT in Dalston, east London, while a 6ft 4in drag queen dressed as Geri Halliwell questions a bearded Scottish man about when he last got laid.

This isn’t how I normally breakfast. Neither is this the morning after an improbable tryst. This is drag brunch, an unholy amalgam of high camp and everyone’s favourite portmanteau meal – and it is reaching saturation point.

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Man Booker prize winner tells of how religion intensified his struggle with his sexuality as a youth

Jamaican novelist Marlon James, winner of the Man Booker Prize in 2015, wanted to alter his sexuality “more than anything” in his youth and underwent a gruelling religious ritual to try to “drive out the gay”, he is to explain in a radio interview on Sunday.

But it was only when the writer eventually turned away from formal religion and left the Caribbean that he was able to fully accept his homosexuality and even write about it. As Desert Island Discs latest castaway on BBC Radio 4, James details the extreme evangelical exorcism, or “gay cure”, he endured at a Pentecostal church in Jamaica.

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The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has written the best political autobiography since Barack Obama

Imagine waking up on 4 November 2020 to discover America has elected a man whose knowledge ranges from the Puritan origins of the phrase “city on the hill” to the details of how to modernize sewers with wifi connected sensors.

Related: Too much, too young? Mayor could become the first millennial president

We see how often war and terrorism are driven by the dynamics of globalization, the distribution of wealth and the consequences of technology. Like laws of physics, these forces were animating our affairs all along – which should have been no surprise to people from a place like South Bend, a city wrestling such forces long before newspapers gave us terms like ‘globalization’ and ‘rust belt’.

Related: 'Porn star presidency': Pence support for Trump questioned by Democrat

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Voters rally to presidential frontrunner whose pro-LGBT stance has fuelled rightwing conspiracy machine

Disbelief and a hint of fear flashed across Zuzana Čaputová’s face as the news broke.

After explaining to the Guardian how she would bolster the rule of law in Slovakia if elected president, Čaputová, a 45-year-old lawyer and the frontrunner in Saturday’s presidential poll, suddenly stopped short as an aide read out a headline from his phone: Marian Kočner, a multi-millionaire businessman, had been charged with ordering the murder of Ján Kuciak, a journalist who was investigating organised crime.

Related: Suspect charged with ordering murder of Slovakian reporter

Related: How a Slovakian neo-Nazi got elected

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Leo Varadkar spoke on the changes for Ireland and called out various forms of discrimination

The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is gay, brought his partner to a meeting on Thursday with the US vice-president, Mike Pence, a conservative Christian once dubbed “the face of anti-LGBTQ hate in America.

Varadkar, who is in Washington this week to reaffirm the longstanding shared history between the two countries, brought his partner, Matt Barrett, to a St Patrick’s Day breakfast at the vice-presidential residence at the Naval Observatory.

Vice President Mike Pence invited me and Matt to his home at the Naval Observatory this morning. It’s great to be back here for a really warm reception.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his partner, Matt Barrett, arriving for breakfast here at the US Vice President Mike Pence’s residence in Washington. Quite a significant moment...

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Leo Varadkar, Ireland's prime minister, spoke about his sexuality during a breakfast hosted by the US vice-president, Mike Pence. Varadkar, one of the few openly gay world leaders, had brought his partner, Matt Barrett, to the event. Pence has an extensive anti-LGBT record, having repeatedly voted against HIV/Aids prevention funding as the governor of Indiana

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Parkfield says studies will not resume until resolution with protesting parents is reached

A Birmingham primary school that taught pupils about LGBT rights as part of a programme to challenge homophobia has suspended the lessons indefinitely until a resolution is reached with protesting parents.

Parkfield community school in Saltley has been the scene of weekly protests over the lessons, which parents claim are promoting gay and transgender lifestyles.

Related: There is never a reason for bigotry at the school gates | Kenan Malik

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Giuseppe Conte’s logo used without approval to promote global families conference

The Italian prime minister has distanced himself from a conference that will bring together anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-abortion activists from around the world in Verona, after organisers appeared to suggest his office had endorsed the event.

The logo of Giuseppe Conte’s administrative office had been used without his endorsement to promote the US-run World Congress of Families event, which calls for a return to the “natural order” and has widespread backing from Italy’s far-right League party.

Related: Pernicious work of World Congress of Families fuels anti-LGBTQ sentiment | Gillian Kane and Cole Parke

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Victor Polster is outstanding as a trans 15-year-old auditioning for ballet school in Lukas Dhont’s intense, emotional drama

‘I don’t want to be an ‘example’ – I want to be a girl.” These are the emotional words of Lara, a young trans woman who dreams of being a ballerina and is about to transition surgically, speaking to her dad who has well-meaningly congratulated Lara on her exemplary courage. Lara doesn’t want this representative burden. But she’s got it anyway. Perhaps the film itself, a feature debut from director and co-writer Lukas Dhont, has placed it on this fictional character’s slender shoulders.

She is transitioning at a uniquely difficult time. At 15, Lara is not just going through puberty but is also on probation at one of Belgium’s most prestigious ballet schools. If she does not do sufficiently well in classes, she can be asked to leave. The school talks about her “making up arrears”, meaning making up for lost time in dance instruction, but perhaps also, ambiguously or subconsciously, in femininity. Lara is auditioning to be a girl. She has to satisfy the authorities she can master the choreography of femaleness.

Related: 'I have the right to tell this story': Lukas Dhont defends his trans film Girl

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Human Rights Watch Gay News

Human Rights Watch - Defending Human Rights Worldwide

Dennis Christensen (behind the windows) talks with his interpreter at the Zheleznodorzhy District Court in Oryol, January 28, 2019

© 2019 Human Rights Watch

(Moscow) – A Russian court on February 6, 2019 convicted Dennis Christensen, a Jehovah’s Witness adherent and Danish citizen, on extremism charges for practicing his faith, Human Rights Watch said today. The court sentenced Christensen to six years in prison. The conviction is a blatant violation of the rights to religious freedom and expression. Russian authorities should immediately move to set aside the conviction and free Christensen.

The verdict comes amid Russian law enforcement’s nationwide campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses. Authorities throughout Russia have filed criminal extremism charges against more than 100 Jehovah’s Witnesses since Russia’s Supreme Court banned the Jehovah’s Witness organization in 2017.

“The verdict against Denis Christensen is a disgrace,” said Rachel Denber, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It’s shocking that in post-Soviet Russia authorities are putting people through the ordeal of a criminal investigation and prison for nothing more than peacefully practicing their faith.”

Christensen, 47, had been in pretrial custody for 20 months, since his arrest in May 2017. His lawyer told Human Rights Watch that he will appeal.

Russian authorities should immediately drop the extremism charges against all Jehovah’s Witnesses, free those who have been detained, and halt the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Human Rights Watch said.

In 2016, a local court banned the Orel Jehovah’s Witness organization as an “extremist religious organization.”

Police in Orel arrested Christensen, who has had a Russian residence permit since 2000, on May 25, 2017, during a raid by riot police on a Jehovah’s Witness worship service, during which Christensen had given a sermon. He was not on the staff of the Jehovah’s Witness organization but had unlocked the building where the members had gathered.


Video: Danish Jehovah's Witness Dennis Christensen Sentenced to 6 Years in Russia

A Russian court on February 6, 2019 convicted Dennis Christensen, a Jehovah’s Witness worshipper and Danish citizen, on extremism charges for practicing his faith. 

Authorities charged Christensen with “organizing activities of a religious organization that has been declared extremist” under article 282.2(1) of the Russian Criminal Code. The charge sheet, which Human Rights Watch reviewed, states that he was “actively involved in organizational work aimed at continuing the unlawful activities of the [banned Orel Jehovah’s Witness organization].”

Christensen’s lawyer told Human Rights Watch that the charges stem from Christensen’s actions on May 25 and from two previous incidents, in February 2017, when Christensen participated in discussions about a religious publication. They are also linked to Christensen’s role in organizing worshipers to help with the upkeep of their place of worship before the court ruling banning the organization entered into force in July 2017, and to persuading several other people to worship with Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Evidence at trial included testimony by a secret witness who, the Jehovah’s Witness organization said, claimed that Christensen was a key Jehovah’s Witness leader in Orel. During the trial, Christensen said he knew the “secret witness” and identified him as religious studies graduate and specialist in non-Orthodox “heresies.” However, the court barred the defense from including questions about his identity, even though they might have been material to challenging his testimony. Other evidence included, during a closed court hearing, transcripts from tapped phone calls between Christensen and other worshipers, and also witnesses who described the process of upkeep of the courtyard, such as shoveling snow, at the place of worship.

An April 2017 Russian Supreme Court ruling banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout Russia. The ruling declared the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center an extremist organization, closed the organization on those grounds, and banned the group’s activities throughout the country. The Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Center was the head office for 395 Jehovah’s Witnesses branches in Russia.

Twenty-two Jehovah’s Witnesses remain in custody in Russia, awaiting trial on extremism charges, and 25 are under house arrest. Law enforcement officers have carried out hundreds of searches, raids, interrogations, and other acts of harassment and persecution. The most recent wave took place on January 20, in Sakhalin, in Russia’s Far East, where police searched several homes and interrogated Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The trial of Sergey Skrynnikov, another Jehovah’s Witness worshipper in Orel, is also currently under way. On December 27, 2018, a court in Kabardino-Balkaria convicted Arkady Akopyan, 70, on extremism charges for allegedly getting people to distribute “extremist” Jehovah’s Witness literature. The court sentenced Akopyan to 120 hours of community service.

In a December meeting of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council, in response to a question about the prosecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, President Vladimir Putin said that people of different faiths should be treated equally. He also said, “We need to consider the society and country we live in. But in no way does this mean that we should treat people from other religious persuasions as [from] destructive or terrorist organizations. This is utter nonsense and we need to get to the bottom of it.”

Putin should explicitly call for prosecutors to withdraw extremism charges against Jehovah’s Witnesses, Human Rights Watch said.

In June, Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council said that the crackdown echoed Soviet-era religious repression and asked the prosecutor general’s office to verify the legality of criminal prosecutions against Jehovah’s Witnesses practicing their faith.

Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, is obligated to protect the rights to freedom of religion and association. The government has previously been found to be in violation of the European Convention for actions taken through the courts to dissolve communities of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Jehovah’s Witnesses of Moscow v. Russia, application no. 302/02).

The case against Christensen and the raids against Jehovah’s Witness adherents violate the right to freedom of religion, denying them the right to worship, and cannot be justified as either a necessary or proportionate measure to protect public safety or public order, Human Rights Watch said. Christensen has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights alleging, among other things, that his arrest constitutes unlawful interference with his right to freedom of religion.

“Prosecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses on extremism charges is a serious human rights violation,” Denber said. “It’s absurd that Russian authorities are wasting taxpayer money on things like figuring out who shoveled snow in the congregation’s courtyard.”