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Australian city plans permanent rainbow crossing to combat hate speech

LGBTQ PinkNews

A councillor of coastal city of Wollongong in Australia is planning a permanent rainbow pedestrian crossing to combat hate speech.Councillor Tania Brown is asking the city council to support her plan to show the queer community in Wollongong that
'A councillor of coastal city of Wollongong in Australia is planning a permanent rainbow pedestrian crossing to combat hate speech.Councillor Tania Brown is asking the city council to support her plan to show the queer community in Wollongong that they are welcome.Brown told daily local newspaper Illawarra Mercury : “It might just be a symbol but symbols and signs matter.It will send a message to our community. “Over the last month we have seen homophobic hate speech.Former rugby player Israel Folau’s comments have sparked a religious freedom debate. “It is easily for people to express their opinion online and unfortunately that is usually negative so I hope the crossing counteracts that discussion with positivity.” My son @nathanbrown90 is ready for his first official #sydneymardigras2019 float appearance!Look for him marching with Rainbow @NSWLabor ! Wishing him & everyone attending a fun evening full of love, laughter & acceptance!Enjoy my darlings! #proudmum pic.twitter.com/0aNTbLqUrG — Cr Tania Brown (@tanbrown1) March 2, 2019 Folau was fired in April after sharing a meme that “hell awaits” gay people.Brown wants to repaint an existing crossing in rainbow colours The Australian Labor councillor told the newspaper that she believes the crossing will be more than just a token gesture.She said: “I hope the crossing will send a message that Wollongong is a diverse community which is proud of its social inclusion. “It is important that queer people do not feel ostracised and the crossing, if approved, will be a physical place that people can see and feel welcome there.” If the motion is approved in a council meeting on Monday (July 22) an existing zebra crossing in the city centre will be repainted in rainbow colours.According to Illawarra Greens, Brown’s son is openly gay and she has worked to make the city more LGBT+ friendly, Brown also said that the crossing may improve tourism in the city, and hopes it might draw visitors in the same was as London’s Abbey road. “People could take photos there like they do at the Abbey Road crossing in England,” she said.Rainbow street crossing are becoming a trend globally to promote LGBT+ pride and inclusion. . The post Australian city plans permanent rainbow crossing to combat hate speech appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

City becomes sixth in Wisconsin to ban conversion therapy

LGBTQ PinkNews


'The city of Racine in Wisconsin has become the sixth in the state to outlaw conversion therapy for anyone under the age of 18. 18 states in the US, including New York and California, have currently banned conversion therapy state-wide, but Wisconsin is not yet one of them and relies on individual cities banning the damaging practice.City council member Cavalier Johnson said in a statement : “I applaud the City of Racine City Council for voting to ban conversion therapy and I commend the community leaders who advocated for this change (conversion therapy is a dangerous practice aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.) “Conversion therapy has been cited to increase the likelihood of someone experience depression, anxiety or attempting suicide.” In 2018, he said, Milwaukee became the first city in Wisconsin to ban conversion therapy for minors, and was followed by Madison, Eau Claire, Cudahy and Shorewood, making Racine the sixth.Satya-Rhodes Conway is the first lesbian mayor of Madison, Wisconsin. (Facebook) City council member Cavalier Johnson calls for a state-wide ban on conversion therapy in Wisconsin He added: “However, I continue to call for a state-wide ban on conversion therapy, and strongly encourage action from municipalities in the interim.” Another Racine city council member, Trevor Jung, said: “Last night we sent a message to our LGBTQ youth that they are welcomed, loved and an important part of our community that deserve full protections under the law. “Our community has taken a critical step in protecting children from abuse.” Tuesday the @CityofRacine became the 6th in Wisconsin to protect against conversion therapy.Conversion therapy is a cruel and unsupported practice which aims to force LGBTQ youth to change who they are.A huge Thank You for protecting all Racinians! @trevorsjung @MayorCoryMason — Deon Young (@DQYoung_82) July 17, 2019 Regional organising lead with The Human Rights Campaign Wisconsin, Deon Young, wrote on Twitter : “ Tuesday the city of Racine  became the sixth in Wisconsin to protect against conversion therapy. “Conversion therapy is a cruel and unsupported practice which aims to force LGBTQ youth to change who they are.A huge thank you for protecting all Racinians!” Earlier this year, Satya Rhodes-Conway became the first lesbian mayor of Madison, Wisconsin.    . The post City becomes sixth in Wisconsin to ban conversion therapy appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

Hate-crime laws updated in Oregon to include gender identity

LGBTQ PinkNews

Gender identity will now be a protected class in Oregon, in the most significant update to the state’s hate-crime laws since the 1980s.
'Gender identity will now be a protected class in Oregon, in the most significant update to the state’s hate-crime laws since the 1980s.The new measures, signed by the Democrat Oregon governor Kate Brown, also close a loophole that meant people who committed hate crimes alone, rather than in groups, received lighter sentences. “Our hate crime laws are sorely out of date and were written decades ago,” said Zakir Khan, board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Associated Press . “This update is needed to provide justice to so many survivors.” Oregon’s previous law meant that a hate crime was only considered a hate crime if two or more people harmed, or threatened to harm, another person on the basis of their race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.If only one person was involved, it was considered a misdemeanour. “This creates a peculiar scenario where two defendants spraying racist graffiti on a wall might reasonably expect to be punished more harshly than one individual who physically attacks someone because of the colour of their skin,” said the state’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum during a hearing earlier this year.The new law also makes it a crime to assault or threaten to harm someone based on their “membership in a protected class,” and Oregon has followed other US states in clarifying that gender identity is considered a protected class.Oregon hate crimes increasing According to FBI data , hate crimes in Oregon increased by 40% from 2016 to 2017, and at the same time convictions and arrests for those crimes have gone down.A lack of understanding may be leading to local law enforcement agencies under-recording hateful incidents, and Brown acknowledged this with the new law that strengthens the definition of bias crimes to encourage more accurate data collection. “Too often people are turned away from law enforcement because there was no criminal activity,” said Ricardo Lujan-Valerio, policy associate at the ACLU of Oregon. “People who would have previously been turned away will now be connected to services and community support.” In 2017, Oregon became the first US state to legally recognise non-binary trans people.Brown, who is openly bisexual, signed the new bill acknowledging a third gender into law.She also made history as the first out LGB person to win election as governor of a US state. . The post Hate-crime laws updated in Oregon to include gender identity appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

UK's LGBT teachers still scarred by the legacy of homophobic legislation more than 30 years on

LGBTQ The Conversation

Teaching during the Section 28 era has left a damaging legacy for those LGBT teachers who lived through it.
'“Our children, our choice,” shout the protesters outside two schools in Birmingham. Here, parents of mainly Muslim faith have taken their children out of school arguing that same sex relationships have no place in the school curriculum . This comes after parents called for an end to the use of story books featuring same sex couples – which formed part of a programme teaching school children about equality. Parents have also raised concerns that from 2020 inclusive relationship and sex education will be compulsory in all schools. This means that, for the first time, teachers will be obliged to mention same sex relationships when teaching children in both primary and secondary education. As the protests suggest, LGBT people are still seen as “other” in society. So it’s not surprising that our research shows that LGBT teachers still don’t feel safe in the workplace. We found this to be particularly the case for teachers who worked during the Section 28 era. This is the clause of the 1988 Local Government Act that penned discriminatory statements into legislation. It stated that: “A local authority shall not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The promotion of homosexuality in schools and local authorities was made unlawful after controversy surrounding a children’s book, Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin . The book showed a child living with two gay fathers. It was available in the library of a school run by the Labour-controlled Inner London Education Authority and the book was condemned by Kenneth Baker, the then Conservative Secretary of State for Education. The resulting controversy led to the Conservative government passing Section 28 of the Local Government Act. Long lasting impact We found that teachers who worked during the Section 28 era are more cautious, vigilant and anxious in their school workplaces than those LGBT teachers entering the profession more recently. LGBT teachers were asked which members of the school community were aware of their sexual identity. Only 20% of Section 28 -era? teachers indicated being out to all school colleagues, while 88% of teachers were who started after section 28 was repealed in 2003. Almost half of these teachers were out to their pupils, compared with only 20% of Section 28 -era? teachers. Some of the Section 28 -era? respondents who were not out to pupils, wrote of worrying constantly about being spotted with their same sex partner by pupils and their parents. And almost all Section 28 respondents lived well away from their school communities. A number of Section 28 teachers also described how, despite being ambitious when they initially joined the teaching profession, they were no longer seeking promotion into school leadership – fearing that with leadership comes greater scrutiny of one’s private life by the school community. Some of our LGBT teachers told us that to discuss a same-sex partner in the school workplace felt like an “overshare”. And that in the school workplace, same-sex relationships are often conflated with the act of sex – in a way that heterosexual relationships are not. Our research showed that the Section 28 -era? teachers still take great care to separate their personal and professional identities and this places considerable extra strain on what is already a highly demanding and tiring job. Living in fear The LGBT teachers were also asked whether they had ever accessed help for anxiety or depression linked to their sexuality and role as a teacher. Almost half of the Section 28 -era? teachers reported having suffered from anxiety or depression linked to their sexuality and role as a teacher. Only 24% of teachers who started after 2003 reported experiencing similar mental health issues. Since Section 28 was repealed in 2003, equalities legislation has helped to give LGBT teachers occupational security in the workplace. The Equality Act of 2010 prevents discrimination on the grounds of LGBT identity, and the Equal Marriage Act of 2013 has raised the status of same-sex relationships in the media and in society in general. But as our research shows, despite these advances in equalities legislation, those LGBT teachers who experienced Section 28 remain extremely cautious, vigilant and anxious in their school workplaces. Headteachers are calling for urgent support from the government to teach classes on equality and respect amid fears that the disruption could escalate further. And as the recent protests show, it’s clear that for many LGBT teachers, school is not yet a place where it’s fully safe to be themselves. Catherine Lee does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.'

Democratic mayor blocks Pride flag being flown at city hall

LGBTQ PinkNews

A Democratic mayor in Pennsylvania is under fire after blocking the annual flying of the Pride flag from city hall.Mayor Wally Scott of Reading, Pennsylvania, abruptly decided to cancel the event ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations on Monday
'A Democratic mayor in Pennsylvania is under fire after blocking the annual flying of the Pride flag from city hall.Mayor Wally Scott of Reading, Pennsylvania , abruptly decided to cancel the event ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations on Monday (July 15), just hours before it was set to go ahead.The mayor told ABC6 it would be improper to show support for the LGBT+ “movement” by flying the flag from City Hall, although other flags are regularly flown from the pole.The city is home to around 88,000 people, with an established LGBT+ community and an annual Pride celebration.The decision was branded “discriminatory” by the LGBT Center of Greater Reading, who hit out at the mayor.Democratic mayor Wally Scott condemned for ‘unacceptable discrimination’ A statement from the group said: “What was supposed to be a proud and historical moment in history today for the City of Reading, the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, turned into a show of blatant, unacceptable discrimination. “We were told the administration doesn’t support causes.Here’s a bit of education: we are NOT a cause.We are human beings protected by an anti-discrimination ordinance in the City of Reading.Reading’s Democratic mayor Wally Scott is under fire over his decision (Official photo) “We are your teachers; your doctors; your dentists; your mechanic; your minister; your neighbor; your daughter; your son; your colleague.” To protest the decision, the group is holding its own unofficial Pride flag outside City Hall on July 22, with hundreds of LGBT+ people and allies expected to turn out and wave rainbow flags.LGBT+ people protest cancellation by waving rainbow flags outside City Hall The event description explains: “Following Mayor Wally Scott’s last minute decision to halt our flag raising ceremony, we are asking the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters to join us at the next Reading City Council meeting. “Please bring your rainbow flags and your voices to show Mayor Wally Scott that we are his constituents and we deserve to be represented! “We also invite Reading businesses to fly rainbow flags at their businesses in solidarity.” The decision was also condemned by the state’s Lt.Gov.John Fetterman, who tweeted: “Calling on Mayor Scott to reconsider.Looking forward to attending @ReadingPride to affirm our administration’s strong support for LGBTQIA+ community in PA. ” The mayor is already set to leave office at the end of his term after being defeated by Eddie Moran in May’s Democratic primary. . The post Democratic mayor blocks Pride flag being flown at city hall appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

Women like porn just as much as men, study finds

LGBTQ PinkNews

Women are equally as aroused by watching porn as men, despite the popular belief that men are more turned on by it than women, a new study has found.
'Women are equally as aroused by watching porn as men, despite the popular belief that men are more turned on by it than women, a new study has found.The research is titled “Neural substrates of sexual arousal are not sex dependent” and was published in  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)  on Monday July 15.German researcher Hamid Noori told New Scientist   that even though the levels of reaction in men’s and women’s brains are the same when watching porn, women are less likely to do it regularly because of the stigma that surrounds it.Noori said: “There are differences in behaviour – the number of men going to porn sites is roughly 80 per cent of the consumers. “But men and women respond the same way at the brain level to visual sexual stimuli.What we do with it afterwards is what brings the difference.” The study says that “erotic media stimulate numerous cortical and subcortical regions [of the brain].” Women react the same amount as men to porn, but watch less of it. (Pexels) Researcher Hamid Noori said: “Female sexuality has quite a lot of stigma around it” Researchers looked at 61 brain scanning studies, covering around 2,000 participants, in which people of different genders and sexual orientations lay in a brain scanner as they were shown pornographic pictures and videos.They found that the areas of the brain that were active varied slightly by orientation, but concluded that: “The neurocircuitries associated with sexual arousal do not differ in men and women independent of their sexual orientation. “Visual sexual stimuli induce activation in the same cortical and subcortical regions in both men and women.” According to The Guardian, Noori said of the fact that women don’t watch as much porn: “Female sexuality has quite a lot of stigma around it.Maybe the main reason is that for the woman there are secondary inhibitory effects that keep them away from expressing what they really feel.” . The post Women like porn just as much as men, study finds appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

Russian LGBT group school Putin for calling trans people ‘transformers’

LGBTQ PinkNews

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sent educational brochures about LGBT+ people after he called transgender people “transformers” when responding to Elton John’s criticism of Russia’s LGBT+ rights record.
'Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sent educational brochures about LGBT+ people after he called transgender people “transformers” when responding to Elton John’s criticism of Russia’s LGBT+ rights record.Putin made his gaffe at the recent G20 summit. “They’ve thought up six or five genders – transformers, trans… I don’t even understand what it is myself,” he said at a press conference at the summit. “They need to stop violently imposing their point of view on others,” Putin said.Russia’s leading LGBT+ advocacy group, the Russian LGBT Network, sent a package to Putin’s party offices, United Russia, containing brochures with information on working with LGBT+ people.Svetlana Zakharova, a member of the council of the Russian LGBT Network, said , “The majority of human rights organisations and human rights activists actively working in Russia have repeatedly expressed and support the agenda of protecting the rights of LGBT people.” “Counselling citizens on violations of their rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity is an important part of the work of a human rights advocate.Thus, in 2018, 245 people turned to the Russian LGBT network for legal assistance, the hotline was called 2,050 times, 629 people asked for psychological help,” he said.Russian president: we have no problem with LGBT people Responding to claims that Russia is homophobic, Putin had previously said, “I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia.” “We have no problems with LGBT+ persons.God forbid, let them live as they wish … Let everyone be happy.” Elton John wrote an open letter to Putin on June 28, saying, “I strongly disagree with your view that pursuing policies that embrace multicultural and sexual diversity are obsolete in our societies.I find duplicity in your comment that you want LGBT people to “be happy” and that “we have no problem in that”. “Yet Russian distributors chose to heavily censor my film Rocketman by removing all references to my finding true happiness through my 25 year relationship with David and the raising of my two beautiful sons.This feels like hypocrisy to me.” . The post Russian LGBT group school Putin for calling trans people ‘transformers’ appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

NBA star Dwight Howard ‘set free’ by gay rumours

LGBTQ PinkNews

NBA player Dwight Howard has told how he was ‘hurt’ by rumours over his sexuality  — but ultimately gay rumours set him free.
'NBA player Dwight Howard has told how he was ‘hurt’ by rumours over his sexuality  — but ultimately gay rumours set him free.In an interview with Fox Sports 1 show  Fair Game  he confirmed that he is not gay, but explained how questions over his sexuality had shown him the reality of closeted gay sports stars. “It hurt at first to go through it,” he said. “It hurt.I sat at home and I was like, ‘Man, I’ll never want to come outside again.’ I’m like, ‘Why?'” Explaining further he said: “I saw all the hate, the pure hate, from people that I never met before just pile up everywhere I went against me… and that liberated me because I saw hoe a lot of people would feel, whether they’re gay or they’re straight, whether they have issues.” “I’m not gay… It hurt at first to go through it.I sat at home and I was like ‘I never want to come outside again.'” @DwightHoward spoke on the allegations that he was gay. ( : @FairGameonFS1 | @KristineLeahy ) pic.twitter.com/WcXz2WtOfY — Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 16, 2019 Questions over his sexuality came to light after a lawsuit was filed against him by Masin Elije . Elije claimed that Howard has threatened him after he allegedly refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement “regarding their communication.” According to TMZ, the lawsuit states: “Mr Elije started receiving threats to his safety and well-being via a multitude of phone calls, text messages, communications on various social media platforms and emails, all of which were from unfamiliar or disguised sources.” Howard denies these allegations.In the two-part interview due to air today (July 17) and Thursday he explained: “People are afraid to be who they are.They’re afraid to step out and be… because they are afraid of what other people might say or think about them. “I’m not gay.It’s a lot of people who are and they have to hide and it’s people who have mental issues and they have to hide. “It’s people who have different problems in life and they have to hide. “They have to put on the mask every day.It’s like, I don’t want to wear no mask.I just want to be.”   . The post NBA star Dwight Howard ‘set free’ by gay rumours appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'

Scarlett Johansson says trans role comments were ‘edited for clickbait’

LGBTQ PinkNews


'Scarlett Johansson, who quit her role as a transgender man in Rub & Tug last year, has responded to criticism of her recent comments about being allowed to “play any role” by saying that they were “edited for clickbait.” The  Avengers: Endgame  actor waded back into the debate over cisgender actors playing trans roles in an interview with As If magazine on July 11. “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements of my job,” Johansson said.The actress received criticism for her comments , but now says that they were “edited for clickbait.” “An interview that was recently published has been edited for click bait and is widely taken out of context,” the actress said in a statement to Variety . “The question I was answering in my conversation with the contemporary artist, David Salle, was about the confrontation between political correctness and art.” Scarlett Johansson accepted then withdrew from the role of real-life trans man Dante ‘Tex’ Gill in Rub & Tug (VALERIE MACON/Getty) She clarified her stance, saying, “I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness.That is the point I was making, albeit didn’t come across that way.” “I recognise that in reality, there is a wide spread discrepancy amongst my industry that favours Caucasian, cis gendered actors and that not every actor has been given the same opportunities that I have been privileged to,” she said. “I continue to support, and always have, diversity in every industry and will continue to fight for projects where everyone is included.” In the published interview with As If magazine, when asked whether she should only represent her gender and ethnicity, or whether she can play roles that are “beyond these categories,” Johansson said, “There are a lot of social lines being drawn now, and a lot of political correctness is being reflected in art.” PinkNews has reached out to As If magazine for comment but hadn’t received a reponse by time of publication. . The post Scarlett Johansson says trans role comments were ‘edited for clickbait’ appeared first on PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service .'