Yes Doctor, I am, um, one of those things!

The NHS’s decision to ask all patients if they are gay is ‘political correctness gone mad’, according to family GP Dr Michael Dixon, who practices in Devon, who thinks it is ‘intrusive’ and ‘insulting’.

NHS England bosses announced the plans last October, and the question is planned to be implemented in 2019.

Every patient visiting their GP or attending a hospital appointment will be asked if they are gay, straight or bisexual. In October we were told that answering the question would be entirely optional.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5280363/GP-slams-NHS-decision-ask-patients-GAY.html

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School play loses backing in Canada

CBC reports that two school boards in London, Ontario, have refused financial backing to a play about a gay student’s fight to take his boyfriend to the prom.

Prom Queen: The Musical is based on the story of Marc Hall, the gay teenager who won his 2002 battle with the Durham Catholic School Board to take his boyfriend to the prom at a school in Oshawa, Ontario.

The London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board have withdrawn $30,000, leaving a dent in the project’s $250,000 budget.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/london-ontario-school-boards-prom-queen-grand-theatre-high-school-project-1.4491600

How we treat assylum seekers

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Uncredited, undated photo | Daily Alternative | 18011

Reuters has been investigating the experiences in Britain of GLBTQI assylum seekers.

Even though Britain is more tolerant, LGBTi asylum seekers still face discrimination, threats and even violent attacks, said Sebastian Rocca, chief executive of Micro Rainbow International (MRI), a charity working to eliminate discrimination and poverty among LGBTi people.

“One of the problems that LGBTi asylum seekers and refugees face is that because of their sexuality they are extremely isolated and vulnerable,” Rocca said.

Lack of safe housing is a widespread problem as they are often placed in housing with people from their own countries, or with those who are anti-gay because of their religious and cultural backgrounds.

The Home Office says an estimated 6 percent of asylum claims made in Britain between July 2015 and March 2017 were based on sexual orientation. One in four were successful. Most asylum claims involving sexuality were Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian applicants. The Home Office said it “remains committed to improving the process for those claiming asylum on this basis” and that it ensures housing provide to LGBTi asylum seekers is safe.

There is now at least one provider which only provides temporary homes for GLBTIQ applicants.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-britain-lgbt-housing/gay-and-intersex-asylum-seekers-find-place-to-call-home-in-britain-idUSKBN1F413X

Gaydar is cobblers, according to researchers. Which is probably why it works so well.

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Gaydar at work | Uncredited/Copyright controlled | 18010

Last year scientists from Stanford University said their artificial intelligence algorithm could detect homosexuality by analysing a person’s facial features, and that was how Gaydar worked.

The academics claimed their results were not psuedoscientific but consistent with the prenatal hormone theory of sexual orientation.

This unproven theory suggests that hormones which people are exposed to in the womb lead to different physiological attributes and also different sexualities.

Not according to Google.

According to the Google team … the algorithm didn’t detect a difference in facial features. Instead, it detected a difference in how homosexual and heterosexual men and women take selfies.

“Heterosexual men tend to take selfies from slightly below, which will have the apparent effect of enlarging the chin, shortening the nose, shrinking the forehead, and attenuating the smile,” they found.

“This [angle] emphasises dominance -  or, perhaps more benignly, an expectation that the viewer will be shorter.”

The analysis by Margaret Mitchell and Blaise Aguera y Arcas from Google, and Alex Todorov from Princeton, concludes: “The obvious differences between lesbian or gay and straight faces in selfies relate to grooming, presentation, and lifestyle - that is, differences in culture, not in facial structure.”

So, it turns out that heterosexual men seem to typically take selfies from a lower angle, while heterosexual women take them from a higher angle, because of cultural norms about how we present our own sexuality.

So there you are. Anyway, I knew you were.

https://news.sky.com/story/remember-that-ai-gaydar-googlers-say-its-bunk-11206505

Ghana’s shame

Earlier this week The Guardian discovered that in Ghana, lesbians were more likely to face violence than gay men, who hardly ever face violence.

Human Rights Watch report that many of them have been forced into marriage or sex work, have been beaten, evicted from their homes, ostracised by their communities, and struggle to find accommodation and employment.

Ghana enacted its anti-gay laws in 1960, after independence from the UK. Unlike other African countries it has not enacted further sanctions against the gay community since then. The 1960 Criminal Offences Act criminalises gay sex, serves as a barrier to seeking justice.

Ghana is a liberal democracy that prizes fundamental human rights, yet it has repeatedly rejected calls by UN bodies to repeal the Criminal Offences Act against “unnatural carnal knowledge”, said Human Rights Watch, who described the country as one of “profound contradictions”.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jan/10/gay-women-greater-risk-of-violence-ghana

Shhh! Don’t tell anybody. The Pink Pound is back!

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Christian Newman, left, and Mark Edwards | Chris Skelton/Fairfax Media | 18009

Forbes magazine have been trying to work out what are the secrets that make so many gay couples so rich and powerful. Ahem.

They don’t accept limitations.
They never stop learning.
They take risks and fail forward.
Same-sex power couples spend less money than they earn.
They invest in themselves, each other and our community.
They spend their time with like-minded people.
Play is work and work is play.
They recharge right.

Oh sugar. Now Your Activist’s secret’s out.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/debtfreeguys/2018/01/12/8-secrets-of-gay-power-couples-thatll-help-you-win-2018/#757ac3626407

Countries being told by courts to recognise gay marriage

The European court of justice has been advised that rights of same-sex spouses must be recognised by every member of the EU, even if a country’s government has not authorised gay marriage.

A Belgian advocate general in the Luxembourg court, Melchior Wathelet, said gay spouses had standing in countries even where governments were implacably opposed to same-sex marriage.

A final decision will be delivered in the coming months.

Wathelet’s opinion was given in the case of a Romanian national, Adrian Coman, who wanted to be able to build a life in Romania with his American husband, Claibourn Robert Hamilton, with whom he had been living for four years in the US before marrying in Brussels in 2010. Romania prohibits marriage between people of the same sex. It is one of six EU member states, along with Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia, that offer no legal recognition for same-sex relationships.

Meanwhile Reuters reports that a Latin American human rights court said on Tuesday that countries in the region should legalize same-sex unions, endorsing a growing push for marriage equality.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision came in response to a petition submitted two years ago by Costa Rican president Luis Guillermo Solis, who had vowed to increase rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Same-sex couples can marry in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and some parts of Mexico.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/11/gay-spouses-rights-all-eu-countries-european-court-adviser

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/latin-american-human-rights-court-urges-same-sex-marriage-legalization-n836386