Breaking the mould in the Philipines

PHILIPPINES-VOTE-GENDER

AFP | 17077

Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.

“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.

Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.

But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2090744/transgender-politician-fighting-gay-rights-philippines

Campaigning, Bath style

Ben Howlett the Tory MP who was accused of groping a gay couple at a Eurovision Song Contest party last May will not be charged. It was alleged he put his hands in a man’s pants and tried to kiss him at a bar in his Bath constituency.

The party was held in a private residence at one of the city’s poshest addresses.

Howlett was accused of putting his hands inside a gay man’s pants and trying to kiss him; he is also alleged to have said “let me f*** you” to another man and grabbed his crotch. Prosecution chiefs said there was not enough evidence to proceed.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3387629/tory-mp-ben-howlett-accused-of-groping-a-gay-couple-at-a-eurovision-song-contest-party-will-not-be-charged/

An old issue raises its ugly head once more

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Seattle Gay Pride | File photo | Christopher Zeuthen/Seattle Weekly | 17066

Ed Murray is the Mayor of Seattle and he has been accused of paying drug-addicted teenage boys for sex decades ago. Two other men are making similiar accusations. Murray denies the allegations.

Ed Murray has a lot to lose: in twenty years of local political activity he managed to pass both the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Law and the bill establishing gay marriage. He is Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

One old-timer who lived on Capitol Hill during the 1980s, who asked that his name not be used for reasons of political fealty, said that while he doesn’t know anything about the specific allegations against Murray, the kind of relationship described in the lawsuit—that is, an older man paying an under-age teenager for sex—“would have been very consistent with [Seattle gay culture in] the ’80s.”

This was caused in part, he says, by “the closet and how people could interact.” With an entire population (gay men) sanctioned into the shadows, there was no social mechanism for enforcing the age of consent,

says Seattle Weekly.

Gay Activist used to have a page about “Conduct in public office” but the page was deleted because so few people viewed it. Gay Activists everywhere should be aware that they are representing the community, and conduct themselves with pride.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/accusations-against-murray-leave-the-lgbt-community-he-fought-for-reeling/

Gay flags at half mast

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Gilbert Baker | Pride Winnipeg | 17063

Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco-based activist and artist best known for creating the rainbow flag representing gay rights, has died at the age of 65. He was living in New York.

Baker, who was born in Kansas in 1951, was stationed in San Francisco in the early 1970s while serving in the US Army, at the start of the gay rights movement.

According to the website biography Baker began making banners for gay rights and anti-war protests, often at the request of Harvey Milk, who would become the first openly gay man elected to public office in California when he won the 1977 race for a seat on the San Francisco board of supervisors.

Milk rode under the first rainbow flags made by Baker at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/gilbert-baker-rainbow-flag-inventor-gay-rights-dies

Kilt off!

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Finlay Wilson | 17062

A man whose video of kilted yoga sessions in a Scottish forest became a viral hit has been targeted with homophobic hate mail at his home.

Police Scotland has issued an appeal for witnesses after Finlay Wilson, from Dundee, whose Kilted Yogi videos were viewed more than 50 million times worldwide last month, received a letter telling him to leave his home and threatening his safety.

The handwritten note was left on the 30-year- old’s doorstep at his home in the city on Tuesday morning.

Mr Wilson said: “It said threatening stuff like ‘you need to watch yourself’ and they said they’d been watching my videos online and that they want me to get out. I don’t really know anyone in the building. My friends have been saying they didn’t realise this sort of thing still happened in this day and age. I was upset at first, but now I am furious because someone’s aim is to intimidate me and terrorise me into leaving my home because of their own bigoted beliefs.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15192587.Kilted_yoga_video_star_receives_gay_hate_mail/

George Michael died of natural causes

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George Michael in 2012 | Getty | 17054

The singer George Michael died from natural causes, the coroner reports. “As there is a confirmed natural cause of death, being dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver, the investigation is being discontinued and there is no need for an inquest or any further inquiries. No further updates will be provided and the family requests the media and public respect their privacy.”

Michael’s former partner, Kenny Goss, had previously said he believed the pop star’s body “just gave up”. His manager, Michael Lippman, said at the time that the singer had died from heart failure in bed. His publicist said at the time, he had “passed away peacefully” at home.

George Michael had one of the definitive voices of the 1980s and will be sadly missed.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/mar/07/george-michael-died-of-natural-causes-coroner-says

Buttigieg gets attention

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Pete Buttigieg | Joshua Roberts/Reuters | 17046

The Guardian profiles Pete Buttigieg, a gay Mayor who is being viewed as a potential leader of the Democrat party.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Harvard- and Oxford-educated, served in Afghanistan as a lieutenant with the Navy Reserves – and is openly gay.

A 2014 Washington Post profile called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”. The next year, Buttigieg won his re-election bid with 80% of the vote, a wider margin than the first time around. In June, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni proposed: “The First Gay President?”

Since entering the race for chair of the DNC his crisp public performances have attracted the attention of influential Democratic party officials and donors.

Time will tell.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/23/pete-buttigieg-democratic-party-chair-candidate

Macron gets the hard hat on

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Emmanuel Macron | EPA | 17037

Emmanuel Macron, a contender in the French presidential election, saw his poll lead vanish after he made controversial remarks on gay marriage.

Mr Macron had overtaken François Fillon, the conservative candidate and former favourite who is embroiled in a corruption scandal, but the latest polls indicate that the two candidates are now neck-and-neck.

Mr Macron provoked outrage by describing former French colonial rule as a “crime against humanity” during a visit to Algeria.

Mr Macron then infuriated Left-wing supporters by trying to reach out to Right-wingers who opposed gay marriage, saying they had been stigmatised and “humiliated” under President Hollande’s Socialist government.

Mr Macron and Mr Fillon ended the week level-pegging on 20 per cent, with both men trailing Ms Le Pen, on 26 per cent in one poll, while another poll places Mr Macron and Mr Fillon both on 18.5 per cent.

The first round of the French Presidential election is on April 23rd.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/18/macron-loses-lead-remarks-colonial-algeria-gay-marriage-spark/

How gay is France?

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Emmanuel Macron | Lyon.fr | 17026

The name Emmanuel Macron may not be familiar yet to British readers, he is the currently leading candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election in France. He is married to his former high school teacher, but has been forced to deny he is involved in a gay extramarital affair.

He took the lead in the opinion polls two weeks ago after his conservative rival, Fançois Fillon, became embroiled in a scandal centring on alleged misuse of public funds to pay his British wife for a job for which she allegedly did no work.

Mr Macron appeared on Monday at a local Paris meeting of activists from his On the Move movement and laughed off the persistent rumours of a homosexual relationship with Radio France chief executive Mathieu Gallet. “If you’re told I lead a double life with Mr Gallet it’s because my hologram has escaped,” he said, referring to a rival candidate making an appearance as a hologram at a rally last weekend.

Mr Macron has previously dismissed claims he is gay, but his latest comments may have been sparked by a report in the Russian government controlled news site Sputnik in which a French MP from Mr Fillon’s Les Républicains party said he was backed by a “gay lobby”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/07/emmanuel-macron-laughs-gay-affair-rumours/

Tying the knot in Clare

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Father Bernard Lynch and Billy Desmond | Liam Burke/Press 22 | 17021

A gay priest from Co Clare who was involved in the ‘boat to vote’ campaign in the marriage equality referendum in the Irish Republic in 2015 got married to his long time partner yesterday.

Father Lynch became the first Catholic priest in the world to have a civil partnership in 2006, and the passing of the same-sex marriage referendum allowed the two men to be married.

At the ceremony, a proclamation was read out paying tribute to Fr Lynch “for being a tireless advocate for the right of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people for more than 40 years as an out gay and proud Roman Catholic priest”. 67-year-old Fr Lynch helped people living with HIV and AIDS in New York in the 1980s and has been “a human rights champion” for his extraordinary service and “his courage in the face of tremendous adversity”. Fr Lynch helped lead the first ‘boat to vote’ campaign for the 2015 marriage equality referendum in his role as an advocate for the LGBT community in London.

Gay Activist sends congratulations.

http://www.thejournal.ie/gay-priest-marries-partner-3210439-Jan2017/