Portugal: Opposition party to table same-sex adoption bill

Portugal’s opposition Socialist party plans to table a bill which would allow same-sex couples to adopt children and access fertility treatment. The state has recognised same-sex marriage since 2010 – but joint adoption remains restricted to different-sex couples in the country, and there are little provisions for LGBT people who want families. In addition, lesbian… Read more »

Russia says drivers must not have ‘sex disorders’

Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences. Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as “mental disorders” now barring people from driving. The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents. “Pathological” gambling and compulsive stealing are… Read more »

Macedonia to ban same-sex marriage

Politicians in the Macedonian Assembly have voted to ban same-sex marriage. The proposal came from the conservative government and was supported by two-thirds of members of the national assembly in a vote on Wednesday. It aims to define marraige specifically as “a union between an man and a woman”. Now the government is to draft… Read more »

License To Harm

Violence and Harassment against LGBT People and Activists in Russia Summary In June 2013 Russia passed a law banning the distribution of information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) relationships to children. The law effectively legalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation. Its passage coincided with a ratcheting up of homophobic rhetoric in state media… Read more »

Gay Couples Begin Marrying In Luxembourg

A gay marriage law in Luxembourg approved by lawmakers over the summer came into force on January 1. According to the Luxemburger Wort, Jean Paul Olinger and Henri Lorenzo Huber were the first gay couple to exchange vows. The men, both in their 60s, live in the south-western city of Differdange. Differdange Mayor Roberto Traversini… Read more »

In Historic First, Belgian Bishop Calls Church to Bless Lesbian & Gay Couples

For the first time in known history, a Roman Catholic bishop has explicitly called for the Church to recognize and bless committed same-gender relationships. New Ways Ministry strongly applauds this bold and courageous move. Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, made his comments in an interview with De Morgen, a Belgian newspaper that was published… Read more »

Between World Wars, Gay Culture Flourished In Berlin

In Gay Berlin, Robert Beachy describes the rise of a gay subculture in the 1920s and ’30s, how it contributed to our understanding of gay identity and how it was eradicated by the Nazis.            Audio version of this interview Here Terry Gross, Host: This is Fresh Air. I’m Terry Gross.… Read more »

Russia’s gay community in fear as homophobic attacks increase

This year’s QueerFest in St Petersburg was the most controversial in the festival’s history. At the opening show, a crowd turned up to intimidate and shout insults, spraying coloured antiseptic from syringes, in a kind of cleansing. There were sudden bomb scares and protests, and venues cancelled events at the last minute. Anti-gay activists plastered… Read more »

Gays, History & A New Bishop of Rome

Imma Battaglia leaned in to tell me a story of intrigue — about secret closed door agreements between the Catholic Church and political figures. It all seemed farfetched in the modern era, more akin to the Borgias’ rise to power or something from Machiavelli’s “The Prince.” “You know, it is a part of our story,”… Read more »

It’s official couples in civil partnerships can now MARRY!

From today, all couples have the right to marry in England and Wales, as the first civil partnership conversion ceremonies take place. When the first same-sex marriages took place on the 29th March 2014, couples who were already in a civil partnership were not allowed to marry. Now, same-sex couples already in a civil partnership… Read more »

Russian LGBT Couple Says They Hope Their Marriage Will Help Change Attitudes

A recently married LGBT couple says that they hope their marriage will help change attitudes in Russia. Alyona Fursova and Irina Shumilova married in front of family and friends at a registry office in St. Petersburg last month. Despite Russia’s ban on gay marriage, the women were allowed to marry because Irina describes herself as… Read more »

EU court blocks gay asylum tests

The EU’s top court has ruled that refugees who claim asylum on the grounds that they are homosexual should not have to undergo tests to prove it. Three men, including a Ugandan and one from a Muslim country, failed in their bids for asylum when a Dutch court said they had not proved their sexuality.… Read more »

Robert Biedron Becomes Poland’s First Openly Gay Mayor

Warsaw, Poland (AP) — Robert Biedron already made history once in Poland by becoming the first openly gay lawmaker in parliament in 2011. On Monday, he became the country’s first openly gay mayor. The 38-year-old’s political successes are a marker of how quickly this deeply conservative and Catholic country has changed in the decade since… Read more »

Slovakia To Hold Referendum Against Gay Rights

Slovakia President Andrej Kiska said Thursday that a referendum on gay rights would take place in February despite heavy criticism from human rights groups. Earlier this year, lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment excluding gay couples from marriage. Saying the amendment wasn’t enough, conservative group the Alliance for Families (AZR) and the Catholic Church gathered 400,000… Read more »

Finland parliament approves bill to legalise gay marriage

Finland set to become 12th European nation to give same-sex unions the same status as heterosexual marriages The Finnish parliament has narrowly approved a citizen’s initiative to legalise same-sex marriage. Gay couples in Finland have been able to enter into registered partnerships since 2002, but the country is the only one in the Nordic region… Read more »

Slovakia to hold referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015

The Slovakian President has announced that the country will hold a referendum on same-sex marriage early next year. President Andrej Kiska announced that the referendum will take place on 7 February, following the collection of 400,000 signatures on a petition by conservative group Alliance for Family. The questions on the referendum will ask whether voters… Read more »

Turkey breaks company with EU in gay vote

Ankara – In an atmosphere where Turkey is being criticized for the slow pace of its EU reforms, the country refuses to sign a declaration calling all states to take steps to stop the criminalization of homosexuality, contradicting its commitments to the EU in promoting human rights Turkey breaks company with EU in gay vote… Read more »

House of Lords approves civil partnership conversion regulations in time for Christmas

The regulations for the conversion of civil partnerships to marriage have been passed following brief, but impassioned speeches in the House of Lords. The British Government on 17 October announced revised regulations for converting civil partnerships to marriage, which include the option of a conversion ceremony in a church, synagogue, meeting house and other venues.… Read more »

Google to Quadruple Computer Science Prize Winnings to $1 Million

The A.M. Turing Award is often called the Nobel Prize of computer science. Now, thanks to Google’s largess, it will be a Nobel-level prize financially: $1 million. The quadrupling of the prize money, announced on Thursday by the Association for Computing Machinery, the professional organization that administers the award, is intended to elevate the prominence… Read more »

A minister comes out

When Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia’s foreign minister, came out as gay last week, he had a good sense of the political and cultural minefield he was stepping into. “All hell is likely to break loose, but #proudtobegay”, his Latvian coming-out tweet concluded. The English-language version was shorter, and actually featured a typo. It was far less… Read more »

Latvian Foreign Minister Comes Out In A Tweet: ‘I Proudly Announce I Am Gay’

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics apparently came out of the closet in a single, sunny tweet on Thursday. His announcement — which is particularly astonishing given Eastern Europe’s conservative, and largely anti-gay, political environment — has made Rinkevics “the highest-profile gay man” in the region, noted Mediaite. A constitutional ban on same-sex marriage has been… Read more »

Montenegro Gay Pride Parade Avoids Violence Of Last Year’s Event

Montenegro on Sunday held its first Gay Pride Parade without violence. According to Radio Free Europe, about 200 demonstrators marched the streets of Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, waving banners which read “Let’s Love Each Other” and “This is Just Beginning.” Two previous events, held last year in Podgorica and Budva, were marred by violence. In Podgorica,… Read more »

Ukraine: Oldest cinema in Kiev goes up in flames during gay film screening

Kiev’s oldest cinema went up in flames this week during the screening of a gay film after a smoke grenade was thrown into the audience. A fire broke out in the Zhoten cinema at 21:41 on Wednesday and lasted for roughly five hours, it has been reported. The flames were extinguished when 22 fire department… Read more »

Macedonia: Hooded anti-gay vandals invade LGBT support centre in country’s capital

Around 20 hooded vandals stormed the second birthday of an LGBT support centre on Thursday, throwing bottles and crates and leaving one girl injured. Balkan Insight reports the incident took place at the Damar Cafe in Skopje’s Old Bazaar area. Uranija Pirovska, director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Macedonia, said: “The hooligans… Read more »

Argentina grants first refugee status to Russian gay, victim of President Putin’s non tolerance policies

A young 28 year old became the first Russian gay to be given refugee status by Argentina, because of discrimination and violence at his home country. The positive reply to the year-long request was sponsored by Argentina’s Federation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans, FALGBT. The refugee status was extended by Argentina’s Refugee Committee, Conare,… Read more »

Rally condemns Egypt anti-gay witch-hunt

Forty people rallied outside the Egyptian Embassy in London on Saturday 18 October to protest against the witch-hunting of LGBTI people in Egypt. It was part of an International Day of Action in solidarity with persecuted Egyptian LGBTIs. Similar protests took place in Berlin, New York, Mexico City, Ottawa and Barcelona. The London protest was… Read more »

Rome’s Ignazio Marino Registers Marriages Of 16 Gay Couples

Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino on Saturday registered the foreign marriages of 16 gay and lesbian couples. Italy does not recognize the unions of gay couples, though Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has pledged to introduce a civil unions bill. Moments before the start of Rome’s 20th annual Gay Pride Parade in June, Marino announced his administration… Read more »

People living with HIV unite to respond to the HIV epidemic in the Indian Ocean islands

Two of the major networks of people living with HIV in the Indian Ocean region have merged. The decision, which is aimed at strengthening civil society participation in the AIDS response in the Indian Ocean islands, was announced during the 13th Indian Ocean Colloquium on HIV and Hepatitis, which concluded on 10 October in Saint-Gilles-les-Bains,… Read more »

Turkey: Gay couple face death threats after staging ‘symbolic’ wedding

A gay couple in Istanbul have lost their jobs, been evicted from their home, and are facing death threats from family members after holding a ‘symbolic’ open wedding last month. According to Hurriyet Daily News, Ekin Keser, who is of Arab origin, and Emrullah Tüzün, who is of Kurdish origin, said they were facing severe… Read more »

Turkey gets its first umbrella LGBTI organization to fight homophobia

Turkey: A new organization, the first in Turkey to ensure LGBTI websites, groups and organizations has been established to fight homophobia and transphobia in the Islamic country that straddles Europe and Asia. In existence since less than two months, the organization was created in order to ensure unity and solidarity among LGBTI groups, LGBTIwebsites and… Read more »

Estonia Approves Gay Partnership Law

Tallinn, Estonia (AP) — Estonia’s Parliament on Thursday narrowly passed legislation to legalize gay partnerships, the first such decision by a former Soviet republic. In a 40-38 vote, lawmakers approved a partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of all couples regardless of gender. Twenty-three lawmakers were absent or abstained in the third and final… Read more »

Estonia Approves Gay Partnership Law

Tallinn, Estonia (AP) — Estonia’s Parliament on Thursday narrowly passed legislation to legalize gay partnerships, the first such decision by a former Soviet republic. In a 40-38 vote, lawmakers approved a partnership act that recognizes the civil unions of all couples regardless of gender. Twenty-three lawmakers were absent or abstained in the third and final… Read more »

Estonia votes to allow gay civil partnerships

The Estonian Parliament has narrowly passed legislation to legalise gay civil partnerships. Today the bill, which recognises civil partnerships of both straight and gay couples, passed with 40 votes to 38. 23 members were absent for the vote. The legislation will take effect in 2016, and will make Estonia the first former Soviet republic to… Read more »

Montenegro’s second ever Pride to be held in secret

60 people were injured at last year’s event, the first ever LGBTI celebration in the country Montenegro’s second ever Pride will be held in secret over fears of attack. The location will be kept private until the day itself in an attempt to protect the marchers. It will be held somewhere in the capital on… Read more »

Spain: Catalonia passes gay anti-discrimination law

In a first for Spain, the autonomous community of Catalonia has passed a law which will punish attacks against the LGBT community with fines of up to €14,000 (£11,000). According to The Local, the divisive vote on Thursday received the backing of left-wing groups but was opposed by Catalan nationalists and conservatives. Regional representatives of… Read more »

Director Ben Steele On His New Documentary, ‘Hunted: The War On Gays In Russia’

Director Ben Steele dropped by HuffPost Live this week to discuss his new HBO documentary, “Hunted: The War On Gays In Russia.“ “Anti-gay attitudes are widespread, unfortunately, in Russia,” he said of the film, which examines Russia’s notorious “gay propaganda” laws. “In Russia, there is no such thing as a gay hate crime.” As for… Read more »

Russia: Film screening about gay teens accused of violating ‘gay propaganda’ laws

Anti-gay activists in Russia have accused the screening of a documentary about gay teens of violating the country’s notorious law “gay propaganda” laws. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the controversy stirred after the Pacific Meridians festival in Vladivostok was accused of selling tickets to the film Delti 404 (Children 404) without issuing proper ID checks.… Read more »

Russia: Queerfest organisers say police ‘threatened’ venues to shut down

Organisers of Queerfest, an LGBT festival in St Petersburg which was attacked with a harmful gas last week, have criticised police for deliberately pressuring venues to shut down ahead of hosting events. The annual LGBT culture festival had been forced out of its original venue last week, and was later raided by homophobic thugs after… Read more »

Cops Outnumber Marchers in Belgrade Gay Pride Parade

Some things are the same at gay pride parades everywhere — rainbow flags, colorful balloons, music pumping from the sound systems, everyone singing and dancing. In Belgrade, though, the parade today had an unusual accompaniment. Thousands of Serbian police officers in full gear with water cannons and armored personnel carriers sealed off capital’s sunny downtown,… Read more »

Russia gang storm gay festival, release gas, 16 in hospital

16 people are in hospital after Vitaly Milonov, as well as some anti-gay thugs, ruined the opening day of a LGBTI event in St Petersburg Sixteen people have been hospitalized after the opening of an LGBTI arts festival in St Petersburg yesterday (18 September). Thugs are alleged to have sprayed ‘green paint’ and to have… Read more »