Pope Francis meets with openly gay Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook has had a sit down meeting with the head of the Catholic church. The two men – along with their personal teams – met at the Vatican yesterday. This is the pontiff’s second meeting with technology world leader in a week, after he met with Eric Schmidt – the executive chairman… Read more »

Italy same-sex marriage: Rallies held across country

Tens of thousands of people have marched in cities across Italy, demanding legal recognition for same-sex couples. The rallies were held as lawmakers are due to debate the deeply divisive issue next week. Opponents of the bill in the mainly Catholic nation are planning to hold their own demonstration next Saturday. Italy is the only… Read more »

Tens of thousands protest in the streets of Italy for gay civil unions

Rome — Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday in nearly 100 cities across Italy to urge the government to permit gay and lesbian couples to have civil unions and legally recognized families. Mirco Pierro, 39, rallied in front of the Pantheon in Rome with his partner and twin infants, saying he wanted “to defend… Read more »

Russia rejects bill to punish hand-holding and coming out with jail

A Russian Duma committee has rejected a bill which would have made coming out to young people and kissing in public punishable with jail sentences. The Russian Duma was set to vote this week on a measure which would ban all public displays of affection between same-sex couples. The legislation suggested punishments for same-sex couples… Read more »

Screening ‘Sodom’

Watching Russia’s strangest documentary On May 27, 2015, Russian celebrity journalist and film director Arkady Mamontov stood in a Moscow studio of the state-owned TV channel Rossiya 1 (Russia One) to discuss his latest documentary with a group of experts and an audience of about 70 people. Along with tens of millions of Russians who… Read more »

Europe, Putin, and the ‘Gayropa’ Bait

The Kremlin’s messaging on gay rights issues has little to do with beliefs Information war as most people understand it — the use of propaganda to persuade people that a certain cause is right — does not actually exist in Russia. The Russian doctrine of information war is not concerned with ideology. It is a… Read more »

Political Violence, Inc.

How attacks on Russia’s LGBT community are sub-contracted Political violence in Russia is a franchise industry. Anyone can peddle the product so long as they adhere to some basic marketing rules. End users are stratified into various preapproved categories, such as known supporters of “European values,” or prominent opposition politicians There are also ways of… Read more »

Romanian Orthodox Church: marriage only between man, woman

Bucharest, Romania — The Romanian Orthodox Church says it supports an initiative to change Romania’s constitution to specify that marriage is between a man and a woman. The statement comes amid concerns from some that the conservative East European nation will align with other EU nations and permit gay marriage. Romania currently does not recognize… Read more »

On the Frontiers of the “Russian World”

How homosexuality got caught up in the war in eastern Ukraine It was a windy afternoon and Anfisa Glushenko, a 23-year-old volunteer from the self-defense forces of the Luhansk People’s Republic, was in a chatty mood. As the car sped past the charred gas stations and abandoned villages of eastern Ukraine, she kept her green… Read more »

In and Out In ‘90s Russia

An observer looks back on what’s changed, and what hasn’t, for gays in Russia When I first lived in Russia in 1991, during a leave from my job at The San Francisco Chronicle, life was falling apart and cracking open simultaneously. The Soviet state was collapsing under the weight of its own terrible history. But… Read more »

The Origins of Russian Gay Myths

Four Myths that Fuel Hatred for Gays in Russia Most Russians want gays liquidated or ostracized. That’s according to a recent poll that showed hardening attitudes towards all minorities in Russia, but especially towards the country’s LGBT community. Behind Russia’s blossoming hatred for gays are several powerful myths that make up the Kremlin’s narrative of… Read more »

Estonia Civil Unions Law Takes Effect, But Gay Couples Advised To Wait

Estonia’s civil partnership law, approved in 2014, took effect on Friday, but gay and lesbian couples are being advised to hold off on exchanging vows. Passage of the law made Estonia the first former Soviet nation to recognize such unions. The new law gives straight and gay couples most of the rights afforded to married… Read more »

Greece Approves Civil Unions For Gay Couples

Greece’s parliament has approved a bill that allows gay and lesbian couples to enter a civil union. According to the AFP, 193 lawmakers backed the law, while 56 rejected it. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that the bill would end a practice of “backwardness and shame” for Greece. The new law does not provide for… Read more »

Slovenia says No to gay marriage

More than 60 percent of those who voted were against same-sex marriage. Slovenians on Sunday voted against legalizing gay marriage, with more than 60 percent of those who cast their vote in a referendum saying No. According to Slovenian news agency STA, with 90 percent of the votes counted, 63 percent had voted against and… Read more »

Malta could become first country in Europe to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy

Malta could become the first EU country to outlaw ‘gay cure’ therapy, under a government bill submitted this week. The country’s government yesterday unveiled a ‘Affirmation of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression’ bill – which would outlaw so-called ‘conversion’ therapy. The practise of attempting to ‘cure’ someone’s sexuality is considered pointless and damaging… Read more »

Slovenia launches vote on gay marriage

The country’s EU commissioner and MEPs weigh in on the referendum. EU politicians, including European commissioner Violeta Bulc, are urging Slovenia to back same-sex marriage as early voting begins Tuesday on a referendum that could overturn a controversial marriage equality law. If the country supports gay marriage — as Irish voters did in May 2015… Read more »

Russia passes law allowing them to ignore international human rights decisions

The Russian government votes to pass law which enables them to ignore decisions handed down by foreign justice bodies. Last week, the state Duma voted to pass a draft law titled “On Amendments to the Federal Constitutional Law ‘On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation”. The bill-drafted by all four Russian parliamentary parties –… Read more »

Gay refugees rehoused in the Netherlands after threats

Five gay refugees have been rehoused in the Netherlands after being threatened by fellow refugees. According to Dutch News, the five men, three from Syria, one from Iraq and one from Iran, were moved after the Salvation Army said it could not guarantee their safety. The men were originally housed in the Parool, a refugee… Read more »

Gay refugees rehoused in the Netherlands after threats

Five gay refugees have been rehoused in the Netherlands after being threatened by fellow refugees. According to Dutch News, the five men, three from Syria, one from Iraq and one from Iran, were moved after the Salvation Army said it could not guarantee their safety. The men were originally housed in the Parool, a refugee… Read more »

Ireland passes bill removing religious exemptions from LGBT equality law

Fresh off of the country’s first same-sex weddings, Ireland’s Parliament has passed a bill removing religious exemptions from LGBT anti-discrimination laws. The Republic of Ireland approved same-sex marriage in a landslide referendum earlier this year, by 62.07% to 37.93% – and overcoming bureaucratic hurdles, the green light has been given for weddings to start this… Read more »

Bosnia Activists Hope EU Bid Will Help End Anti-LGBT Violence

“Most people keep their sexuality a secret. There is lots of discrimination here.” Sarajevo (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Ivan has not told his parents, or many friends, that he’s gay. “I want to tell them, of course,” he said. “Every person on this planet needs to share nice things from his private life; to say… Read more »

Russian LGBT festival refuses to be silenced by ‘gay propaganda’ law

Bok o Bok’s opening night was ambushed by a screaming politician and visitors risked attack, but founders say they won’t be scared out of St Petersburg Holding events for the LGBT community in a country that is clamping down on human rights is difficult. Staging them in the cradle of the “gay propaganda” law is… Read more »

Cyprus Approves Civil Unions Bill For Gay Couples

The Cyprus House of Representatives on Thursday approved a much-anticipated civil unions bill. The unicameral Mediterranean island nation is the second most religious state in the European Union behind Malta. Gay or straight couples entering a civil union will receive all the rights and obligations given to a married couple with the exception of joint… Read more »

‘I’m gay in Ukraine and my country despises me’

Ukraine’s crisis is not just military and political, it is social and cultural. Kiev — In my long struggle to both be true to myself and to my homeland I always lose. I still hope to see a ray of light. Sometimes I do. Like during a groundbreaking — for Ukraine — queer art-show that… Read more »

Ukraine moves closer to visa-free EU travel as gay rights bill passes

Parliament adopts legislation banning discrimination against gay people in the workplace – a key condition for the European Union to ease travel restrictions Ukrainian lawmakers have approved a bill that bans discrimination against gay people at work – key legislation intended to help pave the way for visa-free travel between the country and the European… Read more »

Gay Couples To Begin Marrying Monday In Ireland

Gay and lesbian couples will begin exchanging vows on Monday in the Republic of Ireland. In May, Ireland became the first nation to legalize such unions by a popular vote. On Tuesday, Irish Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald signed the commencement order for the Marriage Act 2015 in Dublin Castle, the BBC reported. Starting on… Read more »

Ukraine ‘to lose out’ on EU travel agreement after blocking LGBT rights law

Ukraine is set to lose out on a visa-free travel agreement with the EU, after the Ukrainian Parliament blocked a law protecting LGBT people from discrimination. The country – which is sharply divided between those who want better relations with Europe, and those who want closer ties with Russia – had applied to join the… Read more »

Slovenia To Hold Gay Marriage Referendum

Lawmakers in Slovenia on Wednesday approved a plan to hold a vote on whether to implement legislation which would allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Voters will weigh in on the issue on December 20, the AFP reported. The referendum is a response to a parliamentary bill adopted in March which allows gay couples… Read more »

France to Lift Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

Paris — France will lift a ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men starting next year, officials announced Wednesday, joining a growing list of countries that have loosened or scrapped such restrictions, which many see as outdated vestiges of the 1980s AIDS crisis. “Giving one’s blood is an act of generosity and of… Read more »

Gay priest tells Pope: Your church is making life hell for gay people

A Vatican priest who was sacked after coming out for gay has shared the message he sent challenging the Pope on LGBT rights. At the start of the month, the Church’s three-week long annual Synod was disrupted when an official in the Vatican’s doctrine office came out as gay – and was promptly dismissed from… Read more »

Italy: Cities Cannot Register The Foreign Marriages Of Gay Couples

Italy’s highest administrative court has overturned a lower court’s ruling that allowed cities to register the foreign marriages of gay and lesbian couples. According to the AFP, cities from Rome to Naples and Milan had defied the government’s ban on such unions by registering the legal marriages of gay couples which had taken place outside… Read more »

Peter Tatchell plans to reach out to Muslims on LGBT rights

Peter Tatchell is launching a new campaign to convince everyday Muslims to embrace LGBT rights, and improve links between the LGBT and Muslim communities. The veteran human rights campaigner will hold a street stall outside Whitechapel tube station in East London this Wednesday, in a bid to reach out to the local Muslim community. Parts… Read more »

Hundreds Stage Gay-Pride Parade In Belgrade

Hundreds of people have staged a gay-pride parade in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. Hundreds of riot police were deployed in the city center on September 20, with several armored and water cannon vehicles parked at main crossings in the downtown area where roads have been closed to traffic since the early morning. Threats of disruption… Read more »

Montenegro has banned Pride in this city for the THIRD time in a year

The Montenegrin city of Nikšic has had its Pride march banned for the third time this year. The Pride event was cancelled, and authorities cited security threats. Football hooligans and nationalists had threatened to disrupt the event, and the Orthodox Church had mobilised against it. Despite the security threats excuse for banning pride, others have… Read more »

What It’s Like To Be Young, LGBT And Vilified In Russia

Photographer Misha Friedman takes a look inside “The Iron Closet.” New Yorkers can get a no-holds-barred look at Russia’s beleaguered lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth as part of Brooklyn’s annual “pop-up” photography festival. Photographer Misha Friedman, whose images have appeared in Time Magazine and The New Yorker, is bringing his exhibit, “The Iron… Read more »

Pavlovian Priests and the Sorry State of LGBT Rights in Georgia

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the word gay refers to cheerful, lively and high spirited person. The LGBT Prague Pride Parade, which I was fortunate to observe on my recent visit to Prague, lived to the very definition of the word. What I saw was fabulous: unicorns and countless rainbow colored flags, balloons, and thousands of… Read more »

Can you guess which country has the highest proportion of gay weddings?

One country has more same-sex weddings than you’d think… That’s right: according to the stats, Belgium has a higher proportion of gay weddings compared to all marriages than anywhere else. A study from statistics website 10 and 3 looked at the ongoing prevalence of weddings across a period of time in early adopters – Belgium,… Read more »

Prague Celebrates The Fifth Pride With The Biggest Parade In Its History

Prague Pride is behind us, yet our work for equal rights in the Czech Republic is hardly over. However, a major step was made on Saturday with the biggest and most colourful parade in the existence of Prague Pride. Up to 35,000 people joined in, filling the entire Wenceslas Square, while several thousands more were… Read more »

Masked men hurl smoke bombs at venue of Ukraine gay rights forum

Masked men have hurled smoke bombs into a venue in the Ukraine port city of Odessa where gay rights activists were about to hold a forum. They threw “several” smoke bombs at the participants before fleeing, Odessa Pride spokesman Kyrylo Bodelan said, adding that no-one was hurt in the attack. LGBT activists were planning to… Read more »

The Importance of Reykjavik Pride

Reykjavik Pride has come to an end. After almost a full week of all kinds of events peaking with the Saturday Reykjavik Pride Parade we have to give the organizers and participants thumbs up for all their effort and hard work. We really appreciate it and so do the tens of thousands who, with their… Read more »