LGBT issues

ACTION ALERT: Don't silence Russia's LGBT community!

We've been talking all weekend with our friend Sasha -- a teacher and mom in Russia -- and what we're hearing is horrifying. On Wednesday, political leaders in St. Petersburg are voting on a new law that will make it illegal to speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender.

Sasha and a broad coalition in Russia are doing everything they can to stop the bill. On Sunday, they organized one of the biggest demonstrations ever in support of equality -- but still the international community is not paying attention. They need support from around the world -- and they need it fast.

Dutch to relax rules for gay binational couples, possibly Ugandan gay refugees

The Netherlands is to introduce a temporary residency permit for gay would-be immigrants who want to move to be with a Dutch partner but cannot do so because they are not married.

At the moment, foreign partners can only move to the Netherlands under family reunion rules if they are married or have a legally-binding relationship.

BREAKING NEWS: Anti-gay opponents of SB 48 are back with two initiatives

SACRAMENTO – Anti-gay opponents of SB 48, the California law that mandates the teaching of history of LGBT people, disabled people and other minority groups in the state’s public schools, are not taking “no” for an answer.

UN, Freedom Now, Thomson Reuters establish legal database on human rights cases

PARIS – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Thomson Reuters and Freedom Now, which advocates on behalf of illegally detained prisoners of conscience, have joined forces to establish a database containing publicly available opinions of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on cases of arbitrary detention worldwide.

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Palm Springs, San Francisco report rise in anti-gay hate crimes

California hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bucked a national trend and rose by 25 percent – nearly all of the increase coming from cities. The most dramatic shifts took place in Palm Springs and San Francisco – both cities with significant gay and lesbian populations.

In Palm Springs, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation jumped from three cases in 2009 to 14 in 2010. San Francisco recorded six incidents in 2009 and 24 in 2010.

Activist describes hazards of being gay in Azerbaijan

Interview with Ruslan Balukhin, co-founder, a website for LGBT people in Azerbaijan:

Q: What is the purpose of your website?

A: This informative-entertainment resource is for LGBT community of the capital, Baku.

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COMMENTARY: The horror of black homophobic horror flicks

Gays on television today is nothing new.

And we can thank Ellen DeGeneres’s watershed moment in April 1997 when she came out on her sitcom "Ellen."

Today’s openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) television personalities are Neil Patrick Harris, Jane Lynch, Rachel Maddow, and Rosie O’Donnell, to name just a few.

And these personalities have helped pave the way in terms of our acceptance in society and in terms of our civil rights issues.

In Russia, St. Petersburg proposes anti-gay law

Two regions of Russia - Arkhangelsk and Ryazan - have passed laws banning what they call “gay propoganda.” The laws have been deemed constitutional by Russian courts despite the chilling of free speech and the attack on LGBT organizing and ability to protest that they represent.

Now the St. Petersburg region wants to introduce a similar law.

Why is Sweden deporting asylum seekers back to Syria?

Sweden is continuing to try to remove Syrian asylum seekers, despite the appalling human rights situation in that country.

The attempted removals have led to protests by opposition Social Democrats.

Four Social Democrat leaders wrote to the the Svenska Dagbladet daily:

85,000 demand Ecuador close “ex-gay” clinics accused of torture

WASHINGTON – More than 85,000 people from over 124 countries have signed a petition calling on Ecuador’s Minister of Health to investigate and close more than 200 “ex-gay clinics” that allegedly use torture techniques turn homosexuals straight.