Tuesday, May 27, 2014

En ConteXto con Enrique Torre Molina

Activists and journalist, Enrique has been around TV, radio and all kinds of publications in Mexico and abroad. Here’s a new project by Servicio de Agencia, on which Enrique will present a brief of the LGBT highlights of the week from Mexico and around the globe. 

Loving it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Well, little over 3 years ago, I uploaded two videos for the It Gets Better Project, which was conceived by Dan Savage and his husband (then husband-In-Canada-boyfriend-In-America) Terry Miller after a wave of suicides committed by teens and kids who were LGBT or perceived as LGBT were bullied to death. The It Gets Better Project then became a world wide phenomena, having all kinds of people participating (from regular people like me to heads of State like President Barack Obama). 

Affiliates around the globe started to emerge and this past weekend, on May 17th, the Mexican affiliate was born. 

So, about my two videos, one was made in english and the other in spanish. The english one was the first one to ever been made outside the USA (I was living in Vancouver, Canada at the time). The one in spanish was the first ever made in another language. Both were featured on the Bestseller book of the It Gets Better Project.

So, now that the Mexican affiliate called Todo Mejora Monterrey (as its name suggests, it’s located in the northern city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon State, and managed by an organisation called COMAC, which provides assistance to people with HIV and other STDs) just launched, my spanish video is featured on its website and once again I get on the wagon of activism for the LGBT Community, but now in my own country, collaborating with this new affiliate among amazing activists, in one of hardest regions to live as an LGBT. Let’s see how much noise we can make here.

Take a momento to take the pledge on the It Gets Better Project website, and if you’re a Mexican citizen or an ex-pat living in Mexico, LGBT or LGBT-Ally, and you want to contribute with a video, click here.

A video can save lives. 

Thanks,

Alex Orue.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
CHILE: Civil Unions Advance
Joe.My.God. reports:

In its first session of 2014, yesterday the Chilean Senate advanced its civil unions bill. The Santiago Times reports: 

Senators voted in favor of the Life Partner Agreement (AVP) late Tuesday evening with 28 votes in favor, six against and two abstentions. The bill will now pass to a constitutional assembly before returning to Congress on Jan. 20. The country’s leading LGBTQ organization hailed the outcome as significant step toward passing a law which “the majority of the country” wants. “We are happy for this significant progress towards bettering conditions and equality for all families, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identification of its members,” a Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) statement read. “Today we have made one more step in the struggle for civil unions, which we began a decade ago. What was a dream is now becoming real.” Introduced to Congress in August 2011 by the administration of President Sebastián Piñera, of the center-right National Renewal (RN), the bill has endured a drawn-out two years of debate and stalling, mainly because of stiff opposition from the RN’s coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party.

A group of evangelical protesters were ejected from the Senate gallery shortly after the vote.

CHILE: Civil Unions Advance

Joe.My.God. reports:

In its first session of 2014, yesterday the Chilean Senate advanced its civil unions bill. The Santiago Times reports: 

Senators voted in favor of the Life Partner Agreement (AVP) late Tuesday evening with 28 votes in favor, six against and two abstentions. The bill will now pass to a constitutional assembly before returning to Congress on Jan. 20. The country’s leading LGBTQ organization hailed the outcome as significant step toward passing a law which “the majority of the country” wants. “We are happy for this significant progress towards bettering conditions and equality for all families, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identification of its members,” a Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) statement read. “Today we have made one more step in the struggle for civil unions, which we began a decade ago. What was a dream is now becoming real.” Introduced to Congress in August 2011 by the administration of President Sebastián Piñera, of the center-right National Renewal (RN), the bill has endured a drawn-out two years of debate and stalling, mainly because of stiff opposition from the RN’s coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party.

A group of evangelical protesters were ejected from the Senate gallery shortly after the vote.

Mexico’s Gay Rights Movement… Stuck?
I haven’t wrote or blogged much for a while. I’ve been only active on Twitter by retweeting stuff I find interesting or worth sharing. The reason? Now that I live in Mexico City I figured that lots of stuff have been accomplished and that the fight for our rights is pretty much over. However, looking back at the pics I took at the last Gay Pride Parade I realised that it isn’t quite true, yet. Actually, we still have a long way to go.
Usually, we as a community, we seem quite organised, right? The thing is, when it comes to important issues we are more lost than a twink’s dignity at Pride. 
In Mexico, we only see what’s on the news overseas. It’s quite rare that somebody pays attention to what the progress is in our own country. And when Pride is around the corner it’s only about the party and Grindr like in most places, but unlike most places we don’t really get to see the leadership of the movement nor do we know how the progress is accomplished. If you’re not in those circles, it’s hard to get in.
I’ve been browsing the web to see who the hell is organising Pride this year, and I’m still wondering…
I might just start a journal about my efforts to get involved. Let’s see how this goes and how far I can go.
So, why do I say the LGBT Movement in Mexico is stuck? Cause after the progress made in some States in the country (with civil unions and gay marriages recognised nationwide) there has been little improvement in our educational system and in most States where hate crimes are at the order of the day. We are only visible one weekend of the year, while our opponents are visible at least every Sunday of the year. 

Mexico’s Gay Rights Movement… Stuck?

I haven’t wrote or blogged much for a while. I’ve been only active on Twitter by retweeting stuff I find interesting or worth sharing. The reason? Now that I live in Mexico City I figured that lots of stuff have been accomplished and that the fight for our rights is pretty much over. However, looking back at the pics I took at the last Gay Pride Parade I realised that it isn’t quite true, yet. Actually, we still have a long way to go.

Usually, we as a community, we seem quite organised, right? The thing is, when it comes to important issues we are more lost than a twink’s dignity at Pride. 

In Mexico, we only see what’s on the news overseas. It’s quite rare that somebody pays attention to what the progress is in our own country. And when Pride is around the corner it’s only about the party and Grindr like in most places, but unlike most places we don’t really get to see the leadership of the movement nor do we know how the progress is accomplished. If you’re not in those circles, it’s hard to get in.

I’ve been browsing the web to see who the hell is organising Pride this year, and I’m still wondering…

I might just start a journal about my efforts to get involved. Let’s see how this goes and how far I can go.

So, why do I say the LGBT Movement in Mexico is stuck? Cause after the progress made in some States in the country (with civil unions and gay marriages recognised nationwide) there has been little improvement in our educational system and in most States where hate crimes are at the order of the day. We are only visible one weekend of the year, while our opponents are visible at least every Sunday of the year. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Song Of The Day: Mister Chase - Wonderful

"A message for the LGBT of Russia."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Russia: MP Alexander Mikhailov Calls For Law Allowing Gays To Be Whipped In Public Squares 

Pink News UK reports:

A Russian MP has reportedly called for the right of marines to whip gay people in public.
Alexander Mikhailov is deputy of the Legislative Assembly of the Trans-Baikal Parliament and said he plans to put forward the violent proposal as a new regional law.
Speaking to the Chita news agency on Thursday, Mr Mikhailov linked gay people to paedophiles and suggested they should be whipped in public squares by “marines”.
He described homosexuality as a “common shame”.
Referencing a doctor, who criticised the decision of several European countries to legalise marriage rights for same-sex couples, Mr Mikhailov praised the doctor and reportedly said: “We have to deal with such things”. He added that his province should adopt a law in which the marines have the right to flog the “asses” of gay people.
“In Russia for many centuries the ass was used for educational purposes and not for love entertainment. So we should use it according to its intended purpose,” the MP said.
Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning Russian MPs for passing a draconian homophobic censorship law.
Earlier this month,President Vladimir Putin said he would back a ban on foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children, but denied it amounts to homophobic discrimination.

"Imagine this: it’s the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. A huge television event, watched the world over. The American Olympians join the proud march of nations. They’re our emissaries, our exemplars. And as the television cameras zoom in on Team U.S.A., one of its members quietly pulls out a rainbow flag, no bigger than a handkerchief, and holds it up. Not ostentatiously high, but just high enough that it can’t be mistaken.

"Another American follows suit. Then another, and another. Within minutes the flags are everywhere in the American delegation, subtly recurring bursts of color and of honor, a gay-rights motif with a message: we’re here in Russia to compete, but we’re not here in Russia to assent. We have gay sisters. Gay brothers. Gay neighbors and friends and fans and probably teammates, and we reject the laws of a land that deems it O.K. to arrest them for speaking their truth or us for speaking up for them."

- Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times.

Read the full essay. It’s a must.

Por Enrique Torre Molina:

Monday, August 5, 2013

AT&T Staffers: It Gets Better

Barney Frank Comes Out… As Atheist

This happened last friday on Real Time with Bill Maher. Hemant Mehta writes at Friendly Atheist

"It’s one of those things you wish he could’ve said more openly during the 32 years he sat in Congress. Somehow, it was okay to be a gay liberal, but saying he was an atheist would’ve been taking things too far. In any case, former Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) still remains the only openly atheist member of Congress in our history."
Friday, July 26, 2013

Russia’s Homophobia, Boycott Of Vodka, Stoli’s CEO Reacts

If you haven’t been paying attention to this whole thing, this is what you need to know: Russia’s adopting and enforcing homophobic laws that has outraged the international community. Many Russian nationals have been arrested and prosecuted under this “anti-gay propaganda law” that President Vladimir Putin is championing across the country. And foreigners have been already been victims of this. Some people even have propose to boycott the Winter Olympics, which will be held on Sochi, Russia next year. This, however, has not taken off with many cause of the nature of the event and what it means to athletes, who could actually voice their opinions in favour of our community in a global platform. The Olympic Committee has voiced its opinion on this, calling for reason and the protection of Human Rights, and has declared that it got the assurance from the Russian Government that athletes and fans who attend to Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will not be subjected to such law (we’ll see).

Queer Nation and many other activists, including Dan Savage, have been calling for a boycott on Russian products, specially vodka. Stoli is one of the most commercial and popular Russian products, and it has been the target of many boycotts by some of the biggest and most popular gay clubs and bars in the US, Canada, the UK and Mexico (and still counting). However, there’s been a bit of a controversy surrounding Stoli, given that it has been featured in many endorsements for gay news outlets and event organisers, including Queerty. And Stoli has sent out statements declaring that they 1) are not Russian owned, 2) they do not share the Russian Government’s views on LGBT issues. But Dan Savage is not swallowing: Stoli IS Russian, and owned by one of the most richest men in Russia. And most importantly, they have not yet voiced their opinion directly to Putin and the Kremlin, and until that, in the eyes of us all, no matter how many queer events they sponsor in America and Europe, they’re guilty by omission for the suffering and stigmatisation that LGBT Russians are going through. They owe it to their fellow countrymen. 

Dan Savage reports:

The CEO of Stolichnaya Vodka released an open letter to the gay community today—so they’re paying attention, which is good, and they’re scared, which is even better.


For the record: Regardless of where SPI Group’s corporate offices are located, the company is owned by Yuri Scheffler, one of the 100 richest men in Russia. SPI is a Russian corporation, Stoli is a Russian vodka. And while it’s nice that SPI is willing to market to homos who are lucky enough to live in Austria, the US, and South Africa, what has SPI done in Russia? The group has sponsored gay pride events in Vienna and Miami. That’s nice. But have they sponsored gay pride events in Moscow or St. Petersburg? Val says that Stoli is upset and angry. That’s nice. So has Stoli said anything to the Russian authorities? Has Yuri Scheffler expressed his anger in an open letter to Vladimir Putin? Did the SPI Group speak the fuck up before the Russian government passed a law that made it a crime to be openly gay and a crime to publicly support someone who is openly gay? Frankly I’m not interested in Stoli’s marketing efforts in the West. I’m interested in what this Russian-owned company is doing in Russia. And from this letter it’s clear they’ve done and they only plan on doing squat.

Two commenters at JMG cut to the heart of the matter:

I guess the paragraph about how Stoli is going work toward demanding that the Russian Government end discrimination went missing.

Dear Russian Oligarch: You and your friends control your nation via your fortune and connections. Fix this or GTFO.

But this comment at JMG wins the thread:

So is the CEO of Stoli now subject to arrest and incarceration in Russia for writing this pro-gay letter?

And of course, Queer Nation has responded already by saying “Marketing is NOT enough”:

A Statement From Queer Nation; Marketing Is Not Enough

Val Mendeleev, the chief executive officer of SPI Group, the owner of the Stolichnaya brand, confirmed in an open letter on July 25 that SPI produces this vodka in Russia and that SPI has offices and operations in Russia. Stolichnaya is a Russian vodka that is owned by a company that was founded in Russia in 1991. 

On the same day that SPI released its open letter to the Advocate, we learned that Russian thugs, emboldened by Russia’s anti-gay law, have taken to gay web sites to lure gay people to supposed encounters where they are viciously beaten. This is just the latest in a series of violent attacks against LGBT Russians and foreign LGBT nationals in Russia. 

This violence follows news reports of Russian police and prosecutors targeting LGBT people and groups in Russia for arrests and trials. At least two Russian LGBT groups have gone underground as a result.

In the open letter, Mr. Mendeleev cited a few LGBT events where SPI promoted its Stolichnaya brand as evidence of the company’s support for our community. Mr. Mendeleev, marketing will not save LGBT lives.

A single open letter that was discreetly placed with a single gay publication in the US will not help LGBT Russians nor will it have an impact on the Russian government’s anti-gay campaign. This and your refusal made in an earlier statement to confront the Russian government’s anti-gay bigotry make clear that you are not the fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community you claim to be. 

By its own admission, SPI Group operates in Russia and pays taxes to the Russian government. That money funds these continuing attacks on LGBT people and organizations in Russia. Queer Nation will continue its boycott of Stolichnaya and other Russian vodkas until this anti-gay law is repealed and the Russian government guarantees the safety of its LGBT citizens and foreign LGBT nationals in Russia. 

We will not help you fund the Russian war on LGBT people.

Queer Nation

Some, like Scott Shackford, do not agree with the boycott, at least, the one directed to Stoli:

"What’s sad about this effort is that if Russia succeeds in getting its hands back on Stoli, then a boycott actually makes sense. But the consequence will be that a powerful businessman who does support the gay community will lose his company. Boycotting Stoli now is a very bad idea. [Stoli owner Yuri] Scheffler is an ally who the gay and lesbian community needs to work with, not alienate. From a Western perspective it may be hard to realize that an incredibly rich person like Scheffler has the potential to be a victim of Russia’s authoritarian regime like its gay citizens or members of Pussy Riot, but it’s extremely important not to look at the nature of power and influence there the way we do here."

I must remind everybody that the boycott targets all Russian products, and because vodka is a primary export from Russia, it is the object of many. Stoli is specially targeted cause of its status in American and European market and because of its denial of being Russian owned (when actually it is). But the boycott is aimed at ALL Russian brands.

Let’s see where it leads. At least, as Dan says, they are listening. 

Monday, July 22, 2013
UK: Government To Grant Posthumous Pardon To Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing
Joe.My.God. reports:

Famed WWII codebreaker Alan Turing will be granted aposthumous pardon by the British government. Turing committed suicide after being convicted of gross indecency under Britain’s anti-homosexuality code. 
The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said. The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.
Turing is considered by many to be the father of computer science.

UK: Government To Grant Posthumous Pardon To Gay Codebreaker Alan Turing

Joe.My.God. reports:

Famed WWII codebreaker Alan Turing will be granted aposthumous pardon by the British government. Turing committed suicide after being convicted of gross indecency under Britain’s anti-homosexuality code. 

The government signalled on Friday that it is prepared to support a backbench bill that would pardon Turing, who died from cyanide poisoning at the age of 41 in 1954 after he was subjected to “chemical castration”. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a government whip, told peers that the government would table the third reading of the Alan Turing (statutory pardon) bill at the end of October if no amendments are made. “If nobody tables an amendment to this bill, its supporters can be assured that it will have speedy passage to the House of Commons,” Ahmad said. The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

Turing is considered by many to be the father of computer science.

Friday, July 19, 2013

John Corvino: What’s Morally Wrong With Homosexuality?

A must watch.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

AFER’s Matt Baume: Marriage News Watch

UK: Queen Elizabeth II Gives Royal Assent To Gay Marriage Bill
LGBTQ Nation reports:

Britain on Wednesday legalized gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.
Lawmakers cheered as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said royal assent had been given – one day after the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales cleared Parliament.The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, provided that the religious institution consents. The Church of England, the country’s official faith, is barred from performing such ceremonies.
The Queen’s approval was a formality and is the last step necessary for a bill to become law.It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships – which were introduced in 2005 and carry similar rights and responsibilities to marriage – to convert their relationships to marriage.
The British government introduced the bill in January.Prime Minister David Cameron had backed it, but it divided his Conservative Party and touched off strident debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
Numerous attempts to derail the legislation failed as it wound its way through Parliament, with traditionalists arguing it would undermine the sanctity of marriage.On Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker Gerald Howarth accused the government of having “bulldozed” the legislation through Parliament, “offending large swatches” of his party.But in the same debate, shadow women and equalities minister Yvette Cooper said it was the “time to celebrate and not discriminate.”

UK: Queen Elizabeth II Gives Royal Assent To Gay Marriage Bill

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Britain on Wednesday legalized gay marriage after Queen Elizabeth II gave her royal stamp of approval, clearing the way for the first same-sex weddings next summer.

Lawmakers cheered as House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said royal assent had been given – one day after the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in England and Wales cleared Parliament.The law enables gay couples to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales, provided that the religious institution consents. The Church of England, the country’s official faith, is barred from performing such ceremonies.

The Queen’s approval was a formality and is the last step necessary for a bill to become law.It also will allow couples who had previously entered into civil partnerships – which were introduced in 2005 and carry similar rights and responsibilities to marriage – to convert their relationships to marriage.

The British government introduced the bill in January.Prime Minister David Cameron had backed it, but it divided his Conservative Party and touched off strident debates in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Numerous attempts to derail the legislation failed as it wound its way through Parliament, with traditionalists arguing it would undermine the sanctity of marriage.On Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker Gerald Howarth accused the government of having “bulldozed” the legislation through Parliament, “offending large swatches” of his party.But in the same debate, shadow women and equalities minister Yvette Cooper said it was the “time to celebrate and not discriminate.”