One Equal World

Archive for the ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ Category

A mass gathering of protestors in Taiwan who are holding signs in favor of marriage equality.

Protestors gather in Taiwan to voice their support for marriage equality.
Photo credit: weniliou / Shutterstock

Chi Chia-Wei spent more than five months in jail in 1986 for publicly being out as a gay man. That was when Taiwan was under martial law, and he secured a pardon before the year was out, but that was only the beginning of his fight for actual justice. In the 30 years since then, Chia-Wei has campaigned for gay rights in Taiwan, leading petitions and lawsuits against the island nation’s evolving government.

His work has finally borne fruit. In a ruling that may set a brand new precedent for Asia, Taiwan’s constitutional court announced on Wednesday, May 24th, that laws against same-sex marriage have been found unconstitutional. The legislature has two years to amend their Civil Code to reflect the decision or to pass laws specifically regarding same-sex marriages. If they fail to do so, those marriages will be legalized by default.

The justice’s wording called sexual orientation an “immutable characteristic that is resistant to change,” and therefore laws against same-sex relationships violate the personal freedom and protections of everybody.

While Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, has shown only lukewarm support for the cause and there have been outspoken rallies against it, the general atmosphere around this decision is not one of surprise. In 2013, the marriage of two transgender women was upheld. In 2015, the most recent year Chi applied for permission to marry his committed partner, the legislature was already considering changing Taiwan’s Civil Code, which they are now obligated to do.

Chi and many others are going to remain active in the legislative process surrounding the new decision. They are adamant that it is the Civil Code which must be amended, rather than a separate marriage law for same-sex couples.

“In Asia, every country’s situation is different,” Chi said after the announcement. “But this should certainly offer some encouragement to different societies to consider following in Taiwan’s footsteps and giving gays and lesbians the right to marry.”

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A computer generated image of two rainbow hearts with interlocking gold wedding bands in front.

Image: Shutterstock

Marjorie Enya, 28, is a volunteer manager at Deodoro Stadium, Rio’s Olympic Rugby stadium. It’s a temporary job, but she’s having the time of her life. Not because of the Olympics, but because of someone more special.

After the final match of women’s rugby sevens, in which Australia took the gold, before the other teams could leave the pitch, Enya walked out onto the field and asked Brazil player Isadora Cerullo to marry her. It was the first same-sex marriage proposal in the Olympics. And Cerullo, teary-eyed, said yes to applause from the stands.

Enya and Cerullo, who is twenty-five, have been together for two years, only a year less than Brazil has had legalized same-sex marriage. Same-sex civil unions have been legal since 2004, putting Catholic Brazil surprisingly ahead of the international progress curve.

Enya had planned her proposal carefully, but with pure confidence. Like anyone making a public proposal should, she already knew what the answer would be. Cerullo, who grew up in North Carolina and holds dual citizenship in Brazil and the United States, had already moved with Enya to São Paulo to focus on her Olympic try.

“As soon as I knew she was in the squad I thought I would have to make this special,” Enya said in an interview with BBC Sport. “I know rugby people are amazing and they would embrace it.”

Embrace it they did. In the video of her speech and proposal, which went viral the moment it aired, there were nothing but happy reactions, the two surrounded by cameras and teammates and cheers as they kissed.

The Rio Summer Olympics have over 40 out athletes across more than two dozen disciplines, a record number for the games and especially satisfying after the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, where anti-LGBT laws interfered with some athletes competing.

Image: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Image: Yana Paskova/Getty Images


North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed into law a bill that repealed every local LGBT anti-discrimination law and requires individuals to use the bathroom that matches with the biological gender written on their birth certificate.

Because of this, the state of New York just joined other cities in the nation including Seattle and San Francisco in restricting non-essential public-employee travel to North Carolina. Backlash also includes the NBA threatening to pull next year’s All Star game out of Charlotte. Companies including American Airlines, Facebook and Paypal are also against the law.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive order bans “all taxpayer-funded trips trip to North Carolina, unless they’re essential to public health or law enforcement.”

“In New York, we believe that all people—regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation—deserve the same rights and protections under the law. From Stonewall to marriage equality, our state has been a beacon of hope and equality for the LGBT community, and we will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past. As long as there is a law in North Carolina that creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people, I am barring non-essential state travel to that state,” said Governor Cuomo in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Cuomo instituted a similar ban on nonessential state travel. This also happened to Indiana in 2015 following the passing of SB 101, a “religious freedom” bill.

What are your thoughts on Cuomo’s decision?

Academy-Awards-Oscars-2016

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ recently announced the Oscar nominees for the 88th Academy Awards. Below is a list of LGBT (or portraying LGBT) nominees for this year’s awards:

-Lady Gaga and Sam Smith will compete for Best Original Song
-Mark Ruffalo, Human Rights Campaign supporter was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Spotlight
-Mara will compete against Alicia Vikander, who was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Danish Girl
-Eddie Redmayne was nominated for Best Actor for The Danish Girl
-American for Marriage Equality supporter Bryan Cranston was nominated for Best Actor for Trumbo
Carol, a film about a same-sex couple in the 1950s, received four nomiinations for Best Score, Cinematography, Costume Design and Best Adapted Screenplay
-Cate Blanchett was nominated for Best Actress and Rooney Mara for Best Supporting Actress for their roles in Carol

It has been an incredible year for LGBT storytelling and talented LGBT/Allied actors and actresses, however many believe that there is lack of color/diversity within the nominees of the acting categories. Eddie Redmayne, a white straight man, was nominated for playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl, while Oscar hopeful Mya Taylor who actually is a trans woman (of color), was snubbed for Best Supporting Actress for the groundbreaking independent film Tangerine. Some also believe that Todd Haynes’ lesbian-themed drama Carol, featuring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was snubbed for a Best Picture nomination.

The 88th Academy Awards will air on February 28 at 5:40 pm PST on ABC.

What are your thoughts on this year’s nominations? Does Carol’s best picture snub mean that pop culture is not ready for LGBT contentment?

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Literature has not treated the woman-loving woman kindly, historically. It’s not always easy to find lesbian romances actually written for women, let alone lesbians and bisexual women in nonfiction, and literary narratives. So, since this winter promises to be a rainy one and rainy seasons are great for holing up with a book or five, here are a few recommendations in alphabetical order by author.

 

Lillian Faderman’s Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth Century America. The subtitle says it all. Faderman ferrets out the women left out of your history books and is a great source for the various historical contexts of women’s sexuality in the last century. Her bibliography is a recommended reading list all its own.

 

Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues. A novel based partially on the author’s own life, it’s a butch’s coming of age story set in Buffalo New York. Touches a little too lightly on transgender issues as well. This one’s very firmly out of print, but you can download a PDF from the author’s site.

 

Karla Jay’s Tales of the Lavender Menace. This one’s a memoir, and Jay’s life is a fascinating read about 70s feminism and the fight for feminism to include gay rights. Bonus: Her wry humor is beautiful.

 

Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. 15 essays analyzing sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia and classism. This collection is 31 years old and could have been written today. Heavy, compelling reading.

 

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Ed. Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. From 1981, this is still one of the most powerful works of women of color feminism. Art, essays, stories, and interviews – it has it all. Not all of the narratives are non-straight, but the focus is on intersections of liberation.

PrideSchoolAtlanta

A private school opening in Atlanta, Georgia will be a first-of-its-kind school aimed at attracting LGBT youth who feel bullied or unsafe in traditional schools. This will be a dedicated safe space to learn and work during the next school year.

With nearly 25 years of teaching experience, 45-year-old transgender man Christian Zsilavetz started the K-12 school as an alternative for LGBT students to learn. However, Pride School Atlanta is open to any student that believes they’re not treated the same as others for “being different.” The school’s mission statement is “to provide LGBTQQIAA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and allied) students, families and educators a safe, fun and rigorous learning environment free of homophobia and transphobia.”

“Kids have full permission to be themselves – as well as educators. Where there’s no wondering, ‘Is this teacher going to be a person for me to be myself with?’ This is a place where they (students) can just open up and be the best person they can be,” Zsilavetz says.

According to The Advocate, anti-LGBT bullying has been a growing concern in recent years and it was reported that 64 congressional Democrats called on the Department of Education to take action on the issue last April.

In addition, the Associated Press indicated that almost nine out of 10 LGBT students reported experiencing harassment at school last year.

Programs director for global and U.S. South at GLAAD Ross Murray believes it is important to have regional opportunities like Pride School Atlanta so kids don’t have to travel or relocate outside of their communities to attend school.

“They should be able to stay in their homes, their communities. I think having a school like this in Atlanta … it means it’s much more regionally connected. If a student does need a place where they can be safe from bullying, from peers who want to harass or harm them, they’re not going to have to travel tons of distance to do that,” says Murray.

Pride School Atlanta will operate out of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta church and doors are expected to open by September 2016. Tuition will cost around $13,000 annually and financial assistance will be available for students who need it.

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

On a sunny day in June, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. So Obergefell v. Hodges means that gay rights have won and everything is rainbows, right?

Of course not.

Same-sex marriage is and always was only one relatively scuffle. There are much, much bigger fish still to be fried. To name just a few:

Anti-gay violence. There were more than 2000 instances of explicitly anti-LGBT violence in 2012 and have increased every year after that. Gay, bisexual, and trans people are murdered at 2-5 times the rate of straight people, with trans women of color at the top of that horrible list.

Youth homelessness. Nearly half of all homeless youth identify as LGBT, and more than half of those were kicked out of their homes because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. Most report a history of abuse from their families, leaving them especially vulnerable to health issues both metal and physical. And being homeless, of course, leaves them at risk of being trafficked or unfairly criminalized.

Health issues. Queer people are less likely than the average population to have health insurance, even now that insurance companies are required to acknowledge same-sex spouses. In addition, trans people are commonly mistreated by doctors and emergency room staff. The Center for American Progress reports more than a dozen health disparities between straight and LGBT adults.

Economic equality. While celebrities outing themselves and LGBT enclaves in wealthy parts of major cities make the public perception of queerness to be all about disposable income, the truth is that employment discrimination, homelessness, and health issues make LGBT people more likely to be low-income than the general population. Children in LGBT households are twice as likely to live in poverty than children in homes with married heterosexual parents. And when queerness intersects with race, of course, those stats dive even further downhill.

Trans issues. Perhaps the biggest matter that needs to be addressed. 80% of trans students report being harassed or made unsafe at school because of their gender expression. 50% report actual violence. White trans women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. For trans women of color, it’s 1 in 8. But the public dialogue about trans women is whether or not they pose a threat in using the women’s bathroom.

Until each of these issues is addressed, there has been no gay victory. All we have so far is a start, the very beginnings of momentum. Don’t let up now.