Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality

Thanks to

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked the state’s Supreme Court Wednesday to uphold a lower court’s decision finding that a local florist violated the state’s anti-discrimination law when she refused to provide flowers for a longtime customer’s wedding to his same-sex partner in 2013.

“As the Superior Court recognized, it is illegal in Washington for a business to offer services to opposite-sex couples yet refuse those same services to same-sex partners,” Ferguson said in a Thursday statement. “My office will not stand for discrimination, and I am confident that the Supreme Court will agree.”

The case arose after Barronelle Stutzmann, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., refused to provide flowers for longtime customer Robert Ingersoll’s wedding to another man in March 2013, saying she couldn’t provide floral arrangements for her customer of nine years’ wedding “because of [her] relationship with Jesus Christ.”

On behalf of the state, Ferguson filed a lawsuit in April 2013, contending that Stutzman violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act, which declares it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Although Stutzman filed a counter-suit in May of that year claiming she had a “right to discriminate,” the Benton County Superior Court ultimately sided with the state, ordering Stutzman to stop discriminating, and pay a fine of $1,000 for breaking the law, along with an additional $1 to cover the state’s legal fees, as requested by Ferguson.

But now Stutzman, who is being represented pro-bono by the right-wing, anti-LGBT Alliance Defending Freedom, has appealed the ruling to the Washington Supreme Court, according to the Tri-City Herald. The florist declined a proposed settlement earlier this year, and her supporters have raised more than $92,000 through a since-closed GoFundMe campaign, notes the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Stutzman and her attorneys have made the rounds on conservative media, contending that the state-imposed fine of $1,001 will bankrupt the elderly woman and force her to close her business and lose her home.

Ferguson filed a 64-page brief asking the state’s high court to uphold the ruling against Stutzman, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. The brief is meticulous in its description of how Stutzman violated state law, explaining that if all business-owners were allowed to deny service based on their personal beliefs, discrimination on many counts would run rampant.

“This was discrimination based on sexual orientation, pure and simple,” Ferguson wrote on behalf of the state. “Free speech and free exercise rights do not prohibit states from outlawing discriminatory conduct in business. If they did, discrimination of all kinds would flourish, and our country never would have made the enormous progress that we have.”

“Just as it would be race discrimination for a florist to refuse to serve an interracial couple for their wedding, even if she would serve them at other times, it is sexual orientation discrimination for her to refuse to serve a same-sex couple for their wedding, even if she served them at other times.”

Cate Blanchett and opposition to same-sex marriage

Cate Blanchett and opposition to same-sex marriage

Thanks to

Cate Blanchett has told ABC that she is “bewildered” by the opposition to same-sex marriage in Australia.

The Australian actor stars in Golden Globe-nominated Carol, which follows the romantic relationship between Blanchett’s character and another woman, is released in her country next month.


Blanchett said that her fictional character Carol would not have been a campaigner for same-sex marriage because she does not think “she exists in any community”.

However, Blanchett was happy to talk about the political debate herself.

She said: “The interesting thing for me in the debate about same-sex marriage, quite aside from the film of Carol, is that it’s one of those issues where it has no impact on anyone apart from the people it impacts upon.” 

“So I find it quite bewildering that it’s so complicated for people,” she added.

Blanchett also dismissed questions surrounding her ability to play a lesbian as “silly”.

She said: “People are still interested [in] whether you [can] play a gay character without being gay?” 

“No-one asked me when [in the film Truth] I played Mary Mapes, a journalist, how many years I’d actually worked for a newspaper, had I gone to journalism school?”

“I think the power, when people actually see the film and forget about all of that stuff, is that falling in love is falling in love.”

Carol has been widely praised by critics, including a standing ovation at its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.

In addition, it has secured a release date in Russia, despite the country’s anti-LGBT+ laws, in May 2016.

Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton together in a new movie

Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton together in a new movie!!

Great news!! I saw them together in “The first wives club”. That was awesome.
Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton together in a new movie! 🙂
New Netflix Movie Divanation

The new movie is called “Divanation” and will be shown on Netflix,
Thanks to usmagazine.
The girls are back! The First Wives Club costars Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton are together again for a new Netflix movie — and making our dreams come true. The longtime pals will star in a comedy called Divanation.
According to Deadline, the trio will play a former singing group that reconnects 30 years after splitting up. No further details were provided.

Hawn and Midler, both 70, and Keaton, 69, starred in the smart and laugh-out-loud flick The First Wives Club in 1996. The actors played scorned wives Elise, Brenda and Annie, respectively, who all get revenge on their ex-husbands.

The Hugh Wilson–directed movie also featured Maggie Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Stockard Channing, Dan Hedaya, Victor Garber, Stephen Collins, Elizabeth Berkly and Marcia Gay Harden.

Back in February, Hawn explained why a sequel never made it to the big screen. “We were all women of a certain age, and everyone took a cut in salary to do it so the studio could make what it needed. We all took a smaller back end than usual and a much smaller front end. And we ended up doing incredibly well. The movie was hugely successful. It made a lot of money. We were on the cover of Time magazine,” she told Harvard Business Review at the time.

“But two years later, when the studio came back with a sequel, they wanted to offer us exactly the same deal,” she continued. “We went back to ground zero. Had three men come in there, they would have upped their salaries without even thinking about it. But the fear of women’s movies is embedded in the culture.”

DIVA magazine nominated!

DIVA magazine nominated!

Thanks to :
DIVA magazine has been nominated for Media Outlet of the Year at the 2015 Ultimate Planet Awards.
Diva magazine nominated

The Awards, dubbed the Lesbian Oscars, were created in 2013 to recognise, thank and promote the hard work of those committed to improving the lives of lesbian, bisexual and queer women across London and Brighton. Now in its third year, organisers are hoping 2015’s awards will be the most popular yet.

Co-founders Naomi and Katie Bennett-Hall said: “Once again these awards show how important it is to recognise the hard work many many LBQ (cis and trans) women put into making their community a better place.

“The Ultimate Planet Awards are a chance to celebrate every contribution that supports the LBQ community.”

DIVA is up against Gaia Magazine and and Planet London for Media Outlet of the Year, while editor Jane Czyzselska is nominated in two categories – Journalist of the Year and Role Model of the Year.

Launched in 1994, DIVA remains the only monthly glossy for lesbian and bisexual women in the UK and is one of the biggest selling magazines for LBQ women in the world.
diva magazine

Elsewhere, DIVA favourites including Sarah Waters, Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, VG Lee, Suzie Ruffell, Kiki Archer, and our new Sex/Life editor Rhiannon Kemp-Davies are nominated, alongside former cover stars Rose and Rosie, Lucy Spraggan and Wegan.

Voting closes at midnight on 31 January 2016 and the winners will be announced at a glamourous awards ceremony in March. Vote for your favourites here.

Great!! I like reading the articles from Diva. They are good! Congrats to them!! 😉

LGBT youth sidelined by national health report

LGBT youth sidelined by national health report

Thanks to

A major national report on the health and wellbeing of 15-year-olds in England was published earlier this week. Commissioned by the Department of Health, the What About YOUth? survey was carried out by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). More than 120,000 15-year-olds took part, answering questions about health behaviours such as smoking, drinking and drug use. The study also reflects their experiences of body image, bullying and mental wellbeing.
gay youth health

Participants were invited to record their sexual orientation as heterosexual, gay/lesbian, bi or other (they were not given an option to disclose their gender identity), so it is possible to see how young people falling into these categories answered the questions. The findings reflect a picture that is all-too familiar to the authors of smaller, less well-resourced and well-publicised research into the health behaviours and wellbeing of LGBT youth.

Compared with 7.5% of heterosexual 15-year-olds, 17.7% who are lesbian/gay, 24.7% who are bi and 9% who ticked “other” are smokers. The pattern repeats throughout the findings, with lesbian/gay, and particularly bisexual, youngsters reporting higher rates of risky behaviours and lower levels of good health and happiness. Eighty-one per cent of bi 15-year-olds said they had been bullied in the last couple of months, compared with 53.4% of heterosexuals, 74.5% of lesbian/gay kids and 71.2% who ticked “other”.

Almost 40% of bi respondents reported low life satisfaction, compared with just over 12% of heterosexual participants.

And yet these shocking disparities are not reflected in the summary of key findings, which flags significant statistics for the media and other researchers, but buried deep in the detailed report findings. Unsurprisingly, no mainstream media have picked up on these distressing differences of experience. Why should they? They are being signposted towards other findings by a report whose authors have clearly decided that LGBT youth do not really matter.

Now retired, Jan Bridget worked with young LGBT people for over 25 years, supporting them, conducting research and developing resources to improve their care and wellbeing. It was Jan who contacted DIVA to flag up this report and its omission. We would not otherwise have heard about it because since none of the top-line findings related to LGBT young people, the HSCIC had presumably not thought the LGBT media might have an interest in the study.
gay youth health

Jan told DIVA: “I cried when I looked at the findings: delighted that sexual orientation had been included in a large, mainstream survey with young people; frustrated that the findings were not included in the main report; and sad, very sad, that the invisibility continues. I have done my own research over the years and my findings were substantiated by the Youth Chances project. I had hoped that once there was national data, local authorities would be forced to do something to support LGBT young people and that national strategies would change to include them. How wrong could you be. Now this. It is a perfect example of institutional homophobia.”

How could anyone disagree? The researchers flag up some undoubtedly important findings but who would not consider the fact that lesbian/gay/bisexual/other youngsters are nearly four times more likely than straight kids to feel unhappy is worth picking up and reporting?

DIVA contacted HSCIC to find out.

Chris Roebuck, Head of Profession for Statistics at HSCIC, said: “The new survey was very in-depth and contained more than 70 different survey questions, covering a huge range of topics, about the health and wellbeing of 15-year-olds in England. These topics were mainly designed to allow health professionals within local authorities to target health services in a more effective and specific way.

“We recognise that while we cannot capture the entirety of the survey in the reports itself, there will be data, including information about sexual orientation, that is important to many people. We worked collaboratively with Public Health England to ensure that this data could be added to the data visualisation tool published by Public Health England. This followed consultation primarily with local authorities, which helped to ensure that user needs would be met. We are always very keen to help as many people as possible explore and best understand our data and welcome feedback to help shape how we develop future reports.”

Nevertheless, for LGBT campaigners the decision represents a dismaying missed opportunity.

Heather Williams, Policy, Research & Insight Manager at LGBT Foundation, told DIVA: “We campaign to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are monitored by researchers, so that variations between LGBT people and the wider population can be identified and addressed. This research clearly shows poorer outcomes for LGB young people than for their heterosexual peers. It is disappointing that this hasn’t been highlighted in the report’s key findings as this would make it more likely that decision makers would take action to address inequalities.”

And that’s why this matters. Information and media attention translates into concern, which translates into funding, which translates into more support and better outcomes for LGBT youth. Over the last 15 years DIVA has seen local resources for young LGBT people dwindle at an extraordinary rate due to funding cuts. A report by NatCen in 2013 suggested that local authorities thought that while LGBT services were “a nice thing to do”, they were amongst the first to go when austerity forced cuts.

Perhaps the one-time funders think that everything’s alright now that LGBT rights are enshrined in a number of relatively recent laws. Well it’s not, as this report clearly shows if you know where to look.
gay youth 3
Our young people – and let’s not forget that we are talking about 15-year-olds here – are significantly more likely to exhibit risky health behaviours such as regular drinking, smoking and drug-taking. They are more likely to be bullied (and to say they have bullied others); they are comparatively less happy.

Somebody has to care about that.

Lily Tomlin in Grandma

Lily Tomlin in Grandma

Thanks to diva magazine

Grandma writer and director Paul Weitz says that he wrote the character of Elle Reid “hearing Lily’s voice”, and it’s Lily’s voice that lingers long after the credits have rolled in this surprising and delightful film that deserves awards attention.
Grandma with Lily Tomlin
A character led piece driven by the compelling stories of three generations of the same family, Grandma stars 76-year-old Tomlin as misanthropic grandmother Elle who has recently broken up with her much younger girlfriend, played by Judy Greer, when her teenage granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) arrives unexpectedly needing $600 before 6pm.

Elle, having cut up her credit cards to make wind chimes – “I’m transmogrifying my life into art”, she declares – is temporarily broke, so the pair spend the day rattling skeletons and unearthing secrets as they try to get the cash together without Sage’s overbearing mother, played by Marcia Gay Harden, finding out what it’s for.

Deeply political, Grandma touches on serious issues – not least teenage pregnancy and abortion – without feeling laboured or pushing an agenda, though it does acknowledge the gravity of the matter.

Weitz, whose previous projects include About A Boy and American Pie, himself says it wasn’t his intention to make light of a subject that continues to fiercely divide public opinion, but to let the audience draw their own conclusions. “It puts it in the context of the characters, who all have their own perspectives towards the issue,” he says.

But it’s not just a film about abortion. It’s about love, loss, and the complicated relationship many of us have with our mothers. And it’s also a lovely portrayal of an older lesbian, whose stories are so rarely told, especially in cinema.

The results are glorious, and Grandma might just be one of the best films of 2015. It might be low budget, but you don’t need big bucks when you’ve got quality performances by legendary actresses like Tomlin. Her personality shines through Elle, bringing to life, and despite being something of an anti-hero, she’s the Grandma I wish I had.

Grandma hits cinemas on Friday 11 December.

LGBTI refugees in Amsterdam

LGBTI refugees in Amsterdam

moved to separate accommodation after attacks

State Secretary of Security and Justice and Minister for Immigration Klaas Dijkhoff had earlier said he did not support separate accommodation for gay refugees because it was ‘stigmatizing’

LGBTI refugees Klaas Dijkhof

Amsterdam says it will place lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees in housing separate from the other asylum seekers after a series of attacks were reported.

Previously, State Secretary of Security and Justice and Minister for Immigration Klaas Dijkhoff said he did not support separate accommodation for gay refugees because it was ‘stigmatizing,’ Dutch News reported.

Five gay asylum seekers–three Syrians, one Iranian and one Iraqi–have been moved to new housing after they were spat on and attacked at their previous refugee center.

A spokesman for the Salvation Army, which is in charge of refugee accommodation in the capital, was quoted as saying that the men’s safety could not be guaranteed in their former housing.

The Parool newspaper reported that gay refugees will have their own wing in the Groenhof refugee center in a former care home close to the city centre early next year.

‘LGBTs are extra vulnerable and I consider it crucial that they have a safe environment to recover and receive care,’ city alderman Simone Kukenheim was quoted as saying.

According to NL Times, gay rights advocacy group COC wrote a letter to State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice in October reporting the number of incidents in asylum shelters in which gay asylum seekers were harassed and threatened because of their sexual orientation.

The group also said that the number of such incidents are likely to be under reported because many LGBTI refugees are too afraid to report what happened or do not know how.

At the time, Dijkhoff rejected the idea of a separate shelter for LGBT refugees, calling it ‘stigmatizing.’

The Times also reported that the Salvation Army and a housing association have teamed up and found a separate shelter for five gay refugees, men from Syria, Iraq and Iran.

This weekend another four refugees will be moved into a separate house under the supervision of Safe Haven, an organization that offers guidance to gay people with a multicultural background.

Thanks to Gay Star News

National Student Pride 2016

National Student Pride 2016

will highlight LGBT mental health

Next year’s Student Pride is to focus on the issue of LGBT mental health, it was announced today.

National student pride

The event, which takes place at University of Westminster from 5-7 February, will feature panel debates and discussions highlighting issues around mental health and asking why LGBT people are disproportionately experiencing poor mental health

A recent study by Cambridge University found that LGB people were two to three times more likely to suffer from longterm psychological and emotional problems than their heterosexual counterparts, and LGB people were also 50% more likely to report negative experiences with healthcare professionals.

Student Pride spokesperson Jamie Wareham told DIVA: “We chose mental health as our key focus this year because although it can be difficult to talk about, it’s a vital conversation to have.

“LGBT people are disproportionately affected by mental health and our community tackles topics best when we stand together. We want to break down the stigma, and give people a space to talk and understand that they are not alone.”

2016’s event will also feature an LGBT careers fair, a coming out discussion in partnership with R U Coming Out, and a YouTube panel with some of the most popular LGBT content creators. There will also be evening entertainment in the form of a Homecoming party at the infamous G-A-Y as well as a film screening of the blockbuster Milk at Regent Street Cinema.

EY’s Liz Bingham, whose company are sponsoring the event, said: “We are very proud to support National Student Pride for another year.

“At EY we are passionate about enabling people to come together in an environment where they feel included and respected. National Student Pride enables LGBT students to do just that.”