Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lembembe Tortured and Killed in Cameroon

Eric Ohena Lembembe, a prominent activist in Cameroon for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, was found dead in his apartment in the capital of Yaoundé, soon after he wrote about attacks in the country on organizations that support homosexuals, Human Rights Watch said in a statement on Tuesday. The rights group, which has collaborated with Mr. Lembembe on the reports, said his body was discovered by friends who had gone to his home after they had been unable to reach him by telephone for several days. His front door was padlocked on the outside, but through the window they could see his body on the bed, and alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, the Human Rights Watch statement said, Mr. Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands and feet had been burned with an iron. “We don’t know who killed Eric Lembembe, or why he was killed, but one thing is clear: The Cameroonian authorities’ utter failure to stem homophobic violence sends the message that these attacks can be carried out with impunity,” Neela Ghoshal, a senior L.G.B.T. rights researcher for Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. As part of his activism, Mr. Lembembe was an author and a writer about issues affecting the L.G.B.T. community. In his last blog entry this month for a Web site to which he contributed, Erasing 76 Crimes, Mr. Lembembe described attacks on groups that support gays and lesbians, the latest of which targeted the Access Center of Alternatives-Cameroon. “At about 7 a.m. on June 26, the staff discovered flames coming from the office of paramedics/psychosocial counselors. Firefighters did not respond to the blaze, nor did neighbors. The center was consumed by the fire. Although no one was killed, most of the equipment (desks, chairs, computers, fans, patients’ medical records, cooking utensils, etc..) was completely destroyed,” Franz Mananga, a director of the center, was quoted as saying in Mr. Lembembe’s report. “Cameroonian officials show no signs that they are aware of the problem. No one has denounced the attacks. No one has visited the scenes of the fire and the burglaries,” Mr. Lembembe wrote in the post, published on July 5. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Immigration Benefits For Binational Gay Couples To Change

WASHINGTON — The government says it will begin extending immigration benefits to gay married couples in light of the Supreme Court’s decision striking down key portions of a federal gay marriage law. That means that U.S. citizens or permanent residents with foreign spouses would be able to sponsor their partners for U.S. residency, like straight married Americans can.  Read More Here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Will Vietnam Beat U.S. On Gay Marriage?

HANOI ― June 21, 2013: International human rights advocates rarely give communist authorities here a thumbs up. Vietnamese bloggers, folk singers and journalists are behind bars for deeds and words that in many countries are considered birthright freedoms. Yet in one respect, Vietnam's powers-that-be seem open-minded. As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, Vietnam's National Assembly delegates have agreed to debate the same moral and legal question, raising the possibility that Vietnam could become the first Asian country to sanction such unions. "I'm optimistic," says activist Tran Khac Tung during a recent "LGBT" political workshop. The English acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender has become shorthand here for a cause that has swiftly moved from a taboo to a popular topic of political discourse. In a culture with folklore that exalts the plodding perseverance of the turtle, the advance has been swift . A process that required decades of struggle in the West has been compressed into a few years here. Only recently have Vietnam's gays and lesbians stepped from their shells in such numbers large enough to be considered a movement. Last summer, Hanoi hosted Vietnam's first gay pride parade that, unlike other unsanctioned demonstrations here, did not result in any arrests. Things were much different only six years ago, when Le Quang Binh left the international non-profit Oxfam to founded iSEE, a Hanoi-based research and social justice advocacy group. There was scant data regarding gays and lesbians homosexuality in Vietnam. The LGBT community, such as it was, could most readily be found in a variety of online forums that attracted tens of thousands of participants, the vast majority of whom used pseudonyms. When Binh reached out to the Ho Chi Minh City-based webmasters of these forums, some suspected he might be a government agent. Achieving a sense of trust, the scattered constituency agreed to collaborate and promote openness and equal rights. At an early strategy session, activists targeted 2020 as the year Vietnam would legalize same-sex marriage. Could they beat their goal by seven years? "Ask the prime minister," Binh says, laughing. … There is less cynicism now. "I've seen there's change," Binh says. "They understand that human rights is human rights. It's the right thing to do." And as one box gets checked off, they could move on to others. "We always push for more freedom, more justice, more equality," Binh says. "We test the waters."  Read More Here.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Nigeria Bans Gay Marriage: Setting Prison Sentences Of Up To 14 Years

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — May 30, 2013: Nigeria's House of Representatives voted Thursday to ban gay marriage and outlaw any groups actively supporting gay rights, endorsing a measure that also calls for 10-year prison sentences for any "public show" of affection by a same-sex couple. Under the proposed law, Nigeria would ban any same-sex marriage from being conducted in either a church or a mosque. Gay or lesbian couples who marry could face up to 14 years each in prison. Witnesses or anyone who helps couples marry could be sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Anyone taking part in a group advocating for gay rights or anyone caught in a "public show" of affection also would face 10 years in prison if convicted by a criminal court.  Read more at Washington Post.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Priest-Led Mob Attacks Gay Rights Marchers in Georgia

MOSCOW — A throng of thousands led by priests in black robes surged through police cordons in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, on Friday and attacked a group of about 50 gay rights demonstrators. Carrying banners reading “No to mental genocide” and “No to gays,” the masses of mostly young men began by hurling rocks and eggs at the gay rights demonstrators. The police pushed most of the demonstrators onto yellow minibuses to evacuate them from the scene, but, the attackers swarmed the buses, trying to break the windows with metal gratings, trash cans, rocks and even fists. At least 12 people were reported hospitalized, including three police officers and eight or nine of the gay rights marchers. “They wanted to kill all of us,” said Irakli Vacharadze, the head of Identoba, the Tbilisi-based gay rights advocacy group that organized the rally. Nino Bolkvadze, 35, a lawyer for the group who was among the marchers, said that if they had not been close to the buses when the violence began, “we would all have been corpses.”  Read more at NYT.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Third U.S. State In Three Weeks Legalizes Gay Marriage

UNITED STATES ― Gay marriage continues its sweep across the U.S. Crowds cheered on Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday evening after he signed a bill making Minnesota the 12th state in the nation, and the third in three weeks, to allow same-sex marriage. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness certainly includes the right to marry the person you love," Dayton said before signing the bill at the steps of the state Capitol in St. Paul. The move came after the Democrat-controlled Senate passed the legislation on a 37-30 vote. Before the vote, same-sex marriage opponents protested at the Capitol. A paper tombstone on the Capitol lawn read, "RIP MARRIAGE, 2013." Two years earlier, the Legislature put a referendum on the ballot that would have banned same-sex marriage. Minnesotans voted down the proposal in November. Gay marriage will become legal in Minnesota on Aug. 1. However, churches are not required to perform the unions. Minnesota is just the latest in a string of states to allow gay marriage. Delaware became the 11th state to approve such unions last week -- and Rhode Island took similar action a week before that. Washington, Maryland and Maine voters approved same-sex marriage in November. The District of Columbia and the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York also allow gay marriage. 

Ekta Transglobal Foundation Loves Facebook!

We love Facebook! Please like our Ekta Transglobal Foundation Facebook page, and share us with your social media friends. And please join Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's Facebook page to follow his travels and work for the LGBT community. Thank you.

Moscow Won’t Allow a Gay Rights Parade

MOSCOW — Moscow officials rejected on Wednesday an application by gay rights advocates to hold a parade later this month, saying the event could undermine a campaign to instill patriotic values in the city’s youth. The refusal emphasized the Russian government’s support for a wave of legislation in cities across the country banning “homosexual propaganda.” The Moscow decision was issued just days after a man was killed in a savage attack that investigators said was motivated by homophobia in the city of Volgograd in southern Russia. “According to Russian legislation, we must work clearly and consistently on maintaining morality, oriented toward the teaching of patriotism in the growing generation, and not toward incomprehensible aspirations,” said Aleksei Mayorov, the director of regional safety for the city administration, in a statement carried by the Interfax news agency. “In our opinion,” Mr. Mayorov continued, “there is no demand for these kinds of events in the city.” Critics of a proposed federal ban on “homosexual propaganda,” an umbrella term for rallies and other public demonstrations by gay rights advocates, say the local laws are already encouraging hate crimes against gay men. The murder in Volgograd last week of a 23-year-old man, who investigators said had been sodomized with beer bottles and beaten to death with a concrete block, was reported on the national television news and evoked an outcry from Russia’s gay community.  From New York Times.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's Biographical Film and Mission

Please watch and share this movie about Prince Manvendra and his mission. We need all the attention and help we can get in continuing to build a global platform for LGBT Advocacy. Thank you for sharing!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Uruguay Lawmakers Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage

Uruguayan lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so. Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the legislative building, erupted in celebration Wednesday when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present. "We are living a historic moment," said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that drafted the proposal. "In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July." The "marriage equality project," as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, but senators made some changes that required a final vote by the deputies. Among them: Gay and lesbian foreigners will now be allowed to come to Uruguay to marry, just as heterosexual couples can, said Michelle Suarez of the Black Sheep Collective. President Jose Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days. Read more here.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gay Couple Marry In South African Town’s First Same-Sex Union

Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole
Photo: Sunday Tribune/Independent Online
DURBAN, South Africa—Two men married on Saturday in a rare South African gay wedding in KwaDukuza on Saturday, in what has been described as the town’s first same-sex union. Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, both 27, walked down the aisle in front of 200 guests at the Stanger Siva Sungam community hall, reported the Independent Online. Thoba, a Joburg-based IT specialist, is from Shakaville, KwaDukuza and Tshepo an audit manager at PwC. They have known each other for years and dated on and off, before stabilizing their relationship. Now that they are wedded, they will take on the double-barrelled surname of Sithole-Modisane. The couple appeared to enjoy the support from the community, family and friends. The couple was profiled in February by Mamba Online, and acknowledged there is a lack of openly gay role models in South Africa, especially among people of color. “People are still ashamed because the vast majority of the black community is not accepting of being a homosexual. They see it as largely being a ‘Western trend’ that is in fashion lately,” said Tshepo. “If our action of getting married and being bold and proud about it is emulated by more members of the LGBTI community who are black, then so be it. If people are inspired by our love and actions and want to do the same to follow in our footsteps then we don’t mind being labelled as ‘role models’ in the LGBTI community." South Africa outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, and in December 2006, South Africa became the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalize same-sex marriage.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

One Result If DOMA is Struck Down: Immigration Benefits For Gay Couples

Lavi Soloway, an attorney who represents same-sex married couples on immigration issues, said he expects his clients will be able to apply for green cards for their spouses as soon as DOMA is struck down, no matter which state they reside in. That's because in immigration law, your marriage is recognized if it's valid in the place where it was performed. In estate tax, the specific case Kaplan and Alito talked about, a marriage is considered valid only if it's recognized in the state you are residing in when your spouse dies. If DOMA is struck down, then, it will probably lead to a case by case analysis of the 1,138 federal statutes that use marriage as a factor to see which benefits gay couples who move away from states that grant same-sex marriages will qualify for. In some of those statutes—such as estate tax exemptions—the place of residence will be the deciding factor, while in others, such as the ability to apply for a green card for your spouse, it will only matter where your marriage license was issued. In cases where it's not clearly spelled out, it will most likely be up to the federal agency to decide whether the marriage is valid or not. Read the full article here.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The U.S. State Department's LGBT Travel Guide

U.S. State Department LGBT Travel Information - "By fighting for the rights of so many others, we realize that "gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights." –Secretary Clinton, December 6, 2011. Attitudes and tolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons vary from country to country, just as they vary among U.S. cities and states. Most LGBT travelers encounter no problems while overseas, but it helps to be prepared and research your destination before you go. There are a number of countries that provide legal protections to those who are LGBT. Unfortunately, there are others that do not, and a significant number that even criminalize consensual same-sex sexual relations.  Persons convicted in these countries could be sentenced to prison, and/or be punished by fines, deportation, flogging, or even sentenced to death. Before choosing one’s international destination, LGBT travelers should carefully consider the laws and biases of their international destination and decide how open one can be regarding one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.  Personal judgment and knowledge of local laws and customs before one goes will help ensure your safety." For more information on international GLBT rights see

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

World Awaits Impact of Baby Cured of HIV

Jay Ferchaud
March 6, 2013, United States―As the dust settles around the global news of an HIV cure that worked for a Mississippi infant, the effect of the announcement remains to be seen in a state with one of the nation's worst outcomes for people with the virus that causes AIDS. An HIV-positive mother from rural Mississippi gave birth to the girl who would go down in history as only the second person to have been cured of the virus. Konkle-Parker's colleague, UMC pediatric HIV specialist Dr. Hannah Gay, treated the child 30 hours after birth.

"It was a high-risk case," Gay said. "I suspected more strongly that this baby could be infected than I would if the mom had been treated during pregnancy." Gay said she began treatment with three drugs, a more intense measure than normal. HIV/AIDS awareness bracelets and buttons sit in a basket to be given away Feb. 7 on National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. "We drew tests on the baby just as we were starting those medicines, and they showed us the baby already was infected," she said. "Infection probably occurred just before delivery. "When we consider starting any medicine in any patient, we always consider the risk-benefit ratio, and when the risk is something as serious as HIV disease, then it's worth the benefit you may get from preventing that disease," Gay had said during a news conference Monday night. "So even though you never want to start drugs that may cause toxicities, if the benefit outweighs the risk, you do it." The girl—whom Gay and her team lost touch with for about five months—responded better than expected. After her return to treatment, they discovered she didn't have the active virus in her system. "In the developing world, this is huge," said Konkle-Parker, who noted the instances of babies contracting HIV in the womb is a major problem. "In the United States, it's much more of an adult illness."

While Gay said the media attention has been overwhelming, she is glad this case continues to receive attention. "But I guess the message that I want to get across to the public very strongly is we don't know yet if we can create the same outcome in other babies." Konkle-Parker remained cautiously optimistic, saying the next step is to see the outcome replicated. "But what I hope will come of this, and it may take a long time, but I hope it will point us in the right direction to come up with a cure we can consistently apply to other babies worldwide."  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gays Celebrate Marriage In France, And Adoption Breakthrough

February 13, 2013: France's National Assembly passes a highly-debatable bill that allows same-sex marriage, a step that was celebrated by pro-gay rights activists in the country. Gay rights activists were celebrating Wednesday after France's National Assembly endorsed a hugely controversial bill to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption. The bill, comfortably adopted by the primary chamber on Tuesday evening, still has to go to the Senate for examination and approval, but the upper house is unlikely to prevent the groundbreaking reform from becoming law by the summer. "I was in the Assembly and it was really a very moving moment," Nicolas Gougain, a spokesman for the Inter-LGBT rights group, told AFP. "We so badly want to see this bill adopted after many, many years of campaigning for equal rights. "It was very satisfying too that there was such a clear majority and that the debate allowed deputies to address the falsehoods that have been spread for months about families with gay parents." Gougain said his organisation would be following the debate in the Senate closely but voiced confidence the gay community would be able to celebrate a landmark victory with a once-in-a-generation party at the annual Gay Pride march, scheduled to take place in Paris on June 29.
[PHOTO: People demonstrate in support of the government project to legalize same-sex marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in Paris, Sunday Dec. 16, 2012 (AP)]

GLBT Rights Mostly Out Of Reach In Eastern Europe

February 10, 2013:  Ania and Yga have been inseparable for the last 17 years, living together as a couple in the Polish capital Warsaw but their love is seen as second class in this deeply Roman Catholic country. As Britain and France legalise gay marriage, in January Polish lawmakers voted down three bills on civil unions for unmarried couples whether gay or straight. With the Polish constitution defining marriage as a relationship between a man and woman, the drafts did not include the right for gays to marry or adopt. In July, parliament rejected four similar draft laws. The conservative Polish scenario is repeated elsewhere in the region where homophobia is still an issue, except for the overwhelmingly secular Czech Republic, which allows gay couples legal rights within civil unions. "It's humiliating when I fill out official documents as Yga's partner and bureaucrats cross out the word 'partner' and replace it with...'other'," Ania Zawadzka told AFP. Although the situation won't change overnight in Poland, one of Europe's most religious and conservative countries, a recent survey suggests acceptance of civil unions for lesbians and gays is slowly on the rise. While 69 percent of Poles opposed gay marriage and adoption in a February survey, a majority 55 said they backed civil unions for both gay and straight couples. For Robert Biedron, Poland's only openly gay member of parliament, it's an encouraging sign. "We will continue to submit bills on civil unions until one of them is accepted because we want to live in an egalitarian society, without exclusion or discrimination," Biedron, an MP with the anti-clerical Palikot Movement, told AFP recently. "I can't imagine a Poland in which civil unions won't be recognised," he added. Having entered parliament for the first time in 2011, the Palikot Movement is part of a new wave on the left-wing of Poland's political scene, until now dominated by ex-communists. Read more here, and stay tuned to Ekta Transglobal for GLBT-rights news.
[PHOTO: People hold a giant rainbow flag as they take part in a gay pride parade in Warsaw on June 2, 2012. (AFP)]

Gay Royalty On The Oprah Show

In 2006, Oprah Show viewers met the world's only openly gay prince, Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of Rajpipla, India. Prince Manvendra told how difficult it had been for him to come out. He was publicly rebuked by his parents and risked his freedom—homosexual acts were punishable by 10 years to life in prison. When Prince Manvendra returned to The Oprah Show in 2011, he was happy to report that his country's attitudes about homosexuality were changing. India had overturned its anti-gay laws, gay pride parades were springing up all over the country, and Prince Manvendra was back on speaking terms with his father. "The mainstreaming has started happening," he told Oprah. "A lot of guys are actually coming out to their parents, and a few of them have even come out to the society."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

GLBT Adoptions The New Norm In Quebec

February 9, 2013: "I would like to have a mother, but I wouldn't want to lose my two dads," says Frida, a radiant six-year-old Canadian girl unaware of the international controversy raging over gay parenting rights, AFP reports. In Britain and France the debate over gay marriage and parenting has provoked heated debate. But in Canada, a nation born out of their new world colonies, Frida's situation is no longer very unusual. A gay couple in their 40s adopted Frida when she just a baby. Cheerful and vivacious she runs wild in the Montreal home of Laurent Demers and his partner Steven LeBlanc, burning off energy before bedtime under the watchful gaze of her doting fathers. Britain voted on Tuesday to become the 11th country to allow gay couples to marry―but the reform divided Prime Minister David Cameron's ruling Conservatives and must go before the upper chamber before becoming law. In France, where the issue has sparked impassioned protests, that National Assembly approved homosexual marriage and adoption only last month. Canadian gays and lesbians have been tying the knot since June 2005, when a series of court decisions forced Ottawa to legalize gay nuptials on the basis that denying gay couples the right to marry was discriminatory. Read the full story from Tengri News here. And stay tuned to

Anti-Gay Group Receives Canadian Funding To Work In Uganda

February 10, 2013: An evangelical organization that describes homosexuality as a "perversion" and a "sin" is receiving funding from the Government of Canada for its work in Uganda, where gays and lesbians face severe threats. The federal government has denounced virulent homophobia in that East African country and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has condemned plans for an anti-gay bill that could potentially include the death penalty for homosexuals. Nevertheless, the federal government is providing $544,813 in funding for Crossroads Christian Communications—an Ontario-based evangelical group that produces television programming—to help dig wells, build latrines and promote hygiene awareness in Uganda through 2014. Until Tuesday, the organization's website carried a list of "sexual sins" deemed to be "perversion." Just hours after The Canadian Press contacted the group to ask a spokesperson about the site, the page in question disappeared from public view. The organization is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency. Just a few days ago the Quebec government announced its desire to create its own parallel agency because it no longer supported CIDA's policy choices. Read the full story on CBC News here.
[PHOTO: The minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency, Julian Fantino. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)]

In Bed With The President Of Ghana?

Sunday, February 10, 2013: International gay lobbyist Andrew Solomon has called on President John Mahama to take a lead role in promoting gay and lesbian's rights in the West African sub-region. Solomon says the mere fact that there is a national debate on gays and lesbian rights in Ghana, "even if the debate is to have gays lynched," is progress. The lobbyists remarks appeared in an article in The New York Times, Friday. The article made reference to the raging debate on homosexuality in Ghana; his (Solomon's) relationship with president John Mahama and how it all began, including the recent denial and quick u-turn of the Information and Media Relations Minister Mahama Ayariga on the relationship between President John Mahama and Andrew Solomon. According to him the president personally called to apologize to him, a day after his minister had put out an obviously incorrect information. He denied ever raising funds for John Mahama's campaign in the 2012 elections as well as paying an amount of $20,000 to purchase the president's book. Solomon also denied categorically that he was desperately pushing for Nana Oye Lithur to be appointed as Minister, just so she could champion gay rights in Ghana. He said he has no such power to meddle in the foreign affairs of another country adding "The only way I may have influenced him on gay rights was by welcoming him into the household of a joyful family with two dads. It is deeply unsettling to be implicated in a national scandal, to know that my attempts to be kind and helpful to someone would become his millstone."

"The Deadly Seven"―Countries With Death Penalty For Homosexuality

Seven nations still carry out executions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Currently, the nations that prescribe capital punishment for homosexuals are: Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Yemen. South Sudan, the world's newest country, may become the eighth nation to legally condone the execution of gays; and, if religious extremists have their way, Uganda could become the ninth. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA) released the fourth edition of its massive "State Sponsored Homophobia" report in 2010. The most significant change in that edition: One-sixth of the world’s gays and lesbians were emancipated when India’s Delhi High Court legalized gay sex last the previous July. Compared to the previous report, where they listed the 77 countries prosecuting people on ground of their sexual orientation, this year you will find ’only’ 76 in the same list, including the infamous 5 which put people to death for their sexual orientation: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen [plus some parts of Nigeria and Somalia]  ILGA said that 76 nations criminalize "consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent."  They are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In addition, gay sex is illegal in the Cook Islands (a self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand), the Gaza Strip in Palestine, and Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. "Naming and shaming homophobic countries is essential but it is also important to recognize countries where progress is being made," said ILGA Co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini. "For this year we are happy to see the federal district of Mexico City and Argentina joining the community of states and local authorities recognizing equal marriage rights to same-sex couples―an example of genuine inclusiveness, which will set the standard for many to follow." Download ILGA's State-Sponsored Homophobia Report and Gay and Lesbian rights maps HERE.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Russia’s Anti-Gay ‘Propaganda Law’: Assault On Freedom of Expression

January, 2013: Russia’s Parliament has backed a bill which outlaws the “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” in a move that will restrict fundamental human rights and is in breach of the country’s international obligations to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from discrimination, Amnesty International said today. The State Duma voted almost unanimously in favor of the controversial measure with only one parliamentarian against and another abstaining, during the first reading. The law would make the “promotion of homosexuality among minors” an administrative offense in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 roubles (US$ 16,200). “This law is an attack on the right to freedom of expression,” said David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International. There is no legal definition in the Russian law of what constitutes ‘propaganda of homosexuality’ and the law could be interpreted very loosely. They are going to punish people for something which is perfectly legitimate – expressing themselves, being themselves. GLBT activists organized today a 'Kissing Day' protest in front of the Duma. Kissing couples were pelted with eggs and verbally abused by supporters of the law. Police reportedly detained 20 GLBT activists. Find global GLBT rights resources at:
[PHOTO: Police reportedly detained 20 GLBT activists protesing the bill outside the State Duma]

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

British Parliament Approves Gay Marriage

British lawmakers voted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, siding with majority opinion in the country but exposing major divisions within the ruling Conservative Party. Nearly seven hours of debate in Parliament culminated in a 400-175 vote in favor of a bill that authorizes same-sex marriages but also exempts religious organizations from having to perform them. The measure puts Britain on track to join other European nations, including Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands, in opening up marriage to homosexual couples. The bill now goes to committee and then to the House of Lords. But its approval in the House of Commons makes it highly likely that it will eventually become law. The vote handed Prime Minister David Cameron, whose administration sponsored the legislation, both a political victory and a political defeat. Approval of the bill allows him to portray himself and his government as in tune with public opinion and modern values, but it came at the cost of an angry mutiny by his own Conservative backbenchers, who said he had no mandate to press for such a change. An early count showed that as many, if not more, Conservatives lawmakers voted against the measure as for it, with many others abstaining. Its passage relied on the support of lawmakers from the opposition Labor Party and the Liberal Democrats, the junior party in the government coalition. The result is a blow to Cameron’s authority as head of the Conservatives at a time when the party’s rank and file are already nervous about his administration’s ability to turn around Britain’s sputtering economy. In a rare move, Cameron showed up in the House of Commons to cast a vote Tuesday evening. “I think it’s right that gay people should be able to get married too,” the British leader said in a last-minute televised interview. “This is, yes, about equality, but it’s also about making our society stronger… It’s an important step forward for our country.” ―Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times. For more global GLBT rights updates, please find Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's Ekta Transglobal Foundation on Facebook!

Crown Princess of Sweden Presents 'Gay of the Year' Award

Swedish Crown Princess Victoria made headlines after handing out the country's "Gay of the Year" award to an author whose writings about the 1980s AIDS crisis has gripped the nation. "It's a true delight for me to be here tonight. To feel your power, your happiness and your sense of community," the princess said in a speech hailed as historic by media and gay rights activists. The prize was given to author and comedian Jonas Gardell, whose book and TV series "Never Dry Tears Without Gloves" has sparked a national debate on the treatment of gay men during the onset of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. "Few have touched us and made us so proud as you have. Your message is clear. Straighten your back. Stretch out your hand. We will wipe each other's tears," Victoria said to the author after a surprise appearance that prompted a standing ovation at the glitzy award show. "Victoria, you're our crown princess, but I think tonight I'm our queen," Gardell replied. Last year's Gay of the Year title went to Sweden's first elite footballer to announce he's gay, Anton Hysen, son of former Liverpool star Glenn Hysen. Sweden legalized gay marriage in 2009 and the Lutheran Church, which was the state church until 2000, has authorized the celebration of same sex marriages. Please support Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's GLBT activism at Ekta Transglobal.
[PHOTO: Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria holds hands with Swedish gay author Jonas Gardell, after handing out the "Gay of the Year" award to Gardell during the annual Swedish QX Gay Gala in Stockholm, Sweden on February 4, 2013.]

Homophobia Around the World―Nigeria's Anti-Gay Bill Resurfaces

Damian Ugwu, Regional Program Director of Africa for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reports on Nigeria: "While we watch the flames of homophobia in Uganda with horror, the same fires are burning in countries around the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Nigeria. The latest version of the deceptively named "Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill" declares that the "public show of same sex amorous relationship [sic] directly or indirectly is hereby prohibited." Incredibly, it would punish same-sex affection―yes, even a simple hug or kiss―with 10 years in prison. The Nigerian anti-gay bill recently resurfaced in Nigeria's lower parliament after a long silence from legislators. On Nov. 13, 2012, the House of Representative unanimously referred the "Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill" to a committee to scrutinize every section of the bill. This was after the Nigerian Senate unanimously passed the bill a year ago. The committee is also expected to call for a public hearing before the bill is put to a vote." Read the full article HERE, and please support Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil's GLBT rights advocacy at

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chef Art Smith and Husband Jesus Salguerio to Climb Kilimanjaro for African GLBT Rights

Celebrity Chef Art Smith will be climbing Kilimanjaro with his husband Jesus Salguerio to bring attention to GLBT rights in Africa! 
Top Chef Master, personal chef to Oprah, and executive chef of Art and Soul DC and Table Fifty-Two in Chicago Art Smith challenged his husband, artist Jesus Salgueiro, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with him this July in support of GLBT rights in Africa. Smith, best known as the master of fried chicken for his indulgent southern cuisine, dropped 120 pounds last year after a complete diet-and-fitness makeover, and his new healthy comfort food cookbook, entitled Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort: How America’s Favorite Celebrity Chef Got it Together, Lost Weight, and Reclaimed His Health!, hits shelves this May. But Art’s desire to conquer Africa’s tallest peak came from very a different place. Smith and his husband will join a very small club of married gay couples who have climbed the 19,000 foot mountain. Ekta Transglobal salutes this global GLBT leader and will continue to report on this historic event. Please stay tuned to for more.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Five GLBT Trends to Watch For in the Americas in 2013

Javier Corrales and Cameron Combs report great news for GLBT unions in this Huffington Post article: "The extent to which same-sex unions are recognized in the Americas would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. Argentina, Canada, four Brazilian states, nine U.S. states, Mexico City and one Mexican state and the tiny Caribbean island of Saba have legalized marriage equality, and Ecuador, Uruguay, Colombia and smaller jurisdictions, such as the Mexican state of Coahuila, recognize civil unions."
Stay tuned to the Ekta Transglobal website for global GLBT data.