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In first for Asia, Taiwan parliament legalizes same-sex unions

Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalize marriage equality, as it passed a bill that allows same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.

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All photos taken during Taiwan's Pride parade in 2015

Taiwan became the first place in Asia to legalize marriage equality, as it passed a bill – by 66 votes to 27 – that allows same-sex couples to form “exclusive permanent unions” and another clause that would let them apply for a “marriage registration” with government agencies.

In 2017, Taiwan’s top court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the constitution, with judges at that time giving the government until May 24, 2019 to make the changes or see marriage equality enacted automatically.

The law, however, only: 1. allows same-sex marriages between Taiwanese, or 2. with foreigners whose countries recognize same-sex marriage. It also permits adoption of children biologically related to at least one of the same-sex pair.

But while this development is monumental, there are members of Taiwan’s LGBTQIA community – much like in Western countries where marriage equality has also already been legalized – are also lamenting the over-emphasis on same-sex marriage as a seeming “end-all issue”.

In 2015, for instance, during Taiwan’s Pride, some members of Taiwan’s LGBTQIA community lamented the “hijacking” of an LGBTQI event because of the lack of opportunity to highlight “non-mainstream LGBTQI issues.”

LGBTQIA activist 徐豪謙, for instance, noted at that time that “people only talk about the politically correct and popular issue of same-sex marriage, as if we don’t have other issues to face.”

In other parts of Asia, only Vietnam decriminalized gay marriage celebrations in 2015, even if it stopped short of giving full legal recognition for same-sex unions.

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In the Philippines, various government officials – including Pres. Rodrigo Duterte – have expressed support for civil unions, not marriage equality per se. To date, however, even the anti-discrimination bill is failing to gain traction in Congress, and is still stalled after almost 20 years.

Travel

Ranking the best (and yes, worst) countries to be LGBT in Europe

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

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Photo by Zoltan Tasi from Unsplash.com

Identifying as part of the LGBTQIA community, and considering heading to Europe? It may be worth considering the best – and yes, worst – European countries for those who live under the rainbow.

Malta, Belgium and Luxembourg came at at the top of the list of 49 nations ranked based on legal and policy practices for LGBTI people, according to a new assessment from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia are the worst countries in Europe for LGBTI rights.

With each nation receiving a score from 0-100%, Malta received 90% and Azerbaijan just 3%. These rankings are used to put together the “2019 Rainbow Europe Map” (https://www.ilga-europe.org/sites/default/files/rainbowmap2019png1_0.png), a campaign from ILGA-Europe that looked at 69 key factors in every country in Europe, including equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition and bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum.

The Top 10 most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe (2019):

  1. Malta
  2. Belgium
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Finland
  5. Denmark
  6. Norway
  7. Portugal
  8. France
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Sweden

The Top 10 least LGBT-friendly countries in Europe(2019):

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Turkey
  3. Armenia
  4. Russia
  5. Monaco
  6. San Marino
  7. Belarus
  8. Liechtenstein
  9. Moldova
  10. Latvia

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An exhibit tracing the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings

Various cities in the US will host “Art after Stonewall, 1969─1989”, a major exhibition of more than 200 tracing the (largely Western) history of the LGBTQIA movement’s development.

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Composite art of Diana Davies’ “Marsha P. Johnson Hands Out Flyers for Support of Gay Students at N.Y.U.” (c. 1970)

As LGBTQIA communities all over the world honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprisings, various cities in the US will host Art after Stonewall, 19691989, a major exhibition of more than 200 tracing the (largely Western) history of the LGBTQIA movement’s development.

This exhibition is currently on view in New York, at two venues in Manhattan: at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (until July 20), and at the Leslie-Lohman Museum (until July 21). Then the exhibition travels to Miami for Art Basel season, at the Frost Art Museum FIU (Sept. 14, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020). The show will then travel to the Columbus Museum of Art (March 6 – May 31, 2020).

Diana Davies, Untitled (Marsha P. Johnson Hands Out Flyers for Support of Gay Students at N.Y.U.), c. 1970. Digital print. Photo by Diana Davies / © The New York Public Library/Art Resource, NY

The Miami presentation, opening on September 14, will be the first time that all of the works in this show will be exhibited together under one roof: all of the photographs, paintings, sculpture, film clips, video, music, and performance pieces, plus historical documents and images taken from magazines, newspapers and television (the current New York showing of Art After Stonewall is split up between two venues). 

The show will headline Miami’s Art Basel in December: when the global spotlight shines on this city for one of the world’s leading art fairs, attracting 70,000+ collectors, cultural leaders, artists and media influencers from around the world, and will remain on view through January 5.

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The exhibition presents the work of openly LGBTQ artists alongside other artists who also engaged with the emerging queer subcultures, between 1969 and 1989. The Stonewall Riots are considered a historic flash-point for the LGBTQ movement, and the first two decades of art-making that immediately followed the uprising have never been explored this way before.

The list of artists includes: Vito Acconci, Laura Aguilar, Diane Arbus, Lyle Ashton Harris, Judith F. Baca, Don Bachardy, Lynda Benglis, JEB (Joan E. Biren), Louise Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Arch Connelly, Tee A. Corinne, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Karen Finley, Louise Fishman, Nan Goldin, Michela Griffo, Sunil Gupta, Barbara Hammer, Harmony Hammond, Keith Haring, David Hockney, Peter Hujar, Holly Hughes, Tseng Kwong Chi, Greer Lankton, Annie Leibovitz, Christopher Makos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frank Moore, Alice Neel, Catherine Opie, Jack Pierson, Marlon T. Riggs, Jack Smith, Joan Snyder, Carmelita Tropicana, Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz, among others.

Although much has been written on the impact of the LGBTQ movement on American society, fifty years after Stonewall many key artists are still relatively unknown and are brought to light.

Ann Patricia Meredith, Lesbian Physique, Gay Games II / Triumph in ’86 San Francisco, CA, 1986, from the series A Different Drummer, 1970-1990, silver gelatin print

Some of the artists included in Art After Stonewall lived in Miami and created art here between 1969-1989, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Martin Kreloff. The work by Gonzalez-Torres also confronted the AIDS crisis: a haunting billboard created by the artist in 1989 that ran for six months above the site of the Stonewall, informing viewers along NY’s busy Seventh Avenue about the need for activism.

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The work by Kreloff featured in the show is the poster for the very first White Party fundraiser for AIDS, held in Miami in 1985.  

Keith Haring, October 20, 1985, acrylic on canvas tarp

The history-making idea for the White Party AIDS fundraiser was hatched by Kreloff and friends in Miami, and became an inspiration for communities nationwide to raise much-needed funds to help those suffering from the epidemic.

Scholars today recognize that just like New York’s Stonewall Riots, Miami was also ground-zero to an equally significant chapter in the LGBTQ civil rights movement, and this is also represented in the exhibition. In 1977, Anita Bryant led her notorious campaign to overturn a Miami-Dade County ordinance that banned discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Diana Davies, Gay Rights Demonstration, Albany, NY, 1971, 1971. Digital print.
Photo by Diana Davies / © The New York Public Library/Art Resource, NY

This sparked a turning point for the movement that experts in the fields of civil rights and LGBTQ studies emphasize as equally important to Stonewall. 

It was the first time the national media covered LGBTQ rights in this way. The story about Bryant’s crusade in Miami was the cover of TIME and Newsweek magazines, made headlines in newspapers across the country and on network television news. Before this Miami political battle to protect LGBTQ rights from Anita Bryant’s crusade, no other LGBTQ news event had been covered in the US then. This mobilized activists in cities and towns nationwide. A major component of the activism against Bryant’s campaign featured creative advertising, posters and graphic art. 

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Now, 42 years after the Anita Bryant crusade, things have changed in Miami. The museum has received a groundswell of community support to bring this exhibition to South Florida. This exhibition has been made possible at the Frost Art Museum FIU by Bank of America and the Funding Arts Network. Additional support has been generously provided by Our Fund, an LGBT Community Foundation, and the Art after Stonewall Circle of Friends.  

Peter Hujar, Gay Liberation Front, Come Out, 1970, offset lithograph, © 1987 The Peter Hujar Archive LLC, collection of Flavia Rando, image courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York, and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

At the national level, major support for the exhibition is provided by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Keith Haring Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by Jeff Chaddock & Mark Morrow; Envisage Wealth; Tom W. Davis; Equitas Health; Prizm; Lynn Greer & Stevie Walton & the Women’s Collective; John & Michaella Havens and Parker Havens & Dean Panik, in honor of Barbara Havens; D. Scott Owens & Kevin Kowalski; Harlan Robins & Shawn Shear; Dickinson Wright PLLC; and John L. Wirchanski. The show is accompanied by a 300-page catalogue with essays by more than 20 established and emerging scholars as well as entries by artists, including FIU’s very own Alpesh Patel.

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4 Ways to travel to Kansas in style

Traveling is more than an action; it is also an experience that should go down in the books. For this reason, it should be stamped with your uniqueness and personal style.

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Traveling is something that is unique to each person. The way that they plan for and experience their trip is likely different from the way another person would. One of the reasons is because everyone has their own personality and style. Traveling is more than an action; it is also an experience that should go down in the books. For this reason, it should be stamped with your uniqueness and personal style.

If you need tips on how you can travel in style next time you’re heading over to Kansas whether for business or work, carry on reading below.

1. Dress Stylishly

Everyone has a different way they like to dress when headed to the airport. For some people, comfort is the most important thing; while for others, it’s about being stylish. The good news is that you can do both and don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. One practical demonstration of stylish and comfortable would be to wear leggings and a loose fitted top. You could also go for paper bag waist Bermuda shorts and a shirt. The goal should be to wear clothes that make you feel free but aren’t boring.

Also, note that since you’re headed to Kansas, you want to bring along a mix of smart and casual clothes. Whether you’ll be going to one of the museums or visiting a bar, the goal is to look good and stand out.

For some people, comfort is the most important thing; while for others, it’s about being stylish.

2. Buy Nice Luggage

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The luggage you carry can also make for more stylish traveling, so choose wisely. If your goal is to stand out in luggage claim, then perhaps get an A22 carry-on luggage as it’s high-gloss and has GPS technology to help you weigh your bag.

In addition to this, a nice accessory to carry along is an in-flight wash bag so that you don’t have to empty your cosmetics into a clear plastic bag when you’re passing through airport security.

The luggage you carry can also make for more stylish traveling, so choose wisely.

3. Take a Chartered Flight

How you choose to travel is usually down to factors such as your budget and preferences. If you’ve ever flown on a private jet, before then, you know that it can be a luxurious experience as well as the ultimate way to fly in style. You can charter flights to go just about anywhere whether it’s a national or international destination. If you’re unsure about how much it’s going to cost you, it’s possible to get instant quotes online.

You can charter flights to go just about anywhere whether it’s a national or international destination.

4. Take the Right Accessories

Following on from the last point, accessories are a great way to make yourself look more stylish when traveling too. Instead of taking along old school earphones, why not invest in a pair of air pods or wireless headphones? Some of the best noise canceling earphones for 2019 is The Mid A.N.C. or the Samsung AKG N700NC Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones.

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Aside from earphones, another travel accessory to consider is a cashmere and silk wrap. Seeing as the airport and plane tend to get a little cold, it makes a great accessory to keep you warm and comfortable. Lastly, the Apple iPad 9.7-inch is a great way to stay entertained while waiting and flying.

Accessories are a great way to make yourself look more stylish when traveling too.

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Ecuador passes same-sex marriage

With the decision by the Constitutional Court, Ecuador joins a handful of Latin American nations – including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay – that have legalized same-sex marriage either through judicial rulings, or less frequently, legislative action.

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Photo by fernandozhiminaicela from Pixabay.com

Ecuador became the latest country to allow same-sex marriage, with five of nine judges in the country’s top court ruling in favor of two gay couples who sued after their request to be married was denied by the country’s civil registry.

With the decision by the Constitutional Court, Ecuador joins a handful of Latin American nations – including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay – that have legalized same-sex marriage either through judicial rulings, or less frequently, legislative action.

Also with this development, the Latin American nation is now the 27th country to allow same-sex marriage.

In Asia, still only Taiwan became the first territory in Asia to pass same-sex marriage.

There are still 68 nations where homosexual relations are illegal.


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Brazilian Supreme Court criminalizes homophobia, transphobia

Brazil has actually already legalized same-sex marriages. But violence in the country toward LGBTQIA people remains common, with 387 murders and 58 suicides happening in Brazil in 2017 due to “homotransphobia” or negative feelings towards homosexuals or transsexuals, according to Grupo Gay da Bahia.

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Photo by Raphael Nogueira from Unsplash.com

Brazil’s Supreme Court voted to criminalize anti-LGBTQIA discrimination, with eight of Brazil’s 11 Supreme Federal Court (STF) justices ruling to include homophobia and transphobia within the country’s laws prohibiting racism.

The country’s laws banning racism were passed in 1989, allowing for sentences of up to five years. The new clause would legally protect the country’s LGBTQIA community, which actually still has some of the highest rates of violent LGBTQIA deaths in the world.

With the Supreme Federal Court (STF) decision, the Congress – which is held by a conservative majority and is strongly influenced by evangelical churches – may still pass a law specifically addressing such discrimination.

Justice Carmen Lucia Antunes argued in her ruling that the LGBTQIA community is treated differently in Brazil’s “discriminatory society,” and as a result, it faces a higher rate of violence. “All human beings are born free and equal and should be treated with the same spirit of fraternity”.

Brazil has actually already legalized same-sex marriages. But violence in the country toward LGBTQIA people remains common, with 387 murders and 58 suicides happening in Brazil in 2017 due to “homotransphobia” or negative feelings towards homosexuals or transsexuals, according to Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB). For 2019, at least 141 have already been killed.

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has also been very vocal about his anti-LGBTQIA sentiment, claiming that the Supreme Court was “completely wrong” and had overstepped its powers, moving into legislative territory.

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In a 2011 interview with Playboy Brazil, Bolsonaro said he would rather have a dead son than a gay son. He was also quoted as saying that that they could not let Brazil become a “paradise for gay tourism”.

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High Court in Botswana rules to decriminalize same-sex relations

In particular, the judges stated that “a democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness”, as well as highlighting that discrimination serves to hold back not only LGBTIQ people, but society as a whole by stating that “societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity.”

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Photo by hbieser from Pixabay.com

On 11 June 2019, a full bench of the High Court of Botswana ruled to remove a relic of its colonial past by striking down section 164(a) and (c), and section 167 of the penal code, which criminalize same-sex relations, or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature”, and prescribe a prison sentence of up to seven years for those found guilty.

The court unanimously ruled that the provisions are discriminatory, against public interest and unconstitutional. 

In particular, the judges stated that “a democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness”, as well as highlighting that discrimination serves to hold back not only LGBTIQ people, but society as a whole by stating that “societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity.”

With this decision, the court continued its record of recognizing the human rights of LGBTIQ people in the country. In 2014 the High Court ruled that the government had to allow the registration of LEGABIBO, an LGBTIQ organization. And in 2017, in two separate cases – one concerning a trans man, and the other a trans woman – the High Court ruled that the refusal of the National Registration to change the gender marker of trans people violates their rights to dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, equal protection under the law.  

With this ruling Botswana joins Angola, Mozambique, India, Trinidad and Tobago and other countries that also recently struck down similar colonial-era laws. However, there are still numerous countries that maintain this discriminatory colonial-era relic, including places such as Singapore, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Kenya, where the High Court ruled last month to maintain the barbaric law.

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