Saudi Arabia – Stop the beheading and crucifixion

Editorial:  NIGRA has always been involved in ‘Human Rights’, and we have already written about Saudi Arabia today and its conflict of interest in the United Nations and the Human Rights Commission; we therefore urge you to sign this petition by clicking on the ‘Stop’ button below and entering your email address on the electronic form.

We have to stop this beheading and future torturing and beheading in Saudi Arabia, and the British Government must come out against this!

Saudi Arabia is about to behead a 21-year-old man and then crucify him to display his body in public. This same country was just chosen to head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel. If it weren’t so serious this would be funny!

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested when he was 17 for participating in demonstrations against the government, then he was convicted under torture. But his case is not an exception in the kingdom — Saudi Arabia has executed more than 100 people this year, that’s a rate of one every 2 days!

France has already requested that Saudis stop this execution, but the US, Germany, and the UK also have very cosy relationships with the regime. The best way to get urgent action is to channel our outrage to these leaders who can persuade their Saudi allies.Sign up now to save Ali, and then stop this human rights farce, his execution could happen anytime.

Young man in Saudi



Why Do Some Gay Mormons Still Seek Out Conversion Therapy?

Despite all the forces aligned against conversion-therapy programs, many gay Mormons continue to turn to them.


SALT LAKE CITY – Men holding other men, as fathers cradle their newborn sons. Men running naked in the woods, like innocent boys during playful childhoods. Men caressing a silky scarf, like they might a woman.

These were among the activities at a Journey Into Manhood weekend retreat, and, for $650, these Mormons were told that their attractions could change from gay to straight — or at least diminish.

Three years ago, former Utahn Michael Ferguson, a gay Latter-day Saint, and three Orthodox Jews sued the nonprofit group JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing), which offers reparative therapy and had helped facilitate Journey retreats.

After vetting the groups’ methods, a New Jersey jury determined in June that such strategies were “unsuccessful” and constituted false advertising.

So-called conversion therapy for minors now has been banned through legislative action in California, Oregon, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, and a bill has been introduced in Congress to classify as fraud any commercial conversion therapies and all advertising that purports to alter one’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The American Psychological Association has declared it not only impossible but also unethical to try changing sexual orientation.


<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">James Bromley delivers closing arguments for the plaintiffs in the trial Ferguson v. JONAH. In a first-of-its-kind trial, five people sued the gay conversion therapy organization JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) for consumer fraud.  </span>PHOTO BY ALEX REMNICK | NJ ADVANCE MEDIA
James Bromley delivers closing arguments for the plaintiffs in the trial Ferguson v. JONAH. In a first-of-its-kind trial, five people sued the gay conversion therapy organization JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) for consumer fraud.  


The newly formed, independent Mormon Mental Health Association has come out against any therapies “which have been developed to change, alter or reduce sexual orientation.”

LDS Church-employed counselors don’t use reparative therapy either.

Despite all these forces aligned against conversion-therapy programs, many gay Mormons continue to turn to them.

Why? Perhaps they are desperate to rid themselves of attractions they see as unwelcome and are eager to marry someone of the opposite sex — as their faith preaches.

Balancing faith and feelings

The 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recognizes that same-sex attraction is a “complex reality for many people,” according to, the faith’s official website on the topic, and teaches that attraction itself is not a sin, only acting on it is.

Therapists with LDS Family Services do not offer any kind of “sexual-orientation change efforts,” church spokesman Doug Andersen confirms. But they are willing to help members who “desire to reconcile same-sex attraction with their religious belief.”

The church “maintains professional relationships with a variety of organizations to ensure the diverse needs of church members can be met in an individualized and ethical way,” the spokesman said.

The church’s silence on groups such as Journey to Manhood, however, should not, Andersen said, be “construed as a tacit endorsement or stamp of approval.”

Without explicit condemnation from top LDS leaders, change programs have sprung up, tapping into a yearning for normalcy and acceptance.

Mormonism is a community in which it has been difficult “to come out and get social support for disclosing your orientation without ramifications,” said Laura Skaggs Dulin, a gay LDS therapist in a mixed-orientation marriage.

The appeal of these retreats and workshops, said Dulin, who holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from San Diego State University and specializes in same-sex attraction-related issues, “is not surprising.”

By not providing an alternative, the church unwittingly created a vacuum, she says, and conversion-aimed retreats have filled it.

Healing childhood wounds

In 2000, Rich Wyler, a Mormon who believes his same-sex attraction diminished with the use of some therapies, created a website, People Can Change, to profile success stories and offer online support.

Wyler’s view, unlike that of the LDS Church, is that everyone is born heterosexual, but traumas and other experiences push some toward same-sex attraction.

Two years later, Wyler teamed up with David Matheson, an LDS therapist specializing in “gender-affirming therapy,” to craft the first Journey Into Manhood weekend.

The retreats are rooted on the premise that many gay men “often had far too little healthy touch from father figures or brothers when they were young, and so they crave male touch today to fill that deficit.”

The program includes, the People Can Change website says, “journaling, visualization, group sharing, safe healing touch and intensive emotional-release work.”

The retreat experiences often include a “rebirthing process” (naked men are covered with baby powder and wrapped in a blanket, explained one Jewish counselor in his trial deposition, while father figures stroke and hug them in a loving way). The men redo “adolescence” (they evaluate their bodies as they grow and change in puberty). Finally, the players find themselves in “manhood” (they snuggle with a silky cloth, imagining a woman at their side).

“All of the exercises are designed to help you identify and process the underlying issues that may be alienating you from your authentic heterosexual masculinity,” the website says.

Jeff Bennion, a Journey Into Manhood volunteer from Utah, said the experiences have helped him confront his shame, not only his same-sex attractions but also with many other issues.

“It taught me that my feelings were innately good, and a natural response to the circumstances I faced,” Bennion writes in a New York Post op-ed. “It motivated me to try to repair important family relationships, and helped me learn how to better relate to other men, whom I’d previously ignored or disdained. It’s made me much more accepting of myself and of others.”

Not everyone, though, has a positive experience with such tactics.

Nightmarish journey

Craig Nielson, the youngest of four from a devout LDS family who had served a Mormon mission in Chile, didn’t know what to expect when he attended a Journey Into Manhood weekend about five years ago outside of Chicago.

Nielson had long dreamed of finding a woman to marry in an LDS temple. By the time he was 21, however, he realized his attraction to men was more than mere admiration. He went to the retreat to learn how to “manage his feelings,” he says.

When the five men in his group were asked to address problems they had with their mothers, Nielson balked. He had no anger toward his mom, he said, nor did he blame her for his same-sex orientation. Instead, he told the facilitator, who was not a licensed counselor, that he wanted help nurturing his feelings for the woman he was dating.

“I said, ‘I really like (her),’ ” Nielson recounted. “And he said, ‘It’s not enough to like (her), you have to want to rape her.’ And that is a direct quote.”

Stunned by what he heard, Nielson says he expressed his immediate discomfort with the facilitator’s inappropriate choice of words.

Nielson believes use of the term rape was likely an unintentional “slip” of the tongue by the facilitator. It did, however, convince him that these methods were not right for him.


<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">Mormons Building Bridges group leads the annual Gay Pride Parade through downtown Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 3, 2012. </span>RNS PHOTO BY SCOTT SOMMERDORF | THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE.Mormons Building Bridges group leads the annual Gay Pride Parade through downtown Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 3, 2012. 


Coming together

Dulin, the gay LDS therapist, designs and promotes same-sex attraction Mormon outreach interventions. She hopes to help move the Mormon community beyond reparative therapy to a more evidence-based multicultural approach.

Journey Into Manhood workshops may fill a need, she realizes, but she would like to see approaches that offer “a much healthier and more ethically sound alternative.”

Others, too, are looking in a new direction.

In recent months, but especially in the trial’s aftermath, some LGBT-affirming and LDS-affirming therapists have attacked one another with escalating vitriol.

Now a committee of 10 people has formed a new group, Reconciliation and Growth, to bring both sides together.

It has produced a four-page document for training therapists who deal with religious clients. The list spells out best practices, including an awareness of faith beliefs, the complexity of sexual attraction and the need to treat clients with dignity, rather than proscribe behavior.

Kendall Wilcox, a gay Latter-day Saint who helped launch a new podcast program called “Out in Zion,” is working to foster a better way by founding a small group practice called “Circles of Empathy.”

He knows firsthand the inner battles. He tried for years to make his orientation go away. He attended a Journey weekend and saw Mormon therapists offer false promises to troubled young members.

“The people aren’t the problem,” he said, “it’s the programs and their underlying assumptions that need to be exposed.”

And the answer, he said, is simple: “End conversion therapy now. Period.”


Writing Bi Characters

New post on Gay YA

Writing Bi Characters

by Marilla

by Corinne Duyvis

Identification. Labels. Exploration.

These topics are often brought up in YA. Even more so in queer YA: after all, discovering your own identity and who you are or aren’t attracted to is a huge part of many queer kids’ lives. Something that often leads to even more confusion—on all sides—is when someone is attracted to more than one gender. Yes, the “confused bisexual” borders on stereotype, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur. I mean, I was super confused about my orientation as a young teenager (which I’ve written about at DiversifYA before) and I had a very easy time of it compared to many others.

There are a couple of reasons for this common confusion. One is that there’s still a stigma about bisexuality/biromanticism. Greedy, confused, fakers, insatiable, etc. If those are the main messages you hear, then no wonder you wouldn’t want to apply that label to yourself.

Another is that bi people are still comparatively underrepresented in the media. There’s a long history of erasing bi people and their orientation, both in real life (current celebrities, historical figures) and in fiction (in the work itself, in reviews and discussions). Sometimes these people are labeled straight or gay, or there’s a ton of debate about “straight vs. gay” without ever allowing for other options; sometimes their same-gender or other-gender relationships are dismissed or written off as platonic; on the rare occasion the person’s or character’s attraction to multiple genders is acknowledged, they’re often identified as experimenting, confused, fluid, liberated, straight-with-an-exception, gay-with-an-exception, or disliking labels.

The words “bisexual” or “biromantic” are rarely used, despite being very common ways for real-life people who are attracted to multiple genders to identify. Many still shy away from the word(s). Thus, when authors do explicitly label their characters as bi, it stands out. Author Tess Sharpe (of the fabulous Far From You) has often spoken of the amazing reactions she’s received from teenagers in regards to her identifying as bi, and writing a character who does, too.

This kind of representation matters. It’s important to use the word, to defy stereotypes, to explore what this identity means. I’m glad more and more people realize how much bi visibility matters.

At the same time, this advocacy for bi representation raises many questions. In fact, when Malinda Lo suggested I write about this topic on Twitter (thank you, Malinda!) several people immediately chimed in ditto-ing their interest.

After several years seeing these questions and rebuttals online, I thought I’d put together some of the questions I’ve most often seen.

(These are specifically about bi visibility/erasure/identification—if I were to include terminology and stereotypes, we’d be here all day.)


But isn’t it true that teenagers often are confused or experimenting? Isn’t that what YA is about? Shouldn’t those teenagers also be represented?

Sure, it’s true for a lot of people. It was true for me! Not everybody leaps—or has to leap—to the label. People should never feel pressured into identifying a certain way. Bi advocates like myself need to be careful not to shove the label on people who may not want it.

I think it’s possible, however, to acknowledge the trend of erasure and misrepresentation of bi people and characters and how this is often done by defaulting to other labels and descriptors, without in turn erasing the individual people who do use those labels and descriptors.

Bi advocates aren’t saying, All these characters should be bi, end of story. We’re saying,Realistically speaking, way more of these characters would identify as bi—why this persistent reluctance to call them that?

As someone who has been a confused teenager, and whose sexuality is fluid, I would never want to take stories about those experiences away. We need more queer representation of all kinds.

I just also want explicit bi representation.

We can have it all. (/bi slogan)


How would I even show my character is bi? I mean, what if they’re in a single relationship during the course of the book?

Bi people are still bi even when they’re single or in a relationship with a particular gender.

If I’m in a relationship with a man, I’m not straight; I’m still bi.

If I’m in a relationship with a woman, I’m not gay; I’m still bi.

If I’m in a relationship with a non-binary person, I’m (a) going to be extra pissed if you attempt to label me or said relationship as lesbian/gay/straight, and (b) still going to call myself bi.

And if I’m single, guess what? I’m still bi. Just … a lonely bi.

(Call me.)

So the way to show they’re bi is simple: have them be attracted to more than one gender. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t check out other people or refer to past/crushes relationships. Not to mention they can still be explicitly referred to as bi in dialogue or narration.


On that topic, why this insistence on using the word? What if it just doesn’t come up in my novel? Besides, it feels artificial. I don’t label my straight characters, either.

You’re right. Sometimes it doesn’t come up. In my second book On the Edge of Gone, there’s an important bi character who is never labeled as such. She was called bi in a line that was taken out in revisions, and I never found another good place to mention it. I still feel anxious about this, to be honest.

That said, the reason so many people are so keen on having authors use the word because it’s still so rare. I think it’s important for readers—and particularly questioning teenage readers—to have every road wide open to them. Part of that is seeing their options represented in books.

Straight people don’t suffer from erasure; in fact, they’re considered the “default setting.” On the other hand, if you don’t explicitly call a bi character bi, many people will interpret them differently.

Since bi erasure is so common, and so many authors have internalized biphobic ideas without realizing it, the best way to defy that is to be extra thoughtful about how we approach the topic. Decades of erasure don’t go away by accident or “the natural flow of things”—they go away by consciously countering that erasure.

That’s why it matters to at least try.


But isn’t sexuality fluid? Why bother with labels in books?

Labels aren’t always bad. Labels can connect you to a community, a history, peers. They can help you realize you’re not alone, help you make sense of yourself, help you realize that it’s normal and common and a real, existing thing.

I’ve always seen labels as descriptive (this is my behavior, and this term fits that behavior) rather than prescriptive (this term identifies me, thus I must behave in certain ways); I’ve never felt boxed in by them. If people want to assume parts of my identity based on a label, or see me as nothing but a label, the problem is with those people, and not with the label itself. I’m also not going to stop calling myself female just because that gives people incorrect ideas of what I am or should be.

For me, seeing more positive and explicit bi representation as a teenager would have made things far easier.

If a person doesn’t want to commit to a label, that’s their choice. The thing is, we do have to give them that choice. Part of that is having stories that represent all these identities, experiences, labels and lack thereof, and more.


By insisting on bi visibility, aren’t you erasing people who don’t want to be labeled?

I hope not. If I ever cross that line, I hope someone calls me on it.

As I said above, it’s possible to acknowledge and fight bi erasure without in turn erasing others; I don’t want less of one thing, I want more of another. That way there’s no pressure on any single character or person to identify one way or another and represent an entire group in the process.


But what if it’s a fantasy/SF world that doesn’t have the word? Or a historical setting?

In a historical setting, you of course have to be true to history. Easy as pie. (Note that even if the word or concept didn’t exist, the people sure did.) If you’re writing a fantasy roughly based on a historical era, you have more flexibility, in my opinion; why could dragons and magic exist, but a word to identify people attracted to multiple genders would be a step too far?

For speculative settings, it’s entirely up to you. If you want to use the word, you totally can. You’re the one building these settings, after all! It’s entirely possible that another world may have come up with their own terms for less common sexual/romantic orientations, or they could even straight-up use the same terms as we do. After all, plenty of other modern ideas are often used in fantasy worlds, and you are theoretically “translating” this fantasy language into English. It’s logical to use words that readers will be familiar with.

Or maybe the world really doesn’t have any words for it. That could make sense, too, given how recent the terms we use are. In your world, maybe queer people are so oppressed and erased that it’s not ever spoken of; maybe queer people are so accepted and integrated that it feels odd to single it out.

Me, I had that latter situation in Otherbound. My fantasy-world protagonist is in a relationship with a boy but harbors an attraction to a girl. It’s never labeled or remarked on by anyone. Sometimes I wish I’d taken another route and been more explicit about her bisexuality; other times, I’m happy with my choice, as I know many queer people are hungry for these kinds of settings.

You’re got lots of options, really.


If my character is attracted to multiple genders or is exploring that option, and I decide not to have them identify as bi … am I contributing to bi erasure?

I mean … it depends? Everyone’s opinions are different, and I can’t comment on your book without having read it. All I ask is that authors strongly explore their reasons for this choice. It’s easy to internalize biphobic ideas and to default to a “simpler” option without genuinely investigating why.

If you do decide to have your characters identify otherwise or deny labels, I would personally love to see more genuine exploration and research of that character choice, rather than an off-hand mention as an apparent get-out-of-jail free card. Put in the work, either way.

One thing I would like to see more of is the existence of bi identity within these narratives, even if the character doesn’t identify as bi. After all, bi erasure doesn’t only refer to the way people are rarely called bi, but also to the way the option isn’t even brought up in situations where, logically speaking, it really should be at least mentioned.

There are lots of ways to do this, particularly when exploration of identity is part of the character’s arc. For example, have your character wonder about being bi; have them stumble on the idea during research if they’re not already familiar with the term; have someone else bring it up as an option; have a different character identify as bi; have your character perhaps go from identifying one way to identifying another.

For a specific example of how egregious this oversight can be, see my friend Kalen O’Donnell’s post about the TV series Faking It.


OK, but I don’t have a bi character or anyone attracted to multiple genders in my book.

I like that you’re reading through this long-ass post regardless! Not every book is going to have bi characters, which is fine, but keep in mind that the term and concept most likely still exist in your world. It means a lot it you could acknowledge that in places where it might logically arise. For example, by not jumping to gay the moment a character is interested in someone of the same gender.


I’m feeling awfully pressured right now.

In the end, the book and character are your own. I’m genuinely just trying to answer questions I’ve seen over the past few years.

Some of the people who asked these questions may have simply been defensive or actively trying to find ways to avoid representing bi characters. Still, I like to think that many of them were genuinely well-intentioned.

Openly discussing these matters—for example, the way Tess Sharpe has spoken about how meaningful her explicitly bisexual protagonist has been to readers—can make a lot of authors consider issues they wouldn’t have normally and change their approach in future books.

I’m not telling you what you should do; I’m trying to show you what your options are in different circumstances, and informing you of the wider context.


In the end, be honest about your character. Be honest about their experiences. Be honest about the bi, the pan, the fluid, the confused, the unlabeled, and the others.

But be honest about the world, too.

Different Families, Same Love

Pro-Family Poster

Look: ‘Different Families, Same Love’ poster set to go into each Irish school

By John Mack Freeman

Just in time for same sex marriages to begin in Ireland in the next two months, a new poster has been released by the government that will go into each school. Called “Different Families, Same Love” (and featured above), it shows the full diversity of families, hopefully exposing children to the idea that family means a lot of different things. Via PinkNews:

Launching the poster, Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan directed: “This practical resource will be invaluable to teachers in creating inclusive classrooms. It will also aid in successfully implementing the compulsory Anti-Bullying Procedures.

“These procedures require every school in the country to engage in preventative and educational strategies to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. This poster will contribute to the work that primary schools are already doing in this regard and furthermore sends out a clear message to the LGBT children and LGBT-headed families of our society that they are welcome and cherished in our schools.”

General Secretary of the INTO Sheila Nunan added: “The INTO strongly endorses this poster and its use in all primary school classrooms.

“This resource sends an affirming and welcoming message to LGBT children and LGBT-headed families.

London – Ronan Parke & Heather Peace headline Equality Ball


Ronan Parke & Heather Peace headline Equality Ball

Fundraiser for the human rights work of the Peter Tatchell Foundation

Saturday 28 November, 7pm to 12.30am, Stratford, London

Singers Ronan Parke, Heather Peace and the acclaimed Delta Band will headline the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s inaugural Equality Ball on Saturday 28 November 2015 at The Old Town Hall, Stratford, London E15 4BQ. The theme is ‘Baubles & Bling’. Dress to impress.

Teen sensation Parke was runner up in Britain’s Got Talent and will perform Stand Up For Love by Destiny’s Child.

Both Ronan and Heather Peace will be attending the whole event, including dinner.

Delta Band – who have worked with Olly Murs, Bryan Ferry and Girls Aloud – will lead the late night dancing with cover versions of pop classics.

Our honoured guest on the night is Sir Ian McKellen.

Other invitees include Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF) patrons: Lord Waheed Alli, Baroness Joan Bakewell, Caroline Lucas MP, Baroness Liz Barker, Lord Michael Cashman, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Paul O’Grady and Pragna Patel.

The palatial Old Town Hall, Stratford, once described as the ‘finest building in Essex’, is Grade II listed; having been restored to its full Victorian splendour.
See here:

Tickets are £50 per person, which includes a welcome drink and buffet dinner. Tables of 10 can be booked for £450.
Tickets here:

7pm for 7.30pm start
8pm buffet dinner
9.30pm Heather Peace & Ronan Parke
10pm Delta band

Peter Tatchell will be available for photos with ticket holders.

All proceeds from the Equality Ball will fund the human rights work of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which includes a mixture of LGBTI and broader human rights initiatives, both in the UK and internationally.

November 28 is our inaugural Equality Ball. It is scheduled to take place annually on the last Saturday in November, with a different theme each year.

The Chair of the PTF Board of Trustees, Jeremy Hooke, said:

“This is a great opportunity for our friends and supporters to have a glamorous night out that contributes financially to our human rights endeavours. Peter Tatchell has been very ill from overwork because we don’t have enough staff. I hope the revenue from The Equality Ball will enable us to take on an extra worker to take the pressure off him and make our work even more effective.”

Peter Tatchell, PTF Director, added:

“Heather Peace and Ronan Parke are amazing singers. I’m grateful they’ve agreed to generously donate their talent to make The Equality Ball a night to remember. It’s going to be a fabulous evening. For one night only, I’m going glam – all in the cause of fundraising for human rights.”

If you cannot attend the Equality Ball but would like to support the PTF financially, please consider making a donation here:

Theme: Baubles & Bling
Dress to impress.
7pm Saturday 28 November 2015. Carriages from 12.30am
Stratford Old Town Hall, 29 Broadway, London E15 4BQ
Guest performers: Heather Peace, Ronan Parke & Delta Band
Tickets: £50 – includes welcome drink, buffet dinner and entertainment

Photos of the headline performers & venue for download:

Sample music from the headline performers
Ronan Parke:
Heather Peace:
Delta Band:

Further information:

Peter Tatchell
Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
0207 403 1790

Jeremy Hooke
Chairman, Board of Directors, Peter Tatchell Foundation
0778 862 8400

For more information about the Peter Tatchell Foundation’s human rights work, to receive our email bulletins or to make a donation:

Copyright © 2015 Peter Tatchell Foundation, All rights reserved.

This bizarre animation perfectly sums up the ‘gay cake’ row



You’re probably already tired of stories about homophobic bakers refusing to make gay wedding cakes – but this one has a twist


Earlier this week, Colorado bakery ‘Masterpiece Cakeshop’ become the latest to be told by a court that it is not allowed to refuse to make cakes for gay weddings.

The incident is the latest in a long long long line of similar cases – from Oregon’s Sweet Cakes By Melissa to Northern Ireland’s Ashers Bakery, there’s apparently no shortage of ignorant bakers in the world.

However, a group of Taiwanese Animators have attempted to breathe fresh life in to the row – with a bizarre animation.

The clip features bakery owner Jack Phillips, who insisted it was his religious right to not bake a cake for the wedding of Charlie Craig and David Mullins.

He is pictured in a Christ-like denial – before crying as the more successful bakeries get all the business from happy gay people.

The animation is plenty quirky, however – also featuring him baking a same-sex couple into a cake and putting up a ‘no homo’ sign.

The group specialises in satirising current events in their animations – recently bringing to life the row at online news site Gawker, after an article ‘outing’ a businessman was pulled down.

The Gawker staff were portrayed as babies with assault rifles – while the businessman was shown being literally ‘forced’ out of the closet

Saudi Arabia Rules?


Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets Saudi Arabian Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images


Editorial:  Is there a conflict  within the United Nations regarding the appointment of Mr Faisal Bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador at the UN in Geneva, as he has been elected as Chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council. (LINK)

To any reasonable minded person you would definetly think so, especially as Saudi Arabia has insisted that the  UN keeps LGBT rights out of its development goals (LINK)

We ask you the readers what do you think of this situation?


Campaign launched highlighting economic case for pro-LGBT rights


The Guardian Logo


Open for Business ‘pulls together data that makes the case for the LGBT community in the workplace’


Rainbow flag with couple














Fourteen global businesses, including Google and Royal Bank of Scotland, have launched a campaign to put forward the economic case for ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender individuals.

Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York, the Open for Business campaign published research showing economies, companies and individuals perform better in societies that support LGBT employees.

The report by Open for Business spells out that nearly 80 countries criminalise consensual, adult same-sex activity, or use other laws to marginalise and persecute LGBT individuals.

The initiative, which also includes technology group IBM, consultancy EY and law firm Linklaters and backed by businesses that employ 1.3 million people globally, comes after the controversy sparked by the US state of Indiana in March, when it backed legislation that appeared to allow discrimination against the LBGT community. The row prompted Apple’s boss Tim Cook, who spoke out last year about being gay, to call for a rethink of such laws that have been passed in 20 US states.

In an editorial in the Washington Post at the time, Cook said: “Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas [which also accepted the legislation], we will never tolerate discrimination.”

Deborah Sherry, UK and Ireland partnership director at Google, said she expected more businesses sign up to Open For Business. The group also includes PR company Brunswick, Standard Chartered bank, financial companies American Express and Mastercard, the McKinsey consultancy, news service Thomson Reuters and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin group.

It is not advocating specific actions against counties or companies which discriminate against LGBT individuals. Sherry said: “It’s specifically to bring together data and make the business case that if you include the the LGBT community in society, if people can bring their whole selves to work, you attract better people, it lowers [business] costs…its makes them more productive and more entrepreneural and so the company has better output.

“Clearly the LBGT community has got various states of rights and inclusion in society, but there is still much to be done. And change often happens from the ground up so Open for Business is an initiative to pull together the data that makes the case for the LBGT community in the workplace in the same way that has been made for gender and minorities.”

The report includes analysis by the Harvard Business Review, which shows that companies with greater diversity perform better than those which do not. The research found that employees at more diverse companies are 45% more likely to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year and 70% more likely to report that the firm had entered a new market.

The report cites reactions to companies in countries where there are laws discriminating against LBGT workers. It raises India, where in 2013 a law decriminalising gay sex was rescinded. Business such as IBM, Royal Bank of Scotland, Cisco, Citigroup, Google, Dell, Novell, General Electric and Microsoft met at the Bangalore campus of Goldman Sachs to discuss strategies to protect their LGBT employees.

It also cited research by MV Lee Badgett, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Public Policy & Administration at the University of Massachusetts, estimating the impact of discrimination on India’s GDP as up to 1.4% of economic output.


A breakthrough… Irish gay rights group to march in New York Paddy’s Day parade

Members of the New York City Police Department march in the St. Patrick's Day parade past protesters, Monday, March 17, 2014 in New York. The banner reads "Boycott Homophobia." The city's St. Patrick's Day parade stepped off Monday without Mayor Bill de Blasio marching along with the crowds of kilted Irish-Americans and bagpipers amid a dispute over whether participants can carry pro-gay signs. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Members of the New York City Police Department march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade past protesters, Monday, March 17, 2014 in New York. The banner reads “Boycott Homophobia.” The city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade stepped off Monday without Mayor Bill de Blasio marching along with the crowds of kilted Irish-Americans and bagpipers amid a dispute over whether participants can carry pro-gay signs. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) - A break through


THE NEW YORK St Patrick’s Day committee has allowed an Irish LGBT group to march in the 2016 parade, carrying a banner, for the first time in the event’s history.

Speaking to from Queens this evening, Louth man Brendan Fay called it “a stunning announcement” and a “marvellous moment.”

During a board meeting of the committee, it was decided to accept the application of the Irish LGBT group the Lavender and Green Alliance, of which Fay is a co-founder.

This is it. This is a historic moment. It’s amazing.

The landmark decision appears to bring an end to a 25-year struggle by Irish and Irish-American LGBT activists to openly take part in the world’s largest St Patrick’s Day event.

In a statement, Fay added:

We have been on a long and winding road to equality, a road marked by painful exclusion and years of protests and arrests.

With this decision, we are transformed from cultural outsiders to insiders who can share in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a vital expression of our heritage and culture - blasiopats

The move comes amid increasing pressure on organisers to allow for a fully inclusive parade.

In 2014, Bill deBlasio became the first New York mayor in a generation to boycott the event, due to the ban on openly gay groups.

In March, after Guinness withdrew support from the parade, a group of LGBT employees of TV sponsors NBC were allowed to take part, but some activists regarded this as an unsatisfactory compromise.

In July, John Dunleavy was ousted as chairman of the committee, and replaced by Quinnipiac University president Dr John Lahey, who had been lobbying internally for the inclusion of LGBT participants.

In a statement sent to, Lahy said:

Since 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, the birth of Irish independence, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 17 is a special opportunity for renewed commitment to Irish values and traditions, and the Irish role in the 21st Century.

We are working with the Irish government in this anniversary year to teach our young people the lessons of sacrifice and heroism, of love and tolerance, embodied in the Irish spirit.

Irish politicians have traditionally taken part in the parade during annual St Patrick’s Day trips to the United States, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan marching in 2014 and 2015.

Last year, however, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton publicly vowed not to participate, “unless progress was forthcoming” in adding LGBT groups to the fold.

Brendan Fay, who has been arrested several times while picketing the parade, and 15 years ago helped set up the alternative St Pat’s For All event, concluded:

It will be a great day for the Irish diaspora and for all New Yorkers as we will honor the centenary of 1916 Rising together.

The words from the 1916 proclamation, ”cherishing all the children of the nation equally” will be real and meaningful

Major companies form group to push for LGBT rights globally

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NEW YORK (AP) — A dozen corporations, including Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Coca-Cola Co., are joining a new coalition to push for LGBT rights in the workplace in places beyond the U.S. and Western Europe.

The organization is partly a response to the recent setbacks for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in countries like Russia, Uganda and the Middle East. The Human Rights Campaign-led group will push for protections in the workplace globally, including in countries where LGBT individuals face legal discrimination or harassment.

“They deserve a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families no matter where they live,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

Corporate America has been cited as a force in the push for gay rights in the U.S., with some companies offering LGBT protections and same-sex partner benefits going back decades. Hundreds of companies signed statements advocating for same-sex marriage when the issue to the Supreme Court earlier this year.

The coalition members are: the consulting firm Accenture, AT&T Inc., software company CA Technologies, Coca-Cola, Destination Weddings Travel Group, Google, IBM, Microsoft, home furnishings maker Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co., china and glassware company Replacements Ltd., and Symantec Corp. HRC officials expect the group’s members to grow.

“We have long supported LGBT rights, but it is very difficult to implement protections for our employees and for their families when laws do not exist or it’s a hostile environment,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft.

The group collectively employs nearly 1.4 million people in 190 countries and has combined annual revenue of nearly $550 billion.

The coalition will provide the members a common platform to talk about LGBT workplace protections globally. It also will be a platform for companies to get advice on how to implement LGBT friendly policies in places where legal protections may not be there, said Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program.

HRC since 2002 has issued a report yearly that scored how well large companies dealt with LGBT-specific issues. However the report, known as the Corporate Equality Index, focused mostly on the U.S., not elsewhere.

The new coalition will join an already existing group of advocacy organizations and companies that have been pushing more workplace protections for individuals beyond the U.S. For example, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, two companies who are not in HRC’s inaugural group, have been individually vocal about workplace protections in the countries they do business.

“The conversation around the positive business impacts of LGBT equality is increasingly a global one,” said Todd Sears with Out Leadership, a business focused LGBT rights organization, which has held global business focused summits on LGBT workplace issues since 2011.


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