Panda Parade

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Some of the 1,600 papier-mache pandas are displayed at Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as part of their first appearance in the city. -- Photo via Voice of America

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In Argentina, a Court Grants Sandra the Orangutan Basic Rights

jerbearinsantafe:

Yeah Sandra, I hope she lives the rest of her life free…

Originally posted on TIME:

An orangutan named Sandra has been granted certain legal rights by a court in Argentina.

Lawyers for Argentina’s Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued that Sandra was a “non-human person” and was being detained illegally in Buenos Aires’ zoo, the BBC reports.

The case rested on whether the court decided the orangutan was a “person” or a “thing” and after judges rejected the writ several times, they finally ruled the ape had rights that needed protecting.

In a similar case earlier this month, a New York court decided that a chimpanzee did not have legal personhood and therefore was not entitled to human rights.

If Sandra’s case isn’t appealed, the orangutan will live out her days enjoying greater freedom in a sanctuary in Brazil.

[BBC]

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Elton John marries his partner of 21 years, David Furnish

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Elton and David exchange vows -- Photo via Telegraph

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Elton, David and their two sons as well as guests -- Photo via Instagram

Congratulations to Sir Elton John and David Furnish who have tied the Knott in the UK at their home. Here’s a tv news report from the CBC, (they seem to have their photos and narration out of sync). Next is a video of all the Instagram photos posted from the event and finally news coverage from Maev Kennedy and agencies writing for The Guardian

Couple officially wed exactly nine years after their civil partnership and post pictures of their big day on social media
 

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Elton John posted a picture online of him with David Furnish signing paperwork as they officially marry. Photograph: eltonjohn/Instgram/PA

Sir Elton John and David Furnish have officially married – nine years to the day after they tied the knot in a civil partnership ceremony.

The happy couple and their sons, Elijah and Zachary, all wore dark blue suits and – as proved by an overnight Instagram photograph of their footwear lined up in front of the fire – very well-polished black shoes. The sons carried the wedding rings, and in Elijah’s case a toy white rabbit, as their fathers converted their civil partnership into a wedding at their Windsor estate.

Although friends, including the singer Ed Sheeran and the actors David Walliams and Liz Hurley, attended in person, millions more followed the day as social media guests. Elton John set up an Instagram account specially for the wedding and posted the red rose-festooned invitation with their entwined initials, and the text “Sir Elton and David Furnish request the pleasure of your company to celebrate their wedding”.

He followed that with an early-morning snap of a frosty garden captioned “nice day for a wedding”, and promised regular updates – and indeed they came: “The tables look stunning! We had red roses at our Civil Partnership 9 years ago and they brought us so much luck.” The photograph of the couple’s entwined hands with Elijah and rabbit was allegedly taken with Furnish’s phone by four-year-old Zachary.

Further offerings showed the guests taking their seats in a room hung with contemporary art, and the registrar rather alarmingly appearing to be inside one of Damien Hirst’s glass tanks – in fact she was merely standing in front of one holding a dove with outstretched wings, a piece called The Incomplete Truth.

David and Victoria Beckham’s son Brooklyn obligingly tweeted the menu, which included a beef pie and warm chocolate pudding.

It was more low-key than their civil partnership ceremony in 2005 at Windsor’s historic Guildhall, one of the first held after the law changed, which brought the town centre to a standstill. On that occasion hundreds of starry guests including Sarah Ferguson, Cilla Black, Ozzy Osbourne, Lulu and Ringo Starr were caught in a celebrity traffic jam trying to get through the narrow roads to the reception at the couple’s home in Old Windsor.

Read more here at The Guardian

Reporting and photos from Telegraph

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Happy Winter Solstice!

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Wishing all my readers an uplift in your spirits. The days are now going to get longer as light slowly returns to the Northern Hemisphere. Now if you live in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy the light you already have!

Happy Winter Solstice

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Army vet avoids jail, gets 10 years probation for brutally attacking gay men in Austin | Gay Star News

This is a troubling case from Texas.  First, a grand jury refuses to charge the perpetrator with a hate crime. Second the man gets no jail time for such a heinous crime. What does it take for justice to prevail in Texas? Here’s the story from Sylvia Tan writing for Gay Star News

One victim, who had five teeth knocked out on gay pride weekend, had to undergo dental reconstruction over an 18-month period

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Lambert Borgardt, Andrew Oppleman (right)


Lambert Borgardt,who attacked two men in 2012 – one of whom made the news for receiving a six-figure dental reconstruction surgery for free by a local dentist after five of his teeth were knocked out, received 10 years probation sentence and must complete 200 hours of community service.

Andrew Oppleman and his friend, Nick Soret, were attacked on Pride weekend in downtown Austin on Sep 21, 2012. The attack was caught on surveillance camera.

The duo was waiting for their pizza at a food truck after attending gay pride festivities when Borgadt, an army veteran, reportedly thought Soret was checking him out. Borgardt became enraged and punched both men in the face.

Oppleman lost five teeth as a result of the attack while Soret suffered a fractured nose.

The sentences on Wednesday were for Oppleman’s case. He also faces trial on a second count of assault involving Soret next year. 

While the victims said they felt targeted because of their sexual orientation, a grand jury decided not to charge Borgardt with a hate crime.

Borgardt, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault.

‘I apologize from the bottom of my heart, and I’ll do whatever it takes, whatever I can, whatever can work to pay you guys back for that,’ said Borgardt.

Oppleman was quoted as saying that he didn’t think his attacker’s apology is sincere.

‘I feel like it was an apology for the situation he’s in rather than a direct apology for what he did and why he did it,’ he said.

Read more here at Gay Star News

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China’s Electroshock Gay-Conversion Case – The Daily Beast

The Times they are a changing; a gay man in China has won his case against a clinic that engaged in horrific electroshock “therapy” in an attempt to change his sexual orientation. Here’s the story from NINA STROCHLIC writing for the Daily Beast

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Yang Teng holding a Rainbow flag and a model of the justice sculpture. -- Photo via the Daily Beast

On Friday, a Chinese activist won a landmark case against a clinic in the city of Chongqing for claiming it could shock the gay out of him.

Electroshocks and hypnotherapy, which are still used on homosexuals around the world, seem rooted in the witchcraft of another century. But clinics in China and elsewhere continue to offer these so-called treatments to reverse a predilection for same-sex romance.

With heavy censorship laws and a culture where homosexuality hasn’t yet gained acceptance, China is widely seen as unaccepting of its LGBT population—which, nonetheless, has grown more vibrant and active in the past few years.

In May, 30-year-old Yang Teng sued a clinic, Chongqing Jinyu Piaoxiang, after its staff put him in a hypnotic state, asked him to think about gay sex, and then shocked him with electrodes hooked to his hands.

Its staff put him in a hypnotic state, asked him to think about gay sex, and then shocked him with electrodes hooked to his hands.

Yang says he was asked to partake in the conversion therapy when he visited his parents last year, after recently revealing he was gay. Through a Web search, his parents came across the clinic and asked him to cure his homosexuality.

The treatment plan Yang says he was presented with was a 30-session therapy that cost nearly $5,000. He told The Wall Street Journal that he only paid a fraction of the price for a first treatment and was immediately turned off by the electric shock. “I thought this process probably won’t make me straight, but it could make me crazy,” he said.

Even before Yang’s victory, the case was lauded as a landmark in China, where such litigation was previously unheard of. As reparation, the court ordered $563 to be paid out to Yang and required the clinic to post an apology on its website. There will also be an investigation launched into the clinic’s medical license.

Soon after Yang filed suit, he got in touch with All Out, a gay-rights mobilization organization based in New York, and they began apetition to bring international pressure on the case.

“It really amounted to torture,” says Andre Brown, the director of All Out, of Yang’s treatment. “It’s shocking, but the world as a whole is way behind on securing basic human rights for LGBT people.”

It wasn’t until 2001 that homosexuality was declassified as an illness in China. This removal paved the way for Friday’s success. “In her decision, the judge said that homosexuality is not a disease, therefore the clinic had no basis to undertake treatment,” Yang toldThe Wall Street Journal.

Brown says it’s difficult to clamp down on this issue because the scope is still unknown: Sometimes the “conversion treatments” occur in private practices, sometimes in hospitals—and often the name of the treatment obscures the real intent.

Unfortunately, this type of pseudomedicine is not just China’s problem: Treatments for homosexuality are peddled around the world, and frequently in the U.S. After a number of lawsuits, only two states—New Jersey and California—have accepted a ban on gay-conversion therapy into their books. Despite at least nine other states attempting similar legislation, there has been no further success.

But the ruling in China doesn’t close this case—it could have much broader reach. Within a few months after the posting, Yang’s petition on All Out’s website had 100,000 signatures. The campaign included a push for the World Health Organization to condemn gay-conversion therapy. The WHO has agreed to meet with Yang and a number of Chinese NGOs to discuss a broader ruling on the practice.

“The gay cures are important because that’s a fundamental shift in the medical establishment,” says Brown of the campaign. “There’s a collective sense these treatments are not helpful.” And now the Chinese courts have effectively signed their name to it.

Read more here at the Daily Beast

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Brendan Jordan Takes Down His Homophobic Haters With Advice We Should All Follow / Queerty

Brendan takes on the haters which, sadly, include some gay men. I have really had it up to here, (I leave it up to your imagination to determine where “here” is), with insecure gay men who go after “flamboyant” gay guys. It’s a big queer world and there is room enough for all. Here’s the story from Queerty

When video of young Brendan Jordan vogueing in the background of a Las Vegas news report went viral last month, the 15-year-old became an instant mini-sensation, landing an American Apparel modeling gig and a much-discussed appearance on Queen Latifah’s talk show. It’s natural that along with such exposure for a gay boy who calls himself a queen and identifies with Lady Gaga comes intense scrutiny, but Jordan’s also faced brutal criticism about perpetuating stereotypes.

It’s refreshing to learn that Jordan is so confident and self-aware that he gives not one fuck about all the nasty hatred from anonymous internet trolls. Well, maybe he gives half a fuck since he filmed a video to respond to some of the more vile tweets he’s read about himself.

“If you don’t like this, you can click the X button,” Jordan suggests. Those are some words to live by.

Watch Jordan take down the haters below.

Read more here at Queerty

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