What it Means to be Transgender in America

A simple but effective video on what it means to be transgender in America.

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Sharia Police Arrest Women for being Lesbian because of Public hug


This is really disturbing. Ache province was granted semi-autonomy as a compromise to quell a militants Muslim insurgency in the area. Indonesia as a whole is a moderate secular democracy and radical Islam has only gained a foothold relatively recently. When I lived there in the late seventies I never saw anything radical beyond the omnipresent photos of Suharto, the president who ruled like a dictator. As the article points out, this ĺaw in Ache is not a national law but a regional one. It’s sad that the government capitulated to the radicals in Ache. Let’s hope international attention to this makes some difference.

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

By Melanie Nathan, Oct 02, 2015.

A few days ago, the Sharia police, in Indonesia, arrested  two young women aged 18 and 19, when they saw the pair hugging in a public place in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital. A police official told reporters that they “suspected the women were lesbians.” Yes with a mere hug, your sexuality can change! Beware!

The two women remain in police custody, but may be released to their families.

Indonesia Banda Aceh mosqueAceh provincial government criminal code introduced an Islamic By-law, which went into effect in September 2014, prohibiting so called “lesbianism” and sodomy, an offenses which is not in the Indonesian national criminal code. This by-law included non-Muslims in this Sharia/ Islamic law.

The code punishes consensual same-sex sex acts with 100 lashes and 100 months in jail.

According to HRW:

“Under national legislation stemming from a “Special Status” agreement brokered in 1999…

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#RaiseYourVoice – #ConLaVozBienAlta – Spanish Anti-Homophobia Advert

This hidden cameras video from a Spanish LGBT organization shows the reactions of people in Spain when asked to translate a note from a homophobic hostel operator. The hostel operator threatens to, ‘punch their f**king face’ if they are seen kissing or holding hands in his hostel.

The reactions from the accepting strangers include:

‘It’s better if you go to another hostel, because this one is not very good,’ one girl says, unable to tell them what the letter actually says.

‘You go with this to the police, they can close his business,’ one man tells them. ‘This is disgusting,’ a woman says.

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Press Release: Indonesia is killing the planet


Chanee with a baby gibbon

One of my favorite wildlife conservation organizations is Kalaweit which rescues and rehabilitates Gibbons and other wildlife in Sumatra and Borneo. I have a special place in my heart for Gibbons since first seeing them swinging from tree to tree in the Borneo rainforest and living next to one that was, unfortunately, being kept as a pet in the place I stayed at in Thailand while working in a nearby refugee camp. So when the head of Kalaweit, a French citizen named Chanee who’s been working in Indonesia since 1988, issued this press release I read it with alarm.

Read this and if you too wish to help the first thing you can do is stop buying products with palm oil and secondly give to organizations like Kalaweit: http://www.kalaweit.org



Indonesia is killing the planet

Paris, October 2nd, 2015 : While France prepares to receive the COP 21 in order to fight climate change, Indonesia is facing the worst fires since 1997, becoming one of the biggest polluters (by emitting greenhouse gasses) of the planet. Chanee, founder of Kalaweit, lives in the south of Borneo where the situation has become “unbearable” .


A view of the fires in Sumatra from a Vice article on the problem

Borneo and Sumatra under clouds of smoke each year because of palm oil:

Each year, during the dry season, giant fires ravage the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. These fires are set deliberately in order to quickly convert forests into palm oil plantations. In 2015, they started as early as the month of May in the peat bogs, releasing thick, toxic smoke over entire regions.

The provinces most affected are Kalimantan Tengah, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan in Borneo and, in Sumatra, those of Riau, Jambi and Sumatra Selatan. In Jambi, the local Environmental Agency announced that the index of measure for air quality had reached “very dangerous levels” and a state of urgency had been declared in the province of Riau, situated in front of Singapore.

In Palangkaraya, Kalimantan’s central region’s capital in Borneo where Chanee lives, all primary
schools have been closed for the past month. The city now holds the record for most polluted city in the world. According to Chanee, who has lived there since 1998, “the situation is unbearable”.

At the Kalaweit center at Pararawen in Borneo, the animals are showing signs of respiratory problems and concern is growing with regards to the more fragile ones.

According to the Indonesian government, 40 000 hectares have been destroyed. (Official site: http://www.menlh.go.id/areal-kebakaran-hutan-diperkirakan-40-000-ha/). But organizations like Kalaweit believe the numbers are more likely to be in the thousands with a possible 200 000 hectares of forest annihilated.

An industry that pushes farmers to grow oil palms:

The rains that might have stopped the fires arrive normally in October. Because of El Nino, which
has brought about the worst droughts and fires since 1997/98, they are expected to fall in Indonesia at best in January 2016. Millions of hectares of forest will have been reduced to ashes by then.

The fires, which are deliberately started, have had time to spread, creating more room for future
palm oil plantations. It is the palm oil companies as well as the land owners, pushed by the palm oil industry, who burn the forests in order to transform them into plantations.

According to Chanee, Kalaweit’s founder, the government should have acted as of May as the fires are now out of control and the situation is of a scale unheard of before.

More than 75% of the Tripa region in the south of Sumatra is covered in palm oil plantations. The number of orangutans has decreased from more than 1 000 in the 1990’s down to 200 today. They share, along with gibbons and other species, a territory of 17 000 hectares of forest that have resisted the plantation of oil palms.

Can the COP 21 change anything?

Malaysia and Singapore have just lodged a complaint against Jakarta concerning the poisonous gases that have reached them. But will the arrogant attitude of the Indonesian government with regards to its neighbours and its own population change during the COP 21 summit? The stakes are colossal concerning both economy and climate. Indonesia, one of the biggest polluters on the planet, is a developing country that wishes to continue its economic growth despite the environmental damage done.

Only a real change in the Indonesian’s government’s attitude with regard to the palm oil companies can reverse the trend and stop the deforestation. In Europe and elsewhere, consumers have a role to play by refusing to use products containing palm oil.

Some words about Kalaweit:

The organization was created in 1997 by Chanee, a frenchman passionate about gibbons. Gibbons are members of the great apes and live in Southeast Asia. They are threatened by
massive deforestation that destroys their habitat to enable the production of palm oil.

In Indonesia, the organization acquires gibbons kept illegally, protects the forests and helps
raise awareness in the local people thanks to Radio Kalaweit FM and a TV series, “Kalaweit Wildlife Rescue”. Muriel Robin is Kalaweit’s ambassador. The organization exists only through donations.

(For now Kalaweit reserves are safe from forest fires)


I was in Borneo in 1977 and 1978 when the rainforest was more extensive than it is now as you can see from this map

A great overview of the problem from Vice entitled Indonesia is Killing The Planet For Palm Oil: https://news.vice.com/article/indonesia-is-killing-the-planet-for-palm-oil

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Trans/Non-Binary Students Report High Rates of Sexual Assult and Harasment on University Campuses

Yale Daily News is reporting on one of the underreported results of a sexual climate survey conducted by the Association of American Universities. Specifically the survey found that students who identified as “other” as opposed to male or female reported higher rates of sexual harassment and rates equal with that for women when asked about sexual assult. This grouping labeled “other” is likely comprised of trans/non-binary gender identities and intersex students. The stats are truly alarming and point out the dangers of non-binary and intersex erasure. When vulnerable populations aren’t even recognized it’s difficult to evaluate the risks facing the populations and address the groups’ specific needs. Here’s a graph of the results followed by an excerpt from the article by VICTOR WANG & PADDY GAVIN


Graphic via Yale Daily News

In the wake of a massive campus sexual climate survey by the Association of American Universities, national media attention has mainly focused on the high rates of victimization for female college students. But for certain types of sexual misconduct — including sexual assault that meets a criminal standard —  another demographic reported even higher rates of victimization: students who identify outside the traditional gender binary.

The discrepancy appears both at Yale and across the 27 universities nationwide that participated in the survey. At Yale, 28.4 percent of undergraduates surveyed who identify as “other genders” — not female or male —  have experienced sexual assault via force or incapacitation. This figure is significantly higher than the 18.1 percent reported by undergraduate participants in general, and .3 percent higher than the rate reported by undergraduate females. Additionally, 84.2 percent of undergraduate participants of “other genders” have experienced sexual harassment, compared to 74 percent among females and 57.6 percent among males.

Students and administrators expressed dismay, but not surprise, at the results. But they also pointed to causes for hope in the survey, including the finding that students of “other genders” across the 27 universities were more likely than their peers to report certain experiences of sexual misconduct. Those interviewed also praised the support resources that Yale has in place for these students.

Continue reading the entire article here at Yale Daily News:

An excellent opinion piece, also in the Yale Daily News, written by a non-binary trans person, about this report and the shameful lack of attention given to the trans/non-binary findings: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/10/02/yaman-fighting-for-gender-other/

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Highlighting the B and T in LGBT Healthcare


Looking at the health needs of the Bi and Trans communities…

Originally posted on LGBT HealthLink, The Network for Health Equity:

Last week LGBT HealthLink had the honor and the pleasure to be represented at the 33rd Annual GLMA (Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) LGBT Health Conference in Portland, Oregon. Our esteemed volunteer team was chosen to present New National Cancer Guidelines:  The Best and Promising Practices for the LGBT Community – Primary presenter:  Shail Maingi, MD, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx NY and Co-Presenters: Asa Radix, MD, Callen Lorde Community Health Center, New York, NY, Dianne Bruessow, PA-C, DFAAPA, and Sean O’Mahony, MB, BCH, BAO Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL. We had over 100 attendees: About 65 attendees and another 56 via web.

In addition to the opportunity to enlighten and encourage about the unique challenges that LGBT individuals and families face across the cancer care continuum, shor salkas, a representative from HealthLink’s Steering Committee was at the conference, attending workshops, and networking with other professionals.   Below is…

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Kim Davis and the Pope, Volume MCMDXXVIII of ‘I am not a homophobe’


Another look at the Kim Davis/Pope Francis saga…

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

by Grania Spingies

Regular contributor Pliny The In Between has created a new satirical poke at the strange logical contortions from the school of Special Pleading.

All That Glitters Is Not Gold

As Jerry noted recently, there is nothing particularly liberal about the Pope’s position on anything; not unless you apply a really low standard to what liberal is: his organization bars women from all high level management positions, in spite of his saying “women are more important than men because the church is woman” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Uttering the phrase “who am I to judge?” is on charitable interpretation only basic human decency on the question of homosexuality, it is not liberal. When put in context of the entire of the entire comment the tone takes a certain slide towards the Right:

A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good…

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San Francisco Police Officer Charged with Embezzlement from Pride Alliance


How low can you go?

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

By Melanie Nathan, Oct 01, 2015.

SFPD Pride AllianceA former San Francisco police officer has been arrested and charged with embezzlement.

Mike Evans, 34, was booked into San Francisco County Jail on Wednesday, charged with felony embezzlement and felony grand theft of $16,000 in dues from the department’s Pride Alliance for LGBT officers, according to SF Gate report.

Evans was extradited from San Antonio on a district attorney’s warrant, as authorities have accused him of taking the money while serving as the organization’s treasurer.

An internal affairs investigation concluded in June this year after police became aware of the alleged crime in September of 2014.  A warrant was issued in July and Evans was located in Texas, where he’s been living. He had resigned from the police force during the investigation.

“Our members are held to the highest standard and we conduct investigations to the fullest,” said Chief Greg Suhr.

Evans returned some…

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Barriers LGBT Homeless Youth Face in Obtaining Important ID Documents


A very important subject and one that really needs addressing…

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

CAP Report Outlines Barriers  Homeless Queer Youth Face in Obtaining Important Identification Documents

Posted by Melanie Nathan, October 01, 2015.

Washington, D.C. — Research suggests that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, youth experience homelessness at a much higher rate than their non-LGBT peers. Like for most homeless youth, this leads to significant challenges accessing food, shelter, health care, education, and employment, and these challenges may be heightened for youth who identify as LGBT. In addition, homeless youth often struggle to obtain state-issued photo identification, which further limits their access to programs and services that may aid them in securing safe and stable housing.

hqy12The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released a report examining the challenges that LGBT homeless youth face in obtaining state-issued identification and systematically reviews the patchwork of state and municipal laws that either erect or remove barriers to ID access.

“States have put up…

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A Lot of Fun for LGBT Travelers to Philadelphia


Reasons to visit Philly…

Originally posted on O-blog-dee-o-blog-da:

Festivals, Events, and Exhibitions this Winter and Fall for LGBT Travellers

Posted by Melanie Nathan, October, 01, 2015.

PHILADELPHIA, October 1, 2015 A welcoming and diverse destination that celebrates its LGBT pride every day, Philadelphia offers a range of cultural and social events perfect for gay and lesbian travelers this fall. Highlights: OutFest, the world’s largest National Coming Out Day festival; The RRazz Roomat thePrince Theater, a series featuring renowned cabaret talent; and Opera on the Mall’s presentation of La Traviata. As the temperatures cool down, the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus and the storied Mummers Parade usher in the holiday season and the New Year.

Credit: Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA® Credit: Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

LGBT Festivals & Celebrations:

  • Philadelphia’s official LGBT community center, the William Way LGBT Community Center celebrates its 40th anniversary with a retrospective art exhibition spotlighting the work of eight local LGBT artists.

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’10 Reasons Zimbabwe Is Super Gay’


Questioning Mugabe’s homophobia using satire…

Originally posted on 76 CRIMES:

Robert Mugabe at the United Nations on Sept. 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Mirror.co.uk) Robert Mugabe at the United Nations on Sept. 28, 2015. (Photo courtesy of Mirror.co.uk)

Definitely worth a look: “Au Contraire, Robert Mugabe: Top 10 Reasons Zimbabwe Is Super Gay,” an amusing response from the online magazine Unicorn Booty to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s outburst on Sept. 28 at the United Nations.

Some examples:

Mugabe once proposed marriage to Barack Obama.

This summer, Robert Mugabe proposed to President Obama! Sure, he says he was making fun of us for marriage equality, but look at his quote:

I’ve just concluded since President Obama endorses the same-sex marriage, advocates homosexual people and enjoys an attractive countenance – thus if it becomes necessary, I shall travel to Washington, D.C., get down on my knee and ask his hand.

Aww, who knew he was such an old-school romantic!  Sure, he followed that up with stuff like “I can’t understand how this people dare to defy…

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Protests target anti-LGBTI laws in India, Nigeria


Protesting oppressive anti-LGBTQIA laws…

Originally posted on 76 CRIMES:

Anti-LGBTI laws in India and Nigeria were the focus of protests over the past week in the United States and the United Kingdom.


Protesters greet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in San Jose, California. (Photo courtesy of GlobalNewsConnect.com) Protesters greet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in San Jose, California. (Photo courtesy of GlobalNewsConnect.com)

Indian PM Modi Faces Protesters’ ‘Unwelcome’ to Silicon Valley (NBC News)

Local activists say police estimate 3,000 people protested outside of San Jose’s SAP Center Sunday during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Silicon Valley tour with tech leaders to draw attention to Modi’s record on India’s religious minorities (including Muslims, Sikhs, and Christians), women, LGBTQ people, historically marginalized castes, environmental issues, free speech issues, and free internet issues….

Modi’s “unwelcome” included billboards across Silicon Valley drawing attention to Modi’s human rights record; hundreds of bottles of Purell hand sanitizer sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, each with a name of a person killed in the Gujarat riots; challenges from South Asian…

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Groups gather to support transgender Homecoming queen

When the hate group calling itself Westboro Baptist Church announced at protest at Oak Park High School, trans supportive community members and students organized a much larger counter protest to show their support for the student they voted to represent them at this year’s Homecoming as their queen. 

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Coming Out As Genderfluid

Collin Erdosy, a genderfluid, non-binary person who was designated male at birth, shares their coming out story.

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mommy, where’s my voice?


An excellent overview of the challenges facing LGBTQIA youth, particularly the risk of sexual exploitation.

Originally posted on breaktheirbarcode:


image via wordpress

 LGBTQ+ youth are at a high risk for being sex trafficked in comparison to heteronormative children their age. Although leaps and bounds have been made towards the safety and legal legitimacy of those identifying as queer, they can still find themselves in compromising situations. LGBTQ+ individuals make up only three to five percent of the population. That being said, they are 40 percent of the homeless community. 6.8% of this number identifies as transgender. We can make all of the rules and regulations we want, but sadly, some people will still chose to neglect or reject this group. Living outside of the cis-gendered, heterosexual ideals that we as a society have deemed “normal” often comes with a lot of backlash. Removal from school, being kicked out of their homes, and isolated by those who used to be “friends” are common problems that arise after coming…

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Transgender teen who sued SCDMV now finalist for Homecoming Queen | WBTW.com

The South Carolina transgender teen who settled a law suit with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles over her right to wear makeup and appear feminine on her license photo is running for homecoming queen. The SCDMV agreed to let her appear as her authentic self and to do so for others, as well as receive transgender issues training for employees. On the heels of that win Chase is now running for homecoming queen. Here’s the story from WBTW..


Chase Culpepper -- Photo via WBTW

Chase Culpepper, the transgender teen who sued the SCDMV because they didn’t let her wear makeup in her license photo, is among five finalists for homecoming queen at T.L. Hanna High School.

The other finalists selected from the school-wide ballot are are Kayla Adair, Whitney Hawkins, Madysen Junkins, and Haley Kowalski.

The homecoming queen will be selected during halftime of the T.L. Hanna-Easley game.
A pep rally is scheduled for 2:30 Friday afternoon at T.L. Hanna to introduce the homecoming court.

The SC DMV settled a lawsuit brought by Culpepper over the DMV’s refusal to let her take her driver’s license photo while wearing makeup.


Chase Culpepper's License Photo

Read the full report here:

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Study finds that discrimination is linked with worse health among transgender Americans | EurekAlert! Science News


Photo via Lockerdome

A Press Release from Indiana University:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Despite a surge in public attention toward the transgender population, transgender adults continue to face both major and daily discrimination that often directly leads to dangerous health consequences.

In a new study, Indiana University researchers find that transgender people who are more frequently “read” as transgender are more likely to face major and everyday discrimination, as well as verbal harassment. The authors also find that transgender people who face more discrimination are more likely to attempt suicide, to abuse drugs and alcohol and to smoke cigarettes.

The linkages between gender nonconformity, discrimination and health among the transgender population are addressed in the research of Lisa R. Miller, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology, and Eric Anthony Grollman, assistant professor at the University Richmond and an IU alumnus. Their article, “The Social Costs of Gender Nonconformity for Transgender Adults: Implications for Discrimination and Health,” is published in the journal Sociological Forum.

Discrimination against the transgender community has been the subject of past research as well. Data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey confirms that 70 percent of all transgender people have experienced discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.

The research by Miller and Grollman finds that gender nonconformity – that is, how easily individuals are “read” as transgender by others – is a factor that both increases transgender adults’ exposure to discrimination and also their engagement in risky health behaviors. The researchers interpreted their findings to mean that as a consequence of facing more discrimination, more gender nonconforming transgender individuals are at a greater risk for poor health.

“As transgender celebrities and activists have pointed out in recent months, there is diversity in the experiences of transgender people,” said Miller. “Rather than assuming that all members of the transgender community are equally at risk, we need to investigate the extent to which some members may face disproportionate exposure to discrimination and poor health.”

The study also finds that there are sociodemographic differences in the amount of discrimination that members of the transgender community face. Trans women reported more events of major discrimination than trans men, including discrimination in arenas beyond the workplace such as health care and public transportation. And some transgender people who belong to multiple disadvantaged groups, such as multiracial and lower income individuals, faced more transphobic discrimination than more advantaged groups.

Miller and Grollman also discovered a paradoxical relationship between medical and social transition statuses and discrimination among transgender adults. Greater steps to medically transition, through hormonal therapy or surgical treatment, and socially transition through living full time in one’s desired gender led to greater amounts of transphobic discrimination.

These findings can be understood as less counterintuitive than they initially appear, argue Miller and Grollman, because it is possible that trans adults who received surgery experienced more discrimination prior to transitioning. Alternatively, those who have lived longer in their desired gender have had more time and opportunities to face discrimination.

“This research suggests that the consequences of being read as transgender and gender nonconforming are often far-reaching,” Grollman said. “We interpret the results to mean that that society must become more accepting of diversity in gender identity and expression. Doing so would help put an end to systemic prejudice and discrimination against transgender people.”


Read the original press release here:

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A Gay Dad’s Note to the Pope: You Snubbed Us for Kim Davis? Really?


I also feel let down. This is sad and frustrating and reinforces the feeling that we aren’t welcome, particularly if we are activists…

Originally posted on evoL =:

davis and the pope

Last week, I invited the pope to join my family for dinner. It was largely a symbolic gesture, although, I had a house cleaning action plan and menu picked out should he have accepted.

It was not that I wanted him to meet my family specifically, but to actually sit face to face with a family like mine. My two sons were adopted out of foster care and situations that were life threatening and dire. Our family in the world of LGBT parents is not unique. A great number have tale after tale of kids who have gone from lives of potential abuse and neglect to homes where their parents love and honor them, and that their welfare is a priority. A Cambridge study showed, as a matter of fact, that the only family structured parenting unit that picked foster care aid as its top means of creating a…

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Protesting Jamaicans fear UK leader will push LGBTI rights


Anti-LGBTQ protesters fear change in Jamaica.

Originally posted on 76 CRIMES:

Opponents of LGBTI rights in Jamaica protested outside Emancipation Park in New Kingston on Sept. 29, as British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived for a visit. (Bryan Cummings photo courtesy of the Jamaica Observer) Opponents of LGBTI rights in Jamaica protested outside Emancipation Park in New Kingston on Sept. 29 as British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived for a visit. (Bryan Cummings photo courtesy of the Jamaica Observer)

Two Jamaican groups opposing LGBTI rights protested yesterday’s arrival of visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The protest was a missing opportunity, said LGBTI rights activist Maurice Tomlinson.  He argued that the protesters’ fears about sexuality led them to ignore a high-priority issue: pushing Cameron to help Jamaica recover from past injustices imposed on it by the British Empire — in particular, slavery.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller raised with Cameron the issue of reparations for slavery’s long-term harm to Jamaica and its long-term benefits for Britain. The British Empire benefited economically from slavery in Jamaica from 1655 until 1833, when it freed all slaves throughout the empire and compensated their owners, but not the slaves…

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‘Veil of Silence’: When LGBTI Nigerians spoke out


When LGBTQ Nigerians spoke…

Originally posted on 76 CRIMES:

“There is nowhere on Earth where it is right not to defend human rights.”
Trailer for “Veil of Silence”

Scene from "Veil of Silence" Scene from “Veil of Silence”

Veil of Silence poster Veil of Silence poster

In the latest episode of the No Strings podcasts, Nigerian filmmaker Habeeb Lawal discusses  “Veil of Silence,” his documentary that presented the voices of LGBTI Nigerians shortly before the country’s harsh anti-gay law went into effect in early 2014.

Lawal’s debut film, “Veil of Silence” was produced in cooperation with the Nigerian LGBTI rights organization The Initiative for Equal Rights, (TIERS).

The film shows a “young group of sexual minorities in Nigeria [who] defy all odds in the pursuit of happiness. In the midst of all, their strength, resilience, vulnerability is brought to fore in this informative and mind-blowing documentary,” in the director’s words. The trailer for the film is available on Vimeo and YouTube.

"Veil of Silence" director Habeeb Lawal (Photo courtesy of Habeeb Lawal) “Veil of Silence”…

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