Love Rules – Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Marriage Equality

This affirms healthy and committed relationships for all couples!


I am overjoyed at today’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. As I’ve said many times over the last several years, marriage equality had the stamp of inevitability on it — it is not a matter or “if,” but “when.” Today, we know the answer: Marriage equality is here.

This is an enormous victory for the LGBT community, and for all of us who believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally under the law. Whether loving same-sex couples live in Illinois or anywhere else in the nation, they will now be able to join in marriage. As a founding member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, I have been on this side of the fight for equal rights all along. I want to congratulate all of my friends and colleagues who have worked so hard to make this a reality — whether pushing for changes to federal law, challenging unfair policies, marching in the streets or talking to their families and friends about the need for equality.


This is truly a day to celebrate how far our country has come and I am positive that there will be more victories to come. We will enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to stop discrimination in the workplace and Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) to end discrimination in our schools. Today’s decision shows how far our country and we will keep marching on until we establish equal rights for all.


Curated by Tatiana
Original Article

5 Reasons Gay Couples Are Most Thankful in Shanghai

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the things that we are most thankful for in the queer community, both locally and globally.

November brings many things that make a queer grrl happy — pumpkin spice lattes served up by that cute lady barista with the killer smile, snuggle-weather that begs you to hole up at home with your honey and rewatch seasons one through six of The L Word and, of course, American Thanksgiving. On the fourth Thursday in November, you can bet we’ll be chowing down on turkey, mashed potatoes and five types of pie while revisiting age-old debates over social justice and which L Word character is the hottest (does no one else appreciate the sexy psychopath thang that Jenny Schecter’s got going on?).

Of course, amid the food-coma-inducing meal and family/friend bonding, it’s easy to forget one traditional element of the holiday: recognizing what we are thankful for. There are plenty of things to be bitter about these days, and plenty of arguments to be had about everything from social justice to fictional televised lesbians, but if only one day a year, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the things that we are most thankful for in the queer community, both locally and globally. Here’s our list:

1. This past June, the US Supreme Court made history when it voted to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. While some states had already taken measures to allow gay unions, the 14 states that hadn’t are now required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, catapulting the U.S. into the ranks of nearly two dozen countries around the world where gay marriage is legal.

2. Following numerous gay bar closings at the end of last year, Shangays are proud to say that queer nightlife in the city is now thriving, with several new openings in the past year. Happiness 42 on Xingfu Lu gives queers a trendy spot to grab a drink amid sexy red lighting and Asian-infused decor, while Telephone 6 on Panyu Lu is another option for the gay party crowd that congregates outside beloved Lucca Café & Lounge (formerly known as 390) every weekend. Most notable for us lady queers, Roxie on Kangding Lu (previously ’50s rockabilly bar Hepcat) recently re-opened as a lesbian bar and hosts red-hot events every weekend.

3. Orange Is the New Black debuted its third season this year, and lezzie fans the world over breathed a sigh of relief when they heard that sultry, mysterious Alex Vause would be back on the show full-time after going mostly MIA last season. Indeed, far more screen time was devoted to the Alex and Piper pairing, but even more exciting were new queer lady developments like the highlighting of important trans issues through Laverne Cox’s character, Sophia, and a guest appearance from sexy genderfluid Australian model Ruby Rose.

4. Queer couples gained more commercial acceptance in China this year, as evidenced by Taobao’s wedding competition that solicited heartwarming video applications from gay couples, which were then voted on by the public. The 10 winning couples received an all-expenses-paid wedding trip to Los Angeles, California.

5. Cara Delevingne’s eyebrows. ’Nuff said.

6. Shanghai pulled off its seventh annual Pride festival in June, with the theme “Love Is Our Future.” The festival garnered nearly 6,000 attendees, and the team has already started planning for an even bigger and better event next year.

Happy Thanksgayving to all you queers — here’s hoping that your Turkey Day is full of glitter, grrlzz and gay, gay cheer.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

How LGBT Youth Face Challenging Emotional Terrain

Insight into the daily challenges facing lesbian, gay, bixexual and transgender college students.

Learning to be yourself and dealing with other people’s perception of you can be hard for anyone. This process can be especially stressful or tough for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). In fact, they can face unique issues when it comes to mental health. The discrimination LGBT students may face or the pressure they feel from their family or community, can put them at greater risk for emotional health struggles like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even suicide.

If you or someone you know is struggling with issues related to sexuality or pressures of not being accepted by family, friends or community, it’s important to speak up. By developing strong coping skills, creating a positive social network, and seeking help if needed, LGBT students can protect their emotional health during college and beyond.

Overcoming Stigma

LGBT individuals who are dealing with mental health conditions like depression may have to contend with even more stigma because of discrimination or misunderstandings related to their sexual orientation. Having to deal with the additional stigma can worsen mental health conditions. Here are some tips for overcoming stigma:

Surround yourself with supportive people. Check to see if your campus has groups for LGBT students. It’s a great way to find people who can relate to what you’re going through.

Seek help. If you’re experiencing sadness, anxiety or stress that is interfering with your ability to get things done and live a fulfilling life, make an appointment with a mental health counselor on campus. It’s the first step toward feeling better.

Remember it has nothing to do with you. Society creates and perpetuates stigma about many groups. Remember that others’ reactions to your sexual identity or orientation are not your fault, and say nothing about the person you are.

Join an advocacy group. To further fight stigma, it might help you to participate in a mental health or LGBT advocacy group on campus.

Helping Your Friend

If you have a friend who’s told you about their sexual orientation and/or emotional health struggles, there are various ways you can support them. Here are some suggestions.

Listen and empathize. You might experience a variety of emotions — like confusion, surprise and sadness —when finding out about a friend’s sexual orientation or emotional health issues. This is to be expected. They are normal responses. When talking to them, don’t interrupt and remain open to what they’re saying. Avoid judging them, and try to put yourself in their shoes.

Get educated. Learn more about mental illness and the concerns that LGBTindividuals might have. This helps you better understand what your friend is going through and know how to help them.

Challenge the stigma. Try not to make derogatory comments about LGBTindividuals. Even jokes just further stereotypes and stigma. And speak up when others make comments or jokes.

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Same Sex Marriage Rights: Taiwan Leads in Asia

Taiwan’s highest court paved the way Wednesday for Asia’s first law allowing same-sex marriage, a reflection of widespread support for LGBTQ causes that has sprung from three decades of democracy.

The Constitutional Court ruled that it is illegal to ban marriages between two people of the same sex and ordered parliament to change the civil code within two years to bring it in line with the constitution, a court official said. Today’s conditions are “in violation of both the people’s freedom of marriage … and the people’s right to equality,” the judiciary’s secretary-general, Lu Tai-lang, said.

About 200 jubilant supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside parliament as the announcement was broadcast live from a news conference.

“It is a milestone for the LGBT movement in Taiwan,” the Taipei-based gay rights advocacy group Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Assn. said in a statement.

Wednesday’s decision reflected Taiwan outlier status in Asia for tolerance on LGBTQ issues, but seems unlikely to inspire similar moves in the region anytime soon.

A large percentage of the public in Taiwan has accepted the idea of same-sex marriage because leaders have elevated liberal social causes to show the island’s democratic credentials in the face of China, a political rival that restricts free speech and association.

China regards Taiwan as a renegade province. The island has been independently administered since the communists took control in Beijing in 1949.

In Taiwan, people are nice to gays, so we feel safe here. … There’s pressure, but nothing like political repression or from schools.
— Jovi Wu, a Taipei saleswoman

“I think Taiwan’s freedom of speech gives it the best environment,” said Tsao Cheng-yi, a senior project manager with the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Assn. “Japan is conservative. South Korea has rightists and Christians. I think Taiwan has a chance to be the first place in Asia with a same-sex marriage law.”

While Japan and South Korea are also democracies, Japan has less of a sense of multiculturalism and South Korea is strongly influenced by Christian conservatives, creating impediments to same-sex marriage, said Jens Damm, associate professor in the Graduate Institute of Taiwan Studies at Chang Jung University in Taiwan.

Indonesia and Malaysia, because of the prevalence of Islam, would find little backing compared to Taiwan despite their democratic governments. Countries under authoritarian rule limit social activism, a common prerequisite for government attention to LGBTQ causes. Taiwan lifted martial law in the 1980s after decades of authoritarian rule.

Vietnam technically allowed same-sex marriage in 2015 but did not follow up with codes.

“Around the world, including in Asia, we see that the main impediments to marriage equality or LGBTQ rights more broadly are conservative religious doctrines and social mores, repressive political regimes that limit civil society organizing, and opportunistic politicians who stir up homophobia and transphobia as political tools,” said Jean Freedberg, deputy director of the American civil rights advocacy group HRC Global.

Gay and lesbian rights in Taiwan got their first boost in the 1990s, Damm said, when Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian spoke out for LGBTQ causes to help Taiwan stand out in Asia as an open society. Chen later pushed a socially liberal agenda as president from 2000 to 2008.

About two thirds of Taiwanese are Buddhists, and their religion does not prescribe rules on sexual orientation. About 5% are Christian.

Gay pride parades in Taipei every year draw thousands, with 80,000 people showing for the most recent one in another sign of acceptance. Many in their ranks have pushed for the same-sex marriage legislation. President Tsai Ing-wen, the first woman to lead Taiwan, endorses the legislation as well.

“In Taiwan, people are nice to gays, so we feel safe here,” said Jovi Wu, 36, a Taipei saleswoman who added that she would like to marry to share custody of her 4-year-old. “We don’t fear family and companies. There’s pressure, but nothing like political repression or from schools.”

Today, LGBTQ characters appear in films, on television and online. On the Internet, younger people especially are “proudly being themselves,” said Jay Lin, Taipei-based director of the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival.

That said, support for same-sex marriage is far from universal.

Opposition has become more evident since parliament took up the legislation in November. In December about 30,000 people showed for a demonstration in central Taipei opposing same-sex marriage.

Christian churches joined activists supporting traditional Chinese family values favoring households headed by one man and one woman. Some argued that the death of a same-sex spouse would leave the survivor dependent on government support because many same-sex couples would not have children to support them in old age, a common phenomenon in Chinese societies such as Taiwan.

Children in same-sex marriages would find it hard to form relations with the gender not represented by their parents, opponents have also argued.

The ruling Wednesday was sought by the city of Taipei, which asked the court for clarification on whether it could legally register same-sex couples. It will let legislators amend the civil code — or pass a whole new law — to make those unions legal throughout the island of 23 million people. Lawmakers gave initial approval in November, but had held off on a final vote until the justices made a decision.

Taiwan would join 20 countries around the world in allowing same-sex marriage, HRC said.

Curated by Timothy
Original Article