BigGayNews from Minnesota:
Governor Rants Against ‘Hate Mongering’ Transgender Policy Opponents
The Uptake reports that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton lashed out at the tactics used by people who were trying to prevent transgender students from playing on girls’ sports teams.
Governor Dayton’s comments seem to have been directed at newspaper ads from a group called the Child Protection League, which had been vocal in its opposition to allowing male-to-female transgender students to participate on the teams, as well as to a letter published in the Star Tribune by a lawyer that suggested someone like Green Bay Packers football player Clay Matthews could potentially ask to play on a girls’ team because he has long hair.
Dayton said that he just couldn’t comprehend the mindset of such people, and that “It’s so hurtful to kids out there struggling with their own identities and parents who are struggling with those challenges.”
BigGayNews from Washington, D.C.:
D.C. Bans Gay Conversion Therapy of Minors
The Washington Post reports that the D.C. Council voted to take a final step this year for gay rights, banning conversion therapy that seeks to turn gay teenagers into heterosexuals.
The council voted unanimously to ban the practice, something that only New Jersey and California have accomplished thus far.
The bill, which was opposed by the Family Research Council as well as several religious organizations, will protect GLBT youth in the nation’s capitol by forbidding licensed mental health providers from using the controversial technique to “change behaviors, gender identity or expression, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same sex or gender.”
BigGayNews from the United States:
More Than 100 Gay Athletes Came Out In 2014
Truth Dig reports that from amateurs to professionals to Olympians, 2014 was the year of the gay athlete.
The past year saw the first openly gay college football player, professional football player, male basketball player, and MLB umpire, as well as numerous openly gay Olympic athletes competing in Sochi, Russia, where the GLBT community is heavily marginalized and oppressed.
Cyd Zeigler, editor of OutSports, stated “A year ago, children were growing up in a world were you couldn’t be a gay umpire, NFL player, or Major League Soccer champion. These brave men and women changed all of that in one defining year.”
BigGayNews from Japan:
Historic Kyoto Temple First In Japan To Offer Gay Weddings
Rocket News 24 reports that gay marriage is still not legal in Japan, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t options for GLBT couples dreaming of tying the knot in Nippon.
Shunkoin Temple, a Zen Buddhism temple that was established in 1590, proudly takes a strong stand on human rights and equality.
Although it has not been widely advertised due to Japan’s rather conservative nature, the temple has been officiating at gay weddings since 2011. The priest of the temple, Takafumi Kawakami, states that “we welcome every couple regardless of their faith or sexual orientation.”
BigGayNews from Monaco:
IOC Moves To Support Gay Rights In Olympics
The Chicago Tribune reports that nine months after a Sochi Winter Olympics embattled by the host country’s anti-gay legislation, the International Olympic Committee took a philosophical stand Monday against future intolerance surrounding the Olympic Games.
IOC members voted unanimously to approve a change to language to the fundamental principles of Olympism to say that discrimination of any kind will not be allowed, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally, said that “there is no greater sign of progress in combating homophobia in sports than to have the oldest organized athletic competition in the history of the world saying enough is enough.”
BigGayNews from Spain:
Burger King Guard Tells Gay Couple To Leave For Kissing, Customers Respond With Lots Of Gay Kisses
GayStarNews reports that a gay couple was told to leave a Burger King in Madrid after a father eating there with his children had complained that they were bothering him.
The initial incident, which occurred at the Plaza de los Cubos restaurant, saw the two men being told to “tone it down” and then being asked to leave by the security guard, amidst protest from other diners who felt that the guard was in the wrong.
Arcópoli, a GLBTI rights group, demanded an explanation and apology from Burger King, which the restaurant manager gave, saying that “Burger King supports diversity and I would in no instance support homophobic behavior by a member of my staff.” He said that the security guard acted without his permission, and he asked that the gay couple come to the restaurant so that he could apologize personally to them.
The kiss-in protesting the incident was applauded by the Burger King staff.
BigGayNews from Rome:
Pope Francis Addresses Gay Marriage: Church Should Support Families With GLBT Children
The International Business Times reports that the Catholic Church must help parents stand by their gay children, Pope Francis said in a new interview about his papal ministry.
In a recent interview, the Pontiff had urged top Church officials to “pay attention to the signs of the times” in regards to the situations and concerns of ordinary Catholics.
Pope Francis said that, while gay marriage is still not considered to be part of the Church’s agenda, it is important to both find ways of welcoming gay Catholics, as well as helping Catholic parents of gay children to stand in support of their son or daughter.
BigGayNews from Jamaica:
Planting Peace Travels With Grace Phelps To Document Jamaican GLBT Homeless Youth
The Huffington Post reports that in an unlikely turn of events for the Westboro Baptist Church, a former member—and daughter of the infamous Shirley Phelps—just made a massive statement of solidarity with the GLBT community.
Grace Phelps made the trip with Aaron Jackson, president of Planting Peace and the driving force behind the rainbow-painted Equality House which sits across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas, in hopes of bringing to light the dire plight of homeless GLBT youth in the Caribbean nation.
Phelps said that after spending most of her life being taught to hate and protest against gays, she wanted to help these young people who have been forced to live in the sewers of Jamaica after being rejected and disowned for their sexuality.