Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Pink News: Comment: Chemsex is causing a disproportionate amount of harm for gay men

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/04/01/comment-chemsex-is-causing-a-disproportionate-amount-of-harm-for-gay-men/
1st April 2014, 11:46 AM by Monty Moncrieff

The use of crystal meth is on the rise

The Chief Executive of London Friend, Monty Moncrieff, gives his response to a recent study on drug use in the gay community and says chemsex could be contributing to a rise in HIV infection rates.

Last Friday our Antidote team attended the launch of a new report examining ‘chemsex’ trends amongst men who have sex with men (MSM). Chemsex is a term used to describe the use of drugs to engage in sex and is a word increasingly being associated with the trends we see in men accessing Antidote, our specialist LGBT drug & alcohol support service.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Guardian: LGBT retirement home: the end of the rainbow

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/27/lgbt-retirement-home-sweden

Europe’s first LGBT retirement home, a modest 80s apartment block in Stockholm, gives gay people a friendly place in which to grow old. It’s the start of a growing trend, discovers Eleanor Margolis

The Observer, Sunday 27 July 2014 by Eleanor Margolis

As you might expect of a Stockholm suburb on a Sunday, not very much is happening in Gärdet. Despite its staunchly liberal values Sweden is a Christian country, and the shops and cafés near the station are almost aggressively shut. Aside from one elderly man puffing on a pipe, the streets are empty. An expanse of identikit 80s apartment block screams “Nordic noir” but doesn’t so much as whisper “gay”. Certainly there is nothing to suggest that this is the setting of Europe’s first LGBT retirement community.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Sunday Circle: Here come the Brides: Inside Malta's First Civil Union

http://www.sundaycircle.com/2014/07/here-come-the-brides-inside-maltas-first-civil-union/
July 16, 2014 by Philip Leone-Ganado

With the introduction of Civil Unions in Malta last April, same-sex couples can for the first time have their relationships legally recognised. Philip Leone-Ganado meets the very first couple to tie the knot

Kristina Galea Cavallazzi and Clara Borg first met ten years ago, when Clara’s mother, a colleague of Kristina’s, asked her whether she could find summer work for Clara and a friend at the café’ Kristina owned in Attard. Clara, then a law student, started work during the European Championships of 2004 (as Kristina, a self-confessed football fanatic, remembers it) and continued until she finished University – over which time the two grew increasingly close. Eight years later, on Clara’s 30th birthday, the couple exchanged rings, and on June 13 this year they tied the knot during a ceremony at Ta’ Cenc Hotel in Gozo, surrounded by their family and friends.


So far, nothing unusual – except that with their exchange of vows, Kristina and Clara became the very first same-sex couple to enter into a civil union in Malta since the law came into effect last April. “To be honest, it’s not something we thought would ever be possible in our lifetimes,” says Kristina. “But we always said that if the law ever went through, we’d just go for it.”

“We were in Germany on holiday with both our families when the news came through,” says Clara, “and our parents brought champagne over to the table to celebrate. We thought: why wait? At this point in our relationship, there was nothing to think about.” As soon as they could, the couple got in touch with Clara’s cousin, Sarah Young, a wedding planner, and asked for her next availability – which happened to be Friday 13. “That’s a bit…you know,” Clara laughs. “But I said let’s go for it. We always did things slightly differently, so even that was fitting for our relationship.”

Although the couple were aware from the moment they registered that they were making history, they were adamant that their wedding should be no different to that of any other couple: a celebration, first and foremost, of their love. Thanks to Sarah they managed to organise their dream celebration in just six weeks. “Without her it would definitely not have been possible,” Kristina says.


The ceremony at Mgarr ix-Xini (Photography: Ben Camille)

The ceremony took place in the beautiful surroundings of Kantra, overlooking Mġarr ix-Xini. Kristina and Clara both arrived with their parents, and after their parents had taken their seats, the couple walked down the aisle together. The words spoken were similar to those of any other civil ceremony, and after an exchange of rings and vows, the newly-weds joined their friends and family in celebrating the occasion.

“We each danced with our fathers first, then we had a short dance together, and then we called the rest to join in,” Kristina recalls. Clara is quick to add: “Spending two minutes with the spotlight just on us was a bit nerve-wracking, so we tried to make it as short as possible.”

There were, of course, a few personal touches to the evening. The cake-topper, for example, featuring two women, had to be custom-made and flown in from the US. And Kristina had a pair of rainbow-coloured shoes made for the occasion. “Which I wore after we cut the cake, of course,” she cuts in as Clara tells the story.



But as for their aim of ensuring that the evening was first and foremost about their love, that was never in question. “Throughout the whole evening there was this feeling of happiness and love,” says Clara. “Everyone was having a good time and showing their love for us. That was very important to me.”

“I think the magical part of the actual exchange of vows is what will stay with me the most,” Kristina adds. “Remember, people in our situation would not have thought this would be possible. So being able to stand there and say those words and exchange rings in front of our families will remain with me. The party was great, but it could have been any party. That moment will stay with me.”

Both Kristina and Clara admit that they were surprised at how matter-of-fact everyone they encountered in the run-up to the wedding was about the whole affair. And yet in some regards it was a new experience for everyone involved.

“Well, the make-up artists and hair dressers had double the work,” Clara laughs. “They actually commented that usually when they’re doing the bride, they’re wondering whether the groom will like it, whereas since we were both in the room together, we could give feedback as we went along. We also went to the dressmaker together: we chose each other’s dresses and had them done in a way that they would complement each other’s.”



So what does marriage – and the fact of having been able to get married – mean to the newly-weds? “It puts a seal on a relationship that we’ve always lived as a couple,” says Kristina. “We’ve been living together for 4 or 5 years, but if something had happened – if I were in hospital and Clara needed to visit, she shouldn’t need to ask for permission. These things make a difference. As far as our relationship is concerned, nothing really changes. But now we’re recognised as a couple.”

“The process of organising the Civil Union has itself actually brought the families closer,” says Clara. “And to a certain extent, it gave us a feeling of authenticity. For our parents, seeing guests coming over and showing their love was a reassurance that their kids are loved… irrespective of anything else. That helps us, it helps them, and it’s brought us all closer.”


“This wasn’t just a couple getting married,” says Kristina. “It was a couple being able to do so – finally – in their own country. It was a sense of belonging to your roots and being accepted by them, rather than having to run away from them to achieve your dream.”

Telegraph: HIV: 'the WHO is perpetuating gay stereotypes'

The World Health Organisation has recommended that all gay men take antiretroviral drugs to stop the spread of HIV, but surely education - not more drugs - is the answer

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/mens-health/10967926/HIV-the-WHO-is-perpetuating-gay-stereotypes.html
10:37AM BST 15 Jul 2014, by Patrick McAleenan


'A more relaxed attitude to HIV is not exclusive to the gay community' Photo: Alamy

143 Comments

Anything else you’d like us to take responsibility for? Famine in Africa? Umemployment statistics? Binge drinking in Magaluf?

Being gay can often feel like the world is against you, and yet again the planet’s HIV epidemic is being firmly placed on our shoulders. I’m talking about the news that the World Health Organisation has announced for the first time that men who have sex with men should take antiretroviral drugs, in a bid to try and contain the growing rates of HIV in gay communities around the world. That’s all men who have sex with men. No mention of men who have sex with women. Are they all suddenly having safe sex?

El Pais: “People who say homosexuals are sick are sick themselves”

http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/07/14/inenglish/1405349122_612890.html

Raúl Vera is the Mexican bishop who holds the record for death threats. He has survived more than one attempt on his life, and his work in favor of missing persons, immigrants, children and juveniles, indigenous populations, prostitutes and pariahs of all types has earned him the undying hatred of many, including the drug rings.

Yet the threats seem to leave no mark on him. An engineer by trade and an intellectual son of May 1968, the 69-year-old Dominican friar has forged himself a legend as an untamed soul.

His first test came in 1995 when Juan Pablo II sent him to Chiapas in the middle of the Zapatista effervescence. His mission: to bring order to the diocese of San Cristóbal de las Casas, which was then headed by the charismatic Samuel Ruiz, a champion of liberation theology and supporter of pro-indigenous theories. But the man who was supposed to wrest power away from the unruly Ruiz and return the diocese to the path of conservatism ended up supporting the local clergy instead.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

BBC News: Healthy gay men urged to take HIV drugs - WHO

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28264436
11 July 2014 Last updated at 13:16 GMT
By Smitha Mundasad, Health reporter, BBC News

Antiretroviral drugs are more widely used to treat people who are already infected with HIV

The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging all sexually active gay men to take antiretroviral drugs to reduce the spread of HIV.

The organisation says the move may help prevent a million new HIV infections over 10 years.

BBC News: HIV re-emerges in 'cured' Mississippi girl

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28257768
10 July 2014 Last updated at 20:44 GMT

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) attacks the immune system

A baby girl in the US born with HIV and believed cured after very early treatment has now been found to still harbour the virus.

Tests last week on the four-year-old child from Mississippi indicate she is no longer in remission, say doctors.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Times: Annual gay parade celebrates recognition granted to same-sex couples

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140711/local/annual-gay-parade-celebrates-recognition-granted-to-same-sex-couples.527309
Friday, July 11, 2014, 20:19



Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Malta’s gay community this evening held its annual Gay Pride Parade in Valletta on the theme “Family: Where Love Matters More”.

Carrying posters and colourful balloons, participants in this year’s parade celebrated the passing of the Civil Unions Act and the legal recognition it grants same-sex couples and their families.

The community is holding a series of other activities this week, all aimed at celebrating its achievements.

Malta Today: Gay pride march 2014 'a celebration of the family'

This year's gay pride week celebrates the family and the legal recognition of gay couples

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/41104/gay_pride_march_2014_a_celebration_of_the_family#.U8ENKL38LqB
11 July 2014, 9:24pm by Miriam Dalli,



Gay pride 2014 is a celebration of the family and the recognition of an LGBTI person to love, gay rights activists said.

Although the number of attendees to this year's gay pride march do not compare to the bigger numbers registered during past marches, the smaller numbers did not mar the strong sense of happiness and joy.
Also noticeable was the increase in attendance by representatives of the Nationalist Party.
Activists also urged legislators to enact the gender identity bill.

Guardian: Children of same-sex couples healthier, says Australian study

But researchers warn the stigma associated with parents' sexual orientation is an ongoing challenge for children
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/07/children-of-same-sex-couples-healthier-says-australian-study
Australian Associated Press, Monday 7 July 2014 02.27 BST

The children were equivalent to those from the general population on measures of temperament and mood, behaviour, mental health and self-esteem. Photograph: Queerstock, Inc./Alamy

Children of same-sex couples experience higher levels of general health and family cohesion than those from traditional families, a study shows. But the researchers warn that the stigma associated with their parents' sexual orientation is an ongoing challenge for these children.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne surveyed 315 same-sex parents with a total of 500 children. About 80% of the children have female parents, while 18% have male parents.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

MGRM: Pride: Family Where Love Matters More
11th July, 19:00 hrs, Valletta

28.6.14 by the Malta Gay Rights Movement

The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) would like to invite you to this year’s Pride March.  This year’s event is planned to take place on Friday 11th July 2014, gathering at 7pm in St George’s Square, Valletta.

Pride is a symbolic manifestation which is held in many different cities around the world. It aims to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons and is both a celebration of diversity as well as a call for recognition and respect for the dignity and rights of all.

Times: Church must be less judgmental of homosexuals - Vatican

http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140626/world/church-must-be-less-judgmental-of-homosexuals-vatican.525156
Thursday, June 26, 2014, 16:36



The Roman Catholic Church must be less judgmental of homosexuals and, while still opposing gay marriage, should welcome children of gay couples into the faith with equal dignity, a Vatican document said today.

A 75-page document, a working paper for the synod of Catholic bishops planned for the Vatican in October to discuss family issues, also said the 1.2 billion member Church should become less exclusive and more humble.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Pink News: Luxembourg passes equal marriage bill by 56-4 landslide

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/06/18/luxembourg-passes-equal-marriage-bill-by-56-4-landslide/
18th June 2014, 6:53 PM by Nick Duffy

Luxembourg has passed equal marriage by a landslide

Luxembourg’s parliament has overwhelmingly passed a same-sex marriage bill, by a vote of 56-4.

The bill introduces equal marriage, in addition to granting adoption rights to same-sex couples.

Luxembourg’s parliament has only one chamber, and so the vote by the Chamber of Deputies has secured the passage of the bill as a whole.

According to the Chamber of Deputies, the law is expected to be in force by early 2015.

Zuntier: The ugly head of homophobia: it’s still there

http://zuntier.com/2014/06/ugly-head-homophobia-still/#.U6B40b38LqB
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Isn’t this something old fashioned, from the past? I mean, Homophobia, it’s no longer real, right?
I was not surprised by this question that a local presenter asked me during a popular TV show a few days ago. After all, Malta, like most countries in Europe seems to have become more accepting of people who are different. We boast of our high degree of tolerance and openness and the rapid social change, the introduction of divorce, and the plurality of views one sees on the media all seem to prove that. Moreover, in the past year, the country politically also seems to have made great strides forward: the unanimous parliamentary approval for the constitutional clause making any discrimination on grounds of gender and sexual orientation illegal in our country; the introduction of civil unions, and the substantial number of people who came together in Valletta to celebrate this historic event  . Yes, things do seem to be improving and to be fair, since coming out ‘nationally’, I was not stoned, or kicked or bullied or called names by passer-byes, nor did I lose my job or end up kicked out of my home.
Yet, homophobia is still around …

Buzz Feed: The Story Behind The Rainbow Flag

The colorful flag is used as a symbol of the LGBT community in nearly every corner of the globe, but it all started in San Francisco, CA. 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/the-story-behind-the-rainbow-flag
posted on June 25, 2013, at 10:32 p.m. by Sarah Karlan

The rainbow flag is an iconic symbol for the LGBT community:


Keith Tsuji / Getty Images

It’s easily recognized in nearly every corner of the globe:


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Independent: First civil union registered on Friday

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-06-17/news/first-civil-union-registered-on-friday-5503909889/
Tuesday, 17 June 2014, 09:15



Kristina Galea Cavallazzi and Clara Borg became the first gay couple to register their union last Friday.

In a poignant ceremony held in Gozo, Kristina and Clara vowed mutual respect and pledged to take care of each other as a married couple in the presence of family and friends.

The civil union rites were exchanged in Mgarr ix-Xini followed by a reception at Ta’ Cenc Hotel.

iNews Malta: “Issiġillajna r-relazzjoni tagħna” - l-ewwel unjoni ċivili f'Malta

http://www.inewsmalta.com/dart/20140617-issi-illajna-relazzjoni-tag-na-ewwel-unjoni-ivili-malta
14:40 | 17.06.2014

Ritratt: Kristina (xellug) u Clara: l-ewwel minn sensiela ta' koppji tal-istess sess li, bis-saħħa tal-liġi dwar l-unjonijiet ċivili, qed jifformalizzaw ir-relazzjoni ta' bejniethom.

“Permezz tas-sħubija ċivili, issiġillajna r-relazzjoni tagħna bħalma jagħmlu kwalunkwe tnejn min-nies oħra li jinħabbu u jridu jqattgħu ħajjithom flimkien,” ikkummentaw ma' inewsmalta Kristina Galea-Cavallazzi u Clara Borg, li nhar il-Ġimgħa kienu l-ewwel koppja tal-istess sess li ngħaqdet f'unjoni ċivili minn mindu daħlet il-liġi f'nofs April.

Il-koppja żżewġet f'ċerimonja mill-isbaħ li saret fi Mġarr ix-Xini, u wara sar riċeviment għall-familja u l-ħbieb fil-lukanda Ta' Ċenċ, Għawdex.

Clara Borg hija bint l-eks-Ministru u eks-Kummissarju Ewropew, Joe Borg.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Sunday Circle: A Journey of a Thousand Miles

http://www.sundaycircle.com/2014/06/ajourneyofathousandmiles/
June 9, 2014 by Philip Leone-Ganado

At 18 years of age, Somali refugee Farah Abdi has experienced more than some people do in an entire lifetime. He tells Philip Leone-Ganado about fleeing his homeland, coming to terms with his sexuality, and why he believes integration is the only option

In November 2012, a small dinghy carrying 77 migrants arrived in Malta after a three-day journey from Libya. Farah Abdullah Abdi, then just 16 years old, was one of those on board. Nine months earlier, Farah had fled his home in Kenya and set off on a perilous journey into the unknown. In the months that followed, he would be locked up and beaten in South Sudan, cross the Sahara Desert in a pick-up truck, and find himself imprisoned five times while attempting the crossing from Libya.

Arriving in Malta and applying for asylum was the end of that danger for Farah, but it was also the start of another journey: coming to terms with himself and his sexuality, the reason for his flight from family and home, where homosexuality remains illegal, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. “When I arrived, one of the women who helped me realised my difference and said I needed therapy,” he recalls. “I danced around the matter with my psychologist for hours without saying the word.” Even now, it takes him a second to enunciate it. “I am…gay. It doesn’t define me, but it’s part of who I am.”

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Public Registry [Malta]: Civil Unions

https://mhas.gov.mt/en/MHAS-Departments/Land%20Public%20Registry/Pages/Public-Registry.aspx

Public Registry

 The main functions and responsibilities of the Public Registry originate from the Public Registry Act (Cap 56), the Marriage Act (Cap 255), the Civil Unions Act (Cap 530), Chapter 16 of the Civil Code, Sections 1 to 306 and the Housing (Decontrol Ordinance), 1959 (Cap 158).

The Public Registry was set up on the 3rd August 1889 although the records date back to 1863. Records kept at the Public Registry include acts of birth, marriage, civil unions and death and adoption registrations. Annotations to the mentioned acts/registrations are made following court decrees/judgements. Certificates of the above are issued accordingly on request.
 
     Civil Status
     The Archives
 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Independent: Malta ranks among the best countries for LGBTi rights

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2014-05-27/news/malta-ranks-among-the-best-countries-for-lgbti-rights-5194579969/
Tuesday, 27 May 2014, 11:27 , by Duncan Barry



Malta has made vast improvement in terms of LGBTi rights, scoring an additional 22 percentage points over the previous year’s score of thirty five per cent, a survey carried out by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) earlier this month, has found.

The annual Rainbow Europe Survey ranked the United Kingdom and Belgium as the best places for LGBTi rights. The UK came first with a tally of 82 per cent while Belgium placed second (78 per cent).