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2014: July-Sept

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Dragging their Heels...

Facebook get heavy about users who would prefer not to use their real names

Link Here25th September 2014
Facebook has decided to move forward with deleting all profiles who do not change their personal profile names to their legal names during a two week grace period.

The decision comes after Facebook agreed to meet with a group of drag queen activists on Wednesday to discuss Facebook's recent campaign to delete hundreds of drag queen profiles who are using their stage names or chosen names on their Facebook accounts.

Facebook's policy stipulates that a name displayed on a personal account must be your real name as it would be listed on your credit card, driver's license or student ID. Facebook spokesperson Andrew Souvall in a statement:

We had a good discussion with the group about their perspectives on our real name standard, and we stressed how the standard helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.

We've decided to temporarily reactivate the profiles of several hundred members of the LGBT community whose profiles were recently deactivated. This will give them a chance to decide how they'd like to represent themselves on Facebook. Over the next two weeks, we hope that they will decide to confirm their real name, change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a Page.

Buzzfeed notes:

Activists have raised s imilar concerns for transgender users who could be at risk if they no longer identify with the names they were given at birth and use chosen names on their Facebook profiles. Many transgender people, especially transgender youth, may not be able to legally change their names and provide proof of the name they identity with if asked by Facebook. And for some transgender users, being outed by having to use their legal names could be dangerous, the activists said.

A petition reads:

This issue is discriminatory against transgender and other nonconforming individuals who have often escaped a painful past. They've reinvented themselves or been born again and made whole, adopting names and identities that do not necessarily match that on their driver's license.

One has also to wonder if the requirement for real names is being pushed by the authorities. It must make their life very easy for snopping especially as people post such intimate details about their life.



Update: Blocking Discrimination...

Symantec to remove censorship category for blocking gay lifestyle websites

Link Here17th September 2014
Full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
One of the biggest web censorship services in the world has announced they are scrapping blocks on gay and lesbian content.

Symantec, the online security firm behind Norton, has routinely been censorsing out LGBTI websites offering news, charity and support. The lifestyle-sexual orientation category will now be removed from its databases. Fran Rosch, executive vice president for Norton products said:

Making this change was not only the right thing to do, it was a good business decision. Having a category in place that could be used to filter out all LGBT-oriented sites was inconsistent with Symantec's values and the mission of our software.

While Symantec will allow customers to set their search to block adult oriented websites, there will no longer be an option to block websites just because they have LGBTI content.



Offsite Article: Love is Strange...And the MPAA is even stranger...

Link Here5th September 2014
Being Gay At The MPAA Is Still Not Okay! By Pooch

See article from



Offsite Article: Why the MPAA thinks all gay people should be rated R...

Link Here 21st August 2014
Querying the R rating for the new movie Love is Strange

See article from



Update: Inquorate...

Uganda's extreme anti-gay law struck down on a technicality

Link Here2nd August 2014
Full story: Gay censorship in Uganda...Media ensors take action against gay productions
Gay rights campaigners in Uganda and around the world are celebrating a decision by the country's constitutional court to strike down a widely condemned anti-gay law on a legal technicality.

Activists in the courtroom cheered after a panel of five judges ruled that the speaker of parliament acted illegally when she allowed a vote on the measure despite at least three objections that not enough MPs were in attendance.

While celebrating the ruling, activists warned that homosexuality remained a criminal offence in the east African country under colonial-era laws.



Update: Christains told to get over it!...

High Court supports Boris Johnson's ban of anti-gay bus advert

Link Here31st July 2014
Christian campaigners have lost a High Court bid for a ruling that London Mayor Boris Johnson was personally responsible for an improper and politically-motivated ban of an anti-gay advert on buses.

Campaign group Core Issues Trust (CIT) had accused him of an abuse of power and imposing the ban for the nakedly political purpose of currying favour with gay lobby groups and boosting his re-election campaign in 2012.

The Trust advert that never made it to the sides of buses in the capital read: Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it! It was meant to be a response to posters promoted by lesbian and gay campaigners Stonewall that said: Some people are gay. Get over it! . Those did appear on buses.

But CIT's judicial review action, brought over Transport for London's April 2012 decision not to allow the group's advertisement to appear on the outside of its buses, was dismissed by a judge in London. Announcing her conclusions, Mrs Justice Lang declared: Mr Johnson was not motivated by an improper purpose, namely, to advance his Mayoral election campaign.

The advert was banned on April 12 2012 , a day before the Mayor addressed an election rally organised by Stonewall. At a hearing in March last year, Mrs Justice Lang declared the banning order on the CIT poster lawful. She also ruled that the Mayor, in his capacity as chair of TfL, was entitled to be involved in the decision-making process leading up to the order, though it would have been improper for him to use the situation to advance his re-election campaign.



Singapore Recommends...

Children's book, And Tango Makes Three. Sentenced to burning but later reprieved

Link Here18th July 2014
Two children's books have been reprieved from burning in Singapore. The Minster of Communications and Book Burning was severely embarrassed on the international stage for targeting books reflecting gay lifestyles. Two of three books he banned a few days ago will now be restored to national libraries. Unfortunately all copies of a 3rd book have already been destroyed.

Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in a statement:

I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word

He stood by the decision to remove the books from the children's section of the libraries, but said he instructed libraries to place the books in their adult sections.

The National Library Board (NLB) originally took three titles off the shelves in its children's section following complaints from a few members of the public.

The NLB ban led to two online petitions with thousands of signatures pleading with the library authority to reinstate the books.

Ibrahim then defended the NLB censorship saying that he considered that the books do not promote the notion of conventional families .:

The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about.

Like in other societies, there is considerable effort by some in Singapore to shift these norms, and equally strong pushback by those who don't wish to see change.

Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB's approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them.

The three banned books are:

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson ,  a 2005 illustrated book about the true story of two male penguins which raise a chick together.
  • The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption is a 2002 book that details the journey of a lesbian couple, a single mother and two married couples which travel to China to meet their adoptive daughters for the first time.
  • Who's In My Family: All About Our Families . This is the title whose copies have already been burnt and so won't get restored to libraries.



Married to Censorship...

Singapore bans Archie: The Married Life Book 3

Link Here16th July 2014
An Archie comic book was banned in Singapore for its depiction of a gay character. Archie: The Married Life Volume Three , part of a five-book series, features a gay character who gets married.

The volume was banned by Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA), according to the Independent Singapore, a news website.

A spokesperson for Kinokuniya, a major bookseller in Singapore, told the Independent:

We regret that Archie: The Married Life is deemed to breach the content guidelines for imported publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title.



Update: Get Over It!...

The continuing case against Boris Johnson's banning of an anti-gay bus advert

Link Here3rd July 2014
A High Court judge is considering whether fresh evidence from the Mayor of London's office shows that Boris Johnson personally ordered Transport for London to ban a Christian anti-gay bus advertisement, and whether he did so for an improper purpose during his re-election campaign in 2012.

The advert by Core Issue Trust (CIT), which claimed that people can change unwanted homosexual feelings, was in response to Stonewall's campaign, Some people are gay. Get over it! which had been running on London buses for several months.

The ban on the Christian bus adverts took place during Boris Johnson's campaign for re-election as Mayor of London, just a day before he addressed an election rally organised by Stonewall, the gay pressure group.

Previously Mrs Justice Lang upheld the ban on the CIT slogan, Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it! , at the original High Court hearing. Following the decision, CIT submitted a Freedom of Information request which revealed emails suggesting the Mayor had personally instructed TFL to ban the adverts. One email from the Mayor's Director of Communications at the time, Guto Harri, states that the Mayor personally ordered the Christian advertisement to be pulled. CIT took the case to the Court of Appeal which sent it back to Mrs Justice Lang to consider the new email evidence which she had not seen at the first hearing.

Mrs Justice Lang stated she was not satisfied that the Mayor had told the full story about the ban and made an order for disclosure by Boris Johnson and TfL of all relevant documents.

CIT is not satisfied that the Order has been fully complied with and believes that documents which could be crucial to the case are still being withheld.

Core Issues Trust is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, whose CEO, Andrea Williams, said:

This is suppression of free speech and expression by the political class. Boris and his high-level team are using their power to suppress a small Christian charity.

The fact that the Court of Appeal ordered this case to be reconsidered by Mrs Justice Lang is an important vindication of the rule of law. TfL has made it hard for us to get to this point; it has been hostile and obstructive and has certainly not been a model of transparency. TfL has continued to promote Stonewall campaigns on its transport system -- a highly provocative action which shows disregard for the Court's original judgment, which held that neither Stonewall's or Core Issues Trusts's adverts should have been allowed. If one point of view is championed on London's transport network, there must be room to display an opposing view. We hope the Judge will recognise that this freedom was violated when the Mayor banned Core Issues Trust's adverts.

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