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I Am Samuel...

Kenya's film censor bans gay documentary


Link Here25th September 2021
Full story: Film Censorship in Kenya...Ban happy KFCB particularly for gay themese
I Am Samuel is a 2020 Kenya / Canada / UK / USA documentary by Peter Murimi
Starring Steve Zahn, Jillian Bell and Sasha Knight BBFC link 2020  IMDb

Filmed verite style over five years, I Am Samuel is an intimate portrait of a Kenyan man torn between balancing duty to his family with his dreams for his future.

The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has banned the gay documentary I am Samuel claiming that it sought to propagate values that are in dissonance with our constitution, culture values and norms. KFCB boss Christopher Wambua declared the film to be blasphemous and added:

Worse still, the production is demeaning of Christianity as two gay men in the film purport to conduct a religious marriage invoking the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Directed by a Kenyan filmmaker, I Am Samuel depicts a romantic relationship between two men living in Nairobi and promotes same-sex marriage as an acceptable way of life.

 

 

Open Letter: The current version of the Online Safety Bill is not the answer...

Individuals and LGBT organisations speak out against the Governments Online Safety Bill


Link Here 4th September 2021
Full story: Online Safety Bill...UK Government legislates to censor social media

As proud members of the LGBTQ+ community, we know first-hand the vile abuse that regularly takes place online. The data is clear; 78% of us have faced anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime or hate speech online in the last 5 years. So we understand why the Government is looking for a solution, but the current version of the Online Safety Bill is not the answer -- it will make things worse not better.

The new law introduces the "duty of care" principle and would give internet companies extensive powers to delete posts that may cause 'harm.' But because the law does not define what it means by 'harm' it could result in perfectly legal speech being removed from the web.

As LGBTQ+ people we have seen what happens when vague rules are put in place to police speech. Marginalised voices are silenced. From historic examples of censors banning LGBTQ+ content to 'protect' the public, to modern day content moderation tools marking innocent LGBTQ+ content as explicit or harmful.

This isn't scaremongering. In 2017, Tumblr's content filtering system marked non-sexual LGBTQ+ content as explicit and blocked it, in 2020 TikTok censored depictions of homosexuality such as two men kissing or holding hands and it reduced the reach of LGBTQ+ posts in some countries, and within the last two months LinkedIn removed a coming out post from a 16-year-old following complaints.

This Bill, as it stands, would provide a legal basis for this censorship. Moreover, its vague wording makes it easy for hate groups to put pressure on Silicon Valley tech companies to remove LGBTQ+ content and would set a worrying international standard.

Growing calls to end anonymity online also pose a danger. Anonymity allows LGBTQ+ people to share their experiences and sexuality while protecting their privacy and many non-binary and transgender people do not hold a form of acceptable ID and could be shut out of social media.

The internet provides a crucial space for our community to share experiences and build relationships. 90% of LGBTQ+ young people say they can be themselves online and 96% say the internet has helped them understand more about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This Bill puts the content of these spaces at potential risk.

Racism, homophobia, transphobia, and threats of violence are already illegal. But data shows that when they happen online it is ignored by authorities. After the system for flagging online hate crime was underused by the police, the Home Office stopped including these figures in their annual report all together, leaving us in the dark about the scale of the problem. The government's Bill should focus on this illegal content rather than empowering the censorship of legal speech.

This is why we are calling for "the duty of care", which in the current form of the Online Safety Bill could be used to censor perfectly legal free speech, to be reframed to focus on illegal content, for there to be specific, written, protections for legal LGBTQ+ content online, and for the LGBTQ+ community to be properly consulted throughout the process.

  • Stephen Fry , actor, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer.
  • Munroe Bergdorf , model, activist, and writer.
  • Peter Tatchell , human rights campaigner.
  • Carrie Lyell , Editor-in-Chief of DIVA Magazine.
  • James Ball , Global Editor of The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism.
  • Jo Corrall , Founder of This is a Vulva.
  • Clara Barker , material scientist and Chair of LGBT+ Advisory Group at Oxford University.
  • Marc Thompson , Director of The Love Tank and co-founder of PrEPster and BlackOut UK.
  • Sade Giliberti , TV presenter, actor, and media personality.
  • Fox Fisher , artist, author, filmmaker, and LGBTQIA+ rights advocate.
  • Cara English , Head of Public Engagement at Gendered Intelligence, Founder OpenLavs.
  • Paula Akpan , journalist, and founder of Black Queer Travel Guide.
  • Tom Rasmussen , writer, singer, and drag performer.
  • Jamie Wareham , LGBTQ journalist and host of the #QueerAF podcast.
  • Crystal Lubrikunt , international drag performer, host, and producer.
  • David Robson, Chair of London LGBT+ Forums Network
  • Shane ShayShay Konno , drag performer, curator and host of the ShayShay Show, and founder of The Bitten Peach.
  • UK Black Pride , Europe's largest celebration for African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin America, and Caribbean-heritage LGBTQI+ people.

 

 

Opaque rules...

The Hungarian Government orders book shops to sell gay and sexy books in opaque covers


Link Here7th August 2021
  The Hungarian Government has ordered shops to wrap children's books that depict homosexuality in a positive light in closed packaging as the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban fights against gay rights.

Under a government decree, stores will also be banned from selling books seen as containing explicit depictions of sexuality or narratives around gender change within a 200 meter radius of schools or churches. The rules similarly outlaw displays of products that depict gender roles that are different from an individual's gender at birth.

The latest steps come a month after Hungary introduced a law banning the dissemination of LGBTQ+ content in schools.

The European Commission has filed legal proceedings against Hungary claiming the rules violate the right to freedom of expression and information.

 

 

Better?...

Spanish advert in the series about strange characters getting back to normal after eating a Snickers winds up the easily offended


Link Here5th August 2021
Snickers in Spain has pulled a controversial TV advert after complaints from a few people who considered it homophobic'

The advert is one of a long running series showing strange characters getting back to normal after eating a Snickers.

In this case the strange character was the rather effeminate Spanish influencer Aless Gibaja who transformed into a regular masculine guy with a beard and low voice.

The video went viral this week, with some calling for a boycott of Snickers over homophobia, presumably because the masculine guy was depicted as an improvement on the effeminate guy.

The State Federation of Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals tweeted:

It is shameful and regrettable that at this point there are companies that continue to perpetuate stereotypes and promote homophobia.

Spain's equality minister, Irene Montero, also joined the criticism:

I wonder to whom it might seem like a good idea to use homophobia as a business strategy.

Our society is diverse and tolerant. Hopefully those who have the power to make decisions about what we see and hear in commercials and TV shows will learn to be too.

On Thursday, Snickers Spain said it was deleting the advert and apologised for any misunderstanding it may have caused. The company said:

In this specific campaign, the aim was to convey in a friendly and casual way that hunger can change your character. At no time has it been intended to stigmatize or offend any person or group.

 

 

Promoting repression...

Hungary's parliament passes law banning gay content that may be accessed by under 18s


Link Here15th June 2021
Hungary's parliament has just passed a law banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Of course the reality is that gay material will be widely banned for adults citing the possibility that children could be accessing any open media.

Critics claim the law -- which effectively bans educational programmes and publicity of LGBTQ groups -- would severely restrict freedom of expression and children's rights. More than 5,000 people rallied outside parliament on Monday against the legislation, which LGBTQ groups have compared to similar legislation in Russia.

The legal text reads:

In order to ensure... the protection of children's rights, pornography and content that depicts sexuality for its own purposes or that promotes deviation from gender identity, gender reassignment and homosexuality shall not be made available to persons under the age of 18.

It is not yet clear what scale of punishments will be available to enforce the law.

Local broadcaster RTL Klub Hungary commented:

The law could mean that movies that some see as promoting homosexuality, such as Bridget Jones's Diary, Harry Potter or Billy Elliot, can only be shown at night with an 18-plus classification,

 

 

If I Had Known...

Netflix refuses to bow to Turkish censorship and moves production to Spain


Link Here22nd April 2021
Full story: Netflix Censorship...Streaming TV to a variety of censorship regimes
Last year Turkey refused permission to film a locally adapted version of the Netflix series If Only. The licence was refused after discovering that one of the lead characters was gay.

Netflix decided not to write out the gay character and have now decided to film the series in Spain. The adaptation will now be titled Si lo hubiera sabido (If I Had Known), and will be scripted by Irma Correa with Yörenç acting as consultant.

Starring HBO series 30 coins actress Megan Montaner, If I Had Known will tell the story of Emma, who is entering her thirties with the feeling that life has become dull after 10 years of marriage. A supernatural twist allows her to inhabit her younger body and, ironically, rewrite the script.

Yörenç told Variety magazine:

Turkey's Ministry of Culture has the power to cancel a series depending on the image it gives of the country. Although it hadn't used this power before, it applied it to my series though it didn't give any explicit reason. But we know that it's because the series has a gay character. They hoped we'd change the screenplay, adapting to the moral norms they expected. But I, along with Netflix didn't agree to making any change to the original screenplay and we finally decided to cancel the series. But I really want now to focus on the project, which is very exciting. I want to forget the past.

 

 

The art of repression...

Russian feminist and artist in court for artwork about feminism and gay rights


Link Here12th April 2021
Full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters
A Russian court is conducting a trial of a feminist activist and artist ludicrously charged with disseminating pornography after she shared drawings with a blob of pubic hair.

Yulia Tsvetkova is on charges related to her group on the popular social network VKontakte where colorful, stylized drawings of vaginas were posted. Tsvetkova is not allowed to give details of accusations against her.

Her drawings also depict gay themes that go against repressive Russians laws against what it considers as gay propaganda.

Tsvetkova ran a children's theater and was a vocal advocate of feminism and LGBT rights. She founded an online group, called Vagina Monologues, encouraging followers to fight stigma and taboo surrounding the female body, and posted other people's art in it.

Many public figures have spoken out in her support. Activists across Russia protested her prosecution, artists dedicated performances to her, and an online petition demanding that the charged be dropped gathered over 250,000 signatures.

 

 

Don't mention the gay scene...

Russian film distributors cut gay scene from the Colin Firth movie Supernova


Link Here12th March 2021
Full story: Film Censorship in Russia...Censorship in the guise of banning strong language
Supernova is a 2020 UK gay drama by Harry Macqueen.
Starring Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth and Pippa Haywood. IMDb

Sam and Tusker partners of 20 years, who are traveling across England in their old RV visiting friends, family and places from their past. Since Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have.

A gay sex scene was cut from Supernova in Russian cinemas. The film was self-censored by film distributors there. At least one scene where the characters try to have sex after a dramatic dialogue has disappeared from the story.

World Pictures, the film's Russian distributor, cut the scene due to concerns that theaters would not screen Supernova and it may spark controversy due to excesses, according to critic Konstantin Kropotkin. These fears are rooted in Russia's gay propaganda law, which prohibits LGBTQ+ visibility in venues accessible to minors. This law has been used to penalize people and productions for a broad and often vague range of violations.

In addition to cutting a scene, World Pictures reportedly asked critics to remove any mention of gay from reviews. That intent backfired, the Times noted, as critics stressed how the censorship only further enhanced the film's love story and the heartfelt performances of its actors.

 

 

A woke yolk joke...

Morality campaign group recommends a woke Cadbury's Creme Egg advert


Link Here20th February 2021
CitizenGO is a religious morality campaign group. They have taken issue for a rather aggressively woke Cadbury's Creme advert that features two gay men being very sexual about sharing a chocolate egg.

CitizenGO has organised a petition against the advert currently signed by about 30,000 people. The group writes:

Petition to Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the Advertising Standards Agency and Louise Stigant, Managing Director of Cadbury's UK:

I wish to register a complaint about the Cadbury's Creme Egg advertising campaign currently being distributed across mainstream media which features a gay couple engaged in a sexually intimate act.

Cadburys are a well-established household name who deliberately market their products towards families and children; therefore, it is unacceptable that they should seek to expose children to an image which is so clearly hyper-sexualised.

Given that children often copy what they see on screen, the advert constitutes a form of grooming, exposing children to inappropriate and graphic sexual content.

By featuring a gay couple, Cadbury's are aiming to escape criticism by using the cover of inclusiveness and diversity. Still, this sexually graphic advertisement has no place being shown on mainstream media where children can view it.

Such sexual objectification is against the ASA's code of conduct.

I urge you to take immediate action and immediately withdraw the advert from mainstream circulation



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