Roundup: LGBT community around the world

Each June, millions gather worldwide in parades, rallies, festivals, and more to celebrate LGBT pride. We end our weeklong spotlight by zooming out of the U.S. and onto firsts in the international sphere.

As LGBT rights become more prominent in the U.S., other countries are quickly catching on. Here’s a quick roundup of the latest happenings:

South Africa—

In April, South Africa (the first—and only—African country that’s legalized gay marriage) saw its first traditional gay marriage between Thoba Sithole and Cameron Modisane. From Zulu and Setswana outfits to a cow slaughter, the couple and their families spared nothing to stick to their ancestral roots.

“People are still ashamed because the vast majority of the black community is not accepting of being a homosexual. They see it as largely being a ‘Western trend’ that is in fashion lately,” Cameron told reporters at the ceremony. “[We want people to see that] being gay is as African as being black.”


Meanwhile, in Singapore, where sexual contact between men is still punishable with up to two years’ in jail, a less traditional movement has taken flight—in the form of an online magazine directed toward the country’s gay male community. Launched in February, Element has managed to bypass the government’s strict media laws with it’s solely online presence while still capturing the attention of readers across Asia, if not the world. Publisher Noel Ng told the Atlantic that he sees the magazine as a way “to restore the dignity and worth of every gay man.”

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Shortly after Amnesty International published an article urging the Ukrainian government to introduce anti-distcriminatory legislation (following a slew of anti-gay attacks in the country), the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, held its first gay pride parade on May 25. Told to dress in comfortable shoes (for running) and non-offensive clothing, the peaceful, un-dsirupted crowd was flanked by police support and public encouragement as they marched through downtown. “This can be considered a historic day,” said Elena Semyonova, one of the event’s organizers.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Photo credit: Associated Press

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In their own words: Portraits of LGBT youth from around the U.S.

Each June, millions gather worldwide in parades, rallies, festivals, and more to celebrate LGBT pride. In honor of this movement, this week we’re shining a spotlight on the LGBT youth community and the myriad of ways you can get involved.  Today we’re  featuring stories from We Are the Youth, a project from childhood friends Diana Scholl, a journalist and current Communications Strategist at the ACLU, and photographer Laurel Golio.

We Are the Youth is a photojournalism project that shares the stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and “as told to” interviews in participants’ own voices, We Are the Youth captures the incredible diversity and uniqueness of the LGBT youth population.

We created We Are the Youth in June 2010. We wanted to combine our strengths to create a project that would serve as a living archive of experiences and stories that chronicle a rapidly changing period of American LGBT rights.

Since the project was founded three years ago, we have the the fall of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the legalization of same-sex marriage in several states, a rising awareness of bullying and suicide among LGBT youth, and the changing face of queer identity, particularly among transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals.

In addition to being a dynamic time in American history, We Are the Youth records a transformative period of time in the lives of the participants who are between the ages of 15 and 21 years old.

To date, we’ve profiled more than 75 young people across the U.S.  Our project is entirely a labor of love.

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To enable more stories of LGBT youth to be shared, please consider making a contribution to We Are the Youth.

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