Austria deems Teenage Boy not gay enough to deserve Asylum

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Austrian officials rejected an Afghan gay teenage asylum seeker because aggression isn’t ‘expected from a homosexual’, according to the report written on him by the responsible officials. The official found no grounds for fear of persecution for the 18-year-old, according to the Falter Newspaper. Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan and can be punishable by death.

The assessment contained many concerns. It reportedly stated that, because the teenager got into a fight with roommates in his accommodation, he had ‘potential for aggression’. This ‘wouldn’t be expected from a homosexual’.

The report also noted: ‘The way you walk, act or dress does not show even in the slightest that you could be homosexual. Astonishingly, the report used having only a few friends and spending time alone against him. The assessment noted: ‘Aren’t homosexuals rather social?’

The 18-year-old also noted he kissed straight men. The official rejected this, saying that no straight guy would allow this to happen and would have beaten him. The Falter reported that the man came to Austria as a minor and is appealing against the decision.

This comes days after it was revealed an Iranian asylum seeker was rejected because he couldn’t explain what the six colours of the Pride flag stand for.

According to the Federal Office for Aliens and Asylum (BFA), not knowing the meaning behind the global LGBTI flag was reason enough to block his asylum request. Luckily, Austrian LGBTI group ‘Queer Base’ were able to support him through the process, and he has now been given asylum in the country.

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First Russian Teen found guilty under Gay Propaganda Law

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On August 7, a 16-year-old Russian teenager became the first minor found guilty under the country’s absurd “gay propaganda” law. The boy was accused of publishing homoerotic pictures on the Russian social network VKontakte. But the Russia LGBT Network suspects that his conviction is actually connected to the teen’s LGBTQ activism rather than the photos themselves.

According to the Russia LGBT Network, a July 24 report filed by the Commission on Minors and the Protection of Minors’ Rights said that the teen published “some pictures of young men whose appearance (partly nude body parts) had the characteristics of propaganda of homosexual relations according to the expert opinion.” The teen was fined 50,000 rubles ($762 US) as punishment.

The Network suspects Russian law enforcement agencies of paying special attention to the teen because last May he helped stage a public performance entitled Gays or Putin. The performance attracted public attention and was even discussed in the Russian federal legislative assembly.

The boy had submitted 12 applications to city administrators for permission to stage the performance. The city refused to grant him a permit. He also tried to organise a local Pride parade.

He was reportedly denied access to a lawyer after his arrest and, as a result, refused to testify at his trial. The Network says that the trial failed to prove that he posted the photos in question. They also add that an appeal is under consideration.

In 2013, Russia passed it infamous national law banning any public displays of “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships.” The gay propaganda law caused a massive outcry as Russia began to crackdown on LGBTQ activism online and off.

In addition to the gay propaganda law, Russia has an ongoing campaign of kidnapping, torturing and murdering occurring against LGBTQ citizens in Chechnya.

Tender Friends

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What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room, but what happens in the dugout stays on national TV if the camera happens to be pointed that direction.

While battling it out with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves players Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies took a breather off the field, sharing an adorable cuddle and tender head caress.

The clip began to circulate on social media with many users critiquing the “uncomfortable” embrace. The negative feedback prompted a dialogue around toxic masculinity and why some men are unable to express emotions positively and healthily.

The religious Right appears intent on criminalising Gay Sex again

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With Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings coming up, it’s important to underscore that some anti-LGBTQ leaders appear to be going for the brass ring, far beyond just dismantling marriage equality. They’re signaling they want to see the Supreme Court allow states to once again ban sodomy.

The reality of that may sound crazy and horrifying, but just a year and a half ago, many things sounded crazy and horrifying. The U.S. is separating children from their parents at the border (and dragging its feet on reuniting them, even under court order) and the president of the United States publicly sided with a longtime adversary over American intelligence, which he continues to attack. And it appears Roe v. Wade will be overturned.

So anything can happen.

Banning gay sex is something he likely believes is constitutional. Unlike Justice Anthony Kennedy, the leader on gay rights on the court, Gorsuch is, as the respected NPR Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg and her colleague Lauren Russell described him, a “self-proclaimed disciple of [the late Justice] Antonin Scalia’s crusade” of originalism: taking the Constitution literally as those who wrote it in its time presumably intended.

Gorsuch revered Scalia, who, drawing upon originalism, wrote a blistering dissent from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which threw out sodomy bans ― for which Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Kavanaugh, who sits on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, is an originalist too, and he’s someone the Christian right is counting on to halt in its tracks a Supreme Court that, as Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association wrote after Kavanaugh’s nomination two weeks ago, “just in the last two decades alone … has dramatically reversed its own precedents on the criminalization of homosexuality [and] the legality of same-sex marriage.” Fisher wrote another column this week solely focused on sodomy, claiming that “it has become obsessively important to gay activists to pretend that God actually approves of their behavior.”

Read on…

Grindr wants people to be Kindr

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Grindr, a premiere sex and dating app for queer people (though men comprise the platform’s predominant user base), has launched what appears to be a new initiative, according to a slightly cryptic post to the brand’s official Instagram account. The post features audio messages of intertwining various voices. One such message is someone saying, “When [someone] says to me that I don’t date black people… that can be referred to as sexual racism.” There’s a logo reading “Kindr,” using Grindr’s logo.

*sound on* 🔊 It’s time to play nice. Dropping September 2018.

A post shared by Grindr (@grindr) on

Grindr has faced criticism from users since its inception from those who have been subjected to types of mistreatment — including, in some cases,violent anti-gay hate crimes — based on the notions of individually defined sexual preferences, usually by cisgender men.

Some users have sworn off the app completely due to experiencing discrimination, and, as mentioned, Grindr is no stranger to criticism, or even lawsuits, around what constitutes acceptable free speech, and best internal practices for monitoring forms of hate speech without censoring sexual preference.

It’s tricky, and only time will tell how this all shakes out, but if Grindr pulls off its Kindr campaign with tangible results, it may actually be something of a revolution in the queer community. This also comes on the heels of trans model and activist Munroe Bergdorf’s announcement of her involvement with Grindr, after publicly acknowledging the platform’s need to call out racists and transphobic users.

(German users might face some uncomfortable questions once people see an app called Kindr on their phones though…)

Summer Penis?

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We’ve all heard about “shrinkage,” but there’s a theory that a penis grows larger in warmer weather, too. As the temperature rises, some people swear they get “summer penis,” adding a few cm in length and girth down below. An article in MEL magazine explored this phenomenon, quoting several Reddit users who say the heat led to bigger penises, better erections and larger testicles.x

“Bigger dick in summer and smaller in winter?” posted a Redditor named Guillermo in 2016. “Anybody notices size fluctuation during the year? I know mine is bigger, I have better erections in the summer and I also tend more to of a shower instead of a grower. In the winter, it is the exact contrary. Why is that? More heat = better blood flow? Does that happen to you guys also?”

A number of users piped up to agree: One claimed that in deep winter his penis is about two inches soft. In the hot months, though, it can swell to twice that size (even larger “if I don’t masturbate for a few days”). Another revealed that he had “summer balls”: “I mean, when it’s hot they like to go down like if they were trying to get to my knee. In winter or cold days they look like a little hard brain.”

Of course, people have been scheming to upsize their shlongs for centuries, but there may be some science to summer penis. “When it’s hot outside, you may take in more water, which may in combination with the sweating make it appear like your body or skin is bloated,” urologist Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt told MEL. “And that may give you the perception that things are larger.”

And, just like blood vessels contract when confronted with cold, they expand when warm to regulate heat. “The warmer the ambient environment, the more the blood vessels dilate, and the warmth allowing vasodilation increases blood flow,” urologist Dudley Danoff says. “So if we think of the penis as these two sausage casings that fill with blood, and the one channel that carries the urine, then the sausage casing will swell and expand to its genetic limit depending on the volume of blood. The increased blood flow will increase, and the corpora [the erectile tissue] will be expanded, and the penis will be ‘larger.’”

Unsettling metaphors about sausage aside, Danoff says the increased blood flow wouldn’t hold true when the penis is flaccid, but Dr. Jesse Mills director of the Men’s Clinic at UCLA disagrees. Mills has told Health.com, “penile size in the flaccid state is purely a function of how much blood flow is circulating in the penis. The warmer the environment, the more ‘show’ a man is going to have.”

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Gay Teen gets kicked out by Parents, still finds Success

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For almost all kids the senior year of high school is fraught with stress, obstacles and challenges. But its safe to say most teens don’t have the year Seth Owen just faced: In the middle of his sophomore year in Jacksonville, Florida, his father decided to take an unapproved dive into his son’s cell phone, and in doing so realised Owen was gay.

His Christian parents gave him an ultimatum: submit to so-called “gay-conversion therapy” and attend their anti-queer church or leave the house. Speaking to News4Jax, Owen explained, “They made it clear the intention was to make me straight.”

While he continued to live with his parents, Seth found reasons to stay away from home. From after-school programs to swimming, Owen says he felt like he was “doing something good with the struggle instead of doing something damaging.” When he finally put his foot down about the anti-LGBTQ church, he was forced to move out this past February with no financial or emotional support from his parents.

“I was really, really upset,” Owen shares. “It was extremely hurtful to know that I was walking out that door not knowing what lay ahead and feeling I don’t know how to explain it, it was devastating, absolutely devastating.”

Sleeping on friends couches and holding down jobs to support himself, Owen did what seems almost impossible: he maintained a 4.16 GPA becoming the co-valedictorian of First Coast High School’s class of 2018.

Owen had already been accepted to Georgetown University receiving a $50,000 scholarship. But, the remaining $27,000 of the $77,000 annual tuition was to be covered by his parents. With no support in sight from his parents, one of Owen’s teachers created a crowd funding campaign that received more than twice as much money as needed.

“I don’t think thank you is good enough,” Owen says. “Of course I am extremely grateful, but I think thank you doesn’t say it. Now it’s time to pay it forward.” With an inspiring attitude, Owen says he plans to become a defence attorney for neglected teens who find themselves in situations like his.

Research found that American kids & teens that are queer are twice as likely to face homelessness than straight youth, and those who are homeless are at a significantly higher risk of violence and death compared to straight youth.

Talent Show Drag Act is illegal, School tells Teenage Boy

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A school has been criticised by a teenager and his family for blocking his participation in its end-of-term talent show because he wanted to perform in drag. Lewis, who is 14, said that he was left distraught after spending weeks perfecting a lip-sync dance routine only to be told on the eve of the event that he could not take part.

“I’m heartbroken and confused. After all the effort I have put into it, it has knocked my confidence a lot,” said Lewis, a student at an visual arts college in Dudley, England. “When I’m in drag I feel I’m truly being myself,” said the teenager, who has always loved dancing and decided he wanted to be a drag performer after watching the television show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The school’s principal maintains that its decision was entirely made on the basis that it was not “age appropriate” for young people to perform drag acts. Lewis’ mother claimed the school’s legal team said that it was illegal for people under 18 to take part in drag act competitions and accused it of inventing the law because they “don’t accept him for who he is”.

Lewis has performed in drag at home, and his family say his new hobby has helped him overcome a lack of confidence. His performance, which was to have been his first in public, was a dance to a medley of tracks he mixed with his stepfather, including songs by Little Mix, Ariana Grande and RuPaul, and he was planning to wear a blazer, skirt, a silver wig and high heels bought for him by his grandmother.

Michelle King, the principal, said the school was inclusive and celebrated diversity. “We made the decision that it was not age appropriate for either the learner and for the intended audience, his peer group, for Lewis to appear as a ‘drag act’,” she said.

“We understood Lewis wanted to appear in the style of RuPaul, whose style of performance is characterised by strong language and sexual innuendo. We invited Lewis to appear in the show as a singer and were happy for him to dress in any manner he wished.”

Meanwhile Lewis was invited to perform at DragWorld UK, “Europe’s largest celebration of drag,” alongside some of the biggest names in drag like Violet Chachki and Courtney Act. The convention’s website promises that Athena Heart will perform “the very routine his school banned” in London this August.

“I’m very excited about my DragWorld invite to perform and get my name out there so others just like me know that it’s ok to be different,” Lewis said. He’s the only drag performer on DragWorld UK’s front page who didn’t compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race.