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Leo Varadkar is the new Prime Minister (PM) of the Republic of Ireland. This makes him the youngest Irish PM ever with a migrant background as well as being openly gay. Varadkar came out of the closet in 2015, four months prior to the referendum in which a majority of the Irish voted in favour of the opening up of marriage for same-sex couples.

Jun 2017       
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With a cheer to the future, the new bar of COC Zwolle ‘De Garage’ was opened. The president of COC Netherlands Tanja Ineke and Zwolle's alderwoman Nelleke Vedelaar did so with the ‘first tap’: they were the first to tap a beer behind the new bar. The opening marks the beginning of a new era for this bar of the COC, which fights for the social acceptance of sexual and gender diversity in the Zwolle area.

Jun 2015       
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The Zóciëteit, the society to make new friends outside of the bar scene, moves to a new place in the Claverhuis, 70 Elandsgracht, Amsterdam. On November 15 the society has an Open House where it presents itself to anyone interested with a discussion about “social media.”

Nov 2013       
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The Utrecht municipality, the public Prosecution and the Utrecht police have altogether come to a financial settlement with Hans van Gemmert and Ton Daalhuizen – the gay couple that was bullied and harassed in 2010 by youngsters to an extend that they had to leave the Utrecht neighborhood Leidsche Rijn.

Nov 2012       
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In September youngsters filmed the response of random people in several neighborhoods to the photo installations of Pride Photo Award 2011. The clips showed how superficial tolerance and acceptance of homosexuality still is: it’s fine if you think you’re gay ‘as long as I don’t have to see it!’ The winning photos of Pride Photo Award 2011 were displayed outside on several squares in the city and youngsters filmed short interviews with passers by. The photos show the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and play with images of masculinity and femininity.

Oct 2012       
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The government has sent a proposal to the house of representatives, which aims to make it easier for transgenders to change their sex registration. Transgender Netwerk Nederland (TNN) and COC Nederland say this is a big step forward. Both organizations have been calling for new legislation since 2008, they hope parliament will put it on the agenda soon.

Oct 2012       
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Breaking the straight trance of received “Titanic” history, San Francisco author Jack Fritscher reclaims gay history by writing a pitch-perfect sex epic of gay survival. “Titanic: The Untold Tale of Gay Passengers and Crew” (San Francisco: Palm Drive Publishing, 2012 53 pp.), “outs” the forbidden gay love story of the world’s most famous cruise, featuring the Unsinkable Molly Brown, the posh lovers Michael Whitney and Edward Wedding, and the working crew including the rugged Balkan Stoker, the redheaded Royal Purser Felix Jones, and the ship’s second carpenter Michael Brice and Third Officer Sam Maxwell.

May 2012       
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The Dutch cabinet has passed a bill by State Secretary Fred Teeven (Safety and Justice, VVD) which will make it a lot easier for transgenders to change the gender on their birth certificate. Transgender Network Netherlands (TNN) and gay interest group COC Netherlands, organisations that have spent years on getting better legislation, speak of a landmark for transgenders in The Netherlands.

May 2012       
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COC Netherlands wants the United Nations to pay structural attention to the human rights of lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT’s). To that end, a special rapporteur on LGBT rights should be appointed. For the first time in history, the United Nations Human Rights Council debated the violation of human rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity on Wednesday, March 7.

May 2012       
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A GP clinic in Amsterdam Osdorp offers faith-healing, reports Het Parool. People with Alzheimer, Parkinson, Cancer or Aids can go there for a 'healing' session. The christian practice is run by Jan Boogaard and Cornelie Scheeres. A Parool journalist discovered the faith healers via the site Healingrooms Amsterdam.

Aug 2010       
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From the first of December 2009 the Aids Fonds is distributing free condoms and lube for all visitors of gay saunas, bars and parties. So from now on it’s even easier to keep the sex safe in these venues. They’re starting in five venues in Amsterdam to begin with, but from 2010 the rest of Holland will follow. The idea is to provide all gay nightlife spots in Holland with free condoms. The venue managers are responsible for the transport costs and they have to keep track of when stock is getting low.

Feb 2010       
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The Vatican rejects any form of unlawful discrimination of homosexuals and also rejects any state of government that criminalizes homosexuality. If it becomes a violation of International Human Rights to reject homosexuality however, the church would be discriminated against. The Vatican Spokesperson Federico Lombardi said this in the Italian newspaper “Il Giornale.”

Feb 2009       
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After the last French elections it seems clear that same-sex couples will not be able to marry in France any time soon. The new French president Nicolas Sarkozy has made no secret of his refusal to take down the barriers for gays. Adoption of children by unmarried couples is also out of the question. The French gay organizations are of course very disappointed by Sarkozy’s victory.

Jul 2007       
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After eight years the S.O.S (Sex on Sunday) Parties have moved venue, crossing the Warmoesstraat to The Eagle bar. An unresolved dispute with the owner of the Argos was the immediate cause for the change. The famous “shirtless/naked parties for men and boys” are legendary, pulling more than 100 horny men to the Argos every second and last Sunday afternoon of the month. The parties, organized by non-profit Stichting GALA (Gay and Lesbian Amsterdam), are always busy and raunchy with the emphasis on safe and hot sex.

Sep 2006       
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On the 12th of August an exhibition with paintings by Maurice Heerdink will open at the Westfries Museum, no. 1 Rode Steen at Hoorn. Heerdink is known amongst us for his subtle images of graceful males. However, in 2003 he approached five theater celebrities with the request to pose for him. Five personalities he has a personal appreciation for. Five people who live in the spotlight. Ellen Vogel, Jenny Arean, Willem Nijholt, Johnny Kraaijkamp en Aus Greidanus jr. To his joy all of them immediately agreed.

Sep 2006       
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The fact that many gays and lesbians have risked their lives in the resistance during the Second World War is not often recognized and sometimes even covered up. The literature only mentions a couple of names, often from artistic circles. In addition to the exhibition “Wie kan ik nog vertrouwen?” (Who can I still trust? - Gays in Nazi Germany and occupied Holland) by Klaus Müller and Judith Schuyf at Westerbork, and later also in the Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) of Amsterdam, the website www.bevrijdingintercultureel.nl has added information recently in the Dutch section on twenty gay men and women who were active members of the Resistance Movement.

Jul 2006       
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In last month’s Gay News we reported about the vicious homophobic attack on two American gay tourists, Richard Jefferson and his friend Ryan Smith. Initially the investigation was hindered by the peculiar situation on the small Antillean island: it’s one of the smallest islands of the world, but divided into two sections - St. Maarten which is Dutch and St. Martin which is French. This makes it a paradise for criminals - commit a crime in one area and escape to the other.

Jul 2006       
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NaviGAYtion is back on the 1st of July 2006. Last year over 11,000 partying gays created a unique atmosphere on and around the river Schelde. NaviGAYtion became a huge success again, so the fourth edition is now in the making. Because of the arrival of the Tall Ship Race in Antwerp the organization decided to move the date a month forward to the 1st of July. The ideal start of a hot Antwerp summer!

Jun 2006       
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The national branch of the Dutch emancipation organization COC is shocked about the decision of minister Verdonk to resume sending back gay asylum seekers to Iran. September last year the government initiated a moratorium on sending back gay asylum seekers from Iran because of the execution of the two adolescents, Asgari and Marhoni. Frank van Dalen, chair of COC Nederland: “The minister prefers to give a criminal regime the benefit of the doubt.” It was COC Nederland together with the international gay movement that addressed the grave violation of human rights in Iran one year ago.

May 2006       
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Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade 2006 On Saturday, March 4, the 28th Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade featured 120 floats, 6000 marchers and was watched enthusiastically by more than 390,000 people along Oxford Street. The parade was organized for the first time in 1978 and was at that time a real civil rights demonstration. Over the years, the tone of the parade has changed considerably however, and the parade has been turned into one of the world’s largest night-time costume parades. The glitzy parade is now part of a vibrant festival week celebrating all aspects op gay culture and including several extravagant parties.

May 2006       
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Join Sixteen Danish Drag Queens at the Homomonument

On Queen’s Night, this year on Friday 28th of April, the third Drag Queen Olympics will be held at the Homomonument. Amongst the Olympic competitions will be all-time favorites such as the Handbag Throw and the 500m Sashay around the Westerkerk. Watch an entire gaggle of high-heeled gals throw hissy fits while elbowing their way through the Stiletto Dash or try to outshine each other in the Play Back knock-out.

Apr 2006       
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Shortly after midnight on Thursday, February 2, a teenager, dressed in black, entered Puzzles Lounge in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and ordered a drink. He asked if he was in a gay bar. After finishing his first drink, he ordered a second and then walked to the rear of the club where two men were playing pool. Without warning the teen then pulled a hatched from under his sweatshirt and struck one of the players in the head. When the second pool player attempted to intervene the attacker pulled a handgun and began firing.

Apr 2006       
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According to the British newspaper “The Sun” Brad Pitt has told his agent to find him the “ultimate gay love story.” The newspaper based this story on an unnamed Hollywood source, who’s quoted as saying: “He wants it to be a story that appeals to both men and women and he wants it to be the edgiest work he’s done.

Apr 2006       
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Last year “Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star” was published, being the memoirs of Rich Merritt. During his active service as a Marine, Merritt was also involved in making gay porn. When he was promoted to captain in June 1995 he’d already made four of his eight porn videos, using the alias Danny Orlis.

Merritt’s porn career must have been a heavy blow for military officials, since Bill Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy obviously didn’t result in gay soldiers staying hidden deep in the closet, and it didn’t prevent some from indulging in sexual splurges in front of the camera either.

Apr 2006       
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Billy Crystal will not host this year’s Oscar ceremony. He’s hosted the ceremony eight times already and he thinks that’s enough. Crystal is much too busy. He’s working on his very popular one-man-show “700 Sundays” and so is not able to free himself for this event. Comedian Chris Rock, who presented the spectacle last year, has also said he will not host this year’s ceremony. Other favorites for presentation were Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Martin, who have both done the job before, but the final choice fell on Jon Stewart this year.

Apr 2006       
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The financial situation of COC Amsterdam is seriously at risk. To secure survival of the organization an emergency plan had to be implemented. When this plan doesn’t succeed, the doors of the Amsterdam’s COC will be closed on March 21. The main reason for the financial difficulties is the fact that municipal project subsidies fail to materialize, although officials have repeatedly said these proposals will be honored. As a consequence the organization has acute cash-flow problems.

Apr 2006       
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Coretta Scott King Jr., died on January 30. She was 78. Her death was also reported in the Dutch press, but she was mainly remembered as the widow and heir of Martin Luther King. Her battle for gay civil rights remained underexposed. Until she was disabled by a stroke last August she frequently spoke out in favor of LGBT civil rights, often to the anger of some Black pastors. Mrs. King called her critics “misinformed” and said that her husband’s message to the world was one of equality and inclusion.

Apr 2006       
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More and more immigrant youth in Rotterdam reject homosexuality. Especially Turkish boys in the first year of secondary school are very negative about gays and lesbians. This conclusion comes from the Rotterdam Youth Monitor. Since 1996 the public health organization (GGD) has been conducting research on the physical and social health of kids under eighteen. The Rotterdam Youth Monitor came with remarkable figures about intolerance towards gays in 2002.

Jan 2006       
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