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The Your Stories section is all about you! Please take a minute to tell visitors of the ILGA website about what LGBTI life is like in reality. Please submit your personal story and share your experience!

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Readers Experiences

This is what people are saying about life for LGBTI people in UNITED STATES...
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Shakira Elliot Says

Am giving this testimony cos am happy

My name is Shakira Elliot from Houston,taxes.i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once. when i went to Africa in June 28th 2013 this year on a business summit. i ment a man called DR SHAKES SPEAR. He is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love’s gone,misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you, bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job.i’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 2 years… i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job. so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him..at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. and in 6 days when i returned to taxes, my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married..i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do… well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better. in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help, email address: shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com

GREAT SHAKES SPEAR i thank you very much thank you in 1000000 times.. if not you i would have been losted and wasted thank you. Email Him Through his email address... shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com

please make sure you contact him for any financial difficulties okay..

What a powerful man such as DR SHAKES SPEAR.. he is so much powerful..\\ email him for any difficulties.. shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com
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Three weeks ago my boyfriend broke up with me. it all started when i Travel to UK to spend my holiday with my friend,i was trying to contact him but it was not going through. So when i came back from UK i saw him with a lady kissing, i was frustrated and it gives me sleepless night. I called my friend told her what happened and she introduce me to a spell cater who helped her long time ago. Which i contact him and i never believed that the spell will work so easily because i have contacted many spell casters to get him back all they do is to take my money with no result. I am happy to tell you all that my boyfriend is back and committed to me alone and he do whatever i ask him to do with love and care. All thanks to SHAKES SPEAR the great magician who helped me to restore my boy friend to me: shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com.. Email this powerful and authentic spell caster via email now shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com
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I want to testify of a great death spell caster that helped me in casting a death spell on the lady that almost took my lovely husband completely away from me and our two sons,after the casting the bitch died in her sleeps within 48hours,all thanks to this great man called instant death. If you also need an urgent death spell on someone then contact this great man immediately via his email address, shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com.... CONTACT HIM TODAY VIA THIS EMAIL ADDRESS: shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com AS HIS POWERS ARE SO STRONG AND VERY EFFECTIVE AND HAS NO BAD EFFECT INSTEAD IT HAVE A VERY GOOD RESULT AFTER CASTING THE SPELL.
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Shakira Elliot Says

Am giving this testimony cos am happy

My name is Shakira Elliot from Houston,taxes.i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once. when i went to Africa in June 28th 2013 this year on a business summit. i ment a man called DR SHAKES SPEAR. He is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love’s gone,misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you, bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job.i’m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 3 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 2 years… i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job. so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him..at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. and in 6 days when i returned to taxes, my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married..i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do… well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better. in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help, email address: shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com

GREAT SHAKES SPEAR i thank you very much thank you in 1000000 times.. if not you i would have been losted and wasted thank you. Email Him Through his email address... shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com

please make sure you contact him for any financial difficulties okay..

What a powerful man such as DR SHAKES SPEAR.. he is so much powerful..\\ email him for any difficulties.. shakesspear23@yahoo.com OR shakesspear23@gmail.com
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In the U.S context, prominent domestic organizations sought to establish LGBT normalcy and inclusion as a means of assimilating into the heterosexual mainstream in order to change the minds and hearts of heterosexuals, pressuring local LBGT communities and individuals to give up their own sense of self and experience. I think its important to remember that stressing that " LGBTI people" are as normal as heterosexuals and deserve acceptance precisely because we are like every one else (aka straight people) was a political strategy. We need to remember what is normal and natural in society is constructed, our understandings of these categories are made up by mainstream society and politics. We should take pride in our difference and our queerness, we should not feel that we must make ourselves normal for others in order to feel good or enough or deserving of rights. there is no normal
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arno ralf kneisel - osce/ksze-missionsleiter der StadtCOLOUR (user currently living in SWITZERLAND) posted for gay readers on 21/09/2013 tagged with tourism, at the work place, gender identity, human rights, religion
we have reorganisation in our project StadtCOLOUR and new contacts for the worldwide gay-community:

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Kellie Cheer (user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for gay lesbian bisexual straight readers on 10/07/2013 tagged with tourism, hate crime and violence prevention, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation, armed forces +5
I was visiting Cedar Point, which is in Ohio, USA. It is a rather large roller coaster park.
I went on an all day trip with my girlfriend Liz, and her foreign exchange student from Germany that Summer. We were all 16.
We were standing in line for about 2 full hours when we were just getting to the front of the line for the newest ride. All of a sudden, a cop taps on my shoulder and tells me that "all three of us ladies need to step out of line."
Liz, the German girl and I looked around us in utter disbelief as to why we were being escorted out of line by the police.. I mean we were just a few 16 year old girls from a small town in Michigan.
While we looked around, one of the women in front of me in line started to scream at me and laugh about how "it was ridiculous" that I was "basically having sex" with my girlfriend while in line for the ride. She had called the park police on us for Public Display of Affection. And I swear on my life, that is NOT what I do in public. She completely made up the story.

The police took us to the front of the park and took our names and addresses down as well as a statement. Our German friend was basically in hysterics. She was screaming at the cop saying things like, "this country is ridiculous, they didn't do anything!" and "why are you doing this to them?"

We were escorted out of the front gate 4 hours before we were expected to leave for home.
I've not been back to the park since.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is discriminatory and there are no laws against it. Because they are a privately owned business, Cedar Point can remove anyone they want from the park with no questions asked.

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the following is my friend Tom's story, in his own words

I committed statutory rape with a 15-year old male when I was 51. He was my student. I loved and love him whole-heartedly and completely, and promised him unconditional love, long before any sex took place. Human behavior is complicated and has many varieties. This is an unusual story. The government told a cartoon story with broad strokes of black and white.

I was imprisoned without bond, and had my freedom of speech taken away before I had been convicted of any crime. Newspapers printed government press releases without any checking of any facts. If necessary, I will submit to a polygraph on any statement I make, from any independent administrator. Ask those who contradict my statements if they will do the same. If a statement was proved by evidence or the victim's statements, I will put (P). I have discovered that the police falsify information, and distort and manipulate facts and testimony. My belief in the United States has been shaken.

The young man, a South American adopted into an Orthodox Jewish family, was cutting himself in September of 2009 when we met. He told me it was from the frustration with his home life, and not being allowed to be Latino or social, and being forced to observe a religion he found oppressive. He said one sister attacked him physically several times. He is a remarkable, bright, witty, and kind human being, with a fierce urge for freedom. I found him to be extraordinary. He came to see me most days, even more often after he was warned by his parents that I was homosexual, I found out later.(P) He brought a chess board in for lunches when he found out I played chess. We talked about history, religion, politics, psychology. He eventually he told me about the cutting.

I called his father, talked to the rabbis, called a psychologist, put him in touch with a former student with whom I thought he might click (heterosexual), gave him a copy of The Road Less Travelled, the best book I thought on how one gets happy. He kept cutting. I was frantic to help. I promised to love him unconditionally, forever. We loved talking, and I hoped I could make up whatever he lacked. I promised to do anything in my power to help him be happy. I sent him affirmation texts. (Know you are loved, you are great as you are, say "I am a wonderful person," etc.)

Some months later, on the phone, he said we should have sex. I told him that was a "really bad idea."

Some time later, he said he was playing tennis next to my building, and he would come by to work on a project. He came up, and said he was not there to work on the project, but to have sex. I tried to talk him out of it. (P) I said I could love him without sex. (P) He said I didn't have to. I said he did not owe me sex for love. He said he knew he did not owe, he wanted it, and he said I did too. I said sex was not that important, that he should not ask such a thing just for sex. He said it was for true love, that we were soul mates, we would be together forever. I said if we were soul mates then, we would be so in a few years. He said, true, but since we were we did not have to wait. Many times, he said he needed it to live. He confirmed at trial that he believed that. (P) He believed he loved me and that I loved him. (P) I said he should be with someone his age. He said he was attracted to older men. (P) I said everyone would assume it was my fault when it came out (even years later if we were together). He said he would tell them he picked me, and besides, we would be together. He said he had known what he wanted for a long time. He said such things happened all the time. Nothing happened that day (Feb,. 13 2010) We agreed to work it out. The conversation continued the next day with many more reasons for no on my part. He finally said if it was not me, it would be some other older white guy. (P) I agreed on February 14.

I have tried to be a good person my whole life. I try not to manipulate people. I love people without sex; sex and love are not the same thing. I do not even like to have sex with someone drunk, even a boyfriend because of the consent issue. I have always tried to tell the truth. Even in teaching, I would tell students the reason I was doing something (quizzes are designed to force you to read, etc.) I have tried to help the outcasts, with chess and theater. Many students said I saved lives, saved souls.

No combination of things could have made me give in like those. I had to save the life of someone I loved, a soul mate with love so true that 35 years made no difference, and if I didn't do it he would go do it somewhere else. I justified it by saving his life, not denying true love, and protecting him from those who did not love him. It was clearly wrong, but has anyone been subject to such arguments in such a situation? He said, trust me, believe me.

I thought that rejection just might kill him. I thought he wanted to be trusted and believed. I rationalized that the release of sex with someone he loved might stop the cutting. I let myself believe. He said in a statement later he did it for power and control. (P) The cutting stopped for four months until another fight with his sister.

Once I agreed I did whatever I could to make him happy. He was very advanced sexually. He claimed that I was the first, but close examination of his statement excluded from trial makes that claim dubious. He wanted to try light bondage and spanking. I always did what he asked. The prosecutor loved to say "penetrated with objects." I was the far more often penetrated. Everything done was done mutually. He was very happy, almost giddy. Only he could arrange meeting times. I came when he called, and did what he asked. He estimated 50 to 60 times in 5 months. The frequency with which he chose should have been proof of a loving if wrong relationship; I had no ability to arrange to see him. The schedule was his. He repeatedly texted and told me "You saved my life."

I had to move to Virginia to make more money. He said he wanted us to be together, so I remained faithful. I saw him that Christmas break, once, and it was clear he was no longer interested. He had been sleeping with a number of other older men. (P This is factual from his statements, not speculation.) I did not know that until my arrest. He called me to officially end the relationship in January. I was heart-broken, but I never raised his vow of eternal love. I tried to continue loving him as a friend. We soon emailed, and I never asked to renew the sexual relationship. I offered to be a best friend (my choice) or never talk to him if that was what he needed. (P) His emails say things like "Thank you...for everything," and "Not worry about you? Not possible." The emails are available.

He broke contact in early June of 2011. I heard by email from someone claiming to be him in October of that year, but it was not him. I denied the sex, thinking it was his family. I promised to do anything to help him if HE asked, and ended contact with the impostor. It was a Florida law enforcement agent. That was my first offer to turn myself in.

He got in trouble for his sexual contact with men. He refused to cooperate with police. (P) He was locked in psychological facilities for a year. He was brainwashed into changing the facts of what happened, (P) and his attitude was reversed. As far as I can tell, he was locked up for being actively gay. He was 17 for most of that time. In May 2012 he cooperated with police, and contacted me. When he called, I said I was ready to come tell the truth if that was what he needed. My second offer. He said he wanted me to come see him (reversed by police) and that he could not wait until he was 18. (P) I was confused by his previous rejection and now reversal. The policeman, as the young man, sent me sexually suggestive texts and emails, begging for me to renew the relationship, and made me promise to say something on the phone. It was the young man on the phone. I promised, and the young man initiated phone sex at the behest of the police. (P) I tried to decline; he said he had "needs." (P) I came to Florida and was arrested, after telling him twice more on the phone I would come and tell the truth. He was three months away from his 18th birthday at this point. The federal age of consent is 16, but they charged me under the Florida age of 18, but using a federal charge that carried a sentence of 10 to life.

The young man's police statement on which the indictment was based was largely disproved at trial. (P) The federal government charged me under an internet predator law, convinced that there were other victims. The police directed or suggested the false testimony. (P) They said I showed him child porn, which makes no sense. This was dismissed on sentencing, but they used it twice in trial to disgust the jury. They kept hinting at trial and sentencing about other victims, who do not exist, in spite of running a hotline number that was carried in the US and England. I find men from the age of maturity to 30ish more attractive sexually than older men, though not exclusively. Do heterosexuals do this as well? Does a 50 year old heterosexual fantasize about 50 year-ld women? I tried NOT to see students outside of school. I would never seduce anyone; the greatest attraction for me is someone's desire for me.

When the other victims did not appear, they brought in the FBI grooming expert to say I groomed him, since the evidence of persuading, enticing, inducing or coercing was slim. No grooming scenario exists in which the "groomer" waits for the "victim" to ask for sex, and then tries to dissuade the "victim." As unlikely as my story sounds, at trial he admitted that he, not I, proposed sex, that I tried to talk him out of it (and thus he talked me into it), that he BELIEVED he needed it to live, that I said I could love him without sex, and that he said he would find another older white guy if I said no. He AFFIRMED these at trial.

The interpretation of the law for induce as "cause" is to "allow to happen," when it should mean force. Under this absurd reading, this law has a LOWER threshold of guilt than statutory rape; a text message saying "OK, I will pick you up," would convict, without any contact. If every gay teen who texted an older lover were to be found in South Florida, there would be an army in prison. Statutory rape under federal guidelines carries a 41-51 month sentence. I was given 200 months under the persuasion statute. I had offered to plead guilty to statutory rape and it was rejected; they blamed me at sentencing for putting him through the trial.

Most heterosexual women in the same situation are sentenced to probation to two years. The application of this statute was arbitrary and unequal. The prosecutor announced to the jury that he granted that the "sex was consensual." The age of consent in Israel is 15, so in that civilized a country I would not even have committed a crime at all. The rich are sued for this. Where is the moral fairness?

Why was I prosecuted this way? Conservative politics and homosexuality. The family is Orthodox Jewish, the investigator who fashioned the testimony is Catholic, the prosecutor is Republican, and the judge voted for Rick Santorum.

I believed saving his life, or both of us believing it, would mitigate the statutory rape charge. I believed telling the truth and offering to turn myself in would mitigate. Telling the truth was the worst thing I could have done. Had I denied him when he called, and lied, nothing would have happened. I tried to be honest; rejecting him seemed to violate my vow of love.

I do not "blame" him for sleeping with other men. I do not love him less. I would have done anything for his happiness. I would have gladly NOT slept with him. I rationalized that I was being courageous to save his life and risk my own. I felt he was testing to see if my vow of eternal, unconditional love was real. He convinced me we were breaking convention for our mutual happiness. I thought I could serve some years to save him. If it truly saved his life, I wish I could say that knowing what I do now, I would still have been loyal enough to say yes. I would not have had the courage. I am sorry it happened either way.

Does love matter? Does fairness matter? Does the truth matter? When does a person have sexual and religious freedom? Can a conservative family change those by locking someone in psychological units, to change attitudes and alter facts? Does gay sex justify any level of charges, and any lying by the government?

I hope the young will save my life some day.

Please tell my story.

Thomas Patrick Keelan 98219-004
FDC Miami
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TranSquat (user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for transgender intersex readers on 29/07/2012 tagged with tourism, human rights, illegality of female to female relationships
Now available for download in Apple iTunes Store

TranSquat is a gender neutral bathroom finder for iPhone users that locates bathrooms that are gender free relative to the users current location. It uses the phone’s current GPS location to search, add and share nearby safe locations with other users.

TranSquat was written by and for the trans community and is powered by data from safe2pee - a nationwide directory of gender neutral bathrooms. There are currently close to 4000 locations across the United States, Canada and the U.K. with more locations being added everyday.

This app is useful for transgender and gender variant individuals because sometimes finding a safe, discreet and comfortable restroom can be a challenge and or safety issue depending on where one is in their own transition or geographic location.

The app itself is community driven. Users can help build it by downloading it and sharing safe locations from their own communities. In that sense, a user can download the app and build a network of safe locations no matter where in the world they reside.

TranSquat can currently be downloaded from the Apple App Store at the following URL.

You can also follow TranSquat on Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.


If you would like more information about TranSquat please e-mail Billy at transquat@rocketmail.com.
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Mia (user currently living in GEORGIA) posted for lesbian transgender bisexual readers in response to this story on 25/03/2012 tagged with tourism, intersex
my email is galarinas@yahoo.com
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Mia (user currently living in GEORGIA) posted for lesbian readers on 25/03/2012 tagged with tourism, gender identity, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation
I ve decided to write our story here only for the peope who understand and can help somehow. To tell in details my life will be a tragic movie. I was born in Georgia, in traditional communist false family, having despot father and weak mother, always had protest against them and all the world who demanded from me to behave as calm girl obey and not have a opinion, that only boys have the right to do whatever they want. From Childhood I wanted to escape, to have freedom and be strong, and then I realized that in this patriarchatic country be a woman means you are half a human or not at all. I had totally boyish interests and played with boys I considered myself one of them. But when I grow up they saw in me a beautiful girl, at that time I already was curious about other girls, and therefore ignore boys, who got agressive and even tried to rape me. All my school time and institute I spend without close friends,nobody understood what I feel I only had platonic love towards one classmate which she never new. I wanted to become a movie director, but heavy political situation in Georgia prevented my studies, We had no electricity and heating. Till age 23 I spend mosto of spare time reading philosophical books to distinguish my identity. Than I managed to go to USA.And from that day I felt i was a human, I have been so happy that Im free at last that I felt I was in the center of universe, ready to conquire mountains. And there began my first real love story. I fell in love with a demonic goddess, which was heterosexual and I become the only exclusive in her life who she loved regardless gender. I spend the most happy days of my life there in NJ which I thought will last forever becaouse I found myself and what I was lacking all my life Trues, true relationships, pure sole. But afterwards we got many problems, first all we had to hide,cannot move.Than My visa expired and I got back which was a mistake, I returned back in USA second time after an year instead of 6 month I promised to poeple there. Everything was changed.I left my love alone and she waited for me 1 year and Im again with tourist visa. She said go, you will again leave me after 6 months,I said I cannot stay illegaly.After 6 months I my parents made me to depart again from USA, I hoped to study to gain student visa and come again as student and make everything to be successful in career and live with her in California. But meantime regime in Georgia changed and they deny my student visa. I did not realize that time how much I loved her, I did not realize that time that it was the end of all, Time passed, She no more waited for me, I got heavy depression,My father died felt guilty about me and that he treated me bad against my will.I ask everyone to help me to return to USA in vain, nobody cared and nobody understand why I wanted to go there. I Could not tell no one about my orientation,all huge emotions I killed in myself and become more depressed. Than They give me antidepressants which cures one from life, and makes you live zombie without any emotions and feelings.Most traumatic was the fact that I lost my talent of creative writing,I felt like am In Jail, time stopped. I did not relised how 7 years passed.Ive tried to fell in love with other, but in vain, the only one I really needed was her this is my last wish not to die without seeing her. I m totally lost in this life, having undergone so much injustice, mistreatment, discrimination, cynism,bullying ,fighting for human rights for humanity for justice, not only because of my orientation, but of the truth and not obeying to others,being an individum and finally they make me weak. Now I have several years left, asking you to help me spend some time again in USA to get me out of this hell, nobody nomore is waiting there for me now, but I want to walk to the places I loved where I found myself and left my heart.
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Yachting Gate (user currently living in GREECE) posted for gay lesbian readers on 07/06/2011 tagged with tourism +4
Introducing S/C Panorama and M/Y Falcon Summer 2011 (available in groups of 45-50 passengers / available in groups of 10 passengers)

The myth comes truth,
Live your myth in Greece and enjoy unforgettable vacations aboard your private yacht. Enjoy the freedom, flexibility, glamour and life style that a professional ‘private’ yacht has to offer and fulfill your expectations. Enjoy the life at sea, sailing, swimming, sunbathing, water sports, gastronomic flavors, island’s night life, with the combination of history and culture.

A world famous destination
Greece with its 4.500 islands amazing coastlines and quaint ports is ideal for small ship cruising, rather than for ships carrying hundreds of passengers. World famous destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini, well known islands such as Syros and colorful ports of call such as Kios, Ios and Sifnos are offering a wide variety of Hellenic Cyclades.

Proposed itinerary
Piraeus – Kea / Kea – Syros / Syros – Mykonos / Mykonos – Dilos – Paros / Paros – Ios / Ios – Santorini / Santorini – Sifnos / Sifnos – Piraeus

Our proposal
Our proposal is to exploit the magnificent Greek Island with the ultimate way: By chartering a unique sail cruiser for larger groups of 40-50 passengers, or a Falcon 100 feet class motor yacht for smaller groups of 10 passengers.

Our experienced crew always lager to deliver everything you desire, will provide high quality services tailored made to passenger’s needs, offered an upscale environment with safety.

Booking Details (open dates)
Yacht Cruiser Panorama (carries 40-50 passengers). Available only for groups of 45-50 passsengers / booking availibility: one (1) week on July from July 9, 2011 to July 14, 2011 and two (2) weeks on August from August 12, 2011 to August 25, 2011 / Cruising speed: 10 nautical miles per hour / Yacht cost per day: 12.000 € / Cost per passenger 300 € per day X 7 days for 2.100 €

Motor Yacht Falcon (carries 10 passengers). Available only for groups of 10 passengers / booking availibility: July, August, September 2011 / Cruising speed 25 nautical miles per hour / Yacht cost per week: 58.400 € / Cost per passenger 584 € per day X 7 days 4.088 €

For more information visit us at www.yachtingate.gr or sent your e-mail for booking details.

Thank you
The Yachting Gate Group
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The Honolulu Pride Festival Foundation is starting to kick off this years 2011 Hawaii State Pride Fest hosted in beautiful Honolulu Hawaii September 15 - 17, 2011 and encourage all to come and participate as this year we strive to bring PRIDE AROUND THE WORLD!

As Hawaii and the rest of the United States takes pro-active choices in sharing in the equality and justice for all with long roads ahead the little steps we take will lead to bigger victories for all of our LGBT brothers and sister who do not have the same freedoms we do in America. Help our politicians to understand that PRIDE is one way of showing that we are equal and we do not have to fear the hate and discrimination from the world around us which view us as a minority community who is filled with so called "Sinners". Take a stand and support all of your PRIDE organization around the world as we work hand in hand to creating peace, equality and justice for all!
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Joe Knudson (user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for gay readers on 16/11/2010 tagged with tourism, at the work place, lgbt families, human rights, laws and leadership , sexual orientation
I am a 55 year old divorced gay father of two sons who recently published a book about my life as a homosexual. I am using it as a vehicle to educate society on homosexuality (other than the sexual preference issue)as I believe a more educated society is definitely a more understanding and accepting society and along with that will eventually come equality for all in many areas! My book, LIVING THE DIFFERENCE: an enlightening story revealed for people of all ages straight or gay, is featured in my blog at http://www.thegaylyblogger.blogspot.com
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"Welcome to the 21st Century" by Reinaldo J. Rendon
Oct.04 2010

It hasn’t been too long since the recognition of civil rights for women and our black brethren has allowed their successful integration into what has become a more tolerant, even welcoming society to those that were originally oppressed by outdated laws, and fearful politicians. Although society and laws are still adapting to these modifications, their success has depended mostly on the efforts of those who saw conservation of unnecessary old customs as misguided way to conceal inconvenient or uncomfortable truths. By truth I refer to something universal, unaffected by our perceptions; by truth in this case I refer to equality and freedom.
Thousands of years have passed since certain flawed corrupted/outdated values of the church began to persecute "the wicked", from witches to demons as its doctrine spread through all corners of the Earth. Meanwhile, science has been evolving alongside human civilization and society. Although our knowledge and justice systems have supposedly evolved to the point where we understand all capable humans as equals, (and those not fully capable, as still human…sometimes more), we still don’t have laws that protect and grant gay citizens the same rights, protections, and benefits as our heterosexual counterparts.

Greater understanding of the human mind has been achieved since the consolidation of psychology as a social science. No longer “witches”, nor possessed, we understand mentally ill patients and their conditions; we create treatments to aid them, and structure adequate processes to integrate them into society in a way that they can successfully “fuse” with the system. With the progress of science, and its imminent exposure of the truth, many conservatives have come to re-awaken to the idea that Christianity promotes love and tolerance, not hate nor discrimination. I remember a great quote from a great man who once said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” with a hooker-made-apostle lying at his feet. Although we now frown upon societies that throw stones as ways of punishing their “criminals”, many still throw verbal/mental stones at those who are different simply because they were not educated properly and laws haven’t progressed rapidly enough to protect those in need.

“In recognition of the scientific evidence, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, stating that “homosexuality per se implies no impairment in judgment, stability, reliability, or general social or vocational capabilities.
After thoroughly reviewing the scientific data, the American Psychological Association adopted the same position in 1975, and urged all mental health professionals “to take the lead in removing the stigma of mental illness that has long been associated with homosexual orientations…Thus, mental health professionals and researchers have long recognized that being homosexual poses no inherent obstacle to leading a happy, healthy, and productive life” (American Psychiatric Association, 1975).

This is true in every sense but the legal one, for denying homosexuals the right to benefit from social/financial unions such as marriage deprives them of certain benefits such as tax-breaks, insurance coverage, or even to be treated as a family member at the time of an accident. The right for a gay American to marry their foreign lover in order to live happily in their free country is impossible; their relationship has no option but to end the moment their foreign “life-partner’s” Visa expires.

Furthermore, the absence of laws that prevent the hate word “faggot” being as commonly used as the hate word “nigger” was before the creation of civil laws that protected the blacks, prevents the social boundaries that allow proper growth of youths in a non-hostile environment. Evidence of this are the (now due to the increasing growth of general acceptance, as the next generation of straight and gay citizens whose education has been updated steps up to the plate) recently public wave of juvenile suicide cases...that are sadly, and ultimately, nothing new...
The point is that people’s lives are still ticking away while bureaucrats place the issue on the back-burner generation after generation, refusing to accept that gay people are equal, and therefore deserve the same rights as everyone else. While most other developed nations in Europe, and even Latin American (Colombia, Argentina, Mexico currently debating it) permit civil unions between homosexuals with equal recognition of all their rights, “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” continues to ignore the silent screaming of a small, but definetly existent percentage of their population that seeks nothing more but an equal opportunity at happiness. If the constitution and even the declaration of independence place us all as equals, defining America as a nation ruled by majority, that protects minorities…then how can we allow our rights to freedom, financial prosperity, protection of our nation, and even to live safely in peace without being forced to deny who you are slip away from us.

Is there not a separation between Church and State? Does scientific evidence hold any value over social struggle against the conservation of ignorance? Aren’t we all guaranteed the same protections and rights regardless of our race, gender, sexual orientation, or favorite ice-cream flavor? Do societies evolve or change on their own?

Gay (much like “straight” or “bi”) is also not a choice, but it is something that affects everyone, regardless of their race, gender, or religious preference across the globe since the beginning of civilization. Even animals may choose a same-sex life partner as evidenced by the study of the University of Oslo, that states “More than 1500 species where homosexuality have been observed” (“Against Nature? Oslo). Gay should not be a taboo. Gay is not an illness that can be prayed nor drugged away. You can attempt to brainwash someone into becoming straight, but then you would just be hindering their potential to fully experience their lives, and their rights to explore themselves as human beings without hurting anyone.

Would you want your children, or a loved one's child to live unhappily repressed simply because God/Genetics made them in a certain way that the world hasn’t updated fast enough to fully accept them as people? In a world of repression and lies, it would not be difficult for one to marry someone that is secretly gay, and refuses to come out simply out of lack of courage that it takes to live under such different conditions...do you think that could truly be a happy and honest marriage? Think about the children caught within the parental struggle to stabilize their personal mentality and sexuality and their mental health compared to those that grow up in open and caring environments.

With Florida being one of the many states that recognizes gays’ right to adopt (instead of permitting an vast number of children stuck in orphanages or foster homes relying on state budget/care), we join many developed nations who understand the full personal/economic value of all its tax-payers without any form of discrimination. Furthermore, if the violation of the sanctity of marriage is in question, then know some consider divorce a far greater offense, for it breaks an oath made in front God and the State (perjury?)...but it was still implemented into law due to the social necessity that so many people required in order to find financial and personal stability in their lives.

To simplify the concept a bit more:
If Gay-Joe and Gay-Jane were perceived as “people” instead of “gays” by the majority, our society would improve a lot more having provided every normal human being the rights and protections they deserve. People shouldn’t be perceived legally or socially by who they are biologically, but by what they hope to do for the world around them. This would promote a more accepting co-existence between all members of American society, as well as monogamy and general honesty.

Most conservatives that still discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation are mostly misinformed, or choose to ignore truth simply out of the comfort brought on by tradition or some form of profit. Others are closeted gays who envy the freedom, while others are simply out to hate on someone for what they’ve been taught as “sins” to feel a little better about their own faults; however they’re not the ones we allow to write our academic texts, nor are they the knowledgeable authorities we quote when we teach facts in our schools. Also, if gays were allowed to formally unite under the state, and their individual interpretation of God (we all see our Creator differently, we have a right to do so), that alone would promote monogamy and prevent sexually transmitted diseases among all groups (not that gays are statistically in the lead anymore; now replaced by African-American men). This would also allow more people to reconcile with the bonds that have been severed by temples that promote hate and discrimination, instead of providing help to those in need, or uniting the children of God without casting any stones (if they truly do see him as the supreme judge).

I invite you all to re-examine your definitions of justice, violence, and empathy for we are forging today the world of tomorrow, and as we do, we must do so carefully given how this nation has remained the center-stage of the world (at the very least in terms of democratic ideals) for a couple centuries. It shouldn't take global calamities, waves of pestilence, the bloody (in a term familiar to most: expensive) aftermath of riots and wars, or financial meltdowns for people to focus more in building the bridges and crumbling the walls that separate us, before they become bars in the dawn of an age with diminishing natural resources, and the decaying socio-political values that impede people from realizing how much influence they have lost over the basics of their democratic principles. We are all still working on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream to make this nation “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal”…and that no one should be judged by the color of their skin (or the way God/Genetics brought them into the world).

We shouldn’t wait for it to “get better”, it should be “alright” for all who support and believe the democratic spirit of America, a nation conformed of different states that in spite of being slightly different in their ideology, most stand united as those who wish to protect freedom and peace.
Remember, America is “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”.
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(user currently living in UNITED STATES) posted for readers on 25/07/2010 tagged with tourism, human rights, sexual orientation +4
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posted for gay lesbian readers on 28/06/2010 tagged with tourism, hate crime and violence prevention +0
Growing up in Rural Georgia has been one of the hardest things i have had to deal with as a gay man. Growing up with country, close minded folks have been really tough. They have said some pretty mean things to me over the past few years. That is y i left and moved to atlanta where there scene is more acceptable. I love travelling to big cities b.c the people there are always more acceptive of gay people. Out of all the cool cities i have been to the best one has been Buenos Aires argentina. Great gay scene with a lot of cool things to do. I went on a gay pub crawl there and it was amazing. www.outandaboutpubcrawl.com This was a gay tour of bars which was pretty cool. You would never be able to walk a gay group around where i am from. You would get heckled or even shot.
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JJ (user currently living in SWITZERLAND) posted for gay readers on 20/01/2010 tagged with tourism +10

My boyfriend and myself came down driving from Miami Beach to this lovely place Key West. We are 2 guys from Switzerland and visiting Florida for a month. We had a wonderful and friendly welcome at the b&b; we are staying in, there were other people talking to us, really nice. But unfortunately we have the impression that some people on this island (which has the reputation of being very gay friendly) are not that gay friendly any more. 
Our first experience was on Islamorada when we entered a restaurant a guy said "oh these are not the first homos we see here..." and then he left.
In the evening we sat at a bar by the Marina and the guy next to us said to the barkeeper loud enough for us to hear it: "the 2 fruits next to us are talking swedish", we were actually talking swiss german and we were dressed in a normal way wearing jeans and a shirt. Then going to a restaurant at the harbour the waitress and the people at a neighbour table laughed at us because we ordered some mineral water (we know it's very european to do that, we don't like the icy water served normally, so what?).
Up to that moment  we thougt we have been unlucky and those guys just were some uncultivated tourists travelling down from more conservative parts of the country (Mrs. Palin says hello).
Last night we were at a more upper class restaurant essentially frequented by locals where we met a women from our b&b; with whom we had a nice conversation. We left half an hour after her and a guy from a neighbour table said "ok see you later guys..." and the whole table laughed at us.
All this experiences spoiled a bit our stay on Key West as everyone can easily understand.
We could have answered those guys of course, but in such a situation one is overwhelmed and not capable of saying anything, especially in a foreign language.
But we will come back to Key West, because we do not accept to let us turn away by other people's disrespectful comments.
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