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Popular Singer Lady Gaga Performs at LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) Youth Safe Centre in Brooklyn

The singer performed "Perfect illusion" at the Ali Forney Center on Friday

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LGBT, Pixabay

New York, Nov 27, 2016: Singer Lady Gaga dropped by the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) youth safe centre here in Brooklyn.

The singer performed “Perfect illusion” at the Ali Forney Center on Friday, reports aceshowbiz.com.

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Sitting atop a piano, she strummed her guitar and sang a stripped-down version of her single. Sporting a high ponytail, she wore a T-shirt and jeans along with Converse shoes.

“I’m here today not because I had to excruciatingly pull time out of my schedule to come be here. I’m here because I want to be here. And I’m here because I want this to affect other people around the world, and to remind them that when they are kind, it not only makes the other person feel good, but it makes me feel good too,” Gaga said.

Singer Madonna also visited the center. She was joined by her children Mercy and David. (IANS)

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Twitter issues Apology for Censoring ‘Bisexual’ Hashtag

Twitter has been constantly brinigng out new rules for things like unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence

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Twitter app on a mobile phone. Pixabay

San Francisco, November 6, 2017 : Twitter which updated its policies last week to fight abuse in an efficient way has come under fire for censoring LGBTQ terms like “bisexual” on its platform.

According to The Verge on Monday, while updating its policies, the micro-blogging website also censored the “bisexual” hashtag under its adult content rules.

The biggest updates on the platform included abusive behaviour, self-harm, spam and related behaviours, graphic violence and adult content.

ALSO READ Twitter Toughens Abuse Rules – and now has to Enforce Them

Angry Twitterati posted against the move.

“If you search #bisexual and click on photos or news there are no results. This is bi-erasure. @Twitter has done this. We exist,” tweeted one user.

The updates last week were part of revamp to Twitter’s policies surrounding online abuse.

Reacting to the latest controversy, Twitter posted: “We’ve identified an error with search results for certain terms. We apologize for this. We’re working quickly to resolve & will update soon”.

Earlier in October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had said that the social media platform would take a more aggressive stance in its rules and its enforcement of them.

Dorsey, in his announcement which was a response to the #WomenBoycottTwitter protest, said that the platform would develop new rules for things like unwanted sexual advances, non-consensual nudity, hate symbols, violent groups, and tweets that glorify violence. (IANS)

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Bisexuals are at Greatest Risk of Suffering from Mental Health Problems, Suggest Studies

Bisexuals- Sexual minority community, who are at the greatest risk of falling into depression

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Bisexuals get subjected to more discrimination than other communities of the society. Pixabay.
  • Studies reveal that the social stigma of bisexuals have lead to cases of mental illness becoming prevalent among people of their community.
  • Their decision is questioned by both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

A recent study done by researchers of an American university has stated that the “B” (Bisexuals) in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community are people, most prone to falling into depression or suffer from mental illness. The research published in Prevention Science is based on data collected from 503 participants aged 18 to 64, who identified themselves as bisexuals, people attracted to both men and women. They were questioned as to how their bisexuality affected their lives. And, many said that they were invalidated and often looked down upon.

Also Read:  5 Women Whose Caliber, Achievements Would Inspire You 

Various studies have proven that Bisexual people are more mentally affected than homosexuals or heterosexuals. They feel as if they do not have an identity or they believe in one society. The preconceived notion of bisexuals being a threat to the society and incapable of commitment affects them the most. They are called promiscuous, and their sexuality is considered illegitimate.

A qualitative study conducted with 55 bisexual people across Ontario revealed the typical stereotype- individuals who are confused and unsure of their desires. The participants of the study expressed the strange reactions coming from their families. They are being ignored and relegated by both heterosexuals and homosexuals. Their community needs a separate identity, and support like other communities do. Their needs and place in the society are not identified as much those of the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender community.

The stereotypes against them have made them socially isolated leading to severe mental illness.A Canadian study states that bisexual men and women are 6.3 times and 5.9 times respectively, are more likely to have suicidal tendencies than heterosexual people.  A Bisexuality report of 2012 suggests Bi people are more likely to suffer from depression as compared to homosexuals.

As individuals, it becomes our social responsibility to willfully respect the people who have identified themselves as being bisexuals or any characteristic different from ours. Stereotypical and hurtful comments can never be the mark of a progressive society. After all when we all were born with the same fundamental and human rights, where we have the right to choose.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. Twitter @ImMeghaacharya.


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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)