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Alabama Theatre cancels screening of “Beauty and the Beast” because film features Disney’s first openly Gay Character

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Beauty and the Beast poster, Source-Disney Movies UK

Washington, March 6, 2017: Alabama Theater cancelled screening of “Beauty and the Beast” because the film features Disneys first openly gay character.

The Henagar Drive-In Theatre in DeKalb County has cancelled its screenings of “Beauty and the Beast” because the film will feature Disney’s first openly gay character, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

Director Bill Condon earlier this week told Attitude magazine that Josh Gad’s LeFou — villain Gaston’s (played by Luke Evans) eccentric sidekick — will be Disney’s first-ever LGBTQ character — a way of honouring the original 1991 animated film’s late lyricist Howard Ashman.

Opened in 1999, the Henagar Drive-In screens family-friendly double features. The theater’s shift away from “Beauty and the Beast” was decided by the business’ new owners, who took over in December.

“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine,” the business said in a statement on Facebook.

The statement further read: “If we cannot take our 11-year-old grand daughter and eight-year-old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.

“I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine.

“We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”

Disney hasn’t responded on the matter. (IANS)

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Treading Towards a More Tolerant Society, Serbia’s Openly Gay PM Joins Belgian Gay-Pride March

Ana Brnabic, Serbia's first openly gay prime minister, has always tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking "Why does it matter?"

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gay-pride march
Serbia's first ever openly gay prime minister, Ana Brnabic, center, attends a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Brnabic joined several hundred gay activists at a pride event held amid tight security in the conservative Balkan country. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Serbia, September 18, 2017 : Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s first openly gay prime minister, joined several hundred activists at a gay-pride march in Belgrade on Sunday.

Brnabic, who is also the first woman in top-level job, said she is working “one step at a time” toward building a more tolerant society.

Serbian riot police cordoned off the city center with metal fences early Sunday to prevent possible clashes with extremist groups opposed to the gay-pride march. Similar events have been marred by violent clashes in the conservative country.

“The government is here for all citizens and will secure the respect of rights for all citizens,” Brnabic told reporters. “We want to send a signal that diversity makes our society stronger, that together we can do more.”

Members of Serbia’s embattled LGBT community face widespread harassment and violence from extremists. Violence marred the country’s first gay-pride march in 2001, and more than 100 people were injured during a similar event in 2010 when police clashed with right-wing groups and soccer hooligans. Several pride events were banned before marches resumed in 2014.

GAY-PRIDE MARCH
Gay rights activists dance during a gay pride march in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. Holding rainbow flags, balloons and a banner reading ‘For change,’ participants gather in central Belgrade, capital, before setting off for a march through the city center. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (VOA)

Brnabic, who was elected in June, has tried to shift the focus away from her sexual orientation, asking “Why does it matter?”

Serbia is on track to join the European Union, but the EU has asked the country to improve minority rights, including for the LGBT community.

The marchers Sunday said they hoped Brnabic will bring about legislative changes for same-sex couples. (VOA)

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India becoming more Transgender- Friendly: Read this report

Male-to-female "hijras", the most visible group in the transgender community, feature in Hindu mythology and are seen as auspicious oddities whose blessings are sought at weddings and births.

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Transgenders in India
People belonging to the transgender community take a picture with a mobile phone before the start of a rally for transgender rights in Mumbai, India, January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade - RTX2YSL4
India's Supreme Court gave transgender people "third gender" recognition in 2014.
A growing number of Indian companies are now actively hiring transgender people.
India's 2011 census recorded half a million transgender people, 
but campaigners estimate the number at about 2 million.

By Roli Srivastava

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – During a training session for its first set of transgender recruits, officials from the new metro rail company in the southern Indian city of Kochi asked them if they had any concerns. They had just one: bathroom access.

“The project construction was complete by then and the stations were ready,” said Reshmi Chandrathil Ravi, a spokeswoman for Kochi Metro Rail, a new network in the port city launched at the weekend by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“So we are now turning the big bathrooms for the differently-abled into all-gender bathrooms to be shared with the disabled,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The washroom signs have now been removed and sent for a fresh “inclusive design”. And the company has allowed its transgender recruits to choose a male or female uniform.

Kochi Metro Rail is the first government-owned company to recruit staff from the transgender community as part of Kerala state’s initiative to give the marginalised group better access to job opportunities.

Since India’s Supreme Court gave transgender people “third gender” recognition in 2014, a growing number of Indian companies have actively hired transgender people and drafted policies to ensure they are not discriminated against in the workplace.

India’s 2011 census recorded half a million transgender people but campaigners estimate the number at about 2 million. Less than half are literate and even fewer have jobs, according to the census. Traditionally, transgender people in India have been confined to the margins of society.

Male-to-female “hijras”, the most visible group in the transgender community, feature in Hindu mythology and are seen as auspicious oddities whose blessings are sought at weddings and births.

Male-to-female Hijras are considered auspicious by Hindus. Click To Tweet

This popular perception of transgender people has meant they have struggled to find regular jobs, campaigners said.

But attitudes are slowly starting to change.

“At least 12 to 13 of our member companies already have all-gender bathrooms. This started happening since last year,” said Rashmi Vikram, senior manager with Community Business, a charity that supports firms seeking to be more socially inclusive.

“Some companies have turned the disability restroom to all gender, all-abilities restroom, promoting it in a way that there is no stigma attached to it. It didn’t require a big infrastructural change, but it sent out a positive message.”

BUDDIES AND BENEFITS

A handful of firms have gone beyond ensuring bathroom access.

Global technology firm ThoughtWorks hired a transgender person in its Bangalore office as part of a diversity initiative last year and went on to provide an office buddy and an external counsellor to its new employee to smooth the settling-in period.

And in a first, IBM – named as the world’s most LGBT-inclusive company by Amsterdam-based Workplace Pride Foundation – will from this year cover gender affirmation surgery under its corporate health benefit plan, a spokeswoman for IBM India said.

Another major Indian IT firm that opened a new campus in Mumbai last year ensured at the planning stage it would have a unisex bathroom following requests from transgender employees.

Some firms are also hand-holding transgender staff during the initial employment period and keeping their identities discreet on request, but campaigners say the trend is restricted to big companies.

MANY CHALLENGES

Nyra D’souza, a transgender woman, never took a bathroom break when she worked at a Mumbai outsourcing firm – uncomfortable in the men’s washroom and not allowed in the women’s facility.

It meant holding on for 15 hours before she reached home.

At job interviews, she had been told to consider fashion, beauty or films for a job “where I could be myself”.

But when she was interviewed at Mumbai-headquartered Godrej – a leading Indian conglomerate with interests ranging from consumer goods to real estate – she was asked about her work experience, not gender.

This, a Godrej spokeswoman said, was in tune with the company’s policy to make all interactions gender-neutral.

“Such experiences are limited only to big companies, not small,” said D’souza, who finds others from her community struggling to find jobs, or dignity in the workplace if they do.

After the Supreme Court ruling, campaigners said more companies are coming forward to recruit transgender people, but are reluctant to make adaptations.

“Over the past year, we have got nearly 15 requests from companies that wish to hire a transgender, but they retreat when I ask them about bathroom access,” said Koninika Roy of the Mumbai-based Humsafar Trust that works with the LGBT community and tries to match them with jobs.

The trust had one successful placement in the last year.

But Solidarity Foundation, a Bangalore-based rights group that works with sexual minorities, had more success – it placed 15 transgender people over the last year.

“Companies are becoming more open and talking about these issues, but integration is still not part of their DNA,” said Shubha Chacko, executive director of Solidarity Foundation.

Chacko cited the case of a transgender person detained at the office gate by security guards on his first day at work.

“The biggest challenge in India is the mindset. They connect transgender to people who beg on the streets, do sex work or sing at weddings,” said Vikram of Community Business.

“We still have a long way to go. A lot more work needs to be done.”

(Reporting by Roli Srivastava @Rolionaroll; Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org)

 

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Hundreds of Women took to the streets of Jakarta to rally for Equal Rights ahead of International Women’s Day

Participants gathered in central Jakarta before marching towards the State Palace

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A Woman (representational image),, Pixabay

Jakarta, Mar 4, 2017: Hundreds of women took to the streets of this Indonesian capital on Saturday to rally for equal rights ahead of International Women’s Day.

Participants gathered in central Jakarta before marching towards the State Palace, Efe news reported.

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Many were dressed in the pink and purple theme colours of this year’s event, and carried protest signs endorsing equal gender rights with slogans such as, “Fight like a girl” and “Harassment is never a compliment”.

Organisers said they hoped the event would help to “remove the shackles of orthodoxy” placed on women in Indonesia.

Among their eight key demands, activists called for an end to violence against women, increased female representation in politics and for discrimination against the LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender — community to stop.

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While their demands were serious, there was an upbeat atmosphere at the rally, which culminated in poetry recitals, music and dance performances near the State Palace.

The event, initiated by 33 different women’s rights organisations, was held to commemorate International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. (IANS)