Russian embassy mocks Westerners as ‘gay pigs’

The Russian embassy in the UK has mocked Europeans as “gay pigs”.

Tensions between Europe and Russia have been escalated in recent weeks, with Russia even sailing warships down the English Channel in an apparent show of force.

Russia this week attempted to provoke the West on LGBT rights – a tactic repeatedly employed by President Vladimir Putin in the past.

The Russian Embassy in London tweeted a picture of a giant Russian bear posing over the top of a concentration camp full of piggy banks, adorned with a Pride flag, stars, and a Eurozone sign.

It bears a resemblance to the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ sign that hung above Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

The tweet reads: “If Russia is in decline, why worry? Maybe, real worry is West’s decline and that we manage things better?”

It also claims: “Image used for illustration purposes.”

However, it has been met with a frosty reception.

One LGBT activist wrote: “This is a genuine tweet from the Russian Embassy depicting Europeans as pigs flying gay pride flags.

“Not sure if the stars in the image are meant to mean something either but this tweet from Russian Embassy is full of all kinds of fascism.”

Another Twitter user added: “This cartoon is disgusting.”

Russia recently attempted to force an LGBT support site for gay teens to close, as part of an anti-LGBT clampdown.

Yelena Klimova, the founder of the website, previously been fined under the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, while authorities forced Russian social network VK to clamp down on the group.

Authorities have now gone even further, with state media watchdog Roskomnadzor set to blacklist the Deti-404 site for “spreading banned information.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently has attacked homophobic US laws, claiming Russia ensures equal rights to all LGBT people.

He claimed that homophobia in Russia has been “deliberately exaggerated”, before attacking the United States and the anti-gay laws that he says still exist there.

Celebrity Big Brother cleared over Christopher Biggins ‘bisexual AIDS’ rant

The UK’s broadcast watchdog Ofcom has rejected complaints against reality show Celebrity Big Brother, after airing a rant from Christopher Biggins.

The gay panto star was removed from the Celebrity Big Brother House earlier this year after a string of offensive comments, with an alleged anti-Semitic joke going unbroadcasted.

However, his comments about bisexuality were broadcast in full.

In the rant he claimed to Mob Wives star Renee Graziano: “I think the worst type though is, I’m afraid to say, the bisexuals. What it is is people not wanting to admit they are gay.”

He continued to claim AIDS was a “bisexual disease”, adding that “there were a lot of bisexuals who went to [third world] countries and had sex with those people and brought it back to their own families in America, and that’s how it became a worldwide disease.”

Ofcom cleared the comments today.

Its ruling states: “We investigated whether a discussion between Christopher Biggins and Renee Graziano about the sexual orientation of bisexual people was offensive.

“We accepted that these remarks made in Celebrity Big Brother were capable of causing offence, but they were likely to be within the audience’s expectations of this programme.”

Mr Biggins attempted to apologise for his offensive behaviour following his removal from the house – but this is not the first time he has been criticised for his views on the LGBT community.

The entertainer opposed the introduction of equal marriage, claiming in 2012: “I’m very anti-marriages, because I think that is for heterosexual couples. We can’t get rid of everything”.

He re-stated his opposition to same-sex marriage last year, claiming it’s “a step too far”

The Spirit of Food Design in Latin America

How can snacks and their packaging be designed so that blind persons cannot only know what they are buying and eating, but also bolster their autonomy and their desire to make food a part of a shared experience? What kind of affordable, easy-to-use, healthy and sustainable dairy products can provide an adequate intake of vitamin A to pregnant women? (A hint: think about carrots…) How can communities in the countryside protect the bees in their areas, ensuring the pollination of their crops while manufacturing value-added goods, from propolis to honey wine? These were some of the projects that young designers presented during the fourth meeting of the Latin American Network of Food Design, organized in Ensenada, Baja California, by its founder and president Pedro Reissig and by Damian Valles, the founder and leader of Amar Abierto, the association that spearheaded the inclusion of Ensenada in the UNESCO network of creative cities of gastronomy.
After attending its second meeting, which took place in Bogotá, Colombia two years ago, I was quite amazed by the maturity of the Latin American network of food design. Delegates from several national nodes attended, each contributing specific experiences and reflections that ranged from academic to professional. This year Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile were represented, some of them for the first time, showing how the network is expanding in breadth but also in depth. In fact, diverging approaches to food design have emerged, from more artistic to more production-oriented, from technological to those inspired by activism and social justice. The discussions were inevitably quite lively, but always respectful of the different points of view.
This variety of perspectives and practices is a testament to the vitality of the relatively new field of food design in Latin America, a huge geographical area. Despite sharing a common language and a past shaped by European colonialism, Latin America is incredibly varied and always in transformation, generating powerful and creative cultural, social, and political movements which are inevitably reflected in their arts and design. In contexts scarred by profound inequalities, the throes of guerrillas and criminal violence, institutional upheaval, and the consequences of neoliberalism in terms of trade and internal policies, food is not only a crucial element in everyday life, but it acquires profound symbolic and emotional values.
With the goal of improving the quality of life for as many citizens as possible, food sovereignty movements and solidarity initiatives in Latin America clash with market economies as they push design towards constant innovation. As a matter of fact, food turns into a relevant arena for considerations of human rights and citizenship, where ideas about who belongs and who is left on the sidelines of civil society are constantly negotiated. This background forces food designers, whatever their sensibilities may be, to take into account strategic and systemic issues that in other continents are less central to the development of the new discipline. The fourth meeting of the Latin American network of food design clearly indicated that even the most artistic and business-inflected design projects can never totally ignore the stark realities of the environments in which they exist. Collaborations with farmers, food producers, culinary arts experts, and chefs are essential in bringing food design endeavors to fruition, often generating connections that encourage and support sustainability, participation, and economic development, especially in rural environments. However, this engagement with serious issues and public life does not preclude the enjoyment of food from the sensual and communal points of view, which in fact can assume a transformative role.
Diversity and resistance to various forms of oppression generate a unique ecology of practical expertise and theoretical knowledge. Food design in Latin America is growing not only as an area of academic research and professional practice, but also as a transnational and multidisciplinary community of groups and individuals who are deeply involved and committed to collaboration. A community also characterized by a bold and infectious vitality – ánimo, as they say in Spanish.

Lord Mayor of Manchester subjected to homophobic abuse at Justin Bieber concert

The out Lord Mayor of Manchester has spoken out after being subjected to homophobic abuse at a Justin Bieber concert.

Carl Austin-Behan, a Labour councillor, was sworn in as the city’s Lord Mayor earlier this year, marking the first time the role has been hold by an out politician.

The Lord Mayor had planned to attend a Justin Bieber concert last night at Manchester Arena.

However, on his way to the event, he was accosted by two women who screamed homophobic abuse, referring to him as a “dirty faggot”.

Mr Austin-Behan, who took photos of the women, said he would report the incident to Greater Manchester Police.

Speaking to the Guardian, he recalled that the incident began when he challenged the pair’s homophobic language.

He said:  “That’s when the barrage of comments came back [saying] ‘Am I gay? Am I gay? Am I a dirty faggot?’ and all that sort of stuff that started coming out.

“I was annoyed. I wasn’t shaken up, I was annoyed. Because it was a Justin Bieber concert there was a lot of young people there, and it was a mix of people.

“I was more annoyed that people could go to a gig like that and feel they could get away with saying things like that.”

He added: “I’m in a privileged position at the moment as the lord mayor and one of the things I’ve stood my ground on is that we need to make sure we report hate crime and get that message across. The fact of highlighting that it’s still out there – however small it is, you still have to report it – because there are still people out there who feel it’s all right to be abusive,” he said.

“I’m quite a strong person, I can take that. But if people are still saying those things about someone’s sexuality, I find that really offensive and hurtful. It’s important that we stand our ground and that we demand the respect we should get. It may seem trivial to some people, a bit of name-calling, but it’s highly offensive.”

Police confirmed an incident is being investigated.

Mr Austin-Behan was forced out of the RAF in the 1990s because he is openly gay, just years before the ban on gay servicepeople was lifted.

He took the coveted Mr Gay UK crown back in 2001 while working as an events manager, well before deciding to enter politics.

The former pageant winner later became a Labour councillor on Manchester City Council, and was named earlier this year as the Labour group’s choice to be the city’s new ceremonial Lord Mayor.

Anti-LGBT Christians defending family who want to ‘cure’ their transgender son

A Christian legal group is defending a family who refuse to accept their transgender teenage son and claim he needs treatment for “gender confusion”.

The UK-based family, none of whom cannot be identified for legal reasons, are locked in a battle with their local authority over their transgender son Gary (identity changed to preserve anonymity)

The devout Christian family refuse to acknowledge their son’s chosen name and gender, claiming that the 14-year-old is mentally ill and can be ‘cured’.

Social Services and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) became involved in the case when Gary attempted to escape the family.

He may now be removed from the family after he was flagged as a potential suicide risk.

The family is being represented up by the Christian Legal Centre, headed by anti-LGBT activist Andrea Williams of Christian Concern.

Williams – who has previously called for gay people to ‘repent’ their sexualityspoken at ‘gay cure’ events, and claimed anti-bullying lessons are designed to promote gay sex – insisted the family were victims of a “gender ideology”.

In their release, Christian Concern referred to Gary by a female name, Bethany (also changed to preserve anonymity).

Speaking anonymously, Gary’s mother said: “We have been horrified with the prospect that the name that we gave our daughter with all the meaning that entails, will be stripped from her, all because of the social workers politically motivated ideology.

“Our daughter is mentally unwell, we believe that her present gender identity problems are part of her mental health problems. She should receive the appropriate help that she needs, rather than being forced into taking on a false identity. Our daughter is too young to make these decisions.”

Andrea Williams said: “The new transgender cultural movement is tantamount to The Emperor’s New Clothes. In gender, there is an objective reality but forces are at work in seeking to undermine the obvious. The authorities are forcing an agenda that is untrue and harmful to our children.

“This case demonstrates a shocking disregard for parental authority; no one is listening to what the parents want or have to say; they know the child best; they have the child’s best interests at heart.

“This is just another step in the wrong direction for our society. Before the law is even changed, politically motivated social workers are pushing their agenda on vulnerable families and young children. Children like Bethany need psychiatric help, not politically correct social workers forcing their politically correct agenda on families such as this. Unless misguided social workers such as the one involved here are stood up to they will wreck families. We stand side by side with this family and hope that the social workers involved and CAMHS see sense.

“It is very unfortunate that the social worker appears to have jumped to the conclusion that Bethany is transgender without even waiting for a formal diagnosis from the psychiatrist and therefore started to implement the changes that she sees fit. This is tantamount to passing sentence before the jury have returned with their verdict.”

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