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Portugal, Porto City

| February 4th, 2016 | Comments Off on Portugal, Porto City

Intro: Porto is an adventurous city of hills, rivers, bridges, old town pavements, many churches some with decorated with magnificent exterior blue and white tiles; it’s a city that makes port wine, of course. There is a medieval Ribeira (riverside) district with narrow cobbled streets that wind past old merchants’ houses and plenty of cafes.  The city is the second largest in Portugal and is home to a fine university founded in 1911 that focuses on science & medicine.  

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Gay in Putin’s Moscow: Why the City is Pinker Than You Think

| December 6th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay in Putin’s Moscow: Why the City is Pinker Than You Think

    LGBT nights are easy to find and Grindr reaches into the heart of the Kremlin itself. But two years after the law banning ‘homosexual propaganda’, can being gay in the Russian capital really be much fun? By Chris Michael, Judith Soal and Maeve Shearlaw The Guardian 13 June 2015     “Moscow is like a small European city in the mid-90s,” says Anton Krasovsky. “Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knows who’s gay, even if nobody’s out.”   Well, not nobody. In 2013, when the Duma was debating a new law outlawing “gay propaganda”, Krasovsky was a beloved Russian TV personality, working for a news channel he’d co-founded called Kontr TV. At the end of a wide-ranging discussion on the proposed legislation, Krasovsky said, on air: “I’m gay. And I’m just as much a human being as President Putin, or Prime Minister Medvedev, or the members of the Duma.”

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Bosnia Activists Hope EU Bid Will Help End Anti-LGBT Violence

| December 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Bosnia Activists Hope EU Bid Will Help End Anti-LGBT Violence

“Most people keep their sexuality a secret. There is lots of discrimination here.” Gay campaigners are hoping that Bosnia’s bid to join the European Union, which has put its human rights record under greater scrutiny, will lead to change.   By Morgan Meaker Associated Press Thomson Reuters Foundation December 1, 2015   Sarajevo, Bosnia Ivan has not told his parents, or many friends, that he’s gay. “I want to tell them, of course,” he said. “Every person on this planet needs to share nice things from his private life; to say ‘I’m happy, I have a boyfriend’.” Now in his 20s, Ivan has known he was gay since he was a child but in Bosnia, where attacks on LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex] people are common despite mounting pressure for the government to tackle discrimination, he doesn’t feel he can be open about his sexuality. Gay campaigners

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Portugal – Coimbra University and Town

| July 5th, 2015 | Comments Off on Portugal – Coimbra University and Town

Coimbra was the capital of Portugal (from 1131 to 1255). Still visible today are Roman artifacts such as the aqueduct and the cryptoporticus (a semi-subterranean gallery with vaulted ceiling). The most outstanding feature in the city is the University of Coimbra founded in 1537. It is the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese-speaking world. The campus buildings were classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2013.    

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Portugal – Obidos Town

| July 1st, 2015 | Comments Off on Portugal – Obidos Town

Obidos is an ancient walled Roman town that was taken over by the Visigoths from the north in medieval times. These rulers fell to the Arab Moors in the 9th century and were in turn defeated by a Portuguese army led by the first king of Portugal Alfonso Henriques in 1148. It has been been in Portuguese hands ever since. It is a picturesque walled town capped with a castle (now a hotel). Narrow stone lanes lead to numerous other hotels and restaurants and shops. Outside of town is the famous and ancient Church of Santa Maria, unusual for it five-sided shape. It was the site of the marriage of King Afonso V to his cousin, Princess Isabella of Coimbra in1441 when they were both children aged 9 and 10. Politics started early then. It is still an active church–with no chairs or pews.  

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Gay Greenland–Past and Present

| May 5th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Greenland–Past and Present

Intro: Greenland is a model of how the whole world could be if we removed politics and religion from human rights; peaceful and tolerant with no guns, no gay marriage bans, no radical fairies and no radical clergy.   By Richard Ammon May 2015 I wasn’t sure if I should include Greenland in this website. Gay life there is almost a non-event, but not for lack of a LGBT presence; we are everywhere. There has been a modest Gay Pride march since 2010  suggesting an organization that makes it happen. But mostly because the ‘scene’ is so low key, small, non-violent, integrated into the larger culture; there is no public drama or news worthy events to stir up the media. When the historic 1996 same-sex partnership registration law came into effect in Greenland–by a Royal Danish Decree on 1 July 1996–it slipped in as quietly as a starlit night.

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Northern Spain: Barcelona to Veruela Monastery

| April 14th, 2015 | Comments Off on Northern Spain: Barcelona to Veruela Monastery
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Portugal – Sagres Town Photos

| April 13th, 2015 | Comments Off on Portugal – Sagres Town Photos

Sagres was founded in the 15th century. Other than its coastal location for a fort and a lighthouse it was of little importance. It remained an independent municipality until 1834 with barely 400 inhabitants. Its most famous resident was Prince Henry the Navigator who started a nautical school that supported Portuguese commercial explorations around the world. Today it is a modest tourist destination with fine beaches and dramatic cliffs that drop vertically into the ocean.        

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Portugal – Sintra Town and Palaces

| April 13th, 2015 | Comments Off on Portugal – Sintra Town and Palaces

Sintra is a fairyland town in the mountains and forests west of Lisbon. Here monarchs and wealthy people built extravagant castles and palaces in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the whole area is a sprawling outdoor museum of lifestyles and architecture long past.  

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Portugal – Evora Town Photo Gallery

| April 12th, 2015 | Comments Off on Portugal – Evora Town Photo Gallery

Evora is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Here are remnants of very ancient civilizations of 7500 years ago as well as Roman temple ruins and Spanish 18th century churches.

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Gay Life in Modern Portugal

| April 9th, 2015 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Modern Portugal

A few days in Lisbon is enough to whet one’s appetite for more of this vibrant, stylish, culinary-dense, historic and trendy city. It’s also in the forefront of Gay Life in Europe.   By Richard Ammon March 2015 (most photos by   Lisbon is alive with countless cafes serving up a thousand menus of pastries, espresso, sea food–indeed, any and every type of edible swimmer from squid to prawns, all fish, clams and lobsters. Along the noisy cobblestone streets run luxury sedans, sports cars, motorcycles, tourist-laden tuk-tuks, buses, trolley cars, long yellow city buses, and endless tourist vans and buses. Pedestrian-only streets are scattered across the city, up an down the seven hills. The enormous passenger and cargo port disgorges goods and visitors among the towering cathedrals, basilicas, parish churches, hilltop fortress, museums, charming local plazas and countless luxury hotels and small hostels with 10×10 rooms. The streets

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Gay Life in Ukraine 2012-14

| October 16th, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay Life in Ukraine 2012-14

Introduction There are many fronts in the universal struggle for gay rights and LGBT equality. Some of these fronts are violent, some are passive, some are out and proud and colorful while others are underground. All of them involve courage, stealth, strategic planning, public relations, political lobbying and greater or lesser amounts of money. In 2012 Ukraine the efforts for “Gay Life in Ukraine” are no less strained and courageous. Yet, despite Orthodox Catholic opposition, homophobic skinheads, political bigotry and a conservative society, the ‘International Forum of LGBT–Festival Kiev Pride2012’ (one of 19 LGBT groups that form the larger ‘Council of LGBT Organizations of Ukraine’)–tried to stage a Pride Parade and Festival in May 2012. It was cancelled by the authorities who feared violence. In was to be a test whether Ukraine was ready or not for the European Community with its tolerant human rights standards. It was not. For LGBT

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Gay Ukraine After the Revolution: Life is Dangerous

| August 2nd, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay Ukraine After the Revolution: Life is Dangerous

Activist Globa Bogdan, who had his hopes for Kiev Pride dashed this year, says the culture of machismo threatens LGBT Ukrainians.   By Thom Senzee July 09 2014 The Advocate ( (Photo right: activist Globa Bogdan at Baltimore Pride 2013 ) For Bogdan Globa, founder and executive director of Tochka Opory|Fulcrum, an LGBT rights advocacy organization in Ukraine, the dream of celebrating LGBT Pride the way he saw it done in America seems farther away than ever following the cancellation of Kiev’s 2014 March for Equality last week. Yet this young gay activist remains determined and optimistic in a country he sees as intoxicated with machismo after having stood up to its behemoth neighbor to the north, Russia. However, that bravado is making it harder than ever to be an LGBT Ukrainian. Globa, whose organization includes a project similar in mission to PFLAG called TERGO, and his mother, Olena Globa,

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Gay Slovenia

| May 28th, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay Slovenia

Intro: Slovenia, a former Yugoslavia republic, is a small pretty country of mountains, fertile pastures and picturesque villages. Old town Ljubljana looks storybook. History stretches back to Roman times. Having escaped the horrors of the 90’s Balkan wars for the most part, the citizens here have moved forward with modest prosperity. Homophobia exists of course but it has not been violent or virulently religious. Gay activists work busily and quietly to push for more complete partnership recognition and registration. Also see: Gay Slovenia News & Reports 2000 to present Gay Slovenia Photo Galleries   By Richard Ammon Updated May 2014   Progress and Peace If you read the Slovenia News & Reports page on this site, you will see a progressive country that has allowed civil partnerships since 2006. More recently, the Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s law on inheritance and succession discriminates same-sex couples and required that it

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Gay Hungary

| January 1st, 2014 | Comments Off on Gay Hungary

Intro: Hungary is fast changing from a dim Soviet satellite to a free thinking-free enterprise nation of progress. Included in this shift are new laws protecting homosexuals. A week in the Budapest to see the gay sites, attend the international ILGA conference and talk with some LGBT folks provided some images and insights into the new ways of modern gay Hungary. Also see: Gay Hungary News & Reports 1999 to present Hungary Photo Galleries By Richard Ammon November 2006 Updated March 2014 A Quick Sexy Intro “How much?” “ Sixty Euros ($75).” “ Sixty! That’s very expensive. How much if I am Hungarian?” “ Four thousand forints (20$), maybe three ($15).” “ Why such a big difference?” “ You are not from here.” “ But you do the same things, for 60 euros or fifteen.” “ Yes, but you have the money.” So the market economy has come to the

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Best Gay Nude Beach in Ukraine: Simeiz Village

| October 17th, 2013 | Comments Off on Best Gay Nude Beach in Ukraine: Simeiz Village

Below is an article from the Ukrainian gay newspaper ‘Our World’ praising the attractions of this heavenly beautiful place. Introduction The fame of Simeiz (located on the Crimean peninsula, near the city of Yalta) as a gay resort goes as far back as to the 70s, when homosexuality was still criminally prosecuted and hundreds of Soviet gays were jailed each year. In part due to its remoteness from main tourist attractions of the Republic of Crimea haunted by happy heterosexual families, Simeiz used to be (and so remains) the most flamboyant gay beach of the former Soviet Union. In terms of infrastructure, it has not much to offer as compared to Sitges in Spain. Simeiz’s fame has spread rapidly around the world. Today in summer you can find here gays from Moscow and Kiev, USA and Holland, UK, France, Australia and Belgium. Gay Black Sea Area Simeiz is a spa

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Russian Gay Activist Speaks Out 2013

| October 2nd, 2013 | Comments Off on Russian Gay Activist Speaks Out 2013

Gay City News October 2, 2013. By Doug Ireland Nikolai Baev, 38, (photo right)  is a veteran Russian gay activist born and raised in Moscow. He founded the first gay group in the city of Novosibirsk when he was a university student there, and is one of the original organizers of the efforts to stage the banned Moscow Gay Pride. Baev has been on the front lines of the most militant wing of the Russian gay movement’s work. As one of the handful of Russian queers brave enough to speak out in the media, Baev has again and again defied official repression. Nikolai Baev address his nation’s draconian new law, the value of boycotts, and the status of organizing Baev is the complainant in a lawsuit challenging a repressive, “no-promo-homo” law passed in 2006 in the city and region of Ryazan that came in response to the first Moscow Gay

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Belgium Gay Life and the Out Games 2013

| September 15th, 2013 | Comments Off on Belgium Gay Life and the Out Games 2013

A remarkable double event in Antwerp as it hosted the OutGames 2013 and the affiliated Human Rights Conference themed ‘From Safe Harbor to Equality’.   By Richard Ammon September 2013 Being There There was nothing quite like it before or since. As I stepped off the streamline train from the Brussels airport into the high steel and glass arches of the Antwerp train station I was faced with a huge red canvas billboard: “Antwerp welcomes you to the World OutGames 2013“. (photo right) It was a familiar sign in a foreign place; familiar from the previous two Outgames (Montreal 2006; Copenhagen 2009). Now it was Belgium’s turn to sponsor one of the world’s biggest sporting events and an important gay human rights conference themed ‘From Safe Harbor to Equality’. Outside the station collecting in pairs and groups I watched ‘obviously’  gay folks heading across the busy square among an

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Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Human Rights Conference

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Human Rights Conference

August 4-7, 2013 Preceding the OutGames is an international Human Rights Conference that brings together hundreds of LGBT activists and human rights leaders to present papers, hold seminars and give speeches. At the end of the conference a declaration of rights is composed and published.      

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Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Opening Ceremony

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Opening Ceremony

August 2, 2013 The OutGames opening ceremony was modest compared to previous years. It was held outdoors in an open area next to the harbor. It was rather crowded as thousands of athletes from 25 countries assembled to hear the speeches and music.      

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Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Swimming Competition

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Antwerp, Belgium World OutGames Swimming Competition

The swimming competition took place over the course of a week. There were several dozen categories of races according to the stroke style (butterfly stroke, freestyle stroke, back stroke and breast stroke) and separated into male/female races. The result was a couple of hundred races that ranged from 50 meters long (one length of the pool) to 1500 meters (30 lengths, free style only). There were about 700 swimmers from 20 countries. In addition there were water polo competitions (won as usual by the Australians). Since I was a competitor in swimming I had no time to visit other sports. Sorry.  

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Belgium, Brussels City Walkabout

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Belgium, Brussels City Walkabout

Brussels is the capital and largest city of Belgium and the capital of the European Union (EU). The city has a population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan area with a population of over 1.8 million. Over the millennium it has a tumultuous history of invasion, revolts and conquests. In World War I Brussels was occupied but German troops did not cause much damage. In World War II the city was again occupied, and was spared major damage during its occupation by Germans before it was liberated by the British in 1945. Today all war damage has been repaired and it is a picturesque city with diverse of architecture, from baroque to gothic post modernist. But many architectural gems were demolished to make way for newer buildings with an eye to becoming the headquarters for the European Commission. French, Dutch and Flemish languages are heard around the city. Brussels is

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Belgium, Antwerp City Walkabout

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Belgium, Antwerp City Walkabout

Antwerp is a city and municipality in Belgium with a population of about 510,600. The Antwerp metropolitan area is currently the second largest in Belgium. The city is located on the river Scheldt, which is linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary. The Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest ports in the world, ranking third in Europe. During World War I, the Belgian Army were defeat at Liège and retreated to Antwerp. The Siege of Antwerp lasted for 11 days, but the city was taken after heavy fighting by the German Army, and the Belgians were forced to retreat westwards. Antwerp remained under German occupation until the Armistice in 1818. It was again occupied by Germany in May 1940 and liberated by the British in September 1944. In 2013 it hosted the international gay OutGames and Human Rights Conference.    

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Belgium, Brugge City

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Belgium, Brugge City

Bruges (Dutch: Brugge) is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium in the northwest of the country. The city’s total population is 117,073 of which around 20,000 live in the city centre. The metropolitan area has a total of 255,844 inhabitants. Because of it numerous canals it is sometimes called ‘The Venice of the North’. Brugge has a significant economic importance thanks to its port. At one time, it was considered the “chief commercial city” of the world. It received its city charter on July 27, 1128. After 1965 the original medieval city experienced a renaissance. Restorations of residential and commercial structures, historic monuments, and churches generated a surge in tourism and economic activity in the ancient downtown area. Many of its medieval buildings are notable, including the Church of Our Lady, whose brick spire reaches 122.3 m (401.25 ft),

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Belgium, Ypres City

| August 10th, 2013 | Comments Off on Belgium, Ypres City

The Ypres municipality comprises the city of Ypres and ten small villages, home to some 34,900 inhabitants. During World War I, Ypres was the centre of intense and sustained battles between German and Allied forces. Ypres is an ancient town, known to have been raided by the Romans in the first century BC. During the Middle Ages, Ypres was a prosperous Flemish city renowned for its linen trade with England (mentioned in the Canterbury Tales). The enormous Cloth Hall was built in the thirteenth century. Ypres occupied a strategic position during World War I because it stood in the path of Germany’s planned sweep across the rest of Belgium and into France from the north. Germany’s 1914 invasion of Belgium brought the British Empire into the war. The first use of poison gas was by the Germans on 22 April 1915. Of the battles, the largest, best-known, and most costly in human suffering was the

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