American powerlifter and world record holder Matt Kroc (full name Matt Kroczaleski) has come out as transgendered. Kroc surprised many by posting pictures of herself on instagram as Janae Marie Kroc. This is seen by many to be a brave move. I wish Janae the best.

A statement by Kroc:

“Thank you for understanding and being supportive, I really appreciate it. Being a total alpha male and transgender definitely makes me unique even in the transgender community. And of course also makes me incredibly complex as a person. I often feel like two completely different people trying to share one body with both fighting over who gets to be in control.

Because I worked so hard to condition myself to be who I wanted to be it’s difficult to say who I would have been had I been free to be myself from day one. I am naturally competitive and always loved sports but there’s no denying I’m transgender and that I was always drawn to femininity as well.

Gender identity and personality tests that I have taken in an effort to figure myself out always indicate that I am both hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine. Exactly what I need to do to be at peace with myself is something I am still not 100% certain of.

Transitioning is a very difficult process and even tougher at an older age (I’m 42). Your body doesn’t respond to hormones very well as compared to being in your teens or twenties and I have built a very good life for myself that I am hesitant to give up. And living as a transgender woman that is honest about her situation is very difficult and can be very dangerous. I am a very realistic person and I don’t think the transitioning will magically solve all of my issues without creating new challenges. Whatever path I choose there will be sacrifices to be made.”

A British guy makes a bold approach to a hundred different men asking them “Can I get Your Number?”. The replies are pretty varied. A few of them are negative, but on the whole it’s taken in good humour. A few years back I doubt that would’ve been the case.

United Kingdom (Straight radio personalities Iain Lee and Justin Dealey take to the streets to document the reactions two guys holding hands receives)

Russia (A predictably disappointing set of reactions from Russia)

United States (Not holding hands, reactions received just walking through the streets)

Portugal (A largely positive and optimistic set of reactions from Lisbon, Portugal)

Israel (Another set of disappointing reactions from Jerusalem, Israel)

northern ireland gay marriageFollowing on from the historic public yes vote for same sex marriage in the Republican of Ireland this May (62% voting yes) many are now turning their eye to Northern Ireland. Prominent gay figures such as Ian McKellen are also stepping up in hope that the country will “catch up with the rest of the UK”.

A deeply religious and politically divided country, it’s no surprise that Northern Ireland is lagging behind somewhat, yet a new Ipsos MORI poll suggests that a staggering 68% of those in the country now back marriage equality (with 82% of those between 18 and 34 in support of it and 75% of 35 – 54 year olds). The combination of changing social attitudes and momentum likely means that it’s only a matter of time before Northern Ireland joins the rest of the UK in embracing marriage equality.

Campaign groups such as Rainbow Project and Amnesty International Northern Ireland are also at the forefront of pushing for changes in law and attitudes. Rainbow Project organised a 10,000 strong equality rally in Belfast recently. Also, in November courts will decide on a case brought by two gay couples seeking a review of the ban married in England.

It’s unfortunate that political divides have stalled the introduction of  same sex marriage in the country (unionists have repeated voted down the proposals) since Northern Ireland was in fact the first place in the United Kingdom to legalise civil  ceremonies for gay couples.