Monday, December 29, 2008

Gays welcome Uganda arrest payout

Post found on BBC News

A Ugandan judge has awarded two women $7,000 (£4,700), saying their rights were infringed when they were arrested on suspicion of being lesbians in 2005.

One of them was undressed by police to prove she was a woman and assaulted.

"The verdict is welcomed with excitement by the gay community," activist Kasha Jacqueline told the BBC.

"It is a Christmas surprise for us," she said, adding that the judge had stressed such treatment was wrong. Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda.

The case is believed to be the first time homosexuals have taken the police to court in Uganda, where they face much discrimination.

Read more at BBC News

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Moscow Mayor Announces Ban on Gay Pride Parades Will Continue, Says Events Contribute to Spread of HIV

Article from Kaiser network

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov on Thursday announced that the city will continue to ban gay pride parades, saying that the events could contribute to the spread of HIV, RIA Novosti reports. Luzhkov said the city has "banned and will continue to forbid this propaganda by sexual minorities, as they could turn out to be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infections." He added that "[c]ertain homegrown democrats believe that sexual minorities can be a primary indicator and symbol of democracy, but we will forbid the dissemination of these opinions in the future as well." Luzhkov, who has been mayor of Moscow since 1992, said although he is aware that criticism for the decision will be directed at authorities, "each particular society has its own views." RIA Novosti reports that Luzhkov in the past has called gay pride parades "Satanic" and said that they will never be allowed in the city (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

Luzhkov's comments have drawn criticism from Russian gay rights advocates, such as Nikolai Alexeyev, who said the mayor's comments are "contradictory" and that countries can fight HIV/AIDS more effectively if they have prominent communities of men who have sex with men, the AP/Boston Herald reports (AP/Boston Herald, 12/4). Reuters reports that homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but "tolerance is not widespread" (Kilner, Reuters, 12/4). In addition to his comments on gay pride parades, Luzhkov also said that condoms are an
unreliable HIV prevention measure. He said, "Certain manufacturers state that condoms are reliable protection against AIDS, but modern science has proven this is untrue" (RIA Novosti, 12/4).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Polish Gay Journalist Sued By Polish Gay Activist

Post found on Topix

Robert Biedron president of "Campaign Against Homophobia" and officer on "Equality Parade's" board of directors has officially filed court litigation this week. The unnerving and totally unacceptable aspect of this is that the defendant is a Polish gay activist - journalist and owner of GayLife magazine, link here.

Read more at LetMeGetThiStraight

"Homosexuality needs to be curbed as it spreads HIV/AIDS" Indian Gvt Says to High Court

Post found on Gay News Blog

NEW DELHI: Justifying criminalisation of homosexuality in the country, the Centre has pleaded before the Delhi High that it is one of the main reasons for spread of HIV/AIDS and needs to be curbed.

In a written submission filed by Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, the Centre said that legalising Men having sex with Men (MSM), as pleaded by gay rights activists, would lead to spread of the dreaded disease and placed reports of various countries to substantiate its stand.

Read more at Times of India

Second Changing Attitude Nigeria leader granted asylum in UK

Post found on Gay News Blog

Stephen Wariebi Hobobo, co-leader of the Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) group in Port Harcourt, has been granted asylum in the UK. Stephen applied for asylum in May 2008 having arrived in the UK in April.

He travelled to the UK following the violent assault on his life which occurred in Port Harcourt on Maundy Thursday 20 March 2008. He was savagely beaten in an attack outside the compound where the funeral ceremony for the sister of Davis Mac-Iyalla was taking place.

Read more at Gay News Blog

A Lifestyle Distinct: The Muxe of Mexico

Article found on

Mexico City — Mexico can be intolerant of homosexuality; it can also be quite liberal. Gay-bashing incidents are not uncommon in the countryside, where many Mexicans consider homosexuality a sin. In Mexico City, meanwhile, same-sex domestic partnerships are legally recognized — and often celebrated lavishly in government offices as if they were marriages.

But nowhere are attitudes toward sex and gender quite as elastic as in the far reaches of the southern state of Oaxaca. There, in the indigenous communities around the town of Juchitán, the world is not divided simply into gay and straight. The local Zapotec people have made room for a third category, which they call “muxes” (pronounced MOO-shays) — men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between the two genders.

Watch a slide show at NYTimes

US refuses UN gay rights Declaration MWC News

Post found on Topix

"The US government is one of the only western democratic nations that has declined to support a United Nations Declaration calling for the global decriminalisation of homosexuality. The Declaration will be put before the UN General Assembly this Wednesday, 10 December, which is Human Rights Day and the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," reports British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the London-based LGBT rights group, OutRage!

"It will be the first time in its history that the UN General Assembly has ever considered the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) human rights," he said.

Read more at MWC News

Irish gay marriage activists stage registry office "break in"

Post found on Gay News Blog

A group that advocates full civil marriage for same-sex couples in Ireland demonstrated in Dublin at the weekend.

In June Ireland's Justice minister published a draft bill that will grant gay and lesbian couples legal recognition in areas such as pensions, social security, property rights, tax, succession and the payment of maintenance.

Read more at Pinknews

Pro-Gay U.S. Catholic Groups to Target Vatican in Wednesday Vigils

Post found on Towleroad

DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry, and Call To Action, three Catholic groups that support gay equality, will hold vigils in five U.S. cities protesting the Vatican's opposition to a UN declaration formally condemning discrimination against gays. The resolution will be presented to the UN tomorrow.

Read more at Towleroad

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Openly gay marchers debut at Haiti AIDS rally

Post found on Towleroad

ST. MARC, Haiti (AP) — A dozen men in T-shirts declaring "I am gay" and "I am living with HIV/AIDS" marched with hundreds of other demonstrators through a Haitian city on Sunday in what organizers called the Caribbean nation's first openly gay march.

The march, held a day ahead of World AIDS Day in the western city of St. Marc, called for better prevention and treatment in a country long plagued by the virus.

Organizers said they hoped the march will break barriers to reach more HIV-positive people and gay men with programs that have helped decrease the country's infection rate by two-thirds in the last decade.

Read more at The Associated Press

British Rugby League Says No to Homophobia

Post found on Lez Get Real

Inspired by former Australian rugby league player and actor, Ian Roberts, who came out in 1995, the Rugby Football League of Britain is hoping to promote LGBT equality in sport.

League officials say posters and logos carrying the message, "Some people are gay. Get over it!" will be displayed at rugby league grounds, in programs and fan areas, as a bid to promote LGBT integration in the sport.

Forums will also be set up for gay, lesbian and bisexual players and staff.

Read more at Lez Get Real

Gays in Vancouver Defy 'No-Show' Westboro Baptist Church

Post found on Towleroad

Fred Phelps' hateful Westboro Baptist Church failed to make good on a promise to picket a performance of The Laramie Project at Havana Café in Vancouver on Friday night, but they would have been stopped in their tracks:

"The church's threat to interfere with the play triggered a huge response from Vancouver's gay community, whose members showed up at the café Friday night to counter any protest by the church. 'It's really important that we take a stand but not a stand out of anger, a stand out of caring and kindness,' said Jim Deva of Little Sister's bookstore, which sells gay and lesbian-related literature. 'I think you defy hatred by love. That's how you deal with hatred, and you open up the dialogue and you begin conversing and talking,' Deva said."

Read more at Towleroad

Hundreds attend memorial for murdered gay teenager

Post found on Gay News Blog

Liverpool's Anglican cathedral held a well-attended memorial service for a young gay man on Saturday.

Michael Causer, 18, was seriously injured on 25th July this year in an allegedly homophobic attack.

Despite brain surgery, he died in hospital on Saturday 2nd August.

More than 200 people attended the service at the cathedral, among them local gay politician councillor Steve Radford.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Burundi abolishes death penalty, criminalizes homosexuality

Post found at JURIST

The parliament of Burundi [government website, in French; JURIST news archive] voted Saturday in favor of laws abolishing the death penalty and criminalizing homosexuality [JURIST news archive] in the country. The elimination of the death penalty in Burundi was a requirement for establishing a UN-led truth and reconciliation committee and tribunal [JURIST report] in the country. Gay rights groups in the country condemned the criminalization of homosexuality [AFP report], and stressed the implications of the parliamentary vote for the country's struggle with HIV/AIDS [JURIST news archive].


For gays in India, fear is way of life

Post found on Gay News Blog

BANGALORE, India - Even with the white horse rented, his gold-speckled turban fitted, and the wedding hall lined up, Mahesh did not feel ready to get married, at least not to a woman.

The shy computer engineer is gay.

But Mahesh went ahead with the elaborate ceremony in May because someone he had befriended online blackmailed him - threatening to tell his parents unless he paid $5,500.

Severely depressed and suffering from insomnia, Mahesh recently swallowed a dozen painkillers. He survived. But his blackmailer heard he was in the hospital and demanded more cash to keep his secret.

Read more at Boston Globe

Indonesian AIDS patients face microchip monitoring

Post found on Topix

Lawmakers in Indonesia's remote province of Papua have thrown their support behind a controversial bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips — part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease.

Local health workers and AIDS activists called the plan "abhorrent."

"People with AIDS aren't animals; we have to respect their rights," said Tahi Ganyang Butarbutar, a prominent Papuan activist.

But legislator John Manangsang said by implanting small computer chips beneath the skin of "sexually aggressive" patients, authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and ultimately punish those who deliberately infect others with up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine.

Read more at Yahoo News

Gay talk goes mainstream with Dostana

Post found on Gay News Blog

Out of the closet and into mainstream cinema, not as a serious statement on sexuality but as breezy comic fare - with Dostana, homosexuality may finally have rid itself of its taboo status in Indian films.

As John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan keep the audience in splits, it is tempting to believe that Bollywood may be ready to break away from the tried and tested. Some have hated the film, saying that it just perpetuates the gay stereotype, others have loved it.

But Dostana is well on its way to becoming a super hit. It has tickled the funny bone of viewers with its story about two strapping young men pretending to be gay and their friendship with their landlady Priyanka Chopra.


Australia moves to give rights to gay couples

Post found on International Herald Tribune

Australian lawmakers have passed new laws giving gay and lesbian couples many of the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts but have ruled out legalizing same-sex marriages.

After a low-key debate late Monday, the Senate passed amendments to around 100 family, health and taxation laws that give same-sex couples access to the same services as opposite-sex couples living together in "de facto," or common law, relationships.

Among the major changes, gays and lesbians will be allowed to get family benefits under the state-run health care program and to leave their retirement benefits to their partners if they die. The changes also confer parental rights on gay and lesbian couples with children.

Read more at International Herald Tribune

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Canada Anglican to proceed with gay blessing rites

Post found on Gay News Blog

A Canadian Anglican bishop signaled Monday he would defy the wishes of the global Anglican church and start drafting a ceremony for blessing homosexual marriages.

Bishop Barry Clarke said he would be following through with the wishes of the diocese of Montreal, which he heads, and set up a commission to come up with liturgy for such blessings.

In August, the decennial Lambeth Conference of global Anglican leaders asked for a moratorium on the blessing of same-sex unions, and Canada's bishops said Friday a large majority of them were committed to such a moratorium.

Read more at Reuters

Nepal Vaults Ahead of U.S. in LGBT Rights in Historic Court Ruling

Post found on Towleroad:

The Nepali Supreme Court issued a ruling today granting protections and rights for sexual and gender minorities. Four gay rights groups reportedly filed petitions through the court and it ruled today.

UK Gay News via the Victory Fund, here are the decision's main points:

"In relation to this matter, directive order has been issued to the Government of Nepal to enact new laws and amend all existing discriminatory laws so that all individuals with different sexual orientations and gender identities can exercise equal rights like any other citizens of Nepal."

Read more at UK Gay News

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Marriage Equality Comes to Sweden!

Post found on Queers United

"The coalition government of Sweden has been dancing around a way to bring about a change in marriage law to allow for same-sex couples without offending one part of their coalition, the Christian Democrats. Now a solution appears to have been found.

Sweden’s four-party centre-right government has been split on the issue, with the junior partner Christian Democrats also opposed to the use of the word “marriage” for homosexual unions.

Read more at Queers United

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Spain's Queen Sofia Objects to 'Gay Marriage,' and Parades

Post found on Towleroad

The royal family in Spain enjoys a guarded popularity because it tries to keep out of politics. But a new biography of the queen reveals a regal hauteur -- and Catholic bias -- on matters from Hillary Clinton to the phrase "gay marriage."

Read the rest of the article at Spiegel Online

Authorities Bust 'Sex Parties' in Malaysia, 70 Arrested

Post found on Towleroad

Malaysia's The Star reports: Police busted four male sex parties in progress on Saturday, rounding up more than 70 customers and male sex workers. Some of them could not put on their clothing in time when police stormed the various premises during the 5.30pm incident. Used condoms were found strewn all over the floor of the premises. Police also seized some pornography DVDs, gay magazines, lubrication jelly and boxes of condoms at the scene.

Read the rest of the story on Towleroad

Call for action after tear gas attack on gay event in Guatemala

Post found on Topix

A gay human rights group has demanded action after recent attacks on gay events in Guatemala.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that two incidents where tear gas was used need to be properly investigated by the Guatemalan authorities.

Read the rest of the article at

Monday, November 3, 2008 Stop Deportation of Iranian Lesbian Pegah Emambakhsh

Post found on Queers United

Pegah Emambakhsh is an Iranian lesbian currently being threatened by the British government with deportation to her homeland. In Iran 4,000+ homosexuals have been murdered. Pegah is in danger of torture and possibly stoning due to her sexual orientation.

Pegah says:
"If the British government could prove to me that I would be safe in Iran and to be able to lead a normal life and to be myself I would be very happy to go back to Iran. I had to leave my old father, my ill mother and young sister. I have two lovely children which their father took away from me. I had to give this all up because my life was at risk. At the moment I am safe because I am in England but my life is very difficult. I miss my family and more than anything I am worried all the time that the police will suddenly arrest me and send me back."

Read the rest of the story, contact officials, and sign a petition at Queers United

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Homosexual Sex Given Green Light in Turkish Court

Post found at Queers United

A suspect caught selling films of group and gay sex was judged by an Istanbul court not to have been selling material portraying "unnatural sex" and was sentenced only for sale of illegal pornographic material.

The Turkish Penal Code demands higher penalties for the sale of movies that include "unnatural" intercourse. The court sentenced the suspect on the lesser charge of selling pornographic films in an illegal location.

Read the rest of the article at Turkish Daily News

Bishop of Ottawa announces a step forward on blessing of same-sex relationships

Post found on Gay News Blog

"Synod 2007 adopted a motion 'requesting the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized; and that he authorize an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.'
"For a year now I have reflected on how I should respond to the mind of Synod. I have prayed for God's guidance, sought the counsel of fellow bishops, and listened carefully to all who have spoken from various perspectives. In forming my response to this motion I have been strengthened in my conviction that God remains faithful in guiding His Church to the truth, that our chief call on this matter is a pastoral one, and that we are challenged to proclaim a prophetic voice to the Church and to the world.

Read the rest of the article at Gay News Blog

Multigenerational Gay Housing Project Starts in Germany

A multigenerational living project aimed at gays and lesbians got one step closer to being realized when organizers laid a ground stone for the building this week.

Organizers of the building project Villa Anders -- which translates in English as 'A Different Kind of Villa' -- say it is a unique pioneer project in Germany.

Under a rainbow-colored logo and the motto "Better living -- we just went ahead and did it," the project is realizing its plan to build multigenerational, mixed-income living spaces for gay, lesbian and transgender singles, couples and "rainbow" families.

Read the rest of the article at Deutsche Welle

Saturday, October 25, 2008

News from UK: British Government Approves Equal Access To Fertility Treatment For Lesbians

New legislation that will provide equal access to fertility treatment for lesbians has been approved by the House of Commons (British Equivalent of US House of Representatives).

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will now return to the Lords (British Equivalent of US Congress) for a final reading before it becomes law. Peers will not be able to amend it.

Yesterday MPs voted 355 to 129 for the bill.

It will make it easier for lesbians and single women to access NHS fertilisation services and allows a lesbian or gay couple to be named on the birth certificate as the legal parents of their children.

At present the law requires that NHS fertility clinics take account of the "need for a father" when assessing women for treatment.

In practice this can lead to clinics deciding not to accept lesbians. Those women instead have to use "DIY" methods in order to conceive.

Doctors will now consider whether the child will receive "supportive parenting."

"We’ve always thought it scandalous that lesbian couples could lawfully be excluded from the safety of NHS clinics, for which we all pay," said Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay equality organisation Stonewall.

"Often they’ve been forced to use unregulated backstreet services instead.

"We’re hugely grateful to everyone who has supported us over this issue.

"We’ve always remained calmly determined to present the credible scientific evidence that children in lesbian and gay families develop in exactly the same social and intellectual way as any others.

"But this latest step forward for our communities is an important reminder that lesbian and gay families are every bit as loving and tender, and magical, as any other. It will bring a lot of happiness to countless thousands of couples."

Friday, October 17, 2008

News from UK: Exciting Developments in Search for Anti-HIV Microbicides

The last couple of years have seen a series of disappointing results in the search for a new method of preventing HIV infection. While a number of exciting new drugs, including some from totally new classes, were being made available, at the same time there was a series of failures in prevention trials.

The most devastating of these was the closure of the STEP trial of an HIV vaccine. This has sent HIV vaccine research back to the drawing board. Some scientists question whether a conventional vaccine against HIV will ever be possible.
There were some other disappointments too. A trial amongst African women called MIRA found that the diaphragm used in contraception did not protect against HIV. And a trial to see if treating people’s herpes infections would also protect them against catching HIV produced negative results.

Other ideas are still being tested: One is pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP – giving people HIV drugs to stop them catching the virus, rather than to treat it. This is a controversial concept and it’s proved difficult to get trials off the ground. However we now have trials amongst gay men in South America and in heterosexuals in Africa taking place and researchers are hopeful that clear results will be achieved by 2010/11.

Microbicides could eventually be sold over the counter and incorporated into standard sex lubes. They’re the first HIV prevention method that would put the power to prevent HIV into the hand of women and passive gay men. And they could even make sex more fun!

News from UK: Controversy over "De-Gendered Bathrooms" at the University of Manchester

A row has broken out at the University of Manchester after its students' union toilets were "de-gendered".

Temporary signs have made the "ladies" simply "toilets", while the "gents" have become "toilets with urinals".

The changes are in response to an unspecified number of complaints from trans students who are uncomfortable using the men's toilets. A university newspaper criticised the move but the student union said it was needed to tackle transphobia.
There are no figures on the number of transsexual and transgender students believed to be among the university's population of more than 35,000 students. The students' union welfare office declined to reveal the number of complaints, but said it was an important issue.

Women's officer Jennie Killip told the BBC: "If you were born female, still present quite feminine, but define as a man you should be able to go into the men's toilets - if that's how you define.
"You don't necessarily have had to have gender reassignment surgery, but you could just define yourself as a man, feel very masculine in yourself, feel that in fact being a woman is not who you are."

News from UK: Know-Your-HIV-Status Campaign Launched

Gay men's health charity GMFA have launched a new campaign highlighting the benefits of knowing you HIV status following new figures released by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

New BASHH guidelines recommend that gay men take an HIV test every year, after news has emerged that almost half HIV positive men are unaware of their condition.

In 2005, the Gay Men's Health Survey showed that 40% of gay men had never had an HIV test at all.

GMFA's new campaign outlines the benefits of being aware of your HIV status, including avoiding transmitting the virus to others, and better health and longer life for HIV positive men.

News from UK: 4 in 10 HIV+ Gay Men are Undiagnosed, say experts

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) Conference last week head that almost half gay men in the UK with HIV are unaware of their condition.

This year, the annual conference had set out to determine why so many men remain undiagnosed. The final session of the conference was held in conjunction with the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASSH).

A survey of men in gay venues in London, Brighton, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh found that 40% of men who tested positive for HIV thought they were HIV negative.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

India a hot spot for gay couples keen on babies

MUMBAI: They don't make a traditional family portrait, but there is steady stream of gay couples coming to the city for infertility treatment to have babies. The ongoing debate in court on Article 377 notwithstanding, India is being seen as an affordable haven for gay couples, whether married or not, who want to be parents.

Read more at Times of India

Millions flock to Rio de Janeiro's gay parade

Hundreds of thousands of gays, lesbians and transsexuals partied down Brazil's world famous opacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday (October 12) to call for an end to homophobic violence and discrimination.

DJs blasted dance music from trucks and colorful floats which drove down the city's main beach avenue as people in the dense crowds danced and celebrated in hot, sunny weather, some wearing wigs, masks or carnival-style outfits.

Read more at LGBT Travel

Gay prince of Rajpipla finds king of his heart

VADODARA: Manvendrasinh Gohil, the prince of the erstwhile state of Rajpipla who made his homosexuality public two years ago, has now declared openly that he has found a lover. Cupid was apparently following shoot-at-sight orders when Gohil first saw Michael Lower, a 35-year-old Briton.

Read more at Daily News and Analysis India

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Found on Gay News Blog

There was a special treat in store for those who went to see Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) on the big screen: prior to the film, viewers were given an exclusive sneak preview of the much-awaited film Dostana. Produced under Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and directed by his long-time assistant and friend Tarun Mansukhani, the film stars the original Dhoom hunk John Abraham, the dashing Abhishek Bachchan and the beautiful Priyanka Chopra. The film takes its name from the Amitabh Bachchan classic Dostana (1980) which it also borrows a similar theme from.

Following the worldwide success of Kal Ho Na Ho and the varied response received from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Dostana is likely to raise some controversy with its gay centric storyline (John and Abhishek play two straight guys who pretend to be gay in an attempt to dupe Priyanka’s character).


Finnish newspaper editor says sacked over homosexuality

Post found on Gay News Blog

Johanna Korhonen, named editor of Finnish provincial daily Lapin Kansa in early September, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) that she had been sacked because of her sexual orientation.

Alma Media, the publisher of Lapin Kansa, had said in a statement it had decided to terminate Ms Korhonen's contract and restart the recruitment process immediately.

Read more at NewsRoom Finland

Activists call for laws to protect gay couples’ rights

Post found on Gay News Blog

Although most people take getting married and renting a house or office space for granted, it might not be so easy for gays and lesbians, activists said at a forum yesterday as they called on the government to adopt bills protecting homosexuals’ rights without delay.

“It’s been 10 years since the first gay marriage was held in public in Taipei, and we’ve taken to the streets to promote gay and lesbian rights several times over the past decade,” Wang Ping (王蘋), secretary-general of the Gender/Sexuality Rights Association in Taiwan, said at the forum on gay rights held in Taipei yesterday.

Read more at Taipei Times

Uganda 'beef up gay laws'

The Ugandan government said on Saturday it would strengthen anti-gay laws and step up police operations against homosexuals amid concern about the "mushrooming" number of gays and lesbians in the East African nation.

"The state of moral health in our nation is challenging and we are concerned about the mushrooming of lesbianism and homosexuality," Ethics and Integrity Minister James Buturo told a news conference.

Article found here.

Originally posted on Cape Argus.

Nick Brown becomes second gay man appointed in reshuffle

Post found on Gay News Blog

As more details of the Cabinet reshuffle are released, it has been confirmed that Nick Brown will replace Geoff Hoon as Chief Whip.

Mr Brown was appointed Deputy Chief Whip by Gordon Brown in June 2007.

Read more at Pink News

Post found on Gay Newsnet

Authorities in Saint Petersburg, Russia have effectively shut down the first-ever gay film festival there as it was set to open Thursday.

The Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival was scheduled to open on Thursday, but now appears postponed at best after fire department inspectors closed the clubs (The Place and Sochi) where the films were to be screened, festival organizer Irina Sergeeva told

Read more at On Top Magazine

Monday, October 6, 2008

Persecuted in Africa, Finding Refuge in New York

Mr. Mbaye, 24, is an entertainer from Dakar, Senegal, known there for his dancing, singing and storytelling. But while his flamboyance may be celebrated in New York, he attracted the wrong kind of attention in West Africa this year, and it nearly cost him his life.

In February, a Senegalese magazine published photographs of what was reported to be an underground gay marriage and said that Mr. Mbaye, who appeared in the photos and is gay himself, had organized the event. In the ensuing six months, Mr. Mbaye said, he was harassed by the police, attacked by armed mobs, driven from his home, maligned in the national media and forced to live on the run across West Africa.

Read the rest of the article at

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Taipei holds massive gay pride march

Post found on Gay News Blog

Taipei has held Asia's largest gay pride march to demand equal rights for homosexuals, transsexuals and transgender people.

Braving showers on Saturday brought on by Typhoon Jangmi, an estimated 18,000 people - including representatives from gay rights groups in foreign countries - marched through the main streets of Taipei.


Gay Film Festival Coordinator Among Those Injured in Attack on Sarajevo Queer Festival

Post from Gay News Blog

The film festival coordinator of the International Lesbian and Gay Culture Network (ILGCN), was among those injured in Bosnia-Herzegovina last week when the Sarajevo Queer Festival was targeted by hooded men, some shouting Islamic slogans.

In an email to UK Gay News, Andrejs Visockis, who is also a board member of the Latvian NGO Mozaika, said that he was the Danish person reported as being injured.

Read more here or follow the link for a list of other references.

Ecuador Approves New Constitution Including Same-Sex Civil Unions

Post found on Towleroad

In a preliminary vote count, 65% of Ecuadorans approved a new constitution on Sunday. It widely expands the power and term limits of its President Rafael Correa an his theory of a "21st century socialism".

Read more from the Washington Post

Sunday, September 21, 2008

20,000 expected at Taipei gay pride, Sept 27

Into its sixth year of running, Taipei LGBT Pride Parade is making its impact felt in Asia with the largest turnout of 15,000 last year. Fridae's Taipei correspondent Jason Tan talks to the organisers of this year's parade and finds out if there would be any surprises awaiting the community.

Read article by Jason Tan at

Border agency accused of "illegal" deportation of gay Ugandan

A gay man has been removed from the UK and deported back to his native Uganda in what his supporters call an illegal act.

John "Bosco" Nyombi, 38, was due to be deported last week. He fears he will be persecuted on the grounds of his sexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and gays caught by the police can face a life sentence in prison.


Brazil's Lula Shows Support for Same-Sex Unions

Post found on: Towleroad

Quoting the AP:

"President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says that in Brazil, "there are men living with men, and women living with women" who 'build a good life together.' But a proposed law that would give all same-sex couples rights equal to those enjoyed by married heterosexuals has been stalled in Brazil's Congress for more than a decade. Silva said in an interview aired late Wednesday night by the government-run TV Brasil that politicians who oppose same-sex unions and yet seek the votes of gay men and women during elections are 'hypocrites.'"

Saturday, September 20, 2008

In Conservative Nepal, a Tribune for the ‘Third Gender’ Speaks Out

Sunil Babu Pant takes every opportunity to convince his fellow parliamentarians that homosexuals are like any other people.

To read more, visit

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Uganda LGBTI HIV/AIDS Activists Acquitted of Trespass Charges

*15th August 2008: Uganda LGBTI HIV/AIDS Activists Acquitted of Trespass Charges*

Today 15th August 2008 at Buganda road court before grade I magistrate Olive Kanyange Mukwaya and a fully packed court room that included LGBTI activists from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and around the world.

The prosecution told court that the Director of Public Prosecution – DPP has dropped the charges of trespass against Pepe Juliana Onziema, Valentine Kalende and Usaam Mukwaya.

The magistrate court therefore dismissed the charges against the three and acquitted them.

It was a moment of joy and happiness for the LGBTI community of Uganda who were flocked by the media out side the court room.

On 4th June 2008 , three Human Rights Defenders were arrested during the just concluded HIV/AIDS Implementers meeting in Kampala. They were objecting to the exclusion of Sexual Minorities from the HIV/AIDS Prevention programmes in the country.

After two days and nights of detention in police cells, the three: Pepe Julian Onziema, Valentine Kalende and Usaam Mukwaya were charged with Criminal Trespass, a charge that carries a one year jail term according to section 302 of the Penal Code of Uganda. They were released on bail on the 6th of June 2008. They appeared in court for several hearings, today court acquitted them of the above charges.

SMUG and the entire LGBTI community of Uganda would like to express our gratitude to you all for the love and support.

Thank you,

Frank Mugisha
Human Rights Defender
Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG
P.O. Box 70208, Clock Tower
Kampala – Uganda.
Tel: +256 312 294 859
Cell: +256 772 616 062

"Justice and equality".

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

International Conference Announcement


Dear colleague,

Are you struggling with implementing sexual and reproductive health and rights projects using a Rights Based Approach? Do you sometimes feel squeezed in between international rights and local realities? Do you wonder how we can truly hold people accountable for protecting and safeguarding rights? Then you should attend our conference!

World Population Foundation (WPF) and Youth Incentives (YI), international programme on sexuality of the Rutgers Nisso Groep, are proud to inform you on our upcoming two-day "International Conference on Rights and Realities in promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights" on 10 and 11 November 2008 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Please see the attached announcement for more information on the objectives, background and organizers of the conference.

Formal invitation and registration will be sent in the coming months but please already make a reservation in your agenda!

Warm regards,

Yvonne Bogaarts
Senior Advocacy Officer
World Population Foundation
the Netherlands

Marijke Priester
Head of Youth Incentives - International Programme on Sexuality
Rutgers Nisso Groep
the Netherlands

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Uganda: LGBT Arrested at International HIV/AIDS Meeting

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (New York)
PRESS RELEASE5 June 2008Posted to the web 5 June 2008

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) today condemned the arrests of three Ugandan LGBT activists and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The three -- Onziema Patience, (an FTM transgender, 28), Valentine Kalende (female, age 27) and Auf (male, age 26) -- were arrested yesterday morning by the Uganda Police Force at the 2008 HIV/AIDS Implementers' Meeting currently taking place in Kampala, Uganda.
Along with other LGBT and HIV and AIDS activists, they were peacefully protesting statements made by a Ugandan government official that no funds would be directed toward HIV programs targeting men who have sex with men. SMUG and IGLHRC have fears for the safety of the three activists.
On 2 May, 2008, Kihumuro Apuuli, Director General of the Uganda AIDS Commission, stated that, "gays are one of the drivers of HIV in Uganda, but because of meagre resources we cannot direct our programmes at them at this time." The SMUG activists staged a peaceful protest at the HIV Implementers meeting to protest the Minister's statements and gross neglect on the part of the Ugandan government in responding to a growing HIV epidemic among the country's LGBT community. They were arrested and detained at the Jinja Road Police Station immediately after taking the stage at the meeting, distributing leaflets and holding up small placards demanding attention to HIV vulnerability among LGBT.
"Today I realized how dangerous it is for us LGBTI people to express our constitutional rights," said Frank Mugisha, Co-Chairperson of SMUG. "I am worried about my comrades who are in police custody."
According to a recent report by the University of Nairobi and the Population Council, gay men in neighboring Kenya have a sero prevalence rate of 26%. Twenty-six years since the beginning of the epidemic, Uganda hasn't implemented a single program to prevent transmission of HIV among men who have sex with men in the East African nation.
"The remarks made by the head of the AIDS Commission were very disturbing to members of the LGBT community," said Kasha Jacqueline, Chairperson of Freedom and Roam Uganda, a lesbian organization in Uganda. "If they want us to die, let them ask themselves if they wish themselves the same. Excluding us is just going to make the situation worse."
The HIV Implementer's Meeting is an annual event described as an opportunity for HIV program implementers to share lessons learned and best practices in the scale-up of HIV/AIDS programs. It is co-sponsored by the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), UNAIDS, the World Bank, the Global Fund, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (GNP+). IGLHRC is also requesting that the co-sponsors of the Implementers' Meeting contact the Ugandan Government to demand the release of these activists.
"Gay men and lesbians are not 'drivers of disease'," said Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director of IGLHRC. "Homophobia drives HIV. Silence drives HIV."
In November 2004, the Ugandan government fined a local broadcaster, Radio Simba for airing a program that discussed anti-gay discrimination and the need for HIV/AIDS services for lesbians and gay men. The government claimed that Radio Simba had violated federal law promoting broadcasting that is contrary to "public morality."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Anti-HIV gel for women fails in African trial

Sabin Russell, Chronicle Medical Writer
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An experimental gel meant to protect women against HIV failed to do so in a large-scale trial in Africa, the latest in a string of setbacks in testing new ways to stem the spread of AIDS.
Results of the trial were released Monday afternoon in South Africa, where the study was carried out among 6,200 volunteers living in three regions of the country.
Half the women were assigned the active ingredient, Carraguard, a gel-like substance derived from seaweed; the other half received an inert material of the same look and texture. Laboratory studies had shown that Carraguard, inserted vaginally, could protect against HIV, but the latest test showed it did not work in the real world.
In tests that lasted up to three years, there were 134 infections in the Carraguard group, and 151 in the group that received the placebo - statistically a dead heat.
Researchers will look at possible reasons for the disappointing results, including the failure of the women in the test to use the gel during most of their sexual encounters.
"Carraguard was safe, but not effective against HIV transmission," said Khatija Ahmed, principal investigator for the study.
This was the first major trial of a so-called microbicide to be completed, as earlier or smaller studies of such products had to be halted when evidence emerged that they not only were not working, but may have increased the risk of HIV infection.
Because Carraguard was proved safe, it might be reused in future studies that add antiviral drugs to the gel. "We will be developing the next generation of products using Carraguard as a base," said Robin Maguire, director of product development for the Population Council, a New York nonprofit.
The Population Council carried out the study with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the federal government's U.S. Agency for International Development.
All three organizations have pumped millions of dollars into research to find a microbicide. The long-term goal is to develop a gel or cream that could be inserted vaginally or rectally to block HIV infection.
In Africa, where many women have little control over whether their husband or partner will wear a condom, the development of female-controlled HIV-prevention technologies is a high priority that so far has yielded disappointing results.
In 2000, a study among South African prostitutes showed an alarming increase in HIV infections among those assigned to Nonoxynol-9, an already approved contraceptive gel that blocked the AIDS virus in the test tube. But it apparently also irritated vaginal tissues, providing more routes for HIV to invade the bloodstream.
In January 2007, two trials of an experimental microbicide, cellulose sulfate, were abruptly halted in Africa and India after an initial analysis showed it could be increasing the risk of HIV infection.
In July, a three-year African study testing whether simple use of a diaphragm might protect women from HIV found that it did not.
Two weeks ago, a major study exploring whether treating genital herpes infection with a common drug, acyclovir, could also reduce the risk of HIV infection in gay men and African women reported there was no protective effect.
In the Carraguard study, there are already strong indications that it might have failed because the women in the study were not able to use it consistently. Women typically utilized the product once a week, but sometimes up to 10 times a week. But during the course of the experiment, results showed women used it only 44 percent of the time they had sex.
"That overall number is low, and it could have had an impact," said Barbara Friedland, a Population Council researcher who coordinated behavioral studies in the trial.
Female participants in the trial did not know whether they received the active ingredient, Carraguard, or the placebo. Both groups were given condoms and counseled extensively to use them. It will take further analysis of the study results to determine whether patterns of condom use or failure to use the microbicide played any part in the outcome.
Carraguard had been considered a possible microbicide since 1994. Earlier, smaller studies had indicated it was safe, and that women found the feel, scent and texture of the product acceptable.
According to Population Council researcher Maguire, studies showed that Carraguard could withstand storage in the hot environmental conditions found in Africa for at least four years. The organization is now conducting early studies to determine whether Carraguard might work better if it was mixed with an antiviral drug normally used to treat HIV infection.

China launches first anti-AIDS drive for gay men: state media

Men in the bathroom of a department store, which has become a hangout for Shanghai's emerging homosexual population

BEIJING (AFP) — Chinese authorities have launched their first anti-AIDS programme focused on gay men, amid rising concern that the disease is becoming more prevalent among homosexuals, state press reported Thursday.
The programme has begun with efforts to learn more about gay lifestyles, the health ministry said, according to the China Daily, after decades of disbelief from the government that homosexuality was anything but a mental problem.
"The programme aims to strengthen measures to prevent and control the deadly disease among the homosexual community," the China Daily quoted Wang Weizhen, a senior official with the ministry's HIV/AIDS prevention department, as saying.
"By learning more about gay people, we can better protect them against this incurable disease. Studies are under way in several cities to collect information on gay men, such as their... behavioural patterns."
The programme will also deliver special funding and technical support to gay men, Wang said, without giving further details.
China's communist rulers for years deemed homosexuality as a psychological problem, and it was only in 2001 that being gay was removed from the official list of mental disorders.
Even now, the official estimate of gay men in China is between five and 10 million people, a tally that activists have previously said is far lower than reality.
What is certain is that HIV/AIDS is killing more and more gay men.
Of the 700,000 Chinese people living with HIV-AIDS, sex between men accounted for 12.2 percent of the infections, according to data compiled by the government, the United Nations and the World Health Organisation last year.
Meanwhile, as the state-run press highlighted the government's new campaign to tackle the disease, one of the nation's most prominent anti-AIDS campaigners remained in jail on charges of subversion.
Hu Jia, who also sought to raise awareness about a wide range of human rights issues, was arrested in December last year and is awaiting trial.
Chinese and international rights groups have said authorities arrested Hu as part of their long-running campaign to silence any voices of dissent.

U.S. State Dept. lifts ban on hiring HIV-positive foreign service officers

WASHINGTON Feb 15, 3:59 PM

The U.S. State Department has lifted the ban on hiring people with HIV to be foreign service officers, according to a press release from Lambda Legal.New guidelines will be put in place, and the State Department will evaluate people living with HIV on a case-by-case basis."At long last,the State Department is taking down its sign that read 'People with HIV need not apply,'" said Lambda Legal's HIV Project Director, Bebe Anderson.Lambda Legal has been fighting this case on behalf of client Lorenzo Taylor for the past five and a half years. Partly due to the new guidelines, Taylor has decided to settle his lawsuit."Now people like me who apply to the foreign service will not have to go through what I did. They and others with HIV will know that they do not have to surrender to stigma, ignorance, fear or the efforts of anyone, even the federal government, to impose second-class citizenship on them. They can fight back,"Taylor said.

Cry for Help from Refugee Sheds Light on Desperation of Gays in Iran

President Ahmadinejad claims there are no gays in Iran

22nd February 2008 11:08

A poignant plea for help from a gay Iranian refugee in Malaysia is shedding light on the desperation and fear experienced by homosexuals in Iran and those who have fled their home country to seek refugee status in other countries.The letter, penned by a young gay man calling himself Sepehr, contains a heartbreaking tale of life as a homosexual in Iran and the suffering caused by the necessity of fleeing to another land to escape persecution and possible death. The cry for help from another gay Iranian refugee echoes the plight of other gays & lesbians who remain trapped in Iran under threat of death because of their sexual orientation—as well as the fear and desperation faced by Iranian refugees attempting to escape from the country's harsh anti-gay regime.Just this week, Mehdi, a 19-year-old gay Iranian who fled from the United Kingdom last year to prevent deportation back to Iran went on a hunger strike in protest of the decision by a Netherlands court to return him to the UK. If he is forced back to the United Kingdom, he will likely be sent back to Iran immediately and he fears he will end up with a death sentence if that occurs. Mehdi lived in England for two years while studying on a student visa. While in the UK, he learned his former boyfriend had been executed as a suspected homosexual and is believed to have revealed his relationship with Mehdi under torture before being killed.In another related story, members of the Union of Students in Ireland called on the Iranian government this week to halt the planned executions of two men suspected of being homosexuals. The two young men, identified as Tayyeb Karimi and Yazdan (surname unknown), have been condemned under Article 110 of Iran's Penal Code stating that men who have gay sex "will be executed."Last September, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech at New York's Columbia University that "In our country we don't have homosexuals like in your country. This does not exist in our country."In 2005, Iran faced public outcry after the public hanging execution of two gay teenagers. According to the Times, the two teen boys were held in prison for 14 months prior to being killed and were tortured and beaten repeatedly.Below is the text of the letter published this week from a gay Iranian who fled his country for fear of being tortured or executed. The man, going only by the alias of Sepehr, ended up in Malaysia where he applied for asylum and registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The letter was sent to the Iranian Queer Organization in Toronto, which published it on Thursday. My name is Sepehr [alias used]. I was born and raised in Iran, a country that kills people for falling in love. My government kills homosexuals by asserting we are an enemy of God. My president denied us, even our existence as human beings, when he claimed there are no homosexuals in Iran during his speech at Columbia University. If he can say there are no homosexuals in Iran, it is because we cannot show ourselves. We stay hidden because if we are visible they will lash us; they will hang us; they will kill us. They tell us that we are fighting with God by falling in love with the same sex. I want to understand that if this is the case, then why has God created us like this? I have had great difficulty in Iran and have never felt attracted to the opposite sex and my whole life I have been confronting insecurity about this. I have always felt like an outsider and friends and acquaintances have often discussed my difference but I could never change how I feel. When I began high school, the abuse started. This left emotional scars. Then I met someone from school who changed my life. The feeling that existed between us finally gave new meaning to my life. But this came at the cost of handcuffs and the hard punches of the Basiji. My period of dejection began from there. I understood that my feelings are sinful. I was afraid of everyone and everything. I tried to straighten my life. I went to University and learned English and this kept my thoughts occupied for a while, in a new place and with new people who didn’t know me. I eventually went to see a doctor and realised that this is my nature and not a virus of some sort. But still I was looking for answers to so many questions. I read books to understand how I should relate to myself and my feelings. It was at this point that I realized that I have a right to a life of my own. I met a friend and together we tried to put the past behind us. In a new town and with a new life, I finally entered into a few good years. But the effects of my sexual identity had me trapped again and this good period of my life came to an end. Again sadness; again loneliness. Am I sick? Do I have a disease? My family abandoned me, and just because I love people of the same sex as me. I left Iran by bus to Pakistan because I was being threatened. If arrested, I risked being killed in a public execution with no trial. From Pakistan I went to Zimbabwe and finally ended up in Malaysia in May 2007 where I applied for asylum and registered with the Office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Almost a year later, I have completed my second interview and am now awaiting the results of this process. For about eight months I have been suffering here in Malaysia. In order to get money to eat, I went to the hospital to sell one of my kidneys but they told me that it is illegal to sell body parts in Malaysia. However, I have few options as I am not allowed to work, so acquiring those basic needs for survival are therefore difficult. I am staying in a small town 45 kilometres from the capital city with no money to eat, and living accommodations that leave me vulnerable to millions of insects that suck my blood every night. I do not know what to do. I don’t even have money to buy soap to wash my clothes. I sit here now in this dying body to write this letter to you. I am praying. I am crying. I am begging my God to help me. I am planning to commit suicide but if I do that I will lose so much, over 10 years of study, hard work and self-reflection to figure out who I am. I had plans. I wanted to write books. I wanted to share my experiences. I wanted to help gay men to better understand who they are. I wanted to speak with people to help them to understand that I deserve to live too. But this is my life now and as I am writing this letter my life is over. But what I can't understand is what I have done so wrong that I deserve to have my body burnt by cigarettes. I can’t understand what I did wrong that I must be beaten with a gun. But this is life. I cannot make my plans with an empty stomach. I cannot continue this life. I need your help now. Please help to show me a more just life. I am still young. I want to be alive but I don't know how. Please contact me and show me the way. Help me now, tomorrow is too late. I beg you.I am tired.

Gay lobby rebuked - Church says won't accept homosexual lifestyle in Jamaica

published: Monday February 18, 2008

JAMAICAN CHURCH leaders stand resolute that despite strong lobbying by international gay rights activists, homo-sexuality will not be accepted as normal.
The Church's rebuke comes in the wake of a recent scathing report from the New York-based Human Rights Watch and protests last week by a Florida church sympathetic to gays.
The Rev Dr Merrick 'Al' Miller, pastor of the Fellowship Taber-nacle in St Andrew, said that Jamaicans generally deem homo-sexuality wrong.
He said the demands of gay activists who are attempting to force their beliefs on society will in no way influence Jamaicans to change their views.
"Homosexuality is wrong from every possible angle," said Miller. "It's immoral from a physical, social and spiritual standpoint." He said that despite this, the Church was willing to help and support those homosexuals who are in need of counselling or assistance to change their lifestyle.
"I have no problem in supporting and helping someone who sees that he is going the wrong way and wants help in changing his life, but where I draw the line is when you say that it is OK and want to force others to accept your abnormal behaviour," he added.
It was reported last week that on Valentine's Day, leaders of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Florida staged a demonstration outside the Jamaican consulate in Miami over what they said was a series of anti-gay murders and gay-bashing incidents in the island.
The MCC, a worldwide assembly of gay, lesbian and transsexual congregants, said they were prepared to push for a boycott of Jamaican tourism if the country fails to deal with reported attacks on gays.
The church also staged protests at consulates in New York, Toronto and Philadelphia. They reportedly called for a public aware-ness campaign to promote a more "gay-friendly" environment, and called on the Jamaican police to begin sensitivity training regarding the gay and lesbian communities.
The Rev Dr Lloyd Maxwell, of the AGAPE Christian Fellowship in Portmore, said that Scripture takes a very clear stance on the matter of homosexuality and, as such, the Church would not sanction nor encourage the lifestyle.
Rev Maxwell said the idea of conducting a public awareness campaign to sensitise Jamaicans on the issue is ludicrous.

Irish judge sets resolution deadline in landmark trans case

15th February 2008 10:30 staff writer
The High Court in Dublin declared yesterday that birth registration laws in Ireland are in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.Mr Justice Liam McKechnie has given the Irish government two months to decide how to resolve the issue. His ruling follows the case of Dr Lydia Foy, a dentist who underwent gender reassignment surgery.In October he ruled that the failure of the government to provide proper recognition of the female identity of Dr Foy is a violation of the European Convention.He said that the system of birth registration in Ireland is incompatible with the convention as it prevents Dr Foy's registration as female at birth.The government will now have to outline how it intends to comply with Article 8 of the convention, respect for private life. Dr Foy changed her name to Lydia in 1993 and has previously been issued with an Irish passport and driving licence in which she is identified as female. She also obtained a Gender Recognition Certificate in the UK, but the High Court in Dublin questioned the relevance of the document in the Republic of Ireland.When obtaining the certificate, Dr Foy stated that she was unmarried, despite the fact that she married in 1977 and fathered two daughters.In 2002, Dr Foy was refused a direction by the courts to the Registrar of Births to describe her as female on her birth certificate.Just days after that High Court decision the European Court of Human Rights ruled on a landmark case.The UK's refusal to give transgender people new birth certificates breached their rights to marry and to respect for privacy under the Convention, the European court ruled.At that time the High Court in Dublin urged the Irish government to take action, but nothing has been done in the intervening five years, so Dr Foy has returned to court. In his 70-page judgment, Mr Justice McKechnie criticised the government for not bring forward legislation when the case arose in 2002. In April 2007 counsel for Mrs Foy argued that ruling in Dr Foy's favour could "enormous uncertainty" and put in a unique position, as the Irish state only recognises a marriage between people of the opposite sex. Dr Foy will now be able to claim compensation. She has been awarded costs.

Senegal 'gay wedding' men freed

Police in Senegal have released several men arrested over the publication of pictures said to depict a wedding ceremony between two men.
No official reason has been given for their release.
The pictures were published in Icone magazine, whose editor, Mansour Dieng, has since received death threats.
Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal but it is not clear whether the arrests were in connection with the ceremony or the death threats.
Mr Dieng has also been questioned by police over the issue.
The BBC's Tidiane Sy in Senegal said that at least five of those arrested appeared in the photographs.
The ceremony is believed to have involved a Senegalese man and another from Ghana or the Ivory Coast, who has not yet been found.
Mr Dieng told Africa Global News that he published the pictures to prove that an earlier article on homosexuality in Senegal was true.
Senegal is a predominantly Muslim country and gay men and women remain socially marginalised.

Gay Wedding Stirs Controversy in Senegal
By Naomi Schwarz Dakar
21 February 2008

After photos of a reported marriage ceremony between two men were published in a local magazine in Senegal, politicians, journalists and religious leaders are weighing in on their views about homosexuality. Many say laws against homosexuality have not been sufficiently enforced, but others say the issue is being exploited. For VOA, Naomi Schwarz has more from Dakar.
In the weeks since a monthly magazine published photos of what it said was a marriage ceremony between two men in Senegal, the issue of homosexuality has been all over the news in the largely Islamic country.
On a nighttime television talk show, a representative from the government responded to accusations it is not taking the issue seriously enough.
On call-in shows, many Senegalese are expressing shock over the reported gay marriage and the presence of homosexuals in the country. Some link homosexuals to the spread of AIDS and accuse the gay community of pedophilia. Human rights and homosexuality activists say both claims are unfounded.
The editor of the magazine that reported the gay marriage received death threats from some of the men in the published photographs. Several of the men in the photos were arrested in connection with the incident but were released without charge, sparking outrage among some politicians.
On the street, the same attitude against homosexuals prevails.
Sitting among women selling dried flowers and couscous on a Dakar street, Khady Diouf, a laundry woman and mother of five, makes a slashing motion across her throat when asked how she would react if one of her children told her he or she is gay.
The Muslim woman says she believes God does not approve of being gay.
Religious leaders in Senegal are spreading the message that homosexuality, which is illegal in the country, is against Islamic tradition.
The leader of Dakar's biggest downtown mosque organized a mass protest against homosexuality. He said the release of men arrested in connection with the reported gay wedding shows the government is not enforcing laws against homosexuality.
Offenders can receive up to five years in jail, but arrests are rare.
At another Dakar mosque, worshippers signed a petition calling on the government to enforce, on television and in the news, what it says are Senegal's traditional morals.
Adama Mboup, a businessman and one of the petition's organizers, says homosexuality reflects the decline of traditional social and religious values.
But Senegalese human rights activist Alioune Tine says the issue is being exploited by media outlets aiming for larger profits.
"When newspapers make this kind of sensational news, the newspaper is bought by people," said Tine.
He says the issue with the pictures of the gay wedding sold the most copies in the magazine's history. But he says the wedding was not news.
"The events happened in 2006. It was private and the wedding [was] very symbolic. You have no mayor, no preacher, no imam," he said.
He says the government should protect the privacy rights of homosexuals, as it would any other minority. But he says with upcoming local elections, some opposition politicians with ties to religious fundamentalist groups are using the issue to rile up supporters. These opposition politicians have accused the government of not upholding what they say are the country's religious values, and some have accused unnamed prominent members of the ruling party of being homosexual.

Australia Debates Same Sex Marriage

22nd February 2008, staff writer

Greens senator Kerry Nettle introduced a Valentines Day marriage equality bill to the new Australian parliament calling for recognition of overseas same-sex marriages and the ability to allow local ones.Her party leader, Bob Brown, has united with Liberal Australia Capital Territory (ACT) senator Gary Humphries to condemn the new government's attitudes to the Territorial Government's civil partnerships legislation.The new prime minister is said to have mixed views on allowing same-sex unions, having gone on record on the AM radio programme saying: "I have a pretty basic view on this, as reflected in the position adopted by our party, and that is, that marriage is between a man and a woman."He does, however, support a national registry for both same-sex and opposite-sex partnerships.There are concerns Ms Nettle's amendment may not get the opportunity to be debated given that her term expires in July.“This is about highlighting the inequality that’s there, and keeping the pressure on the Labour party,” she said.Last year, a Galaxy poll commissioned by GetUp found 53 percent of Australians supported marriage equality.

Taunts forced Australian gay officer out

John Kidman
February 24, 2008

DURING his three years as a NSW police officer, Dallas McCarthy endured taunts of "poofter boy" and "fag dog" - not from criminals but from his own colleagues.
Mr McCarthy claims he was ordered by a superior to introduce himself to senior officers as "pillow-biter". And he says when he discreetly complained he discovered a handful of chopped liver in his locker and a note warning: "Your heart's next."
The former constable abandoned his ambition of becoming a gay and lesbian liaison officer, quitting the force in disgust last April.
In his initial letter of complaint, while stationed at Cabramatta, Mr McCarthy told of being ridiculed by an officer in the tea room with the claim that he give his boyfriend a pillow for Valentine's Day.
The same officer also allegedly asked if the doughnut he was eating "reminded" him of anything. Later, he was assigned to visit a local sex shop, where he might be able to "look for a new pillow to buy".
Mr McCarthy said he had appealed to a superior, yet word of their supposedly private meeting leaked back to his tormenters within days.
He then went to the force's employee management branch and was placed on a witness support program. However, fictitious payback complaints began emerging about his own behaviour.
Mr McCarthy said an internal investigation into the chopped liver incident put it down to "an officer subjected to harassment by other officers" but failed to identify who was responsible.
He eventually obtained a transfer to Bankstown but the vilification started again after a management shake-up.
Mr McCarthy, who has insulin-dependent diabetes, suffered heightened blood glucose levels, and he became so despondent he resigned.
On Friday, a NSW Police spokeswoman said the Cabramatta allegations were "thoroughly investigated and appropriate disciplinary action was taken against the perpetrator".
A spokesman for Police Minister David Campbell said the minister had received a letter from Mr McCarthy.
"He was satisfied that the issues raised had been dealt with internally by police headquarters," he said.
Mr McCarthy said while he had been "embarrassed, belittled, extremely intimidated and shaken" by his experience in the police force, he was determined to move on with his life. He has started a new job and a teaching degree.
On Saturday, he hopes to volunteer at the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade as a show of support for his former colleagues who will be marching in police uniform.

Uganda's Anglicans threaten to secede from global church, Move comes after boycott of once-a-decade meeting

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP)
Feb 18, 2:09 PM

Uganda's Anglican church threatened on Monday to secede from the 77-million member Anglican Communion unless U.S. clergy condemn homosexuality.
The announcement was the latest salvo in a fierce dispute about homosexuality that has overtaken the global fellowship of Anglican churches since its U.S. wing — the U.S. Episcopal Church — consecrated its first openly gay bishop in 2003.
"Anglicanism is just an identity and if they abuse it, we shall secede. We shall remain Christians, but not in the same Anglican Communion," Church of Uganda spokesman Aron Mwesigye said.
There are about 9.8 million Anglicans in Uganda, according to the country's last census in 2002.
Last week, Uganda's Anglican bishops said they would boycott a once-a-decade gathering of worldwide church leaders this summer in England because of the Episcopal Church's stance on homosexuality.
Mwesigye said the Ugandan church is now considering a complete severing of ties "because we have complained against homosexuality several times but no action is taken."
"If they don't change, and continue to support homosexual practices and same-sex marriages, our relationship with them will be completely broken," Mwesigye added.
Jim Rosenthal, spokesman for the Anglican Communion in London, made no comment on the the idea of secession by the Ugandan church, but said the Ugandan church's spokesman seemed to be speaking about last week's news.
Tensions between more liberal and conservative branches of Anglicanism mounted in 2006 with the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori, who supports ordaining gays, as the first female leader of the U.S. church.
Supporters of ordaining gays believe the Bible's social justice teachings take precedence over its view of sexuality. However, most Anglicans outside the U.S. believe gay relationships are sinful, and they are distancing themselves from the U.S. church.
Mwesigye said that if the Uganda church does break off, it will enlist other African churches to form a separate fellowship that does not condone homosexuality.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England and the spiritual leader of the communion, has struggled to hold off one of the biggest meltdowns in Christianity in centuries, but he lacks any direct authority to force a compromise.

Pastor Credited With Canadian Gay Marriage Win Receives Highest National Honor

(Ottawa) Longtime Canadian LGBT civil rights activist Rev. Brent Hawkes will be invested Friday into the Order of Canada by the Queen's representative.
The Order of Canada is the country's highest civilian honor.
Created in 1967, it recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation. Over the last 40 years,more than 5,000 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order.
"To my knowledge, Rev. Dr. Hawkes, is the only person to receive their country's highest honor in recognition of their gay activism," said Douglas Elliott, founding president of the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association.
Hawkes has been on the front line of gay activism in Canada for decades. For more than 30 years he has been the senior pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto.
In 2001 under considerable publicity he conducted a double wedding for two same-sex couples at the church and then went to court when the province of Ontario refused to register the marriages.
He performed the wedding ceremony for Kevin Bourassa & Joe Varnell and Elaine & Anne Vautour, wearing a bulletproof vest on the advice of police and following a series of threats from socially conservative activists.
To conduct the ceremony without marriage licenses - something that had been denied gay couples - Hawkes found a loophole in the law. It allowed the ancient Christian practice of Publishing Bannes.
By announcing the impending marriages in church on three consecutive Sundays marriage licenses were not required.
The Ontario government refused to register the marriages, citing federal law. Under Canadian law the definition of marriage is a federal responsibility while registering and recognizing them is a provincial matter.
The couples along with seven couples who sought secular marriages in Ontario took the government to court. A judge ruled that the prohibition on gay marriage was unconstitutional and gave the federal government one year to amend the law. Eight other provinces and territories followed.
Finally the federal government abandoned plans to appeal and brought in legislation legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. (story)
Michaelle Jean, the Governor General of Canada, will preside over the investiture ceremony at Rideau Hall, the Royal residence in Ottawa.
Hawkes has previously been honored with the City of Toronto's Award of Merit, the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, the United Nations Toronto Association Global Citizen Award and the YMCA Peace Medal.
In 2006 Hawkes had his own wedding, marrying longtime partner John Sproule.

Israel to allow gay adoptions

Lesbians kissing at a Love Parade in Tel Aviv in 2002.

published Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gay and lesbian couples in Israel will be allowed the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples, the Israeli government announced Tuesday.
Prior to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz's announcement Sunday, the government had not allowed gays to adopt children through the Welfare and Social Services Ministry's Child Welfare Service. For gay families, the child must have been one of the partners' biological offspring in order for his or her partner to adopt that child.
"I welcome the decision," Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog said in a press release. "There is no reason same-sex couples who meet the criteria for adoption should not be able to join the process of adoption and of parenthood. We must adapt to the spirit of the times and the changes that are afoot."
Mazuz emphasized that he was addressing only the legal constraints of the law. Just as heterosexual couples, prospective same-sex couples' requests to adopt would be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Herzog first brought up the possibility of legalized adoption by gay and lesbian couples when he announced his decision to review the increased number of applications by same-sex couples seeking to adopt. (The Advocate)

Both gay and celibate: an Orthodox rabbi's difficult dilemma

JERUSALEM (AFP) — It is not illegal to be actively homosexual in Israel, but that does not mean it is accepted -- especially within the country's religious Orthodox community.
When a member of that community is also gay, the dilemma is complete.
"Religion does not prohibit a man from loving another man," says R, a gay and an Orthodox rabbi who dares not give his name because he might be branded an abomination if he were found out.
But there is a biblical injunction against a man "lying with a man as with a woman," as the saying goes. That ban, in the book of Leviticus, prescribes death for the wrongdoer.
Therein lies a dilemma for R, who is discreetly seeking to change the mindset about homosexuals among religious Jews, whom he characterises as homophobic and ignorant.
Even so R remains true to his religious faith, despite Israel decriminalising homosexuality in 1988.
The Bible says what it says, the Orthodox religious community stands by it, and that includes R himself.
Leviticus, one of the five books of the Torah, which contains Jewish law, says "you shall not lie with men, as with women; it is abomination. Neither shall you lie with any beast to defile yourself with it; nor shall any women stand before a beast to lie down to it; it is perversion."
"If a man also lies with men, as he lies with a women, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
R takes that injunction seriously. He lives with another observant Jewish man in what he describes as a romantic but celibate relationship, and one that is not flaunted in public.
Even so, R says "we are part of the religious world and we plan to stay there."
He reiterates his own celibacy and says that a group he has co-founded -- HOD -- toes the line on that.
However, R acknowledges that what gay religious Jews do in the privacy of their bedrooms is not something he can do anything about.
Earlier this month, in hopes of opening up dialogue with the Orthodox world and of helping people like them cope with their complicated lives, R and others launched a website --
HOD is the Hebrew acronym for religiously observant homosexuals; ironically, it is also a Hebrew word meaning "splendour".
R said "people who have homosexual tendencies suffer greatly, especially within the religious community. Many gays feel rejected not only by the Orthodox society, which does not look favourably upon their lifestyle, but also by God.
"We therefore must slowly find a way to broach and remedy this difficult situation.
"Speaking to gay men, rabbis, families and educators, helps us understand fully the sheer distress and anguish that religious gays feel. We cannot be obtuse to their suffering -- or the suffering of any human being for that matter."
The HOD site is not what one might consider stereotypically gay.
Its masthead does carry an abstract illustration of two men, side by side. They are both wearing kippas, the Jewish beanie, and one man's hand is resting on the other's shoulder in a sign of camaraderie.
But the site features articles on Jewish law (halacha) and carries the weekly readings from the Torah.
It also allows for virtual Q&A and gives a link where R may be contacted online or by telephone.
"We don't intend to vaunt our homosexuality and we won't be marching in any parades," HOD co-founder Itai told AFP, in a reference to so-called Gay Pride events held each year in cities around the world.
"What we want to do is carry out a silent revolution, not come out in the classic sense of the term," says the 28-year-old former rabbinical student.
"We are rejected by other homosexuals, who can't comprehend our desire to remain religious, and by the religious, who do not accept our homosexuality," Itai says.
Shortly after HOD's launch, Itai told YNetNews that it was innovative in its approach to homosexuality and religion.
"Up to now, the only website catering to the religious gay community was atzat-nefesh (, which was basically run by straight people and publicly stated that a religious person cannot be gay.
"They tried to 'turn' gay religious people straight, which is something we know cannot be done. We try to help people reconcile their religious beliefs and their sexual orientation."
The attitude of the Orthodox leadership towards homosexuals among the faithful is one of silent contempt. There are no calls for people to be stoned.
Itai told AFP that only one Orthodox rabbi, Yuval Sharlo, would even listen to these isolated people.
But even Sharlo, director of an important Talmudic school in Petah Tivka near Tel Aviv, draws a line.
"In spite of my clear sympathy to people who have 'alternate tendencies', the halacha point of view on this matter is unequivocal and cannot be changed," he wrote on HOD.
Itai agrees.
"It is not a matter of us calling halacha into question. Like all religious people we accept the stringent demands of Torah law and would gladly sacrifice ourselves on God's altar."
Even so, "the way gays are treated in the Orthodox world today violates many of the commandments of how man should treat his fellow man."