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.

Read more at NDTVmovies.com

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 Pinknews.co.uk

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