Τετάρτη, 22 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Five-year-old may be youngest trans person in UK.

A five-year-old may be the UK’s youngest transgender person recognised by the NHS, with parents who say they will “leave it up to him to decide what he wants to do”.
Born Zach Avery but now living as a girl, the Daily Telegraph reports that he was diagnosed by the NHS as having Gender Identity Disorder at age four.
Mother Theresa Avery said: “He just turned round to me one day when he was three and said: ‘Mummy, I’m a girl’. I assumed he was just going through a phase and just left it at that.
“But then it got serious and he would become upset if anyone referred to him as a boy.
“He used to cry and try to cut off his willy out of frustration.”
Zachy, as he is now known, was taken to doctors who diagnosed the condition.
Theresa added that Zachy’s school had been supportive, saying: “We explained to the other kids at the school that Zachy’s body was that of a boy but in his brain he was a girl. We said Zach was just happier being a girl than a boy.
“But the other kids haven’t batted an eyelid, they’ve accepted Zach as Zach and there’s been no problems at the school with bullying.”
The primary school had also made the toilets unisex for his age group.
Continuing to refer to Zachy using male pronouns, she said: “He just wants to be like a little girl and he’s very happy with his long blonde hair, pink and red bedroom and a wardrobe full of girls clothes.
“He likes playing with his sister’s old toys but he still loves Dr Who too and playing with his brother. And we still put some neutral clothes in his wardrobe if he ever decides he wants to wear them.
“We leave it up to him to decide what he wants to do – if he changes his mind and wants to be a boy again then he does, but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t.
“I would love to have my son back, but I want him to be happy. If this is the route he wants to take – if this is what makes him happy – then so be it. I would rather him have my full support.
“People need to be aware of this condition because it’s very common but even many family support workers have never heard of cases in children. There are people out there but they don’t want to talk about it.”
A spokesperson from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust told the Telegraph: “The diagnosis of GID is made by the key workers working with the young person. We will also assess their general wellbeing. We remain in contact with young people often for many years.
“Our aim is not to predict or direct the outcome, but rather to support the young person in their general development as well as develop a trusting collaborative therapeutic relationship in which it is possible to openly explore their feelings about their gender.”
The Trust told the paper 165 children have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria this year and only seven children under the age of 5 were diagnosed last year.
Last week, a blogger provoked widespread debate when she wrote that her 7-year-old son had come out to her, though she acknowledged he may not grow up to be gay.


Sweden set to drop sterilisation rule for official trans recognition.

There is now no opposition within the government (Photo: Ankara)
The Swedish Christian Democrat party has abandoned its support for the rule which requires transgender people to be sterilised before the state recognises their gender and so cleared the way for repeal.
77,000 people signed an AllOut.org petition calling on the country to reverse the ban, which the organisation said is the largest-ever online movement to protect trans human rights.
AllOut.org said the announcement should set a precedent for the 28 countries in Europe with similar rules.
The move was being held back by the Christian Democrats, one of four parties in Sweden’s ruling coalition.
A protest was held outside the Swedish embassy in London earlier this month objecting to the governing coalition’s position on the 1972 law.
The Christian Democrats have now reversed their position, writing in the Swedish Press: “It’s time to abolish the requirement for sterilization at sex change.”
Ulrika Westerlund, President of the Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights said: “This is an incredible news for Sweden: it means that anyone will be able to have their true identity recognized without having to be sterilized.
“It’s crucial that the new law comes into place as soon as possible.”
Andre Banks, Executive Director of AllOut.org said: “Swedish activists have worked for years to lay the foundation for this victory and I am so proud that AllOut.org could build the international momentum that finally pushed Prime Minister Reinfeldt and party leaders to end this cruel practice.
“It’s a victory for Sweden, but it is also decisive for Europe. AllOut.org members across the continent will continue to push online and in Parliament until each of these appalling laws are thrown out with the trash.”
According to the Council of Europe, the European countries which currently require sterilisation are: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine.
Others, including the UK, do not impose this obligation on trans people.


FA launches new anti-homophobia initiative.

The Football Association launched a new initiative yesterday to promote inclusiveness for gay, bi and trans people in football.   

The launch of Opening Doors and Joining In included a six-point action plan on education, visibility, partnership, recognition, reporting and monitoring.
Speakers at the launch yesterday included Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall and former England defenders Graeme Le Saux and John Scales.
FA General Secretary Alex Horne said: “If you ask me whether there are any gay professional footballers, you are asking the wrong question. What today and the action plan is about is ensuring that anyone can participate in our game without fear, regardless of their sexuality.
“If someone is gay, we want them to feel secure if they choose to be open and know they will not be subject to abuse or ridicule.”
But there are fears the initiative does not recommend enough identifiable goals.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who formerly sat on the FA’s anti-homophobia working party, said: “This new initiative is commendable and welcome, but it’s full of vague, general pledges. There are not many specific, concrete proposals. It’s worthy but low-key. Sadly, it won’t make a major public impact.
“To set the agenda and reach the fans, the Football Association should be pressing clubs to include anti-homophobia messages on tickets, in match programmes and on stadium screens at half-time. This would ensure the FA’s new initiative gets high-profile visibility and impacts public consciousness.”
Chris Basiurski, Chair of the Gay Football Supporters’ Network, welcomed the move, saying: “The GFSN is encouraged to see this Action Plan from the FA and we look forward to working with them to make sure we see viable long term results. We believe that this issue needs the same funding and commitment as has been invested in the fight against racism in football.”
Darren Bailey, the FA’s Director of Football Governance and Regulation pledged to fight abuse on the terraces.
He said: “Homophobic and transphobic abuse is unacceptable and will be punished. It has no place in society and no place in football. We have the rules, we have the commitment and we have made a promise to change the culture of the game. What we need is to know when abuse happens.”
Club England’s Managing Director Adrian Bevington said: “We want to ensure that if any player wishes to be open about their sexuality, then they can do it with the full support of The FA. We want a “So What?” culture in football.”


Increasing acceptance of gay life in India, report shows.

Law school's report says that LGBT people have ‘increased self-confidence’ since 2009's decriminalisation of gay sex.

A report from a top law school in India has found there's been greater societal acceptance and a decrease of police harassment of LGBT people since the decriminalisation of gay sex in 2009.
Delhi's Jindal Global Law School's report said: ‘There is a growing societal acceptance for Gay, MSM and Kothi [trans] men. Many respondents (LGBT members) stated that the societal perception of homosexuals is changing and people were treating them with respect’.
The report was compiled from face-to-face interviews with 32 LGBT people in Delhi from February to October 2011. ‘It is evident from the study that decriminalization of section 377 has led to increased self-confidence and self-acceptance amongst the respondents,’ the report said. ‘Some respondents also reported that they could now argue with the police since they know there is no section 377 in the law books any more’.
Under section 377 of the Indian penal code gay sex was punishable by up to life imprisonment but in 2009 the high court in Delhi decriminalised the act among consenting adults in private.
The decision is currently being debated in the supreme court in Delhi, where anti-gay rights groups have brought petitions challenging the 2009 verdict. The law school said that preliminary interviews from their report were submitted to the supreme court for the debate.
Professor Dipika Jain, the report's author, said: ‘It is evident from the study that there has been a positive impact on the LGBT community in Delhi and a country wide decriminalisation is bound to positively impact the lives of this community and their right to live with dignity.’
One of the aspects currently being debated in the supreme court is whether the 2009 ruling applies only to Delhi or to the whole country.
But Rajneesh Langer, project officer for Badlaav Samiti, an LGBT support and HIV awareness organisation in Indore in central India, says that a change in attitudes to gay people is only happening in big cities, not in comparatively small cities like Indore.
‘If you got to metros like Bombay, Delhi and big cities, the scene is entirely different,’ Langer told Gay Star News. ‘But small cities haven’t moved forward. One of my staff, whenever he goes out on the street people stare at him and make fun of him. They know that we are gay so they’ll make fun of us.’


Σάββατο, 18 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Canada expected to fill gay marriage ‘gap’ today.17/02/2012

Canada is expected to announce changes to its Civil Marriage Act today which will stem fears about the validity of gay marriages between couples who could wed in Canada but not their home countries.
Controversy was sparked last month after a federal lawyer responded to an unnamed lesbian couple’s divorce application appearing to say that since they could not have a wedding in their home countries, Canadian law did not technically recognise their marriage.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson stepped in to allay fears, saying the government would make any necessary changes to the legislation.
He said: “The confusion and pain resulting from this gap is completely unfair to those who are affected. I want to make it clear that, in the government’s view, those marriages are valid.”
Up to 5,000 marriages were thrown into doubt by the document regarding the marriage between a British and an American woman.
They were seemingly unable to divorce because Canadian law required one half of a couple to live in the country for a year before a divorce could be granted.
It was not immediately clear how serious the issue identified by the lawyer was. Advocacy groups said: “No court has accepted this view and there is no reason to believe that either Canada’s courts or its Parliament would agree with this position, which no one has asserted before during the eight years that same-sex couples have had the freedom to marry in Canada.”
Later dubbed a “legislative gap” by Nicholson, it has been attributed to patchy drafting when Canada became one of the first countries in the world to enshrine equal marriage rights.
It affects foreign nationals whose home countries will not allow them to marry a member of their own sex.
The Ottawa Globe and Mail which originally ran the story quotes family lawyer Grant Gold, who said that when the laws were being enacted in 2005: “The euphoria of the moment might have taken over.”


Παρασκευή, 17 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Transsexuals targeted in over a dozen attacks in Malaysia.

Series of violent hate-crimes against transsexuals in the last six months are met by police in-action.

Transsexuals in Malaysia are being terrorised by a series of attacks from gangs of weapon-wielding aggressors.
At least 13 people have been assaulted in the last six months. Six police reports have been made but there have been no arrests, despite one victim handing in an ID card dropped by her attacker.
The latest attack happened on Wednesday when a transgender woman, Rozi, was set upon by six men on motorbikes and beaten with chains, steel bars and crash helmets in Kuantan in eastern Malaysia in the early hours of the morning.
‘They hit me non-stop till I fell, and then hit me some more,’ Rozi, who received five stitches to a deep cut on the back of her head, told Malaysia’s The Star newspaper. Her friend Sasha tried to help but was also beaten-up. The thugs didn’t steel anything from the two victims, suggest the attack was a hate crime.
Another transgender woman, 24-year-old carwash attendant Mona, told The Star that she was attacked twice in a week in September last year. During one attack her assailant cut a deep wound on her neck that had needed 18 stitches. At the other attack one of the assaulters dropped his ID card. Mona handed the ID into the police but no one was arrested. ‘I feel scared now whenever I go out at night,’ she said.
A friend of Rozi and Sasha, Mohd Bakri told The Star he knew of attacks on transsexuals in three other areas besides where Mona was attacked. Bakri said: ‘We suspect the attacks were carried out by the same group of people. They do not rob their victims, so we do not know what their motive is.’
Pang Khee Teik who campaigns for the rights of sexual minorities in Malaysia wrote to The Star to commend the transsexuals for going to the police and speaking out to the press. ‘It often feels pointless to speak up about injustice when the law doesn’t appear to be on your side,’ he said. ‘This seems reinforced by the police not arresting anyone. I urge the police to carry out thorough investigations and take action against the assailants.’
Pang added on Twitter on Thursday ‘'WHAT IS MORE HORRIFYING than acts of violence agst Msian transsexuals? The inaction fm Msian police!’and '13 victims & 6 police reports, still no action fm police? Are police condoning violence on trans?’
In response to questions like this Pahang CID chief senior Assistant Commissioner T. Narenasegaran told The Star transsexuals would be given protection like any other Malaysian. 'To say that transsexuals have less rights is unacceptable. They did not ask to be born like that,' he said.
Homophobia is part of the establishment in Malaysia. When leader of the opposition Anwar Ibrahim, who was acquitted of sodomy charges in January, suggested in a BBC interview that Malaysia’s homosexuality laws were ’archaic’ politicians lashed out in response. Ahmad Maslan, information chief for Barisan Nasional, the political coalition that holds power in Malaysia, said: 'We cannot support or condone same sex relationships as it is the same as making incest legal.' Anwar later denied that he had said anything in favour of gay rights.


Liberia plans life in jail or death for gay sex.

Liberia is considering its own ‘kill the gays bill’ inspired by former first lady Jewel Taylor.

Former Liberian first lady Jewel Taylor has introduced a bill proposing that homosexuality should be punished with the death sentence.
Former president Charles Taylor’s ex-wife is now a senator in the west African country and also wants to ban gay marriage.
The proposed legislation says: ‘No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony.’
‘Sodomy’ is already criminalized in Liberia and punishable by a fine, according to some reports, and up to three years imprisonment, according to others.
But if it becomes a first degree felony the punishment could be 10 years to life in jail or, if the judge decides, the death sentence.
A similar bill has been introduced into the lower house of the legislature by Clarence Massaquoi who represents the county of Lofa in the north west of the country.
His bill, if passed, would punish anyone who has gay sex ‘with or without the consent of the other partner’ and is apparently being examined by the house.
A debate has started around LGBT rights in the country which supporters of the new bill, including senator George Tengbeh, hopes will be stifled by this proposed legislation.
He told AFP it aims ‘to prevent the parliament from talking about such an issue that is against our tradition and culture.’
Tengbeh also hit out at UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, for his appeal to African leaders to endorse gay rights.
There has even been lobbying for same-sex marriage in Liberia which is being stamped on by the government.
The information ministry released a statement on 26 January saying: ‘The Liberian government will not allow the legalisation of gay and lesbian activities in Liberia. The president has vowed not to allow such a bill, and even if the bill goes before the president she will veto it.’
However President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf herself, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, does not appear to have commented publicly on the subject.
Some have even suggested that the tougher rhetoric against the LGBT community in Liberia and Cameroon may be a domino effect from the ‘kill the gays’ bill currently being debated again in Uganda, which has attracted widespread criticism.
It certainly seems like the issue is heating up in Liberia. Previously the US Department of State's 2010 human rights report found ‘there were no reported instances of violence based on sexual orientation’ in the country although it did note ‘the culture is strongly opposed to homosexuality’ and there were no LGBT organizations in the country.
There are some reports that the most public organization now in existence, Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights, may not contain any LGBT people. It was this organization that apparently started the campaign for same-sex marriage in the country, attracting widespread opposition and reportedly leading to the organisation’s leaders being mobbed at a university campus, according to AFP.
The likelihood of the bill passing is not known but Jewel Taylor in particular is no stranger to human rights abuses. Her former husband was a warlord indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity due to his part in the Sierra Leone civil war.


Πέμπτη, 16 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Exclusive: The Sun defends call for identity of ‘first trans man to give birth’.

The Sun newspaper hit back yesterday at claims that it had failed to mend its ways in respect of its treatment of the UK’s trans community, defending its attempts to locate the trans man who had given birth as being “in the public interest”.
Speaking exclusively to Jane Fae, for PinkNews.couk, Interim Managing Editor David Dinsmore asserted that restrictions on reporting in this case were in danger of shackling the freedom of the press to report.
Controversy arose earlier this week with publication in the Sunday Times of a story that a UK trans man had had a child. A number of newspapers began a hunt for the individuals concerned, with the Sun newspaper allegedly being most aggressive in its pursuit, harassing trans organisations and prominent trans community members, as well as setting up a hotline and publically offering a reward to anyone who gave them details.
Helen Belcher, Treasurer of Trans Media Watch then wrote to the Press Complaints Commission suggesting that this conduct both belied claims by Sun Managing Director Dominic Mohan to the Leveson Inquiry last week, that the Sun has “mended its ways”, and either breached, or potentially breached the Editors’ Code of Conduct in four separate ways.
Ms Belcher was particularly concerned at the effect of this search on the child involved. The PCC then backed Ms Belcher by writing to the Sun warning them to tread carefully in their handling of this story.
Today, the Sun’s Interim Managing Editor, David Dinsmore responded in full with a letter to the PCC. In it, he broadly accepted the facts as above, but rejected claims that the Sun’s actions in any way amounted to harassment or intrusion.
He also spoke personally, to give his own version of events and to comment. He said: “Our impression is that this story was placed in the public domain by the Beaumont Society, which is a well-known Transgender support organisation. Normal journalistic practice now would be to find the person concerned and offer them the opportunity to comment by way of an interview.
“This we have attempted to do by placing calls with Mermaids and GIRES and, since they have not come back, by asking the public for help. We have not harassed or pestered anyone.
“The story itself is of public interest – although the identity of the individual is not necessarily. Whether we would identify the individual in this case would depend wholly on the circumstances. I can’t say yes or no categorically.
“What if the person also turned out to be a serial killer? There can be no guarantees either way. More likely, if it was NHS funded, that could put a different light on it. There is no easy answer.
“However, I can say that there would be a huge amount of internal debate and this would not JUST be done to out the individual.
“In respect of the child involved, that would also be taken into consideration. In general, however, we would be far less likely to publish pictures of, say, a five-year-old, who is easily recognisable than of a baby.”
Mr Dinsmore was not prepared to concede that sensitivity to a community automatically led to a news black-out on that community’s activities. He said: “I want to protect the press from a blanket ban on going down this road. I want to defend the rights of journalists and newspapers to examine matters of public interest, and there is a danger, post-Leveson, that this could happen.
He also expressed some degree of concern at the effect on the wider trans community. Admitting that he thought most trans individuals would already be known to their local communities, he added: “I can’t see a risk of people not directly related to this story being outed by the media. That is a danger: but again, I do not believe that the media should be shackled on basis of possible collateral damage.
“Free speech and a free press are also important”.
As for whether the Sun newspaper had changed its ways, Mr Dinsmore felt it had: “Trans stories are becoming more commonplace. Their news value is diminishing and therefore the sort of story made public is increasingly going to be at the edges. This particular story was news, because it revealed details of something that impacts on public policy and of which the public was unaware. In future, it might be that the individual would need to be having twins before it is published.
He ended: “What is clear is that the way the Sun treats and deals with these things is a world away from where it was. Trans stories are no longer “nudge, nudge”: a laugh and a joke. We have moved to a much more sensitive place.”


European Parliament denounces Russian ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the upcoming presidential election in Russia today clearly denouncing the regional laws which ban ‘gay propaganda’ around minors.
The St Petersburg city legislature approved the ‘gay propaganda’ bill 31 to 6 in a delayed second reading last week and reportedly increased fines for those convicted under it tenfold.
Three other regions have similar laws in place already.
One MEP said the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky would be “rolling his grave”.
The parliamentary resolution reminds Russia of its obligations under several international human rights agreements, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The European Parliament “strongly condemns the adoption by the Legislative Assembly of St Petersburg of a law against propaganda on sexual orientation”, and “equally condemns similar laws adopted in the Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma regions”.
The Parliament further “calls on all Russian authorities to stop restricting freedom of expression in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity”.
It calls on Catherine Ashton, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative, “to convey the European Union’s opposition to these laws”.
Earlier Michael Cashman MEP, Co-President of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, had said that the laws’ “starting point is that homosexuality is wrong, but what is wrong is the promotion of intolerance and discrimination!”.
Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, Vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, also commented: “Tchaikovsky and Constantinovich must be rolling over in their graves. Such laws are simply unacceptable; if Russia isn’t serious about respecting the European Convention on Human Rights, it should simply call the bluff and leave the Council of Europe altogether. And more than statements, these grave human rights abuses must have consequences for the EU-Russia relationship!”
250,000 people worldwide had signed a petition protesting the law and it was condemned by British and American governments before Russia’s second city pushed ahead last week.
Other Russian regions Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma already hinder the promotion of homosexuality in public but St Petersburg’s international stature has brought the issue to the fore.
Meanwhile, 200 people attended a protest in Berlin today outside the Russian Embassy.
Marieluise Beck, the Head of the Commission on Eastern European Politics in the German Bundestag said: “We express solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia.
“No one forced Russia to join the Council of Europe. Joining, however, Russia signed under the European Convention on Human Rights, which includes the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
Protesters then marched through the streets of Berlin chanting slogans condemning homophobia in Russia.


Anti-gay campaigners asked to define 'unnatural sex'.

India's Supreme Court is debating the legality of decriminalizing gay sex.

Campaigners in India challenging the country's decriminalization of gay sex are being asked to define what is 'unnatural' intercourse.
An old colonial law which outlawed same-sex relationships and made them punishable by a 10-year jail term, was overturned by the Delhi High Court in 2009.
However, gay sex is still frowned upon by many Indians and political, social and religious groups want to reinstate the 148-year-old law.
Section 377 of the colonial Indian Penal Code defined homosexual acts as 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature'.
The debate returned to the Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday and judges are asking anti-gay campaigners to clarify what 'unnatural sex' is.
'The meaning of the word has never been constant,' Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhyaya asked a petitioner who challenged the judgement, the BBC reported.
They added: 'We have travelled a distance of 60 years. Now it is test-tube babies, surrogate mothers. They are called discoveries. Is it in the order of nature? Is there carnal intercourse?'
The decriminalization of gay sex was a landmark judgement and was hailed by human rights campaigners.

The Indian Supreme Court has challenged anti-gay campaigners to define 'unnatural sex'

Uganda activist raid condemned as 'illegal'.

Uganda Law Society says 'kill the gays' bill will increase human rights violations in the African nation.

Campaigners have slammed the Ugandan minister who raided a gay activist conference in Entebbe on Tuesday (14 February), saying his actions were illegal and unconstitutional.
The Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, broke into the meeting organized by Freedom and Roam Uganda, an association that lobbies for the recognition of same sex relationships, and ordered the activists out of the hotel where it was being held.
He was accompanied by police and told the participants, 'I have closed this conference because it's illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home.'
Executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, Frank Mugisha, has condemned Lokodo's 'abuse of office'.
He said: 'Closing our workshop today totally violates our constitutional rights and this intimidation will not stop us from fighting, for equal treatment of all Ugandan citizens.'
Lokodo also attempted to order the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagasera, a prominent LGBT rights activist who was forced to flee from the hotel.
The reasons for the attempted arrest were not immediately clear, but were reported to be linked to Kasha Jacqueline’s attempt to challenge the minister’s actions.
The raid comes days after the so-called 'kill the gays' bill was re-tabled in the Ugandan Parliament.
The anti-homosexuality bill includes the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and harsh prison terms for gay and lesbian sex.
Under the bill ‘aggravated homosexuality’ includes sex by a person who is HIV positive, is a parent, authority figure, or who administers intoxicating substances. Sex involving minors and the disabled is also ‘aggravated’ and repeat ‘offenders’ would get the death penalty too.
Other same-sex acts, and involvement in a lesbian or gay marriage would attract life imprisonment. And Ugandans may be extradited back home by the authorities, even if they have same-sex relations outside of the country.
There are also penalties in the bill for people, media, organisations or companies who don’t report gay people they know or support LGBT rights. The intention is to prevent any kind of gay liberation movement in the country.
Although homosexuality is illegal under the penal code in Uganda, public assembly of gay people is not a crime. But this would change if the bill is signed into law.
Bisi Alimi, The Kaleidoscope Trust's regional spokesman for Africa, said: 'It’s alarming and disappointing that Uganda’s parliament will once again consider the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

'If passed, it would represent a grave assault on the human rights of all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.'
The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has also waded into the debate, warning the bill would violate international human rights law and lead to further repression.
James Mukasa Sebugenyi, society president, said the ULS are in no way promoting homosexuality, but are calling for the protection of Ugandan citizens' basic human rights.
In a statement, he said: 'We reckon that the spirit of the bill is for noble and moral intentions, such as to protect the traditional family, children, youth and cherished cultural values among others.
'It should, however, be alive to the fact that we live in a multi-lateral society comprised of various rights, interests and freedoms and should either be tolerated, restricted but not criminalized or banished.'

Frank Mugisha

Bisexuals endure worst mental health problems.

According to new report, biphobia is a mental strain on bisexuals.

Bisexual people suffer the worst mental health problems of anyone based on their sexuality, says a new report.
The Bisexuality Report: Bisexual inclusion in LGBT equality and diversity’ found bisexual people are prone to higher rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm and suicide, all of which are embedded in biphobia.
Distinct from homophobia, biphobia is grounded in the emperical observation that attitudes towards bisexual people are found to be more negative than those towards other minority groups.
The report reveals that bisexuals are often stereotyped as promiscious, incapable of commitment, a threat to relationships and spreaders of disease. Additionally, of all the common sexual identity groups, bisexual people most frequently have mental health problems.
The study uses British and international data to support this conclusion. A major Canadian study published by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission in 2010 found bisexual men to be 6.3 times more likely, and bisexual women 5.9 times more likely, to report having been suicidal than heterosexual people. The report also incorporates an Australian study from 2002 where rates of mental health issues amongst bisexual people were found to be significantly higher than those amongst lesbians, gay men or heterosexual people.
A smaller survey focusing specifically on bisexual people who attended the annual UK bisexual conference in 2008 found that 36% of attendees had either single or multiple mental or physical health impairments that interfered with their day-to-day life. And a quarter of people had had a diagnosis of mental health issues from a professional, with the highest proportions reporting depression (16%), anxiety (8%) and self-harm (8%).
Dr Meg Barker, an senior lecturer in psychology at the British Open University, who led the report, said: ‘Government policy and equalities agendas generally consider lesbian, gay and bisexual issues together. However bisexual people often face prejudice from within lesbian and gay groups as well as heterosexual communities.
‘Bisexuals are invisible – not represented in mainstream media, policy, legislation or within lesbian and gay communites. Government and communities need to single out bisexual people as a separate group in order to address this equality gap.’
However, the report does not focus solely on negative experiences related to biphobia and bisexual invisibility.
The Bisexuality Report also highlighted several positive aspects related to bisexual peoples’ experiences, such as the ability to develop identities and relationships without restrictions. Having a strong sense of independence, self-awareness and authenticity were also mentioned in the report. One in-depth international study from 2010 has specifically researched this issue, including participants from across Canada, Britain, America, New Zealand, Norway, Finland and Tunisia.
Bisexual people also speak of their acceptance and appreciation of others’ differences and feel well-placed to notice and challenge social biases and assumptions beyond sexuality.
Alice Ashworth, a Policy Officer at Stonewall, a British lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity, said about the report: ‘We’re delighted to endorse this report, which builds on Stonewall research looking at the distinct experiences of bisexual people.
'Bi people will be pleased to know that researchers really do understand their needs. Now it’s important for service providers, the media and employers to take those needs seriously – we hope this important work helps them do to do that.’


Man castrates himself, then jumps to his death in Beijing.

Reports that a transgender man came to a tragic end on campus of prestigious Beijing university.

In a gruesome tale from Beijing this week, Shanghai Daily reported on Tuesday that a 26-year-old man castrated himself in a fruit store on the campus of Tsinghua University, and after asking for anaesthetics at the campus clinic, sneaked out while waiting for the ambulance and jumped to his death from the third floor of a nearby hotel.
Witnesses to the tragedy said the man, surnamed Zhu, wore feminine clothes and speculated that he harmed himself because he was unhappy with his physical gender. Tsinghua University said Zhu was not a student.
A doctor at the campus clinic said Zhu received simple treatment at the clinic but she had told him she could not deal with his wound and he would have to go to the university hospital. While he was waiting for the ambulance, Zhu suddenly left the clinic, went to a nearby hotel and jumped from the third floor. He was pronounced dead at hospital.
Despite the fame and success of China’s most famous transgender, dancer Jin Xing, life for ordinary transgenders is not easy in a largely conformist society with heavy pressure to marry and have children by your mid-20s. Gay Star News reported in January about a local TV station in Qingdao mocking a crossdressing victim of a house fire. At the debut of the Chinese version of the Britain’s Got Talent TV show in May 2010, the director of the show Jin Lei made derogatory comments about transgender performers, saying they shouldn‘t be allowed to represent China and he was ‘disgusted with it’.

Tsinghua University campus in Beijing

Two couples try to register gay marriages in Beijing!

Volunteers from Beijing LGBT Centre tried to register marriages on Valentine’s Day.

Two same-sex couples tried to register marriages in Beijing on Tuesday to make a statement about LGBT rights in China. They tried to marry at a registration office but were told 'homosexual marriage is not legally recognized in China'.
The two couples are not actually in relationships, one of the girls is not even gay, but the volunteers from Beijing LGBT Centre wanted to make a statement. The centre’s executive director Guo Ziyang told Gay Star News: ‘We wanted this action to take place as a means to tell the government and tell the public: gays and lesbians want, and should have, the right to marry.’
Guo said he believes gay marriage will come to China, but not for another 10 or 20 years, or even longer, because of the ‘conservative, traditional mind set in China, as well as the political environment’.
Zhang Yunyi, one half of the female ‘couple’ told the Global Times: ‘I thought we'd be driven out, but to my surprise, the office employees were very nice when they heard we wanted gay marriage. The office employees offered us their blessings, and told us to wait until changes were made to the marriage law.’
When the couples were told they couldn’t get married at the registration office, they performed a ceremony outside themselves. A newly married straight couple - 3,900 couples married across Beijing on Valentine’s Day accord to the Global Times - acted as ‘witnesses’ to the stunt wedding.


Τετάρτη, 15 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Social network aims to connect rural gays.

A new social network has been launched to help geographically isolated gay and trans people socialise with other members of the LGBT community.
The Country Slicker has been designed to counter a ‘lonely farmer’ perception of rural life in the UK.
Founder David Middleton says: “Although people in the LGBT community can find themselves isolated in both a physical and social sense there’s really a lot going on in the countryside for people to take advantage of.
“We’d like to help change the notion of city-living being the only choice for an active social life.”
The network has an open blog area, a forum and regional events pages where members can post details of activities.
The site also features a monthly newsletter to which members will be able to contribute and promote specialist skills or rural businesses for free.
Middleton adds: “The image of the ‘lonely farmer’ is something that many people see when they think of rural life-styles, but there are thousands of gay people who have chosen to live in the country from a variety of backgrounds who may wish to connect with others or who may have a lot to offer the LGBT community.
“The Country Slicker provides a platform for members to organise events and activities as a means of making new friends.”
Membership is currently free but the founders say it may charge a monthly subscription in future.


80% of China's youth not homophobic.

Dating website poll reveals over 80% born after 1980 have no problem with homosexuality.

A poll on China's popular dating website Jiayuan has revealed that more than 80% of those born after 1980 'do not disapprove of homosexuality', providing more evidence of the widening generation gap.
The Xinhua news agency reported on Monday that 85,439 people answered the survey on jiayuan.com. The results showed that 83 % born between 1980 and 1989, as well as 82% of those born after 1990, do not have a problem with homosexuality.
Twenty-eight-year-old Zhao Siqi, who is gay and lives in Shanghai, is not surprised by the survey. ‘Nowadays, this thing becomes less important to young people,’ he told Gay Star News. ‘Young people can get rich information about LGBT [life] through manga, American TV shows, and foreign popstars which their parents can't reach. The more you know, the less you discriminate.’
Zhao presents a hopeful image of the future for gay people in China. ‘I think, when this generation grows-up, more will come out and fight for their legal rights. The day is coming.’
Despite this sign of acceptance of gay life in China, Jiayuan, the dating site that ran the survey only caters to men seeking women and women seeking men.

Jiayuan dating website, which does not cater to gay people despite running a survey which showed 80% of those born after 1980 do not disapprove of homosexuality

Serbian gay pride movie surprise hit in Balkans.

The Parade has been a hit in the Balkans despite entrenched homophobia in the region.

A rom-com about gay pride has become a surprise hit in the Balkans, despite the movie's director being the target of homophobic violence.
The Parade, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival this week, is about a gay couple struggling to organize a pride event in the Serbian capital, Belgrade.
But while critics showered the movie with plaudits and it has proved a box office hit in the Balkan region, Serbian director Srdjan Dragojevic has received a hostile reception from the region's ultra-nationalist groups.
Even before the movie's release in cinemas, anti-gay opposition called for a boycott and Dragojevic had his car windows smashed in protest.
Dragojevic told the AFP news agency he was pleased with the film's success in the Balkans and said it was a sign attitudes were changing in the notoriously homophobic region.
Mima Simic, a Croatian gay rights activist, told Sarajevo-based Dani magazine the film shows the Balkans are beginning to understand that 'it's not really OK to beat up gays.'
'But above all it's a cunning and calculated film whose main goal is to regain audiences of former Yugoslavia and win Western markets.
'The subject of gay rights as a symbol of transition is a gold mine that Dragojevic is fully taking advantage of.'
More than 500,000 people have seen Dragojevic's comedy in all six ex-Yugoslav republics.
The Parade includes footage of the violence that erupted when right-wing activists disrupted a 2010 gay pride march in Belgrade.
More than 100 police were injured. Authorities in Serbia then banned a gay rights parade last year citing safety concerns.


...Γιατί εγώ ζω στον κόσμο...τον δικό σου!

    Έχεις αναλογιστεί ποτέ αγαπημένε "διαφορετικέ τύπε" πως ο κόσμος στον οποίο εγώ ζω,μεγαλώνω,αναπνέω,κάνω όνειρα,εμμέσως πλην σαφώς,είναι ο κόσμος που εσύ σχημάτισες για εμένα;
    Έχεις σκεφτεί ότι εγώ ίσως να θέλω να τον αλλάξω;...Να τον φέρω στα δικά μου μέτρα;Θα μου το επέτρεπες ποτέ όμως;Λίγο δύσκολο το κόβω,η αλήθεια είναι.
    Δε σκοπεύω να μπω στο δικό σου καλούπι,όπως κι εσύ δε γίνεσαι σαν εμένα...Επίτρεψέ μου,όμως,να είμαι ο εαυτός μου,να μην αναγκάζομαι να λογοδοτώ για τη ζωή μου,κάτι που δεν κάνεις κι εσύ.Δεν είμαι στο επίκεντρο,δεν είσαι στο επίκεντρο.Μαζί πορευόμαστε,μαζί αγωνιζόμαστε και σχεδιάζουμε το "μετά"...Ο καθένας με τον τρόπο του,αλλά,αν πιστέψεις πως η διαφορετικότητά μας μάς ενώνει,ίσως να σκεφτόσουν διαφορετικά!

Let me be "the real me"...

Gambian president: Gay rights ‘destroy culture’.

Yahya Jammeh, the President of the Gambia, has said those who think gay rights are human rights in the African state are making a “great mistake”.
Jammeh previously threatened to decapitate gays and claims to be able to cure AIDS.
The South Africa Press Association reports Jammeh saying: “We know what human rights are. Human beings of the same sex cannot marry or date.”
He added that homosexuality came from an alien cultures, saying: “If you think it is human rights to destroy our culture, you are making a great mistake because if you are in the Gambia, you are in the wrong place then.”
Jammeh has ruled the Gambia since a military coup in 1994.
His comments are in contrast to the desire voiced by Western nations for countries to protect the human rights of their gay citizens.
Hillary Clinton made a landmark speech to the UN in December, saying: “Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality.”
The British government last year confirmed it would redirect aid away from governments with poor human rights records.
The move prompted many leaders to censure the UK and condemn homosexuality in their own countries.
Article 144 of the Criminal Code makes any same-sex sexual act punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment.
In 2008, Jammeh vowed to introduce laws which were stricter than those in Iran, where gay acts between men are punishable by death. The Gambia is a mainly Muslim country.
The president retracted a threat to decapitate gays but said they would be driven out of their homes.
The year before he announced a “miracle cure” for HIV/AIDS.
Hundreds of Gambians lined up to be “cured” by Jammeh, who treated patients by rubbing a mysterious herbal paste into their ribcages and then instructing them to swallow a bitter yellow drink, followed by two bananas.
The therapy is administered repeatedly over several weeks.
Late last year he told the BBC the HIV/AIDs treatment programmes were going “very well” and that his critics could “go to hell”. He also said he could cure hypertension and asthma in ten minutes.
The Gambia is the smallest African mainland country and is largely Muslim. It has only 1.7 million citizens and is mainly economically reliant on farming and tourism.


South Korea grants asylum to gay Nigerian.

Seoul administrative court grants refugee status to gay man from Nigeria.
A Nigerian man who claimed he could not return home for being gay was granted asylum by a South Korean court this week. The man, whose name has been withheld, entered the country in 2009 because he was facing persecution in Nigeria for being gay. On Monday (13 February), a Seoul administrative court ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Nigerian, which sought to overturn an earlier government decision not to recognize his refugee status.
The Korea Herald reports that the court decided there was a good chance that the plaintiff would be subject to persecution from authorities if he were to return home.
In Nigeria, same-sex activity is punishable by death by stoning in the 12 states that have adopted Shari’a law, and by up to 14 years imprisonment throughout the rest of the country. According to a 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, a strong 97% of Nigeria residents said that homosexuality should be rejected by society, marking the East African country one of the most homophobic of the 44 countries surveyed.
Additionally, on 1 December last year Nigeria passed a law making same-sex marriage a crime with a penalty of 10 years in prison.
The gay Nigerian had petitioned the South Korean government for refugee status in September 2010 after he had been caught as an illegal alien three months earlier. However, at the time the Justice Ministry rejected his application.
The ruling by the court to reverse the ministry’s decision comes after local judges granted asylum status in 2010 to a gay man from Pakistan who would face persecution at home for his sexual orientation.
South Korea is a signatory of the UN Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1992. Signatories of the charter commit to grant asylum status to people facing persecution at home, including refugee claims based on sexual orientation.

Gay Nigerian successfully overturns South Korea's rejection for asylum

Activists petition Swedish PM to end trans sterilization.

50,000 Europeans call for end to forced sterilization of transgender people in Sweden.

Activists hand delivered a petition of 50,000 signatures to the Swedish Prime Minister's office yesterday, calling on the country to end forced sterilization of transgender people.
Under the current law, which has been in effect in the Scandanavian country since 1972, a trans person must be sterilized or else their gender change is not recognized legally.
Ulrika Westerlund, president of the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RSFL), says despite a major push to repeal the law, including support from 90% of Swedish MPs, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has stayed silent on the issue.
RFSL and rights group AllOut.org gathered 47,689 signatures from European citizens urging Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to speak out and break the deadlock, which has allowed one small conservative party Kristdemokraterna to use its seat in government to block the change.
'The Swedish Prime Minister has publicly called sterilization law a "dark chapter in Swedish history,”' says Andre Banks, co-founder of AllOut.org.
'Now he has a chance to close that chapter for good, reaffirm Sweden's international reputation on human rights and set a precedent in Europe where other countries have similar barbaric laws.'
Last month, MEPs called for the Swedish government to repeal the law.


Τρίτη, 14 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

‘Gays threaten human race’ says Libya!

Outburst at Human Rights Council criticized by UN Watch monitoring group.

Gays threaten the continuation of the human race, Libya's delegate told a planning meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, reports the Geneva-based UN Watch monitoring group.
The comments yesterday (13 February) came as the post-Gaddafi government made its first appearance in the 47-nation body.
Protesting the council's first panel discussion on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation, scheduled for 7 March, Libya's representative told the gathering of ambassadors today that LGBT topics ‘affect religion and the continuation and reproduction of the human race’.
The language used echoes comments made by the Pope in January when he listed gay marriage as one of the things which ‘threatened humanity’. He was widely mocked for his comments.
Libya added that, were it not for the fact they were suspended from membership at the time, Libya would have opposed the UN council's June 2011 pro-LGBT resolution.
In response, council president Laura Dupuy Lasserre said ‘the Human Rights Council is here to defend human rights and prevent discrimination.’
The Libyan outburst prompted questions by human rights activists about Libya's reinstatement on the council.
‘We were happy to see the Gaddafi regime finally suspended last year but this is not the Arab Spring we hoped for,’ said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which in 2010 led a campaign of 70 human rights groups to expel the Libyan dictator from the council membership.
Neuer added: ‘Today's homophobic outburst by the new Libyan government, together with its routine abuse of prisoners and other ongoing violations, underscores the serious questions many have about the new regime's commitment to improving on the dark record of its predecessor. Gays are now paying the price. It's alarming.’


Gay activist conference raided in Uganda.

Uganda cabinet minister Simon Lokodo broke up a gay rights conference claiming it was 'illegal'.

A Ugandan cabinet minister broke up a gay activist conference this morning in the lakeside town of Entebbe because it was 'illegal'.
The Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, broke into the meeting organized by Freedom and Roam Uganda, an association that lobbies for the recognition of same sex relationships, and ordered the activists out of the hotel where it was being held.
He was accompanied by police and, according to The Daily Monitor, told activists, 'I have closed this conference because it's illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda. So go back home.'
He said if they did not leave immediately, he would use force against them.
Lokodo also attempted to order the arrest of Kasha Jacqueline Nabagasera, a prominent LGBT rights activist who was forced to flee from the hotel.
The reasons for the attempted arrest were not immediately clear, but were reported to be linked to Kasha Jacqueline’s attempt to challenge the minister’s actions.
Amnesty International has condemned Lokodo and called on the government to end its harassment of people involved in lawful activities.
'This is an outrageous attempt to prevent lawful and peaceful activities of human rights defenders in Uganda,' said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
'The Government of Uganda must protect all people against threats, violence and harassment irrespective of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.'
The raid comes days after the so-called 'kill the gays' bill was re-tabled in the Ugandan Parliament.
The anti-homosexuality bill includes the death penalty for ‘aggravated homosexuality’ and harsh prison terms for gay and lesbian sex.


Washington Governor: Signing gay marriage law is my proudest moment!

Governor Chris Gregoire, a Democrat and a Roman Catholic, signed into law Washington State’s gay marriage legislation. The North Western state becomes the seventh in the United States to offer gay marriage equality.
“As governor for more than seven years, this is one of my proudest moments,” Mrs Gregoire said.
“And most surely today is a proud day in the history of the Legislature and the state of Washington. It is a day historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights. A day when we did what was right, we did what was just, and we did what was fair. We stood up for equality and we did it together – Republicans and Democrats, gay and straight, young and old, and a variety of religious faiths. I’m proud of who and what we are in this state.”
“I’m proud that our same-sex couples will no longer be treated as separate but equal,” she said. “They will be equal. I’m proud that children in our schools and neighborhoods will not have to wonder why their loving parents are considered different than other loving parents. I’m proud of parents who have fought so fiercely for the rights of their much-loved gay and lesbian children. And I’m proud that children who discover they are gay and lesbian can feel good about themselves.”
“To Senator Murray and Representative Pedersen, thank you for your skilled leadership as prime sponsors of marriage equality legislation,” Gregoire continued. “We have been on this journey together. And the intelligence, care and patience you brought to this struggle over so many years defines what it means to be a great legislator.”
Last week the state’s House of Representatives has passed a bill to introduce gay marriage by 55 votes to 43. The state’s senate had already approved the measure.
The law will take effect 90 days from today. But opponents have vowed to fight gay marriage with a ballot measure, similar to California’s Proposition 8 that would give voters the opportunity to overturn pro-gay legislation.
Last week, the US 9th District Court of Appeals found that Proposition 8 broke the United States constitution. Although the court has jurisdiction over a number of states, including Washington, its decision was limited to California.
Coffee giant Starbucks was among multi-nationals based in Washington state to back the legislation.
A statement from the Seattle-based hot drink titan says it was “proud” to join other Washington-based employers like Microsoft and Nike as support for equal marriage brews in the state.


Two equal marriage bills enter Australian parliament.

Two private members’ bills have been introduced at the parliament of Australia today which would give equal marriage rights to gay couples if they can muster more support.
One bill was initiated by Adam Bandt, of the Green Party and Independent Andrew Wilke, and the other by Stephen Jones, a Labor backbencher.
Mr Bandt said: “I believe it is love that has brought us to this place in this debate and it is love that will carry us over the threshold of discrimination to full marriage equality.”
The bills both provide exemptions for religious institutions.
The Labor Party voted last year to change its position on marriage to give equal rights to gay couples and Prime Minister Gillard announced she would allow her MPs a free, ‘conscience’ vote.
But Australia’s official opposition, a coalition of parties led by the Liberals, opposes gay marriage. They have 71 seats in the House of Representatives’ 150 seats, compared with the Labor party’s 72.
Today, The Australian said the Coalition leader, Tony Abbott, may allow backbenchers a free vote on the issue but it was not clear how many would take the opportunity meaning progress on either bill currently looks unlikely.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich said: “We now have a very large number of Coalition backbenchers to work with as we seek to build a parliamentary majority for equality.
“Up until today it seemed like the Coalition would vote as a block against marriage equality but now the Coalition’s principle of individual freedom has prevailed thanks to the advocacy of people inside and outside the Coalition.”
Meanwhile, a poll commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality showed 62% of Australians backing same-sex marriage.
The Galaxy Research survey of 786 people also found 11% were more likely to support equal marriage rights if churches were free to refuse to hold such ceremonies.
Mr Greenwich said of the poll: “Despite the fear campaign run by opponents of marriage equality, a consistently strong majority of Australians continue to support the reform.”
“This majority increases when it is made clear that churches will not have to marry same-sex couples if they don’t want to.”
“We call on federal representatives across the political spectrum to reflect community values and support marriage equality with appropriate protections for religious freedoms.”
81% of 18-24 year olds agreed with equal marriage, compared with 51% of the 50-64 year age group.


Video: Gays among unusual couples in Google Valentine doodle.

A seventy-second animated short featuring on Google’s home page for Valentine’s Day features a gay couple among an unusual collection of romantic pairings.
As a man tries to win over a skipping woman with increasing exasperation and non-traditional gifts, it is only when he begins skipping too that she rushes over to kiss him.
A diverse montage of couples then fills the miniature screen above Google’s search term box.
A gay couple features alongside a cat and a dog, a princess and a frog, an elderly couple, a cookie embracing a carton of milk and an astronaut and an alien.
Drawing on the recent overruling of Proposition 8 in California, one amused Youtube commenter wrote: “Say NO to extraterrestrial marriage! extraterrestrial marriages are the thing that are destroying our earth! Proposition Infinity!”
The gay couple, both wearing dinner suits and standing in front of a few other people appear to be getting married.
The animation is set to Tony Bennett’s rendition of Cold Cold Heart.
Google was honoured by the Trevor Project last year for its work championing equal benefits for gay and trans employees.
In November, Google doubled its healthcare benefits for transgender employees.


Actor Matt Bomer publicly acknowledges male partner,kids.

White Collar star thanks 'my beautiful family' at awards ceremony!

Matt Bomer, star of USA Network's drama White Collar, has never denied that he is gay.
But he's never wanted to talk about it publicly either.
Over the weekend at an awards ceremony in Palm Springs, CA, the actor took a step towards being more open about his private life when he publicly thanked his longtime partner, publicist Simon Halls, and their three children.
Bomer received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards on Saturday night.
'I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry,' he said at the end of his speech. 'Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment.'
There have been other signs in recent weeks that Bomer was ready to be more public about his family life.
He posed for photographs with son Kit during Super Bowl weekend in Indianpolis and Bomer and Halls were also listed together in the program for last weekend's Family Equality Council Awards Dinner as part of the host committee.
While some stars have publicly come out on the cover of magazines like Lance Bass and Ellen DeGeneres or in television interviews like Meredith Baxter, Bomer's approach was similar to that of Jodie Foster.
At an awards breakfast in Beverly Hills in 2008, Foster thanked her then-partner Cydney Bernard in her speech who she referred to as 'my beautiful Cydney' and whom she thanked for sticking by her 'through the rotten and the bliss.'
Like Bomer and Halls, Foster and Bernard were raising two children together. They have since split and Foster has never publicly discussed or mentioned a romantic partner since.


Australian comedian Magda Szubanski comes out.

Star of Kath & Kim comes out in support of gay marriage in personal message.

Australian comedian and actor Magda Szubanski, who played Sharon Strzelecki in popular suburban Melbourne sitcom Kath & Kim, announced her support of gay marriage in a statement today and indicated for the first time that she is gay.
‘I am 1,000 per cent in favour of gay marriage,’ Szubanski said. ‘We pay taxes, fight wars for this country, nurse you when you are sick, make you laugh, sing and dance for you, play netball for you, star in your movies, cook your meals, decorate your store windows. And, chances are, gay people designed whatever it is you're wearing. All Australians, including gay Australians, should have exactly the same rights, including the right to love, marry and take care of our partners.’
Szubanski added: ‘The law means that you could be a serial killer and have killed all of your spouses and yet you would still be considered fit to marry, but if you are gay, then you are not worthy of these same rights.’
The Sydney Morning Herald said today that Szubanski would come out publicly on Australian talkshow The Project tonight during a discussion about marriage equality.
Szubanski was born in Liverpool in 1961 to a Polish father and Scottish mother but emigrated from Britain with her family when she was five. She started her career in sketch comedy The D-Generation and in 1995 starred alongside James Cromwell as Esme Hoggett the farmer’s wife in the film Babe. She became a spokesperson for weight-loss program Jenny Craig in 2009, when she lost 25kg of her body weight and dropped six dress sizes after she was diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Magda Szubanski

MEPs slam Russia anti-gay laws!

MEPs have spoken out against Russia's anti-gay laws as St. Petersburg prepares to pass a bill banning 'promotion of homosexuality'.

MEPs have slammed Russia for its anti-gay censorship laws on the eve a bill which bans the 'promotion of homosexuality' in St. Petersburg reaches its final stages.
Last Wednesday (8 February) politicians in the Russian city voted 31 in favour and six against the new anti-gay law, which will go before the Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg for its the third and final reading.
If passed, it would prohibit the ‘promotion’ of so-called ‘sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism to minors’ and in doing so would prevent public discussion of LGBT issues, human rights work or any gay or trans events.
The bill looks highly likely to become law and has been criticized by the US State Department and a range of human rights organisations.
Now politicians in the European Parliament have joined international condemnation of the proposal.
Yesterday, gay MEP Michael Cashman made a speech critisizing the bill.
During the parliamentary session, he said the starting pointing of the law 'is that homosexuality was wrong'.
He said: 'I would maintain that what is wrong is the promotion of intolerance and discrimination. Precisely what these oppressive laws set out to achieve.'
Cashman added: 'What does the promotion of homosexuality mean? It is wide enough to censor anyone who dares speak for those who have no voice.
'That is why the EU should make the highest possible representation to Russia to speak out in defence of these fundamental human rights.'
Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, vice-president of the LGBT Intergroup, echoed former actor turned politician's statement, blasting Russia's laws as 'unacceptable'.
''Tchaikovsky and Constantinovich must be rolling over in their graves,' she said.
'If Russia isn’t serious about respecting the European Convention on Human Rights, it should simply call the bluff and leave the Council of Europe altogether.
'And more than statements, these grave human rights abuses must have consequences for the EU-Russia relationship.'
The Russian states of Arkhangelsk, Ryazan and Kostroma have already adopted similar anti-gay laws.
The European Parliament will adopt a resolution on the political situation in Russia on Thursday (16 February).

MEPs slam Russia anti-gay laws

Berlin protest against St Petersburg anti-gay bill.

Campaigners will protest outside the Russian embassy in Berlin against city’s plan for anti-gay censorship law.

Demonstrators will gather outside the Russian embassy in Berlin tomorrow (15 February) in protest against a proposed anti-gay law in St. Petersburg.
The protest, which kicks off at 5pm and is organized by gay rights groups in Germany and Russia, is timed for the same day that the Legislative Assembly in St. Petersburg holds the third and final reading of the bill which would criminalize the ‘promotion of homosexuality’.
If passed, the law would prevent public discussion of LGBT issues, human rights work or any gay or trans events.
Campaigners will call on both the Parliament and Governor of St. Petersburg, as well as the German government, to protect the constitutional rights of Russia's people.
Joint protest organizers, the St. Petersburg-based Side by Side LGBT International Film festival, said the legislation has been forced through without any public discussion.
A statement from Side by Side said: 'The bill has no scientific or medical grounding and contributes directly to the spread of hatred and increase of xenophobia in society.
'It is a direct violation of the rights and freedoms of not only LGBT people but all Russian citizens, including the rights to freedom of expression and dissemination of information - all of which are enshrined both in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as European Convention of Human Rights.
‘This continuing onslaught against LGBT people by politicians in Saint Petersburg can only lessen even further Russia’s already appalling record on human rights and democracy.’
The international community has reacted to the bill with alarm.
On Friday (10 February) the US State Department expressed its opposition, while actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry likened St Petersburg's leaders to Nazis.

Campaigners will demonstrate outside the Russian embassy in Berlin

Hambling sells gay champion Jarman prints.

IAP fine art gallery launches special anniversary offer to commemorate Derek Jarman’s death.

To mark the anniversary of gay director Derek Jarman’s death on 19 February 1994, IAP Fine Art are selling silk-screen prints by Maggi Hambling to help raise funds for Terrence Higgins Trust.
One of the prints included in the offer is that of Jarman, the iconic film maker of films such as Carravagio and Blue. Jarman, who was an acclaimed champion for gay rights, died on 19 February 1994 after living with HIV for some time.
Lesbian artist Maggi Hambling, a close friend of the film maker, painted his portrait from memory three weeks after the film maker’s death. Wanting to make Jarman’s legacy accessible to a broader audience, Hambling made an edition of 250 signed silk-prints derived from the original image in 1998. To support UK sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, £75 from the sale of each print was donated to the charity’s work.
IAP Fine Art are giving online buyers £50 off the unframed purchase price from 19 February to 19 March and will increase the donation to Terrence Higgins Trust from £75 to £100 for each sale.
Portraits of jazz singer George Melly and gay actor and writer Stephen Fry in silk-screen form made by Hambling in 2006, each an edition of 100 signed prints, are also included in the offer.
Sonya Trivedy, head of fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘We are so grateful that IAP Fine Art is supporting us with this gorgeous print.
‘Derek Jarman's openness about his HIV status during his lifetime made a real impact in the stigma that surrounds the condition, but 30 years on from the start of the epidemic there is still work to do. It couldn't be more fitting that the money raised through this portrait will help Terrence Higgins Trust continue to fight stigma, and improve the lives of people living with HIV.’
David Tregunna, director at IAP Fine Art, told Gay Star News: ‘I met Maggi Hambling in 1998 when she was very anxious that her portrait of Derek Jarman reach a wider audience and that it also raise money for THT.
'Several leading galleries had turned down the opportunity, but I grasped it with both hands for the chance of working with Maggi on such an exciting project.
‘We hope these gestures will very much help buyers enjoy a wonderful work by Maggi, and also raise a considerable sum for THT, helping people with HIV and AIDS.’

Special anniversary offer on Maggi Hambling's Derek Jarman to raise money for THT.

First film about queer women in Indonesia premieres at Berlin Film Festival.

Children of Srikandi, made by an all female cast and crew, tells the stories of eight queer women in Indonesia.

Children of Srikandi, a film about lesbian, bisexual and transexual women will premier at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday. The film, made by eight Indonesian directors and a German producer and editor, has an all female cast and crew, a soundtrack from Indonesia’s only female rapper and beautiful shadow puppet animation weaving between the segments.
The eight segments include Imelda Taurinamandala's story of a little girl who wants to be a boy, the personal tale of Eggie Dian who was rejected by her family for being a lesbian and became homeless and Edith’s journey coming to terms with her Muslim faith and her sexuality.
Gay Star News spoke to Stea Lim, one of the eight directors and executive producer, about how the film came about and how recent violent attacks against Indonesia's LGBT community from an Islamic organisation has made the visibility of LBT women in Indonesia so important.
How did the film come about?
Laura Coppens who curates film festivals and is an expert in Indonesian cinema set up a filmmaking workshop for LBT women two years ago. We did the workshop for one month full-time. The first one was more for the concept, getting the script done, choosing the filmmakers. Then we had our second workshop last year. That's when we did the shooting, editing, everything within that one month.
We have eight directors and Laura is the German producer. We were helped by another German, Angelika Levi, she's more of the art director she helped us with the cinematography, shaping the concept and editing the film.
I was the only one, amongst the eight directors, with a background in filmmaking. For the rest this is their first film. They come from all over Indonesia. One is still a student, one is an activist, one is involved in a youth programme organisation.
We spent two weeks in a house shooting. We lived together, slept together, shot together everyday. We argued and fought, then made-up.
How did the film change over the filmmaking process?
It started as an omnibus of eight short films but as we worked together we developed each others’ scripts, we helped each other with the shooting we were each others' crew, and cast sometimes. We all become involved in everyone's story. So now the film's become a collective film. You can't take one short film out and show it separately.
How did you get chosen for the Berlin Film Festival?
We did the editing process half in Indonesia and half in Germany. Laura and Angelika were here for two months and then we had the last post-production in Berlin. During that period I was in Berlin too and we submitted it to the Berlin Film Festival, we found out that they do support the film because it's unusual to have this kind of story, especially coming from Indonesia.
Who funded it?
When we first started we had help from the Goethe Cultural Centre. We applied to global foundations like Women Meets Films, Global Fund for Women. The Indonesian government didn't really help but some organisations in Indonesia helped by giving us a space for free, or some equipment.
That's how it started and then we used some of our own personal funds and finally we set up an appeal for crowd-funding to finish our post-production and to market the film. We managed to reach our $5,000 target before the due day. It was just spread through Facebook and Twitter.
Where else is the film going to be shown?
We're going to have a screening in Indonesia in April after Berlin. Hopefully after the Berlin Film Festival it's going to go places. Our premier is sold out now, so I hope that's a good indication. If you can get your film into the Berlin Film Festival the door is pretty much open for other film festivals.
We're also nominated for the Teddy Award at the film festival for queer films. I'm just glad that we got into the festival, if we win the Teddy award, wow, that will be an amazing 2012.
I noticed the soundtrack to the trailer is pretty cool, it sounds like an Indonesian TLC, who is that?
She's an Indonesian rapper, Yacko. She's very cool. I didn't know her before. We heard her song online then we met her and spoke about the film and asked her if she wanted to participate. She was very supportive and wrote a song just for the film.
The reason we love to work with her is that she has such a different profession. She's the only female rapper here in Indonesia.
And who did the Indonesian the shadow puppet animation? Because that looked really cool as well.
That was done by Fety Fithriya, she's a friend of ours. She wanted to be involved in the project from the beginning. It's amazing the level of support we've got since the beginning of the project we basically started with minimal funding and people want to support it, so they support it by donating their work or their time or energy. And Fety pretty much did this, almost for free.
What’s your aim for the film?
I really hope the film helps people, especially Indonesian women, to be inspired to make more films. We have such a talented people here. Hopefully having this film play out in international festivals it will inspire some people to go do it. All we started with was hope.
We only actually finished the film three weeks ago. When Berlin accepted it they hadn't even seen the finished film. I'm going to see the final final finished film at the premiere, along with everybody.
I'm really excited about the film. It's been a passionate project for us.
Who's Srikandi of the title?
Srikandi itself is a story, a mythological story from the Mahabharata, an ancient collection of stories. The story is still used in Javanese shadow puppet plays. It's about a female warrior, and that's how it ties into our film. It's a story about a strong independent woman defying expectations that society has of her. She represents struggles that modern women can relate to: struggles with identities, roles and expectations. That's how it becomes the backbone of our film.
Your film focuses on the stories of LBT women in Indonesia, what do you think is the biggest problem they face in 2012?
Visibility. I feel that it's a lot better than many many years ago but there's still this... issues within society about talking about LGBT, or sexuality actually.
In recent years there's been some violent incidents from Muslim organisations against the LGBT community. One of the biggest Muslim organisations attacked an LGBT conference and the Queer Film Festival in Jakarta in 2010. The film festival had been happening for nine years, and it's a small private festival.
We don't have a Pride march. I can't see Indonesia having a Pride march in the next few years. The thing is, this organisation that attacked the film festival is big in numbers and the government doesn't want to step in and the police don't want to step in.


Δευτέρα, 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2012

Homophobic graffiti man jailed in east London.

A man who daubed a housing block in London’s Shadwell with homophobic graffiti has been jailed for eight weeks.
Mashudur Rahman, 22, had sprayed anti-gay and racist graffiti around the site seventy times last year before being arrested on 28 September.
The council for Tower Hamlets, which is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country, said it worked in partnership with housing managers EastendHomes and the police to identify Rahman.
He has been given an eight week custodial sentence for nine counts of criminal damage in a sentencing at Thames Magistrates Court.
The council said he had earlier pleaded guilty to the charges in a hearing at Stratford Magistrates Court on 3 February, and was fined £2,000 in costs.
The court also heard a number of witness statements which described the alarm and distress caused by the graffiti, which contained numerous homophobic references.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The council will continue to work with our partners to bring perpetrators of all hate crimes to justice.”
Cllr Ohid Ahmed, Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The actions of this man were despicable and condemnable. The messages of hate that he wrote caused considerable hurt and distress to the residents of Gordon House, and it is right that he has now been punished.”
DC Simon Fields, the police investigating officer, said: “Many people were involved in the investigation of this offence, including the local Safer Neighbourhood Team. It is a measure of how seriously we take Hate Crime that the perpetrator was identified and convicted and the sentence sends a clear warning that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”.
Jack Gilbert, Co-chair of Rainbow Hamlets, the LGBT Forum for Tower Hamlets, said: “We welcome this conviction. In particular we are pleased that the Court recognised that these were offences motivated by hatred of LGBT people and reflected that in its sentence. This sends a clear message: Homophobic crime in Tower Hamlets will not be tolerated.
“Offences like these cause considerable worry and distress to LGBT people and could well encourage others if not addressed swiftly. We are obviously concerned that the incidents took place so frequently and over so long a period. We will be inviting East End Homes, the police and the council to participate in a review of the case to ensure better practices are put in place for the future.”
Last summer, Mohammed Hasnath, 18, also of Tower Hamlets admitted putting up posters in the area declaring it a ‘gay free zone’. He was fined £100 plus £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
When told the allegation against him of a public order offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour between 11-14 February, Hasnath reportedly said: “But I just put up stickers, I didn’t harass or swear at anybody or anything.”
Today’s case against Rahman was brought to court after officers from EastendHomes, which manages Gordon House, received reports of the offensive graffiti from residents. Housing managers gathered witness statements and photography before passing the case to Tower Hamlets Council’s Community Safety Service, who compiled video footage and stills of Rahman.
The complete package of evidence was then passed to Shadwell police Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who identified Rahman and progressed prosecution with the Crown Prosecution Service.


Raquel Welch: Ben-Hur star Stephen Boyd was gay.

Ben-Hur actor Stephen Boyd was gay, according to his one-time co-star Raquel Welch.
Boyd, who died of a heart attack in 1977 aged 45, never came out as gay and was married to his secretary at the time of his death.
Welch, who starred alongside him in Fantastic Voyage said the actor, who played Messala in Ben-Hur, made hints about his sexuality after she became enamoured with him.
At a film retrospective this weekend in New York, she said: “He was so hot with his cleft chin and he was so not interested in me. I tried to seduce him one time. I was so smitten with him and I was so excited every time I would come on the set I would see Stephen, and think, ‘Oh God, he’s so cute.’ He had what sounded like a Welsh brogue that was so charming.”
Boyd was born and raised in Northern Ireland. He was the original choice to play Mark Antony in Cleopatra opposite Elizabeth Taylor. When he pulled out, the role went to Richard Burton.
She continued: “For my first trip to New York, when we opened the movie, we were both staying at the Plaza Hotel, so I thought, ‘Here’s my chance!’ So Darryl Zanuck took us all out to dinner at 21 and on the way back to the hotel we shared a cab. I said to him as we were going up in the lift, ‘So Stephen, would you like to come in for a drink?’
“We got out of the lift and he walked me to my room and he said, ‘I’d like to tell you a little story that was told to me by John Gielgud when I was working with the National Theatre. You’ll have to think about it for a moment but I hope you get my drift: An actress is a little bit more than a woman, but an actor is a little bit less than a man.’
“I thought, ‘Oh! He’s not interested in me; I am the wrong sex!’
“Honestly, he was such a love and he’s not here anymore. Of course I’m sure a lot of people in the National Theatre knew!”
Boyd was married twice, to Mariella di Sarzana from 30 August 1958 till their divorce on 23 September 1958 and then to secretary Elizabeth Mills from early 1977 until his death later that year. He was rumoured to have been a Scientologist.