Gay News

 2009: July-Sept



23rd January   

Update: Not Very Christian...

Christians get nasty about Glasgow culture chief
Link Here  full story: Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art...Art exhbits wind up the anti-gay nutters

Glasgow Gallery of Modern ArtThe letters and emails come in a daily tide. Filth! they cry. Shame on you ; You are a very sick person ; The soul that sinneth shall DIE . For the past six months, the head of Glasgow's museums and art has been under siege from Christian fundamentalists, who have vowed to oust her from her job.

Dr Bridget McConnell, head of Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the £100 million charity in charge of the city's culture, says she is alarmed by what she describes as a personal witch hunt against her.

It is almost like being physically abused, she said. You get knocked down by it every day and you pick yourself up, but then you come in the next morning and it happens all over again. It's attrition.

Since July, when a row broke out over an art exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) featuring homosexuality and religion in which comments were written on a Bible, Dr McConnell — whose organisation funded the exhibition — has been targeted by an organised group of protesters. Related Links

She has received up to 2,000 letters, e-mails and phone calls attacking her and objecting to the art show. There have been petitions and personal visits to her office. Her office has been routinely picketed by groups with a loud hailer, calling upon her to repent, and her staff have been harassed.

Police are known to be concerned at the targeting of Dr McConnell and on at least one occasion officers had to be called to demonstrations outside the art gallery when staff were seriously intimidated .

On a website linked to an English organisation called Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the campaigners openly declare their intention is to have Dr McConnell removed from her post.

The controversy began last summer as a result of an exhibition called sh[OUT]!, which contained works by renowned artists such as David Hockney and Robert Mapplethorpe, and had as its theme the representation of gay people in art. The exhibition was part of a wider contemporary art programme on themes including violence against women and sectarianism. A secondary exhibition within sh[OUT], called Made in God's Image, invited visitors who felt excluded from the Bible, especially on the ground of sexual orientation, to record their names in its margins.

But some people recorded doodles and obscenities. The Bible was placed behind glass but the story reached the newspapers where, in Dr McConnell's view, it was distorted by parts of the media to suggest that people were being actively encouraged to deface the Bible. The story was picked up by the international media and stirred outrage around the world. The majority of people who are complaining didn't see the exhibition, but were responding to the Daily Mail story, she said.

On the website set up by Christian Watch, www.csgwatch.com, the protesters state their aim is to stop the city supporting events and programmes that insult Christ, the Bible, Christians and to have Bridget McConnell removed from her position .

 

22nd September   

Identified as Discriminatory...

Chicago nightclub finds subtle way to ban lady boys
Link Here

Hunter's Nightclub A Chicago gay bar popular with cross-dressers now requires them to show a valid photo ID that matches their gender presentation. Put another way, they now need a photo ID that shows them in drag.

Hunters Nightclub reluctantly imposed its new ID requirement because cross-dressing prostitutes were advertising on Craigslist and mentioning the establishment, said manager Peter Landorf: If it is prostitution in any form, that could cost me my liquor license.

Under the new admission rule, cross-dressers must have a government-issued photo ID that looks like the person presenting it at the bar. That, of course, is a serious hurdle for people like Andy, a part-time transgender woman said the ID requirement is unfair: Since I am not a full-time trans, it is not really feasible for me to have my 'femme' photo on my license, he said. I do not even know if they would allow it. ... This is discrimination, pure and simple.

And, according to Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, it could be. The fact is, if they are only requiring this of cross-dressers, that would be problematic because it would single out cross-dressers or transsexuals for a special burden, Yohnka said. Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, they can't do that.

Landorf isn't unsympathetic and said bar staff is working on coming up with another solution.

 

20th September   

No Pride in Serbia...

Authorities cancel gay Pride Parade
Link Here

Serbia flag Gay and human rights activists in Serbia have called off their Sept. 20 Pride Parade after being urged to move venues for safety reasons, organisers said.

The announcement followed a meeting with Prime Minister Mirko Cvektovic, who said the police had recommended the move after threats from ultranationalists and others.

We were told in the meeting with Prime Minister Cvetkovic that the gathering is impossible for security reasons and that we should choose another location, said Dragana Vuckovic, member of the Pride Parade organising team.

Taking the Pride Parade to another location is simply not acceptable, Vuckovic said: Pride parades are traditionally organised in the main streets of big cities and the message is that groups kept on the fringes of a society need to be integrated.

A previous event ended with running battles on the streets of Belgrade.

 

14th September   

Update: Gay Vigilance Required...

Iraq vigilantes torture and kill gays identified from internet forums
Link Here  full story: Gay Vigilantes in Iraq...Iraq and its muderous anti-gay vigilantes

Iraq flag Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.

It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up, he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.

Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone.

The deputy leader of the group, which is based in Baghdad, explained its campaign using a stream of homophobic invective. Animals deserve more pity than the dirty people who practise such sexual depraved acts, he told the Observer: We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God's forgiveness before they are killed.

The killings are brutal, with victims ritually tortured. Azhar al-Saeed's son was one. "He didn't follow what Islamic doctrine tells but he was a good son," she said. Three days after his kidnapping, I found a note on my door with blood spread over it and a message saying it was my son's purified blood and telling me where to find his body.

She went with police to find her son's remains: We found his body with signs of torture, his anus filled with glue and without his genitals. I will carry this image with me until my dying day.

 

12th September   

Update: Rant On...

Belfast church wins right to challenge advert ban on the use of Leviticus quotes against sodomy
Link Here

Old Bailey A Belfast church has won the right to legally challenge a decision to ban a newspaper advertisement which described sodomy as an abomination.

Sandown Free Presbyterian Church took the full-page advertisement, which was headlined The word of God against sodomy, in the News letter. It appeared in the paper once ahead of last year's Belfast Gay Pride parade.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority banned it from appearing again after receiving seven complaints. The authority said the advertisement was homophobic.

The High Court has now said that there was an arguable case that the church's rights to religious belief and freedom of expression had been breached. Mr Justice Weatherup also found that Sandown may have been denied the chance to offer an explanation to the Advertising Standards Authority before the ban was imposed.

Lawyers for Sandown said the case centred on his client's ability to use the Bible in its public witness teaching. They claimed the authority was mistaken in its interpretation of a quotation from the Book of Leviticus which described homosexual acts an abomination. They said the description applied to sodomy itself rather than any individuals: This is the classic evangelical position between loving the sinner and hating the sin .

 

9th September   

Not Compassionate Reggae...

US concert tour by Banju Banton cancelled over homophobic lyrics
Link Here

Buju Banton CD The concert promoters Live Nation and AEG canceled shows by the Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton after protests from gay rights advocacy organisations over the singer's homophobic song lyrics, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Buju Banton's scheduled shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston were reported to be canceled.

After reports that Buju Banton signed the reggae compassionate act in 2007, a pledge to refrain from anti-gay songs and statements, he denied having signed it. Buju Banton was tried and acquitted on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men in Jamaica in 2004.

To some reggae fans, pressure to prevent Buju Banton from playing amounts to censorship, while gay activist groups see Banton's songs as hate speech — an example of an ugly undercurrent of homophobia in some reggae music.

Buju Banton has a long-standing reputation for inciting anti-gay sentiment. His 1992 single Boom Bye Bye proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head with an Uzi, among other things.

 

8th September   

Greek Pete...

Gay docu-drama contains hardcore at R18
Link Here

Greek Pete DVD Greek Pete is a 2009 UK gay docu-drama by Andrew Haigh

The BBFC passed the 2009 Peccadillo DVD 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong real sex, nudity, sex references and drug use

See review from IMDb : Intelligent debate

This film won prizes at Outfest and some other festivals and was British, quite a rarity, so I made sure I checked it out.

I left the screening wanting to talk about the film, to discuss it with as many people as possible as it is nothing like I have ever seen before.

Some scenes are incredibly powerful and moving, and I wanted to know exactly which moments were real and which were staged. Nothing seemed staged at all and although Pete himself has approached this line of 'work' with a goal to pull together enough finances to invest in an education and a better future, some of the other boys amongst his friends do not have this immediate sense of ambition. What happened to them?

This is what I thought was very brave about the film. It never at any point made a judgment. It was an intimate peek into the lifestyle of a rentboy and dashed any preconceived ideas that people have about the oldest profession in the world. Pete is not that person you expect to see, but some of his friends are, yet they all look after one another. This is not Wiktor Grodecki, and anyone who watches this thinking that their Daily Mail high-ground will be bolstered by a mucky, seedy voyeurism that condemns it's subject matter via subjectivity will not get what they want. There is care, love and affection here, alongside extremely raw moments of insecurity and depression simmering beneath that confident veneer you see in many young men. There is no forced introspection. No moment where Pete must explain himself to camera. This is a film projected from within a society that does not judge itself and would never care to.

Greek Pete will divide audiences, but if you go in with an open mind, you will be stirred, jolted into action. It will make you think, and talk about it with others who have seen it. Any film that encourages intelligent debate should be seen, and this is one of them.

 

1st September   

Below the Belt...

Boxer banned from competition after appearing in gay magazine
Link Here

The Stage Thailand's boxing silver medalist in the Athens Olympic Games, Worapoj Petchkhoon, will not see action in the Southeast Asian Games in Laos in December as he has been banned for three months as a punishment for modeling in a gay magazine.

There were reports that Worapoj appeared nearly naked in the Thai gay magazine STAGE which got the attention of the media as well as the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT).

ABAT president Taweep Jantararoj initially stated that national athletes were supposed to present a good image while Worapoj defended his actions claiming the images, including the one on the magazine cover, were sporty and not obscene, but still they have tarnished the reputation of the national athletes.

 

23rd August   

Update: Glasgow Gallery of Modern Censorship...

Gay installations by Dani Marti too much for Glasgow
Link Here  full story: Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art...Art exhbits wind up the anti-gay nutters

Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art's controversial exhibition celebrating gay life and love has stirred up more outrage - this time, however, it's for censoring art that might 'shock' the public.

Culture and Sport Glasgow (CSG), the body which runs the city's museums and galleries, has been accused of censors art at the shOUT' exhibition after it refused to show three works about HIV positive gay men at GoMA because it contained nudity and references to drugs and sexual acts.

The works are by Dani Marti, an internationally renown artist. He said CSG's decision not to show his two videos and a sound installation at the city centre gallery went against the very purpose of the exhibition, the fourth in GoMA's social justice series of exhibitions.

shOUT is about civil rights, he said: But they are compromising freedom of speech. They are compromising the permission of the people in my art works to speak about their emotions in public. The reaction of GoMA and the council is exactly the same that is happening to these individuals, making it hard to talk about coming out, about being gay, about disclosing their HIV status.

He blamed political pressure from within the council following earlier controversy around the exhibition.

One of the videos, Time Is The Fire In Which We Burn, was commissioned especially for the exhibition. It is an interview with a man called John from Glasgow, a former male prostitute and porn film actor, who talks about his life in Miami, being HIV positive, taking the drug crystal meth and extreme sexual acts he has taken part in.

The second video, Ausmusdad, is a portrait of a 63 year old who came out to his family in his late 40s and is HIV positive. It features full frontal male nudity. It has previously been shown in Zurich.

Culture and Sport Glasgow were uncomfortable with nudity and the reference to drugs and sexual acts, according to Marti. He, however, said the videos showed HIV positive men enjoying life and not being victims.

The final work planned to appear at GoMA was a sound installation, recorded in the basement of a gay club in Glasgow. A fourth, more conventional, installation - several large red drapes of scourers woven together and hung from the central staircase - was originally allowed to be shown at the gallery. Marti, however, said it could not be shown without the other three works and withdrew it personally.

To protest the city's decision, in the coming weeks he plans to create guerilla artworks around the city in front of council property.

 

19th August   

Update: Moral Fabric of India has Been Ruptured...

Hearing arranged to hear petitions against the legalisation of homosexuality
Link Here  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex

Indian Supreme Court India's Supreme Court has once again declined to stay the Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults

A bench of Chief Justice Mr KG Balakrishnan and Justice Mr P Sathasivam will hear petitions filed by a Christian body and a disciple of yoga guru Baba Ramdev at a further hearing on 11 September along with similar petitions challenging the judgment.

They also asked the government and Naz foundation to file their response on the matter by that time too.

Before agreeing to hear the petitions the justices wanted to know from the two petitioners what adverse consequences they foresaw on society if the High Court verdict became operational.

The lawyers representing the petitioners said there is a likelihood of destruction of matrimonial household. The moral fabric of the country has been ruptured by this judgement, another added that other implications of the verdict was that it will lead to coming up of brothels for male prostitution and gay parlours and that it will lead to its misinterpretation for legalisation of prostitution.

 

11th August   

Moral degradation of Russian Christians...

Christian intolerants want gay clubs driven out of Moscow
Link Here

Russia flag A Christian association in Moscow, Russia has asked authorities to move gay clubs away from residential areas, schools, and cultural, sports and medical facilities. The push comes as part of a crusade against gay entertainment in the Russian capital from Oleg Mitvol, the Prefect of the northern district of Moscow.

Everything that is connected to the propaganda of gay culture must be moved away to limit the impact on ordinary people, because it leads to degradation, Konstantin Bendas, spokesman for the Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith, told The Moscow Times.

The organisation's open letter, which was published last Friday, said that authorities had to strictly control gay clubs to remove minors, drugs, prostitutes and porn distribution.

UK Gay News reports that over the weekend Mitvol raided gay club Body And Soul along with the prosecution department, the anti-drug unit and the police. They brought the Moscow TV Channel with them, along with photographers and a journalist.

I think that such clubs which, in line with casinos, lead to moral degradation of citizens and become the source of trouble, should be closed, said Mitvol last week.

 

10th August   

Update: Unreported Thuggery...

Three agents to face disciplinary action over raid on gay bar
Link Here  full story: Texas Gay Bar Raid...Police overreact during gay bar raid

Texas state seal The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has released a report that said three of its employees had violated numerous agency procedures in connection with a police raid on a Fort Worth gay bar in which authorities clashed with hundreds of bar patrons.

Commission officials said that disciplinary actions were pending against three agents over the raid at the Rainbow Lounge.

Seven people at the bar were arrested, and witnesses said one man had his head slammed into a door by agents. Chad Gibson was hospitalized with a brain injury and released a week later.

Among other things, the report said that agents Aller and Chapman had taken part in the raid without agency approval; failed to file the paperwork to investigate the club for possible lewd conduct and sales to intoxicated customers; failed to report the use of force in arresting two people; and failed to report that Gibson had been injured. Both men have been assigned to desk duty pending further notice.

The commission will release a separate report this summer on its agents' use of force at the club.

Update: Sacked

30th August 2009. Based on article from chicagotribune.com

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said it has fired two agents, as well as their supervisor, who took part in this summer's raid of a Fort Worth gay bar that resulted in law enforcement clashing with hundreds of patrons and left one man with a serious head injury.

Christopher Aller and Jason Chapman were terminated as of Friday over the Rainbow Lounge raid. Their supervisor, Terry Parsons, who was not at the bar during the incident, will be terminated as of Sept. 2, according to a statement.

 

2nd August   

Updated: Terror in Tel Aviv...

3 people killed as gunman attacks gay club
Link Here

Israel flag Three people have been killed and at least 11 others wounded after a gunman sprayed automatic fire inside a club night for gay youths.

The shooting spree in central Tel Aviv, Israel, sparked a city-wide security lock-down.

A black-clad masked gunman is said to have stormed into the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association building and opened fire in a basement room where teenage homosexuals were holding a weekly support group, according to witness accounts.

Other gay clubs in Tel Aviv were warned to close by police for fear of follow-up attacks, according to the Israeli media.

 

31st July   

Updated: Salt Lake Sharia...

Church thugs handcuff gay couple on church owned public space
Link Here

Utah state seal A gay couple says they were detained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints security guards after one man kissed another on the cheek on Main Street Plaza.

They targeted us, said Matt Aune: We weren't doing anything inappropriate or illegal, or anything most people would consider inappropriate for any other couple.

Aune and his partner, Derek Jones were cited by Salt Lake City police for trespassing on the plaza, located at 50 East North Temple, according to Sgt. Robin Snyder.

The church contends the couple was asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior just as any other couple would have been. They became argumentative and used profanity and refused to leave the property. They were arrested and then given a citation for criminal trespass by SLPD.

Though Salt Lake City sold the property to the church in the late 1990s, it remains a popular pedestrian thoroughfare, and a site where couples often pose affectionately for photos.

The pair crossed the plaza holding hands, Aune said. About 20 feet from the edge of the plaza, Aune said he stopped, put his arm on Jones' back and kissed him on the cheek.

Several security guards then arrived and asked the pair to leave, saying that public displays of affection are not allowed on the church property, Aune and Jones said. They protested, saying they often see other couples holding hands and kissing there, said Jones.

We were kind of standing up for ourselves, Jones said. It was obviously because we were gay.

The guards put Jones on the ground and handcuffed him, he said. Aune said he was also cuffed roughly, and suffered bruises and a swollen wrist. The injuries did not require medical treatment, Snyder said.

Police arrived about 10:30 p.m. They spoke with the couple and two security guards before issuing the citations, Snyder said. The pair was banned from LDS Church Headquarters' campus for six months, Farah confirmed.

The kiss happened on a former public easement given up by city in 2003 in a controversial land-swap deal. The easement became private property, allowing the church to ban protesting, smoking, sunbathing and other offensive, indecent, obscene, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct, church officials said at the time. In exchange, the city got church property for a west-side community center.

Aune said he was one of those who protested the transfer at the time: They claimed in 2003 this would never happen, they were never going to arrest anyone. It's clear now they do have an agenda.

Update: Kiss In

16th July 2009. See article from sltrib.com

Protesters are planning a second kiss-in near the Salt Lake City Temple to support two gay men who said they were stopped by LDS Church security after one man kissed the other on the cheek.

The event will take place at noon Sunday 19th July, according to a listing on Facebook. At 12:15 p.m., organizers will sound a whistle or bell as a signal to step onto a former public easement and kiss.

Located next to Temple Square, Main Street Plaza was public land sold by the city to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 10 years ago. The sale allowed the church to ban speech and actions it disagreed with from the area between Temple Square and the Church Office Building.

Update: Kiss and Shout

21st July 2009. See article from 2news.tv , thanks to Alan

A mass-kissing protest near the Mormon church temple Sunday drew a shouting match between gay activists and a group of faithful Mormons.

For the second consecutive weekend, about 100 people gathered to stage a "kiss-in" to protest the treatment of two gay men cited for trespassing July 9 after they shared a kiss on the plaza owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both gay and straight couples exchanged kisses during the protest.

Demonstrators were greeted at the south entrance by a group of faithful Mormons carrying large signs that denounced homosexuality, prompting a heated verbal exchange.

Police say no one was arrested or cited, despite a large group exchanging kisses by a reflecting pool at the plaza's center.

Update: Church Henchmen on CCTV

31st July 2009. Based on article from sltrib.com , thanks to Alan
See video on YouTube

Church Henchmnen Matt Aune puts his arm around his partner, Derek Jones, pulling him close as four large men in dark suits gather around them July 9 on the Main Street Plaza.

The couple argue with the LDS Church guards, who yank the two men apart and put them in handcuffs. Jones falls to the ground.

Newly released security-film footage shows this scuffle, which ensued after Jones and Aune were stopped after they kissed on the church-owned plaza. The Salt Lake Tribune obtained the film through an open-records request with Salt Lake City.

It's as violent as I remember them being, Aune said. I'm kind of wondering where the kiss is though.

Salt Lake City prosecutor Sim Gill dropped the trespassing case Wednesday, saying that signs on the downtown plaza did not properly notify visitors that they were entering private property "at will," meaning they could be ejected at any time for any reason.

Supporters of the couple have staged two "kiss-in" demonstrations at the Main Street Plaza, and a similar rally -- part of a nationwide event -- has been scheduled for Aug. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at downtown's Washington Square.

Jones and Aune said this week they are ready to move on and do not plan to file a lawsuit over the matter.

Update: Signs of Discrimination

3rd October 2009.  See article from google.com , thanks to Alan

New signs at a Mormon church-owned plaza in downtown Salt Lake City put visitors on notice: Anyone can be asked to leave for any reason. T

he change follows a much-publicized incident this summer in which two men were cited with trespassing on the plaza after sharing a kiss. City prosecutors did not pursue the charges, saying signs at the plaza failed to adequately warn the couple they were entering private property.

Church spokesman Scott Trotter says the new signs include extra text at the suggestion of the Salt Lake City prosecutor's office. They now say the church reserves the right to refuse access to anyone. City prosecutor Sim Gill says the new signs provide clarity. He says with the new signs in place, visitors who refuse to leave could be prosecuted for trespassing.

 

30th July   

Gay Friendly Nutter Unfriendly...

Church nutters get wound by Greenbelt festival for labelling itself as gay friendly
Link Here

Greenbelt Festival Religious nutters have called for a boycott of the popular Cheltenham Greenbelt Festival because of its alleged pro-gay agenda.

The Anglican Mainstream church has blasted the festival - which is attended by up to 20,000 people every year - because it described itself as gay-friendly.

This is an environment where it is accepted that practising homosexuality is a valid, completely acceptable expression of the Christian point of view, complained Canon Dr Chris Sugden, speaking on behalf of the traditional assembly to thisisgloucester.co.uk.

I think leaders of youth clubs and families should think very seriously about whether they want their young people to be in this environment, he continued.

The event, which is supported and sponsored by the Church Mission Society, will be held at Cheltenham racecourse next month. High profile musical acts such as Royksopp and Athlete are also offering their support; both are due to perform at the festival.

Several gay and lesbian Christian groups have spoken out against the claims, including Rev Sharon Fergusson of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, who believes the Anglican Mainstream is making a big deal out of nothing.

The festival runs from August 28-31. More details can be found at greenbelt.org.uk

 

28th July   

Puerile Comments...

Pope not pleased by art exhibit Bible open for comments
Link Here  full story: Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art...Art exhbits wind up the anti-gay nutters
Pope Benedict

  Any comments?

The Pope has condemned a disgusting taxpayer-funded exhibition in which visitors are invited to write their stories back into the Bible

Visitors were offered pens by gallery bosses so they could write comments on the text - leading to a host of puerile and 'obscene' remarks.

Pope Benedict's anger over the show, organised by council-funded arts body Culture and Sport Glasgow, was expressed by a senior Vatican priest.

The adviser to the Pope said: It is disgusting and offensive. They would not think of doing it to the Koran.

Public complaints about the exhibit at the prestigious Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow have forced organisers to put the vandalised Bible on show in a locked case, while still allowing visitors to write comments on blank sheets of paper. The staff moderate the comments and insert acceptable pages into the bible.

The Made In God's Image exhibit is the work of Glasgow artist Anthony Schrag.
He wanted gays and transsexuals who felt left out of religion to write their way back in to the holy text.

Schrag worked with members of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Edinburgh on the project. But MCC minister Jane Clarke who devised the exhibit said: I had hoped people would show respect for the Bible. I am saddened some have chosen to write offensive messages.

Writing our names in the margins of a Bible was to show how we have been marginalised by many Christian churches, and also our desire to be included in God's love.

As a young Christian I was encouraged by my church to write my own insights in the margins of the Bible I used for my daily devotions - this was an extension of that idea. I still have that Bible, although it's rather tatty now.

She added: It was never my intention to offend anyone - believers and non-believers alike. I had hoped that people would show respect for the Bible, for Christianity and indeed for the Gallery of Modern Art. I am saddened that some people have chosen to write offensive messages.

 

28th July   

Update: Married to Anti Gay Religious Nonsense...

Canadian marriage registrar abused human rights by refusing to marry gay men
Link Here  full story: Religious Incompetents...Unable to do the job for religious reasons

Canada Guman Rights Commission logo A Saskatchewan marriage commissioner who refused to marry a same-sex couple has lost his appeal of a human rights ruling.

Orville Nichols was approached by a gay man who wanted to get married in 2005 . At first, Nichols congratulated the man, identified in court documents only as "M.J."

When M.J. told Nichols his partner was another man, Nichols told M.J. he wouldn't do the ceremony because gay marriage is against his religious beliefs.

M.J. filed a human rights complaint, which was heard in 2007.

A tribunal set up by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission ruled that Nichols did not have the right to refuse service based on his personal beliefs, and ordered him to pay M.J. $2,500 in compensation.

Nichols appealed that ruling, arguing that his religious beliefs should be protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But in a 39-page decision dated July 17, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Janet McMurty dismissed Nichols' argument, concluding that the human rights tribunal was correct in its finding that the commission had established discrimination and that accommodation of Mr. Nichols' religious beliefs was not required.

 

23rd July   

Update: Not a Good Month for Astrologers...

Astrologer's and yoga guru's challenge to gay legalisation in India dismissed
Link Here  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex

Indian Supreme Court India's Supreme Court has refused to put on hold a landmark court judgement decriminalising gay sex in the country.

The court said the Delhi high court ruling had no penal consequences , and asked the government to make clear its views on the issue within two months.

The 3 July ruling faces two challenges by people who want to have the 148-year-old, colonial-era law reinstated.

India's gay community and human rights activists welcomed the ruling, but it was opposed by religious leaders. The high court ruling has been challenged by an astrologer and a yoga guru.

In his petition astrologer Suresh Kaushal says India's ancient scriptures and values do not permit homosexuality and argues that the recent court judgement would lead to the spread of HIV and Aids.

The Supreme Court has asked the government and human rights groups which campaigned against the law to respond to the petition. Two judges said they would resume deliberations on 14 September.

 

22nd July   

Update: A Kick up the A...

Call for Indian film censor to be more gay friendly
Link Here  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex

CBFC logo Sridhar Rangayan is a gay activist, makes movies on issues confronting the community and is delighted with the Delhi High Court order decriminalising consensual gay sex between adults. Now, he feels it's high time the censor board also updates its rule book.

Rangayan has made three films on homosexuality -- the first is still lying with the censor board, the second he did not bother to submit for certification at all and the third has been accepted by the Central Board of Film Certification but with an 'A' [adult] certificate.

The censor board has rules which are antiquated and it's not accepting today's trend. I think it's time to fight to get the censor board rules changed. What we need is to have some young people as part of the core committee, Rangayan told IANS.

In 2003, he made Pink Mirror , which is said to be India's first film on drag queens. Though it has been screened at various NGO meets, it has yet to be screened in India: I approached the censor board thrice for the certificate and every time they rejected the movie. There is no nudity, titillation in my film. I have depicted my characters very sensitively, still I didn't get the certificate .

They had strange reasons to reject the film. They say that I have not depicted the gay community in good light. It was funny because I'm know the community very well. They wanted my characters to be apologetic for being gay. They wanted me to show characters crying and asking why god has made them like this, said Rangayan, who is founder of the Mumbai-based The Humsafar Trust that advocates gender and sexuality issues.

When Rangayan made his second film Yours Emotionally in 2006, he didn't bother to take it to the censor board and instead it screens it at NGO meets. The film is about two best friends - Ravi and Paul. The two come to India on a vacation and attend an all night gay party. Surprised by the openness of their hosts and the aggressiveness of the guests, the boys fall into the steadily growing Indian gay culture.

His third film 68 Pages , however, has got an A-certificate from the board and he is hoping for a commercial release.

Another director who has made a film on the issue is Ashish Sawhny. His Happy Hookers is a documentary that explores the secret world of male sex workers in the country.

Then there is US-based Indian filmmaker Manan Singh Katohora's When Kiran Met Karen . It is about a Bollywood actress called Kiran who is on the verge of becoming an international movie star until she meets sexy magazine journalist Karen and they find themselves swept up in a torrid affair.

None of these films have been released in India. As Rangayan says, perhaps we will have to wait till the censor board changes it rules.

 

19th July   

More PC then Perv...

Ground breaking book adds to debate about Arabic translation of the word 'gay'
Link Here

Gay Travels in the Muslim World book A book in Arabic about gay travel in the Middle East is running into problems because of what gay-rights groups perceive as a derogatory translation of the word describing homosexuals.

The book, Gay Travels in the Muslim World , is a compilation of stories penned by gay Muslim and non-Muslim authors. It was translated into Arabic by the Lebanon-based publisher, Arab Diffusion.

The Arabic-speaking gay community is taking issue with the publisher's translation of the word gay into the Arabic word 'shadh', which means abnormal or deviant.

The book's editor, however, is pleased, as the controversial translation is fueling a positive debate in a region where homosexuality, for the most part, is taboo.

Arab Diffusion didn't mean any harm in using the word, Michael Luongo, editor and co-author of the book told The Media Line. He said the word was commonly used in the Arab world to describe gay people, and that gay-rights groups were trying to change this habit.

Gay-rights groups in the Middle East take offense to having their sexual orientation described as a perversion and would much prefer the word homosexual be translated with neutral word such as mithli, which means same.

The issue of the translation is being debated in the blogosphere and in academic circles.

Gay-rights groups have been arguing about the use of the word shadh for some time, and the controversy over the book helps them put their argument forward to the media using a live example, he said, and educate their publics about problems that arise in naming things.

The book is groundbreaking in that is the first book of its kind to be translated into Arabic before being translated into any other language. Luongo was advised he would be better off translating it first into French, but he said this would have limited the target audience to educated people in the Maghreb and in Lebanon.

Now that it has been translated into Arabic, he hopes it can reach a broader audience, but he is under no illusion as to the distribution limitations of a book on such an explosive topic: I don't know how people are going to get the book, and not a lot of the books will be published. But just having the book out there allows a valuable discourse.

 

19th July   

Idol Worship...

Westboro nutters target gay American Idol star
Link Here

Adam Lambert mp3 download The nut cases from the Westboro Baptist Church have moved on from picketing military funerals to American Idol runner up, the very happily gay Adam Lambert.

Members of the church were spotted holding their usual anti-gay signage outside of the HP Pavilion as the Top 10 finalists performed as part of the annual Idols Live Summer Tour. According to reports the nutters specifically targeted Lambert and suggested among other things that he would catch Aids and die.

Idol finalist Michael Sarver said that Lambert wasn't affected by the demonstrators outside. Adam is just fine, shakes it off and so should we Sarver posted to his Twitter account: We are together in this thing. You mess with one you mess with all ten. We are strong and we are 1. For those outside protesting I say do not judge less ye be judged yourself. Guys don't mind these people, we are a strong family.

 

17th July   

That's So Gay!...

Discussion about the use of gay slurs in online game chats
Link Here

glaad logo If you've ever played an online multiplayer game with voice chat, your mistakes have probably been branded as gay more than once.

But the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and a number of gaming companies are debating the issue of people using homophobic slurs to bully and harass each other in games.

This Saturday, Electronic Arts is hosting a panel discussion on the topic and will look at what gaming companies can do to limit this behavior, create more gay-friendly games and educate gamers about the need for more sensitivity.

Justin Cole, director of digital and online media at GLAAD and the panel moderator, said the problem is widespread among online gamers.

Cole cited a 2006 University of Illinois survey of gay gamers that found that 53% of those surveyed said the gaming community is somewhat hostile to gay and lesbian gamers and 14% said very hostile.

The survey also found that 88% of respondents reported hearing the phrase, That's so gay, used by players.

The panel is free to the public and takes place Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Electronic Arts, 250 Shoreline Drive, Redwood City.

 

15th July   

Updated: Parliament vs President...

Lithuania's parliament consider overruling president who vetoed anti-gay law
Link Here  full story: Gay Censorship in Lithuania...Parliament passes law banning gay info

Lithuania The Lithuanian parliament will vote next week on whether to overturn a Presidential veto on a discriminatory law that institutionalizes homophobia.

President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information , which violates the right to freedom of expression and the right to be free from discrimination, on 26 June.

The wide-ranging censorship law had been passed by the Lithuanian Parliament (the Seimas) on 16 June. It was widely criticized for its discriminatory restrictions on public information on homosexuality.

On 7 July, a large majority of parliamentarians voted to reconsider the bill. On 14 July, the Seimas will decide whether to overturn the Presidential veto. If the veto is overturned, the bill will become law.

Update: President Overruled

15th July 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Lithuania's parliament has backed a bill that censors certain information, including on homosexuality, from reaching minors.

MPs overturned a presidential veto of the child-protection law, which critics say could institutionalise homophobia.

The legislation would ban the public dissemination of information considered harmful to minors.

This covers material on homosexuality, bisexuality and polygamy, as well as depictions of violence and death.

87 of the 141 MPs supported the bill, while only 6 were against.

Correspondents say homosexuality is frowned upon by many in Lithuania, where the majority of the 3.3 million population is Catholic.

 

13th July   

Update: Shia Hate...

Iraqi Shia militia said to be targeting and killing gays
Link Here  full story: Gay Vigilantes in Iraq...Iraq and its muderous anti-gay vigilantes

Iraq flag Iraqi gays are being targeted and killed in what rights campaigners say is some of the worst violence against the community in recent years.

At least 68 gay and transgendered men have been killed over the last four months, according to the London-based rights advocacy group Iraqi LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), bringing the total number of killings of Iraqis because of their sexuality to 678 since 2004.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, which recently conducted field investigations on the violence, estimates that hundreds of homosexual men may have been killed in recent months. Scott Long, a senior Human Rights Watch representative, described the killings as an extraordinarily brutal campaign targeting gay, transgender and effeminate men in several provinces.

Iraqi LGBT and HRW believe that Shia militias are the primary perpetrators of the violence and say the majority of killings have occurred in Shia areas in south/central Iraq (including the towns of Ammarah, Najaf, Karbala and Basra) and Baghdad's Sadr City district, the stronghold of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army.

While no group has said it's behind the killings, Iraqi LGBT and HRW believe that elements of the Mehdi Army may be among the militants implicated in the violence, particularly in Sadr City.

Long suggested that some members of Mehdi Army were trying to act as agents of moral regeneration in an attempt to regain some control over Shia neighbourhoods, following massive military operations that weakened the militia: It is pretty clear that sermons started being preached in Shia mosques, particularly ones in areas that are heavily influenced by the Sadrists earlier this year, on the dangers of homosexuality [in the weeks prior to the wave of killings].

 

11th July   

Update: Unilateral Free Speech...

Nutters happy at retaining exemption allowing continued whinges at gays
Link Here  full story: Gay Hate Law in the UK...Christian MPs and ban on anti gay speech

House of Lords logo The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation 'hatred' law.

Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the House of Commons where MPs voted for repeal.

The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.

The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting that the homophobic hatred offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs.

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: Genuine supporters of free speech will be pleased with this result. Democracy depends on the freedom of people to challenge ideas, to dispute with each other, to contend for what they believe. Too many Christians have already been intimidated by over-zealous police action because they gave voice to their views on sexual ethics. Surely the world is big enough to allow all sides to express their beliefs about sexual behaviour without fearing a knock on the door from the police. [But I wonder of he is so keen to defend free speech when it is religion that is being criticised]

 

10th July   

Updated: Unnatural Offence Naturalised...

Indian court overturns law banning homosexual relationships
Link Here  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex

India flag An Indian court has overturned a 148-year-old colonial law banning homosexual relationships saying it was an affront to human dignity.

Campaigners described the ruling as India's Stonewall moment, a reference to historic riots by homosexuals in New York which are regarded as the inspiration of the modern gay rights movement.

The ban on homosexual relations was introduced by British colonial officials and describes sexual intercourse between people of the same sex as an unnatural offence.

Indian government officials had said same sex relationships were indecent, against Indian values, and if decriminalized would lead to an increase in delinquent behaviour and pose a health hazard to society.

Their argument was rejected yesterday by Delhi's High Court judges who said the ban denied gays equal rights and was an affront to human dignity. In our view Indian Constitutional Law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconception of who the LGBTs (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual," the judges commented.

Their ruling will take precedence over India's Penal Code until the parliament passes a new law on equality.

Religious groups, including leading muslim clerics and catholic clergymen, said despite the judgment, they still regarded homosexuality as immoral. Ahmed Bukhari, the chief imam at Delhi's historic Jama Masjid mosque, said: This is absolutely wrong. We will not accept any such law.

Update: Court Judgement Challenged

10th July 2009. Based on article from edition.cnn.com

A landmark ruling that legalized gay sex between consenting partners in India was challenged Thursday in the country's high court, lawyers said.

The supreme court issued a notice to the nonprofit Naz Foundation that had won a lower-court verdict after a seven-year legal fight to decriminalize gay sex. Notices also were issued to the federal government and the New Delhi high court, which ruled last week that consensual sex between partners of the same gender was legal.

An astrologer filed a petition challenging the ruling. The petitioner argued that no constitutional right is violated by the Indian penal code's Section 377, which had outlawed gay sex, said his lawyer Praveen Agrawal. The petition also cited Indian culture and health as grounds for seeking a stay on last week's ruling.

The supreme court posted the next hearing for July 20.

 

6th July   

Update: Raids Called Off...

Police suspend bar checks after their overreaction at gay bar raid
Link Here  full story: Texas Gay Bar Raid...Police overreact during gay bar raid

Texas state seal Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief called on federal prosecutors to ensure a thorough review of last week's bar raid that resulted in a serious head injury to one patron.

Parallel investigations — one by Fort Worth police and another within the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — are already under way into what happened at the Rainbow Lounge.

And, police chief Jeff Halstead has announced the indefinite suspension of bar checks conducted jointly by his department and TABC.

Moncrief encouraged anyone who witnessed the events to tell police what they saw, and he said he has asked acting U.S. Attorney James Jacks to independently review the police investigation afterward to ensure the department has thoroughly and impartially carried out its obligation to all the citizens of Fort Worth. I encourage the TABC to follow the same course.

Moncrief also wished a speedy recovery for Chad Gibson who was among six people arrested in the early-morning raid. Gibson suffered a serious head injury and was recovering at John Peter Smith Hospital.

 

5th July   

Speaking Arse...

UK bishop tells gays to repent and be changed
Link Here

Michael Nazir-Ali The Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has defended biblical teachings from a bygone era and said the Church should not be rolled over by culture.

Dr Nazir-Ali spoke as tens of thousands of people, including Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister's wife, joined the annual Pride London march to celebrate homosexual culture. A war of words broke out between Labour and the Conservatives over the issue of homosexuality last week after a minister accused the Tories of having a deep strain of homophobia running through the party.

The bishop's controversial comments will reignite the battle over homosexuality in the Church of England ahead of what promises to be a divisive week for Anglicanism. A new coalition of evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parishes, backed by Dr Nazir-Ali, will get under  way, which critics have claimed is an attempt to create a "church within the church.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Nazir-Ali said: We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

People who depart from this don't share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

The Bible's teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

We welcome homosexuals, we don't want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.


The bishop added that it is not just homosexuals who need to repent, but all who have strayed from the Bible's teaching.

 

5th July   

Update: Ethical Homophobia...

Uganda's nutter ethics minister takes aim at gays
Link Here  full story: Ugandan Ethics Minister...Nutter minister rants about gays and miniskirts

Uganda flag A Bill against homosexuality is in the offing, the Ugandan minister for ethics and homophobia, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, has said.

Addressing a press conference at the Media Centre yesterday, Buturo said the country was besieged by homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, human sacrifice, drug abuse, embezzlement and witchcraft to the extent that it was dangerously becoming a permissive society.

He noted that once the Bill is passed into law, it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality or advocate for it. He also stated that it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to their cause, once the Bill becomes law.

He disclosed that some donors were threatening to withdraw funding if Uganda becomes more hostile to homosexuals: I all the time tell them to leave us alone. I say (to them) that Uganda's integrity is more than the money they give us. We are not going to be taken advantage of on account of financial support .

Buturo urged religious institutions to fight immorality, arguing that they are supremely mandated to address matters of the soul.

He disclosed that he was 'looking after' 60 former homosexuals, saying they are under threat from their former colleagues. He, however, did not name the place where they are being kept.

 

3rd July   

Update: Dressed to Repress...

Philippines lady boys arrested at party in Saudi
Link Here

Saudi flag Saudi Arabian authorities have charged 67 men detained at a party for reportedly wearing women's clothing.

Most of the men were Filipino and were arrested while standing outside a private party held in a villa near the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on the occasion of Philippine Independence Day.

According to the Saudi daily Al Riyadh, the police questioned the men after spotting suspicious behavior” and then proceeded to raid the party. More women's clothing, cosmetics, and alcohol were reportedly found in further investigations.

The Philippines' vice consul in Riyadh, Roussell Reyes, confirmed the arrests. Some of those arrested were reportedly wearing gowns and wigs and drinking liquor. It seems that there was a party, Reyes reportedly told a radio station.

The Philippine Embassy says that the men were released after their work sponsors posted bail, but that they still face charges, including imitating women and possession of alcohol.

If convicted, the men could face imprisonment and flogging. Human rights groups have condemned the arrests. New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch called on the Saudi authorities to drop charges against the men, saying the arrests constitute a violation of freedom of expression and rights to privacy.

If the police in Saudi Arabia can arrest people simply because they don't like their clothes, no one is safe. Arresting and charging people simply because the police decide that their appearance is unacceptable strikes at the heart of human freedom, said Rasha Moumneh, researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, in a statement issued by the organization.

 

2nd July   

Update: Unnatural Religion...

Churches consider India's proposed legalisation of gay sex
Link Here  full story: Gay Freedom in India...India considers the legality of gay sex

India flag The Indian Central Government has announced plans to repeal a 150-year-old law that criminalizes homosexuality in India.

The news has come as a major victory for Gay Right activists even as the government announced its intent to decide after consulting the Church and representatives of other religious groups.

The announcement was made by Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily who would be meeting Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss on the controversial section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Section 377, which was formulated by the British in the 17th century, terms same sex relationships as a criminal act and makes it punishable with an imprisonment of 10 years.

The Cabinet has mandated to have a re-look at the provision. But we are not going to rush to any conclusion. We will certainly take into account concerns of all sections, including religious groups like Christian church, Moily said at a press conference.

So far the Church has remained mum and is yet to officially voice its discontent against the amending of Section 377. This is a very sensitive issue and the Church is yet to come out with its statements, Bishop Sahu of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) told Christian Today.

Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum said: The Church's stand on the issue has always been clear. For us it is an unnatural act, against the divine law. We will definitely oppose it.