Archive for April, 2008

Today in Belarus has started a month against homophobia

Not looking at a cancelling of clause and a recognition of homosexuals in a society in many countries of the world, still there is a discrimination and homophobia. Does not differ from the world tendency and Belarus. Not everyone can accept and approve unisex attitudes as men with men, and women with women.

From April, 17th till May, 17th in Minsk and Gomel will pass actions on decrease in a level homophobia in the country.

” The month against homophobia in Belarus ” is an original attempt to pay attention to a problem гомофобии and its dangers to all society. It is an opportunity to answer on homophobia rhetoric by creation of space without discrimination and hatred in relation to people.

As organizers of a month have acted: the International Amnesty Belarus, Portal Gay.by, Site Gayby.org, Initiative of young belarusian gays, Initiative group of the belarusian gays “BelQueer”, Information centre ” Theme “.

You can support ” the Month against гомофобии in Belarus “.

http://www.english.gay.by/news/2008-04-17-45

Gay.by

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Sally Kern and the AFA: targeting gays in America by Therion

Oklahoma State rep., Sally Kern (Rep), has it in for gay people who seek to serve their communities. Rather than welcome the contribution of gay Americans willing to volunteer their talent and their time, Kern has been making incendiary comments directed at the gay community that are not only unjust, but despite her claims to the contrary, both hateful and malicious. In a recent speech, Kern went so far as to claim that homosexuality is a bigger threat to national security than terrorism.

Kern warns that “gays are infiltrating our city councils”. She claims the city council in Eureka Springs, AR, is “controlled by gays.”

Actively discriminating against fellow Americans on the basis of their sexual orientation, isn’t a problem for the American Family Association (AFA). It has produced a video titled “They’re Coming to your Town”. The video promotes a conspiracy agenda that has more in common with the twilight zone than reality. The trailer warns: “watch and learn, how to fight a well organized gay agenda to take over the cities of America, one city at a time.”

You can view the trailer here.

The AFA has a history of targeting gay people. They raised alarms in the past about the presence of gays on television programs. Gay phobia characterizes the brand of discrimination that they attempt to push under the cover of “American values.”

Truth is, the best of American values is reflected by comments offered up by Eureka Springs mayor Dani Joy, who recently extended a welcome to one and all irrespective of race, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. The mayor added: “it is our hope that all people would aspire to this ideal.”

See Also: Pope Benedict: a man of many contradictions and Popemobile

We’re Not Expendable Income or People!

LGBT Activists March To End Poverty on First Annual Community Day of Action for Economic Justice

Contact: Kenyon Farrow, 917.627.0853 or Joseph DeFilippis 646.685.9226

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Who: Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) & hundreds of other Activists and community members

What: Community Day Of Action for Economic Justice

When: April 17th, 2008

Where: 3pm Rally at Union Square; 4pm March to Judson Memorial Church

Why: To highlight issues facing poor and working-class LGBT/Gender Nonconforming people

Dispelling the long-held notion that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community is “white, without dependents and with expendable income,” hundreds of LGBT activists will rally at Union Square to make visible the many bread and butter issues facing queer New Yorkers. Activists say that addressing poverty in the gay community is usually missing from the news stories, glossy ads, and television shows that too often represent the “gay” community.

“Gay cruises and a vacation home in Fire Island just isn’t the reality for many queers, who are simply trying to survive, says Joseph DeFilippis, Executive Director of Queers for Economic Justice. “Many of us our are worried about keeping just one roof over our heads, making a decent wage, and getting access to healthcare and public benefits. This rally is the first step in making economic justice issues in the queer community visible.”

But visibility isn’t the only thing the marchers hope to achieve. Many poor LGBT people who access services public assistance programs through NYC Human Resources Administration (HRA) are organizing to break the red tape that prevents many people from even getting access when they’re in need. In addition to preventing all recipients from attaining higher education and being subject to invasive “home visits,” queer people often face additional barriers to getting public assistance.

“There are new rules for increased proof of citizenship and identification that prevents many people from accessing benefits,” says Reg Gossett, Welfare organizer with Queers for Economic Justice. “Transgender people, homeless people, immigrants and anyone who doesn’t appear to the caseworker to match their ID can be prevented from getting benefits. Also, domestic partners can’t apply for benefits for their partner’s children.”

Though there is very little data on how poverty affects the lives of LGBT people, there are some indicators. The NYC City Council last year commissioned a study showing 30% of all homeless youth in NYC identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, many of whom are black or Latino. But the cycle of poverty doesn’t end at age 18. With a lack of affordable housing, educational or employment opportunities, those youth struggle to become financially secure well into adulthood.

In addition, New York City has nearly 2 million people on Medicaid, many of whom are living with HIV. There are over 100,000 people living with HIV in NYC, and black and Latino men who have sex with men are a large majority of people living with HIV. HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), a department of HRA, served over 31,000 New Yorkers in February, all of whom have to meet income requirements to qualify.

Queers for Economic Justice’s Welfare Warriors group is currently conducting a community research project, documenting the lives of low-income LGBT and gender-non-conforming people.

The groups co-sponsoring the march and rally include the Ali Forney Center, the Audre Lorde Project, Brecht Forum, Bronx Community Pride Center, Casa Abatex Ache, Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), Child Care Collective/Regeneration, Coalition for the Homeless, Domestic Workers United, Empire State Coalition of Youth and Family Services, FIERCE!, Generation Q, Housing Works, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Irish Queers, the LGBT Community Center, Metropolitan Community Church, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, NYC Association of Homeless and Street-Involved Youth Organizations, NYC Anti-Violence project, Q-Wave.

Gay refugees face prejudice across the world
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/view.php?id=7403

15th April 2008 18:20
Adam Lake

Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.

Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.

He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.

After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.

He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.

Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:

“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”

“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”

Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.

The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.

People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.

Meanwhile, in Canada, a gay man is facing deportation to his native El Salvador where he claims that three police officers who raped him are now out to kill him.

Joaquin Ramirez, a 39-year-old HIV-positive man said the accused perpetrators have visited his family and threatened to kill him because he infected them with the HIV virus.

Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board doubted Mr Ramirez’s claims, asking why he did not seek legal support in his own country when the incident occurred.

Mr Ramirez told Canadian newspaper The Star:

“How could I go to the same people and ask them to protect me when it’s those people who did this to me?”

Mr Ramirez worked as a volunteer outreach worker with the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Salvadoran Network of People Living with HIV.

He said he was picked on by three drunken officers at a restaurant in 2006 and driven to a plantation field where he was allegedly beaten and raped.

Five months later he claims a stranger called his sister and threatened to kill him for infecting them with the virus.

The refugee didn’t believe Ramirez left El Salvador because of the alleged assault as he had already planned to leave in November 2005.

The two stories come just weeks after the much published case of Iranian asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi.

Mr Kazemi came to London in 2005 to study English but later discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested by the Iranian police, charged with sodomy and hanged.

The UK rejected his first asylum plea, but Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has now granted him a temporary reprieve from deportation while she reconsiders his case.

Last week the International Lesbian and Gay Association released the latest version of their map of LGBT rights across the world.

In 76 countries people face jail for having gay sex.

Homosexual acts officially carry the death penalty in several nations including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, northern Nigeria, Sudan, and Yemen.

In many Muslim countries, such as Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives, homosexuality is punished with jail time, fines, or corporal punishment.

In Egypt, openly gay men have been prosecuted under general public morality laws.

Some liberal Muslims, such as the members of the Al-Fatiha Foundation, accept and consider homosexuality as natural pointing out that the Qu’ran speaks out against homosexual lust, and is silent on homosexual love.

However, this position remains highly controversial even amongst liberal movements within Islam, and is considered beyond the pale by mainstream Islam.

The UK is a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which means that it has a responsibility under international law not to return refugees to a place where they would face persecution.

Full Article Pink News

http://www.rue89.com/2008/04/15/la-police-sapprete-t-elle-a-ficher-les-homosexuels
Par Antonin Sabot | Etudiant en journalisme | 15/04/2008 | 16H04

Le fichier informatique Ardoise permettra de préciser si une victime, un témoin ou un suspect est homosexuel, SDF, syndicaliste…

Pas encore en service, le prochain système d’exploitation des données de la Police, baptisé Ardoise fait déjà débat. Recueillant les informations lors des enquêtes de police et de gendarmerie, il devrait remplacer les actuels logiciels Stic et Judix. Lundi 14 avril, le Collectif contre l’homophobie (CCH), basé à Montpellier, a saisi la la Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations (Halde) et la Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (Cnil) pour s’opposer à sa mise en oeuvre. L’association dénonce un recueil abusif de données à caractère personnel par ce logiciel.

Lorsque les fonctionnaires rempliront le ficher Ardoise, une fenêtre s’ouvrira leur demandant de spécifier “l’état de la personne”. Etat qui pourra contenir des données personnelles comme savoir si elle est homosexuelle, handicapée ou représentante syndicale; quel que soit son rapport avec l’affaire en cours, simple témoin, victime ou suspecte.

Averti par des fonctionnaires de police en formation sur Ardoise, le Collectif contre l’homophobie s’inquiète de la possibilité de création de fichiers catégoriels. Pour l’association, la police doit qualifier des faits et non pas “profiler des personnes”. “Rien n’exclut qu’ici où là quelqu’un fasse des extractions des données”, explique Hussein Bourgi président du CCH:

De son côté, le ministère de l’Intérieur joue l’apaisement. Selon lui, les fichiers Ardoise ne contiendront pas d’informations qui ne figuraient pas déjà dans le logiciel Stic employé jusqu’à aujourd’hui. En effet, ces fichiers contiennent bien une entrée “état de la personne”, mais qui n’était remplie que pour la victime et le suspect. Ardoise ne serait qu’une modernisation des précédents logiciels et permettrait l’unification des données détenues par la gendarmerie et la police.

Le porte-parole du ministère, Gérard Gachet, fait valoir que “lors d’une affaire avec des circonstances aggravantes comme une agression de personne homosexuelle, il faut bien que ces renseignements apparaissent quelque part”. Mais ce type d’information n’apparaît pas lorsque la personne est hétérosexuelle fait valoir le CCH. Ces informations doivent aussi aider les enquêteurs à résoudre certaines affaires et elles ne seront d’ailleurs renseignées que si elles ont un lien avec l’affaire assure le ministère: “Un avertissement clair sera affiché à ce propos.” Argument qui ne convainc pas Hussein Bourgi:

Quant à la date d’entrée en vigueur de ce système d’exploitation, le porte-parole du ministère avoue qu’il “ne sait pas” lui-même quand elle aura lieu. Elle devait intervenir au second semestre 2008, mais les tests (à Ecully, en région Lyonnaise) et les formations ne sont pas encore finies. De plus le logiciel devra être validé par la Cnil avant d’être installé.

As some of you already know, the HIV/AIDS hospice run by Blue Diamond Society was shut down because of deep-rooted homophobia.

‘Anti-gay bias evicts dying AIDS patients in Nepal’ (Thaindian News):
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/south-asia/anti-gay-bias-evicts-dying-aids-patients-in-nepal_10029692.html

I’m sure you all know BDS’s commitment for equal rights for all people including LGBTI. Situation surrounding LGBTI people in Nepal is very difficult and homophobia and human rights violation are still widespread.

Sunil Pant, president of BDS has told me (and several other friends of his) that they can purchase a house and start a hospice again if they have some 100,000 US Dollars. I’ve launched a fund-raising campaign here in Japan for them and I know a few in the UK have personally donated BDS. But, the amount of donations we’ve collected so far is not enough to help BDS at all.

So, I’d like to ask you to help BDS by donating some amount and to circulate this message to your friends who will understand BDS’s grassroots and vital activism for LGBTI in Nepal.

Below is the BDS’s bank account information which I received from Sunil.
Please choose one of them and help BDS.

Thank you.

Azusa Yamashita
GayJapanNews
Tokyo, Japan

*****
INFORMATION ABOUT BDS:
Name of organization: Blue Diamond Society
Address: Shiv Bhakta Marg: 344, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
Telephone: +977 1 4443350 Fax: +977 1 4438600
Email: bluediamondsociety@yahoo.com
Contact person at organization: Mr. Sunil B Pant (Title: Director)

Name of Bank : Everest Bank Limited
Full street address of bank : EBL, Lazimpat-2,Kathmandu Nepal
Telephone and Fax numbers of bank: 977 1 4443377, 977 1 4443160
Account Name: Blue Diamond Society VII
Name, address and telephone of the bank account holder: Blue Diamond Society,
Lazimpat-2,Khursanitar, Shiva, Bhakta Marga, House No 344
Bank account number: 014 030400 A
SWIFT IBAN number of bank EVBLPAXXX

OR INFORMATION ABOUT OUR LOCAL BANK:
Bank Name: Himalayan Bank Limited,
Bank Address: Tridevi Marg, Thamel
City, State, and Postal Code: Kathmandu
Country: Nepal
Organization’s bank account name: Blue Diamond Society
Our organization’s bank account number: 001 00211060012
SORT CODE / SWIFT / BIC#: HIMANPKA

INFORMATION ABOUT OUR BANK’S CORRESPONDING US BANK:
Corresponding U.S. Bank’s Name: American Express Bank
Corresponding U.S. Bank’s Address: New York
City, State, and Postal Code: New York
Our bank’s account # with Corresponding U.S. Bank: 723262
9 Digit ABA (American Bank Association) Number: FED ABA
No: 124071889, (Chips No: CP 0159, SWIFT No: AEIBUS33)

GayJapanNews - Azusa Yamashita
azusa@gayjapannews.com
http://gayjapannews.com

Gays Demand China Free AIDS Advocate at Olympic Torch Protest:
A press conference was supposed to be held today at 11 AM at United Nations Plaza by Tibetans living in the US, to demand China end its occupation of their country. I went to it expecting 2 or 3 dozen Tibetans and their supporters would be standing behind a microphone tree, explaining what they hope to accomplish as the Olympic torch passes through town.

What I found when I got there was a full-fledged rally, held in front of a large elevated stage near the north end of the plaza, and perhaps five-hundred protesters waving flags, chanting slogans and handing out flyers.

I hooked up with five other gay men who were there to call for the release of Chinese AIDS advocate Hu Jia, sentenced to three years in jail last week for pro-democracy advocacy, and to add our voices to the “Free Tibet” chorus.

Here are two photos of us posing for the cameras:

I’m proud a handful of us gays were present today, and will be attending other pro-Tibet events today and tomorrow, as the Olympic torch wends its way through San Francisco. And big thanks to the other gays who showed up today in support of our Tibetan friends and incarcerated AIDS advocate Hu Jia.

By Michael Petelis :
http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2008/04/gays-demand-china-free-aids-advocate-at.html

Olympic torch ambushed in London

Bus halted, gay activist Tatchell arrested

“Gordon Brown colludes with China’s tyrannical leaders”

London – 6 April 2008

The bus bearing the Olympic torch was today ambushed outside Selfridges department store in Oxford Street, London, by gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of OutRage!

Mr Tatchell ran in front of the bus carrying the Olympic flame. He held up a placard which read: “Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia.” He shouted the same words as he ran along in front of the bus.

The police wrestled Mr Tatchell to the ground, which delayed the bus briefly while he was removed to pavement. After questioning, he was later released without charge.

“Hu Jia was jailed for three and half years last week for campaigning for free speech, Tibetan autonomy, environmental protection, and for the human rights of the rural poor and people with HIV,” said Mr Tatchell.

“He exposed the Chinese government’s cover up of the use of HIV contaminated blood, the lack of support and care for people with HIV, and he challenged social prejudice and discrimination against people with the virus.

“Hi Jia is a truly heroic figure, who has shown immense foresight, determination and bravery. He has kept campaigning, even though he knew it would put him at risk of arrest, torture and imprisonment.

“In jail, Hu Jia is likely to be mistreated, denied medical treatment for his hepatitis B infection and starved of proper food.

For more information about Hu Jia, see here:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/hu-jia-chinas-enemy-within-804589.html
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/2006/03/29/china_hujia/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hu_Jia_(activist)

“Gordon Brown has shamed himself and Britain by greeting the Olympic torch at Downing Street, at a time when China is shooting dead Tibetan protesters and jailing and torturing hundreds of political prisoners,” added Mr Tatchell.

“It is hypocritical for the Prime Minister to boycott the Zimbabwean regime, but not the dictatorial regime in China. These double standards bring our government into disrepute.

“The UK should not be colluding with a police state like China. Attempts to gently persuade the Beijing leaders to stop their human rights abuses have failed. They are manipulating the Olympics. We must
not allow them to exploit the Beijing games to divert attention from China’s abysmal human rights record.

“All countries that love freedom, democracy and liberty should refuse to host the Olympic torch and boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Athletes should wear Tibetan flags during their events and on the podium when they collect their medals.

“China should be subjected to sporting protests in the same way that apartheid South Africa was subject to sporting protests.

“China is one the world’s most vicious anti-worker regimes. It has poor labour laws. Employees have little protection against abuse. Independent trade unions are banned and their leaders jailed.

“To make way for new cities, millions of rural people have been forced off their land with little or no compensation. China is free market state capitalism at its worst. The gap between the rich and poor is
one of the widest of any country on earth.

“The idea that China is any longer a communist state is laughable. The Communist Party has become a new ruling class and a route to personal advancement, corruption and wealth aggrandisement.

“The Beijing leaders are new emperors who ride roughshod over their own people. They have almost total power and they abuse it to oppress and exploit the Chinese nation, in ways that are often similar to the old feudal and colonial powers of the nineteenth century,” said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790

CHINA: US ‘Dismayed’ at China’s Jailing of Hu Jia: Embassy Agence France Presse (04.03.08)
Thursday, April 03, 2008

A court in Beijing today sentenced Hu Jia to three-and-a-half years in jail after finding him guilty of “incitement to subvert state power.”
For many years one of China’s most outspoken proponents of human rights, Hu is particularly noted for his work to bring attention to the plight of the nation’s AIDS patients. “We are dismayed by this verdict,” said Susan Stevenson, a spokesperson for the US embassy. “In this Olympic year, we urge China to seize the opportunity to put its best face forward and take steps to improve its record on human rights and religious freedom.”