Archive for May, 2009

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Abdellah Taïa: Openly Gay Moroccan Writer Takes on Homophobia in the Muslim World

Chronicle Journal: Openly gay Moroccan writer takes on homophobia in the Muslim world

By Jenny Barchfield, The Associated Press

http://www.chroniclejournal.com/stories_entertainment.php?id=18845

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Abdellah TaïaIn this photo taken on May 13, 2009, Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa, is pictured at his apartment in the Paris Belleville district. In “Salvation Army” his latest and first book to appear in English, Taia talks frankly about coming to grips with his sexuality and leaving his family to start a new life in Europe. (The Associated Press/Remy de la Mauviniere)

PARIS – A soft-spoken slip of a young man, Abdellah Taia hardly looks the part of an iconoclast. But as Morocco’s first high-profile, openly gay man, Taia has made it his mission to win acceptance for homosexuals throughout the Muslim world.

Taia has defied Moroccan society’s don’t-ask, don’t-tell attitude toward homosexuality – and prison sentences that are still on the books in the North African kingdom – to write five autobiographical novels about growing up poor and gay in the northern coastal city of Sale.

The novels, peppered with sexually explicit passages, have catapulted him to fame in his native country and made him the de-facto poster child of its budding gay rights movement.

His work has sparked harsh criticism. Taia said some outraged critics have called on him to renounce Moroccan citizenship so as “not to bring shame” on the country.

It’s also alienated him from his parents and eight siblings, who figure extensively in the books and complain that Taia has publicly humiliated them.

But the 35-year-old author insists he’s never been cowed by fallout from his work.

“When I write, I feel a sense of urgency, as if my life depended on it,” Taia said in an interview in Paris, where he has lived for almost a decade. “When I first started writing, it never occurred to me to invent some fictional character and talk about made-up things.”

His latest novel, “L’armee du Salut,” or “Salvation Army,” focuses on his decision to move to Europe. An English translation recently came out in the United States, with an introduction by author Edmund White.

Though Taia immigrated legally – he was awarded a scholarship to study in Switzerland – his experiences in Geneva paralleled those of thousands Moroccans living in Europe without papers.

After his older Swiss lover who was supposed to pick him up at the Geneva airport never shows up, a penniless Taia seeks refuge at the Salvation Army, where he lives among illegal immigrants from throughout the developing world.

In the book, he also talks about his blooming sexuality, describing teenage trysts in the back of dark movie theatres and flings with European tourists looking for more than sun on their Moroccan holidays.

Like nearly all Arab countries, Morocco considers homosexual relations a crime, punishable by fines and prison sentences of six months to three years. Such penalties are rarely applied, though, and in practice Morocco has a long history of leniency toward homosexuality and other practices forbidden by Islam.

Asked whether he sees himself as courageous, Taia said, “The most difficult thing was to work up the courage to pick up the pen and write for the first time.”

He grew up with a family of 11 sharing a two-room house. His father, a petty civil servant, and a his mother, an illiterate housewife, emphasized their children’s education, sending five to college.

That was where Taia began to write. Surrounded at Rabat University by children of Morocco’s French-speaking elite, he began to keep a diary to improve his written French.

His journals now serve as the foundation of his novels, which are written in French and have been translated into seven languages, including Arabic and now English.

Chronicle Journal: Openly gay Moroccan writer takes on homophobia in the Muslim world

By Jenny Barchfield, The Associated Press

Gays Without Borders

NOTE: “Salvation Army” is the 2006’s book by Abdellah Taïa.

His last book is “Une mélancolie arabe” (2008)

Abdellah Taïa Website

Salvation Army on Amazon

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Peru to ban gay police who cause scandal?

A bid to clean up police says Interior Minister

perugaypoliceLima and London – 26 May 2009

“The British Ambassador to Peru has confirmed that the left-of-centre Lima government plans to ban gay police officers whose sexual behaviour causes scandal and damages the reputation of the police.
Existing gay and bisexual officers could face the sack,” said gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

“Critics say the new law is probably unconstitutional. To its credit, the British government is consulting with Peruvian human rights groups and the European Union to consider what action to take in protest at this discriminatory legislation,” he said.

Replying to a query, the British Ambassador to Peru, Catherine Nettleton, confirmed that “a new Peruvian law intended to improve police discipline includes sanctions on members of the national police who ‘have sexual relations with members of the same sex, which cause scandal and discredit the image of the institution’. We are seeking the views of local human rights groups and the office of the Ombudsman and will be considering with our European Union colleagues what action to take,” wrote the Ambassador.

The proposed new law is being championed by the Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, as part of a drive to clean up corruption and improve the low reputation of the Peruvian police.

A copy of the BBC report on the issue follows below.

Further information: Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790

Peru to ban gay police officers

BBC News

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8049368.stm

Peru has announced that it will ban homosexuals from the police force for damaging the image of the institution.

The law is one of several new regulations put forward by the Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas.

Ms Cabanillas is trying to shake up the institution, which has a dismal reputation among the general public.

But critics say some of the new laws, especially those regarding sexual orientation or activity, are unconstitutional.

The law states that any police officer who has sexual relations with someone of the same gender will be indefinitely suspended from the police force.

The same applies to officers who have extra-marital relations – their actions are also deemed to cause scandal and denigrate the institution’s image.

They are among a raft of new regulations, which also include provision for sacking police officers who accept bribes, organise or take part in strikes and protest marches.

Ms Cabanillas’ strong-arm tactics have earned her some public backing and the nickname “Thatcher” in the Peruvian media, after the former Conservative British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Traditional machismo means openly homosexual police men are extremely scarce, but gay rights activists are growing in strength and this new law will provoke a debate.

ENDS

Hong Kong IDAHO

Forwarded by Peter Tatchell on behalf of IDAHO

Official IDAHO Report – 2009

17 May 2009 – International Day against HOMOPHOBIA & TRANSPHOBIA

MEDIA RELEASE

The fifth International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, an initiative launched on May 17th 2005 by activist Louis-Georges Tin, saw an amazing outburst of activities around the world. The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) Committee reports on its global site www.idahomophobia.org.

“Actions were reported in more then 50 countries”, said Joel Bedos, coordinator of the IDAHO Committee, the NGO promoting the Day worldwide. “This shows just how strong the global movement is.”

ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a world-wide network of national and local groups with more than 700 member organisations from every continent and representing 110 countries, has been involved in the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with the IDAHO Committee since it was launched in 2005.

“We chose this Day,” say Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA’s Co-Secretaries General, “to launch the third edition of the World Report on State Sponsored Homophobia. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

“The actions undertaken by activists and the majority of our members all around the world on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia have been an important occasion to remind civil societies and Governments of the situation of lesbians and gays in 80 countries in the world, where homosexuality is considered a crime and of the fact that in 5 of them, i.e. Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Mauritania and Yemen, homosexuals risk the death penalty. ILGA is now working on a State sponsored transphobia report, which we hope to publish by November this year.”

Nicolai Alexeyev, organiser of Slavic Pride in Moscow, speaking after his release from a Russian jail said, “We launched the first Moscow pride and the first IDAHO international conference in 2006 with Louis-Georges Tin, who was with us, on the streets confronting homophobic attacks.

“Since then, we have always been together, working for equal rights in the world. IDAHO breaks down isolation, makes people feel stronger, and sends a powerful signal to all homophobes and transphobes around the world that they are facing not just a handful of activists but millions of people across the globe.”

This ambition to get activists in different countries together is Joel Bedos’ main driving force.

“This year we have got a really large alliance of major regional and international NGOs, including ILGA’s Trans secretariat of course, together to launch a large international campaign against Transphobia. The appeal has been signed by 300 organizations in more than 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and many international institutions and celebrities and we are now launching it on our websites for citizens all over the world to join in with.”

Most amazingly, this campaign already has led France to announce an historic decision to become the first country in the world to stop classifying Trans people as ‘mentally disordered’ as the World Health Organisation’s guidelines still demand. Also, on May 15th, the Dutch parliament organised a conference on LGBTI rights, celebrating IDAHO, and the Dutch minister of foreign affairs, Maxime Verhagen announced that the Government will change the law that still requires transgender people to undergo irreversible surgery before granting them a new identification document. He acknowledged that the current law violates principle 18 of the Yogyakarta principle: the right to be protected from medical abuses.

The report, presented on Saturday 16 May at the Axel hotel in Barcelona with the help of Coordinadora Gai Lesbiana and former ILGA co-Secretary General Jordi Petit, was prepared by Daniel Ottosson. The report and a map showing the results of the study at a glance can be accessed on www.ilga.org.

“Such an international campaign is one of the added values of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, and we are glad that the IDAHO Committee has provided the initial impulse. It has galvanised us into action and helped us to network with other Trans organisations in other countries. We are definitely stronger together” says Liesl Theron from Gender DynamiX, a South African Human Rights organization promoting freedom of expression of gender identity in Africa.

The IDAHO committee hopes that the Campaign against Transphobia will be just as successful as the one that it launched back in 2006 when an international petition calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” drew incredible support from several Nobel prize winners, many high profile politicians, actors, intellectuals, etc, and contributed to the French government taking the initiative that resulted in last year UN Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity -a historical achievement indeed.

On this year’s International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments organised a World Congress to follow up on this Statement, with a very active participation of the IDAHO Committee along other civil society actors. This congress got many activists from all over the world to meet and strategise the future.

Getting people around the globe together is indeed a shared passion. Kenneth Tan, founder of the first social gay and lesbian network Gays.com, is a happy man: “The community based video that we did this year in partnership with the IDAHO Committee has already been watched by 200,000 people. The idea was to get individuals from a lot of different countries to come out and say they were proud. The result is exactly what the Day means: a celebration of both diversity, because we are all unique, and unity, because there is something that links us all together.”

Diversity is certainly the motto: In mainland China, a bike rally celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, while in Hong Kong, the IDAHO Coalition protested against homophobia in front of the Government Headquarters. Says Connie Chan, who has been coordinating actions in Hong Kong for many years: “The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia Committee and participating organisations around the world have given us inspiration and momentum for action.”

Derek Lennard, IDAHO-UK Coordinator said “In the UK we now have over 100 events and initiatives to mark IDAHO -in 2005 we had five. It is very exciting to see this network get bigger and bigger and to see the very broad support it now receives in the UK”.

While marchers took it to the streets in all major Turkish cities, UK police stations flew the rainbow flag. While in Cameroon, brave activists faced the hostile crowd on a radio programme, a Church service to mark IDAHO was held in Belfast’s oldest church. Iran’s gay students wrote an open letter to the Students’ Union, and in Singapore, the Pink Dot festival was the first-ever event to speak openly about gay and lesbian rights.

The Council of the EU, in a historic statement published on May 17th, declared “Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”. In a surprisingly progressive move, this Statement was supported by countries outside the EU such as Turkey and Ukraine.

“Everywhere we see things moving. Even in Russia where the IDAHO Committee co-organised the first Pride in 2006, things will change. This is why we created this Day in 2005 and we are so happy to see all these actions take place around the globe. We hope that the sum of all these individual energies will increasingly be visible to the world. Because we are so many and so full of hope and energy, that we can really change the world,” says Louis-Georges Tin.

Press contact

Louis-Georges Tin

IDAHO Committee

lgtin@idahomophobia.org

Protests on the 2009 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – 17 May

A FEW EXAMPLES…

CHINA & HONG KONG · “Love is not a crime, hate is not a family value” chanted IDAHO coalition marchers as they headed to the Governments Headquarters demanding equal rights for LGBT people.

They called for legislation outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and for same-sex couples to be included in the law on domestic violence. Spokesperson Connie Chan reports: “Protesters laid down in a symbolic die-in action to signal their disappointment at the treatment they get from the Hong Kong authorities.”

In the meantime in Beijing, organisations Common Language and Aibai Culture and Education Center organised “Rainbow in Motion”, the Beijing Multi-campus Bike Ride to celebrate gay pride, raise awareness of LGBT rights and introduce IDAHO to the LGBT community and general public of mainland China.

FRANCE · In France, hundreds of events where organised all over the country, where IDAHO enjoys a growing visibility. In Paris, Trans People from all over the world joined French Trans activists and LGBT organisations to “Shout Out against Transphobia”. On that day, the Health minister announced that France would be the first country to officially stop applying WHO classification of Trans People as “mentally disordered”. 27 cities organised debates, film screenings, parties, exhibitions and other political and cultural events, including a National Conference on Transgender and Transexual issues at the French Parliament.

TURKEY · Hundreds of people marched in Ankara and other major cities in the country for LGBT rights. Homophobia and Transphobia have risen dramatically over the last year with dozens of people brutally murdered and police harassment is growing.

ILGA · The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association published on IDAHO the third edition of its report on State Sponsored Homophobia.

The report surveys legislations criminalising consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent in all countries in the World. With this report ILGA wants to name and shame the States which at the end of the first decade of the 21st century still treat their LGBTI citizens like lesser persons, unworthy of consideration.

UK · Amongst many initiatives across the country, dozens of police stations raised a gay rights banner to mark a day of action against homophobia. The organisations raising the rainbow flag high were taking part in The Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s “Flying the Flag” campaign. In London, an IDAHO party launched Day in Hand community project. This campaign’s aim is to inspire and support same-sex couples who want to hold their partner’s hand in public.
www.adayinhand.com

EUROPEAN UNION · To mark IDAHO, the European Union issued a strong statement calling for renewed mobilisation against homophobia and transphobia.

The Statement, warning that “discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity is incompatible with the basic principles on which the UE is founded”, was also supported by other States, including Turkey and Ukraine, two countries who did not sign up to the UN Statement last December supported by now 67 countries and calling States to fights discrimination on these grounds.
www.consilium.europa.eu

SINGAPORE · IDAHO 2009 went down in History as the Pink Dot festival united a 2500-strong crowd celebrating the freedom to love. The organisers of the event, pinkdot.sg, say the event was held to commemorate love in all forms and between people of every orientation. The city-state still has a ban on homosexual sex that has been in force since its colonial days under the British. According to Jack Soh of pinkdot.sg, “It was not a protest or a political rally. The event was for Singaporeans in general – to affirm our respect for diversity and the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation.” http://www.pinkdot.sg

TRANSPHOBIA · 300 organisations from 75 countries, 3 Nobel Prize winners and intellectuals, artists, politicians from many countries ,supported the International Appeal against Transphobia and for the Respect of Gender Identity launched by a group of large regional and international Human Rights and LGBT Rights organisations. The Appeal was launched on the eve of IDAHO and is now opened to signatures by the public.

A FEW MORE EXAMPLES…

INTERNATIONAL · To coincide with IDAHO, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted the World Congress on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. This congress originated from a joint decision by the French, Dutch and Norwegian governments. Its aim was to reflect on future strategies to take the LGBT agenda forward within the UN. Ministers from 15 countries, including 3 African countries, and more than 80 representatives from NGOs from all World regions debated during the day-long congress to elaborate recommendations for all stakeholders.

RUSSIA · Once again Gayrussia tried to organise a Pride march in Moscow on IDAHO. This year, the date coincided with the Eurovision song contest in the Russian capital, which drew increased media attention on the event. In spite of much public attention and support, Moscow authorities cracked down on demonstrators and arrested many members of the group. Gayrussia founder Nicolai Alexeyev promised to hold on to the slogan “Gay Equality; No Compromise” and plans actions for IDAHO 2010.

More information on www.idahomophobia.org

BACKGROUND to IDAHO

In August 2004, Louis-Georges Tin, a French university lecturer, campaigner for Black and LGBT Rights, and chief editor of the Dictionary of Homophobia launched an appeal for a universal recognition of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). He proposed that this day be fixed on May 17th, to commemorate the World Health Organisation decision to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.

By May 17th 2005, as a result of a year long campaigning effort, 24000 people worldwide and reputed international organisations like ILGA, IGLHRC, the World Congress of LGBT Jews, the Coalition of African lesbians, to name but a few, had signed the IDAHO appeal. In May 2005 already, IDAHO saw some action take place in more than 40 countries in the world. The first LGBT events ever were organised in Congo, China, Bulgaria. Josepp Borrell, President of the European Parliament made a statement supporting the IDAHO and invited Tin to the conference the EU Parliament organised for IDAHO 2006.

By that time a new campaign had been launched by the IDAHO Committee calling “for a universal decriminalisation of homosexuality” and on May 17th 2006 it had attracted support from several Nobel Prize winners (Desmond Tutu, Amartya Sen, Elfriede Jelinek, Dario Fo, José Saramago), artists (Merryl Streep, Cindy Lauper, Elton John, David Bowie), intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler, Bernard-Henri Lévy), NGOs (ILGA, FIDH), politicians, etc…

In July 2006, the Montreal Conference on LGBT Human Rights, organised in the wake of the Outgames, included in its final declaration a strong recommendation to all Governments to recognise May 17th as the International Day against Homophobia.

For IDAHO 2007, the IDAHO committee and Gayrussia co-organised the first GayPride in Moscow, preceded by an International IDAHO conference that brought together many activist, organisations and politicians from around Europe and North America.

At that time, IDAHO had been officially recognised by the EU Parliament, Belgium, the UK and Mexico and organisations in more than 50 countries in the world celebrated IDAHO. Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Luxemburg soon joined the list of countries officially recognising the Day.

On IDAHO 2008, as a result of the actions coordinated by the IDAHO committee, the French Government also recognised IDAHO. Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, announced France’s intention to launch a UN initiative towards the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

During the second semester, Civil Society organisations, including the IDAHO committee, ILGA, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, ARC international, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and many other groups from the global South and East worked towards this initiative that eventually resulted in the December 2008 UN Statement read at the General Assembly by Argentina and supported by now 67 countries. This UN Statement was one of the elements in a long strategy of LGBT advocacy at the UN, a strategy that was discussed on IDAHO 2009 at the World Congress against Homophobia and Transphobia, that the IDAHO committee, as part of a central working group, helped shaping.

ENDS

UPLOAD MEDIA BRIEFING IDAHO 2009

Gays Without Borders

Video: San Francisco Leaders Want End to Torture and Murder of GLBT Iraqis by Clinton Fein

Original Article: SF Gays to Pelosi: Condemn Torture of LGBT Iraqis by Michael Petrelis

My good friend and political artist Clinton Fein has made a terrific video of the May 17 solidarity rally and fundraiser for gay Iraqis at Harvey Milk Plaza, in Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district.

For me, the most relevant and emotionally moving speaker was community organizer Gary Virginia, who demanded our member of Congress, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, speak out against the torture of LGBT Iraqis.

It’s unacceptable that Pelosi, who represents the most energized gay political district in the nation, is getting a free ride about the abuse and gruesome murder of gay Iraqis from Democratic gay leaders at HRC, NGLTF and GLAAD, at a time when she is mired in controversy over torture.

I’m proud to associate with Virginia and other San Francisco voters who want our Congressmember to use her voice to bring attention to the plight of the gay community in Iraq.

After you watch Fein’s video, give Pelosi’s speaker office in DC a call and leave a message, demanding that she forcefully condemn the torture and killing of LGBT Iraqis. Let Pelosi hear your voice on behalf of justice for our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Her number is 1-202-225-0100.

Full Article

See Also:

Gays Without Borders

France: Urgent Mobilization to Avoid the Deportation of Giorgie, Ronnie, Policarpio, Three Filipinos Detained in the Strasbourg Detention Center

prison

Mobilization: Letter to Send to the French Prefecture to Avoid The Deportation of Giorgie, Ronnie, Policarpio

To contact the Prefecture:

Phone:
Accueil : 03 88 21 67 68 (demander le cabinet du préfet ou la responsable du bureau d’éloignement)
Bureau d’éloignement, Mme Marin : 03 88 21 65 13

Fax:
03 88 21 61 55 (fax du secrétaire général)
03 88 21 62 16 (fax de la préfecture)
03 88 21 68 07 (fax du sous-préfet)
03 88 75 00 47 (fax du bureau d’éloignement)
Si vous n’avez pas de fax : http://fax-gratuit.net/tt/index

Mails:
raphael.lemehaute@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr
pierre.ory@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr
infos@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr
secretaire-general@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr
secretariat-prefet@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr
jeanine.marin@bas-rhin.pref.gouv.fr

Suggestion of letter:

“A l’attention de Mr le Préfet,

Monsieur,

Je souhaite vous alerter concernant la situation de 3 personnes originaire des Philippines, placées actuellement en centre de rétention à Strasbourg et dont la situation est particulièrement alarmante :

  • Ronnie (APRF n°09.67.00217 du 11/05/2009)
  • Policarpio (APRF n°09.67.00216 du 11/05/2009)
  • Giorgie (prénom d’état civil : Rogelio, APRF n° n°09.67.00218 du 11/05/2009)

Ronnie et Policarpio sont homosexuels et vivent en couple depuis 1994 ; ils ont du fuir leur pays en raisons de graves menaces homophobes et vivent en France depuis 8 ans.
Giorgie, (ou Rogelio de son prénom d’état civil), est une femme transgenre; elle a du fuir les Philippines en 2005 en raison des persécutions qu’elle subissait en tant que transsexuelle, homme vers femme.
Ces trois personnes sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière. Les renvoyer aux Philippines les mettrait en situation de grave danger en raison des discriminations et violences homophobes et transphobes qu’elles y subissent.
Je vous demande de prendre en compte la situation de ces trois personnes et de garantir leur sécurité et le respect de leur droits humains, en les libérant et en les régularisant.

Respectueusement,

(Nom, Prénom, Organisation éventuelle, Ville)”

ALERTE ! UNE TRANS’ ET DEUX HOMOS PHILIPPIN-E-S EN DANGER D’EXPULSION À STRASBOURG !

Ronnie et Policarpio, un couple d’homos et Giorgie, une femme trans, arrêtées le 11/05/2009, actuellement au centre de rétention de Strasbourg, sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière et risquent une expulsion imminente.
Ces trois personnes ont du quitter les Philippines pour échapper aux persécussions homophobes et transphobes qu’elles subissaient.

UNE MOBILISATION DE TOUTE URGENCE EST NECESSAIRE !

Vous trouverez ici (et ci-dessous) le communiqué de l’ARDHIS et toutes informations nécéssaires pour agir, envoyer des courriers, en savoir plus etc…
http://lezstrasbourg.over-blog.com/

Nous avons besoin de toute urgence :

-Que les organisations LGBTI et de défense des droits humains contactent en leur nom la préfecture du Bas-Rhin pour plaider la cause de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie.

-Que des courriers soient envoyés dès maintenant à la prefecture du Bas-Rhin.

-Que des actions publiques soient organisées très rapidement, en particulier à Strasbourg.

-D’informations (rapports, articles, communiqués) permettant de démontrer les risques encourus par les personnes LGBTI aux Philippinnes, afin que la Cimade puisse tenter un ultime recours.

-D’organisations signataires pour le communiqué de l’ARDHIS co-signé par Scumlambda et LeZ Strasbourgeoises.

——————————
Communiqué de l’ARDHIS (co-signé par Scumalambda et LeZ Strasbourgeoises) et infos complémentaires :

Sujet:[ardhis-infos] ALERTE: 3 Philippins homos et trans en voie d’être expulsé
Date: Tue, 19 May 2009 01:03:17 +0200
De: ARDHIS Etrangers LGBT <ardhis@hotmail.fr>

L’ARDHIS vient d’être alerté par la Cimade de la situation de 3 Philippins placés actuellement en centre de rétention à Strasbourg

Ils sont sous le coup d’un arrêté préfectoral de reconduite à la frontière et toutes les voies de recours sont épuisées. La gendarmerie procède actuellement à la demande d’un laissez-passer auprès de leur consulat pour pouvoir mettre en oeuvre l’expulsion.

Ronnie et Policarpio sont en couples depuis 1994 ; ils ont fui ensemble les menaces qu’ils avaient reçu dans leur pays et c’est en France qu’ils ont pu continuer à vivre en couple sereinement. Ils partagent un appartement et vivent de ménages chez des particuliers. Ils venaient d’entreprendre des démarches en vue d’une régularisation. Cela fait maintenant 8 ans qu’ils vivent ici !!

Giorgie, (ou Rogelio de son prénom d’état civil), a quitté les Philippines en 2005 avec un visa touriste pour la France. Mais elle fuyait en réalité les persécutions qu’elle subissait en tant que transsexuelle, homme vers femme. Elle vit à Paris et travaille comme nourrice.

Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie (état civil Rogelio) ont été interpelé-e-s ensemble à proximité de Strasbourg, où ils-elle étaient de passage. Ils-elle ne peuvent pas supporter même l’idée de retourner au pays.

Au lendemain même de la journée mondiale contre l’homophobie, l’Ardhis appelle les autorités à la bienveillance envers ces 3 personnes qui ne demandent qu’à vivre en harmonie dans notre pays.

L’expulsion de ces trois personnes est imminente !

NOUS APPELONS A MOBILISATION DE TOUTE URGENCE !

– écrire de toute urgence à la prefecture du Bas-Rhin pour alerter sur la situation de Ronnie (APRF n°09.67.00217 du 11/05/2009), Policarpio (APRF n°09.67.00216 du 11/05/2009) et Giorgie (pour la préfecture préciser son prénom d’état civil : Rogelio, APRF n° n°09.67.00218 du 11/05/2009) et demander leur libération et leur régularisation

– il importe que les associations LGBTI contactent très rapidement et en leur nom la préfecture du Bas-Rhin, par téléphone ou par courrier pour l’alerter sur la situation de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie (préciser état civil Rogelio)

– nous appelons à la mobilisation publique des organisations et personnes LGBTI et de leurs allié-e-s, notamment à Strasbourg, pour faire valoir les droits de Ronnie, Policarpio et Giorgie.

Contacts :
ardhis@hotmail.fr
scumlambda@no-log.org

Gays Without Borders

Slavic Pride: Thank you Mayor Luzhkov by Peter Tatchell© Reuters – Denis Sinyakov

Thank you Mayor Luzhkov

Moscow’s mayor tried to crush the city’s gay pride parade. In so doing, he did the cause of gay rights in Russia a huge service.

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

The Guardian – Comment is Free – London – 19 May 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/19/russia-gay-pride-luzhkov

Russian gay rights campaigners are toasting Moscow’s homophobic mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, after he ordered the banning and violent suppression of last Saturday’s Slavic gay pride parade in the Russian capital – just hours before the Eurovision song contest was staged in the city.

“Luzhkov has done more than anyone to publicise gay rights in Russia,” beamed Nikolai Alekseev, the gay parade organiser, as we chatted on Sunday afternoon following his release from nearly 24 hours of police detention:

By stopping the gay parade he has provoked massive media coverage of our fight against homophobia. The Russian media has been full of reports about gay issues for the last week. This has hugely increased public awareness and understanding of gay people.

Slowly, we are eroding homophobic attitudes. Through this media visibility, we are helping to normalise queer existence. After our successive gay protests in Moscow since 2006, people are less shocked about homosexuality. We have a long way to go, but gradually we are winning hearts and minds, especially among younger Russians.

We ought to give Luzhkov an award. His violation of our right to protest has given us a remarkable platform, with day-after-day of publicity about lesbian gay human rights. It is the equivalent of about 200m roubles (£4m pounds) in free advertising.

After spending five days in Moscow, helping prepare for the parade and then participating in the brutally curtailed protest, I am awestruck by the masterful strategy and tactics of the organisers.

They had previously tried writing letters and seeking meetings with the Russian government in a bid to get action against the homophobic discrimination, harassment and violence that is widespread in Russian society. Every approach has been rebuffed. Both the federal and city authorities have refused to meet representatives of Russia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. They will not introduce laws to tackle anti-gay violence and to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. Faced with this intransigent refusal to engage in dialogue or legislate, what are Russian queers to do? Stay silent? Do nothing?

The gay parade organisers realise that the conferences, glossy reports and low-key vigils of other Russian and international gay organisations have little or no impact on the government – or on public consciousness.

It is only visible and challenging actions, like the gay parades, that put queer issues on the public and political agenda.

The same has been true all throughout history. It has been direct action by radical campaigners like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King that has most dramatically and effectively overturned injustice.

By adapting their tactics, the Slavic Pride coordinators ran rings around the Russian and Moscow authorities and put them on the defensive.

“Luzhkov walked into our trap. We offered to meet him last week to work out an amicable solution. He refused. His refusal and the subsequent police repression of the parade gave us masses of publicity and made him look aggressive and tyrannical,” said Alekseev.

As well as being full of admiration for the organisers’ tactical savvy, I was also immensely impressed by their ingenuity in outwitting the Moscow police and the Federal Security Service (the successor to the Soviet-era secret police, the KGB).

Moscow’s gay parade was planned like a military operation and executed with more than a whiff of James Bond-style daring and evasion. The authorities were determined to stop the protest before it happened. They put activists under surveillance and planned to pre-emptively arrest Alekseev. To prevent this, he went into hiding a few days before, moving from house to house, switching cars and trains and changing mobile phones.

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Moscow+Police+Spying+On+Gay+Groups-a01611814149

Over 60 gay activists joined the parade, with others acting as logistical support, arranging transport, accommodation, food and security. They came from far-flung regions of Russia, plus a 15-strong delegation from Belarus. Most were in their early 20s. There were a few older veterans from the underground Russian gay rights movement in the 1980s, including a member of the Academy of Sciences and a nuclear physicist. Their bravery and fearlessness was totally inspiring. All of them were ready to risk being arrested, beaten, jailed, sacked from their jobs and evicted from their apartments.

On the day of the parade, we converged on the protest location – the gardens in front of Moscow State University. To fool the riot police, we arrived in limousines, disguised as a wedding party, complete with bride and groom (Alekseev).

There were three successive protests, one after the other. First, the Belarusians kicked off with chants against homophobia, which is when I was arrested for holding a placard with “gay rights” written on it in Russian and English. After we were dragged off, another group unfurled a 25-foot banner: “Gay Equality. No compromise.” Then, finally, Alekseev and his “bride” were bundled into a police van. Several people were arrested for simply speaking to the media. Nearly all those detained – including myself – report being arrested with excessive force.

http://www.gayrussia.ru/en/news/detail.php?ID=13465

All in all, it was a PR disaster for the Russian and Moscow authorities, ensuring that Eurovision 2009 will be forever associated with police brutality, government homophobia and the suppression of a peaceful protest.

It is good to know that Russian gay campaigners are having the last laugh. In March, the then Moscow police chief, Vladmir Pronin, had promised there would no protests at all. No gay demos would be allowed to mar Eurovision. He boasted of “tough measures” and that protesters would be “torn to shreds.” No person would be brave enough to risk the wrath of his riot police, Pronin warned.

https://gayswithoutborders.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/moscow-police-chief-says-gay-pride-is-unacceptable/

He was wrong. There was a gay protest. Gay people had the guts to defy his uniformed thugs. By so doing, they not only defended gay human rights, they defended the right to protest of all Russians, gay and straight.

You can follow Peter on Twitter at http://twitter.com/PeterTatchell or join the Peter Tatchell Human Rights Campaign Facebook group at http://tinyurl.com/cj9y6s

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East
www.greenoxford.com/peter and www.petertatchell.net

Gays Without Borders

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San Francisco: 100 Protest LGBT Iraqi Murders – $5K Raised by Michael Petrelis

SF IRAQI PROTEST © Wilson Credit© Credit: Bill Wilson Photos

SF: 100 Protest LGBT Iraqi Murders, $5K Raised, Pelosi Criticized for Silence

By Michael Petrelis

Never doubt that a handful of pissed off queens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has ever moved the queer movement meaningfully forward.

At least one-hundred people came out in today’s heatwave over the course of a one-hour rally and participated in San Francisco’s first action for IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, Sunday afternoon at Harvey Milk Plaza. We rallied against the killings and torture of LGBT Iraqis, and expressed unwavering solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the U.S.-occupied country.

Thanks to the efforts of my organizing colleagues, Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders and Jeff Cotter of Rainbow World Fund, and several members of the ever-fabulous Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, over the past week and today’s bucket brigade, slightly more than $5,000 was raised. The funds will go to direct-relief aid for the LGBT Iraqi community. Tax-deductible donations can be made at http://rainbowfund.org.

My favorite moment came at the end of the rally. Gary Virginia criticized our very own Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who, he pointed out, is also Speaker of the House, and whose district includes the possibly gayest neighborhood in all of America, was recently in Baghdad and she was silent during her visit about the LGTB murders.

“She’s said nothing about the atrocities and that has to change,” explained Virginia, to boisterous applause and cheers.

How the hell is it possible our Congressional rep is 100% mute about the murders of homosexuals in Baghdad, is the great unanswered question of the day.

Artist and activist Clinton Fein is editing and preparing a video of today’s demonstration, which will be made public tomorrow. Look for it here and on his site Annoy.com.

Let’s look at photos from today and see a few of the fine people who showed up. On behalf of the organizers, we thank you. Most photos, except where noted otherwise, were snapped by me.

Full Article Here

See Also:

Gays Without Borders

Behind the Scenes Story Of 2009 Gay Pride in Moscow by Andy Thayer, Gay Liberation Network

A member of OMOH, Russia's SWAT policeA member of OMOH, Russia’s SWAT police © Gay Liberation Network

Sunday, May 17, 5 PM local time

MOSCOW – By the time I am finally posting this, many already know the basic story of violent government repression of Saturday’s Gay Pride Parade in this city.

The delay in this post comes as a result of being participant in the action. Several hours were lost due to police detention and then feverish attempts to help our Russian and Belorussian colleagues facing far more serious situations. Finally, our Moscow police friends are now in the possession of a very fine Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ6 memory card, so this story is mainly illustrated with the help of another photographer who would lose her job if credited properly for her work.

I’ll therefore concentrate on the parts of this remarkable story that people who saw the news reports still don’t know:

* the bizarrely extensive lengths that the authorities undertook to pre-empt our action

* the tactical finesse shown by Pride organizers that allowed us to dodge that pre-emption, and

* my personal experience as a participant in the action.

But first and most importantly, here is the latest news on the situation facing our Russian and Belorussian friends:

Around mid-day today, Moscow Time, all of our people were finally released. Holding him and other key activists well past the mandated three hour time limit, the Russian authorities are trying to make an example of Moscow Pride’s foremost organizer, Nikolai Alekseev, by slapping multiple charges on him beyond the traditional “demonstrating without a permit” violation.

Even though he is finally released following a hearing this morning, Alekseev’s attorney Dmitri Bartenev told me that the exact nature of the charges against Alekseev aren’t clear, except that since he has been released, he cannot now be sentenced to jail time. Bartenev and the public were barred from this morning’s hearing. Alekseev faces trial on May 26.

Despite the violent attack by OMOH cops, the Russian equivalent of SWAT police, fortunately no one was seriously injured. Also, after some initial very worrying reports about threats to deport our Belorussian friends, who might in turn face incarceration by their country’s dictatorial regime, we’re happy to report that they have been released.

The Russian State vs Gays:
The bizarre lengths to which they will go

As noted in an earlier post, days before Saturday’s Pride action we learned that the authorities were planning a pre-emptive arrest of lead Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev. This was forestalled by having the entire group decamp to a rural location outside of Moscow, rather than at their usual homes and workplaces.

Round 1: Pride organizers

Discussions

Preparing for the action

The day before the action we learned through a reliable press source that the authorities were planning on blockading the main roads into Moscow. Despite having more than10 million inhabitants, there are only seven main roads into the city, and the police20were on the look-out in particular for a bus with some of the usual suspects plus a generous gathering of 20-something activists.

Map Preparation

To a Westerner this story sounds like the product of feverish paranoia, but to those who live in what can at best be described as a quasi-democracy, such a report can’t be dismissed out of hand. So with the help of friends in other vehicles, the story was checked out in person and yes, police were stopping and searching almost all vehicles coming into the city limits. Another activist reported seeing police in possession of photos of key activists.

Showing remarkable poise the Pride organizers quickly changed transport plans, switched us from coach to a commuter train just outside the check points around Moscow’s ring road, directed us to take the train for one stop inside the ring road, then switched to a group of vans to take us the rest of the way to the protest site.

Round 2: Pride organizer

One of the main difficulties in organizing a public action in a police state is deploying the action to the press and public before the authorities round everyone up. But with an extra bevy of cameramen, sound people, still photographers and print people in town for the huge Eurovision music festival, to say that they can’t blend into a crowd is an understatement. Add to this the fact that while our side has sources in the media, the police do as well, especially all of the Russian-based broadcast media, who are a virtual telegraph agency to the other side.

The media have to be advised of the specific time and location of the action at the last possible moment, as any gathering of them tips off the cops that something is about to happen. Anyone in proximity to them is of course suspected of being an illegal demonstrator despite not showing any banners or signs.

05_press_call_--_an_arrest2

So we came to a popular bluff on the Moscow River overlooking the city, where lots of weddings take place, camouflaged as … a heterosexual wedding party. The groom? Why, of course, Nikolai Alekseev! And the bride walking arm-in-arm with “her” man? A young Belorussian gay activist dressed in a fine wedding gown. “She” and the groom passed very well, thank you, including through a few ranks of loitering policemen en route (thanks also to their rented limousine). Other groups of the “wedding party” converged from other directions.

As a rank and file participant in the protest lacking even basic Russian language skills, I didn’t know the overall plan until it unfolded in a rolling manner, with groups of activists unfolding banners, flags and signs to a forest of media cameras. Shortly after each group revealed itself, Russian OMOH cops (their equivalent of SWAT police) waded through the sea of press and violently arrested the protesters.

06_omoh3

07_nikolai_baev_l_and_edward_murzin_r_talk_to_the_press

08_another_arrest2

I was taken into custody for holding up a bilingual sign and rapidly taken to a waiting Moscow squadrol. I was soon joined by a few other protesters, at which time the police checked our identification documents. Apparently the police decided it was too much of a hassle to deal with a foreign national from the west, and they released me.

Not seeing the error of my ways, I went right back to a nearby corner where about 50+ press personnel were milling about filing their reports, identified myself to one of them as a protester, and began speaking to her about why I was proud to participate in the protest. This rapidly drew a gaggle of dozens more press around me. They knew better than I that speaking out in favor of gay rights on a street corner of Russia was a civil liberties train wreck waiting to happen, and they wanted to film it as the inevitable happened.

After a sentence or two praising the courage of Russian and Belorussian LGBT activists, I began speaking about how the police attack on gay and lesbian rights should be a concern of all Russians as it was an attack on their democratic freedoms. At just that point the OMOH cops grabbed and dragged me away, making my point much more effectively than any words I could have uttered.

By cleverly timing their event to coincide with Eurovision, which is probably Europe’s highest-profile annual cultural event, Pride organizers scored an unprecedented victory for LGBT rights in Russia. Alekseev reports that this year’ s Pride gathered far more press than the very heavily covered events in previous years. By coinciding Pride with Eurovision, an event which should celebrate free expression not just in the arts, but everywhere, Pride organizers helped drive home the danger of the government’s prohibition on the right of assembly for Russian gays and lesbians. The 4th annual gay Pride in Moscow was an unqualified success, with the political points of its organizers broadcast around the world, which can only serve to help isolate the anti-gay regime.

As I write this Sunday afternoon at the dining room table of Russian flat, I’m surrounded by a joyous gathering of Russian LGBT activists celebrating the release of the last of the imprisoned, talking rapidly in Russian with me not understanding a word. That’s okay. Their spirit is infectious, their determination to continue fighting clear.

09_nikolai_celebrationNicolai Alekseev celebrating his release with friends

10_celebration

I learned a ton from our Russian and Belorussian friends over the past few days. To say that it was a useful political organizing experience is a huge understatement.

SIDE-BAR
Edward Murzin:
A ‘Politician’ Who Gave More For Gay Pride
Than Most Gays Themselves

In the Spring of 2008, Edward Murzin was a member of a provincial Duma, the Russian equivalent of a state legislature. In Russia’s increasingly undemocratic political structure, that made his seat more secure than the most gerrymandered, “safe” U.S. Congressional district.

11_edward_murzinEdward Murzin serving up barbeque on the first evening our two-day conference outside of Moscow © Gay Liberation Network

But he did an unusual thing for a politician – something that marked him as not a politician at all. He listened to a persecuted minority within his district and despite their unpopularity, he stood up for what is right, and paid a higher price for fighting against inequality of gays than most gays themselves.

It’s not like he set out to become a martyr. In his humility, he freely admits that he didn’t know what he wa s getting into when he, as a politician, stood up for gay equality in anti-gay official Russia.

“I didn’t know [that] it would be so unpopular. I wasn’t so aware. I didn’t know what would happen if I protected gay rights. I had people in my region who are gay, and they asked me to protect their rights.”

“I [knew] I could go to the election, and all the people in my section would vote for me. They’re not going to change their minds because I protect gays, but the authorities didn’t like that.” They refused to allow him to run for re-election and he lost his job.

“Now I feel that homophobia is real (he laughs). And I will participate next year in gay actions like Slavik Pride because I think it is one of the main points to change society.”

For doing the right thing he paid a high price. He lost his job and is unemployed in a region of the world where unemployment and destitution far surpasses what most of us in the United States experience.

“Now I work as an [unpaid] human rights20activist. I’m not a politician anymore.”

And his concerns are not limited to gays alone.

Fascist violence against national minorities in Russia is endemic, with “non-white” peoples of Asian Russia and the Caucuses routinely subjected to unofficial violence and official harassment. The blatant discrimination is so rife that even a few of the guidebooks to Moscow that I purchased before my visit specifically warned people who couldn’t pass for European, that they would likely face harassment by police on the streets of the city.

“Every year, violence in the field of xenophobia rises in Russia, 18% or 20% per year,” said Murzin. “We have to be more tolerant to survive, because in Russia we are multinational. I am a human rights activist.”

A far more honorable “profession,” albeit poorly paid.

Previous posts and photos in this series can be seen at:
http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/86605/index.php
and
http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/86617/index.php

This article and the photos referenced below are in the public domain. However, please credit them to Andy Thayer / Gay Liberation Network

Andy Thayer

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We wanted to thank the 50 people who made a protest in Berlin at the Russian Embassy today. Also, to the activists of Tapages who in Strasbourg organized a die-in at the Russian Consulate in the afternoon.
We also want to thank German MP Volker beck who managed from Germany to ask his Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make a diplomatic action in Moscow early sunday morning with the names of the organizers still detained.
We are extremely disspointed that the EU Embassies (UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland) which had been invited by the organizers to monitor the events on the spot, concluded that despite witnessing the action, they did not find any ground to make a diplomatic actions. It shows that it is easier to act for the EU Embassies in smaller countries such as Latvia where several EU Embassies brought support but when it turns to be in Russia, things are different.
We will raise this point with the EU Commission shortly as well as the denial by the Belarusian Embassy to grant any assistance to the Belarusian activists on the motives that they were taking part in the Slavic gay pride.
The UK representative gave consular assistance to Peter Tatchell very fast after he was arrested while the US Embassy did not go to meet Andy Thayer and was actually not planing to do it before monday morning.
Most of all, we want to thank all the medias and journalists who made the 4th Moscow Pride moe covered than its first violent edition in 2006. If the participants of the Eurovision clearly put the human rights in their pockets after they landed in Moscow, the journalist mentioned our struggle in all the articles about the Eurovision.
A bit disapointed by the Dutch Gay Contestant, Gordon, who told us that he will be in the pride and who said at a press conference on thursday that he finaly decided not to take part in the pride because the organizers told him not to join. This is actually a lie as we have never be in direct contact with him. We are a bit disapointed to see that this singer used the Slavic pride for his own PR.
Lastly, we welcome the statement from the Slovenian Presidency of the CoE which was released last night which at least once, his expressing a clear and strong message. It seems that the pressure we put on this institution over the last months started to work.
See you next year in Minsk for the second edition of the Slavic Gay Pride (middle of May, date to be confirmed) in Belarus and in Moscow on May 29th 2010 for the 5th Moscow Pride.
Nikolai Alekseev
Nikolai Baev
Ira Fet
Vlad Ortanov

Slovenia Expresses Concern Over Moscow Gay Pride Parade

LJUBLJANA, May 17, 2009 – Samuel Žbogar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovenia and chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, last night expressed his concern about the action taken against the organisers of the Slavic Gay Pride parade in Moscow.
“People belonging to sexual minorities enjoy the same right to freedom of expression and to freedom of assembly as any other individual within the jurisdiction of a member state of the Council of Europe,” a statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Department in Ljubljana.

“According to the established case law of the European Court of Human Rights, peaceful demonstrations cannot be banned simply because of the existence of attitudes hostile to the demonstrators or to the causes they advocate.

“The fact that this is not the first year such a situation has developed is of concern to the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,” the statement concluded.

Russia is a member country of the Council of Europe. There are currently some 150 cases pending in the European Court of Human Rights against Russia over gay rights issues.

Gay Russia

Photo of the Action in Strasbourg – TaPaGes Strasbourg

2009-05-17_moscou_04

TaPaGes Strasbourg

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