Archive for the ‘Anti-Gay’ Category
In the coastal town of Mtwapa in Kenya’s Kilifi district, media hysteria and outrage by clerics over a non-existent gay wedding whipped up mob violence that began on February 12, unleashing a house-to-house witch hunt by anti-gay vigilantes, street attacks targeting gay men, the sacking of an AIDS-fighting medical center, and a widening wave of ultra-homophobic national media coverage.
Many gay men have gone into hiding or fled the area.
From Nairobi, the nation’s capital, Denis Nzioka, a prominent 24-year-old gay activist, told Gay City News, “Ever since the outburst of violence in Mtwapa, gay people have had to fear for their lives. Vigilante groups are hunting down gay men, going door to door, and anyone who is overly flamboyant is attacked in the street.”
According to an internal report jointly prepared by on-scene representatives of both the leading Kenyan queer group, the two-year-old Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), and the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), a non-governmental organization formed two decades ago, the wave of anti-gay violence had Kafkaesque origins in a false rumor about a gay wedding supposedly planned for February 12.
“There is even a suggestion that it was a planted story,” said the GALCK-KHRC report, adding, “In any case, the most repeated version is that about two weeks ago a well-known and popular gay man in the Mtwapa area went to a barbershop for a haircut. When one of the barbers commented that his hair looked really nice and asked him where was going, he responded jokingly that he was going to get married. However, the barber took it seriously and went to his local mosque and reported that there was a planned gay wedding set for Friday, February 12 in Mtwapa.”
That mosque’s imam then announced the so-called “wedding” to his congregation and instructed his flock to begin monitoring any community gatherings to insure that no gay weddings could take place.
After this, “a local radio station, Kaya FM, picked up the story and started a series of programs on gays,” according to the GALCK-KHRC report, which Nzioka told this reporter included phone-in talk shows filled with homophobic discourse and incitements to violence.
“Kaya FM presents in Swahili and many of the Minikenda languages, and therefore has a real grassroots reach,” the report said, adding, “The main focus of the discussions was the impending ‘wedding’ of two men in Mtwapa. Other local radio stations also picked up the story, including Baraka FM, Rahma FM, and ultimately national radio stations including Kiss and Classic FM.”
Five days before the date of the alleged wedding, “many of the muftis and imams discussed the impending wedding during Friday prayers and asked the community to be vigilant against homosexuals. They told their congregants to demonstrate and to flush out homosexuals from the midst of Mtwapa and to ensure that no gay wedding took place,” the GALCK-KHRC report declared.
Nzioka told this reporter, “Mtwapa is predominantly Muslim, and the imams have a lot of power and influence there.”
Some 60 percent of Kenya’s Muslim population lives in the coastal area where Mtwapa is located. Kenya is roughly 10 percent Muslim, 33 percent Roman Catholic, and 45 percent Protestant, according to the country’s entry in the CIA World Factbook.
As a harbinger of things to come, on the evening of the February 7, following anti-gay preachings in Muslim mosques, a group of young men invaded Kalifornia, the main gay club in Mtwapa, and while dancing warned in the form of a song, “Gays have no joy and this time round they will have no joy or happiness for them.” In the days that followed, calls were heard from rioters to burn down Kalifornia.
On February 11, a homophobic press conference condemning the next day’s purported wedding was held by Sheikh Ali Hussein, regional coordinator of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK), together with Bishop Lawrence Chai, regional representative of the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).
According to a story in the Daily Nation about the press conference, “The clerics claimed that a large number of youths were being recruited into gay clubs and warned that ‘God is about to punish the fastest growing town in the Coast region. Come night, come day, we shall not allow that marriage to be conducted in this town tomorrow. We shall stand firm to flush out gays who throng this town every weekend from all corners of this country,’ the religious leaders said.”
The two clerics “said they had given the government seven days to close down night clubs they accused of fuelling homosexuality in the town,” the Daily Nation reported, adding that the two “asked the government to ‘save the country from the shame of being used to conduct a marriage between people of the same sex.’ They also warned the owner of a building in the town, who was allegedly renting rooms only to homosexuals, to evict them or face their wrath. They gave him a seven-day ultimatum to throw out tenants.”
The two clerics also denounced the Mtwapa clinic run by the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), a large national organization with 750 staff members nationwide that runs a research program co-sponsored by Britain’s Oxford University. The clinic has an AIDS program for counseling and treating men who have sex with men.
Sheikh Hussein and Bishop Chai demanded that the government investigate the KEMRI clinic for providing services to homosexuals.
“How can a state institution be involved on the pretext of providing counseling to these criminals?,” the two clerics said, according to the Daily Nation, and they added, “We ask that the government shut it down with immediate effect or we will descend on its officials.”
The day after this inflammatory press conference, a well-organized mob of some 200 to 300 people armed with sticks, stones, and other weapons, and led by a vigilante leader named Faridi surrounded the KEMRI clinic, which was alleged to be the site of the non-existent wedding, and demanded that all the “shogas” come out of the building. “Shoga” is a Swahili word used as a pejorative against homosexuals — the equivalent of “faggot” — but also by women when referring to their close female friends.
Faridi, the vigilante leader, entered the clinic accompanied by police officers and confronted a staff member wearing a World AIDS Day T-shirt with a pink triangle that read “Condoms prevent AIDS” in Swahili. The vigilante is reported to have said, “This man is a shoga,” and at his demand, the police arrested him. Another KEMRI staffer was arrested later, also at Faridi’s insistence.
Nzioka told Gay City News that the KEMRI clinic was subsequently sacked, with material including computers destroyed, and was forced to shut down. This disruption of the clinic’s work means that many HIV-positive people who access care and treatment there have not been able to get their medications for days, which has serious health consequences for them.
Later that same day, “after Friday prayers” in Mtwapa’s mosques, “mobs of individuals went to the homes of suspected homosexuals looking for them,” said the GALCK-KHRC report, which also recounted speeches to a large mob that had gathered outside the local police station. Sheikh Hussein addressed the crowd in a manner “that was inciting, and he kept talking about Sodom and Gomorrah and the need to root out all homosexuals from the Mtwapa area,” the report said.
A former member of Kenya’s parliament, Omar Masumbuko, was one of several politicians who also addressed the mob. “He said that homosexuality must be stopped and every means used to make that happen,” according to the GALCK-KHRC report. “He told the crowd they should not even bother to bring the homosexuals they find to the police station but should take care of the issue themselves,”
Sodomy and sex “against the order of nature” are crimes in Kenya, punishable by ten years in prison, under a law inherited from the period of British colonial rule, which ended in 1963.
February 12 was punctuated by numerous attacks on gay people. At 8 that morning, before leading the mob attack on the KEMRI clinic, Faridi was joined by police in storming and ransacking the home of a gay man, who was arrested along with a friend who was visiting from abroad. While searching the guest’s luggage, they found jewelry that included some rings. Faridi immediately said that these were the rings for the intended wedding.
In a separate incident, a 23-year-old security guard was descending from a bus heading toward the center of Mtwapa when he was set upon by a mob that threatened him with death and beat him senseless. A female sex worker tried to protect him with her body and yelled at the crowd that they can’t kill people like that and that the man had not done anything, but the mob doused the man with kerosene, preparing to burn him alive. At this point the police arrived, but instead of arresting anyone in the mob, they arrested the man it had attacked. The bloodied, dazed man was incarcerated and denied medical attention.
The following day, a volunteer at the KEMRI clinic was attacked by a mob, which chanted that it was actually his wedding they had disrupted. The man was severely beaten and burnt with cigarette butts. As the mob prepared to douse the man with kerosene, he too was arrested. After his arrest, a mob attempted to attack the Mtwapa police station but was repulsed with tear gas.
In total, six men presumed to be gay were arrested, some of them forced to undergo medical examinations for evidence of sodomy, and all were scheduled for a court appearance on February 15. But Nzioka told this reporter that, after intervention by an attorney provided by KHRC, all six were released from custody, and have now fled the area.
Nzioka also said that the wave of anti-gay violence and protests in Mtwapa had received “huge” publicity in all the national media, particularly radio and television, but that “all of it was, sadly, very, very homophobic,” and that the media had utterly failed to reach out to representatives of the gay community. Instead, he said, gay-baiting commentaries and reactions from imams and other religious and anti-gay leaders were featured.
Asked by Gay City News if the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) was sending a staff member to Kenya from its branch office in Johannesburg, South Africa, the organization’s executive director, Cary Alan Johnson, replied in an e-mail, “We are not sending a staff member to Kenya at this point, as we have full confidence in the local LGBT movement, which is grouped together under the banner of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) to respond to the situation. Also, a number of national and local mainstream human rights partners, particularly the Kenya Human Rights Coalition, are engaging with the clear recognition that an attack on the rights of individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is an attack on the freedoms of all Kenyan citizens.”
GALCK is not a membership organization but an alliance of five other groups — Ishtar, a health group for men who have sex with men; Gaykenya.com, a web site; Minority Women in Action, a lesbian group; the Gender Education and Advocacy Project (GEAP), a group for transgendered and intersex people; and The Other Man in Kenya (TOMIKI), a social network of gay professionals in the medical, legal, and other fields, most of whom, Nzioka said, are “very discreet.”
The consciousness informing at least some in GALCK’s leadership has raised concerns. In a statement demanding government protection for gays published on the group’s website, its general manager, David Kuria, wrote, “We also call upon the religious leaders in Kenya to appreciate that compulsory heterosexuality is not the way to enforce their religion. GALCK members are willing to enter into dialogue with them, and if they truly have a cure for homosexuality, then we are most happy to take it, BUT NOT UNDER CONDITIONS OF DURESS.”
Since the American Psychiatric Association and most of its Western peer groups have not only completely discredited the notion that there can be a “cure” for homosexuality, but also affirmed that attempting to inflict such a “cure” on those with a same-sex orientation can be extremely harmful psychologically, it is quite disturbing to see the leader of a gay group like GALCK say that his members would be “happy to take” such a so-called cure if available.
Kuria could not be reached for comment by press time.
GALCK has five paid staff members and, Nzioka told this reporter, receives the bulk of its funding from LLH, the Norwegian LGBT Association.
There is no immediate prospect of repeal of the anti-gay sodomy statute in Kenya. Nzioka told Gay City News that Kenya’s gay community has “copiously” inundated the experts drafting a new national constitution with documents supporting the repeal of anti-gay laws and the extension of human rights to LGBT people, but that the committee has turned a deaf ear, and “has even buckled under to homophobia by removing a section which said that ‘every person has a right to start a family,’ which was interpreted as giving gays the right to have or adopt children.”
Moreover, said Nzioka, while there are a handful of friendly elected public officials and politicians with whom queer groups are in contact, “all are secretive, very discreet” about their support for gay rights and there is no organized evidence of that support in the national parliament.
Meanwhile, the Mtawapa witch-hunt shows no signs of letting up: at the beginning of this week, Sheikh Hussein launched radio appeals for a mass anti-gay demonstration in Mtawapa on February 19.
A video report on the Mtwapa incidents from Kenya’s NTV is at:
The web site of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) is at http://galck.org/index.php.
Gaykenya is at http://www.gaykenya.com.
The Kenya Human Rights Commission is at http://www.khrc.or.ke/.
Doug Ireland can be reached through his blog, DIRELAND, at http://direland.typepad.com/
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MUST WATCH video on Uganda anti-gay Bill
Death penalty for straights and for non-sex offences too
London – 18 February 2010
Peter Tatchell writes:
I am very grateful to Rob Tisinai for making a masterclass YouTube video that explains the full horrors of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. It shows that this Bill is far more lethal and wide-reaching than most people realise.
Ugandans don’t have to be gay or to have gay sex to be sentenced to death.
Read this summary of these little known aspects of the Bill, then watch the video (the link is below).
Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, the crime of “serial offender” is punishable by execution.
A serial offender is a person who has “previous convictions” for “homosexuality OR RELATED OFFENCES.”
In other words, if a Ugandan person has previous convictions for offences in the Bill and then has a subsequent conviction he or she will be classified as a serial offender and face execution.
“Related offences” in the Bill, which can result in a death sentence for serial offenders, include non-sexual acts such as:
· aiding and abetting homosexuality
· advocating same-sex relationships or LGBT rights
· having a same-sex marriage
· publicising or funding pro-LGBT organisations
· using the internet or a mobile phone for the purpose of homosexuality or its promotion
· being a person in authority who fails to report an offender to the police within 24 hours
These related offences are crimes that could be also committed by a heterosexual person. It is not just LGBT Ugandans who are threatened by this legislation.
Under the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, all convicted serial offenders are liable to execution, regardless of their sexuality.
Rob’s brilliant short video explains the FULL and DEADLY clauses of the Bill. Please take a look and send it to your friends. We need to get the word out far and wide.
Watch Rob’s video here:
See the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill here:
Huge thanks to Rob Tisinai for taking the time to make this superb video. It is the clearest, most detailed exposition of the true severity of the proposed new law.
Solidarity! Peter Tatchell
If you would like to contact Peter Tatchell, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moscow Pride 2007 Anti-Gay Demo
Gay activists and Eurovision fans have been warned they may be met with violence this weekend in Moscow.
The city is preparing to host the Eurovision Song Contest final but gay rights activists have said they will be holding a Slavic Pride march, despite city officials banning such events.
Such events have been met with violence from right-wing extremists in previous years.
“We won’t allow this satanic gathering,” Nikolai Dovydenko, the organiser of last week’s anti-gay picket and leader of the United Orthodox Youth, told the Guardian. “We don’t want Moscow to become Sodom. It’s an affront to Russian society and to our spiritual peace.”
When asked if his movement was intending to hurt gay and lesbian Eurovision fans, he said: “We don’t want to hurt anybody physically. But we will not let our feelings be insulted.” The group’s leaflet mixes images from previous gay parades with photos of terrorist attacks.
“Eighty per cent of Russians are orthodox Christians,” Dovydenko said. “We don’t intend to be humiliated.”
Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who previously described gays as “Satanic”, has done little to quell tension, declaring that no gay prides would ever be held in the city, despite its obligations under its constitution.
Nikolai Alekseev, the organiser of the Slavic Pride rally, warned that British gays and lesbians travelling to city would not be safe from extremist violence, adding that Moscow police would not protect them.
This week, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office revised its guidance for travellers to Moscow, saying that gay visitors should be aware of possible violence and should be careful about open displays of affection.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was among those who were beaten by rightwing extremists during an attempt to hold a march in 2007.
He said yesterday he would still attend the march to show solidarity with Russian campaigners, despite being beaten almost unconscious and then arrested.
- Russian Lesbian Couple, Irina Fedotova and Irina Shipitko, Denied Marriage License
- Slavic Pride: UK Foreign Office Revises Guidance for Gay Travellers in Moscow
- Peter Tatchell Risks Moscow Gay Pride – Undeterred by Threat of Arrests and Bashings
- Moscow Ban of the Slavic Pride: Dutch Singer Gordon Threatens to Boycott the Eurovision Song Contest
- UN Human Rights Committee Gives Russia 6 Months to Justify Gay Picket Ban in Moscow
- Russia: Moscow Mayor Allows Anti Gay Pride Action but Bans Slavic Pride
- Russia: Lesbians to Attempt First Gay Marriage in Russia
- Russian Gay Activists Unveil Plans for Their Slavic Pride on Eurovision
A conference in Uganda which begins today has been condemned by human rights groups.
The 3-day seminar in Kampala, which opens today, features several American speakers known for their efforts to dehumanise LGBT people and for their belief that homosexuality can be “cured.”
The speakers include Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, and Caleb Lee Brundidge—leading voices in the crusade by religious extremists to roll back basic human rights for LGBT people in the United States.
IGLHRC said that Brundidge is affiliated with Extreme Prophetic Ministry in Phoenix, Arizona. Schmierer is on the board of the so-called “ex-gay” organization Exodus International. Lively is well known for his belief that the Nazi Holocaust never happened.
“The American religious right is finally showing its hand and revealing the depth of its support for homophobia in Africa,” said IGLHRC‘s Executive Director Cary Alan Johnson.
Vatican’s anti-gay witch-hunt continues
The Pope’s plan for psychological tests to purge gay men from the priesthood is a new low.
By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
The Vatican has announced the “psychological screening” of all new applicants for the priesthood, in a bid to weed out men who are deemed to be psychologically flawed. It has taken this initiative following the widespread sexual abuse of children by its clerics.
In a diversionary tactic to deflect attention from the child sex abuse scandal, one of the main aims of these psychological tests is to weed out gay men, not paedophiles.
The Vatican identifies homosexuality as a deep-seated personality disorder and psychological flaw; condemning same-sex acts as “grave sins,” “objectively disordered”, “intrinsically immoral” and “contrary to natural law.” Even men who have a gay orientation but abstain totally from sex are condemned by the Pope as possessing a “tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil.”
Accordingly, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education has issued a new document, Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood.
It proposes psychological tests to root out men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” from seminaries.
Estimates of the number of gay men in Catholic seminaries and the priesthood typically range from 25 percent to 50 percent, according to a review of research in the US by the Rev. Donald Cozzens, author of The Changing Face of the Priesthood. A similar proportion of priests is thought to be gay in the UK and Europe, including a number of bishops and cardinals.
The new Vatican document states that seminary candidates should undergo psychological evaluations whenever there is a suspicion of personality disturbances or doubts about their ability to live a celibate life, such as any manifestation of masculine weakness or a homosexual orientation.
When assessing a candidate’s ability to be celibate, the Vatican document insists that “it is not enough to be sure that he is capable of abstaining from genital activity” but that it is also necessary “to evaluate his sexual orientation”.
It advises that would-be priests must have “a positive and stable sense of their own masculine identity.”
Surely all this makes Pope Benedict himself a prime candidate for psychological testing and exclusion? After all, he wears a dress, loads of jewellery, Prada shoes and has a penchant for high church, high camp ritual and theatrics. While I don’t want to indulge in stereotypes, Benedict is not exactly macho. In fact, he’s quite effeminate. He is also surrounded exclusively by men, has an unusually young and handsome male private secretary and has no known close friendships with women.
He would not be the first gay Pope. There have been several others, most scandalously
Pope Julius III (1487 to 1555), who was more a pederast than a homosexual. He took a 13 year old boy as his
lover and made him a cardinal at the age of 17, showering him with such wealth that he became one of the richest men in Europe.
Anyway, I digress.
Commenting on the new Vatican document, Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, advises:
“The candidate does not necessarily have to practice homosexuality. He can even be without sin. But if he has this deeply seated tendency, he cannot be admitted to priestly ministry precisely because of the nature of the priesthood, in which a spiritual paternity is carried out. Here we are not talking about whether he commits sins, but whether this deeply rooted tendency remains…It’s not simply a question of observing celibacy as such. In this case, it would be (required for him to have) a heterosexual tendency, a normal tendency.”
This indicates a serious hardening of Vatican homophobia. It reverses the previous Catholic stance that only same sex acts are wrong, not the homosexual condition itself.
Cardinal Grocholewski elaborated:
“In a certain sense, when we ask why Christ reserved the priesthood to men, we speak of this spiritual paternity, and maintain that homosexuality is a type of deviation, a type of irregularity, as explained in two documents of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith….Therefore it (same-sex love) is a type of wound in the exercise of the priesthood, in forming relations with others. And precisely for this reason we say that something isn’t right in the psyche of such a man. We don’t simply talk about the ability to abstain from these kinds of relations.”
The Vatican is recommending that the people who do the testing should have “solid human and spiritual maturity”, and a “Christian concept of the human person, sexuality, the priestly vocation and celibacy”. In other words, conformity to homophobic Catholic doctrine takes precedence over professional qualifications.
It is now revealed that the Catholic Church in England and Wales has jumped the gun. They have already introduced psychological tests for candidate priests.
Who conducts these tests? What are their qualifications? Have the tests been vetted and approved by a professional psychological authority? What is their scientific validity and reliability? Do they operate within a professional code of conduct? Is there sufficient protection for vulnerable applicants exposed to these procedures? Even if candidates consent to being tested, is that sufficient? These are questions the Catholic Church has not answered.
The Vatican’s new policy aimed at excluding gay men from the priesthood is bigoted and hypocritical. It will encourage dishonesty, fuel homophobia and lead to Vatican sex spies snooping on trainee priests.
If these rules had existed in the past, many existing archbishops and cardinals would have never been allowed to enter the priesthood. Given the high proportion of gay clergy in senior positions in the Vatican, this new policy is rank hypocrisy.
Instead of paving the way for witch-hunts and purges of gay seminarians, the Pope should concentrate on rooting out child sex abusers. Sadly, the fundamentalists in the Vatican have often chosen to protect paedophile priests, while hounding gay clergy.
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Jack Straw blocks Cardinal Newman information
Collusion with Catholic Church
Media plan to deflect criticism
Catholic Minister approved Vatican request
London – 31 October 2008 – By Peter Tatchell
The Catholic Church put the government under sustained pressure to grant it a licence to exhume and rebury Cardinal Newman in Birmingham Oratory Church, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
This revelation comes on the eve of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor conducting a special service for Newman at Birmingham Oratory – a ceremonial first step on the road to making Newman a saint. This service will take place tomorrow, Saturday 1 November.
Newman’s casket will contain no exhumed bodily remains, as none was found when his grave was dug up last month.
“The documents show that the Ministry of Justice worked in close cooperation with the Catholic Church to deflect criticism of the reburial plans, which violated Cardinal Newman’s expressed wish to remain buried with the man he loved for over 30 years, Father Ambrose St John,” said Mr Tatchell.
“They reveal high level collusion between the government and the Catholic Church, including devising a ‘Media Plan’ to rebut criticisms.
“It is now apparent that the Ministry of Justice was initially slow and hesitant about granting the licence and delayed a decision until July this year. It took repeated emails from Peter Jennings of the Catholic Church, and reference to the concerns of the Vatican, to get ministerial authorisation.
“The licence application was approved by Catholic Justice Minister, Bridget Prentice MP, which raises conflict of interest issues. Did she show unwarranted favouritism towards the Vatican-backed request for the reburial of Newman?
“Most of the FOI documents are heavily censored, with whole pages blacked out. This suggests the Ministry of Justice has something hide.
“Nevertheless, we can see that the Catholic Church subjected the government to constant and strenuous lobbying to get its way.
“Fifty-five documents concerning legal advice have been withheld. Other documents have been suppressed by the Justice Minister under section 36 of the FOI, which concerns ‘Prejudice to effective conduct
of public affairs’. The government has declined to state the content of the suppressed documents.
“Answers to my FOI application to the Ministry of Justice took much longer than the 20-day rule. I had to make repeated reminders to get them released.
Regarding Newman’s sexuality and relationship with Ambrose St John, Mr Tatchell said:
“All the evidence from the letters and diaries suggests that Newman and St John had a passionate long-term same-sex relationship. No one can know for certain whether their relationship included sexual intimacy and affection; possibly not.
“They were mentally and spiritually in love; sharing a deep bond and intense relationship. They were inseparable; living together for over 30 years, like a married husband and wife. At Newman’s explicit request, he was buried in the same grave as St John.
“The Christian historian Alan Bray has done major research on the relationship between Newman and St John, sifting through the Cardinal’s diary, letters and notes. His findings are published in his book, The Friend (2003):
They include the following admission that Newman wrote in his diary about Ambrose’s love for him: “From the first he loved me with an intensity of love, which was unaccountable.” He later added: “As far as this world was concerned, I was his first and last….he was my earthly light.'”
Newman stated that St John was “fair and Saxon-looking, my Angel Guardian,” who, he said, had come to him as Ruth came to Naomi and as the angel Raphael came to Tobias.
Reflecting on St John’s death in 1875, Newman compared their love to that of a married couple: “I have always thought no bereavement was equal to that of a husband’s or a wife’s, but I feel it difficult to believe that anyone’s sorrow can be greater than mine….This is the greatest affliction I have had in my life.”
“There were allegations during his lifetime about his circle of young homosexual friends. Close relations with women did not feature at all in his life,” said Mr Tatchell.
Was Cardinal Newman gay?
Violating Cardinal Newman’s wishes
San Diego – USA – 21 July 2008
“We must urge the US State Department to make foreign aid and trade conditional on the recipient countries agreeing to respect human rights, including the human rights of LGBT people. Tyrannies should not be rewarded: No US aid for anti-gay regimes,” said LGBT human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
His appeal was delivered at the San Diego Pride Human Rights Vigil on Friday evening 18 July, where he was the keynote speaker. Mr Tatchell was particularly critical of US aid to “viciously homophobic countries like Jamaica, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Iraq and Nigeria.”
Mr Tatchell was International Grand Marshal at this year’s San Diego Pride celebrations.
At the vigil, Mr Tatchell praised San Diego-based gay reportor Rex Wockner for his 20-plus years of disseminating news of homophobic persecution worldwide and his reportage of the freedom struggles of LGBT people in every corner of the globe. He saluted Mr Wockner as “the greatest gay rights journalist of all time.”
Earlier, at lunchtime last Friday 18 July, Mr Tatchell joined San Diego LGBT groups and trade unions in a picket of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown San Diego, where they called for a boycott.
The joint gay and union protest was over the hotel’s low wages and poor working conditions, and also over the owner’s funding of anti-gay lobby groups.
“Manchester Grand boss Douglas Manchester is financing attempts to overturn the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the state of California. He is funding Proposition 8, a referendum ballot scheduled for November that would amend the Californian constitution to state that marriage is only between a man and a woman – in effect reinstating the ban on same-sex marriage. He’s promoting
discrimination and everyone – gay and straight – should boycott his hotel,” said Mr Tatchell.
See Rex Wockner’s blog of the hotel protest:
Mr Wockner also has photos of Peter Tatchell speaking from the stage at the festival after the 150,000-strong San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday 20 July:
Bigoted clerics stir up anti-gay witch-hunts in Africa
London – 2 July 2008
“This breakaway Anglican faction is fundamentalist, homophobic and sexist. It opposes equal rights for women and gay people, and is allied with hardline church leaders whose bigoted teachings are fuelling anti-gay witch-hunts in many countries.”
The condemnation comes from human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who yesterday (1 July) picketed a meeting at All Soul’s Church in London of the newly-formed Anglican fundamentalist sect, the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FOCA). Mr Tatchell was joined by his OutRage! African colleague Brett Lock and gay Christian and Ugandan gay rights activist, Kizza Musinguzi.
When they tried to enter the church, they were violently ejected. Mr Tatchell was punched in the chest by a church steward.
Photos of the protest are here:
“Archbishop Peter Akinola is backing the state-sponsored persecution of lesbians and gays in Nigeria. He is orchestrating a wicked victimisation campaign against the Nigerian gay Christian leader, Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria,” added Mr Tatchell.
“The Archisbishop of Uganda, Henry Orombi, has stirred up prejudice against gay Ugandans in a society where anti-gay hatred and violence is rife. In 2006, he excommunicated a heterosexual bishop, Christopher Senyonjo, because he defended gay people against persecution.
“Jesus Christ is recorded in The Bible as condemning many sins but he never once condemned homosexuality. The anti-gay campaign of the breakaway Anglican leaders is a perversion of Christ’s gospel of love and compassion. These splitters are Old Testament fundamentalists, not true followers of Jesus Christ,” concluded Mr Tatchell.
Kizza Musinguzi is a gay member of the Anglican Church of Uganda. He has witnessed first hand the homophobic campaign by his church leaders. Mr Musinguzi was jailed and tortured in Uganda because of his gay rights activism. He is currently seeking asylum in the UK.
“The church is supposed to be all-loving. It is not acceptable that it has one set of rights for straight Christians and a lesser set of rights for gay Christians,” said Mr Musinguzi.
“When Archbishop Orombi takes a stand against gay people, he signals to the population that it is okay to discriminate against gay people. He supports Uganda’s vicious anti-gay laws, which stipulate life imprisonment for consenting same-sex relationships. Orombi is encouraging prejudice and hatred. His victimisation of Bishop Senyonjo is cruel and vindictive.
“Gay people in Uganda face imprisonment, torture and mob violence. Many are driven out their communities and left destitute. The government excludes gay people from its HIV programmes, leaving them to die without medication. The Church of Uganda is exacerbating this homophobia, neglect and persecution,” said Mr Musinguzi.
The closing of Lambda would be a devastating blow for the European LGBT emancipation movement.
A leading gay rights organisation has been ordered to dissolve itself by a court in Turkey.
A department of the Istanbul Governor’s office responsible for non-governmental organisations alleged that the group, Lambda Istanbul, violates Turkish laws on morality.
They claimed that Lambda violates both the Penal Code, as an association in violation of “law and morals,” and Article 41 of the Turkish constitution, which is concerned with “the peace and welfare of the family.”
Lambda Istanbul was founded in 1993 and registered as an association in May 2006.
The city government of Isatabnul claimed that the association’s statute was immoral and although the prosecutor initually rejected the claims citing freedom of association.
The city government then appeal to court and there have been a number of hearings, the most recent today in the Beyoglu 3rd Civil Court of First Instance.
The group said in a statement: “The way we see this process is that LGBT organizations that currently exist either in practice or as registered entities in Turkey are trying to be pushed out of the legal domain.
“Instead of accepting their existence and protecting their basic rights, the state authorities choose to condemn LGBT people, by depriving them of their right to association.”
Lambda Istanbul will appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal. They are the first gay rights group to be closed by any member or candidate member of the European Union.
Human Rights Watch said in a statement:
“A Beyoglu court today ordered the dissolution of Lambda Istanbul in the ongoing case brought against them.
“An HRW representative was at the court and witnessed the hearing.”
“Lambda will take the case to the Court of Appeal (Yargitay) but it represents sustained, prolonged, and legally indefensible harassment of a human rights organisation.”
Lambda Istanbul aims to “support all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to adopt equality as a value”.
It has actively lobbied for legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Government officials have made similar legal moves to shut down other lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender organisations in Turkey but failed.
Kaos GL, based in Ankara, faced a demand for closure from Ankara’s deputy governor, Selahattin Ekmenoglu, in 2005. The closure petition was dismissed by prosecutors.
The chairman of Dutch gay rights group COC, Frank van Dalen, says that closing Lambda Istanbul would be against non-discriminatory guidelines issued by the European Union and against the universal right to free speech.
Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership, but concerns about human rights are one factor frustrating negotiations.
The closing of Lambda would be a devastating blow for the European LGBT emancipation movement, according to COC.
Mr Van Dalen has called on the Dutch government to not support Turkey’s application for EU membership until “basic human rights are fully respected by Turkey.”
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.”
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.”