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Link: SMUG (Sexual Minorities Uganda)

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‘Protest the Pope’ Downing Street Petition launched

Gordon Brown urged to disassociate the government from Pope’s views

Already over 3,000 signatures

London – 22 February 2010

A Downing Street petition has been launched, urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to “disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views.”

The petition has been launched ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September this year. It has been submitted by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and has already attracted over 3,000 signatures.

View the petition here:
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ProtestthePope/
Note: only UK residents with a UK address are eligible to sign the petition

A petition by Mr Tatchell on the same subject last year was refused inclusion on the Downing Street website.

“The Pope opposes universal human rights. He rejects equality for women and gay people, condemns the use of life-saving condoms, colludes with Holocaust appeasers and he is implicated in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic priests,” said Mr Tatchell.

“A man with such objectionable views should not be honoured with an official State Visit. If he wants to come to Britain, he should pay his own way. The public should not be expected to cover the estimated £20 million cost. This money would be far better spent on schools and hospitals,” added Mr Tatchell.

The petition reads:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to disassociate the British government from the Pope’s intolerant views ahead of the Papal visit to Britain in September 2010. We urge the Prime Minister to make it clear that his government disagrees with the Pope’s opposition to women’s reproductive rights, gay equality, embryonic stem cell research and the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. We ask the Prime Minister to express his disagreement with the Pope’s role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying bishop Richard Williamson, and his decree paving the way for the beatification and sainthood of the war-time Pope, Pius XII, who stands accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust. We also request the Prime Minister to assure us that the Pope’s visit will not be financed by the British taxpayer.”

Peter Tatchell has criticised at length the Pope Benedict XVI’s “illiberal” and “often extreme” stance on key social issues:

“The Pope is an opponent of women’s rights. He not only opposes the right of women to choose to have an abortion but also their right to contraception, which can help reduce the abortion rate,” said Mr Tatchell.

“He opposes women’s access to IVF fertility treatment, to give childless couples the chance of parenthood.

“The Pope supports gender discrimination, including a ban on women priests and bishops, and he wants the Catholic Church to be exempt from equality and anti-discrimination laws that apply to everyone else.

“He has sought to block potentially life-saving embryonic stem cell research, and he rejects the right of suffering, terminally ill people to die with dignity at a moment of the their own free choice.

“Pope Benedict denounces the use of condoms, even to stop the spread of HIV, and he has falsely claimed that condom usage “increases” the rate of HIV infection. His teachings put millions of lives at risk.
See The Independent, 27 March 2009:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/lancet-says-pope-distorting-condom-facts-1655647.html

“He has acquiesced with the Vatican’s lie that condoms spread HIV and that the virus can pass through the latex (sic). This outrageous falsehood has been condemned as untrue and irresponsible by the World Health Organisation and Christian Aid.
See the BBC website, 9 October 2003:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3176982.stm

“He rejects legal equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and their full protection in law against homophobic and transphobic discrimination

“The Pope has approved the Catholic Catechism, which condemns same-sex relationships as a “grave depravity,” “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.”
See The Vatican website, Catechism 2357:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm

“In 1992, he authored a Vatican document that condemned homosexuality as an “objective disorder” and a “strong tendency ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil.” Rejecting the concept of gay human rights, the document asserted that there is no “right” to laws protecting homosexual people against discrimination, suggesting that the civil liberties of lesbians and gay men can be “legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct.”
See in full the Vatican document – Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons:
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Some+considerations+concerning+the+Catholic+response+to+legislative…-a0128671084

“The Pope has attacked same-sex marriages as “evil” and vilified supporters of gay equality as “gravely immoral.” He has also vilified homosexual equality as a “deviant trend” and condemned same-sex love as being “without any social value.”

“Pope Benedict colludes with anti-semitism, including with holocaust deniers and with Catholic leaders who were complicit with the Nazi regime.

“He rescinded the excommunication of Bishop Richard Williamson who, in 2008, denied key elements of the Holocaust with claims that a maximum of 300,000 Jews died in concentration camps and that none were gassed by the Nazis.
See the BBC website, 4 February 2009:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7869565.stm

“He has also paved the way for the beatification and eventual sainthood of Pope Pius XII by issuing a decree in 2009 celebrating his virtues, despite the war-time pontiff’s 1933 Concordat with Adolf Hitler and his silence concerning the Nazi mass murder of six million Jews.
See The Guardian, 22 December 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/pope-benedict-moves-pius-closer-sainthood
http://www.concordatwatch.eu/showkb.php?org_id=858&kb_header_id=752&order=kb_rank+ASC&kb_id=1212

“While condemning loving, consenting adult same-sex relations, the Pope helped shield from prosecution Catholic clergy guilty of child sex abuse. He colluded with the cover up of their crimes and with the policy of relocating paedophile priests to other parishes, where they often went on to commit further sexual abuse, as revealed in the 2006 BBC Panorama programme, Sex crimes and the Vatican.
See the Evening Standard, 30 September 2006:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23369148-pope-led-cover-up-of-child-abuse-by-priests.do
and see BBC Panorama 1 October 2006:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5402928.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/5389684.stm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06qhnIwEdHE&feature=related

“Pope Benedict is complicit with human rights abuses and should not be accorded the honour of a State Visit to Britain,” said Mr Tatchell.

Peter Tatchell

gayblood1

Bloody Bigots: The National Blood Service claims it wants to protect patients from HIV, but its indiscriminate ban on gay donors is flawed.

By Peter Tatchell

The Guardian – 1 December 2008

It is World AIDS Day and many gay people overseas are donating blood. Encouraged to donate by their national blood services, they are doing their civic duty, alongside their heterosexual families and friends, to help ensure that there are plentiful blood supplies for patients and accident victims who need emergency transfusions.

But this is not happening in the UK. Gay blood has been officially declared queer, tainted and a menace to the health of the nation. Gay and bisexual men are banned as blood donors by the National Blood Service (NBS).

We all now carry the mark of the HIV ‘Anti-Christ’. Every single same-sexer in Britain is categorised by the NBS as a potential purveyor of death and destruction. We are all reckless liars, who can never be trusted to behave with sexual responsibility or to tell the truth about our sexual history and HIV risk factors. Every last one of us – including gay doctors, priests and HIV educators – are prohibited from giving blood, now and forever.

This NBS ban applies to all men who have had oral or anal sex with another man, at any point in their life – even just once with a condom. It has introduced this catch-all ban in the name of protecting the blood supply from contamination with HIV. This is a laudable aim but the indiscriminate gay ban is an unjustified and flawed way of achieving it.

On the basis that roughly 5% to 10% of the male population is gay or bisexual for all or part of their lives, this policy excludes around one to two million potential blood donors. This is madness at a time when the NBS is crying out for donors to “do some amazing.”

If the NBS is seriously concerned about screening out HIV contaminated blood donations, why is it refusing to test donated blood for the HIV virus? What is its excuse for adopting the cheaper, less safe option of testing for HIV antibodies?

In an infected person, the virus shows up in the blood with a few days, whereas the antibodies can take up to three months to become identifiable. Within this three month period, the antibodies may be present but not detectable. This means that a recently infected person might not be aware of their HIV status. When they donate blood, their blood will be passed as safe by the NBS and be offered for use in transfusions and blood products – potentially infecting dozens of people. This short-sighted policy of only testing for antibodies increases the likelihood of the blood supply becoming infected with HIV.

If the NBS switched to testing directly for the virus this would not only make the blood supply safer, it would also enable an easing of the ban on gay blood, which would boost blood stocks.

Because the HIV virus is manifest in the blood with a few days of infection, it would be feasible for the NBS to introduce a new policy whereby only men who’ve had sex with men in the preceding seven days would be excluded from donating blood. This would significantly increase the pool of available donors.

Already, several countries have ditched or qualified their ban on gay and bisexual blood donors.
http://www.gayblooddonation.org/globalreform.html

Spain and Italy only rule out donations from men who have engaged in risky sexual behaviour. Since these two countries relaxed their policies and allowed more gay men to become donors, the number of people who have become infected via blood donations has more than halved. Experts suggest that this is partly to do with the new emphasis on excluding donations from people who engage in risky sexual behaviour, as opposed to the previous blanket exclusion of entire high risk groups.

An easing of the gay ban has also taken place in Argentina, Australia, Japan and Hungary, where gay and bisexual men are only prohibited from donating blood if they’ve had sex in the last year. A five year deferral on gay donors operates in New Zealand and South Africa. In the UK, the NBS still insists on a lifetime ban.

Oddly, this unscientific, irrational policy is backed by gay-led HIV charities in the UK, such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and Gay Men Fighting Aids.
http://www.tht.org.uk/informationresources/policy/healthpolicy/blooddonations/
http://www.newshub.org/2007/?p=373

Now dependant on funding and goodwill from establishment bodies, they have joined the establishment. Unwilling to challenge a blanket ban that is irrational and ignorant, they collude with the NBS’s stereotyped and prejudiced assumptions about gay and bisexual men.

Scientists, doctors, HIV organisations and gay rights campaigners in many other countries take a different view. They say that a total ban on all blood donations from men who have sex with men lacks scientific credibility and medical justification. They are right.

The NBS gay blood ban is based on the ill-informed, homophobic presumption that all gay and bisexual men are “high risk” for HIV, regardless of their individual sexual behaviour. This is nonsense. Most gay men do not have HIV and will never have HIV.

Based on crass generalisations, the NBS policy lumps together all gay and bisexual men, without differentiation, as if we are all the same. We’re not. There is a wide diversity of same-sex behaviours and lifestyles. Some of us are at risk of HIV, and some of us are not. Those who are not at risk should not be excluded from doing “something amazing.”

For information about Peter Tatchell’s campaigns: www.petertatchell.net

burundi3

IGLHRC – For Immediate Release, November 24, 2008

(New York, November 24, 2008) – In an unexpected move, the National Assembly of Burundi passed a law on Friday November 21, 2008, making same-sex acts punishable by between 3 months and two years in prison, along with a substantial fine. The following day, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the Association pour le Respect et les Droits des Homosexuels (ARDHO) issued strongly worded letters to the entire membership of Burundi’s Senate, asking them to vote against the legislation, which would criminalize homosexuality for the first time in the history of the country. The Senate may vote on the bill as early as tomorrow and if it passes Burundian President Nkurunziza will likely sign it into law.

IGLHRC and ARDHO also wrote to President Nkurunziza, asking him to veto the legislation should it be presented to him for his signature. Both groups encourage others to contact Burundian authorities to protest the measure.

“Imprisoning people simply because of who they love offends every principle of human rights practice, which is to ensure dignity and respect for all people,” said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC’s executive director. “This is less about sexuality and more about the visibility of a growing community of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Africa refusing to be treated as dirt. These laws are meant to silence and terrorize our community and must be stopped.”

Burundi—a small country in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the south and east, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west—has been locked in an ethnically-based conflict for much of its post-independence history. A negotiated peace settlement, brokered with the assistance of a number of African states, has led to the installation of a multi-party government. The last few years have seen a certain level of reconstruction in the country, increased stability and the emergence of a nascent civil society.

The government of Burundi’s latest move comes in the context of considerable hostility to homosexuality in the region; two-thirds of African nations maintain criminal penalties for consensual same-sex behavior. In recent years several countries, including Nigeria and Uganda, have threatened to strengthen laws against homosexuality. New criminal codes in Zimbabwe broaden the definition of sodomy to include “any act that involves physical contact… that would be regarded by a reasonable person to be an indecent act.” Several nations, including Burundi, have enacted legislation criminalizing same-sex marriage, though little or no advocacy to promote such marriages has taken place. These laws appear to be emerging in response to an increasingly visible, outspoken, and organized sexual rights movement.

The United Nations has condemned laws that criminalize homosexuality as being violations of the rights to privacy and equality and has called upon member states that maintain such laws to review them. Members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights have condemned physical attacks on and the imprisonment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

International and local human rights defenders have expressed grave concern not only about the nature of the current legislation in Burundi, but also about the way in which it has been promulgated. “The government has moved this bill quickly and unjustly through the legislative process,” said a representative of ARDHO. “The whole process has happened over the course of a weekend, with no input from civil society or general discussion about the issue of homosexuality and freedom of expression within Burundi.”

If the current legislation passes, it is likely that the country’s HIV prevention efforts will suffer. Burundi has made commendable efforts to fight HIV and AIDS during the last decade. But IGLHRC’s 2007 report on HIV and AIDS in Africa, Off the Map, demonstrates how laws that criminalize homosexuality drive communities underground, making men who have sex with men less able to access HIV-related prevention information. UNAIDS, the Global Fund and other key international institutions concur.

An action alert related to this issue will be posted on IGLHRC’s website on November 25, 2008. For an update on the status of the legislation in Burundi, or to take action, visit: www.iglhrc.org.

Dr. Kamiar Alaei should be in Albany right now, continuing his 2nd year of doctoral studies at SUNY Albany School of Public Health. Instead, he and his brother, Dr. Arash Alaei – internationally respected HIV/AIDS physicians – have been detained by the Iranian government and are being held without charge. Next week, on Wednesday September 24 at Noon, Physicians for Human Rights and a coalition of health and human rights groups are holding a vigil to call for their release during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to NYC for the UN General Assembly.

Please attend this important event and call on the Iranian Government to respect the human rights of these two doctors.

Vigil Location: Iranian Mission to the UN, 622 Third Ave.

When: Wednesday, September 24 at Noon

Show your solidarity with the Drs’ Alaei: if you are a medical professional, wear your white coat. If you are coming from academia, wear a university shirt. If you are coming from an NGO, wear your organization’s shirt or insignia. Anything to show the support of the health and human rights community!

More information on this campaign can be found on www.iranfreethedocs.org, where you can also sign a petition in support of Kamiar and Arash.

With your help next week, we can pressure the Iranian Government to release the Dr.’s Alaei so that they can continue their important medical and public health work for the betterment of the people of Iran and the world.

If you can attend, please RSVP to Sarah Kalloch at skalloch@phrusa.org.

Please invite colleagues in the NYC area to attend this important event.

Sarah Kalloch

Outreach and Constituency Organizing Director

Physicians for Human Rights

2 Arrow St. Suite 301

Cambridge, MA 02138

(617) 301-4235

skalloch@phrusa.org

www.physiciansforhumanrights.org

ENDitorial: Massive mobilization against EDVIGE, the new French database

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Remember the movie ‘Das Leben der Anderen’ (The Lives of Others), where a Stasi agent was monitoring a playwriter’s life? This doesn’t translate anymore in French into ‘La vie des autres’, but rather into EDVIGE, the name of a newly created database to be used by French intelligence services and the administrative police.

EDVIGE will file “individuals, groups, organisations and moral persons which, due to their individual or collective activity, are likely to attempt to public order”. Not only these persons will be filed (without any offence committed), but also “those who undertake or have undertaken direct and non fortuitous relations with them.” Filing starts at age 13.

This, clearly, means filing everyone, in view of “informing the government and the representatives of the State” in any and all French town and region. In other words, EDVIGE, which has been created by a decree issued on 27 June 2008 in the framework of the merging of two French intelligence services (RG and DST), is the perfect instrument of a political police.

EDVIGE will contains data on “civil status and occupation; physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses; physical characteristics, photographs and behaviour; identity papers; car plate numbers; fiscal and patrimonial information; moves and legal history.”

As highlighted by lesbians and gays associations, this will include data on sexual orientation and health, in particular HIV seropositivity. This has been confirmed by a representative of the Interior ministry, who declared that “the mention of these data will only be authorised for incidental need in relation with an activity. In the intelligence field, this mainly means activism.” Moreover, French EDRI member IRIS notes that the inclusion of “identity papers” in these data is particularly significant in the context of the newly created French biometric passport including 8 fingerprints and of the draft law in preparation on biometric ID cards.

A large mobilization against EDVIGE immediately started, with a petition calling for the withdrawal of this file. This petition is hosted and maintained by RAS (‘Réseau associatif et syndical’), an NGO acting as an ISP for its members, almost 200 activist NGOs and trade unions, among them EDRI member IRIS. The petition has already gathered since 10 July 2008 more than 16.000 individual signatures, and more than 170 signatures from associations, trade unions and political parties from the opposition. Signatories will organize into a global coordination against the EDVIGE file, and are preparing various actions starting from next September. In the mean time, some of these groups will file a complaint against the French government, requesting the annulment of the EDVIGE decree.

Full article

SIGN THE PETITION HERE

Credit Photo : Lesbian and Gay Pride Lyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

Azusa Yamashita
GayJapanNews
Tokyo, Japan

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

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

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

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

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

iraqibenefitparty.jpg

Benefit Party for Iraqi LGBT at the North Star Fund
Tuesday, April 22, 2008, 6:30 – 8:30
520 Eighth Avenue, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10018

Due to lack of funding, Iraqi LGBT has been forced to shut down three safe houses in southern Iraq. These houses sheltered LGBT Iraqis receiving death threats from Islamic militias.
Help keep Iraqi LGBT’s two remaining safe houses open and protect 40 LGBT persons who need shelter, food, and medical care. Several of the Iraqis are HIV-positive and ill. This fundraiser will be addressed by Iraqi LGBT’s London-based coordinator, Ali Hili, via speaker phone. Please come and bring your checkbook!

Doug Ireland

Iraqi LGBT

Heartland Alliance, Benefit Party, New York, April 22, 2008

Vidas Alternativas, http://va.vidasalternativas.eu/?p=726

Monday, February 25, 2008

BRAZILIAN GAYS DEMAND THAT FIDEL CASTRO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS FOR THE PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS IN CUBA

Grupo Gay da Bahia, the oldest homosexual non-governmental organization in Latin America, demands that the dictator Fidel Castro, before his death, recognizes and asks for forgiveness for the grave errors of the Cuban revolution responsible for the demoralization, persecution, imprisonment in concentration camps, forced labor, torture, deportation, and death of thousands of gays, transvestites and lesbians in Cuba.

The unfortunate resolution approved during The First Cuban National Congress on Education and Culture of 1971 decreed that “homosexual deviations represent a anti-social pathology, making it inadmissible in any way their manifestations, or propagation, establishing as preventive measure the shunning of recognizable homosexual artists and intellectuals from interaction with the [Cuban] youth, barring gays, lesbians, and transvestites from representing Cuba artistically in festivals abroad.

Harsh penalties were then established to be applied to “the depraved who are repeat offenders and to the incorrigible anti-social elements.”

Many homosexual artists and writers were persecuted during that period of time, namely:

Virgilio Piñera, Lezama Lima, Gallagas, Anton Arrulat, Ana Maria Simon, and even the North-American poet Allen Ginsberg, who was deported [from Cuba] for having spread the permanent rumor in Cuba and abroad that Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, was a closeted homosexual. Another persecuted North-American was the journalist Allen Young who went from poster boy of the Cuban revolution to persona non grata for having denounced the cruelty of the homophobia existent on that island. While visiting Brazil, Young became famous for having refused to greet the then president Castelo Branco.

In 1980, according to official briefings seventeen hundred “incorrigible homosexuals” were deported from Cuba to the United States, even though human rights organizations estimate that number to be higher than ten thousand gays and transvestites deported from their homeland.

At the beginning of the AIDS crisis, Cuba was denounced internationally for creating tough prisons for what they called the “sidosos” (a pejorative term for people ill from HIV/AIDS), most of them homosexuals.

inferno which is what it still represents to this day for gays in a country that never learned the lesson from Che Guevara:

“One must harden without ever losing tenderness.” (“Hay que endurecer, pero sin perder la ternura jamás”.)

And yet it is said that even Guevara upon finding the book Teatro Completo by Virgilio Piñera, an openly admitted homosexual, in the Library of the Cuban Embassy in Algiers that he threw it against the wall saying:
“How come you keep in our embassy a book by a “pájaro maricón”?!”, the latter being the equivalent of “effeminate faggot”.
For more information please call dialing
55 (int. phone code for Brazil) + 71 – 3328.3783 or 55 + 71 – 9989.4748.
Posted by Luiz Mott, http://br.geocities.com/luizmottbr
Andrés Duques