Archive for the ‘Michael Petrelis’ Category

boycott+jamaica,+castro,+todd,+signs+on+poleVeteran queer community organizer Todd Swindell tapes up boycott posters on a pole in Harvey Milk Plaza, before the rum dump begins. His tee shirt reads, “The Religious Right is Dead Wrong.” March 29, 2009 © Michael Petrelis

Politicians and pop stars are to blame

Jamaica: A grim place to be gay

By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

The Independent – London – 12 September 2009

In the wake of the murder of the British honorary consul in Jamaica, in an apparent queer-bashing attack, is it time to make British and EU aid to Jamaica contingent on the Caribbean island’s repeal of its anti-gay laws and its tougher action against homophobic violence?

Some years ago, a Jamaican newspaper falsely claimed there was going to be a Gay Pride march in Kingston. Hundreds of people wielding guns, machetes, clubs and knives turned up at the alleged starting point of the march. They had come to kill the “batty men”. Armed police turned up too – not to protect the gay marchers, but I believe to help murder them.

Under Jamaican law, consenting adult male homosexuality is a crime punishable by 10 years of hard labour. Paedophiles are treated more leniently. Men who sexually abuse girls in their early teens face only seven years in jail.

Not all Jamaicans are homophobic but it seems Jamaican police view all gays as criminals. They mostly refuse to protect them. Amnesty International confirms that gays and lesbians have been “beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality”. Amnesty says the Jamaican police are themselves often the perpetrators of homophobic “violence and torture”.

Gays taken to hospital after being beaten by homophobes risk the ordeal of hostile doctors and nurses. Some have been insulted and ridiculed by staff and made to wait nearly 24 hours for medical treatment.

Successive Jamaican Prime Ministers have failed to challenge homophobic violence. The Police Commissioner has done nowhere near enough to crack down on the violence. The killers of gays usually get away with murder. “It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” one gay Jamaican told me.

The homophobic lynch mob mentality is worse in Jamaica than in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Not long ago, a homophobic crowd burst into a church and beat up mourners attending the funeral of a gay man.

This anti-gay hatred is inflamed by Jamaica’s fire and brimstone Christian churches. The local Anglican archbishop, Drexel Gomez, is a vociferous opponent of gay human rights.

Homophobic violence is openly incited by Jamaica’s leading pop stars. Some of their most popular hit tunes urge listeners to shoot, burn, stab, hang and drown queers. These songs are incitement to murder, which is a criminal offence under Jamaican law. But the government and police refuse to prosecute the singers.

It is time British and EU aid was made contingent on Jamaica repealing its anti-gay laws and protecting its citizens against homophobic violence.

ENDS

www.petertatchell.net

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

On the same subject by bohoco.net:

Dear all,

I recently learnt that Youtube freely broadcasts a song by notorious hate-lyric singer, Jamaican Buju Banton. In the tradition of some dance hall and reggae Jamaican singers, Buju Banton advocates the killing of gays and lesbians in his song Boom Bye Bye. Peter Thatchell and other gay activists were instrumental in having a few of his concerts cancelled in Europe and else where. The Stop Murder Music campaign was also successful in bringing a few singers to sign up to the Reggae Compassionate Act where they basically pledged not to support violence in theirs songs anymore. Just very recently one promoter in the States also cancelled a series of concerts by Buju Banton (he was one of the signatories but later denied ever taking part).

The fact that Youtube broadcasts Boom Bye Bye is despicable. It’s a song which clearly incites to hatred and should be removed. Plus it’s clearly in breach of Youtubes’s ‘community guidelines’

http://www.youtube.com/t/community_guidelines

There are several versions of the same song, please click on the links below, flag as ‘promotes hatred or violence’, and then select ‘sexual orientation’ as a sub-category.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0Eg4Dd9NY4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIUZlzd37sI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwEUPb8QutQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVYLB_aSGok&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWa7fzeX3xo&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRkc3WEcJis&NR=1

It literally takes 2 minutes and I would beg you to forward this to as many people as you possibly can in your contacts and lets get this hate-mongering filth removed.

Many thanks.
Carmelo

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

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

Iraqi Suspected Homosexual

SF Gays Organize Rally for LGBT Iraqis

Leaders Want End to Torture and Murder
By Michael Petrelis

(San Francisco, CA) – A broad united coalition of human rights advocates and politicians will hold a spirited rally this Sunday, May 17, in solidarity with the LGBT citizens of Iraq, who face surging violence and killings. Recent reports out of Baghdad document the gruesome gluing of anuses of gay men, who are forced to swallow laxatives, leading to death by diarrhea, and come amid continuing genital mutilation of gays.

Responding to the atrocities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community organizers will hold a demonstration to support LGBT Iraqis:

WHO: Human rights activists and elected officials

WHAT: Rally and fundraiser

WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets

DATE: Sunday, May 17

TIME: 12:30 – 1:30 PM

A diverse array of leaders will speak at the rally, including Sen. Mark Leno, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, SF Police Commission President Theresa Sparks, Karen Kai of the Rainbow World Fund, Rev. Lea Brown of the Metropolitan Community Church, Debra Walker of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, political artist Clinton Fein, and community organizers Michael Petrelis and Gary Virginia of Gays Without Borders.

There will be al so a “bucket brigade” at the rally and circulating through cafes and restaurants of the Castro soliciting donations for groups working with LGBT Iraqis. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a social advocacy organization, have donated $1,000, and will supply volunteers for the brigade.

Rainbow World Fund, a LGBT international humanitarian relief charity, is serving as the fiscal sponsor, and donations made through it are tax-deductible. The fund’s colorful and eye-catching school bus will be parked at Milk Plaza, to serve as a welcome-wagon full of banners, posters and donation buckets. Donations will be used to provide direct aid to the Iraqi LGBT community. More at http://rainbowfund.org.

Speaking for Gays Without Borders/SF, a group focused on global issues, Gary Virginia explained the motivations for the May 17 actions.

“We San Franciscans have a solemn duty to denounce anti-LGBT hatred in Iraq. Our demands to President Obama, the State Department and Congress are simple and doable – condemn the torture and slayings, investigate the human rights abuses, and create a sizeable number of asylum slots for LGBT Iraqis to enter and reside in America,” said Virginia.

Contacts:

Michael Petrelis
Email: MPetrelis@aol.com

Gary Virginia
Email: MRSFL96@aol.com

See Also:

Video: San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 2009, Harvey Milk Plaza

Gay Iraq Vigils: NYC on Friday 10 April, London Next Thursday 16 April 2009

By Michael Petrelis

Two international actions are planned over the coming two week because of the murder of gay Iraqis in the slums of Baghdad.

Activists will gather in New York City this week, and in London next week, to protest the deaths of gay Iraqis, the continuing American occupation of the country, and to express strong solidarity with the LGBT people of Iraq.

Big thanks to Brendan and Ali for organizing the vigils.

Here are the details for each action that I’ve received from the organizers. If you’re near these cities, please try and get to the actions.

NEW YORK CITY ACTION:

Contact: Brendan Fay

E: brendan@stpatsforall.com

P: 718-721-2780

We will gather later this week to remember our murdered brothers in Iraq, at a vigil in front of the Iraqi mission to the United Nations. We will light candles, lay a wreathe with rainbow ribbons, and also speak out against homophobic violence everywhere. A letter of protest will be delivered to the mission.

Please join us!

What: Vigil of Remembrance & Solidarity With LGBT Iraqis

When: Friday, April 10

Time: 12 Noon

Where: Iraq Mission to the UN

14 E 79th St

New York, NY 10075

LONDON ACTION:

Contact: Ali Hili

Email: iraqilgbt@yahoo.co.uk

Web: http://iraqilgbtuk.blogspot.com/

What: Protest and Support Iraqi LGBT – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgendered

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009

Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: Home Office Direct Communications Unit

2 Marsham Street

London, United Kingdom

See also: London protest about Iraqi gay executions by LGBT Asylum News

See more details and RSVP via Facebook

San Francisco Gays Protest 6 Gay Iraqi Murders – April 6, 5 PM, Harvey Milk Plaza

By Michael Petrelis

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2009/04/san-francisco-gays-protest-6-gay-iraqi.html

milkplazaOver the weekend, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters news wires, along with CNN, have reported on the murders of six gay men in the slums of Baghdad in recent weeks.

This is one news account of the anti-gay violence:

Residents told AFP that the bodies of two men aged 16 and 18 were found on waste ground on the outskirts of Sadr City, and that several days previously two homosexuals had been dumped in the street with their arms and legs broken.
During Friday prayers in Sadr City, a poor district of Baghdad where some two million Iraqis live, Sheikh Jassem al-Mutairi slammed what he called “new private practices by some men who dress like women, who are effeminate.

And this round-up of bad news is from the ThinkProgress site:

An Iraqi defense ministry official reports that at least six gay men have been shot dead in two separate incidents during the past 10 days in a Shia-controlled part of Baghdad. The official said today that three bullet-riddled bodies of gay individuals have been identified in Sadr City:

“Three corpses of homosexuals have been recovered in Sadr City. Two of the bodies, found on Thursday, had pieces of paper attached on which was written the word ‘Pervert.’ The third body was retrieved on Friday,” the official said.

Other dead bodies had the word “puppies” written on their chests. Puppy is a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays. Witnesses told CNN that a Sadr City cafe, which was a popular gathering spot for gays, was also set on fire.

In response to the gay murders, longtime affordable housing and queer community organizer Tommi Avicolli Mecca, gay Board of Supervisors’ member Bevan Dufty and myself will be holding a speak out against the killings, and the U.S. occupation of Iraq, on Monday.

Here are the details:

WHAT: Rally and speak out over gay murders in Iraq

WHEN April 6

TIME: 5 PM

WHERE: Harvey Milk Plaza, Castro and Market Streets

Please join us for this important early evening street visibility action to call attention and object to the homo-hatred in Iraq. More details on the action to follow later today and tomorrow.

See also previous posts:

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

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

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

Here are two photos of us posing for the cameras:

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

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

q8wolf.jpg

Gay Equality Group Forms in Kuwait by Michael Petrelis, September 15, 2007.
The march for international equality for LGBT citizens across our planet took a mighty big step forward in a small piece of the Middle East this week.
Gays in the constitutional monarchy of Kuwait are petitioning their government for approval of an advocacy organization permit, according to Arab news sources.
What fascinates most in this article are the claims of not just the mere existence of a Kuwaiti gay community, but one that is expanding and going very public with a request to the government.
I wish the name of the group had been reported by the news services, and a gay or lesbian Kuwaiti quoted, but it’s enough to know today that our brothers and sisters there are stepping out of the closet.
And I fear what sort of public education campaign will be waged with the two million dollars to “combat” gay people and lesbians in the school system.
The problems faced by gays in Kuwait were cited in the most recent annual human rights report from the US State Department, published in March 2007:
“There was discrimination against homosexuals in societal attitudes and legal issues. In February 2005 police charged a group of 28 alleged homosexuals with creating a public disturbance after they met outside a fast-food restaurant. On October 27, police raided a party where homosexuals were allegedly celebrating a wedding. On December 10, the legislative committee of the National Assembly unanimously approved a law to impose a fine of $3,450 (1,000 dinars) and/or one year’s imprisonment for those imitating the opposite sex.”

Here are excerpts from the Al Arabiya news service’s story:
“The Kuwaiti Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has received a request for the establishment of an association to protect the rights of homosexuals and transsexuals, press reports said Monday. […]
According to press reports, gays no longer avoid public places and are starting to seek recognition and equal rights despite the traditional aversion to their lifestyle by mainstream society.
Gay rights activists have lashed out at a recent statement by the Kuwaiti National Council, and its Commission for Upholding Ethics, which condemned sex changes.
The Council’s legislative committee has proposed an amendment to Article 198 of the penal code, which deals with acts of debauchery. If approved, the new law would criminalize cross-dressing and all instances of imitating the opposite sex. […]
The paper also said the Kuwaiti government has allocated two million dollars to combat the growing phenomenon of gays and transsexuals in the Gulf emirate.
The campaign comes in the wake of complaints from parents that lesbians were harassing their daughters at school. […]”
© Photo Credit : Q8WOLF