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NEWS ARROUND LGBT / 2006
[ Transgender und Knast! Aufruf
[ Transgender and Prison
Liebe Freundinnen und Freunde,
mit Empörung haben wir die schrecklichen Ereignisse in der Türkei zur Kenntnis genommen. Die erste Zeitschrift für Lesben und Schwule "Kaos GL" in der Türkei wurde durch den Antrag der Staatsanwaltschaft beschlagnahmt und gegen Lesben und Schwule Organisationen in Bursa und Istanbul wurden Verbotsanträge gestellt.
Ich bitte Dich unsere Unterschriftenkampagne zu unterstützen. Hierfür reicht ein kurzes E-Mail an firstname.lastname@example.org (Vorname, Name bitte deutlich schreiben) vollkommen aus.
Mehr Informationen weiter unten.
Die Sommerausgabe 2006 der türkischen Lesben und Schwulen Zeitschrift Kaos-GL wurde beschlagnahmt.
Unter dem Vorwand gegen türkische Sitten zu verstoßen, wurden alle Exemplare der Sommerausgabe der Zeitschrift des Vereins Kaos-Gl durch einen Beschluss der Generalstaatsanwaltschaft beschlagnahmt.
Die Herausgeber hatten in dieser Ausgabe Pornographie im Allgemeinen thematisiert. In dem Beschluss der Staatsanwaltschaft kommt die Meinung zum Ausdruck, dass das türkische Sittenempfinden geschützt werden müsse.
Das Gründungsmitglied des Vereins Ali Erol kann der Entscheidung nicht folgen, da in dieser Ausgabe keine Pornographie dargestellt wurde. Weiter führt er aus, dass selbst in der türkischen Tagespresse nackte Menschen abgebildet werden und diese Zeitungen und auch Zeitschriften mit der Begründung, gegen die türkischen Sitten zu verstoßen, nicht beschlagnahmt werden.
Die Aktion der Generalstaatsanwaltschaft zielt vornehmlich darauf ab, Schwule und Lesben zu diskriminieren.
Die türkische Politik erkennt die Homosexuellen immer noch nicht als gleichberechtigter Bürgerinnen und Bürger an.
In den Städten Bursa und Istanbul wurden durch
die zuständigen Staatsanwaltschaften Verbotsanträge bei den Provinzverwaltungen gegen den lesbisch-schwulen Regenbogen Verein Bursa und Lambda Istanbul eingereicht.
Die willkürliche Vorgehensweise der Polizei in Ankara und Istanbul gegen Transvestiten und Transsexuelle ist seit langem ein Thema der Menschrechtsorganisationen in der Türkei.
Wir fordern die Rückgabe der Zeitschrift an den Verein Kaos-Gl zur Veröffentlichung und die vollen Bürgerrechte für Lesben, Schwule, Transsexuelle, Transvestiten und Transgender.
Die Türkei hat sich als EU-Beitrittskandidat zur Einhaltung und Gewährleistung von Rechten aller Minderheiten verpflichtet.
Das Kaos-GL-Verbot ist ein klarer Verstoß gegen diese Verpflichtung!
(V.i.S.d.P.) Hakan Tas (Journalist und Menschrechtsaktivist)
Unterstützerinnen und Unterstützer:
Claudia Roth (MdB und Vorsitzende Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Lale Akgün (MdB-SPD), Cem Özdemir (MdEP-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Sevim Dagdelen (MdB-Linkspartei.PDS),Volker Beck (MdB-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Evrim Baba (MdA-Linkspartei.PDS), Josef Winkler (MdB-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen),Dilek Kolat (MdA -SPD),Prof. Dr. Susanne Baer, LL.M. (Die Vizepräsidentin für Studium und Internationales/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Özcan Mutlu (MdA-Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Feleknas Uca (MdEP-Linkspartei.PDS), Dr.Cem Dalaman (Journalist), Dr.Talibe Süzen (Erziehungswissenschaftlerin), Aziza-A (Sängerin), Ali Mahdjoubi (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Deutscher Bundestag), Sibyll Klotz ( MdA-Fraktionsvorsitzende Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Claus Nachtwey, Amir Dr.h.c. Mohammed Herzog (Vorsitzender Islamischer Gemeinschaft deutschsprachiger Muslime und Freunde des Islam Berlin e.V), Volker Ratzmann (MdA-Franktionsvorsitzender Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen) Ozan Ceyhun (SPD -Bezirksvorstandsmitglied Süd Hessen), Thomas Birk (MdA-Bündnis90/Die Grünen), Dr. Luis Carlos Escobar Pinzòn (DAH-Bundesgeschäftsführer)
TURKEY'S GAYS ATTACKED BY GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS MOBS
10 August 2006
This past week has seen Turkish gays the target of multiple attacks, by both the government and an organised homophobic mob.
Last Friday, the entire press run of Turkey’s only gay and lesbian magazine, published by the Ankara-based gay organisation Kaos GL, was confiscated by police before it could be distributed to bookstores and kiosks.
The 28th issue of the quarterly Kaos magazine, which bears the same name as the association that sponsors it and has been continuously published since 1994, was seized on a court order sought by the national government’s prosecutor in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, under a law for "protection of general morality."
The national government of the Republic of Turkey has been controlled by an Islamist party, the AKP (Justice and Development Party), since 2002, and so are a significant majority of local governments.
Gokkusagi (The Rainbow Association) of Bursa, Turkey’s third-largest city with a population of 2 million, had called a demononstration for Sunday, August 6, to protest an attempt by the governor of Bursa to shut down the association under the same "general morality" statute.
But before the LGBT group could hold its march, the association’s headquarters, where the gay protesters had assembled and which also serves as a gay cultural center, was besieged by a stone-throwing, homophobic mob of 500, trapping some 100 gays, lesbians and transgendered inside as the anti-gay hooligans chanted, "There is no way out here, you will die!"
The anti-gay demonstration was organised by the city’s Association of Tradesmen Supporting Bursaspor, the local football team, with the help of its Web site.
In a press conference held by the football supporters to call their anti-gay demonstration, the Tradesmen’s Association’s president, Fevzinur Dundar, declared:
"Bursa is the city of Ottoman sultans and religious men. This city does not deserve to be humiliated by these people who are outside society. We will stop them from marching. If the governors and politicians do not want these people to be lynched, they must make their attitude clear."
In response to this call for violence, members of gay groups from other cities, including Lambda-Istanbul and Ankara’s Kaos GL, journeyed to Bursa to join the planned gay march.
Even though the gay group had obtained a legal permit for its march in Bursa, organisers accused police of failing to insure the march could take place and prevent violence.
"The police could have taken the required measures, but they didn’t. They even sought to dissuade us from holding the event," Emir Birant, an activist from Ankara’s Kaos GL, told Agence France-Presse by telephone from Bursa.
"There was absolutely no help from the authorities, which clearly demonstrates how homosexuals are regarded in Turkey."
The transgendered individuals were particularly prominent in the Bursa gay protest.
"The president of the Bursa Rainbow Association is transgendered, and so are about half its members," Cihan Huroglu of Lambda-Istanbul told Gay City News. "For the event, many transgenders from Ankara from the association Pink Life had arrived. Also around five trans-people from Istanbul had come. Altogether there were around 25 transgendered people among the 100 trapped in the Rainbow Center" during the homophobes’ siege, according to Huroglu.
Pink Life was founded in Ankara on June 30 as Turkey’s first association of transvestites and transsexuals.
After the siege ended, "The activists from Istanbul and Ankara eventually were deported with police escorts to the bus station, and safely returned home. But those who lived in Bursa had to wait a little longer until the football game started before they could leave safely," Huroglu told Gay City News.
"The police claimed that they would not be able to protect the LGBT activists, and said if they tried to march they would be taken into custody. Stones were thrown into the center’s windows, and also at the buses when the LGBT activists were trying to leave."
"The Bursa group - whose full legal name is the Rainbow Association for Protecting Transvestites, Transsexuals, Gays and Lesbians, Solidarity, and Development of Cultural Activities - is an LGBT group that was formed in March this year, and has about 170 members," Huroglu explained.
"Their cultural center houses their regular meetings and gives social support to the gay community. Their most significant activity to date was their campaign against the executions of gay people in Iran - last month they collected petition signatures on the street, which was the first open political appearance of an LGBT group in Bursa."
Government authorities, at the end of July, began legal proceedings to shut down the Bursa Rainbow Association not only under the "general morality" provisions in the Turkish Civil Code used to ban Kaos GL Magazine, but by citing constitutional clauses relating to "protection of the family."
A similar procedure was used to try to outlaw the Kaos GL association last September but after worldwide protests, especially in Europe, the government dropped the effort a month later.
However, as Huroglu pointed out, "That was at the time of the fragile first-stage negotiations for Turkey’s accession to the European Union," which requires full human rights for gays and lesbians of its member states. Now Turkey’s attempt to join the E.U. has somewhat stalled, and, said Huroglu, "the atmosphere in Turkey today is a bit less pro-E.U., and there is no provisional political threshold from the E.U. as there was last fall to encourage the government to show an extra effort" to conform to E.U. human rights norms.
The issue of Kaos GL Magazine that gave authorities the excuse to seize it last week Murathan_mungan included a special section entitled "Vision of Sexuality, Sexuality of Vision: Pornography," with contributions by writers, academics, feminists, painters, and photographers discussing "cultural and artistic criticism of pornography via gay-lesbian sexuality," according to a statement by Kaos GL’s editors, who insisted the magazine was "criticising and questioning pornography." Yet the government obtained a court order banning the magazine as "pornographic."
Umut Guner, one of the founders of the Kaos GL association and chief editors of its magazine, told Gay City News, "There is still massive discrimination against LGBT people in both the public and private sector. It is very difficult for someone to press charges when he or she faces discrimination based on sexual orientation; Turkish laws do not recognise crimes of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity."
"Transgenders, who are often the most visible part of the LGBT community, continue to face discrimination and physical harassment by society. Just like gays and lesbians, they have little legal recourse. Homosexuality has never been illegal in modern Turkey, but the government has refused to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual identity."
The only political party to have embraced lesbian and gay issues is the tiny, libertarian/socialist ODP (Freedom and Solidarity Party), which in 1997 even nominated a transgendered candidate, Demet Demir, for an Istanbul City Council seat. But in the last national elections, the ODP got only 0.3 percent of the vote.
In fact, said Guner, "It is difficult in Turkey for a political figure to embrace the idea of banning discrimination against gay people, because homosexuality is still seen as a taboo. However, this taboo is slowly changing. Some left-wing politicians have expressed sympathy for gay people‘s rights — but no right-wing politician has."
Guner added, "Turkey has changed a lot in the last ten years. For instance, a demonstration, with rainbow banners flying, would have been unimaginable a decade before," but this year, Istanbul held a ten-day Gay Pride Festival, including a July 1 Pride March that had 150 participants.
By way of comparison, Guner noted that, "In 1993, a group of mainly German gay and lesbian activists planned a three-day seminar in Istanbul on ‘Sexual Freedom Activities,’ meant to give support to a nascent and nervous Turkish LGBT movement. It had workshops on homosexuality and politics, and speeches by German politicians and foreign social scientists and artists.
Istanbul authorities closed the event down. Twenty-eight foreign guests were arrested and deported. Bars friendly to gay and lesbian people in Istanbul were raided; one of the Turkish organizers of the seminar was jailed. Now such repression would be impossible."
Guner agreed that Turkey’s ambitions to join the European Union are playing a key role in changing the atmosphere for gay people.
"Turkey hopes to join Europe, not shut the door," Guner said, adding: "All LGBT organisations, including Kaos GL, have been hampered by legal difficulties and occasional harassment. Yet we benefit from an environment in which censorship is relaxing, civil society is enjoying greater, if imperfect, space.
The consequent sense of freedom is palpable in Turkish culture at large, and gays and lesbians feel it as well; so too do some in Turkey's large communities of transgendered people."
In view of the recent debate here over Iran, in which some gay activists in the U.S. have insisted that a "gay identity" is a form of cultural imperialism and insensitivity when applied to Arabic and Islamic cultures, Guner was asked his views on the question.
He replied, "In my personal opinion, a ‘gay’ identity is not incompatible with Eastern, Arab, and Islamic cultures, which also means that ‘democracy, human rights, freedom’ are not incompatible with Eastern, Arab, and Islamic cultures. I believe Turkey has a chance to become the first predominantly Muslim country which will embrace all those Western values, including respect to individuals who are different because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity."
Guner added, "There are reasons to be optimistic regarding the fate of Turkish LGBT people. Turkey has always been somewhere between the West and the East. Its culture includes both Western and Eastern values. These values sometimes clash with each other. We believe that a striking example of this clash is the struggle for human rights by Turkish lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders.
Providing solutions to the problems of the Turkish LGBT community will be one of the litmus tests for the future of democracy in Turkey, as well as for its inclusion in the European Union. Even though the LGBT movement in Turkey is still in its early stages, one can easily notice that the Turkish LGBT movement is becoming more vocal and active. Especially since the 1990s, the momentum has been steadily increasing."
Guner’s organisational ambitions match his optimism, and he said that, "Kaos is considering new projects, such as a publishing house, a psychological counseling center, a law bureau for gay rights, a solidarity network with homosexuals in jail, a health center, a senior citizens facility, and a radio channel."
KAOS GL MAGAZINE IS BANNED!
31 July 2006
The 28th summer 2006 issue of Kaos GL, the only homosexual magazine in Turkey, has been confiscated by Ankara 12th Justice Court on the same day it was printed. The issue, in which pornography is questioned and contributed by the figures who are experts in their fields, have been seized because the court deemed that its content is 'pornographic.'
July 24 Press Festival surprise from Ankara republican prosecutor's office for Kaos GL!
Judge Tekman Savas Nemli decided CONFISCATION AND SEIZURE of Kaos GL after Republican Prosecutor Metin Sezgin from Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor's Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau demanded this in a text dated July 21, 2006 and numbered 2006/1708 because some content and pictures in some texts in a file on pornography in the 28th issue because these were understood to breach protection of general morality.
In the decision of Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor's Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau, the expression that some texts and pictures are against "protection of general morality". But this expression does not state which pictures and texts should be banned on what ground.
Turkey's gay and lesbian magazine published regularly since September 1994
It is the first time that our magazine is banned on the same day it was delivered from the printing house even before it is distributed to bookstores. Kaos GL, which started to be published in 1994, was recorded legally at the end of 1999 and the Republican Chief Prosecutor did not find it "pornographic or obscene." Two of its issues following its registeration by officials were distributed in closed envelopes because of the Prime Ministry Council for Protection of Juveniles from Obscene Publications. Other than this, Kaos GL has not faced any investigation.
Not homosexuals but general morality will change!
This decision, which coincides with July 24 Press Festival, should be a "surprise" against freedom of expression! The decision is sexist and homophobic. What is attempted to be buried with a siege of 'general morality' is the freedom of expression of Turkish national gay and lesbians.
From the beginning, we have developed arguments and given a struggle against putting homosexuality the same category with sexuality and putting sexuality with the same category with pornography. Our right to have our word which should exist within the framework of freedom of expression is at the same time gay and lesbians' struggle for existence. It is obvious that not homosexuals but 'general morlaity' will change.
Not pornpography but criticising and questioning pornography is banned!
Today presentation of views on women bodies with a sexist mentality makes no problem but scientific, cultural and artistic criticism of pornography via gay-lesbian sexuality is seen and banned as an attitude against 'general morality'.
In the magazine with contributions from writers Ahmet Tulgar, Fatih Özgüven, Güner Kuban, Hasan Bülent Kahraman, Mehmet Bilal Dede, Meltem Arýkan, painter Taner Ceylan and photography artistý Bikem Ekberzade', the relation of pornography with homosexuality is discussed.
The file with headline "Visuality of sexuality, sexuality of visuality: Pornography", the doors of the world of pornography that invades the globe are opened and we question how all the images that confuse our minds turn into pornographic elements.
Now with the demand of Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor and decision of Ankara 12th Justice Court, examination and questioning of pornography by writers, artists, academics, feminists and gay-lesbian individuals have been banned.
Kaos GL Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL)
26 July 2006
Justiz erfasst Homos im Knast
In Berlin werden von Gerichten homosexuelle und lesbische Neigungen bei der Aufnahme von Untersuchungs- und Strafgefangenen erfasst. Das geht aus einer Antwort von Justizsenatorin Karin Schubert (SPD) auf eine Anfrage der Grünen hervor. Schubert sicherte zu, dass sie die diskriminierende Praxis "unverzüglich" abschaffen will. In dem bei den Gerichten verwandten Formular "Ersuchen um Aufnahme zum Vollzug der Untersuchungs- oder Strafhaft" wird unter "III Besondere Bemerkungen" erfragt: "3a) Seelische oder geistige Besonderheiten, b) Gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen, c) Krankheiten (insbesondere ansteckende?)". Nach Ansicht des Grünen-Abgeordneten Thomas Birk muss beim Leser der Eindruck entstehen, "gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen seien mit solchen Krankheiten vergleichbar". dpa
Strafvollzug - sortiert nach sexuellen Neigungen?
Schubert räumt bisherige Erfassung von Schwulen und Lesben in Gefängnissen ein
Berlin/dpa. In Berlin werden bisher von Gerichten homosexuelle und lesbische Neigungen bei der Aufnahme von Untersuchungs- und Strafgefangenen in Gefängnisse erfasst. Das geht aus einer Antwort von Justizsenatorin Karin Schubert (SPD) auf eine Parlamentarische Anfrage der Grünen hervor. Schubert sicherte zu, dass sie diese Schwulen und Lesben diskriminierende Praxis «unverzüglich» abschaffen will. Sie werde dafür Sorge tragen, dass dieser Passus in Formularen gestrichen werde, betonte Schubert.
In dem bei den Berliner Gerichten verwandten Formular «Ersuchen um Aufnahme zum Vollzug der Untersuchungs- oder Strafhaft» wird unter «III Besondere Bemerkungen» erfragt: «3a) Seelische oder geistige Besonderheiten, b) Gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen, c) Krankheiten (insbesondere ansteckende?)». Nach Ansicht des Grünen-Abgeordneten Thomas Birk muss beim Leser so der Eindruck entstehen, «gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen seien mit solchen Krankheiten oder Auffälligkeiten vergleichbar».
Die Justizsenatorin versicherte jedoch, dass bisher so kategorisierte Gefangene in den Strafanstalten des Landes nicht anders behandelt worden seien als Insassen ohne diese Kennzeichnung. Auch würden die homosexuellen Neigungen weder in den Unterlagen der Justizvollzugsanstalt dokumentiert noch anderen Mitgefangenen mitgeteilt.
Fragebogen diskriminiert Homosexuelle
Die an Berliner Gerichten verwendeten Formulare zur Aufnahme in die Untersuchungshaft werden wegen diskriminierender Passagen überarbeitet. In den Bögen werden in einer Rubrik zwischen „seelischen und geistigen Besonderheiten” und „Krankheiten (insbesondere ansteckende)” auch „gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen" abgefragt.
Dies teilte Justizsenatorin Karin Schubert (SPD) in ihrer Antwort auf eine kleine Anfrage der Berliner Grünen-Fraktion mit. Schubert kündigte in ihrer Antwort an, dass die ganze Passage aus den Formularen gestrichen wird. Sie versicherte zudem, dass homosexuelle Neigungen in den Unterlagen der Justizvollzugsanstalten nicht dokumentiert würden. Auch sei auf die Bejahung der Frage keine unterschiedliche Behandlung erfolgt.
Der Sprecher für Lesben- und Schwulenpolitik der Grünen-Fraktion im Abgeordnetenhaus, Thomas Birk, kritisierte jedoch, dass es in der Verwaltung immer noch “Restbestände von struktureller Diskriminierung“ gibt. Der Senat sei nun gut beraten, seine Formulare und Tätigkeit hierauf zu überprüfen. (Quelle: ddp)
24. July 2006
Schlimmer als in Moskau
Jagd auf Schwule und Lesben in Lettland
Riga. »Es ist unglaublich. Es ist schlimmer als in Moskau. Die Faschisten können hier frei agieren. Und Lettland ist in der Europäischen Union.« Der russische Schwulenaktivist Nikolai Alexejew war schockiert über die Intensität der rechtsradikalen Ausschreitungen (siehe Foto) gegen eine geplante Parade von Homosexuellen in der lettischen Hauptstadt Riga. Offiziell für das vergangene Wochenende angesetzt, wurde die »Gaypride-Parade« von den lettischen Behörden wegen »Sicherheitsbedenken« abgesagt.
Dennoch versammelten sich annähernd 50 Menschen zu diversen Ersatzveranstaltungen. Der Organisator der lettischen »Gaypride«, der Verein Mosaik, organisierte eine Pressekonferenz im Reval Latvia Hotel, in deren Verlauf es zu den heftigen Übergriffen kam. Mehrere Mitglieder faschistischer Organisationen konnten Augenzeugenberichten zufolge von der Polizei unbehelligt in den Veranstaltungsraum eindringen und die dort Versammelten bedrohen. Die Teilnehmer der Pressekonferenz mußten unter Polizeischutz in bereitgestellte Wagen gebracht werden, weil rund 70 Rechtsradikale den Eingang blockiert hatten. Einem homosexuellen Pastor verweigerte die Polizei jeglichen Geleitschutz. Er wurde vor seinem Auto von einem Dutzend Demonstranten angegriffen, nachdem er während einer Messe für die Rechte von Homosexuellen plädiert hatte.
Übergriffe Rechtsradikaler gab es auch bei einer Kranzniederlegung für die wegen ihrer sexuellen Orientierung ermordeten Opfer des deutschen Faschismus. Die Sprecherin der Europäischen Grünen, Ulrike Lunacek, erhob schwere Vorwürfe gegen die lettischen Sicherheitskräfte. Die Polizei habe sich gegenüber den Gegendemonstranten eher zurückhaltend bis passiv verhalten.
Protests disrupt Latvia gay march
Latvian police have arrested protesters after they shouted insults and threw eggs at people taking part in the Baltic state's first gay pride march.The few dozen marchers were outnumbered by hundreds of protesters who blocked the narrow streets of the capital.Police were forced to alter the march route and to form a chain around the parade participants to protect them.The march had sparked outrage in Latvia and only went ahead after a court overturned a council ban on the event.
Officials said that six of the protesters had been detained for their part in disrupting the march.Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis had opposed the event, saying Riga should "not promote things like that"."For sexual minorities to parade in the very heart of Riga, next to the Doma church, is unacceptable," he told LNT television on Wednesday.One of those who took part in Saturday's march, 61-year-old Lars-Peter Sjouberg, from Sweden, said he had been shocked by the offensive remarks made by protesters."Protesters here were really aggressive [...] but it won't stop me from helping my Latvian friends fight for their rights."
20 July 2006
die zahl der homophoben angriffe stieg innerhalb eines jahres um 100%.
diese zahlen ließ die kritik gegen die entscheidung, homophobie nicht in die definition für hate crimes einzuschließen, erneut aufflammen.
Calls for hate-crime rethink as anti-gay offences soar
HOMOPHOBIC crime is rising in many parts of Scotland, according to alarming figures which show that attacks on gays and lesbians have increased by as much as 100 per cent in the past year
The figures obtained by The Scotsman have triggered fresh criticism of the Executive's decision last month not to extend the definition of hate crimes to include homophobia. In the Lothian and Borders region, police have revealed that 30 homophobic offences have been recorded this year, compared with 37 for the whole of 2005. In 2003, just 19 incidents were recorded.
In Strathclyde, 128 crimes and 16 "non-crime incidents" were recorded in 2005-6, against 113 and 25 the previous year, and only 40 and ten in 2003-4 - a rise of more than 200 per cent in three years. Such crimes included serious assault, threats and extortion, indecent assault, vandalism and breach of the peace.
In Dumfries and Galloway, the number of recorded homophobic crimes and incidents, from physical assaults to verbal abuse, doubled from 20 in 2004-5 to 40 last year.
Over the past three years, recorded homophobic crimes and incidents have soared by about 150 per cent.
Senior officers said the figures showed they were "mining a seam of homophobia" in the country's towns and cities, although the rising numbers were said to be partly explained at least by an increased willingness by police to record such crimes.
They also warned that laws protecting the expression of religious beliefs were being used as a cover to espouse homophobic views.
Chief Inspector George Denholm, of Lothian and Borders Police, who is responsible for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues at the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: "There is a huge level of under-reporting. The figures look like the problem is running out of control, but I think at least part of the reason for the increase is because the police are building more trust with the gay community."
A study published earlier this year revealed that almost one in ten victims of homophobic attacks in Aberdeen failed to report incidents to the police.
David Lyle, Scottish co-ordinator for the Gay Police Association, said human rights legislation that allowed people to express religious views freely was being used to perpetrate attacks on gay people.
He said: "If you replace the word 'gay' with 'black' in these verbal attacks, there would - quite rightly - be a massive outcry. But it seems perfectly possible to abuse gay people and hide behind the supposed shield of 'because it's my religious belief'."
Mr Lyle added that people were also suffering a backlash from religious groups to recent laws allowing so-called gay marriages and proposals to allow adoption by gay couples, a phenomenon Cardinal Keith O'Brien, leader of Scotland's Catholics, has described as a "distorted social experiment".
Research suggests that gay men and lesbians in the UK are four times more likely than heterosexuals to be the victims of a violent assault. But, despite that, ministers decided against extending the law on aggravated offences to cover homophobia, as well as racism and sectarianism.
Calum Irving, director of the gay rights group Stonewall Scotland, said: "These alarming figures show that the Scottish Executive should be legislating in this area. They are talking about consistency of sentencing, but this leaves Scotland the only part of the UK that doesn't have statutory aggravation on the basis of sexual orientation."
'Faith crime' inquiry into anti-homophobic police advert
POLICE are investigating the Gay Police Association (GPA) after an advert it placed in a newspaper claimed a rise in homophobic attacks was due to religious belief.
An advert, showing a Bible next to a pool of blood under the heading "in the name of the father", appeared in a national newspaper's supplement.
The Metropolitan Police said the inquiry "centres on whether the advert constitutes a faith crime".
The GPA, which has members in all 52 UK police forces, yesterday refused to comment while the matter was still under investigation.
Scotland Yard said the inquiry was prompted by a complaint by a member of the public.
July 20 2006
Is hiv preventable in prison?
July 20, 2006: When Benjamin Buloba entered the gates of Luzira Prisons on charges of “conspiracy to commit a felony”, he looked forward to the day he would regain his freedom.
But that was not to be.
A few days after he was imprisoned, he developed a stomach upset, which eventually degenerated into terrible diarrhoea. After an agonising night of endless visits to the toilet, Buloba finally succumbed to death. On the night he died, “he kept putting toilet paper in his anus,” one prisoner was quoted, in The Monitor in October 2004.Buloba’s death however has since remained a controversy. Though some reports attributed his death to homosexual rape, post-mortem reports done by the prison’s medical staff attributed his death to respiratory failure and secondary tuberculosis. On the other hand, reports from Mulago revealed “trauma of the rectum”, validating earlier claims of homosexuality.
Almost two years later, the situation has not changed much. Homosexuality is still rife in Ugandan prisons though prison authorities remain elusive about the matter.
Ms Mary Kaddu, the assistant commissioner for social support Uganda Prisons said, “We are carrying out a study to ascertain whether homosexuality is a myth or reality in Uganda prisons”.While homosexuality is still a point of contention, it has emerged as the leading spread of HIV among male prisoners. A United Nations Aids (UNAIDS) Best Practice report noted that prisons are ideal environments for HIV transmission, since they are often overcrowded, full of violence, tension, and fear.
Susceptible: Aids in prisons is a big threat as lack of information and proper medical care can lead to faster death of HIV patients.“Release from these tensions, and from the boredom of prison life, is often found in the consumption of drugs or in illicit sexual acts such as homosexuality,” the report said. HIV first became prevalent in Ugandan prisons in 1987 at a time when the country was still wrestling with the disease in the general population.At such a time, control and treatment of HIV among prisoners was not a priority. But in all this, Kaddu says, “We realised that prisoners could not be forgotten”.
The national Aids policy was later adopted and widened to cater for HIV positive prisoners. As a result of the effort, HIV incidence has reduced from 30 percent in the1990s to 8 percent today, slightly above the national average of 6.8 percent.
Even so, HIV is still a problem prison authorities have to deal with. Lack of information, and proper medical care can lead to faster death of HIV patients. However, Kaddu says that like any other HIV positive citizen, “HIV positive prisoners are put on medication and special diet.”She dismissed as “falsehoods”, reports which suggest that prison staff take advantage of the situation to benefit themselves at the prisoners expense.
Although HIV treatment in prisons is done in accordance with the national Aids policy, which prescribes accessibility of condoms to sexually active persons, Kaddu concedes that prisoners are not provided with condoms.“We do not expect any sexual contact between male and female prisoners because they are separated,” suggesting that in case it happens, inmates are then exposed to HIV.In contrast, the UNAIDS report confirmed that sexual contact occurs in prisons and cannot be entirely stopped in prison settings. Given the high risk of HIV transmission amongst prisoners, UNAIDS recommends that it is vital that condoms are readily available to prisoners to counter the risk. But this is still a fact prison authorities are not ready to deal with.
According to press reports, prison authorities in Jamaica rejected the idea of providing condoms to prisoners, saying it is a way of encouraging them to have sex. What is even worse is the fact that prisons are not as accessible to health workers as other institutions. Kaddu says, “Most of the work is done by our staff.” Staff are trained on how to take care of Aids patients. “Our staff are also involved in Aids awareness campaigns.”Besides, the approach has changed. By involving prisoners in what directly affects them, Kaddu says, “Aids stigma has significantly reduced”. The approach is to use prison staff to train a selected number of inmates in the prevention and control of HIV, and care for those living with Aids who in turn act as counsellors to their peers.
“This has proven to be the most effective approach,” She says. Besides, prisoners often take on roles staff play once they are off duty. “We are all working together to reduce HIV prevalence in prison to levels even lower than the national prevalence rates,” she says.As prison authorities get to terms with HIV prevalence amongst prison inmates, overcrowding and illicit sexual behaviour still remain issues they have to contend with. Though sex is outlawed in prisons, Buloba’s case and many such cases that go unreported serve as a reminder that prisons are not immune to sexual activity. Whether condoms reduce the spread of HIV or whether they encourage sex among prisoners is something prison authorities have to address sooner rather than later.
Brian Whitaker on homosexuality in the Middle East and the gay Palestinians who have taken refuge in Israel
Open homosexuality is a social and religious taboo almost everywhere in the Middle East. In Iran and most Arab countries, same-sex acts are illegal and punishable by imprisonment, flogging or sometimes death. Even in countries where homosexuality is not specifically outlawed, such as Egypt, generalized laws against ‘immorality’ are used to target gay men.
The notable exception is Israel, where same-sex relations between men became legal in 1988. Four years after de-criminalizing homosexuality, Israel went a step further and is now the only country in the Middle East that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The law has certainly made its impact felt, requiring the military to treat gay and lesbian members of the armed forces equally and, in one celebrated case, forcing El Al to provide a free ticket for the partner of a gay flight attendant, as for the partners of heterosexuals. And in 1998 Israel’s tolerance of sexual diversity attracted worldwide attention when the transgender Dana International won the Eurovision Song Contest.
In an essay on Israel’s gay history, Lee Walzer, author of Between Sodom and Eden (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), explains:
The reasons for gay and lesbian political success during this period from 1988 through the mid-1990s were many. Chief among them was the fact that gay activists pursued a very mainstream strategy, seeking to convince the wider public that gay Israelis were good patriotic citizens who just happened to be attracted to the same sex.
This strategy, pursued until recently, reinforced the perception that gay rights was a non-partisan issue, unconnected to the major fissure in Israeli politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict and how to resolve it. Embracing gay rights enabled Israelis to pat themselves on the back for being open-minded, even as Israeli society wrestled less successfully with other social inequalities.
Across the Green Line in the West Bank and Gaza, however, the picture is very different. The penalty for same-sex acts under Palestinian law is not entirely clear, though in practice this is less significant than the extra-judicial punishments reportedly meted out by the authorities and the threats that gay men face from relatives intent on preserving family ‘honour’.
Writing in the New Republic (19 August 2002), Yossi Halevi described the case of ‘Tayseer’, a Palestinian from Gaza, who was 18 when an elder brother caught him in bed with a boyfriend. His family beat him and his father threatened to strangle him if it ever happened again. A few months later, a young man Tayseer had never met invited him into an orange grove for sex:
The next day he received a police summons. At the station Tayseer was told that his sex partner was in fact a police agent whose job is to ferret out homosexuals. If Tayseer wanted to avoid prison, he too would have to become an undercover sex agent, luring gays into orchards and turning them over to the police.
Tayseer refused to implicate others. He was arrested and hung by his arms from the ceiling. A high-ranking officer he didn’t know arranged for his release and then demanded sex as payback.
Tayseer fled Gaza to Tulkarem on the West Bank, but there too he was eventually arrested. He was forced to stand in sewage water up to his neck, his head covered by a sack filled with faeces, and then he was thrown into a dark cell infested with insects and other creatures he could feel but not see . . . During one interrogation, police stripped him and forced him to sit on a Coke bottle.
The key ingredients of Tayseer’s story are repeated in other published accounts given by gay fugitives from the West Bank and Gaza: a violent family reaction, entrapment and blackmail by the police coupled with degrading improvised punishments. The hostility of families is a predictable response from those who regard homosexuality as a betrayal of ‘traditional’ Arab-Islamic values. This attitude is by no means unique to the Palestinians, but while it may be possible in some Arab countries to take refuge in the anonymity of big cities, the Palestinian territories are small, with mainly close-knit communities where it is difficult to hide.
Religious condemnation of homosexuality found in Judaism, Christianity and Islam derive mainly from the biblical story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom, which also figures in the Qur’an. In recent decades progressive Jews and Christians have increasingly questioned traditional interpretations of scripture and moved towards acceptance of homosexuality, at least within stable, loving relationships. As for Islam, however, the trend has generally been in the opposite direction – partly because of the weakness of secular or progressive religious currents but mainly because political conditions have led to a growth of religiosity and recourse to supposedly traditional Arab-Islamic values.
Historically at least, the view that homosexual acts should be punished by execution is a feature of all three monotheistic religions. Britain applied the death penalty for sodomy over several centuries – originally on the basis of ecclesiastical law – up until 1861.
Today, Islamic law is widely interpreted in the same way by many prominent and widely respected scholars, including Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the leading Shi’a cleric in Iraq, whose fatwa advocating death for liwat (sodomy) was posted in Arabic on his website. A number of gay men have been systematically murdered in Iraq recently and campaigners say the fatwa provided religious sanction and encouragement for the killings.
Four years ago in Israel, a prominent rabbi, David Batzri, also advocated the death penalty. ‘Homosexuals and lesbians are not only a sickness,’ he told Maariv newspaper in February 2002. Last year, during the gay pride parade in Jerusalem, a religious extremist attacked three marchers with a knife and reportedly told the police he had come ‘to kill in the name of God’.
Of course, there are important differences between Israel and the Arab countries – particularly in the reaction to such views. Rabbi Batzri’s remarks caused public outrage and the man who attacked the Jerusalem parade was promptly arrested. In Israel, religious figures and their legal opinions carry far less weight, and the rights of gay people are protected by the state.
For gay Palestinians who feel persecuted at home, the obvious escape route is to Israel, but because of the political conflict this can be fraught with difficulties. As far as most Palestinians are concerned, fleeing into Israel is a betrayal of their cause, while gay men who remain in the Palestinian territories also come under suspicion.
‘In the West Bank and Gaza, it is common knowledge that if you are homosexual you are necessarily a collaborator with Israel,’ said Shaul Gonen, of the Israeli Society for the Protection of Personal Rights (‘“Death Threat” to Palestinian Gays’, BBC, 3 March 2003). Bassim Eid, of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, explained:In the Arab mindset, a person who has committed a moral offence is often assumed to be guilty of others, and it radiates out to the family and community. As homosexuality is seen as a crime against nature, it is not hard to link it to collaboration – a crime against nation (‘Palestinian Gay Runaways Survive on Israeli Streets’, Reuters, 17 September 2003).
Regarding gay men as politically treacherous is not unique to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. There are parallels here with Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, when gay men engaged in secret government work were treated as a particular security risk. In the popular imagination, this may well have been seen as an intrinsic part of their psychological make-up, although the fact that their sexual activities were illegal did expose them to the possibility of blackmail by Soviet agents.
Equating homosexuality with collaboration makes it extremely dangerous for Palestinians to return home after fleeing to Israel. One man told Halevi in the New Republic of a friend in the Palestinian police who ran away to Tel Aviv but later went back to Nablus, where he was arrested and accused of being a collaborator:
They put him in a pit. It was the fast of Ramadan, and they decided to make him fast the whole month but without any break at night. They denied him food and water until he died in that hole.
There is little doubt that some – though by no means all – gay Palestinians are forced by their precarious existence to work for Israeli intelligence in exchange for money or administrative favours such as the right of residence; both Eid and Gonen said they knew of several. Others, meanwhile, are coerced into undercover work for the Palestinian authorities; one 19-year-old runaway stated in an interview with Israeli television that he had been pressurized by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to become a suicide bomber in order to ‘purge his moral guilt’, though he had refused (‘Palestinian Gay Runaways’, Reuters, 17 September 2003).
Estimates of the number of gay Palestinians who have quietly – and usually illegally – taken refuge in Israel range from 300 to 600. Although Israel is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and recognizes same-sex partnerships for immigration purposes, it does not welcome gay Palestinians – mainly because of security fears. This often leaves them trapped in an administrative no-man’s-land with little hope of finding a proper job and constantly at risk of being arrested and deported. Some try to disguise themselves by wearing fake military dog-tags and even Star of David medallions.
‘The Palestinians say if you are gay, you must be a collaborator, while the Israelis treat you as a security threat,’ Gonen told a news programme (‘Palestinian Gays Flee to Israel’, BBC, 22 October 2003). But even if they are neither collaborators nor a security threat, they can easily become targets for exploitation by Israeli men. ‘They work as prostitutes, selling their bodies unwillingly because they have to survive,’ Gonen said:Sometimes the Israeli secret police try to recruit them, sometimes the Palestinian police try to recruit them. In the end they find themselves falling between all chairs. Nobody wants to help them, everybody wants to use them.
Brian Whitaker is Middle East editor of the Guardian. His book, Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East, is published by Saqi Books.
TEL AVIV DISPATCH
by Yossi Klein Halevi
Tayseer, as we'll call him, a 21-year-old Gazan whose constant smile tries to conceal watchfulness, learned early on that to be gay in Palestine is to be a criminal. Three years ago his older brother caught him in bed with a boyfriend. He was beaten by his family, then warned by his father that he'd strangle Tayseer if it ever happened again.[...]
[ TEL AVIV DISPATCH
[ Gay Palestine News & Reports 2001-05
[ ASWAT - Palestinian Gay Women
17 July 2006
Belarusian Gay Activist Keeps Fighting the Dictatorship
Gay Belarusian activist Slava Bortnik is interviewed by GayRussia – and gives a rare insight into life – and life as a gay – in the country considered the most repressive in Europe
GayRussia: Can you explain us the political situation in Belorussia today, especially in the light of the protests after the recent presidential elections?
Slava Bortnik: Life became increasingly difficult for those who speak out against the authorities in Belarus. President Lukashenko appears to be asserting his control over civil society and clamping down on opposition with renewed confidence. The Belarusian authorities regularly employ harassment, intimidation, excessive force, mass detentions and long-term imprisonment as methods to quash voices of dissent in Belarusian society.
Although Belarus has come under increasing international criticism for its poor human rights record, most recently at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, this criticism is met with defiance by the regime.
The democratic-oriented part of Belarusian society has paid very high – and bloody – price for peaceful protests against unfair elections in March this year. More than 500 arrests have taken place throughout the country. Large numbers of demonstrators have been detained and beaten by riot police and anti-terrorist forces.
Despite threats by the KGB chief that those participating in demonstrations after the elections on 19 March would be considered terrorists and could face the death penalty, people of good will came to the squares of their hometowns to express the protest. There were many gays and lesbians among them. Most of those detained were charged for administrative offences such as participation in unsanctioned meetings or hooliganism, which carry sentences of 10 to 15 days detention.
Then, during the meeting on the Day of Freedom (25 March) and the Chernobyl march (26 April) that take place annually and have traditionally been a focus for opposition activists, large numbers of demonstrators have been beaten and detained again.
GR: Would you say that your president is homophobic? Did he express himself on the issue of homosexuality officially?
SB : Like in every dictator’s regime, in Belarus everything depends on one single person – Alexander Lukashenko. For many years he didn’t express his attitude to homosexuality, but let other of his ‘chief players’ do it: Russian Orthodox Church, MPs, media, and psychiatrists.
Finally, at the consultation with the Belarusian Security Council on 28 September 2004 he said: “… we have to show our society in the near future, what ‘they’ [EU and USA] are doing here, how they are trying to turn our girls into prostitutes, how they are feeding our citizens with illicit drugs, how they are spreading sexual perversion here, which methods they are employing”. And just few weeks later state TV channels started to show what German and Czech diplomats (who are gays) do in Belarus.
According to our president, homosexuality goes hand-in-hand with Western paths to development.
GR: Is there really something to wait for from your government? Do you think there is a chance that the situation of LGBT improve in the future or not at all?
SB: The only thing we can wait from the current acting government is putting iron curtains on the closets where we’re spending our lives. One of the eloquent signs of this is the proposal in April 2005 of Belarusian MP Viktar Kuchynski to criminalize homosexuality. In this connection Kuchynski said that the Criminal Code should to be amended, and penalty for homosexuality introduced. I was surprised that other MPs didn’t support their colleague.
By the way, homosexuality in Belarus was decriminalized for the first time in March 1994, just several months before Lukashenka’s elections. Our parliament was forced to do it by the Council of Europe.
Later, in the beginning of 1997 we lost our membership of the Council of Europe because of the worst human rights record in Europe. Today when our ruler doesn’t express his interest to be associated with Free Europe, nobody can prevent him from intimidating homosexuals.
GR: What is the attitude of Belarusian towards homosexuality? Is there any recent research on the topic?
SB : Homophobic attitude, suspicions and prejudices are still very strong in Belarusian society. According to the survey held by Belarusian Lambda League for Sexual Equality (Lambda Belarus) in April 2002, 47% of Belarusian citizens thought that gays should be imprisoned. Unfortunately, there has been no more serious research on the issue since then.
I don’t think that situation has significantly changed, bearing in mind that after that four years we don’t have any independent newspaper or civil society organization. The gay and lesbian community found themselves deeper in the closet, if it’s possible to say that!
GR: Would you say it’s better or worse than in Russia?
SB: In many ways the situation is pretty the same. Like in Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church has a serious influence on day-to-day life of Belarusian citizens. But, there are some specific differences between the positions of LGBT people in our countries.
Russia has better conditions for gay business (as a kind of business in general) that at least creates space for socializing and information exchange. In Belarus where 80% of economy is ruled by state it’s hard to imagine successful gay business.
On the other hand, we don’t have such strong and well-organized mass movements of ultra-right sense. It’s a shame that Russia became a hospitable home for ‘Neo-Nazis’ who hate and destroy life around themselves, but not for LGBT people who just love and want to be loved.
GR: What do you suggest could improve the situation? In which direction do you work for LGBT rights and acceptance?
SB: I coordinate the work of Amnesty International Belarus LGBT Network which was created in 1999. As a grassroots-based membership organization we seek to promote human rights standards at the international and local level that bar discrimination and protect the basic human rights of LGBT people, to educate people and increase public awareness of human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to mobilize people in Belarus to take action on specific cases of human rights abuses against LGBT people.
We work in coalition with LGBT, religious, youth and other groups to develop community-based responses to human rights issues facing the LGBT community today.
GR: How many LGBT organizations are active in Belarus?
SB: Officially there are no LGBT organisations in Belarus. But there are two organisations that work for gays and lesbians and have been officially registered by the state. One of them as an HIV/AIDS-prevention NGO, and another one as women’s NGO.
The trick is that one the one hand HIV/AIDS-prevention is going within gays, and on the other, women are lesbians. I won’t tell you the names of those organizations to avoid potential problems for them from the State. Besides those two, there is number of LGBT initiatives in the capital and big cities, but they exist and operate illegally. In most cases these are small, ill-organized groups of local activists with a lack of resources and sufficient experience. Just recently I found out about quite big transgender group in Minsk. Good news came from youth wing of Belarusian Social Democrats – in May they created special committee which main goal is to promote human rights of LGBT people.
Now, it’s a hard time for Belarusian non-governmental sector. Even harder than a year ago, especially after the new amendment of the Criminal Code in December 2005.
Anyone who coordinates activities of an association or a foundation which has been suspended or liquidated may face a fine and six months in prison. In vaguely defined “serious cases,” one can be subjected to a “restriction of freedom” sentence for up to two years.
A new article on “discrediting the Republic of Belarus” punishes those who provide “false information” to a foreign government or organization, which is interpreted to misrepresent the political, economic, social, military or international situation of Belarus, its governmental agencies or the legal situation of its citizens by six months in jail, or a “restriction of freedom” sentence of up to two years. These amendments further constrain a civil society that has been under attack by the government since 2001.
In the last few years, almost all critical NGOs in Belarus have been systematically silenced by a series of repressive laws and regulations. Registering a new NGO or legally obtaining foreign aid has become impossible. The vague wording of the amendments provides wide discretionary powers to the authorities, allowing them to label activities of LGBT groups as illegal attempts to discredit or harm the Belarusian state. By the way, even Amnesty International is not registered in my country – and that means all of us are potential criminals.
GR: You were with Slava Sementsov in London for EuroPride with a Belarusian flag, do you think that the first Belarussian pride will take place in Minsk or it will have to be organized abroad?
SB: Yes, it was our historic white-red-white flag, but not official red-and-green, which was originally styled in the communist era and doesn’t mean anything today.
The truth is that the first Belarusian pride festival took place in Minsk in September 1999 despite prohibition. Of course there were many ‘accidents’ involving police brutality. The following year, the planned pride march through the city was banned by the authorities 24 hours before it was due to take place. Later the authorities acted swiftly to prevent any of the other programmed events from taking place. Uniformed police arrived at the inauguration performance which had already begun. They ordered the lights to be shut off and gave participants only minutes to evacuate the building. Police then followed the festival participants through the street to another club which they then ordered to shut its doors, trapping other customers inside. The following day, the authorities shut down the festival office and closed the entire building in which it was housed.
In 2001 the first ever gay pride march on the territory of the former USSR took place in Minsk. It was organized by Lambda Belarus. The parade of 300 people snaked its way from the parliament building and finished at President Lukashenka’s residence. We were really surprised that the authorities didn’t disturb the parade. It sounds strange, but the gay march worked for Lukashenka. As it took place just two days before presidential elections, the government-controlled media smeared the opposition by associating it with homosexuality. Lukashenka knows how to manipulate with homophobic attitudes of his electorate.
The new attempts to organize pride events in Belarus have been violently suppressed by the authorities. As for the Belarusian events “in exile”, they have been organized by IGLCN in Stockholm and London last year – and had a wide media coverage.
GR: Is it possible for two Belarusian gay men to live openly together – and for two lesbians?
SB: No, absolutely. Theoretically, it’s possible for two guys or two girls to live together, but they have to invent a strong ‘sotry’ about the nature of their relationship. In the eyes of society they could be, for example, classmates or relatives. For men it usually works till the age of 30, for women – 23 or 25 maximum. While getting older you have to start thinking about marriage (fake or real, doesn’t matter).
Most gays and lesbian in Belarus live in registered marriage. In many cases spouses don’t know about sexual orientation of their partners. As for me, I have been married to a girl from 2000 through 2004. It was fake marriage, but nobody in my town can say that I’m not a real man.
GR: You are organising the first LGBT conference in Minsk at the beginning of November. Can you tell us more? Whom do you expect there?
SB: As I have already told you, this won’t be the first LGBT conference in Belarus. In the focus of the conference will be the following topics: perspectives for gay movements in repressive political regimes, human rights education as a tool of creation of tolerant environment, and international solidarity actions. Besides local activist we expect guests from France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, UK, and USA.
GR: Thanks. We’ll be there.
"Schwul" sagt man nicht
17 july 2006
"Wir brauchen den Druck Westeuropas" sagt der weißrussische Aktivist Viachaslau Bortnik. "Wir brauchen den elektrischen Stuhl", sagt die russisch-orthodoxe Kirche
Paraden zum Christopher-Street-Day quer durch die Innenstadt - in ihrem Land ist daran nicht zu denken, sagen Slava Sementsov und Viachaslau Bortnik aus Minsk, die diese Woche in Bremen und Oldenburg über die Situation Schwuler und Lesben in Weißrussland informierten.
Slava Sementsov engagiert sich seit sechs Jahren bei Vstrecha ( "Treffen"), einer AIDS-Präventionskampagne in Weißrussland. Das Wort "schwul" darf in seinen Broschüren nicht auftauchen, erzählt er. Erlaubt sei höchstens die Formulierung "Männer, die Sex mit Männern haben" (MSM). Die Negation und Sanktionierung schwulen Lebens hat weitreichende Folgen: Nur knapp sieben Prozent der MSM können laut UNAIDS in Weißrussland durch Präventionsprogramme erreicht werden. Als Grund für die Unterversorgung sieht Sementsov einerseits die mangelnde Unterstützung der Regierung, andererseits auch die Angst der Männer, sich vor ihrem sozialen Umfeld und nicht zuletzt ihrem Hausarzt als schwul zu outen. Theoretisch stehen seinem Verein eine Million US-Dollar zu Präventionszwecken zur Verfügung. Praktisch muss jede Veröffentlichung, jede Kondom- und Gleitgelverteilung vom Gesundheitsministerium genehmigt werden.
Eine heikle Angelegenheit, da die Gesundheitsministerin Ljudmila Postoyalko, Schwiegermutter des Präsidenten Alexander Lukaschenko, für Homosexuelle wenig Sympathien hat. Das Bild eines nackten Mannes auf der Homepage von Vstrecha habe sie zum Anlass genommen, Gelder für Gleitmittel auf Wasserbasis zu kürzen, erzählt Sementsov. Dabei können fettbasierte Gleitgele Kondome porös machen.
An feste Feiertage wie den CSD ist bei solchen Verhältnissen gar nicht zu denken. Darum sei eine Thematisierung der Diskriminierung Homosexueller in Osteuropa bei hiesigen CSDs umso wichtiger, sagt Arno Oevermann vom Zentrum für Schwule und Lesben Rat&Tat in Bremen. "Die Arbeit vor Ort können wir leider nicht abnehmen", sagt er. "Aber wir können auf die dortigen Missstände aufmerksam machen. In der Regel sind ausländische Prominente bei Veranstaltungen Homosexueller im osteuropäischen Ausland sogar ein Schutz, da es eine höhere Medienpräsenz gibt."
Homosexualität ist seit 1991 in der ehemaligen Sowjet-Republik keine Straftat mehr. Allerdings fordert die russisch-orthodoxe Kirche noch heute den elektrischen Stuhl für Schwule und Lesben. Wo müssen Organisationen wie Vstrecha also ansetzen, wenn sie Vorurteile abbauen wollen? "Zunächst müssen Heterosexuelle toleranter werden, damit Schwule und Lesben sich nicht mehr gezwungen sehen, Scheinehen einzugehen und Doppelleben zu führen", sagt Bortnik.
Bevor Bortnik und Sementsov nach Deutschland gereist sind, wurden sie von der Polizei verhört und haben Drohbriefe erhalten. Ihnen wird Kritik an der Regierung als Straftat vorgeworfen. Angst vor der Rückkehr haben sie jedoch keine. "Wenn wir uns von den Bedrohungen einschüchtern ließen, hätten wir unsere Arbeit schon längst aufgeben müssen," meint Bortnik. "Aber um die Lage Schwuler und Lesben bei uns zu verbessern brauchen wir den Druck Westeuropas." Jessica Riccò
[ Minsk Gay Guide: Gay Life in Belarus
Belarusians Below the Radar..
[ Gay rights in Belarus
[ belarus gay
[ Amnesty International/Belarus
[ LGBT-Menschenrechtsarbeit in Weißrussland
17 July 2006
Ausbruch aus der Einzelzelle
Erstmals ist in einem Berliner Knast ein schwules Paar eine Lebenspartnerschaft eingegangen.
Nun möchten sie zusammenziehen. Aus vollzugstechnischen Gründen wird ihnen dies aber verwehrt
Selbstbewusstsein demonstrieren und Rechte einfordern. Das ist das Motto der diesjährigen schwul-lesbischen "Pride Week", die am Wochenende mit dem Stadtteilfest am Nollendorfplatz begann und am kommenden Samstag mit der großen Christopher-Street-Day-Parade endet. Auf zwei schwule Gefangene der Justizvollzugsanstalt Tegel scheint das Motto wie zugeschnitten: Andreas H.-J. und Thomas J. sind das erste homosexuelle Paar, das in einem Berliner Gefängnis eine standesamtlich beglaubigte Lebenspartnerschaft eingegangen ist. Nun kämpfen die beiden dafür, in einer Gemeinschaftszelle den Rest ihrer Haftzeit verbringen zu können. "Das natürlichste aller Rechte unter Eheleuten, das Recht auf eine gemeinsame Wohnung, im konkreten Fall der gemeinsamen Unterbringung, wird uns verweigert", schreiben die beiden der taz.
Die Urkunde, mit der die Häftlinge im Beisein eines Standesbeamten den Lebenspartnerschaftsbund geschlossen haben, trägt das Datum 26. April diesen Jahres. Danach hat Thomas J. seinen Namen behalten und Andreas einen Doppelnamen angenommen. Berlinweit werden jährlich rund 300 Lebenspartnerschaften von Schwulen und Lesben vor dem Standesamt eingegangen.
Aus datenschutzrechtlichen Gründen könne sie sich nur sehr allgemein zu den beiden Insassen äußern, sagt Justizsprecherin Juliane Baer-Henney. Andreas H.-J. sei Mitte zwanzig. Thomas J. Mitte dreißig. Beide säßen wegen Vermögensdelikten ein und hätten in "absehbarer Zeit, aber nicht mehr in diesem Jahr", ihre Strafe verbüßt.
Wenig Zeit füreinander
"Wir sind beide inhaftiert und haben uns in der Teilanstalt VI, wo wir auf getrennten Stationen untergebracht sind, kennen gelernt", schreiben die Betroffenen. Da sie das erste homosexuelle Paar seien, das im Knast eine Lebenspartnerschaft eingegangen sei, mangele es an Verwaltungsvorschriften, die den Umgang mit verheirateten Gefangenen regelten. "Für die Justiz ist das Ganze eine Grauzone. Für uns ist es die Hölle."
Zurzeit können sich die beiden nur während der allgemeinen Umschlusszeiten im Haus VI gegenseitig in ihren Zellen besuchen. Ihr Antrag, auf einer Station in einem Haftraum untergebracht zu werden, sei von den Verantwortlichen abgelehnt worden. Die Begründung: Dies würde "eine Bevorzugung gegenüber anderen Inhaftierten darstellen, die ihre Ehepartner nicht bei sich haben könnten", heißt es in dem Brief.
Nicht genug damit, dass sie sich keine Zelle teilen dürften - sie würden auch von anderen Insassen gemobbt, seit sie ihre Homosexualität öffentlich gemacht und sich zueinander bekannt hätten. Auch von den Justizbediensteten würde das Mobbing "mehr als wohlwollend" geduldet.
Justiz: keine Grauzone
Es handele sich zwar um die erste Lebenspartnerschaft in den Berliner Vollzugsanstalten. "Für uns ist das Ganze aber ziemlich unspektakulär", sagt Justizsprecherin Baer-Henney. Was die Vorschriften angehe, gebe es jedoch keine Grauzone. Im Strafvollzugsgesetz sei eindeutig geregelt, wann eine Zusammenlegung von Gefangenen in einer Gemeinschaftszelle in Betracht komme - und wann nicht. Homosexualität und Partnerschaft an sich seien kein Hinderungsgrund für eine Zusammenlegung, versichert die Justizsprecherin: "Das wäre doch sexuelle Diskriminierung."
Einziges Kriterium sei, ob die Vollzugssituation ein Zusammenlegen der Möchtegern-Zellennachbarn erlaube. Ein Häftling, der auf den offenen Vollzug beziehungsweise die vorzeitige Entlassung vorbereitet werde, könne nicht mit einem Gefangenen die Zelle teilen, der bis auf Weiteres im geschlossenen Vollzug verbleibe. Der Justizsprecherin zufolge ist genau das bei dem Paar das Problem.
Von der behaupteten Diskriminierung durch andere Gefängnisinsassen und Justizvollzugsbeamte sei ihr nichts bekannt, sagt Baer-Henney. Die JVA-Bediensteten seien grundsätzlich gehalten, gegen jedes wie immer geartete Mobbing vorzugehen.
Der Chefredakteur des schwul-lesbischen Stadtmagazins Siegessäule, Holger Wicht, zollt Andreas H.-J. und Thomas J. seine Hochachtung für ihr offensives Vorgehen. "Sich in der rauen Männergesellschaft des Knastes selbstbewusst als schwul zu zeigen, das ist mutig." Auch mit Blick auf die "Pride Week" spricht der Journalist von einem "tollen Signal", das da von Tegel ausgehe.
17 July 2006
sanbs not certain on gay blood
SOUTH AFRICA – July 17, 2006: Even though the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) has banned men having sex with other men (MSM) from donating blood, the sector cannot be certain if ‘straight’ men donating blood don’t practice such demeanour.The blood institute only relies on the questionnaire people fill asking whether they’re gay or not, which is very tentative to reflect the truth, and eventually makes a decision that gay people are the ones with high HIV infection rate.
Asked about the questionnaire’s reliability, SANBS spokesperson Nicolette Duda said; “All blood is donated by voluntary donors. In a totally voluntary system there is no incentive for people to be untruthful when answering the pre-donation questions, which are designed to protect the health of both the donor and the patient.”She continued; “If you donate blood and you know you're putting a patient's life at risk, just ask yourself the question, would you like to receive the blood you are about to donate? Secondly, we have nucleic acid amplification (ID NAT) test in place, which tests every unit of blood individually for HIV, hepatitis B and C. Unfortunately, no test system available can detect when the donation is in the window period of infection. The donor questionnaire therefore remains an essential component of the SANBS risk management system.”
On the other hand, gay and lesbian organisations in South Africa are still against the exclusion of gay men from donating blood.“Our stand is that SANBS cannot just exclude a certain group of people as high risk of HIV without evidence. Their decision to ban males having sex with other males from donating blood is based on a data from outside the country. We need to conduct more research locally because different countries have different HIV epidemics,” said Fikile Vilakazi of OUT –LGBT Wellbeing.Vilakazi says, “On a meeting that we had with SANBS earlier this year it was agreed that we should consult with epidemiologists and look at different epidemics of HIV in Africa. This process is still underway.”
When asking if there’s any local investigation done to interrogate the decision informed by the international research data that bans gay blood donors, SANBS admitted that in fact it doesn’t have such study, and that should be something done by an external independent research unit.Speaking for the National Department of Health, Sibani Mngadi says it is the Health Department’s responsibility to make as many people who want to donate blood to have that opportunity.“However we have an obligation to make sure that the blood donated is safe. In a meeting that we had with the SANBS we reached an agreement that there should be a consultation between researchers, scientists and groups that represent gays and lesbians to see whether we can review the questionnaire that excludes this group”, Mngadi explained.
Mngadi pointed out that solving the problem of exclusion would not necessarily solve the problem of blood donation, and said “That is why we suggested that SANBS engages in campaigns that will attract mostly young people in schools who can still be taught about sexual behavior.”Asked whether the issue is about anal sex and whether couples in heterosexual relationships who also engage in anal sex are not a risk, Mngadi said, “That is why we must emphasize on whether a person has been exposed to infection than on whether they have had anal sex which is said to be of higher risk.”Even so, SANBS is not planning to change its policy regarding gay people anytime soon. “We are looking at changing the time period of deferral, but questions relating to high risk behavior such as intravenous drug use, changing sex partners, prostitution and men who have sex with men will remain on the questionnaire.” Duda concluded.
July 17 2006
south african transsexuals are living without identity
July 17, 2006: Change of identity for South African transsexuals “is a nightmare and often means transsexual people are made vulnerable to violence, discrimination, legal prosecution and harassment,” so said Liesl Theron – founder of Gender DynamiX, which is a non profit organization that caters for the needs of transgendered people in South Africa.
Theron warned that a transsexual who is stopped at a police road block is very likely to run into trouble because their ID document does not match their identities.“Like everybody else it is a huge inconvenience for the person who has to wait for eight months and longer. In the case of a transsexual person more is at stake. It might mean that the person’s whole life is on hold, job interviews, bank accounts, other legal, processes like buying a house or a car, or a simple thing like applying for membership at the gym is put on hold”, she says.She added that there are many people who have undergone a sex change operation in South Africa who are in the process of transitioning and need to change their documentation at the home affairs department.
“We are currently assisting a person who is trying to change her ID book. There seems to be resistance to her application for reasons unknown to us. The law (abiding to sex change) with regard to this was changed in 2003, but employees at home affairs are either not informed, or obstructing the process”, said Theron.
Responding to this obfuscation, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed that changing particulars on ID documents for transsexual people is legal in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act of 1992.Mantshele Tau, Acting Director of External Communications in the home affairs department said that the department regards these applications similar to any other application for amendment and that if all legal requirements are met; they handle it as a straightforward amendment application.
“The applicant will have to apply at a regional or district office of the Department, pay the prescribed fee, complete the application form and submit the required medical reports. Application will then be considered and approved at Head Office where after, on the strength of an application received by the Department, an amended identity document will be issued.” Tau said.Asked how the home affairs department knows if a person applying for change of identity is running away from some crime they might have committed using the old identity, Tau said “The Department will not know that but relies on the medical documentation submitted by the applicant to change gender.Tau pointed out that according to their statistics there is no noticeable increase or decrease in the number of applications for such change of particulars received by their department.
Documents to bring in order to change your identity particulars:
The application form (BI 526) and the prescribed fee
A medical report from the medical practitioner who applied procedures and medical treatment or from a medical practitioner experienced in such procedure/ treatment.
A report from a second medical practitioner who have examined the applicant to establish his /her sexual characteristics.
Gender DynamiX - First Transgender Association Established in Africa
The gender question - "is it a boy or a girl?" - immediately follows any birth. A non-profit organisation catering to the needs of transgendered people has been formally established with the intent of addressing this question in the broadest sense.Gender DynamiX is an organisation that works towards a world in which each person has the freedom to express their own gender - whether it corresponds to their born sex or not. Explains Robert Hamblin, Vice-Chairperson of the Management Committee: "Gender DynamiX is an organisation whose time has come - we are here to support transgendered people, and to change the way society thinks about men and women"...
13 July 2006
Bundesregierung sieht keinen Handlungsbedarf, um homosexuelle Flüchtlinge vor Verfolgung ausreichend zu schützen
13. Juli 2006 - Pressemitteilung
Zur Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Bundestagsfraktion DIE LINKE. über die rechtliche Situation homosexueller Flüchtlinge in Deutschland erklären die Sprecherinnen für gleichgeschlechtliche Lebensweisen und für Migration, Barbara Höll und Sevim Dagdelen:
Die Bundesregierung wird aktuelle Urteile von Verwaltungsgerichten, die homosexuellen Flüchtlingen den Schutz vor Verfolgung verweigert haben, nicht zum Anlass nehmen, gesetzgeberisch tätig zu werden. „Wir halten es für beschämend, dass die Bundesregierung hier keinen Handlungsbedarf sieht, obwohl diese Urteile noch den Muff der 50er Jahre atmen“, erklären Barbara Höll und Sevim Dagdelen. Damit trage sie weiterhin Verantwortung dafür, dass Flüchtlinge sehenden Auges in Länder abgeschoben werden, in denen ihnen Verfolgung und Diskriminierung drohen.
In ihrer Antwort ( BT-Drs.16/ 2142) hält es die Bundesregierung für vertretbar, dass Menschen zuzumuten sei, ihre Homosexualität zurückgezogen in ihrer Privatsphäre zu leben, um eine politische Verfolgung zu vermeiden. „Bei der Anerkennung von politischer Verfolgung wird auch nicht verlangt, dass die politische Meinung nur im Privaten geäußert werden darf, das ist absurd!“, kritisiert die migrationspolitische Sprecherin Sevim Dagdelen. Die Bundesregierung ignoriere, dass Schwule, Lesben und Transsexuelle oftmals völlig unabhängig davon, wie offen sie ihre sexuelle Identität leben, der Verfolgung ausgesetzt sind. Außerdem sei die Begründung nicht haltbar, dass die Grundsätze zur religiös motivierten Verfolgung auch auf eine Verfolgung wegen Homosexualität anwendbar seien: Nach der so genannten „Qualifikationsrichtlinie“ der EU ist sowohl die öffentliche Religionsausübung asylrelevant als auch die „sexuelle Ausrichtung“ als mögliches Verfolgungsmerkmal vorgesehen. Diese Richtlinie muss die Bundesregierung bis zum 10. Oktober 2006 umsetzen.
Auch müsse die Bundesregierung klarstellen, dass der Schutz nicht erst dann einsetzen darf, wenn die Todesstrafe oder eine unerträglich harte Bestrafung drohe: „Ich vermute dahinter immer noch die Vorstellung, dass eine strafrechtliche Verfolgung Homosexueller als legitim angesehen wird, um die öffentliche Moral aufrechtzuerhalten“, so die Sprecherin für gleichgeschlechtliche Lebensweisen Barbara Höll. Schließlich dürfe von Betroffenen nicht der Nachweis der „Irreversibilität ihrer Identität“ verlangt werden. Höll kritisiert, dass bereits eine solche Prüfung selbst für die Betroffenen diskriminierend sei und dem sexuellen Selbstbestimmungsrecht widerspreche. Die in der Kleinen Anfrage zitierten Gerichtsurteile machten deutlich, wie wichtig es darüber hinaus wäre, in die Fortbildung von Richterinnen und Richter zu investieren.
Die Antwort der Bundesregierung kann in den Büros Barbara Höll (030 – 227-74229) und Sevim Dagdelen (030 – 227-71353) angefordert werden.
13 July 06
Brasilien: 2500 Homosexuelle in zehn Jahren getötet
Brasilia. AFP/SDA/baz. In Brasilien sind in den vergangenen zehn Jahren mehr als 2500 Homosexuelle getötet worden. Diese Zahl nannte der Generalsekretär des Brasilianischen Vereinigung von Schwulen, Lesben und Transsexuellen (ABGLT), Toni Reis, am Mittwoch.Er sprach während einer Anhörung im Parlament, die sich mit dem Stand der Programme gegen Diskriminierung unter der Regierung von Präsident Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva befasste.Vertreter von Organisationen aus ganz Brasilien forderten die Abgeordneten auf, einen Gesetzentwurf zur Bestrafung von Homophobie zu verabschieden, über den derzeit im Parlament beraten wird.Die diesjährige Gay-Pride-Parade in São Paulo lockte im Juni drei Millionen Menschen an. Die ABGLT wertete dies als grossen Erfolg ihrer Kampagne gegen die Vorurteile und Diskriminierung von Homosexuellen.
The Brazilian Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Association – ABGLT, was founded on January 31st 1995, by 31 founding member groups. It is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation.Today, ABGLT is a national network of 165 organisations, of which 109 are gay, lesbian, and trans groups, and the remaining 56 are “collaborating” organisations involved with human rights and AIDS. ABGLT is the largest GLBT network in Latin America.
[ Brazil - World Champion In The Murder Of Homosexuals
8th April 1999
[ Brazil: Further information on fear for safety: Eduardo Bernardes da Silva
7 September 2000
[ "NO ONE HERE SLEEPS SAFELY"
MARLI JOSÉ DA SILVA BARBOSA & ROSANA LAGE LIGERO
TORTURED AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTED
11 July 2006
ein transgender kind, biologisch ein junge, wird als mädchen eingeschult.
Transgender child to enter Florida school
A transgender child, genetically a boy, will be admitted to kindergarten as a girl, according to the Miami Herald.
Mental health professionals have diagnosed the child with gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes that he or she is the opposite gender.
'Gender dysphoria can take place during a fetus' development in the womb,'' gender specialist and sexologist Marilyn Volker, Ph D, of Miami, told the Herald.
The child has been examined for two years, and it has been determined that the child is not going through a phase.
The child has allegedly told her parents that she hated having a penis and would often hide it between her legs.
The Broward County school system, in South Florida has agreed to admit the child into the school as a girl. She will dress in neutral "gender-neutral" clothing and use a "gender-neutral name".
''The school officials have agreed to continue working with the family and medical professionals to help create an environment that will maximise the child's ability to learn and grow within the school system,'' said family attorney Karen Doering, who specialises in defending the rights of people who are transgendered, gay, bisexual or lesbian.
After consulting with paediatric endocrinologists, counsellors, and school officials, the parents (an attorney and a counsellor) have decided it is in the best interest of the child to live as a girl.
Broward and Miami-Dade school systems have been praised by Tobias Packer, South Florida Field Organiser for Equality Florida, who is transgendered, saying they are exemplary ''when it comes to the rights of transgendered people''.
New laws in Africa further restrict gays
As many Western countries continue to expand rights for gay men and lesbians, many African nations are going the opposite direction with legislation to further curtail their already restricted rights.
Now, in Zimbabwe, an intimate hug, kiss or even hand-holding between men may be a crime under dramatic changes in the country's new criminal law.
According to Newzimbabwe.com, the changes, which create 15 new crimes, were passed by parliament without opposition two years ago but took effect July 8.
The changes expand the scope of sodomy -- previously considered as only anal sexual intercourse between males -- to include any act involving physical contact between males that would be "regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act."
Lawyers, judges and law enforcement officials complain that they were not adequately trained or informed about the new reforms in the time between their passage and adoption. The expansion of the sodomy law was pushed by President Robert Mugabe, who once called homosexuals "worse than dogs and pigs."
The new law doesn't ban hand-holding and kissing per se, but, since no law enforcement officials can get a copy of the new law, many think it means that most physical forms of male bonding could be curbed, said Cary Alan Johnson, senior coordinator for Africa for the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Coalition.
"There is a culture of 'homo-sociality' that is traditionally celebrated there, and you will see (straight) men in villages holding hands," Johnson told the PlanetOut Network. "I don't think the law will be used to punish that kind of activity, but will be used to blackmail and scare young men and women in cities who are just trying to live their lives."
Johnson said the changes to the law are an attempt by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to further scapegoat gay men and lesbians and divert attention from the dire economic conditions in the country.
Mugabe "is importing Western-style homophobia and imposing it on the culture," Johnson said. "He wants to paint everything British or American as bad and a reason for their problems, such as their 400 percent inflation rate."
Although Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa, at 90 percent, the life expectancy for men is 37 years, and 34 years for women, the lowest in the world.
"The Mugabe regime is unpopular, but he still has a core of supporters which he has been able to mobilize around homophobia in the past," Scott Long, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights project at Human Rights Watch, told the PlanetOut Network.
"While the scope of the new legislation is shocking and horrifying, I think the intent is for show," Long continued. "Nevertheless, it's a police state and what concerns us is that the law sends a signal to police to crack down on gays and lesbians or anyone else who looks different."
Elsewhere in Africa, there are efforts to further restrict LGBT rights, including new legislation in Nigeria to prohibit same-sex marriages.
A bill proposed in January by Nigerian Minister of Justice Bayo Ojo, the "Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act," was recently approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria and will be submitted to the national assembly in August. The bill calls for five years imprisonment for any person who "goes through the ceremony of marriage with a person of the same sex," "performs, witnesses, aids or abets the ceremony of same-sex marriage," or "is involved in the registration of gay clubs, societies and organizations." It prohibits any public display of a "same-sex amorous relationship," as well as adoption by lesbians or gay men.
The legislation, which is likely to pass, is yet another effort to institutionalize homophobia, Johnson said. "Same-sex marriage bans in Africa are a way to further entrench discrimination since, there is no interest at all in same-sex marriage in the emerging gay and lesbian movement," he said.
In March, a coalition of 16 human rights organization sent a letter to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo urging him to withdraw the legislation.
Homosexual activity is banned in most African countries. In Cameroon, it is punishable by up to five years in jail. Nigerian law has a 14-year prison sentence for homosexuals, but in Muslim northern Nigeria, it is punishable by death. Only South Africa -- whose Constitution upholds equal protection for gay people -- Mali and Burkina Faso are considered gay-friendly countries. In most of the continent, meeting places for gays are kept secret, and gay society is underground.
Despite the human rights violations and new government legislation, there are glimmers of hope for LGBT rights in some African societies, Zimbabwean gay rights activist Keith Goddard told the Daily Mail & Guardian of South Africa.
Many Zimbabweans have "embraced and generally accept homosexuality," Goddard said, and, though much work remains to be done, Goddard admitted to finding allies in unusual places, even among the police.
"Sometimes the police give us tips on how and where to hold meetings without seeking police approval, as is required by the law," he said.
Gewalt gegen Lesben und häusliche Gewalt in lesbischen Zusammenhängen- Auswertung der Erhebungsbögen der Lesbenberatungsstellen und Lesbentelefone (24.01.2006, 244kB pdf)
[ Gewalt gegen Lesben und häusliche Gewalt in lesbischen Zusammenhängen.pdf
7 July 2006
En los Balcanes es duro ser homosexual
La homosexualidad, tradicionalmente perseguida en Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Rumania, Serbia y Montenegro, sigue teniendo un duro día a día.
Las agresiones, descalificaciones e insultos a la comunidad homosexual son moneda común sin castigar en los Balcanes, pues la cuestión homosexual ha sido siempre un tabú, estigmatizándose a los escasos gays y lesbianas que osaban desafiar al discurso imperante, muy condicionado por una Iglesia Ortodoxa rígida y homófoba.
Albania y Macedonia: aburrimiento y machismo
En Albania, con mayoría de musulmanes, la única asociación gay existente fue prohibida y no se conocen bares gays o locales donde esta población pueda reunirse libremente. Durante la era comunista, los gays y las lesbianas eran considerados traidores, arrestados y aislados del resto de la sociedad. Ahora, pese a que existe una cierta tolerancia, esta tendencia no se puede exteriorizar socialmente. Ser gay en Albania se considera una vergüenza por la mayor parte de los albaneses.
En Macedonia, patria del gay más conocido de la historia de la humanidad -el emperador y conquistador Alejandro Magno-, la mayor parte de los gays añora las noches de Belgrado, por su dinamismo y a la existencia de algunos locales y bares de ambiente.
Bosnia: rural e incomprensiva
En Bosnia-Herzegovina, país donde conviven católicos, musulmanes y ortodoxos, la homosexualidad era hasta hace poco perseguida legalmente y tampoco se detectaba una gran vida gay, debido sobre todo a que los bosnios viven en pequeños pueblos y aldeas donde el control social de la población es total. "Lo peor en los Balcanes es ser homosexual", dice Kenan Dizdar, uno de los personajes de la película sobre la guerra de Bosnia Go West, y que suscitó un fuerte debate sobre este tema tabú. El odio a los homosexuales persistirá, según este actor, aunque serbios, musulmanes y croatas dejen de pelear, dice. Y añade: "Bajarán sus armas, pero seguirán odiando a los homosexuales”.
El filme Go West trajo polémica desde mucho antes de rodarse. La cinta cuenta cómo dos homosexuales -un musulmán y un serbio- huyen del asedio de Sarajevo al inicio de la guerra civil, tratando de mantener vivo su amor. Grupos conservadores y religiosos acusaron al director Ahmed Imamovic y al guionista Enver Puska de sacar provecho del sufrimiento de los musulmanes durante la guerra para sacar una película para un público occidental. “Identificáis la tragedia bosniaca y a los 250.000 muertos con la Historia de dos homosexuales", criticó el publicista musulmán Fatmir Alispahic el año pasado cuando la película aún estaba en las salas de cine. Una cinta que sólo pudo ser presentada fuera de concurso en el último festival de cine de Sarajevo, donde arreciaron críticas y ataques contra el director y su elenco de actores.
Rumania: criminalización y ultras
Tras las protestas revolucionarias contra el tirano Ceausescu, que provocaron la caída del régimen comunista, las cosas no cambiaron para los gays y decenas de ellos fueron detenidos, juzgados y condenados a penas muy largas y en peores condiciones que los presos comunes. Según algunos activistas de Derechos Humanos, la tortura era una práctica corriente. Para colmo, a finales de los noventa, Rumania endureció su Código Penal con penas aún más duras para los gays. Una reforma duramente criticada por el Parlamento europeo, que condenó “cualquier intento de criminalización de las relaciones sexuales entre personas adultas del mismo sexo”. Al final, y tras un rosario de detenciones e intimidaciones, se derogó la ley discriminatoria, a pesar de las protestas de las autoridades religiosas rumanas, que consideran a los homosexuales como “hijos del pecado”. Hoy en día, ya existen algunos locales y grupos gays, pero el principal partido extremista de Rumania, România Mare, “acusa” sistemáticamente a determinados políticos de prácticas homosexuales para desprestigiarlos.
Serbia: ¿los homosexuales son unos enfermos?
De asfixiante, insultante y ultrajante es como podemos definir la situación que padecen los gays serbios. La mayoría de los medios de comunicación es homófoba, los políticos desoyen las demandas de los gays y la sociedad les considera enfermos. El 54,3% de los 1.500 ciudadanos encuestados por el Instituto Factor Agency afirma que los homosexuales tendrían que "recibir tratamiento médico". Según el sondeo, el 14,5% de los serbios considera que la homosexualidad tendría que estar prohibida, mientras que el 10% pide que los homosexuales sean "aislados" de la sociedad. Aparte de este cuadro tan adverso, las agresiones a gays son moneda corriente en la sociedad serbia. En 2004, en una marcha del orgullo gay organizada en Belgrado, cientos de personas agredieron e hirieron ante una policía pasiva a decenas de homosexuales que, desafiando la intolerancia, quisieron expresar sus demandas. Ahora, el Movimiento Patriótico Obraz ataca a los gays y las lesbianas diariamente, considerándolos no ciudadanos por realizar prácticas que "ofenden a la nación serbia".
Homosexuelle werden auf dem Balkan diskriminiert
In Bosnien-Herzegowina, Albanien, Mazedonien, Rumänien und in Serbien-Montenegro ist es noch immer nicht selbstverständlich, offen homosexuell zu leben.
In allen Balkanländern ist es weit verbreitet, dass Aggressionen, Abwertungen und Beleidigungen gegen Homosexuelle nicht geahndet werden. Homosexualität war hier schon immer ein Tabuthema. Die wenigen Schwulen und Lesben, die es wagten, sich dem herrschenden homophoben Diskurs der strengen Orthodoxen Kirchen zu widersetzten, wurden stigmatisiert.
Bosnien: Kontroverser Film
Im multiethnischen Staat Bosnien-Herzegowina leben Katholiken, Moslems und Orthodoxe nebeneinander. Homosexualität wurde hier bis vor kurzen rechtlich verfolgt, eine richtige Szene konnte sich nicht entwickeln. Das liegt vor allem daran, dass die meisten Menschen in Bosnien auf dem Land leben, wo der sozialen Kontrolle keiner entkommen kann.
„Auf dem Balkan ist Schwulsein das Schlimmste“, sagt Kenan Dizdar, einer der Hauptdarsteller in „Go West“ einem Film über den Bosnienkrieg. Der Film handelt von zwei Schwulen, der eine Bosnier, der andere Serbe. Sie fliehen während der Belagerung Sarajewos aus dem Bürgerkrieg, um ihre Liebe zu retten. Der Hass auf die Homosexuellen wird bleiben, sagt Kenan an einer anderen Stelle – selbst wenn Serben, Moslems und Kroaten eines Tages aufhörten, sich zu streiten. „Sie werden die Waffen fallen lassen, aber Schwule weiterhin hassen“.
„Go West“ löste bereits vor dem Kinostart im letzten Jahr eine heftige Debatte über das Tabuthema aus. Konservative und religiöse Gruppen warfen dem Filmregisseur Ahmed Imamovic und dem Drehbuchautor Enver Puska vor, das Leid der Moslems während des Krieges zu benutzen, um das westliche Filmpublikum zu befriedigen. „Ihr setzt die bosnische Tragödie mit ihren 250 000 Toten mit der Geschichte von zwei Schwulen gleich“, schriebt der muslimischen Publizist Fatmir Alispahic, als der Film in den Kinos lief. Auf dem Filmfestival in Sarajewo konnte der Film nur außerhalb des Wettbewerbs gezeigt werden, wobei der Regisseur und die Schauspieler heftige Kritik ernteten.
Albanien und Mazedonien: Verhaftet und ausgegrenzt
Im muslimisch geprägten Albanien wurde die einzige Homosexuellen-Organisation verboten. Es gibt keine Bars oder Clubs, in denen sich die homosexuelle Szene offen treffen könnte. Zu kommunistischen Zeiten galten Schwule und Lesben als Verräter, wurden verhaftet und ausgegrenzt. Obwohl das Land inzwischen ein wenig toleranter geworden ist, kann man seine Homosexualität immer noch nicht offen ausleben.
Auch In Mazedonien müssen sich viele Homosexuelle damit begnügen, von den lebhaften Belgrader Nächten in den wenigen einschlägigen Bars und Lokalen zu träumen.
Rumänien: Umstrittene Gesetze
Die Revolution, die den rumänischen Tyrannen Ceausescu zu Fall brachte, hat an der Situation der Schwulen und Lesben in Rumänien fast nichts geändert. Hunderte wurden festgenommen und zu langen Haftstrafen verurteilt. Aktivisten aus der Menschenrechtsbewegung berichten sogar, dass Folter gängige Praxis sei.
Ende der Neunziger hat Rumänien sein Strafrecht reformiert, was eine härtere Bestrafung von Homosexuellen zur Folge hatte. Das Europäische Parlament äußerte damals heftige Kritik an dieser Reform und verurteilte „jegliche Kriminalisierung sexueller Beziehungen zwischen Gleichgeschlechtlichen“.
Das diskriminierende Gesetz wurde trotz unzähligen Protesten der rumänischen Kirchenoberen, die Homosexuelle als „Kinder der Sünde“ bezeichnen, außer Kraft gesetzt. Heute gibt es zwar einige schwule Bars und Organisationen, doch die größte extremistische Partei, Romania Mare („Großrumänien“) bezichtigt politische Gegner immer noch gerne homosexueller Praktiken, um sie zu diffamieren.
Serbien: Ist Homosexualität eine Krankheit?
Die Situation der Homosexuellen in Serbien ist äußerst schwierig. Fast alle Massenmedien sind homophob. Die Politiker ignorieren die Anliegen der Homosexuellen, die von der Gesellschaft als krank abgestempelt werden. Laut einer Umfrage des Instituts Factor Agency glauben über 54 Prozent der serbischen Bürger, dass Homosexuelle sich in „ärztliche Behandlung“ begeben müssten. 14,5 sind der Meinung, Homosexualität sollte verboten werden; jeder Zehnte fordert die „Isolierung“ der Homosexuellen in der Gesellschaft.
Anfeindungen gegen Homosexuelle sind in der serbischen Gesellschaft an der Tagesordnung. Im Jahr 2004 wurden Homosexuelle die während der Gay Parade in Belgrad gegen Intoleranz demonstrierten von Gegendemonstranten angegriffen und verletzt. Die Polizei schaute zu. Heute werden Schwule und Lesben fast täglich von der nationalisitischen Bewegung Obraz angegriffen. Homosexuelle Praktiken sind nach Meinung dieser Bewegung „eine Beleidigung der serbischen Nation“.
[ Bosnian Film Challenges Old Stereotypes About Gays 26-Nov-04
[ Macedonian Gays Come Out from Shadows 19 february 2004
[ Gay Kosovars Flirt With Danger 30 May 2003
[ Gay Rights Violated in Kazakstan 25-May-01
[ Sexual Minorities in the Balkans
[ Balkan States
02 July 2006
Whinger crims to lose on appeals
QUEENSLAND Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence plans to change the law to stop prisoners making "petty and frivolous" complaints to Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission.
The move was sparked partly by a complaint by a male-to-female transgender prisoner who lodged a discrimination complaint after being denied the right to buy feminine toiletries, hair-removal cream and an exfoliating brush.
"Prisoners have many options to lodge complaints, such as through the Ombudsman, the CMC, the Chief Inspector of Prisons, and the official visitors' scheme," Ms Spence said."They should not have the opportunity to waste taxpayers' money by clogging up the Anti-Discrimination Commission and Tribunal with frivolous and petty issues."A child sex offender recently was awarded $2000 compensation because he was not given fresh meat prepared in the Muslim way for most of his prison sentence.An angry Ms Spence directed her department to lodge an appeal against the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal decision.
"I have become increasingly fed up by some of the recent decisions by the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal and the commission in relation to prisoner entitlements," Ms Spence said."Prisoners are there for one reason - they committed a crime so serious that the courts sentenced them to time behind bars. A jail sentence means losing certain entitlements that law-abiding citizens take for granted."An important priority to me is that our prisons are tough but fair, as we are running jails, not motels."Ms Spence said an extensive review released this year by the Anti-Discrimination Commission into women in prison found not one case of discrimination in Queensland.
jamaica forum for lesbian all-sexuals and gays
Gays in Jamaica
Special des Jamaica Cleaner von 2001
1 July 2006
einer der 11 männer, die ihn kamerun wegen homosexualität verurteilt wurden, starb an aids.
er hatte seit seiner inhaftierung 2005 keine medikamente mehr erhalten und wurde am tag seiner haftentlassung, dem 12.juni, ins krankenhaus gebracht.
One of 11 men detained in Cameroon for being gay dies
Alim Mongoche ,one of the so-called Yaoundé 11 who were detained in a prison in the Cameroon capital for more than a year on sodomy charges, has died. The 30-year-old clothing designer passed away last week from AIDS-related complications.
Mongoche and 10 other men were arrested in 2005 at a nightclub for allegedly being gay, which is illegal under the Cameroonian penal code. On June 12, 2006, he and six other men were convicted and sentenced to 10 months in prison, but were released for time served.
Mongoche was taken straight to the hospital upon his release, after receiving no medical care for the duration of his imprisonment.
Gay and lesbian people 'are here in Africa'
"We are here in Africa. We live in the mainstream, we pay taxes like everybody else in the mainstream, we relate with people in the mainstream. We are a naturally occurring phenomenon in the universe," said activist Donna Smith of gay people in Africa.
The representative of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women -- a black lesbian organisation based in Johannesburg -- was speaking at the second Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights that took place in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, from June 19 to 21.
About 400 delegates gathered for the meeting that sought, in part, to improve policies and programmes on sexuality in Africa. The first such meeting was held in Johannesburg in 2004.
A session on gay sexuality proved one of the draw cards of the conference, with participants scrambling for space in the small room allocated to the proceedings. Many countries in Africa still outlaw homosexuality, including Kenya -- where it is punishable with jail terms of up to 14 years.
In addition to repressive legislation, gay people face stigmatisation and discrimination.
"I worked in an institution of higher learning. When my friends learnt that I was gay, they all of a sudden left, as if I was a contagious disease," David Kuria, a Kenyan delegate, said.
"I was forced to leave [my] employment because I was not comfortable with the way I was being treated," he added. Kuria discovered that he was gay while in high school, in the early 1990s.
At worst, the discrimination manifests itself in violence.
Fikile Vilakazi, of the Coalition of African Lesbians, cited the example of Zoliswa Nkonyana, a 19-year-old lesbian who was killed by a mob in Cape Town earlier this year because of her sexual orientation. (The coalition, headquartered in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, is a network of organisations supporting lesbian rights.)
Matters are aggravated, said Vilakazi, by the attitude of officials towards gay people: "A number of rape and assault cases have been reported to police stations. The police take long to deal with them. When one reports, the police in turn respond by asking why one is a lesbian."Discrimination against gays may discourage them from taking advantage of services that are critical for their health and well-being."The hostile and discriminatory attitudes from health-care staff have made many MSM -- men having sex with men -- reluctant to access services."
"This has put MSM at a higher risk of contracting HIV/Aids," noted Angus Parkinson, of Liverpool VCT and Care Kenya, a Nairobi-based group for HIV/Aids care and research. (VCT stands for "voluntary counselling and testing". Liverpool VCT and Care Kenya is associated with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in Britain.)"Many MSM have poor knowledge of HIV/STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and perceive that they are at low risk, using condoms infrequently with inappropriate lubricants."For Cary Alan Johnson, a senior coordinator at the New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the abolition of laws criminalising same-sex activities lies at the heart of addressing these ills.
"The gay community across the world is growing and we cannot continue to ignore its rights through the old colonial laws. If governments respect human rights, then the rights of gay persons and lesbians must be incorporated in the wider human rights framework," Johnson said.For the moment, however, homosexuality and lesbianism are still viewed by many as products of Western society, and alien to African culture.Followers of certain faiths also see gay rights as being at odds with their religious beliefs. This was demonstrated when African Anglican archbishops severed ties with the Episcopal Church in the United States over its 2004 decision to consecrate Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire -- an eastern US state.
But, says Smith, while a gay person may live a heterosexual life "for the purposes of the law, [they] cannot find peace and fulfilment in a heterosexual relationship".
She said that from the age of eight, she had fantasised about women, and knew she was different from other girls. "My first sexual experience was with a girl, and I straight away knew what my sexuality would evolve into."
The session on gay sexuality also saw the launch in Kenya of a book titled Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men and Ancestral Wives: Female Same-Sex Practices in Africa, an account of lesbian sexuality in East and Southern Africa.
This publication was co-authored by activists from six countries: South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Among other things, it documents how African lesbians find ways to express their sexuality, the opposition from their communities notwithstanding. -- Sapa-IPS
Tommy Boys, Lesbian Men, and Ancestral Wives
Female Same-Sex Practices in Africa
Ruth Morgan, PhD (Author), Saskia Wierenga (Author)
A vivid portrait of homosexual African women, this collection of essays examines and celebrates same-sex practices while acknowledging their taboo status in many African cultures. From Uganda to Namibia, governmental homophobia and female strength are among the thoroughly discussed issues.Ruth Morgan, PhD, is an anthropologist and the director of the Gay and Lesbian Archives in Johannesburg. Saskia Wieringa is an anthropologist who has studied female same-sex relations for over twenty years. She is the coeditor of Female Desires: Same-Sex Relations and Transgender Practices Across Cultures and the president of the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture, and Society.
[ buyit here
[ 2nd Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights
[ Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), established in January 2002, is a networking, empowerment and support organisation of and for black lesbians in and around Johannesburg, though we intend to go national in a few years.
[ The Gay And Lesbian Archives Of South Africa
Constitution Hill is the new home of the Constitutional Court, the protector of our basic rights and freedoms. Constitution Hill is also the site of Johannesburg’s notorious Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four, where thousands of ordinary people were brutally punished before the dawn of democracy in 1994. Many of South Africa’s leading political activists, including Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, were detained here.
Hawaii To Pay $625,000 To Mistreated Gay Teens In Prison System
(Honolulu, Hawaii) In the first case in the country to specifically address the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in juvenile facilities, the state of Hawaii will by pay $625,000 to end a federal lawsuit by the ACLU on behalf of three LGBT young people.
The agreement was announced Thursday by the ACLU.
In March a federal judge found that conditions at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility are dangerous, that harassment is pervasive, and that the facility is "in a state of chaos."
Judge Seabright said the case was "replete with documents and testimonial evidence demonstrating verbal harassment and abuse'' of inmates by prison officials.
The suit said that youth correctional officers routinely told a lesbian ward and her girlfriend that their relationship was "bad" and that they were going to hell and referred to the couple's relationship as "this butchie shit." Other guards routinely made lewd and humiliating remarks to the couple, including, "You two eating fish earlier? At least you're not finger-banging yourselves in the TV room."
Male wards in the facility allegedly surrounded a teen who was perceived to be gay in the shower, threatening him with rape, and once rubbed semen into his face in the bathroom. When the young man reported the incidents, HYCF did nothing the suit claims.
Last April, according to the lawsuit, the head administrator at HYCF called a special meeting of all the girls and staff at one of the units in the facility for the specific purpose of singling out a lesbian couple to belittle them about their relationship. The administrator told the couple that their relationship was "disgusting," then required the other wards to create a list of rules for the couple; the wards decided that the girls shouldn't be allowed to even speak to each other under threat of disciplinary measures, including lockdown.
In another instance cited in the suit, a male-to-female transgender student was repeatedly verbally abused and preached to by guards who called her "wrong" and "unnatural" and threatened to cut off her hair. After she was transferred to the boys' unit, she was physically assaulted and groped, often in front of guards who did nothing. Rather than attempting to ensure her safety, HYCF segregated her for almost two months, and did not allow her to interact at all with other wards.
"What has happened here in Hawaii should put juvenile systems nationwide on notice," said Tamara Lange, a staff attorney with the ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project.
"If other states don't take decisive action to stop anti-gay and anti-transgender abuse and harassment, then they can expect to have to answer for it in court as well."
In addition to the $625,000 settlement the state also agreed to pay court costs in the case and to cover the costs of a court-appointed consultant to train staff, help craft new prison policies, and create a functioning grievance system for wards who need to report abuse.
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people are often abused in their schools, abandoned by their families, and end up on the streets, so it's no surprise that many of these youth enter the juvenile justice system," said Lois Perrin, Legal Director of the ACLU of Hawaii.
"Young people who end up in state care should be rehabilitated, fostered, and nurtured, whether they're gay or straight - not singled out for cruelty and mistreatment because of who they are."
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