August 25, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 34
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Saturday, May 30, 2020



Rex Wockner
International News

Argentina will delete a law that makes it a crime for members of the military to engage in Gay sex.

In late August, the national government will submit to Congress its plan to abolish the entire Military Justice Code and create a new military justice system. Among scores of changes, the new laws will not prohibit Gay relationships.

"[The ban] was nonsense," said Colonel Judge Advocate Manuel Lozano, a member of the legal commission designing the new system. "It's a matter of people's private lives."


Some 24,000 delegates from 170 nations attended the 16th International AIDS Conference Aug. 13-18 in Toronto.

In an opening-session address, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, called for increased focus on women, accelerated research on microbicides, and stepped-up global prevention and treatment efforts. Other celebrity attendees included Bill Clinton and Richard Gere.

"These are the things that I think we have to do as we leave here," Clinton said. "Money. Money spent more effectively. Prevention. More testing - not compulsory but voluntary and empowering. Lifting the status of women. Continuing the search for medical answers through microbicides and vaccines. Reaching the hard-to-reach population. Developing the infrastructure. And getting treatment out to every single soul who needs it."

More than 4,500 scientific abstracts were presented. Key areas of focus included vaccines, new types of treatment, pre-exposure prophylaxis (giving HIV drugs to HIV-negative individuals at high risk for infection) and the connection between HIV and tuberculosis. Much attention was paid to the vast disparities in prevention and treatment across the planet.

"There are still far too many instances where punitive laws, stigma, gender inequities and lack of access to needed prevention and care services conspire to fuel the HIV pandemic," said conference Co-Chair Dr. Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill University AIDS Centre.

Dr. Julie Overbaugh of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle highlighted accumulating evidence that HIV-positive individuals who engage in unprotected sex risk becoming reinfected with a different strain of the virus that could be more aggressive or drug-resistant.

At the same time, Dr. Julio Montaner of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS cited emerging evidence that HIV-positive people whose viral load is undetectable due to successful antiretroviral therapy are "very unlikely" to transmit the virus during unprotected sex.

Other scientists quickly responded that such transmission does happen nonetheless.

On Aug. 17, members of South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign physically attacked the South African government's exhibit booth, which suggested garlic, olive oil, lemon and beets are HIV treatments. They chanted, "Fire Manto now."

South African Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been under sustained fire from activists for several years for promoting unorthodox HIV "treatments," suggesting that standard HIV drugs are poisonous, and questioning whether HIV is the cause of AIDS.

About one-seventh of South Africa's 47 million citizens are believed to be HIV-positive.


An Irish Lesbian couple married in Canada want their marriage recognized in Ireland for income-tax reasons, among others.

The case is expected to be heard by the High Court in October.

Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan argue that the government's refusal to honor their marriage violates their right to marry and the right for their family life to be respected, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

They also say they're being discriminated against based on their gender and/or sexual orientation.

The couple were married in Vancouver in 2003. Canada is one of five nations where same-sex couples have access to traditional marriage.


Stockholm's annual pride parade attracted a record 35,000 marchers, 71 floats and 350,000 spectators Aug. 5, police said.

It was led by women and men on motorcycles sporting rainbow flags and feather boas.

The two-kilometer march went from Östermalm to Tantolunden park. Near the park, in what police called a hate crime, three skinheads attacked a Lesbian and two Gay men, one of whom was taken to a hospital.

Stockholm will host EuroPride in 2008.

In Reykjavík, Iceland, some 50,000 people took part in the pride parade and festival Aug. 11-12. That is one-sixth of the nation's population.

Iceland Review Online said the festivities have "become one of the major festivals of the summer."


Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic is not interested in same-sex registered-partnership legislation because "there are many more other problems which should be addressed first," the News Agency of the Slovak Republic reported Aug. 14.

Gasparovic's remarks came during a meeting with Dusan Caplovic, deputy prime minister for human rights and minorities, who revealed plans to prepare such legislation so that Gays are not "forced to the margins of society."

The neighboring Czech Republic, which was united with Slovakia as Czechoslovakia in the communist era, has a partnership law for Gay couples.
"Tennis is eating too much of my personal life. That's not what I had in mind when I came back. So no more. I just wanna be home with my honey."

-Martina Navratilova to syndicated Canadian Gay columnist Richard Burnett, July 27.

"I was lonely [being out-of-the-closet] during the early years. The tough part was how the media sensationalized everything I did. When I split up with Judy Nelson 15 years ago the headline in my local newspaper was 'Lesbian love nest.' This was a long relationship, not illicit sex. That upset me. That's why I'm private about my [current] relationship of six years. I don't want to trivialize my feelings or my life."

-Martina Navratilova to syndicated Canadian Gay columnist Richard Burnett, July 27.

"I enjoyed working on that series [Queer As Folk] because of the importance of it. It addressed a civil rights issue. That's something that shouldn't be taken lightly. ... My parents are fairly open-minded and they realized the show's importance, too. But my mom didn't like me kissing boys any more than I did."

-Actor Hal Sparks to North Carolina's The News & Observer, July 28.

"The biggest threat to children today is not sex. ... It's witless, sexually confused adults. It's trembling bipeds who never have sex and who never drink and who never do drugs and who never have sex while drunk and on drugs while hanging from the ceiling, laughing. They are the true danger to us all. It even says so in the Bible: 'Beware, ye who eat food from cans. Beware the whiny and the self-righteous and the humorless hand-wringers, for they shall poop upon the earth.' I think it's in Leviticus." -San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, July 28.

"Honey, Gays are the ones who make you and stay with you. ... How stupid can hearts be when people discriminate, period. It's just an awful thing."

-Singer Patti LaBelle to the Gay newspaper Dallas Voice, July 27.

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