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February 16, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 07
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
PUTIN RESPECTS GAYS BUT WORRIES ABOUT BIRTHRATE
Prodded by a reporter, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first public remarks about Gays Feb. 1.

Responding to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's recent denunciation of Gay-pride parades as "satanic," Putin said: "I respect -- and will respect -- freedom of people in all their manifestations. [But I will not be drawn into] statements made by leaders of the regions.

"My attitude to sexual minorities is simple," he added. "It is connected with my fulfilling of my official obligations. One of the main problems of the country is demographic."

Putin was referring to the loss of population caused by Russia's declining birthrate.

Moscow Gay pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev called Putin's remarks "a great breakthrough ... the first serious reward for all our efforts to give input into the development of [a] free and democratic Russia, [although] we were expecting slightly more from him."

"But we did the main thing," Alekseev said. "Because of the mere idea of Gay pride, [the] Russian president started to talk about sexual minorities."

Alekseev balked at the notion that homosexuality is to blame for Russia's low birthrate.

"It is hardly possible to imagine ... five or seven percent of the population of a huge country to be responsible for the decrease of birthrates," he said. "The problem of demography lies, first of all, in the economic area, and it should be solved [by] enhancing of health protection level, education and elementary increase of the quality of lives of people."

On Jan. 29, Mayor Luzhkov had told reporters: "Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the Gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as satanic. We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future. ... Some European nations bless single-sex marriages and introduce sexual guides in schools. Such things are a deadly moral poison for children."

Last year's pride ban, supported by the courts, led organizers to replace the planned parade with attempts to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and hold a rally across from City Hall. Participants in both small events were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police. Organizers again have vowed to march this year, on May 27.

Luzhkov's comments came on the day pride organizers filed suit in the European Court of Human Rights over last year's ban. They seek the right to march and $26,000 in compensation.

"Not a single European legal expert we have spoken with doubts in the success of our application to the court," Alekseev said.

ONTARIO SPERM BANKS CAN BAN GAY EJACULATE
The Ontario Court of Appeal in Canada ruled Jan. 29 that regulations requiring sperm banks to reject donations from men who had sex with a man since 1977 do not violate the nation's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The case was filed by a Toronto Lesbian who wanted to use a Gay friend's sperm, had been unable to get pregnant via self-insemination, and sought a clinic's help.

The court called the ban a "rational and health-based" approach to minimizing the possibility of HIV and hepatitis transmission.

There is a process under which men who have sex with men can donate sperm. They must submit a special request to the minister of health, have their ejaculate tested for diseases, have it quarantined for six months, then have it tested again.

But the unnamed Lesbian plaintiff called that process unfair to Lesbians who personally know their Gay-male donors.

JERUSALEM REGISTERS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Two Jerusalem men who got married in Canada were officially registered as married in Israel's Population Registry Jan. 29.

Binyamin and Avi Rose were allowed to record their marriage following last November's ruling by the Israeli High Court of Justice that same-sex couples who marry in a place where it is allowed -- Belgium, Canada, Massachusetts, the Netherlands, South Africa or Spain -- are considered married in Israel.

The case was brought by five Israeli same-sex couples who married in Canada.

"The protests last year over the Gay pride parade in Jerusalem really spooked us, and many of our friends here chose to leave the city," Avi Rose told the Jerusalem Post. "But we are very committed to building our lives in Jerusalem and the Interior Ministry provided us with a very positive experience today."

FEDS AGAIN SQUASH AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY CIVIL-UNION BILL
Australia's federal government has again shot down an effort by the Australian Capital Territory to legalize same-sex civil unions.

Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly had reformulated their bill, thinking they addressed the federal government's objections to the first version, but Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the revised measure still violates the Marriage Act, which says marriage is between a man and a woman.

Ruddock again vowed he would instruct the queen's representative, Governor-General Michael Jeffery, to override the law if it were passed. The governor-general possesses such power only in regard to laws passed by the Capital Territory, which is politically similar to Washington, D.C.

The ACT government will set the bill aside for now, with plans to move it forward if Prime Minister John Howard's conservative Liberal Party is ousted in the next federal election later this year.

But ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell is fuming over the delay. He accused the federal government and Ruddock of "arrogance and high-handedness ... by press release."

AFRICAN GAY PAPER CELEBRATES 200TH ISSUE
The South African Gay newspaper Exit held a party at Johannesburg's chic Oh Bar on Feb. 2 to celebrate its 200th issue.

Publisher and Editor Gavin Hayward told the South African Press Association, "Exit will never make me a millionaire, but I earn a living out of it."

The monthly, free publication is 12 years old.

TRANSSEXUAL MP QUITS
The world's first openly transsexual member of a national parliament, New Zealand's Georgina Beyer, is quitting this month.

She has served for seven years and always intended to leave office by the time she turns 50, which will be in November.

Beyer said her departure also will assist the Labour Party's "rejuvenation" process.

After leaving office, Beyer will appear onstage in the Dunedin Fortune Theatre's production of "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks."

She also is considering running for mayor of Wellington in the next election. .
Quote / Unquote
"Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the Gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as satanic. We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future. ... Some European nations bless single-sex marriages and introduce sexual guides in schools. Such things are a deadly moral poison for children."
--Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Jan. 29. Because of last year's ban, the city's first Gay-pride march was downsized to an attempt to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, then walk a few blocks for a rally across from City Hall. The participants were violently attacked by neofascists, skinheads, Christians and riot police.

"I respect -- and will respect -- freedom of people in all their manifestations [but I will not be drawn into] statements made by leaders of the regions. My attitude to sexual minorities is simple. It is connected with my fulfilling of my official obligations. One of the main problems of the country is demographic."
--Russian President Vladimir Putin when asked Feb. 1 if he agrees with Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov that Gay pride parades are "satanic." Putin's use of "demographic" refers to Russia's population loss due to a declining birthrate.

"When Heather and I decided to have a baby, I knew it wasn't going to be the most popular decision. This is a baby. This is a blessing from God. It is not a political statement. It is not a prop to be used in a debate, on either side of a political issue. It is my child. ... Every piece of remotely responsible research that has been done in the last 20 years has shown there is no difference between children raised by same-sex parents and children raised by opposite-sex parents; what matters is being raised in a stable, loving environment."
--Mary Cheney, daughter of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking Jan. 31 at Barnard College in Manhattan, according to The New York Times.

"I don't have children, don't plan to have children, and don't particularly want children. If I were to adopt children, my main criterion would be that they be old enough to operate the vacuum and do some light dusting."
--Columnist John Corvino writing in the Michigan Gay newspaper Between The Lines, Jan. 25.

"For some reason, the military seems more afraid of Gay people than they are [of] terrorists, but they're very brave with the terrorists. ... If the terrorists ever got a hold of this information, they'd get a platoon of Lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad."
--U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Feb. 7.

"It was a big nightmare. My family didn't even know. It was terrifying."
--Actor Chad Allen, who starred on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, on being outed by The Globe in 1996, to USA Today, Jan. 30.

"I personally feel like it is the responsibility of every Gay man and woman to come out at some point in their life. When you stay in the closet, you perpetuate a culture of shame. It's about personal courage and integrity."
--Openly Gay Brothers & Sisters Executive Producer Jon Robin Baitz to USA Today, Jan. 30.

"I decided when I was younger that I was never going to come out. I was planning to get married and have kids, be closeted about it and force myself to be something I knew I wasn't. ... I was always the jock. I always got the girls. I was always put in that real 'masculine' limelight. But don't get me wrong -- I do have my feminine moments. You can tell I'm Gay. My friends say I'm getting Gayer and Gayer by the minute!"
--J.P. Calderon, who was on last season's Survivor, to Instinct magazine, February issue.

"If I put myself in the most extreme way of coming out [such as in a magazine], then it forces me to have to deal, because no matter where I go now, everyone is going to know -- or not know if they don't care -- but at least now nobody's going to be questioning [my sexuality]. And I think that's why I did it. It forces me to start living my life."
--J.P. Calderon, who was on last season's Survivor, to Instinct magazine, February issue.

"We're all very caught up in measuring and comparing and creating authority figures and it's all bullshit. You have to be a light for yourself and young Gay people should not look to me as a role model. I'm as fucked up and twisted and freaked as they are."
--Actor Rupert Everett to the Chicago Gay newspaper Windy City Times, Jan. 24.

"Marriage, to me, is a waste of time whether you're Gay or straight. [Y]ou can't put down on paper something that's not quantified on paper. The last thing I want to do as a Gay man is clone straight society."
--Actor Rupert Everett to the Chicago Gay newspaper Windy City Times, Jan. 24.

"I sometimes go out. I travel a lot, so if I pass by one of my favorite places and it's a weekend, I might go out, but the term 'party boy' in the American sense? No, I can't stand it. It's middle-class, it's racist and everything I don't like. The circuit is kind of terrifying to me."
--Gay actor Rupert Everett to the Chicago Gay newspaper Windy City Times, Jan. 24.

"I'm not into Abercrombie & Fitch or cherry deodorant and cinnamon-flavored lips. I like the smell of sweat. I don't like fashion on men particularly."
--Gay actor Rupert Everett to the Chicago Gay newspaper Windy City Times, Jan. 24.

"Over the 12 years we've been together -- we just celebrated our 12th anniversary -- our sex life has evolved. We've done things, and very occasionally people, that we sure didn't think we'd be doing when we first started going out. We never say no to each other either. Sometimes we say 'not now, later.' But never 'no.' If he wants to try something, we do it. If I want to try something, we do it."
--Syndicated sex-advice columnist Dan Savage on his relationship with his partner Terry, to the Chicago Gay magazine Nightspots, Feb. 7.

"Gay people sometimes have odder fetishes. Being Gay can create all sorts of interesting pressures, which can result in interesting fetishes. Also, being Gay is just more complicated. But straight people tend to have more angst about their fetishes. The Gay readers are, obviously, less hung up on being 'normal' than straight readers."
--Syndicated sex-advice columnist Dan Savage to the Chicago Gay magazine Nightspots, Feb. 7.

"The idea of invading a country for no good reason, triggering a civil war, killing and dislocating tens of thousands of civilians, destroying the infrastructure of a nation, creating a safe haven for criminals and terrorists, and then walking out and leaving behind total chaos that will destabilize the region for decades, is not my notion of responsible foreign policy. If there was any evidence that massive escalation would secure Iraq and that Iraqi leaders had the will and power to build on that security, it would be worth a shot on behalf of the world and future generations. However, there is no such evidence."
--Syndicated Gay-press writer Ann Rostow in the San Francisco Bay Times, Jan. 25.

"I've been called a bitch -- and a lot worse -- for years. And you know what, so what? People who think that aren't going to change their minds. And I wouldn't dream of sending them to therapy to 'rehabilitate' their feelings. How absurd. Please, I call all my Gay friends 'big fags.'"
--Actress Sharon Stone on the Isaiah Washington brouhaha, to the New York Post, Jan. 30.

"The people who want to ban words are all too easily tempted to want to ban books and films that contain those words no matter the widely varying contexts -- affirmative, playful, ironic, historical -- in which those words are used. ... Is it even possible to ban 'faggot'? After all, thirty years ago writer Larry Kramer published a rather lame satire he titled 'Faggots.' How would we deal with that? And if we want to ban 'faggot' what about other abusive terms Gays have been called: fairy, pansy, fruit, homo, queer? Are we to ban those words as well? Is that a path we want to start down? Many of us have been called these words and most of us resent their use, but is that a justification for wholesale 'linguistic cleansing'?"
--Syndicated Gay-press columnist Paul Varnell commenting on the Isaiah Washington brouhaha in a Jan. 28 filing.

"A number of scholars are exploring the increasingly visible subculture of 'ursine' Gay guys and their admirers. What fascinates these scholars is that self-identified bears have created a kind of counterculture, with its own language, values and rituals."
--Hunter College English professor Richard Kaye writing in the Los Angeles Times, Feb. 4.

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