May 4, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 18
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Friday, May 29, 2020



Rex Wockner
International News
Former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the nation's founding leader, suggested April 23 that if people are born Gay, then Gay sex should not be illegal.

"If in fact it is true -- and I have asked doctors this -- that you are genetically born a homosexual, because that's the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes, you can't help it -- so why should we criminalize it?" Lee told a meeting of the ruling party's youth wing, according to the Straits Times newspaper.

"Let's not go around like this moral police ... barging into people's rooms. That's not our business," he said.

"Gross indecency" between men is punishable with up to two years in prison in Singapore, though the ban doesn't seem to be enforced.

Lee, who was prime minister from 1959 to 1990, is presently a special cabinet minister in the government of his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Several British newspapers outed former Prime Minister Ted Heath April 24, reporting allegations that police warned him in the 1950s to stop cruising for Gay sex in public toilets if he wanted to continue in politics.

Heath, who died in 2005, was undergoing background checks for the post of privy councilor at the time.

The reports quoted an article published in the New Statesman magazine in which Brian Coleman, a senior Tory member of the London Assembly, said it was "common knowledge" that "Heath managed to obtain the highest office of state after he was supposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the Fifties when he became a Privy Councillor."

"Cottaging" is a British expression that means looking for Gay sex in public toilets, which are called cottages. The term also is sometimes used to refer to park cruising.

The day after the New Statesman article appeared, Coleman reiterated to The Times, "It was certainly not a secret that he [Heath] was an old queen."

Heath was prime minister from 1970 to 1974. He was a bachelor and never publicly discussed his sexuality.

Several politicians responded to the New Statesman article by saying they had always believed Heath was heterosexual, asexual or celibate.

A privy council in monarchies is similar to a nonmonarchy's cabinet. The United Kingdom has both, with its cabinet being the most powerful committee of its Privy Council.

Rosie O'Donnell has told Bermuda to clean up its Gay act.

The island has been axed as a stop for her next GLBT R Family Vacations cruise because last time one of her cruises stopped there, about 100 Christians greeted the vacationers with an unpleasant protest.

Some of the same folks were threatening to demonstrate again this year.

"There is a minority of vocal churches who do not welcome us," R Family said on its Web site. "We feel that our cruise would be more enjoyable with an alternate itinerary to ports where we know we are welcome by everyone."

An analysis of data from the 24-nation Human Beliefs and Values survey has found that between 6 percent and 36 percent of people in Western nations don't want Gays living next door.

"It's everybody except Scandinavians," said John Mangan, an economics professor at Australia's University of Queensland who has been studying the data. "The most prevalent form of bigotry is homophobia," he told the Australian Associated Press.

About 36 percent of Northern Irelanders don't want to live next to homosexuals. Neither do 29 percent of Italians, 28 percent of Irish, 27 percent of Austrians and Greeks, 26 percent of Portuguese and 25 percent of Australians.

Swedes are happiest with Gay neighbors. Only 6 percent have a problem with them.

The data also shows that liberals, wealthier people, people with jobs and people with more education are more Gay-friendly, Mangan said. His research appears in the economics journal Kyklos.

In related news, the percentage of Czechs who wouldn't want to live next door to a Gay person decreased from 42 percent to 29 percent between 2003 and 2007, a new Public Opinion Research Center poll has found. Researchers questioned 1,046 residents over age 15.

The co-founder and chairman of the popular Gaydar Web site was high on ketamine (Special K) when he flung himself from the balcony of his eighth-floor penthouse in London on Feb. 10, an inquest has found.

Gary Frisch, 38, reportedly shouted "wahey!" before jumping to his death.

"I saw him standing on the balcony with his hands on the rail. He somersaulted over the top," houseguest Darren Morris told the coroner's court, local media reported.

Frisch was under treatment for depression and had been on a weeks-long drug binge, the inquest heard. Ketamine can cause hallucinations and confusion.

Jerusalem police say a pipe bomb detonated near a construction site April 20 was meant as a warning to Gays planning this year's pride march. Anti-Gay flyers were strewn around the bomb site.

A tractor operator was slightly injured in the blast.

"This attack was a direct response to our request for a permit from the police for our June 21 march," Noa Sattah, head of the city's Gay center, Jerusalem Open House, told Gay City News.

Last year, two bombs were found with anti-Gay flyers beside them. Neither exploded.

Israel's Haifa Labor Court has told the Mivtahim Pension Funds to give a Lesbian whose partner died a full widow's pension rather than the half-pension the company gives to widowers, the Ha'aretz newspaper reported April 22.

Attorney Dori Spivak of the Human Rights Program at Tel Aviv University successfully argued that surviving partners should be classified according to their gender, not the gender of the deceased.

Mivtahim is presently appealing another case in which the National Labor Court ruled there should be no differences between widow and widower pensions.

THAI GAYS SEEK CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION Thai Gays have begun campaigning for GLBT protections in the new constitution being drafted in the wake of last September's military coup d'├ętat.

"[W]e hope the guarantee of rights for the third sex in the constitution will pave the way for amendments in other laws to give Gays equal rights," Natee Teerarojjanapongs of the Thai Political Gay Group told Reuters.

He said that despite Thailand's relatively Gay-friendly reputation there is still "clear prejudice."

The Royal Thai Army ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Sept. 19, 2006. Following the bloodless coup, the military called off an election, dissolved Parliament, suspended the constitution, detained cabinet members, prohibited political activity, stifled the media and instituted martial law.

Coup leaders promised that a new democratic government would be in place within a year. An interim charter was drafted, and retired Gen. Surayud Chulanont was installed as interim prime minister.

Canada's first commercial Gay radio station, Proud FM, is now on the air in Toronto on 103.9 FM.

It broadcasts current hits, classic Gay anthems, dance and classical music, and "unique and inclusive" talk shows.

The station says its low-power 50-watt signal reaches most of the city, and it hopes to have about 455,000 listeners per week.
above Riga Anti Gay Protesters

Quote / Unquote

"I had never hidden anything, and nobody asked me any questions. My only outing came eight or 10 years ago when I was an old man. [My former boyfriend, West Side Story and Gypsy writer] Arthur Laurents gave an interview in which he outed me publicly."
--81-year-old actor Farley Granger, who starred in the Alfred Hitchcock movies Rope and Strangers on a Train, to the Associated Press, April 12. Granger and his partner, Robert Calhoun, have been together since the '60s, AP said.

"I sort of sensed this witch hunt brewing. ... People were starting to ask for stories of other people that may have fooled around with me, and the last thing you want to do is talk about your private life based on scandal. ... I didn't want to have to respond to some story, whether it was lie or truth -- so I just made a statement [coming out] and sort of squashed the fires. ... [T]he greatest ending to the story so far [is] that nothing really has changed at all. I'm doing nothing different and people aren't behaving differently towards me."
--Actor Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D., and How I Met Your Mother) during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres' TV show, April 19.

"Because so many men who sleep with men continue to have unsafe sex, and so many more are unaware of their HIV status because they don't get tested for HIV, would you want a blood transfusion from me? ... [D]espite all of the advances in HIV testing, no test is perfect. ... A ban on Gay blood will continue to save lives."
--Syndicated Canadian Gay columnist Richard Burnett in his column filed April 13.

"America is watching Don Imus's self-immolation in a state of shock and awe. And I'm watching America with wry amusement. Since I'm a second-class citizen -- a Gay man -- my seats for the ballgame of American discourse are way back in the bleachers. I don't have to wait long for a shock jock or stand-up comedian to slip up with hateful epithets aimed at me and mine. Hate speak against homosexuals is as commonplace as spam. It's daily traffic for those who profess themselves to be regular Joes, men of God, public servants who live off my tax dollars, as well as any number of celebrities."
--Playwright and actor Harvey Fierstein writing in The New York Times, April 13.

"Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a Gay or Lesbian person who's politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don't care about minimum wage, they don't care about any other group other than their own self because, you know, some people say that being Gay and Lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder. I've never heard any of them say anything except for, 'Accept me 'cause I'm Gay.' It's just, it's screwed. It's no different than the evangelicals, it's the same mindset. They want you to accept Jesus and you guys want us to all believe it's OK to be Gay. And ... I do, I don't give a damn who anybody has sex with, as long as they're not underage and an animal. I don't give a damn, it's none of my damn business. But, you know, I'm just sick of all the divisiveness, it's not getting any of us anywhere."
--Roseanne Barr on the Southern California radio station KCAA, where she is a regular co-host, April 6.

"My Bad. I deeply regret that I have offended Gay people. I said things that I do not really mean, before I had thought them through. I was wrong and I seriously apologize! Call me up today and let me have it! I will apologize and try to make clear what I really meant to say, which was that everybody needs to unite right now, and step outside of their own neighborhoods, groups, races and classes to stop Bush's war on our country and our people. I love Gays and I hate division. I am just a big idiot with a big mouth sometimes. I will learn to be more careful! ... What I meant to say [is] the leaders of Gay groups need to align with the leaders of Acorn, and other groups of poor and desperate Americans and fight against those who oppress all of us! I have met too many Gays who are Republicans, and I cannot understand how they could choose that! Let's all leave our own bedrooms, kitchens, neighborhoods and groups and meet each other to form a diverse army that stands for Democracy and Economic Justice!!!!"
--Roseanne Barr on her blog, April 10.

"Ann Coulter is a horrible witch -- you know that some queen is bleaching and straightening that hair. And who designs her little black dresses and shoes? Trust me, it's Gay men! I would love to see Ann Coulter in a Gay-free zone -- she would have coarse mousy brown hair, poorly applied drugstore makeup and walk around in a hideous floral housecoat and comfortable flats. You can't have it both ways, Ann."
--Drag performer Jackie Beat, currently opening for Roseanne in Las Vegas, to QVegas magazine, April issue.

"I happen to think Hillary Clinton will make a fabulous president. She doesn't always say what we want to hear, but, politically, she knows how to work the system. I think she will go in there and turn things around and do what's right for us."
--Lesbian comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, March 30.

"I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about her, but it's pretty obvious there's a lot of stuff going on there that isn't real -- it's disingenuous. She sets herself up to be this mother of the world and I don't totally buy it."
--Lesbian comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard on Oprah Winfrey, to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, March 30.

"Don't tell me you don't want to talk about personal life when you wrote a book about your father's death and your brother's death. You can't move this big mass of personal stuff out for public display, then people ask questions and you say, 'Oh, no, I didn't say there was going to be any questions.' ... Don't tell me you can't talk about your personal life and then, when they send you overseas and you do a report that consists of your voice-over and pictures of you in a custom-made, blue-to-match-your-eyes bulletproof vest, looking somberly at these scenes of human devastation -- like a tourist -- and that's your report. Your shtick is your personal life."
--MSNBC host Keith Olbermann on CNN's Anderson Cooper, to New York magazine, April 16.

"Just what is it about being Gay that makes cowards of otherwise fearless men and women? This magazine does not support gratuitous outing, but does Anderson Cooper really believe that his calculated discretion about this one subject in his private life protects his journalistic neutrality? Or does he just not want to torpedo his chance of getting another cover of Maxim? It's not that we don't sympathize -- it's legitimate to fear being pigeon-holed by your sexuality, but power is only partly about how others see us; it's also about how we see ourselves. If we've learned anything from the last few decades, it's that playing with the straight boys and girls is one thing, playing at being them entirely another. It ties you into all sorts of knots. And not the fun kind."
--Out magazine Editor in Chief Aaron Hicklin writing in the May issue.

"If journalism is about digging for and reporting the truth, then there is absolutely nothing wrong, indeed there is everything right, about asking and reporting on who is Gay, particularly if they are in the public eye or making government policy. To do otherwise is to buy into the still prevalent idea that being Gay is something best kept in the shadows."
--Fred Kuhr, editor at large of the Boston Gay newspaper In Newsweekly, in an April 18 editorial.

"For many Saudis, the fact that a man has sex with another man has little to do with 'Gayness.' The act may fulfill a desire or a need, but it doesn't constitute an identity. Nor does it strip a man of his masculinity, as long as he is in the 'top,' or active, role. This attitude gives Saudi men who engage in homosexual behavior a degree of freedom. But as a more Westernized notion of Gayness -- a notion that stresses orientation over acts -- takes hold in the country, will this delicate balance survive?"
--From an article in the May issue of The Atlantic Monthly, "The Kingdom in the Closet."

"Gay men, as a brand, are starting to seem a little tired. Nowadays when young Canadians discover their homosexual feelings they have much less to fear -- loss of work, assault, taunts, rejection by family and friends, loneliness, childlessness. That's great, but gives them much less reason to band themselves together under the banner of opera lovers, Pet Shop Boys fans or the like. Meanwhile, men who would have years ago considered themselves as Gay are now dividing themselves into subgroups, describing themselves as bears, SM players, artfags or, worse, merely married."
--Paul Gallant, in his final editorial as managing editor and news editor of the Toronto Gay newspaper Xtra!, April 12.

"GLAAD's sole purpose these days seems to be to help Hollywood and media figures get through their various homophobic p.r. meltdowns while cooing with praise at the slightest bit of good they do. That is no more evident than in the GLAAD Media Awards -- star-studded, lavish events that now take place in four cities. ... The GLAAD Media Awards need to be halted, or at the very least, radically pared down, immediately, while the Gay movement still has some integrity left. A group that began in the 80s as a fiery organization committed to direct action against media bias has turned into a high-priced masseuse for Hollywood and media titans alike, offering full ejaculatory release. ... What we really need to do is get GLAAD out of the hand-job business entirely."
--Gay columnist and radio host Michelangelo Signorile in an April 12 filing.

"The truth doesn't get to us [in the U.S.] The media exists to invent narratives and to disguise unpleasantries. And our educational system for the general public is the worst of any First World nation. We try to develop docile workers and loyal consumers. We have no interest in education of any kind -- in fact it's dangerous to tell people what history really is. I've been spending 40 years telling the story of my country for my own amusement. It was hard work, but it wasn't being done by the high school textbooks -- I've read enough of those to know."
--Gay author Gore Vidal in an interview in the summer 2007 issue of the Gay travel magazine The Out Traveler.
photo above: Rosie O'Donnell

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