June 8, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 23
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Thursday, Aug 06, 2020



Religious Coalition for Equality seeks Executive Director
Rex Wockner
International News
Transsexual becomes mayor of Cambridge
The new mayor of Cambridge, England, is a male-to-female Transsexual, and so is her partner.

Liberal Democrat Jenny Bailey, 45, was appointed by fellow City Council members May 24. Her partner, Jennifer Liddle, 49, became mayoress.

"People can take me as a role model if they want," Bailey told The Times. "But for Transgender people, all we want is to disappear and become normal, so I don't want to let it define me.

"When you go through Transgender experience and come through the other side, you are just happy to get on with normal life, normal problems, so this is a wonderful opportunity."

"I'm proud that I managed to get through something which was quite difficult and managed to come out of it a better person," Bailey said in another interview, with the Telegraph.

"I certainly do not want it to eclipse being mayor. ... So many more things define me than being Transgender - a medical condition I had 15 years ago and which I have now recovered from."

Bailey has two children, ages 18 and 20, from when she was married as a man. Both she and her partner had sex-change surgery in their 30s.

The Telegraph said the couple chose to go public about their transsexuality after a local reporter expressed interest in writing about it.

Bailey's ex-wife and close friend, who did not want to be named, told the Telegraph: "I am incredibly proud of Jenny and the achievements she has made over the last few years. She is a totally selfless person who wants to help others and make a positive impact on our community."

Lesbian runs for Japanese parliament
Japan's largest opposition party has selected Lesbian Kanako Otsuji as a proportional-representation candidate for the National Diet's House of Councilors, the upper house of parliament.

The percentage of votes cast for the Democratic Party overall and Otsuji's spot on the party's list of proportional-representation candidates will determine if she wins election July 22.

If she does, she will become Japan's first-ever openly Gay MP.

Until April, Otsuji was an independent member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly, to which she was elected at age 28. While in office, she worked successfully to open Osaka public housing to same-sex couples.

Otsuji came out publicly at Tokyo's 2005 Gay pride parade.

"Homosexual people have often kept silent for fear of discrimination and prejudice," she said at the time. "By declaring I'm homosexual, I would like to highlight the problems and put an end to a vicious circle of discrimination and prejudice."

She later published an autobiography called "Coming Out: A Journey for Finding Your True Self."

Osaka prefecture has a population of 8.84 million, which makes it the second largest after Tokyo prefecture.

New Delhi Gays stage 10-day festival
Hundreds of Gays and Lesbians took part in New Delhi's 10-day "Nigah QueerFest '07" that began May 26 with a film night.

Organizers said the festival was a celebration of Gayness and a protest against Penal Code Section 377, the law that criminalizes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" under threat of 10 years in prison.

The law is not usually enforced but gives police a weapon with which to harass and solicit bribes from Gays and scuttle HIV-prevention activities, activists say.

According to a Reuters report, "If couples refuse or are unable to pay a bribe, they are often put in dingy cells, brutally beaten and humiliated."

A case against Section 377 has been moving slowly through the court system for several years.

Other QueerFest events included seminars, photo exhibits, performances and a candlelight vigil.

N.Z. civil-union figures released
Statistics New Zealand reports there were 430 civil-union registrations last year.

There were 397 registrations by New Zealand couples and 33 by foreign couples. Of the resident registrations, 188 were female couples, 131 were male couples and 78 were opposite-sex couples.

The marriagelike civil-union law came into force in April 2005. New Zealand's population is about 4.1 million.

Several countries block Gay Web sites
A study by the OpenNet Initiative has found 25 countries that block access to Web sites based on political or social reasons.

Gay sites are censored in Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, along with porn and gambling sites, the study found.

Countries that target political sites include China, Iran, Myanmar, Syria, Tunisia and Vietnam. South Korea only blocks information about North Korea.

Blocking usually can be circumvented by savvy Net users using proxy servers or special software.

The research was carried out via volunteers in the nations being tested.

Council of Europe head blasts Gay-bashing nations
The secretary general of the Council of Europe, Terry Davis, says "Europe is often more tolerant of homophobes than [of] their victims."

"Sexual orientation will no longer get you jailed [but] the bigots in several European countries are free to speak and act on their homophobic beliefs without any fear of sanction from the authorities," Davis said in an article he wrote for the May 12 issue of the publication New Europe.

"Very often the officials themselves - mayors, parliamentarians and even ministers - will be the first to voice and promote homophobic ideas. Many individuals in positions of moral authority endorse or even encourage hatred against Gays and Lesbians, demonstrating a deplorable failure to practice the tolerance they preach. As a result, homophobia in parts of Europe is on the increase. ... This is one minority which is left to fend for themselves."

Davis said fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights must be defended "with conviction, perseverance and force" and "those who discriminate against Gays and Lesbians are ... breaking the law." "[I]t is not only the human rights of Gays and Lesbians which are at stake," he said. "Democracy, human rights and the rule of law cannot function in a society which tolerates bigotry, prejudice and hate.

"If we continue to look the other way, an outburst of homophobic violence is only a matter of time. That is why we must end the hypocrisy of silence and stop treating homophobic attitudes as a cultural eccentricity."

The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, promotes democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other similar agreements. Forty-seven nations are members.

Decisions are made by the Committee of Ministers, which is composed of the 47 foreign ministers or their deputies. A 640-member Parliamentary Assembly, composed of members of the 47 national parliaments, conducts investigations and makes recommendations. The secretariat, headed by the secretary general, who is elected by the Parliamentary Assembly, employs some 2,000 people recruited from the 47 nations. Other council components include the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, a voice for Europe's regions and municipalities; and the European Court of Human Rights.
by Rex Wockner

"When we try to have an honest debate about the crises we face, whether it's on the Senate floor or a Sunday talk show, the conversation isn't about finding common ground, it's about finding someone to blame. We're divided into red states and blue states, and told to always point the finger at somebody else -- the other party, or gay people, or immigrants."

--Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., addressing the California Democratic State Convention, April 28 in San Diego.

"Are you ready for a president again who actually respects science and believes we ought to listen to scientists on -- oh, let's say, global climate change and stem cell research? Are you ready for a government that treats all Americans with dignity and equality no matter who you are and who you love? Are you ready to replace cronyism with competence again?"

--Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., addressing the California Democratic State Convention, April 28 in San Diego.

"I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be."

--Presidential candidate Tommy Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin, when asked during the May 3 Republican candidates' debate, "If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?" After he answered, Thompson was then asked, "So the answer is yes?" and he replied, "Yes." (Video:

"I made a mistake. I misinterpreted the question. I didn't hear, I didn't hear the question properly and I apologize."

--Gov. Thompson a day later, to the Associated Press.

"The sex was good."

--Dina Matos McGreevey, wife of now-gay former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, in her new book, Silent Partner.

"It just hit me like a ton of bricks [when he came out to me]. I wasn't absorbing it. I just started to cry. ... I felt like my world had crumbled and my life was over. In the course of the three days of his explanation and confession to me, it was clear to me that he never loved me. ... No one ever said to me that he was gay. It's a cliché that the wife is always the last to know, and it's true. ... I'm not in denial, but I don't think he's simply gay. I think he's bisexual. I mean, he was married twice. He has two children. And, you know, I never saw him checking out men, but I certainly saw him checking out women. ... I want [other people in a similar situation] to know ... you have nothing to be ashamed of. You've done nothing wrong. Most of them, just like me, probably married their spouse because they fell in love with them."

--Dina Matos McGreevey, wife of now-gay former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, in an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's TV show, May 1. In divorce papers, the ex-governor has claimed his wife "knew of my sexual orientation before our marriage" and "chose to either ignore it or block it out of her mind, even when questioned by her friends."

"I think that arguments against gay marriage are just ridiculous! Who cares? People want to get married for the same reason I wanted to get married. They want to do it in front of their friends and family. They want it to be a legally binding thing. They want to have that commitment. The idea that there's some moral issue about it is so ridiculous."

--Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter writing in Instinct magazine, May issue.

"This legislation would create equal legal protection and responsibilities for all individuals who seek to marry or have their marriage protected in the state of New York. Strong, stable families are the cornerstones of our society. The responsibilities inherent in the institution of marriage benefit those individuals and society as a whole."

--New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer as he and Lt. Gov. David Paterson submitted legislation to legalize full marriage for same-sex couples, April 27.

"This bill guarantees that the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness will be protected equally for all individuals in the state of New York. This is an important step in the fight for civil rights for all people."

--New York Lt. Gov. David Paterson as he and Gov. Eliot Spitzer submitted legislation to legalize full marriage for same-sex couples, April 27.

"I feel that if I had been more mysterious about my own sexuality and played it a little more ambiguous, I probably would have sold more records and had more supporters, and sometimes I do bemoan the fact that I didn't go that route."

--Out singer Rufus Wainwright to, April 22.

"I'm aware that I was representing, in certain ways, a minority, and my greatest wish was to make [Kevin] -- not just believable and not a cliché -- but an entertaining character as well. Which is what any actor's job is. I hope I don't sound like a complete asshole at the moment."

--British actor Matthew Rhys, who plays the gay character Kevin Walker on the ABC-TV series Brothers & Sisters, to Instinct magazine, May issue.

"When gay fans approach me, after they say how much they love Kevin, the next question inevitably is about Sally Field and what she's like to work with and how much they adore her work from Steel Magnolias and Soapdish, so I realize the magnitude of Sally's standing as a gay icon."

--British actor Matthew Rhys, who plays the gay character Kevin Walker on the ABC-TV series Brothers & Sisters, to Instinct magazine, May issue.

"I am the first openly gay congressional committee chairman, which means I am the first openly gay or lesbian person in American history to have significant governmental powers. A lot of very important people in the country and in the world are going to have to deal with me on equal terms, which will be very helpful in dealing with the prejudice against gay people. This is a big deal because this chairmanship oversees legislation on banking, securities, the Federal Reserve, the World Bank, the New York Stock Exchange -- hard-edged bastions of conservatism."

--Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who became chairman of the House of Representatives' Financial Services Committee in January, to Out magazine, May issue.

"There are probably five or seven [closet cases] in the [U.S.] House and at least three senators."

--Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., to Out magazine, May issue.

"I wish to acknowledge that I did formerly have a four-year relationship with Jeff Chevalier. ... My initial witness statements [in a behind-the-scenes court case attempting to keep this news story from being published] contained an untruthful account about how I first met Jeff. ... These allegations will result inevitably in considerable media attention for both myself and BP. ... I have therefore informed the board of BP that I intend to stand down as group chief executive with immediate effect."

--BP (formerly called British Petroleum) chief executive John Browne, 59, quitting his job May 1 after he was outed by London media as having been in a relationship with a 27-year-old man he met through an escort service.

"On Monday 23 April we lost the first President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, a man who, risking his life, gave freedom to us -- a man who underpinned the democratic values of contemporary Russia. The Russian gay community will always remember Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin as a man who put an end to almost sixty years of criminal prosecution for male homosexual relations. The law that he signed in April 1993 came into force on 27 May 1993. This day entered into the Russian history of the LGBT movement. 27 May was chosen as the date for the conduct of the first-ever gay pride march in Moscow last year."

--Gay activist and journalist Nikolai Alekseev writing at, April 23.

"Sero-sorting -- condom-free sex between people of the same HIV status -- is a big reason why [San Francisco has seen a marked decrease in new HIV cases]."

--Gay writer Andrew Sullivan on his blog, April 28.

"At the same time that sero-sorting has been widely adopted in SF, HIV-infection rates are dropping. And who deserves credit for this 'prevention success'? Average, rank-and-file, commonsensical gay men that adopted the practice without any 'institutional support.' Credit shouldn't go to AIDS prevention orgs."

--Gay writer Dan Savage on his blog, April 30.

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