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July 20, 2007
V 35 Issue 29

 
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
Anti-gays attack Budapest, Zagreb pride parades
Budapest Pride got fag-bashed July 7.

Hundreds of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other thugs threw eggs, bottles, smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails and plastic bags of sand at the 2,000 marchers. They also pelted police with beer bottles and physically attacked several marchers.

One truck in the parade reportedly caught fire when a Molotov cocktail landed on it.

The counterdemonstrators shouted, "Faggots into the Danube, followed by the Jews," "Soap factory" and "Filthy faggots."

Dozens more pride attendees reportedly were attacked in the vicinity of the post-parade party at the open-air, riverside Buddha Beach nightclub, the parade's endpoint.

Eight counterdemonstrators were arrested, and police said they continue to search for others.

In a July 10 statement, several Hungarian gay groups called on the national government "to investigate the case instead of covering up why the police did not protect the marchers and why calls for help in the course of the night were refused."

The police "did not step in between the two demonstrations or form a wall," said marcher Gábor Kuszing from Patent - People Against Patriarchy. "Where I was walking, I could see no police officers in sight. If I was not injured it is not because the police were there, but because no counterdemonstrator decided throw a bottle at me."

The post-parade party "was under [police] blockade for hours until some of the counterdemonstrators left," said a Patent press release. "The police also left despite reports that groups of counterdemonstrators remained in the parks and streets around the party. ... The police did not patrol in the area and did not react to emergency calls."

Parade opponents included members of Movement for a Better Hungary and the Hungarian National Front, who said they were annoyed that the Hungarian Socialists, part of the ruling government coalition, have come out in support of legalizing same-sex marriage, and that Gábor Szetey, the government's human resources secretary of state, publicly came out July 5 as he opened Budapest's 12th Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Festival of culture and arts.

In his coming-out speech, Szetey, 38, said: "I am Gábor Szetey. I am European and Hungarian. I believe in God, love, freedom and equality. I am the HR secretary of state of the government of the Hungarian Republic. Economist, HR director. Partner, friend, sometimes rival. And gay. Like you. Like hundreds of thousands of people in this country who I hope hear these words. Wow. I did it. I said it out loud.

"And I will say it out loud every time it is needed to be said, so that others may say it. And then gay pride will be what we made it to be. And Hungary, my homeland, will be as much as can be. ... We have to say it out loud -- me, you, all of us. With pride, with power, with faith, with true belief. Or softly, just as one fact of life, happily and peacefully. For me that is what gay pride day is all about. And the other 364 days of the year, every day of every year from now on. ...

"It is not your choice whether you are gay or not, but it is your choice to accept it," Szetey said. "I know already that not accepting who we really are leads to hiding, lying throughout our lives, and to consequences which are hard to predict. I believe in truth and I am sick and tired of lies. ... I believe that we can and we have to break the culture of silence. I have to say out loud who am I, so that finally my own decisions direct my destiny. We have to say it out loud so that we take control of our lives. So that we can be what we are meant to be.

... So that we don't have to live two different lives. One public life and one secret life. So that we don't need to use coded language to talk about the most important things in our lives. About our partners, about our family. So that we can be proud of who we are. Simply, softly, easily. I am gay. And I am happy. And I am proud to be here with you tonight."

The festival opening was attended by Klára Dobrev, wife of the prime minister, Health Minister Ágnes Horváth and Economy Minister János Kóka (who are engaged to each other), Environment Minister Gábor Fodor, government spokesman Dávid Daróczi, and the leader and assistant leader of the parliamentary faction of the Alliance of Free Democrats/Hungarian Liberal Party, Mátyás Eörsi and Péter Gusztos.

Meanwhile, the sixth gay pride parade in Zagreb, Croatia, held the same day, came under similar attack.

Around 40 of the 300 marchers were assaulted in numerous incidents after the parade ended. At least 12 sustained minor injuries and two others required medical treatment.

Some 13 anti-gay demonstrators were arrested, several of whom were found to be carrying Molotov cocktails or tear gas. One of them has been charged with a hate crime for attempting to throw one of the cocktails -- the first hate crime charge in Croatia's history.

The marchers were jeered and spat on by right-wing youths throughout the parade route. A solid line of police in riot gear marched along on both sides of the parade.

In central Ban Jelacic Square, organizers read a proclamation demanding, among other things, the right to full public visibility; official condemnation of all forms of homophobia, discrimination and violence against "LGBTIQ" persons; and the introduction of an anti-homophobia program in educational and other institutions.

Marchers included the head of the Government Office for Gender Equality, Helena Stimac Radin; the ombudswoman for gender equality, Gordana Lukac Koritnik; Croatian People's Party leader Vesna Pusic; and Italian Sen. Gianpaolo Silvestri.

Tiny turnout for Malta pride, closet blamed
Gay pride in Valletta, capital of Malta, attracted only about 50 people July 6, fewer than at the first march four years ago.

Marchers included British Member of the European Parliament David Bowles, Education Minister Louis Galea, Labour MP Evarist Bartolo and Alternattiva Demokratika party chairman Harry Vassallo.

Malta Gay Rights Movement coordinator Gabriella Calleja told the Times of Malta newspaper that Maltese GLBT people are afraid to come out publicly.

"At the recent pride party there were about 1,000 people or more but here, given the cameras and journalists and in broad daylight, it's a different story," she said.

Hundreds march in Lima
Hundreds of GLBT people marched in the sixth annual gay pride parade in Lima, Peru, July 7.

Marchers demanded passage of the "Law of Equal Opportunities between Men and Women" and urged that the measure include protections for lesbians.

Organizers also condemned anti-gay violence, claiming that Peru saw 600 anti-gay attacks in 2006 and that many of them were carried out by police officers.

Majority of Israeli Hebrew-speaking Jews would accept gay child
Seventy-three percent of Hebrew-speaking Jews living in Israel would accept a gay child, a Ynet-Gesher/Mutagim poll has found.

Of those, 43 percent would feel bad about the situation but accept the child and his or her partner anyway, while 30 percent would "have no problem with it."

Of the remaining 27 percent of respondents, 15 percent would be very angry with the gay child and would maintain only minimal contact, and the final 12 percent would end all contact.

Women polled more gay-friendly than men, 79 percent to 66 percent. Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) polled the most anti-gay; 55 percent would fully cut off their child.

Pollsters also asked a question about "problematic" neighbors. Twelve percent would not want to live next to a gay couple, 13 percent don't want Christian neighbors, 18 percent would prefer not to live next to a haredi family, and 38 percent don't want a noisy musical family next door.

Austrian gay leader acquitted of libel
Austria's leading gay organization, Homosexual Initiative Vienna (HOSI Wien), and its secretary general, Kurt Krickler, saw their conviction for defamation and libel overturned by the Vienna Regional Criminal Court on July 9.

Austrian People's Party Member of Parliament Walter Tancsits sought legal relief after Krickler called him a "mental descendant of the brown Nazi myrmidons" ("geistiger Nachfahre der braunen Nazi-Schergen") in a press release about Tancsits' engineering the exclusion of gays from the Nazi Victim Compensation Act.

A lower court convicted Krickler in April 2006, sentencing him to three years' probation and the choice of a suspended fine of 240 euros (US$329) or a suspended sentence of one month in jail. Under the terms of the conviction, if Krickler did not commit another crime during the probationary period, he would not have had to pay the fine or serve time. HOSI was ordered to pay Tancsits 1,500 euros.

But the appeals court decided Krickler's denunciation of Tancsits fell into the realm of expressing an opinion, which is allowable, rather than stating as fact something that is untrue, which can be libelous.

Krickler called the acquittal a "great victory for freedom of speech and human rights in Austria" and noted that Tancsits "has to pay now all legal costs of both parties."

Lesbian couple killed in South Africa
According to activist groups, a Johannesburg lesbian couple was murdered "execution style" July 8 and their bodies were found in a field in Meadowlands township.

Sizakele Sigasa, 34, and Salome Masooa, 23, were shot multiple times each and there was evidence they may have been sexually assaulted.

A South African Broadcasting Corporation report said: "They were found ... raped, tortured, murdered and dumped. [Sigasa] was found with her hands tied with her underwear and ankles tied with her shoelaces."

The couple reportedly had left a gay party around midnight to drive a friend home, then failed to return to the party as expected.

Activist groups said they suspect the killings were an anti-lesbian hate crime, but police told the SABC they've not yet found any evidence to that effect.

A memorial service for the two women was held July 12.
Quote/Unquote
"There was no question that was a completely self-destructive act. I spent years making sure I'd never go anywhere near anything like that in L.A. -- I knew how awful the police were. So why did I do that? To come out in the most self-destructive way possible!"

--Singer George Michael on his 1998 arrest in a cruisy Beverly Hills, Calif., park toilet, to London's Gay Times, July issue.


"If HIV/AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country."

--Hillary Clinton at the June 28 Democratic presidential candidates' debate.


"The pharmaceutical companies realized there wasn't any money in cures and vaccines, because once you cure them, they don't need your pills anymore. So the industry made a conscious effort to steer away from finding any permanent cures or vaccines and got the public thinking more about living with an illness or disease for the rest of their life. In my humble opinion, it is most evident with HIV."

--Filmmaker Michael Moore to The Advocate, July 17.


"The last five years have been the greatest demonstration ever seen of evil done by people who think they have God on their side. The religious right in America is completely insane. That said, I think normal Americans are becoming more liberal again. Thirty percent really believe that Jesus is in the White House; the rest watch Ellen DeGeneres' talk show on TV and accept gay couples. Homophobic bigotry is less expressed now; it's becoming as unacceptable as racism."

--Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin to London's Gay Times, July issue.


"Somebody ... noticed that the epigraph at the beginning of the book, 'People like you and me ... we're gonna be 50-year-old libertines in a world full of 20-year-old Calvinists,' is credited to Michael when it was actually Brian who said that to Michael in 1976, so now I have to apologize profusely. Several fans have noticed this on my Web site, but it bugs me more than anyone. I'm such a perfectionist with that kind of stuff but I do trip on my own lore and I probably should have read my own books all over again before writing this [new] one."

--Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin to Philadelphia Gay News, June 29. Maupin's seventh Tales book is called Michael Tolliver Lives.


"Don't know about this blogging business -- especially on the road. Book tours have a crushing sameness to them. All I want to do after a signing/reading is flop in my room with midnight room service and hotel porn. (Mercifully they have gay porn now. In the old days you had to make do with dickless straight porn.)"

--Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin on his blog, June 21.


"There's almost a psychosis in someone like [the late Rev. Jerry] Falwell who obviously knew he had gay friends and gay associates and then turned around and blamed gay people among others for 9/11 on national television. I mean, who can make this stuff up, it's so batty."

--New York Times columnist Frank Rich to Gay City News, July 5.


"[Mitt] Romney has a record in Massachusetts where he ran to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay issues and Giuliani lived with a couple of gay guys when Donna Hanover threw him out of Gracie Mansion. When you see them trying to fudge it, particularly Romney more so than Giuliani -- who tried to fudge it but realized there was just too much on the record for him to do it, particularly on abortion -- it just seems like pandering to what is increasingly a fringe. I challenge the Karl Rove wisdom that this is the key to winning the nomination, let alone the presidency."

--New York Times columnist Frank Rich to Gay City News, July 5.


"My mother didn't have a good grounding. When you're a kid, and you're making that much money, and supporting all these other people, there's imbalance in your family and there's no one to say, 'No!' The people around her liked their lifestyles, and they liked their cars."

--Lorna Luft, Judy Garland's daughter, to London's Gay Times, July issue.


"I've always been very grateful to the gay community; they're the ones who always kept my mother's name in the public [eye]. I'm proud that my mom's funeral was the breaking point for the gay community to stand up and stop being harassed. I grew up in a house where prejudice wasn't an option. My mom would have been really proud that people stood up at Stonewall and said, 'We won't take it any more.'"

--Lorna Luft, Judy Garland's daughter, to London's Gay Times, July issue.


"The wave of American TV shows that supposedly signaled a new era of tolerance toward us -- Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- no doubt resulted in a backlash of homophobia among average Americans. It certainly must have alienated a whole new generation of homosexual kids, who wanted in no way to be associated with such insulting drivel."

--Columnist Bruce LaBruce in London's Gay Times, July issue.


"My appearance is also a concern, especially in West Hollywood. I have silicon routinely put into my cheeks and temples to give me a more rounded look and mask the [HIV-drug-induced] wasting. Originally, I thought it was trivial, but it's important not only to have my [lab] numbers look good, but also for me to look good, especially when I'm doing public appearances."

--West Hollywood, Calif., Mayor John Duran to POZ magazine, July issue.


"I was the GLC [Greater London Council] member for Norwood in 1973 and by sheer coincidence the gay liberation front squatted [lived without paying rent] in my constituency [district] in 1973. Just as I got elected. They were great fun, completely mad in retrospect. They made Peter Tatchell look conservative. And that traumatised the local political establishment because they thought this was a diversion from the real issue of class struggle, comrade. The gay liberation front had a horse, and the candidate rode on the horse through the streets and then on polling day he was carried around in a coffin, to represent the death of democracy. I remember a lot of the hard Left thought it was an outrageous undermining of class struggle."

--London Mayor Ken Livingstone in a pride-week chat with PinkNews.co.uk.


"You've got London, Berlin, and Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and San Francisco, New York, but these little gay friendly jewels are floating in a great effluence of homophobia, and the vast majority of gay people in the world are still risking if not their lives, a savage beating. We've had this huge influx of Poles into London over the last 15 years, and then you see the Polish government and these homophobic twins who run it, and you think, perhaps all the Poles who come here are fleeing them. If you were gay or lesbian in Poland, where would you want to be? You'd want to come to London."

--London Mayor Ken Livingstone in a pride-week chat with PinkNews.co.uk.


"[Y]ou do have to laugh at the vicious antics [of] this administration, and perhaps Dick Cheney in particular, that most nefarious molester of U.S. law and ignorer of all political integrity and deeply homophobic father of a creepily lesbian daughter and overall gruntingly guff sneerer at all moral principle, masterful mocker of everything you somehow still manage to think, even in your most despondent and ethically disillusioned state, that American politics is somehow supposed to be about."

--San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, July 4.


"I've given my life and I continue to give my life, as many entertainers have done before me. I'm known for my big dick and good body and I keep it up. It's just my obligation to share it."

--Gay porn legend Jeff Stryker to Boston's In Newsweekly, July 4.


"I dedicated my life to entertaining gay men. I always try to justify what I did because I feel like I'm doing a public service in this day of AIDS and sexual disease because I can give somebody an alternative to going out and having unsafe sex. And if I save one life, hey, it's worth it. That's the way I've always looked at it."

--Gay porn legend Jeff Stryker to Boston's In Newsweekly, July 4.


"We're trying to provide a family environment where people can take their children who need to use the bathroom, without having to worry about a couple of men in there engaged in a sex act."

--Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle who wants the city to buy a $250,000 robotic toilet and place it in what he called "the rainbow parking lot" at the gay beach, according to the July 4 edition of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Naugle says the high-tech, self-cleaning, music-playing toilet won't allow people to stay inside long enough to have sex. Police told the paper that gay sex in toilets is no longer a problem in Fort Lauderdale -- "no evidence, no reports or arrests."


"I don't use the word 'gay.' I use the word 'homosexual.' Most of them aren't gay. They're unhappy."

--Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, July 4.


"Part of right wing dogma holds that when a straight person snorts a line it is a personal sin. However, when a gay person does the exact same thing, it is a communal sin and part of a 'lifestyle.'"

--Syndicated gay-press columnist Wayne Besen, July 4.


"The crowd cheered when we marched out [to sing the national anthem]. Rainbow flags were visible waving in every section. There was no audible booing or hissing, to our shock and surprise. It was a breeze. [T]he Christian wackos from El Cajon were so few in number and so pathetic on TV, using worn out sound-bite platitudes like 'lifestyle' and 'protect our children,' to the yawns and boredom of all present."

--Gay Men's Chorus of San Diego member Fergal O'Doherty after the chorus sang The Star-Spangled Banner at the July 8 San Diego Padres game at Petco Park. Christians from the blue-collar suburb of El Cajon had raised a stink before game day, denouncing the Padres for welcoming the chorus and a group of 1,000 gay baseball fans to the same game at which it was promoting a giveaway of "floppy hats" to children. About 75 Christians picketed the ballpark before the game started.
Hilary Clinton, Armistead Maupin

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