Aug 10, 2007
V 35 Issue 32

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International News
Some 1,000 GLBT people staged a kiss-in at Rome's famed Colosseum Aug. 2 after police arrested two Gay men there on July 27.

Backed by the national Gay group ArciGay, the twentysomething Gay couple maintains they were arrested merely for kissing in the romantic 2 a.m. moonlight.

But seven members of Rome's Carabinieri paramilitary police filed a report claiming one of the men was fellating the other.

The couple was accused of "lewd conduct," taken to a police station, then released.

A police spokesman said the men had engaged in "an obvious violation of the norms that govern a place visited by thousands of people."

The Council of Europe's second annual "All Different, All Equal" rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, was canceled in late July after local media incorrectly reported it was a Gay-pride parade, which provoked outrage in religious and other circles.

Similar pro-diversity rallies have been held since 1995 in many of the Council of Europe's 47 member nations.

"This was a demonstration targeted at youth for intercultural and interreligious dialogue, where children could have shown their views on mutual respect and love with their songs, pictures and creativity," local organizer Paata Gachechiladze told The Messenger, a Georgian English-language newspaper.

The confusion started after the local Alia newspaper ran a story headlined "Pederasts are Getting Ready for a Parade in Tbilisi." Other media then repeated the story without doing their own research.

Gachechiladze called the Alia report a total fabrication, commenting, "The filthy gossip of one journalist caused such a big mess."

Italy's top court for civil and criminal cases, the Supreme Court of Cassation, has ruled that a Gay illegal immigrant from Senegal can remain in Italy for now, and ordered a judge to examine the man's claim that he faces persecution in Senegal based on his sexual orientation.

The court denied a request to overrule a Turin judge who had annulled the man's deportation order, local media reported July 29.

The new ruling said "homosexuality is a condition of the human being deserving legal protection" and "sexual freedom must be construed as freedom to live without interference and restrictions with reference to sexual preferences."

At the recommendation of the National Human Rights Commission, prisons in Mexico City have granted Gay inmates access to conjugal visits.

The commission welcomed the change in policy, calling it "an important step in terms of nondiscrimination regarding ?sexual preference."

A Gay prisoner at the Santa Martha Acatitlá facility had filed a complaint with the commission after being denied a sexual visit with his partner.

Eighty percent of Finns have no objection to living next door to Gays, people with HIV or immigrants, according to a survey carried out by the Väli-Suomi newspaper.

However, 92 percent do not want to have neighbors who use drugs, 78 oppose living beside an alcoholic, 56 disapprove of criminals as neighbors, and 44 percent reject the notion of an emotionally unstable neighbor. COSTA RICAN GAYS GET OK TO DONATE BLOOD
Costa Rican President Óscar Arias has issued an executive order lifting the nation's ban on blood donations by Gays and Bisexuals, reported July 28.

Activist Alberto Cabezas, who led the drive to lift the ban, said the move makes it clear that Arias sees Gays as "humans [who] have the same rights" as others.

Numerous countries ban blood donations by any man who has had sex with another man even once since the time that HIV likely first infected humans in the 1970s.

Some Gay groups have argued that this is unfairly discriminatory, pointing out that certain other societal groups at elevated risk for HIV infection are not banned from donating blood, and that donated blood is screened for HIV with methods that can detect HIV infection nearly immediately after it occurs.

French actor Michel Serrault, who played Gay nightclub owner Albin Mougeotte in "La Cage aux Folles," died July 29 of cancer in Honfleur, France. He was 79.

In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Serrault a "monument of the world of theater, cinema and television."

Serrault, who was straight, appeared in 130 other films and won three César awards, France's version of Oscars.

Despite losing $5 million in their initial effort last year in Montreal, the World Outgames will be staged a second time in 2009, July 25-29 in Copenhagen.

"Thousands of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender sports enthusiasts, cultural movers and shakers, activists, their families, friends and supporters will gather in the Danish capitol [sic] for 9 absolutely fabulous days of serious sport, serious culture and totally serious fun," gushed a press release issued Aug. 1.

Organizers expect 8,000 athletes to compete in 30 sports. An "Out Human Rights conference" will run concurrently with the games, focusing on "sports, culture and media, education, families, politics, business and workers and LGBT History."

The Outgames were born in 2006 after Gay Games organizers in Montreal and the Federation of Gay Games got into a nasty, prolonged argument over financial planning and other matters. The federation eventually moved the 2006 Gay Games to Chicago, and the Montreal organizers launched the competing Outgames under the auspices of the relatively young Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association.

Singapore's Media Development Authority on July 30 banned a planned exhibition of 80 photos of Gay people kissing.

The censors said the exhibit would "promote a homosexual lifestyle and cannot be allowed." Gay sex is illegal in Singapore and punishable with two years in prison.

The photo show was one piece of two weeks of Gay pride activities in the city-state.

"Since the photo exhibition Kissing has been denied a licence by the MDA, there will instead be a short talk 'Kiss and tell' on 9 evenings prior to main program, in which a sample of the pictures, shown on powerpoint, will be discussed," pride organizers said on their web site.

"On these 9 evenings, there will also be a photo corner set up where you can have your own kissing pictures taken. [Photographer] Alex [Au] will have with him his private album of the pictures taken, but which the MDA has refused a permit to exhibit publicly."

On Aug. 3, a second Gay pride event was banned -- a forum at which retired Canadian law professor Douglas Sanders was to discuss "Sexual Orientation in International Law: The Case of Asia."

Police withdrew their license for the event, the immigration department canceled Sanders' visa, and the Home Affairs Ministry stated that "foreigners should refrain from interfering [in] discourse over a domestic issue such as the laws that govern homosexuality in Singapore."

A third Gay pride event was partially banned on Aug. 2. The MDA approved a license for a story-reading event, but only on the condition that author Ng Yi-Sheng's story "Tall Tales and Short Stories" not be read as planned.

The MDA said Sheng's story about sex between a young man and politicians and military officers lacks "good taste and decency" and is "disparaging and disrespectful ... of public officers."
"[I]f our Constitution really means what it says, that all are created equal, if it really means what it says, that there should be equality of opportunity before the law, then our brothers and sisters who happen to be Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgender should have the same rights accorded to them as anyone else, and that includes the ability to have a civil marriage ceremony."
-Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich at the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, July 23.

"How would I want my two daughters treated if they grew up and had a different sexual orientation than their parents? Good jobs, equal opportunity, to be able to retire, to visit each other, to be with each other, as other people do. So I feel very strongly, if you ask yourself the question, 'How would you like your children treated if they had a different sexual orientation than their parents?' the answer is, 'Yes, they ought to have that ability in civil unions.' I don't go so far as to call for marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman."
-Presidential candidate Christopher Dodd at the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, July 23.

"I would do what is achievable. What I think is achievable is full civil unions with full marriage rights."
-Presidential candidate Bill Richardson at the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, July 23.

"I feel enormous personal conflict about this issue [same-sex marriage]. I want to end discrimination. I want ... equal rights, substantive rights, civil unions ... but I personally have been on a journey on this issue. I feel enormous conflict about it. As I think a lot of people know ... my wife Elizabeth spoke out a few weeks ago, and she actually supports Gay marriage. I do not. But this is a very, very difficult issue for me. And I recognize and have enormous respect for people who have a different view of it."
-Presidential candidate John Edwards at the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, July 23.

"I remember hearing [former GOP Sen. Rick] Santorum ranting about how homosexual marriage threatens heterosexual marriage. I could be wrong, but I think heterosexual marriage is threatened more by heterosexuals. I don't know why Gay marriage challenges my marriage in any way." -Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards, to, July 17.

"[W]e've got to make sure that everybody is equal under the law. And the civil unions that I proposed would be equivalent in terms of making sure that all the rights that are conferred by the state are equal for same-sex couples as well as for heterosexual couples. Now, with respect to marriage, it's my belief that it's up to the individual denominations to make a decision as to whether they want to recognize marriage or not. But in terms of, you know, the rights of people to transfer property, to have hospital visitation, all those critical civil rights that are conferred by our government, those should be equal."
-Presidential candidate Barack Obama at the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate, July 23.

"My only ask was that if his [Dick Cheney's] daughter doubted my tolerance to her [Lesbian] orientation that I would hope that he would help make it clear to Mary that this is a - I was just worried about - the reason I'd federalized the issue [of same-sex marriage] is because I was worried about the courts' defining the issue and that we'd end up with de facto marriage that was not traditionally defined, I guess is the best way to put it."
-President George W. Bush to Weekly Standard writer Stephen F. Hayes in his new book "Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President," as reported by The New Republic, July 16.

"You know when we lost everything, it was the Gay people that came to my rescue and I will always love them for that."
-Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner on TV's Larry King Live, July 19. She died the following day, of lung cancer.

"I feel great about it [being a Gay icon] because I feel that it's a platform for my purpose, which is to bring the love and music of Christ to all of my fans. And because they trust me, I think, they know my music is honest and they believe me to be honest, and perhaps, because of that, they will follow where I'm leading. I want to lead them to Christ and what he has for them, not what I have for them. I have no hell for anyone to go to. I want to lead them to him, I want to lead them to truth. ... I want to lead them to Christ, simply, and whatever he has for them."
-Singer Gloria (I Will Survive) Gaynor to BBC Radio 4, July 13. The final sentence was a response to the question, "That doesn't necessarily mean to you that you see homosexuality as something sinful?" Gaynor paused before answering the question.

"I don't give a shit. I've never cared about the Gay rumor. It's so stupid. It's funny because people are always infatuated with that. A lot of the guys that say that are the typical guys that are insecure with themselves. I've heard so many rumors about so many people being Gay that it's ridiculous. I've sure you've heard a million."
-Singer Enrique Iglesias to the New York Gay magazine HX, July 7.

"It's [Lesbians] such an insular community - at least, it is in LA. It's so very small - really, that six degrees of separation thing where so many women have slept with so many others and all know each other."
-The L Word star Jennifer Beals to the British Lesbian glossy Diva, August issue.

"The Gay community has been my constant supporter. I used to sing in wet bars at four a.m. - I am not even sure such bars exist anymore. Not only did they have respect for me but they also paid me well. I have had many, many setbacks, heartaches, losses and even though I have been very, very low I have never seen rock bottom and that is because when the rest of the world didn't want anything to do with me, the Gay community supported me, they literally kept me from a life on the streets. But for them I would not exist. They have been very faithful to me. God is faithful too. So it's God and the Gay community that have kept me here."
-Dreamgirls original Jennifer Holliday to Ohio's Gay People's Chronicle, June 22.

"I have been a supporter [of the Human Rights Campaign] for six years now. Basically the Gay community has been my sole source of survival, especially when I was really down and out. So this is my way of giving back. If lending my name can help them then that's great. I wish I have money of my own to give but I'm not wealthy."
-Dreamgirls original Jennifer Holliday to Ohio's Gay People's Chronicle, June 22.

"I had gastric bypass surgery and lost two hundred pounds. I had always assumed that all my problems were connected to my weight. And then when I lost the weight I realized I still had the problems. I didn't have a career, I didn't have a boyfriend, I can't get along with people. And even recently I have had many losses, many heartaches. I lost my mother to cancer, a couple of relationships that failed. But I am trying to move on. I am beginning to find out how to make it all work, hoping I will survive, that I will make it."
-Dreamgirls original Jennifer Holliday to Ohio's Gay People's Chronicle, June 22.

"It would be impertinent of me to comment on Singapore society but this happens to be a law [the Gay-sex ban] that I find personally offensive and I don't think it should be on the statute books because it inhibits my free behavior as an openly Gay man. I feel free to comment on behalf of people who do have to suffer laws which the British empire invented and left behind. The press like to talk to actors. They mustn't be surprised when actors talk back to them. We are privileged that we have access to the media and our opinions sometimes are reported and I appreciate that. But I only speak on things that I am an expert on. ... You won't hear me talk about my politics, you won't hear me talk about my vegetarianism, you won't hear me comment on the Iraq war. You'll only hear me talk about being Gay and being an actor. I am just public on those two issues."
-Sir Ian McKellen speaking to Reuters in Singapore, July 19.

"[T]he fire chief is Gay, the mayor has Gay senior staff, a City Council member and a state senator are Gay, a superior court judge is Gay, the county's district attorney and innumerable lesser officials: Gay, Gay, Gay. Forget 'Don't ask, don't tell.' In millennial San Diego, the motto these days is, 'Who knows, who cares?'"
-Writer Eric Wolff in the San Diego weekly newspaper CityBEAT, July 18.

"[W]hen you're single and you've finally made it past the age when you've felt both love's deepest tongue probings and also its most random horror-flick slashings, past the age when getting moronically drunk every weekend and hooking up is the ultimate goal and you've had enough sex to fill a thousand porn movies and everyone around you is no longer on some sort of giddy, wide-eyed first-adult-relationship must-get-married must-have-babies track of impossibly optimistic utopian desire, what it means, at least for me, is that you get to become this odd sort of sounding board - a blank slate of love's warped potential, a reason for others to extrapolate on the nature of love and life and sex and how goddamn difficult/wonderful/impossible it all really is."
-Straight San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, who frequently writes about Gay stuff, in his July 25 column.

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