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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 4, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 23
International News - Rex Wockner
Section One
ALL STORIES
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International News

Skinheads attack Slovak pride
At least 80 skinheads attacked the rally that preceded the first Gay pride parade in Bratislava, Slovakia, on May 22.

The assaults injured two people and forced the relocation of the festivities.

Member of the European Parliament Ulrike Lunacek reportedly dodged 'stones' that were thrown at her as she addressed the rally.

The attackers also threw smoke bombs and eggs at the approximately 1,000 celebrants.

Police arrested eight people. Local reports said some were connected to the neo-Nazi group Slovenska Pospolitost.

Pride organizers and some media faulted the police for failure to secure the parade events and route.

Lukas Fila, deputy editor of the daily newspaper Sme, said, "Slovakia has experienced a day of shame."

Lunacek, co-president of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights, commented, "It has been an important victory that Bratislava Pride did take place - even though we did not march through the city center, but with hundreds of rainbow flags across the Danube bridge to the other shore."

"Radicals take up public space only when allowed," Lunacek said. "The government's duty is to work against nationalistic, racist, and homophobic hate speech and violence."

LGBT people also gathered for a pride festival in Bucharest, Romania, on May 22. It was the city's sixth pride celebration.

Member of the European Parliament Michael Cashman addressed the 350 celebrants.

Anti-Gay protesters were "kept at bay by a strong police presence," the LGBT Intergroup reported.

Group: Sweden is Europe's Gay-friendliest country
ILGA-Europe - the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - has named Sweden as Europe's most pro-Gay country.

The new edition of the group's "Rainbow Europe Country Index" says Sweden is the only European nation that passes all the group's tests in areas such as anti-discrimination protections, recognition of same-sex partnerships and parenting, hate-crime and hate-speech laws, and equal age-of-consent laws.

The index will not start tracking Transgender issues until next year.

"Our congratulations to [Sweden] for making sure its legislation and practices are fully inclusive and respectful of human rights of LGB people," said ILGA-Europe board chair Martin K.I. Christensen. "Sadly, despite advances in many parts of Europe, we still experience human rights violations of LGB people in Europe. This year Russia and Ukraine are on the bottom on our index."

Other poorly ranked countries include Armenia, Belarus, Cyprus, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland and Turkey.

Rounding out the top five highest-ranked were Belgium, Netherlands, Norway and Spain.

To view the entire report, visit tinyurl.com/ilgaeuci.

ILGA: Seventy-six countries ban Gay sex, 7 have death penalty
ILGA - the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - has released the fourth edition of its massive "State Sponsored Homophobia" report. The most significant change in the new edition: One-sixth of the world's Gays and Lesbians were emancipated when India's Delhi High Court legalized Gay sex last July.

"Compared to last year's report, where we listed the 77 countries prosecuting people on ground of their sexual orientation, this year you will find 'only' 76 in the same list, including the infamous five which put people to death for their sexual orientation: Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen (plus some parts of Nigeria and Somalia)," wrote ILGA Co-Secretary General Gloria Careaga-Perez. "One country less compared to the 2009 list may seem little progress, until one realizes that it hosts one-sixth of the human population, as the country in question is India."

ILGA said the 76 nations criminalize "consensual sexual acts between persons of the same sex in private over the age of consent."

They are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cameroon, Comoros, Dominica, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guinea, Guyana, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In addition, Gay sex is illegal in the Cook Islands (a self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand), the Gaza Strip in Palestine, and Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

"Naming and shaming homophobic countries is essential but it is also important to recognize countries where progress is being made," said ILGA Co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini. "For this year we are happy to see the federal district of Mexico City and Argentina joining the community of states and local authorities recognizing equal marriage rights to same-sex couples - an example of genuine inclusiveness, which will set the standard for many to follow."

ILGA is a 33-year-old network of 700 LGBT and supportive organizations from 110 nations. It identifies as the only international, nongovernmental, community-based association focused on fighting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as a global issue.

To see the full report and maps as well as details on Gay equality around the world, visit tinyurl.com/ilga-ssh.

Gays stage public action in Kazakhstan
Seven Gay men staged a "flashmob" in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on May 17 in conjunction with IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

They gathered near the KazakhTelecom building and handed out flyers and released rainbow balloons into the sky.

A report from the participants said other Gay people watched the action unfold "from afar."

Police arrest, beat Transgenders in Ankara
Five Transgender people were arrested and beaten by police in Ankara, Turkey, on May 17, the Pink Life Association and other rights groups reported.

Pink Life said the incident happened near the post office on Baglar Street around 11 p.m. when police used their cars to block passage of a car carrying the Transgender people.

Police allegedly pepper-sprayed 25 bystanders who objected to the unfolding incident, then took Buse Kilickaya, Derya (Selay) Tunc, Turkan, Eser and Yesim into custody, beating and kicking them in the process.

"The arrestees were then forcibly brought to the Esat police station sustaining visible injuries, including bloody mouths and noses," reported the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights.

"[The Intergroup] strongly condemns the attacks, and will further seek to include mentions of these breaches of human rights by authorities in accession talks between the European Union and Turkey."

The Transgenders were released from custody the following day.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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