poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, June 21, 2004

Bonding upheaval in the making

Bangalore, June 21: Tiger Thackeray and his Shiv Sainiks would certainly not be pleased with this one. Nor would they be able to stub out the girl and girl or boy and boy items — like they did Girlfriend — that are slowly happening and growing in far-flung villages and tribal settlements in India.

A global conference on “Sexualities, Masculinities and Cultures in South Asia” has thrown up amazing truths on same-sex relationships burgeoning far and away from urban upper and middle-class areas usually thought to be the breeding bowl of such bonding.

Health experts, sexologists, activists and psychologists who participated in the conference said such relationships defied barriers of custom and caste and breached the perception that the influence of western cultures was the root of such bonding.

“I have interacted with and identified a number of women with hidden relationships in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Delhi. These are relationships that cut across communities and income groups in rural areas,” said Maya Sharma, an activist who has researched on working-class lesbian women.


San Francisco Trans March and First Annual Trans Altar on June 25

The transgender community of San Francisco will join together for Trans March on Friday, June 25, beginning at 5 p.m. The event will commence in Dolores Park, where there will be games, wrestling, and speakers prior to the march, which will start at 8 p.m. and proceed to the Fulton Street side of the Asian Art Museum at the Civic Center, which will be the site of the new Trans Altar.

"What started off as a grassroots rally is turning into two historical events," says community activist Cecilia Chung about the event. "It's exciting to know that there are others with the same vision, and we are expecting a great turnout."

A ceremony at the Trans Altar will celebrate the accomplishments of the transgender community. Speakers will include state assemblyman Mark Leno, San Francisco police commissioner Theresa Sparks, and other community notables. Marchers are encouraged to bring significant objects, pictures, and writings to be placed on the altar for the duration of San Francisco Pride weekend.

"The Pride Committee is excited to present the Trans Altar at our event this year as a way to honor and celebrate the trans community in all its beauty and humanity. It provides Pride with a new, creative way to fulfill our mission of mirroring the diversity and inclusivity of the celebration. The altar, along with the Trans March, signals a new level of visibility for the transgender community and a new level of growth for the LGBT community as a whole," says Joey Cain, current president of San Francisco Pride.


WICS anchor under fire for criticizing gay activist
Garcia's comments on Reagan led to confrontation

A WICS-Channel 20 anchor is under fire after she publicly criticized a gay activist who signed the Ronald Reagan remembrance book in the Statehouse with comments unfavorable to the deceased president.

Rick Garcia, political director of the gay rights group Equality Illinois, said he was shocked when Julie Staley pointed him out to a security guard and called him "tasteless," "classless" and a "big loser."

The story since has been retold in the Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly publication, as well as on the journalism-related Web site, which has a media gossip column where Staley's actions have been harshly criticized.

Staley was not at work Friday and did not return a message left at her home


Gay Lawmakers Ordered To Be Silent During Civil Union Debate
by Newscenter Staff

(Wellington, New Zealand) Two gay members of New Zealand's ruling Labor Party have told to keep their mouths closed during debate on a bill that would give same-sex couples some of the rights of marriage.

The government fears that if MPs Chris Carter and Tim Barnett say too much it would fuel opposition demands the bill be withdrawn.

The government is under intense pressure from conservatives in Parliament and from the Roman Catholic Church.

"I absolutely respect and understand how strongly they feel about this," said Associate Justice Minister David Benson-Pope. "But ... this is predominantly an issue about human rights, it's not about heterosexual rights or gay rights.


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