poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, June 11, 2004

Philippines: Censor Targets TV Shows Featuring Lesbians
Time to Revoke Marcos-Era Censorship Powers, Enact Antidiscrimination Bill

(New York, June 11, 2004) -- Threats made by a Philippine censorship board’s top official against broadcasts showing lesbian relationships encourage discrimination and are a blatant assault on freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In May the chair of the MTRCB, Marissa LaGuardia, sent a memorandum to the producers of several television shows, warning them against positive depictions of lesbian relationships. The memo stated that "lesbian and homosexual relationships are an abnormality of human nature.… To show such kind of abnormality/aberration on prime-time TV programs gives the impression that the network is encouraging lesbian and homosexual relationships."  
"The Philippine government's power to censor and ban films and broadcasts it deems unacceptable is a relic of dictatorship that should finally be scrapped," said Scott Long, director of Human Rights Watch's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Project. "Using Marcos-era censorship powers against images of lesbian life means condemning part of the population not just to inequality, but to invisibility."  
Human Rights Watch called on President Arroyo to remove the sweeping powers of the Movies and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to edit or prohibit films and programs. In addition, the Philippine president should support a law now pending in the Philippine Congress which would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  


Catania predicts DOMA law for D.C. this fall
Marriage dominates town hall meeting

Gay D.C. City Council member David Catania (R-At-Large) this week said he expects gay marriage foes in Congress to force a Defense of Marriage Act law on the District, restricting marriage rights to opposite-sex couples only.

Speaking at Sunday’s Town Hall Meeting — an event staged by Capital Pride organizers — Catania said that such a plan would be a “dress rehearsal” for backers of the Federal Marriage Amendment to gauge how much support exists for a vote on the effort to ban same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution. The D.C. DOMA effort would also force members of Congress to stake out a public position on the FMA in advance of the November elections.

“A local DOMA bill would be their dress rehearsal,” Catania said. “By having an opportunity to push something like that, they will be able to see where their votes are. They will use it in a technically malicious way.

“It will be used to attack [Democratic Sen. Minority Leader Tom] Daschle. They will push it for an October vote and as soon as Daschle votes against a local prohibition, it will be used against him during his campaign.”


Bush fails to issue Gay Pride proclamation
Federal employees pressured to hold low-key Pride events

Several gay groups within federal agencies are planning Pride-related events during the next few weeks despite a White House refusal to issue a proclamation recognizing June as Gay Pride Month.

Even though some groups are planning activities, some agency officials find themselves in an awkward position because they are not permitted to provide official support or statements promoting Pride events without the approval of the Bush administration.

Leonard Hirsch, president of Federal GLOBE — the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Federal Employee’s organization — said events are scheduled at the departments of Transportation, State, Interior and the USDA, while other agencies have said they will not sanction Pride events without White House approval.

“We have continued to be boxed in a Catch-22 because agencies are saying that they can’t provide support or statements unless the White House puts forth a proclamation,” Hirsch said. “And of course the White House has not.”


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