poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, June 14, 2004

UN Sounds Alarm Over HIV Tests
by Malcolm Thornberry Newscenter
European Bureau Chief

(Geneva) The United Nations Monday said that the growing number of countries which require foreigners be tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, prior to entry is impeding civil rights.

The alarm came from UNAIDS and the International Organization for Migration, two UN agencies based in Geneva.

Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, countries have enacted travel restrictions to try to prevent HIV-infected people from crossing their borders. 

The number of countries requiring HIV tests has now risen to 60 and includes the United States, Canada, Russia, China and many Arab countries. 


Duma Rejects Anti-Gay Bill
The Moscow Times

The State Duma refused on Friday to consider a bill banning alcoholics, homosexuals and pedophiles from holding seats in parliament.

The bill, submitted by the Kursk region's legislative assembly, would have required newly elected deputies to undergo physical and psychological examinations to make sure they were fit for office.

The bill was sponsored in parliament by Alexander Volkov, a Duma deputy from Kursk.

Even before Friday a number of deputies had slammed the legislation as unconstitutional, saying it failed to uphold the right of citizens to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Eric Vilain: A flawed law - Male/female not so easy to define

THIS WAS THE MOMENT of truth. The ultimate test before the coronation. A deacon would extend his hand below the robe of the future pope and check for the presence of two testicles. Middle Ages legend has it that this rite was started after Joan, an Englishwoman and a cross-dresser, managed to get elected pope in 855 but was discovered two years later because of an ill-timed childbirth.
Will we soon be witnessing such surreal examinations in our city halls? After all, if the U.S. Constitution will be interpreted as allowing only marriages between a man and a woman, the county clerks had better make sure that they are issuing licenses legally. Patting down the two male organs would ensure an absolute certainty of sex identification. Or would it?

In reality, sex isn't so straightforward. Let's take testicles as a defining characteristic of a man. Are individuals with only one testis "real" men? The "two-testicles rule" would disqualify about 3 percent of male newborns a year -- about 4.5 million Americans total. Does one need to produce active sperm or eggs to be considered a man or woman? Adding a fertility criterion would eliminate millions more from both categories.

If conventional wisdom cannot easily define men and women by just a simple look at the private parts, science should help us distinguish between the sexes. Since 1921, we have known that women have two X chromosomes and men an X and a Y chromosome. This is the fundamental genetic distinction between men and women.


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