poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, July 19, 2004

Banning gay marriage does cause harm
By Deb Price / The Detroit News

When his partner of 13 years ended his life after a long struggle with depression, John Lestitian deeply wanted to honor his last requests.

Instead, because the Maryland couple had been unable to fulfill their dream of marrying, Lestitian found himself in a legal and personal nightmare.

Jim Bradley had wanted his ashes scattered off the coast of Ireland. His parents wanted them buried. As a legal spouse, Lestitian would have had the authority to follow Bradley’s wishes. Lacking legal rights, Lestitian depended on the kindness of his late partner’s parents, who eventually agreed to let him scatter part of the ashes.

For tax reasons, the men had put their home in Bradley’s name. Bradley left it to Lestitian in his will — an unnecessary step if they’d been married. But the will was ruled invalid because it had only one witness, not the two required by Maryland law. So, Lestitian lost his home in addition to the man he loved.


Sir Elton criticises Bush's 'bully boy' tactics UK

Sir Elton John has lashed out against the Bush Administration, accusing it of 'bullying tactics'.

In some of his most politically driven comments for many years, the singer, who is currently in New York at the start of a concert tour of the States, told New York Magazine that American artists are too scared to criticise the Bush Administration for fear of a right-wing backlash.

Sir Elton cited how Dixie Chicks were vilified after they were ridiculed for daring to speak out on Bush's rush for war with Iraq, yet drew attention to the fact that when Country act Toby Keith spoke out in favour of Bush he was applauded.

"Stars are frightened to by the current administration's bullying tactics," Sir Elton told the magazine. "There was a moment about a year ago when you couldn't say a word about anything in this country for fear of your career being shot down by people saying you are un-American."


Pastor apologizes for gay-marriage remarks

NIPOMO - About a dozen protesters picketed in front of San Luis Obispo's Church of the Nazarene Sunday over the Rev. Rick Eastman's comment last week likening gay marriage to a terrorist attack on the traditional family.

After his morning sermon, Eastman apologized to the picketers after retracting the terrorist references, but still emphasized that a marriage, to him, is not for people of the same sex.

"I do believe strongly that marriage is between a man and a woman," he said. "In hindsight I should not have used (the word terrorist). I'm sorry, and I apologize to the people it would have hurt."

The picketers, rallying on a call from local political Web sites, reacted to comments the pastor made in The Tribune a week ago regarding a proposed federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage


Police seek Jamaican singer after armed attack on gay men
Gary Younge in Chicago
Saturday July 17, 2004
The Guardian

One of Jamaica's most famous dancehall singers, Buju Banton, is being sought by police in Jamaica in connection with a homophobic attack on a group of gay men.

Mr Banton was allegedly one of a group of about a dozen armed men who forced their way into a house in Kingston on the morning of June 24 and beat up the occupants while shouting homophobic insults, according to the victims.

At least two people were taken to the hospital. Mr Banton - whose song Boom Boom Bye Bye threatens gay men with a "gunshot in ah head" - was identified by several witnesses and is wanted for questioning.

"There is a pattern of police indifference to attacks on gay men in Jamaica that goes far beyond what Buju Banton is alleged to have done in this case," said Rebecca Schleiser of Human Rights Watch, who has spoken to several of the victims. "Neither his fame nor the stigma attached to the victims should stand in the way of a full, fair and complete police investigation."


For Palestinian rights and against police homophobia
Anwen Bailey reports

A contingent of people from the lesbian and gay rights groups OutRage! and the Queer Youth Alliance joined a demostration for Palestinian rights on 14 May. The demonstration was organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Committee. The contingent were there in solidarity with Palesitnians, but were also urging the Palestinian Authority to halt the arrest, torture and murder of homosexuals.

They marched with placards reading: “Israel: stop persecuting Palestine! Palestine: stop persecuting queers!”

According to the group, as soon as they arrived in Trafalgar Square to join the demonstration, they were surrounded by an angry, screaming mob — an unlikely mix of Islamic fundamentalists, Anglican clergymen, members of the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, and officials from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

The activists were called “racists”, “Zionists”, “CIA and MI5 agents”, “supporters of the Sharon government” and were accused of “dividing the Free Palestine movement”.

PSC organisers asked the activists to “stand at the back of the demonstration”, and when they refused blocked their placards with their own banners and shouted down the gay campaigners as they tried to speak to journalists and other protesters.

Yet, most people at the Palestine protest expressed no hostility towards OutRage! and the Queer Youth Alliance. Some expressed positive support.
What were the activists trying to say?

Peter Tatchell:

“Gay Palestinians live in fear of arrest, detention without trial, torture and execution at the hands of Palestinian police and security services. They also risk abduction and so-called honour killing by vengeful family members and vigilante mobs, as well as punishment beatings and murder by Palestinian political groups such as Hamas and Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement.
“These revelations come from the independent human rights watchdog, B’Tselem, and from the Israeli gay rights groups Aguda and Open House, which help gay Palestinian refugees”.


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