poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Libel suit that emerged from gay adoption case rejected on appeal
The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A state appeals court has rejected a libel lawsuit that spun off from the widely-publicized case of two lesbians who sought to adopt each other's children.

The 4th District Court of Appeals in San Diego ruled that since one of the women invited publicity for the relationship, she was a public figure who needed to meet a higher standard to prove she was libeled.

The court ruled that the woman, Annette Friskopp, would be unlikely to meet that higher standard in her claim against her former partner. The appeals court ruling was published, which means it can be cited as precedent in future libel cases.

In a 2001 letter to Gay and Lesbian Times, Sharon Silverstein, wrote that Friskopp, her former partner, was "a convicted perpetrator of domestic violence against me."


CSIS civil service screening reveals Cold War attitudes, say critics

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada's spy agency is still asking about homeland ties and sexual practices when vetting Canadians pursuing a top-level career in the government - questions some critics consider relics of the Cold War and contrary to multicultural policy.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has been thrust into the public spotlight this summer as the inquiry into the arrest and deportation of Maher Arar unfolds in Ottawa.

Now sections of the Security Screening Investigators Guidebook, obtained under the Access to Information Act, reveal how CSIS field investigators determine an individual's reliability risks.

The highly personal questions routinely come up when CSIS conducts top-secret security assessments of public service employees for almost all federal government departments. Only the RCMP does its own security screening.


Open secrets
In Pakistan, sex between men is strictly forbidden by law and religion. But even in the most conservative regions, it's also embedded in the society.
By Miranda Kennedy

LAHORE -- The first time Aziz, a lean, dark-haired 20-year-old in this bustling cultural capital, had sex with a man, he was a pretty, illiterate boy of 16. A family friend took him to his house, put on a Pakistani-made soft-porn video, and raped him. Now, says Aziz (who gives only his first name), he is "addicted" to sex with men, so he hangs around Lahore's red-light districts, getting paid a few rupees for sex. At night, he goes home to his parents and prays to Allah to forgive him.

In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, homosexuality is not only illegal, it is a crime punishable by whipping, imprisonment, or even death. But across all classes and social groups, men have sex with men. In villages throughout the country, young boys are often forcibly "taken" by older men, starting a cycle of abuse and revenge that social activists and observers say is the common pattern of homosexual sex in Pakistan. Often these boys move to the cities and become prostitutes. Most people know it happens -- from the police to the wives of the men involved.

In some areas, homosexual sex is even tacitly accepted -- though still officially illegal -- as long as it doesn't threaten traditional marriage. In the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), which shares many tribal and cultural links with neighboring Afghanistan, the ethnic Pashtun men who dominate the region are renowned for taking young boys as lovers. No one has been executed for sodomy in Pakistan's recent history, but across the border in Afghanistan, the Taliban (who are also overwhelmingly Pashtun) executed three men for sodomy in 1998 by bulldozing a brick wall over them, burying two of them alive. (The third survived, which meant, according to Taliban law, that he was innocent, so he was taken to a hospital for treatment.)

Among Pakistan's urban elite, there is a growing community of men who identify as gay, some of whom even come out to their friends. Men meet on Internet bulletin boards, or at private pool parties with lots of rented boys and heavy security. But they are a tiny, terrified minority, living in cities such as Lahore, Karachi, or Islamabad, where the cultural elite has carved out a niche for itself. In a country where alcohol is forbidden except to Christians, dancing is banned, and the Koran guides many aspects of criminal law, such men rarely step outside of their protected world. (Because women in Pakistan inhabit, for the most part, a strictly private realm, it is difficult to say with any certainty how common lesbian relationships may be.)


Lynne, Dick Cheney Differ on Gay Marriage
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lynne Cheney, the vice president's wife and mother of a lesbian, said Sunday that states should have the final say over the legal status of personal relationships.

That stand puts her at odds with the vice president on the need for the constitutional amendment now under debate in the Senate that effectively would ban gay marriage.

``I think that the constitutional amendment discussion will give us an opportunity to look for ways to discuss ways in which we can keep the authority of the states intact,'' Cheney told CNN's ``Late Edition.''

The Senate began debate Friday on an amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and woman as husband and wife.


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