Mothers ask court for shared custody
by Amanda Luker
A lesbian couple filed an appeal Tuesday to ask for legal protection of both parents' relationship with their child. Last year, Cheryl and Jennifer McKetrick of Ohio were denied shared custody of their son, 3-year old Josh, by the Warren County court. The court denied the request on the grounds that they could use other legal documents to protect the relationship.
Heather Sawyer, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, is representing the couple, in its claim that Ohio has a longstanding history of granting custody to both same-sex parents in such cases. "Same-sex couples need to be able to protect their families, which often requires creating a patchwork of legal documents that provide a fraction of the security that they need," said Sawyer. Lambda Legal, which litigates for full civil rights in the LGBT and HIV-positive communities, is asking the court to recognize a formal custody agreement instead.
Blackmailers give gays, lesbians a hard time
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
MUMBAI: It's an unfortunate side-effect of the increasing visibility of gays and lesbians in Mumbai. According to gay activists, the last one month has seen over a dozen members of the community being mugged by blackmailers who threaten tomake their sexual preference public.
However, victims, fearing social ostracism and the prospect of being charged under Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, have refrained from making police complaints.
The blackmail brigade's modus operandi is simple. It networks with gays through cruising sites or internet chat rooms andmobile phones, fixes meetings, and then extorts money. Some of the blackmailer-infested areas in the city are Churchgate station, Bandra Bandstand, Dadar railway station, Khar and Andheri station.
A fortnight ago, Jitesh, a gay college youth, was badly bashed up and robbed of his wristwatch, mobile phone, CDplayer and wallet near the Gateway of India. “They took my college identity card and threatened to tell my teacher and parents about my sexuality. I lost a total of Rs 20,000,'' says a petrified Jitesh.
In Thailand, loans to people with HIV are paying off
Lawrence K. Altman NYT
BANGKOKAn imaginative program that makes small loans to HIV-infected Thai people is succeeding in helping them earn a living and overcoming social isolation, the program's organizer reported at the closing of the 15th and largest International AIDS Conference here Friday.
The loans average about $300 each and repayment periods range from six to 12 months. To qualify for them, infected applicants must become business partners with an uninfected person, said the organizer, Mechai Viravaidya. Mechai is Thailand's most prominent AIDS educator, having received international recognition in the 1990s for promoting Thailand's condom effort, which was credited with saving millions of lives.
The program aims to strengthen bonds between infected and uninfected people. As the uninfected realize that those with HIV repaid their loans and made new ones possible, attitudes about discrimination become more enlightened and the stigma of AIDS is lessened, Mechai said. He said that about 1,000 business partners have received loans since the program began 21⁄2 years ago. The program is an example of the creativity that health workers, policy makers, AIDS activists and other conference participants said is needed to break down stigma and economic barriers as human immunodeficiency virus spreads in Asia and the rest of the world.
"In the course of human history there has never been a greater threat than the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, told the closing session on Friday.