poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sex Swap Madam Makes Legal History
By Melvyn Howe, PA News

A sex change Soho madam made legal history today when a judge decided to treat her as a woman to protect her human rights.

Vanessa Wadman, who “surgically stopped” being a man 11 years ago, was arrested during a night-time police swoop on the Masters Club where “obligatory” bottles of champagne retailed at up to £350 a time.

Like her colleagues in the heart of London’s red light district, undercover officers posing as prospective clients never doubted she was a woman until they checked their records back at the station.

As a result, they charged her with six counts of living off immoral earnings – offences under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 levelled solely at men


Gay man bitten in attack
There have been a number of homophobic attacks in the city

A support group for gay people in Londonderry has warned that it is only a matter of time before someone is killed in a homophobic attack.

Sean Morrin from the Rainbow Project said homophobic attacks in Derry were becoming increasingly vicious.

He was speaking after a gay man was attacked and bitten in the face outside a chip shop in the Waterside area on Sunday evening.

He was taken to hospital where he received five stitches to his face.

A 25-year-old man was later arrested and released, pending police reports.


Putin silent as AIDS takes mounting toll
With the fastest-growing infection rate, Russia is on 'the edge of disaster,' UN says

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA -- It's a battle that Nikolai Panchenko has been fighting for half his adult life. He wants to hear a Russian leader give a speech about HIV and AIDS.

Mr. Panchenko, one of the first 10 people to test positive for HIV in what was then the Soviet Union, was thrown into prison in 1987, shortly after his fateful blood test. The nation was terrified by homosexuality and the prospect of AIDS, and the government thought that if it could just make Mr. Panchenko and the others disappear, the virus would go away too.

He was fired from his job as a high-ranking officer on the Kaliningrad police force and spent four years in jail because his infection was considered a threat to the entire region. Mr. Panchenko's name and HIV-positive status were broadcast on state television, and his friends and family were forced to undergo humiliating blood tests.

The Kremlin's attitude toward the epidemic has changed since then, Mr. Panchenko says, but not enough. Now that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao has admitted his country is in the grip of an epidemic and made a televised visit to an AIDS ward to help raise awareness of the disease, Russian President Vladimir Putin stands almost alone among leaders whose countries are being hit hardest because he has never given a significant speech about AIDS.


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