poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, August 02, 2004

Homophobia can kill

DUANE Farrell, manager of the Rainbow Project - an organisation specialising in health and awareness issues for gay men - believes that homophobia is inexcusable and needs to be viewed in the same context as racism and sectarianism.

"Six men have been murdered in the last seven years as a direct result of their sexual orientation," he told Sunday Life. "And this has been in parallel with a marked increase in homophobic attacks."

The Rainbow Project was established in 1994 and Duane, who has been instrumental in the evolution of the project, has seen the organisation grow rapidly in recent years.

"When we first started, there were four members of staff. Now, we employ nine people, have offices in Belfast and Londonderry and 60 volunteers.


'If you're gay in Jamaica, you're dead'
Prejudice and violence against gay men in Jamaica have been hitting the headlines this year. But until now the plight of lesbians been ignored. Diane Taylor reports
The Guardian

Following the murder of gay activist Brian Williamson in Kingston in June, the Jamaica Observer published a letter which read, "To be gay in Jamaica is to be dead."

Since Williamson's death, Jamaica's gay community has been even more fearful than usual. The motive was officially given as robbery, but Williamson was the only "out" gay activist in the country; members of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag), an organisation that operates underground and anonymously, believe that homophobia made him a target. According to their estimates, his was the 30th killing of a gay man on the island since 1997.

International human rights organisations have described Jamaica as one of the most homophobic places in the world; gay and lesbian relationships are largely conducted in secret. But, while prejudice and violence against gay men have hit the headlines following Williamson's murder and the ongoing controversy over Jamaican singer Beenie Man's lyrics (which call for the execution of gay men), the plight of lesbians in Jamaica has not attracted the same attention. Yet their lives are no less difficult: in a strongly-worded statement issued in June, Amnesty International highlighted the growing problem of vigilante action against gays and lesbians, and of their ill treatment and torture at the hands of the police.

According to the Amnesty statement, gay men and women have been "beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality. Once a person's homosexuality becomes known to family and community they are frequently at risk."


Austin Gripped By Fear & Anger
by Newscenter Staff

(Austin, Texas) Fear has turned to anger over what some in Austin's LGBT community believe is foot dragging by police over the beating and gang rape of a local gay man.

Even worse, the four men being sought in the attack met their victim in a local gay bar, leading people in the community to believe that the hate crime was premeditated.

The victim left Oilcan Harry’s with the four men on July 17. They returned to the victim's home in East Austin where the attack occurred. Police say the four men drugged, tied-up, beat, cut, then sexually assaulted the victim.  When it was over they threatened to kill him if he spoke a word about the violence.

"The troubling thing for me is that they went into a space for gays and lesbians and posed as gays and lesbians. So it was obviously well thought out and meticulously planned," said Randal Ellis, the executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas. 


Man to face charges in attack
By Lori Aratani
Mercury News

A 31-year-old construction worker is expected to be in court today to face charges that he and two others beat a Mountain View man because they thought he was gay.

Jerrod Ian Cohn of Spokane, Wash., was one of three men charged in the incident that began near a Mountain View hotel in October. Michael Daugherty, 31, and Brian Walter, 27, both of New York, pleaded guilty in February.

Daugherty was sentenced to three years in prison; Walter, one. The two were also ordered to pay more than $14,000 in restitution to the victim.

Cohn maintains he is innocent and tried to stop the fight, said his attorney Wesley Schroeder. He also said he did not shout anti-gay epithets, Schroeder said.


Controversy over censorship row at Belfast Pride
Ben Townley, UK

Organisers of Belfast's Pride events have already been at the centre of a row with the city's officials over a banned double act, just two days after the celebrations were launched.

The events were launched this weekend and are due to take place over the next week with a city parade scheduled for August 7th.

However, a double act were barred from playing at the official launch of the celebrations on Saturday evening, with organisers accusing City Hall of censorship.

They say that officials at the Hall refused to allow Angie McManus and Mary Torney to perform as Kerry O'Gold and Dolly O'Doyle at the Hall, the Belfast Telegraph reports.


Gay politicians in Germany quitting the closet

BERLIN, (AFP) - Has homosexuality become fashionable in German politics? Perhaps not quite, but a recent clutch of movers and shakers "coming out" points to something afoot in the halls of power.

Guido Westerwelle, the head of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), caused a splash this summer when he appeared at a tony reception with his companion Michael Mronz, head of a regional equestrian society.

The couple has since been photographed regularly, and they even attended conservative leader Angela Merkel's 50th birthday party together last month.

Although the 42-year-old Westerwelle's sexual orientation had long been an open secret among the chattering classes in Berlin, his decision to go public with his partner would indicate he thinks the political gamble is now less risky.


Row breaks out over "homophobic" councillor
Ben Townley, UK

A councillor is to be investigated by the Standards Watchdog of England, after he said same-sex couples were "defective" and imbalanced.

Ian McKirgan, an independent councillor in Crowborough Town Council, Sussex made the comments during a debate on how best to celebrate the small town's centenary, according to the Sussex Argus.

When a fellow councillor for the Liberal Democrat party suggested a gay pride celebration, McKirgan is said to have become angry at the concept.

"There is something wrong with these people and it is possibly something that could be cured," the newspaper reports him as saying.


Urge Successor
By Pat Hurst, PA News.

A new Archbishop of York must stand firm on the divisive issue of gay clergy, traditionalists in the Church of England said today.

The present Archbishop David Hope famously described his own sexuality as a “grey area” when confronted by Peter Tatchell’s gay right’s group Outrage.

Crucially for the church he also said he led a celibate life.

At the time he was the Bishop of London and the leading opponent of women priests. He went on to become the Archbishop of York



TWO men accused of a homophobic attack on a man who hugged his brother in a pub walked free from court yesterday.

A gang of eight left Clifford McGinlay, 29, with a broken jaw and shattered teeth because they thought he was gay.

William Hay and William McMillan were cleared of the assault in a pub in Ardersier, Inverness-shire.

But McMillan's wife was convicted - although a sheriff said Yvonne Hay McMillan was the 'scapegoat' for the attack.


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