poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Human Rights Watch Nepal gay plea
A New York-based human rights group has urged the Nepalese authorities immediately to release a group of gays and transsexuals arrested recently.

They were arrested for creating disturbances in public places in the capital, Kathmandu.

Human Rights Watch say that they have been held without charge.

It has accused the authorities of intimidating sexual minorities and has called for an investigation into allegations of violence against them.

Mistreated in custody

"Nepal's government must decide whether it wants to enforce homophobia or protect basic human rights," said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Project at Human Rights Watch.

Chinese HIV/AIDS activists detained as epidemic worsens
by Andrew Noyes
PlanetOut Network

Local law-enforcement authorities in a rural, rugged area southwest of Zhengzhou reportedly attacked and detained two prominent Chinese HIV/AIDS activists earlier this week while the pair were on their way to Henan Province to plan a protest of the government's AIDS policy.

Before reaching their remote village destination, both men were taken to an undisclosed location on Sunday night, the American Association for the Advancement of Science reported on August 10.

One of the men was released without incident. His colleague, Li Dan, was also released, but attacked and beaten a few hours after he was let go, according to Audrey Chapman, director of AAAS' Science and Human Rights Program.

Li runs a charity helping AIDS orphans in Henan. He operated a school for AIDS orphans before it was shut down, reportedly after he publicized plans to attend last month's World AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Voice of America reports. Four other AIDS activists from Henan were released from police custody a day before Li's detainment.


Police action on gays worries health workers

THRISSUR: By 7 p.m. when the din of commuters around Thekkinkad Maidan dies down and card players call it a day, Krishna Kumar starts cruising in the halogen-lit night around the maidan in a rare display of his sexuality. He is not alone. Over 8,000 homosexual men cruise across public places in the State regularly, according to statistics of NGOs working among gays.

The Indian Youth Association, an NGO based in Kozhikode, has identified 1,500 gays there during the last four years. Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam have 1,500 gays each, say NGOs.

The Thekkinkad Maidan remains the single largest cruising point of the gay community with 540 documented regular visitors, according to ESAF (Evangelical Social Action Forum), an NGO based in Thrissur.

‘‘The lack of gay liberation in our society and private meeting places has resulted in this situation. Gay life is being forced to express itself in terms of sexual contact outside home. Many are pushed into unsafe encounters in parks and public toilets,’’ says Joy T.A., project manager of the ESAF. The NGOs maintain that the number of sex workers among the gays is only a fraction.


Alleged hate crime suspect faces additional charge
By: News 8 Austin Staff

A man accused of sexual assault in what police have labeled a hate crime now faces an added felony charge of tampering with evidence.

Austin police said Donald Bockman, 24, asked a teenager to dispose of knives and swords stolen from the scene of the alleged crime.

The teenager, 17-year-old Jacob Wright, is also accused of tampering with evidence, lying about the weapons and trying to sell them.

The Austin Police Department said Wright has been arrested in Dallas


An early test for same-sex 'marriage'
By Amy Fagan

One activist lawyer in Florida is pushing ahead on his own to force states to recognize same-sex "marriages" in Massachusetts and elsewhere by challenging federal law, contrary to the wishes of the nation's largest groups supporting homosexual rights.

    Florida lawyer Ellis Rubin yesterday filed the first federal lawsuit on behalf of a lesbian couple who want Florida to recognize their Canadian "marriage."

    In a separate lawsuit, Mr. Rubin also is seeking to force Florida to recognize a same-sex "marriage" issued in Massachusetts, by challenging both Florida state marriage law and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which stipulatesstates don't have to recognize one another's same-sex unions.


Couple invoke UN and trade agreement in marriage fight
Christopher Curtis, Network

A US attorney filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against the country's 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Florida, invoking both the United Nations Human Rights Charter and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Attorney Ellis Rubin filed the suit on behalf of Rev Phyllis E Hunt and her spouse, Vilia Corvision. The Rev Hunt of the Metropolitan Community Church of Tampa married her spouse in Toronto, Canada in July. They have been together 11 years.

"We're using something new," Rubin told the PlanetOut Network. "We're invoking the UN charter as a reason for legalising this marriage because the UN charter says all people should be treated equally, thus all marriages should be treated equally."

Rubin continued, "We're using the North American Free Trade Agreement, which says there should be free travel from Canada, Mexico and the United States. Gay couples should have that right, but they don't."

Two More Concerts Axed
Clubs in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis are the latest to cancel appearances by Jamaican singer Beenie Man following complaints that his music incites violence against gays.

An October 14 concert featuring Beenie Man at the Boardwalk in Pittsburgh was cancelled by cigarette maker R. J. Reynolds.  The concert was to have part of the Salem Stir Your Senses tour.

"Salem brand made a business decision to not feature him as a performer. It came to our attention that some of his songs contained lyrics that are inappropriate and unacceptable," said Reynolds' spokesperson David Howard in a media release.

A concert slated for October 28 at the Vogue in Indianapolis has also been axed, according to gay activists in that city.

"The Vogue has been a melting pot for people of all backgrounds," the venue said in a statement distributed to the gay community. "We were shocked to hear these statements and began to immediately look into ways for us to cancel this show."



CARBONDALE --Rep. Mike Bost said he's been fielding a number of calls, both in the office and at home, from taxpayers angry their money might soon be going to fund same-sex benefits at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Bost, R-Murphysboro, isn't the only lawmaker to hear from constituents on the issue. Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, and Sens. Gary Forby, D-Benton, and David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, say the public seems up in arms when it comes to preserving traditional marriages and even more so when it comes to paying for benefits for non-traditional couples.

Word that SIU officials plan to discuss extending medical benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian employees on campus has sparked a firestorm of opinion from all facets of the region.

"Either they don't agree with it from a moral standpoint, or they ask why some are getting the benefits a heterosexual couple couldn't get unless they were married," Bost said.


Gay and Proud youth group honored by council

"I hated, with a passion, people who were gay, so when the triangle speakers came to my health class, I was angry. As I heard their stories, my eyes began to swell and they began to water. I didn't want anyone to notice, but that day I admitted to myself that I was in fact attracted to the same sex," writes April Shimabukuro in Queerzine!, Watsonville's first queer youth magazine.

Gay and Proud, a group of high school activists presented with the Queer Organization Award at the Watsonville City Council meeting Tuesday, is defiantly telling everyone who will listen, "Yes, there are gay people in Watsonville."


Victory for homophobia

I’m angry. I’m angry because of the stupid political posing of the past few weeks. I’m angry because of the way that the central issue has been lost in family values rhetoric and misguided individualism. I’m angry because our community is without leadership and passion. I’m angry because this is all so unnecessary.

Whether we like it or not, marriage will always be the standard by which the seriousness and value of a union is measured. Marriage represents the recognition by society, by government, and by the law that the union of two people has meaning and demands respect. The Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill excludes us from participating in marriage, relegating our relationships to second-class status, enshrining in legislation the belief that the relationships that we form are frivolous, trivial, and less important than those formed by heterosexual couples.

I’m angry because we have been beaten.

The Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill represents an extraordinary victory for the conservative, homophobic, religious fringe. It should not be about numbers, but much emphasis has been placed on the fact that the Senate Committee received 12,000 submissions in favour of the amendment and only a couple of hundred against. Apparently it only takes 12,000 emails to ensure that a homophobic, discriminatory and utterly offensive amendment is made to a Commonwealth Act. Twelve thousand. I have been to dance parties where there were more than 12,000 people. It seems that we can mobilise en masse to express our right to party, but we cannot mobilise en masse to defend our right to be treated equally before the law.


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