International gay body asks Nepal to free homosexuals
Kathmandu, The New York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has called for the immediate release of 39 transvestites who were arrested in a series of raids on restaurants and bars.
All 39 are members of Blue Diamond Society, a Kathmandu-based NGO that provides HIV prevention services and engages in advocacy for the rights of sexual minorities.
The detainees, who were refused bail, are to be charged with committing public offence in what is being seen as an anti-vice operation. Police also raided massage parlours, alleged to have been running sex rackets, and dance bars where girls were said to have been performing obscene acts.
"We are deeply concerned by the apparent escalation of violence against those whose sexual and gender identity and expression do not conform to social norms in Nepal," the commission said in a statement
Australian legislators ban gay marriage
Big News Network.com
The Australian Senate Friday passed a bill banning gay marriage, voting 38-7 after an emotionally charged debate, The Australian reported.
But Equal Rights Network spokesman Rodney Croome said the law may be unconstitutional, and his group was considering a High Court challenge to the law.
For the first time in three years, the government set a time limit on the debate for the bill to ensure it passed Friday, the paper said.
Australian Democrats spokesman Brian Greig said the bill had been driven by fundamentalist Christian members of Parliament and community leaders, who rallied in Canberra last week.
Anti-gay group plans to picket in Twin Cities
By Steve Arney
BLOOMINGTON -- An anti-gay group based in Topeka, Kan., plans to picket outside Electrolux Home Products North America and up to five churches in Bloomington.
Westboro Baptist Church spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper said her group will send 10 to 15 people, including children, to Bloomington and Peoria Electrolux sites Aug. 23 because the company is based in Sweden.
Unrelated to company activity, the government in Sweden jailed a preacher for making anti-gay statements, she said. Phelps-Roper described the protest as informational, not seeking a boycott or any other action against Electrolux.
The civil rights group Southern Poverty Law Center describes church leader Fred Phelps as "America's most rabid and vicious hater of homosexuals." Westboro and the center spar over the center's designation of it as a "hate group."
Troubled teens finding this house can be a home
By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff
WALTHAM -- The Federal-style brick house at 409 Lexington St. does not stand out from the rest of its suburban neighborhood, but there's no other home like it in Massachusetts.
Two years ago it became Waltham House, the first group home in New England designed specifically for troubled teenagers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. With capacity for only a dozen teens, counselors expected they would have to turn kids away.
But they were wrong. Only a trickle of referrals came in from the state Department of Social Services. The reason: a failure to communicate.
"We expected that as soon as we opened the program, the floodgates would open," said Jennifer Thomas, the clinical director at Waltham House, one of only three such programs in the country. "Then we realized that a lot of adults within the DSS system have no language to, have no way to, identify kids who are queer or GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender]."