poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Russian lesbians fight to retain freedom

AFP Moscow Sept 23: Since emerging from the shadow of the prudish Soviet Union a decade ago, sexual minorities have fought to gain a foothold in Russian society. But Russian lesbians now say they are facing growing pressure from authorities to return to the closet. “In the past year, I have felt increasing pressure in my work. My website is controlled, I am asked all sorts of questions when I travel to a conference,” says Ms Olga Suvorova, who runs the Moscow-based lesbian group Pinkstar.“Under (former president Boris) Yeltsin, it was much easier to organise lesbian events and to meet politicians,” laments Ms Suvorova, who, like many Russian homosexuals, brands the President Mr Vladimir Putin a “total homophobe”.

But Ms Suvorova says not only the government but also the Orthodox Church, which underwent a spectacular revival after Russia cast off its Soviet secularism, has launched a campaign to crack down on homosexuality.

“Lately I have been receiving threatening letters from the Orthodox Church. At first they just asked us to close our centre, but now they are threatening to resort to other means if we don’t cease our activities,” she says.

Male homosexuality in Russia was punishable by up to five years in prison while lesbians could be locked up in psychiatric institutions until May 1993, when then-president Mr Boris Yeltsin repealed Article 121 of the Criminal Code.


Derry mayor: "We will stamp out culture of homophobia"
Ben Townley, UK

The mayor of Northern Ireland city Derry has committed himself to stamping out homophobic attacks, after widespread reporting of the continued attacks on the local gay community.

Mayor Councillor Gearoid O'hEara held a meeting with the region's Rainbow Project last week in a bid to learn more about the attacks, as well as begin to devise solutions to the problem.

In the past 12 months, attacks on gay people have included verbal abuse, violent physical incidents and in one case excrement smeared on a gay man's home. One couple were also issued with a death threat because of their sexuality.


Anti-gay attacks soar; police encourage more reporting
Ben Townley, UK

Police in Swindon are calling for gay victims of a spate of anti-gay attacks to report the crimes, in a bid to stamp out homophobic violence in the area.

Local police say that some gay men are being targeted by attackers in cruising areas, with some even being subjected to blackmail and the threat of being outed.

PC Robin Stannard told local paper the Evening Advertiser that some men were being invited into toilet cubicles under the pretence of having sex, but were then threatened or attacked.

One victim was apparently found on the toilet floor covered in blood, but had disappeared before the officers got to the scene.


France Hands Gays 'A Piece Of Cake'
by Malcolm Thornberry Newscenter
European Bureau Chief

(Paris)  French gay rights groups are describing proposed new rights for same-sex couples as a modern day version of Marie Antoinette's famous "let them eat cake" line.

A day after the openly gay mayor of Paris's new autobiography was released in which he assails the government of President Jacques Chirac of reneging on campaign promises to the gay community, the government announced it would amend the tax laws for couples registered as domestic partners.

The government's 2005 budget, tabled Wednesday, will place the fiscal status of gay couples on a par with that of married people and make it easier for gays to give their partners money.

But, in making the announcement the government said it would continue its campaign against same-sex marriage.


Rights board backlash
By Tim Benzie
Sydney Star Observer


The Anti-Discrimination Board is no longer operating as an effective lobby group for gay, lesbian and transgender rights, activists said this week.

Sydney’s Gender Centre has boycotted the ADB’s community consultation meetings for failing to consult with transgender people.

And former ADB president Chris Puplick told the Star the board has “ceased to be a major contributor to the processes of progressive law reform in NSW”.

The Gender Centre boycott reflects discontent with the Anti-Discrimination Board since the board’s budget was cut by 23 percent last year, prompting strikes and protests.


Judge won't let lawmakers enter gay marriage ban suit
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Several Georgia lawmakers who support a proposed ban on gay marriage will have to watch the legal showdown over the Nov. 2 referendum from the sidelines.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell denied a motion Tuesday by state Sen. Mike Crotts (R-Conyers) and five other lawmakers to step in as defendants in a lawsuit filed last week by the Georgia ACLU, Lambda Legal and the law firm of Alston and Bird. The suit seeks to remove from the ballot the question defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The lawsuit contends the proposed constitutional amendment violates the state's single-subject rule because it pertains to multiple issues, including marriage and civil unions. The suit also argues that the question voters will see — a short summary of the amendment — is misleading. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

"The court finds that [their] interests in this matter are more than adequately represented by the named defendant," Russell wrote in the order.


For nearly 2,000 years, mahu were accommodated as part of the ‘ohana Hawai‘i, but today they feel the need to band together. Mahu means “queer.”
by: Joseph W. Bean

.If you were in Kalama Park on the first Sunday of June, you probably saw hundreds of men and women playing volleyball, eating like their lives depended on it and talking story in clumps all over the place. A very large family reunion? Maybe you also saw some of the men running a foot race with relay-type stops where they put on wigs, heels and dresses. Not something you’d see in your ordinary family reunion, really.

The family in the park was the Both Sides Now (BSN) ‘ohana, Maui’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens and their friends. They were celebrating Gay Pride Day as they do every year on that Sunday.


HRC Reconsiders Stance on Gay Rights
Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Republican Club (HRC) considered but did not vote on a proposal that called for the group to withhold support for the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) at its first meeting of the year last night.

Two general board members, Joshua A. Barro ’05 and Annie M. Lewis ’07, said they drafted the proposal—tabled until next week’s meeting—to prevent a major division between members who generally agree on other issues.


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