poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, April 21, 2006

He's the chat show queen of Pakistan

Begum Ali is the Dame Edna Everage of the Islamic world, thanks to a television revolution
Declan Walsh in Karachi
Sunday April 23, 2006
The Observer

By day Ali Salim has stubble, scruffy jeans and a taste for cigarettes. But at night he pulls on a sequinned sari and high heels to become Begum Nawazish Ali - catty chatshow queen and South Asia's first cross-dressing TV presenter.

'She's every woman's inspiration and every man's fancy,' smiles 27-year-old actor Salim, his nails painted gold and his eyebrows plucked after filming the latest episode of Late Night with Begum Nawazish Ali, Pakistan's answer to Dame Edna Everage.


IRS plays politics with tax code
Tortured logic behind rulings on domestic partners, transgender surgery

Those who suspect that bias might have deprived "Brokeback Mountain"  of the best picture Oscar and hobbled "Transamerica's" consideration  might feel the same about the IRS' recent treatment of domestic  partners and transgender people. So should everybody.

The two IRS rulings may not seem troublesome at first. The IRS ruled  that, when filing individual returns, each registered domestic  partner in California must report his or her own individual salary,  rather than half of both partners' combined income (sometimes called  income splitting). It also ruled that costs of gender reassignment  surgery are not deductible medical expenses. What's the big deal?


Gay couples in Belgium get adoption rights

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The Belgian parliament has narrowly approved a bill to grant same-sex couples equal rights in adoption.
Senators backed the proposal Thursday by a vote of 34 to 33 with two abstentions. The House had earlier voted 77-62 in favor of the bill.
With the adoption of the bill, Belgium becomes the fourth European Union member state to allow same-sex couples equal rights in adoption, after Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden


Transgendered seek campus support
Many say they don't feel equal

Two years ago, an incoming freshman at MIT changed dormitories four times in five months, going from one for all girls, to another for all boys, back to one for girls, and finally to a private room on a coed floor.

University officials could not figure out where to place a student who had the body of a woman but identified himself as a male and dressed like one.

The student, who did not want his name used because he feared it could hurt his chance s of getting into a medical school, says MIT gave him little support.

Many transgender students and staff members at colleges and universities, including about 100 who rallied at Harvard University yesterday, echo the student's complaint. They say colleges, even as they are amending their nondiscrimination policies to include gender identity, are not doing enough to make transgender students at ease on campus.


Standoff at Caledonia
McGuinty comes under fire in legislature as natives resist predawn OPP raid
With reports from Gloria Galloway and Canadian Press
TORONTO -- The worst confrontation between Ontario police and natives since an aboriginal protester was shot dead a decade ago has landed on the doorstep of Premier Dalton McGuinty, just one day after he pledged a peaceful resolution.
A police raid intended to remove a score of occupiers from a disputed tract of land in Southwestern Ontario yesterday morning ended with more than 200 people from the Six Nations reserve regaining control amid scenes of burning tires, overturned vehicles and shaken police officers.
The ghost of the Ipperwash tragedy came back to haunt the government as Mr. McGuinty was grilled during Question Period over what role, if any, his cabinet played in the police raid and why he had not resolved a dispute that has been simmering for more than a year.">


Bloomington council approves protections for transgender people

Bloomington, Ind., April 20 - The Bloomington City Council has voted unanimously to approve adding protections for transgender people to the city's human rights ordinance.
The amendment adds "gender identity" as a protected category against discrimination to city code, just like race, religion, disability or sex.
A supporter of the amendment, Bree Hartlage, says including gender identity is a move toward equal rights for all residents.


Parents rip school over gay storybook
Lesson reignites clash in Lexington
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff  

In a controversy with a familiar ring, parents of a Lexington second-grader are protesting that their son's teacher read a fairy tale about gay marriage to the class without warning parents first.

The teacher at Joseph Estabrook Elementary School used the children's book, ''King & King," as part of a lesson about different types of weddings. A prince marries another prince instead of a princess in the book, which was on the American Library Association's list of the 10 most challenged books in 2004 because of its homosexual theme.


Russian Constitutional Court to Hear 'Gay Marriage' Case Next Year
By Terry Vanderheyden

UFA, Bashkortostan, April 20, 2006 ( – A deputy in the State Assembly of a Russian Republic has been granted an inquiry by the country’s constitutional court, to investigate the legality of same-sex “marriage.”
Edvard Murzin, an MP from Bashkortostan – a republic with autonomous status in the southern Urals region – was denied a marriage license last year after attempting to marry a homosexual activist from Moscow. Although a heterosexual, Murzin calls himself a champion of homosexual “rights”, according to a UK Gay News report.


Pope Goes on a Tear against Gay Families

Benedict XVI used his first Good Friday sermon to tell Catholic faithful, “Surely God is deeply pained by the attack on the family. Today we seem to be witnessing a kind of anti-Genesis, a counter-plan, a diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family.” He took aim at “attempts to make [marriage] juridically equivalent to radically different forms of unions which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization.”


Christian law group sues over school prayer club, anti-gay speech
4/20/2006, 6:13 p.m. ET
The Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A national Christian law group sued a suburban school district on free-speech grounds, saying the district censors prayer club members and threatens discipline if students speak out against homosexuality.
The federal lawsuit against the Downingtown Area School District mirrors others filed by the Alliance Defense Fund that accuse schools of implementing "Orwellian speech code(s)


Students rally to protest Cumberlands' anti-gay policy
By Mark Pitsch
The Courier-Journal
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — About 50 students from across the state rallied here yesterday to support a gay student expelled from the University of the Cumberlands.
The off-campus rally came a day after the private, Baptist-affiliated school agreed to let Jason Johnson, the expelled student, finish classes for the semester.


Court Rules Against Gay-Bashing T-Shirts
By Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
1:50 PM PDT, April 20, 2006

Schools in the western United States can forbid a high school student from wearing a T-shirt that denigrates gay and lesbian students, a sharply divided federals appeals court in San Francisco ruled today.

In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a T-shirt that proclaimed "Be Ashamed, Our School Embraced What God Has Condemned'' on the front and "Homosexuality Is Shameful'' on the back was "injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn.'' The court said that the shirt can be barred on a public high school campus without violating the 1st Amendment.

"We conclude that'' Poway High School student Tyler Harper's wearing of his T-shirt " 'collides with the rights of other students' in the most fundamental way,'' wrote 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, quoting a passage from Tinker vs. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision on the free speech rights of students


Gay Methodist ministers plead for acceptance
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Dozens of gay and lesbian Methodist ministers have anonymously signed a letter acknowledging their sexuality and calling for further inclusion in the church.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Queer Community Seeing Red Over Blood-Donation Policy

BURLINGTON -- A gay man who is HIV-negative, practices safe sex, and has been in a monogamous relationship for 20 years is ineligible for life to give blood to the American Red Cross. But a heterosexual man who’s had unprotected sex with dozens of women in the last year can donate blood every eight weeks. The policy makes the blood of LGBT activists boil at the University of Vermont; they’re asking the administration to stop the Red Cross from holding blood drives on campus until the policy is changed.


Rally supports gay student expelled from Ky. school

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. — About 50 students from across the state rallied here Wednesday to mark what one speaker called a gay-rights “turning point” in Kentucky.

The crowd included more than a dozen students from the University of the Cumberlands, which Tuesday agreed to let a gay student it had expelled finish classes for the semester.

“I respect the school for making that decision and realizing that everyone needs an education,” said Melissa Bond, 21, a Cumberlands senior from Cincinnati.

Israeli Supreme Court to hear ‘gay marriage’ case

JERUSALEM (BP)–Israel’s Supreme Court has announced it will hear a “gay marriage” case in May, raising the possibility that the land where Christ once walked will recognize “marriage” between homosexuals.

The announcement, reported first by the homosexual news service 365Gay, comes as more and more countries worldwide redefine marriage. Canada, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands have legalized “gay marriage,” and South Africa is expected to follow suit this year. Oral arguments before the Israeli court will take place May 28, according to the news service.

The Israel case involves a handful of homosexual couples who were “married” in Canada and returned to Israel, where they filed suit to have their “marriages” recognized there. The couples’ attorney apparently is asking only that out-of-country “gay marriages” be recognized, and not that Israel itself grant licenses to homosexual couples. Nevertheless, that would be a significant liberalization of its marriage law – and a very significant win for homosexuals in the Holy Land. Marriage law in Israel is defined by Orthodox Jewish law.


Nepal's gay community joins anti-king protests

KATHMANDU: With the protests against King Gyanendra's absolute reign snowballing in Nepal, the kingdom's homosexual community has pledged solidarity with the protesters.

Blue Diamond Society, the only gay rights organisation in the country, said it was joining the "historic democratic movement" for ousting the "autocratic" government of Gyanendra.

As the anti-king demonstrations and a nationwide shutdown called to force the monarch to relinquish power entered the 14th day on Wednesday, homosexuals and trans-genders as well as office bearers of Blue Diamond Society here donned black arm bands to protest against the "black reign of the king".


Mich. transsexual murdered in motel

Autopsy results confirmed that a 31-year-old Michigan transsexual found Tuesday in a Motel 6 in Elk Grove Village was a homicide victim.
Krystal Heskin, 31, of the 6800 block of Meadow Ave. in Warren, Mich., died as a result of craniocerebral injuries and blunt force trauma to the head, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office said after an autopsy on Wednesday. Heskin was pronounced dead at 12:40 a.m. Tuesday at the Stein Institute, according to a an office spokeswoman.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

US Top Court Rules Pro-Gay

In a stunner of a decision, the US Supreme Court has declined without comment to take up Rev Jerry Falwell's appeal challenging a gay New York man for running a Web site that is critical of the Reverend's stance on homosexuality, among other claims.


Gay rights group asks that funds for Baptist university be vetoed

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A gay rights group asked Gov. Ernie Fletcher Wednesday to veto state funding for a private Baptist university after a student claimed he was expelled for being gay.

The organization asked Fletcher to veto $11 million that Kentucky lawmakers approved earlier this week for building a pharmacy school and providing scholarships at the private University of the Cumberlands in southeastern Kentucky. Advocates hand-delivered a binder to Fletcher's office containing hundreds of letters and e-mails supporting their request.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Protest program by Blue Diamond Society against the current autocracy in Nepal.

With the support from National and International communities and all the civil societies, minority groups, socially deprived/marginalized communities, political parties, business organizations and general public are involving and demonstrating against the current autocratic government and king to restore the absolute democracy. 'Blue Diamond Society'- family members and staffs would like to express our hearty solidarity and joins the protest/agitations for this historic Democratic movement in Nepal.


Born different
By Muna Al-Fuzai

They have chosen to be different. They were born with male or female bodies. They decided that they don't want to keep on going in life as a man or a woman. They wanted to be the opposite. Are they sick? Or are they normal human beings with different emotions? We call them various names and we judge them by the way they look, talk and act. Today those people whom we call different are our subject for local spotlight.

What do we call them and to what extent they are welcomed in our lives? Would you allow your teenager kids to hang out with one of them or maybe spend the night at their house? I don't mean sharing the same bed -- so don't get me wrong here! Is it creepy? Or is it okay?


Gays in Iraq fear for their lives
By Michael McDonough
BBC News website

That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.
They say that since the US-led invasion, gays are being killed because of their sexual orientation.

They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

(never trust the majority)

Voters May Decide On Gay Rights Ordinance

The recently passed ordinance that would provide discrimination protection to gays would have gone into effect on Monday.

But now, it may be up to the voters to decide the issue instead.


Hong Kong turns down gay marriage

Hong Kong, home to hundreds of thousands of British nationals, has blocked local residents from entering into same-sex civil unions at the British Consulate, a spokeswoman at the consulate said Sunday.
Hong Kong's Home Affairs Bureau told the consulate Tuesday that the Chinese territory would not allow same-sex couples to marry on the mission's premises, the spokeswoman, Vanessa Gould, said.
British law allows British nationals to enter civil unions with non-British nationals of the same gender at British diplomatic offices worldwide, so long as the local government does not object.