Monday, October 5, 2009

Anti-Gay group create Petition for Buju Banton to allow him to perform despite gay protest

The petition

Paul Tollett
5750 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 501
Los Angeles, California 90210
Tel: (323) 930-5700

Dear Paul Tollett:

We the fans of international Reggae icon, Buju Banton, are outraged by your decision to pull the shows from Club Nokia in Los Angeles and the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco!

Buju Banton does not perform "murder music" or promote "killing gays." That song "Boom Bye Bye" was written nearly twenty years ago, when Buju was a 15-year-old boy. Despite what the gay lobby would have the world believe -- we the fans know it is not even close to being representative of who the artist is today.

A multiple Grammy nominee with an extensive catalog that abounds with positive music, Buju Banton has already proven himself a sustaining talent of extraordinary ability. Just ask the fans, which include celebrities Gwen Stefani, John Legend, Dave Stewart, Johnny Borrell, Sinead O'Conner, Wyclef Jean, Jeremy Piven and Patrick Ewing. We know the real Buju and we will not allow this slanderous 17-year-old campaign against him to continue without making our voices heard!

This recent one-sided decision gives activism" a bad name and sets a horrible precedent for the arts in America. Goldenvoice must not forget its long history of standing up for the underdog and uphold its commitment to ALL music lovers. We strongly urge you to reconsider and allow Buju Banton, one of the most important artists of our time, to play the AEG/Goldenvoice venues in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Friends & fans of Buju Banton, the Caribbean community at large, music lovers worldwide!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Open Letter to Buju Banton’s Manager Tracii McGregor

In your open letter dated September 3, you state that you’re “setting the record straight” on “grossly inaccurate portrayals” of Buju Banton, following the recent cancellation of many of his performances.

You claim, as you have in several media reports, that Banton was only 15-years-old when he wrote the song that glorifies the murder of gay men, “Boom, Bye Bye.”

What you don’t mention is that he and your record label not only continue to profit from the sale of this song, still available for purchase on compilation albums, but that Banton has continued to perform it—in 2006 in Miami, and as recently as 2007 at the Guyana Music Festival. If the song’s “not a call to violence,” as you claim, then what exactly does Banton mean when he sings: “faggots… have to die” and that he will shoot them in the head and “burn them up bad?”

Though it’s disturbing someone so young could have enough rage to write those lyrics, Banton continues to perform and justify it nearly two decades later when he is clearly an adult man. This song is sadly reflective of the anti-gay culture in Jamaica… a culture that Banton helps to sustain through his music; a culture that resulted in the brutal murder of prominent gay Jamaicans in the last five years, including the gay rights campaigner Brian Williamson and the HIV educator Steve Harvey. Indeed, when Williamson’s body was discovered crowds gathered outside his house and started cheering and singing "Boom Bye Bye" in celebration of his killing. This and similar gay-bashing violence led Time magazine to recently ask if Jamaica is “the most homophobic place on Earth.” And it was just a few days ago that a gay British diplomat was murdered in Jamaica, in what many believe was a hate-motivated homophobic killing.

As you know, Banton himself was charged with a gay bashing attack just five years ago, though—under suspicious circumstances—he was acquitted.

While “setting the record straight,” you didn’t mention that in 2007, when some of Banton’s European concerts were threatened with cancellation, he signed the “Reggae Compassionate Act” (under his real name: Mark Myrie) agreeing (among other things) to never perform anti-gay songs. Perhaps you neglected to mention this, because just weeks later, Banton denied he ever signed it and continued to perform “Boom, Bye Bye.”

You cite, as an example of Banton’s “love for humanity,” his support for disadvantaged youth and his creation of a foundation to help HIV-positive babies. “He has spent an entire career making amends,” you say. But curiously, you never mention what he has said or done to atone for more than 18 years of performing a song that glorifies the murder of gay people. The only quote I can find from Baton on the issue is in a news story from three years ago, in which he says of gay rights groups: “Fuck them. I have never bashed any gays before, and if I bashed gays, I bashed them 16 years ago.”

I believe everyone has the potential to let go of whatever rage and hate they may have in their heart. If Banton is truly remorseful for performing “Boom, Bye Bye” and contributing to the anti-gay climate in Jamaica, and publicly vows to never perform the song again, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center would be happy to support an end to the boycott of his concerts.

In fact, while Banton is in the U.S., we’d like to invite him to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to meet with us and to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act again. While here, we’d love to talk to him about the impact of hate speech and to meet with some of the homeless LGBT youth who live in our transitional-living program… youth who are victims of a homophobic culture, fostered by songs like “Boom, Bye Bye.”

You say that “our war against one artist” has prevented “a more fruitful discussion that could perhaps effect real change.” The unfortunate truth is that Banton is just one Reggae singer who has glorified the murder of LGBT people and we’ve protested against the others (Capleton, Sizzla, and Beenie Man) as well. The goal, however, has never been to silence artists—it has been to put an end to music that promotes violence against LGBT people. We’d like nothing more than to have a fruitful discussion that will result in the end of such music. Will you and Buju Banton take us up on this offer, Ms. McGregor?

Lorri L. Jean, CEO
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

GAY PROTEST outside the Hilton Hotel

Saturday’s Night peaceful protest outside the Hilton Kingston Hotel makes the first ever public display of gay rights lobby in Jamaica. LGBT activists and volunteers showed there frustration in silence, by standing outside the Hilton Hotel with a big “bright rainbow flag,” to draw more attention to the Hotel’s treatment of LGBT citizen.

The decision to have a peaceful demonstration outside the Hilton came only weeks after a member of the lgbt community was attack and drag outside the hotel from members of the security team, for not having enough money to pay for the dinner he order.

On August 7, 2009 a board member of OUTWEEKLY, was stop, verbally harass and ask to leave the Hotel because he was perceive to be a homosexual. “The Hotel don’t have enough water for u fishes” (there is no space at the hotel for homosexuals), “its time we start killing out you faggots, too much of you guys now.” Say members of the security team.

This marks the latest campaign brought against the Hotel, with letter writing, text sending and “the snow ball technique,” we where able to see a reduction in visit from members of the lgbt community. If our letters remain unanswered by management at the Hilton Hotel, we will be force to take more drastic measures in dealing with homophobia at the Hilton.

Writing letters to the Jamaica Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism, picketing events and promoter who choose the Hilton Hotel to have there events and business meetings are some of the steps we are going to take against the Hotel.

The Campaign aims to create an atmosphere free from discrimination and fear, to promote love and understanding for everyone who decides to visit or vocation at the Hiltons regardless of sexual orientation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Buju Banton tour in the US continues.

Reggae artist Buju Banton tours on despite pressure from GLBT groups who have rallied against Banton’s U.S. tour due to his song about killing gays, "Boom Bye Bye."

A Sept. 18 article in the Jamaica Observer read, "In [the] face of fierce opposition to his current US tour from the gay community, Buju Banton, no stranger to controversy, no doubt is reaching for the Inna Heights of his Unchained Spirit (in the vein of two of his finest albums), is determined not to be outdone by his detractors."

Citing "threats by strong arm thugs from the gay community," the article reported that Banton would not be appearing at The National for his Sept. 26 Richmond, VA concert, but would instead perform at The Hat Factory.

Several appearances by Banton in other U.S. cities were canceled after GLBT groups, citing Banton’s anti-gay anthem, a song that celebrates shooting gay men and then incinerating their bodies, put pressure on promoters.

The song’s lyrics, as rendered into American standard English, declare:

"Get an automatic or an Uzi instead
Shoot them now
When Buju Banton arrives
Faggots have to run
Or get a bullet in the head
Bang-bang in a faggot’s head
Homeboys don’t condone nasty men
They must die."

Banton is touring the United States on his "Rasta Got Soul" tour.

The article said that Banton’s "struggle" with "gay lynch mobs" was "far from over."

An unnamed source was quoted as saying, "It seems as if the gays are definitely out to get Buju this year; all his shows at the House of Blues and all venues which are under the Live Nation/AEG Live, are canceled."

The source continued, "Another show, this one in Virginia has also been canceled, but the promoter, whose pet name is Buju and whose company is called Lionheart Promotions, is determined not to be outdone by the gay community, so he found another venue."

The article claimed that GLBTs opposed to Banton’s tour threatened violence should the artist perform in Richmond.

The article also noted that a planned Oct. 3 performance in Columbus, Ohio, had been scrubbed.

The article quoted from a release issued by Banton’s label, Gargamel Music, which was sent out under the title "The voice of Jamaica will not be silenced."

The release referenced a desire to correct what it called "the grossly inaccurate portrait of Buju being painted by certain organizations and systematically relayed to the masses and the media."

Explained the release, "Buju Banton was all of 15 years old when he wrote ’Boom Bye Bye’ in response to widely publicized man/boy rape case in Jamaica. It was not a call to violence.

"The song was released on a popular dancehall rhythm in 1992 and caused a huge uproar after receiving commercial radio play in the States," the release continued.

"Following much public debate back then, prominent gay rights leaders and Buju decidedly moved on.

"For the record, it is the only song he ever made on the subject--and he does not perform it today."

GLBT rights organizations are not convinced, citing Banton’s allegedly having signed on to a pact against violence and then distanced himself from that agreement.

Banton reportedly continues to perform the song, which has allegedly been sung by anti-gay mobs in his home country.

Moreover, anti-gay violence in Jamaica has drawn headlines in recent years, with gangs breaking into houses to attack gay men.

Banton himself reportedly faced charges in connection with just such a housebreaking and assault.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Human Rights Watch Report -They Want Us Exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq,

The number of deliberate attacks against homosexual men in Iraq has risen precipitously this year at the hands of Iraqi militias and death squads, according to a report released today by an international human rights organization.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) interviewed nearly 50 gay Iraqi men for the report, publishing their harrowing stories about the crackdown on gays and documenting the wide-reaching campaign of targeted executions, kidnappings, abductions, death threats and torture of gay men and men suspected of homosexual conduct.

The 67-page report, entitled "They Want Us Exterminated: Murder, Torture, Sexual Orientation and Gender in Iraq," says the killings have spread from the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City to many cities across the Middle East country, with Baghdad experiencing the most severe "killing campaign." Human Rights Watch estimates several hundred men have died from homosexual targeted attacks.

HRW says Iraqi police and security forces have done little to investigate or quell the violence against Iraqi homosexuals and many Iraqis doubt the government's sincerity and success to purge key officials with militia ties. According to the report, no arrests or prosecutions have been announced and the human rights watchdog says it has heard of accounts of police complicity in abuse, which ranges from harassing "effeminate" men at checkpoints, to possible abduction and extrajudicial killing.

"Iraq's leaders are supposed to defend all Iraqis, not abandon them to armed agents of hate, said HRW's Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program, in a statement. "Turning a blind eye to torture and murder threatens the rights and life of every Iraqi."

The men interviewed by HRW described how corpses have been dumped in the garbage or hung as warnings on the street. According to testimonies, the attackers invaded homes, abducted men and interrogated and brutalized them to extract names of other people suspected of homosexual conduct. The doctors who spoke with HRW researchers said they have found mutilated bodies with their anuses glued shut.

HRW says many of the Iraqis interviewed in the report believe the Mahdi Army, the militia led by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite religious cleric, bears primary responsibility for the murders and spearheaded the killings earlier this year. Mahdi Army spokesmen have "promoted fears about the 'third sex' and the 'feminization' of Iraq men, suggesting that militia action was the remedy," according to the report.

Iraqi men who have acclimated to Western fashion trends are viewed as less "manly" and often singled out as homosexuals by religious and militia groups. Iraqi men who wear their hair long, shave their facial hair or dress in tight, fitted clothing become targets by religious militias. Cafes and barbershops once frequented by homosexuals have also come under attack. According to Hamid, an Iraqi interviewed in the report, murderers and thieves are respected more than gay people.

Consensual homosexual conduct between adults is allowed under Iraqi law but illegal in all countries surrounding Iraq except Jordan and Turkey. Islam forbids homosexuality. HRW says the targeted killings were committed without evidence or trial.

Iraqi homosexuals did not live in fear or feel forced to leave their homes and villages when former president Saddam Hussein ruled the country, says Hossein Alizadeh of International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Homosexual men faced death threats and warnings after the 2003 U.S. invasion, Alizadeh said, because Saddam's ouster left power vacuums for religious militias.

"Saddam was a political dictator but not a religious leader," said Alizadeh. "Homosexuals were tolerated under Saddam because he didn't feel threatened from that section of society."

Homosexuality remains a forbidden, even taboo, topic for many Iraqis and the lack of understanding and sympathy from the public allows militias to kill effeminate men with tacit approval, says Alizadeh. Many Iraqi homosexuals, or those perceived to be, are an embarrassment to their families and tribes and are killed by the hands of loved ones, he said.

"Iraq is a religious and traditional society and killers of homosexuals are very proud of what they do...they see it as a social service, a cleansing of society," he said.

The United States government has recently begun to address the plight of homosexual Iraqis after the media and international human rights organizations brought awareness to the problem. In June, U.S. State Dept. Spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters the U.S. condemned violence and abuse against homosexuals in Iraq.

"In general we absolutely condemn acts of violence and human rights violations against individuals in Iraq because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," he said.

"Our training of Iraqi security forces includes instruction on the proper observance of human rights. Human rights training is also a very important part of our and other international donors' civilian capacity-building effort in Iraq."

U.S. Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who toured Iraq in April and spoke with men sentenced to death for being members of an Iraqi organization known as Iraqi LGBT, has written letters to the U.S. Embassy in Iraq and U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, demanding an investigation of human rights abuses.

Rep. Polis said the U.S. has a responsibility to address these allegations of persecutions of gays.

"The U.S. should take a strong stand for human rights and exert its influence for human rights - for all Iraqis," he said by phone. "The U.S. has a heavy involvement in Iraq, has a close relationship with the Iraqi government and billions of taxpayers' money are there."

Rep. Polis said about five percent of the Iraqi population is homosexual, however, there are no official aggregate statistics for this group. The numbers used by international human rights organizations are based on known individual cases.

In April, London-based Amnesty International expressed its concern about the Iraqi government's failure to address and publicly condemn the killing of young men because of their sexual orientation to the Iraqi government, but said its letter written to the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has remained unanswered.

Amnesty International's Said Boumedouha says Iraqi gay men have to hide their homosexuality or flee their neighborhoods in fear that neighbors will report their names to religious militia groups. Boumedouha says the majority of killings take place in Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq and the state simply cannot protect this minority anymore.

"The policemen, the security forces are turning a blind eye to the killings, they are sympathetic with the militias," he said. "Nothing has been done to stop the violence. The 'so-called' investigations have brought no one to justice."

Some homosexual Iraqis have sought asylum in other Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Kurdistan with the financial assistance of NGOs. Human Rights Watch, like other international organizations, has called on the United Nations High Commission for Refugees as well as other governments that accept Iraqi refugees to offer rapid resettlement to homosexual and transgender Iraqis.

Jamaica: A grim place to be gay

In the wake of the murder of the British honorary consul in Jamaica, in an apparent queer-bashing attack, is it time to make British and EU aid to Jamaica contingent on the Caribbean island's repeal of its anti-gay laws and its tougher action against homophobic violence?

Some years ago, a Jamaican newspaper falsely claimed there was going to be a Gay Pride march in Kingston. Hundreds of people wielding guns, machetes, clubs and knives turned up at the alleged starting point of the march. They had come to kill the "batty men". Armed police turned up too - not to protect the gay marchers, but I believe to help murder them.

Under Jamaican law, consenting adult male homosexuality is a crime punishable by 10 years of hard labour. Paedophiles are treated more leniently. Men who sexually abuse girls in their early teens face only seven years in jail.

Not all Jamaicans are homophobic but it seems Jamaican police view all gays as criminals. They mostly refuse to protect them. Amnesty International confirms that gays and lesbians have been "beaten, cut, burned, raped and shot on account of their sexuality". Amnesty says the Jamaican police are themselves often the perpetrators of homophobic "violence and torture".

Gays taken to hospital after being beaten by homophobes risk the ordeal of hostile doctors and nurses. Some have been insulted and ridiculed by staff and made to wait nearly 24 hours for medical treatment.

Successive Jamaican Prime Ministers have failed to challenge homophobic violence. The Police Commissioner has done nowhere near enough to crack down on the violence. The killers of gays usually get away with murder. "It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban," one gay Jamaican told me.

The homophobic lynch mob mentality is worse in Jamaica than in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Not long ago, a homophobic crowd burst into a church and beat up mourners attending the funeral of a gay man.

This anti-gay hatred is inflamed by Jamaica's fire and brimstone Christian churches. The local Anglican archbishop, Drexel Gomez, is a vociferous opponent of gay human rights.

Homophobic violence is openly incited by Jamaica's leading pop stars. Some of their most popular hit tunes urge listeners to shoot, burn, stab, hang and drown queers. These songs are incitement to murder, which is a criminal offence under Jamaican law. But the government and police refuse to prosecute the singers.

It is time British and EU aid was made contingent on Jamaica repealing its anti-gay laws and protecting its citizens against homophobic violence.


Monday, September 14, 2009

British consul killed in 'homophobic' attack in Jamaica – note on his bed called him a 'batty man'

A British honourary consul has been found murdered at his home in Jamaica, in what police believe is a homophobic attack.

John Terry, 65, was found at his home with severe head injuries and a cord and piece of clothing around his neck. He is thought to have been beaten around the head and upper body with a lamp. Post-mortem examination results released today showed he died of strangulation.

A note found on the bed called him a "batty man" – a homophobic term of abuse. It added: "This is what will happen to ALL gays" and was signed "Gay-Man".

Although Mr Terry's wallet and phone were stolen, police do not believe robbery was a motive for the killing.

According to various reports, a detective working on the case said: "It might be that someone took exception to Mr Terry.

"We do have reports that he has been seen with another man. It is likely he could have known his killer.”

Mr Terry's body was discovered on Wednesday afternoon after a neighbour raised concerns that a light had been left on all night. There was no sign of forced entry to the property.

He was the British honorary consul to the Montenegro Bay area and had worked for the past 12 years helping tourists who had gotten into difficulties.

He is thought to have separated from his wife three years ago. She and his two children live in Kingston, Jamaica's capital.

Jamaica is known to be one of the most homophobic countries in the world. Gay sex between two men can carry a ten-year jail sentence or hard labour. Sex between two women is currently legal but many lesbians face persecution.

Foreign secretary David Miliband offered his sympathies to Mr Terry's family: "John Terry was a key member of our team in Jamaica and had been an honorary consul for 13 years, but with many years of other service to the British community in Jamaica before then.

"Honorary consuls like John play a valuable role in our work overseas and this was especially true of John who helped many, many British visitors to Jamaica over the years.

"My thoughts are with his wife and children. He will be greatly missed too by colleagues and all those who knew him."

Friday, September 11, 2009

possible anti-AIDS gene structure

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) - Swiss university researchers have reproduced a gene structure found in a South American monkey that could act against the AIDS virus, according to a study published yesterday.

This discovery could pave the way to a new treatment against AIDS, University of Geneva researchers said in the study published in the online version of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Discovered in 2004 in owl monkeys by a group of scientists at New York's Columbia University, the gene brings about the production of a protein that has shown resistance against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

The team of Geneva University researchers have now managed to reproduce this gene artificially, after having discovered that it corresponded to a fusion of two human genes.

In the research, the team kept the new fusion gene alive in human blood cells and also successfully transplanted it in a mouse that demonstrated the same immunity characteristics as in a human.

The reproduced gene had the same effects against the virus as the original gene found in the owl monkey, the team observed.

"The gene that we have made could be used as an alternative for drugs... that some people don't support," said Jeremy Luban, the professor leading the team of researchers.

"The gene could be used as a gene therapeutic against the HIV... and could be transplanted in a person with HIV," Luban told AFP.

Luban, who also led the Columbia University team that first discovered the gene in 2004, said he is now investigating how the gene blocks the AIDS virus.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Can I change my 'homo' ways?

Dear Pastor,

I have been a lesbian for the last seven years but every time I attempted to change my lifestyle, something comes back in my way. People should stop judging homosexuals because they don't know why they have become what they are. Is it possible that I can change after so many years?

S., Jamaica

Dear S.,

I do not believe that anyone is beyond God's deliverance. It was not very long ago, I saw an interview on television of a man who said he was a homosexual but he has now given up that lifestyle. I understand that there are organisations in the United States of America whose main purpose is to help people who are desirous of changing their lifestyle as gays. Those who are leaders in some of these groups are former homosexuals.

God can deliver

In America the 'Ex-Gay Ministries,' is big. I suggest, therefore, that you do your own research. You have been a lesbian for seven years but God can deliver you as he has delivered others. You will not receive help if you do not have the desire to change your lifestyle, but you do seem to have the desire to change.

May I suggest further that you make an appointment to see a Christian counsellor and ask him/her to help you. In the meantime, read your Bible, go to church and pray everyday. Do your best to stay away from those who would encourage you to continue to practise homosexuality.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Peter Tatchell - Apology and Correction - by Raw Nerve Books

Raw Nerve Books wishes to make an unreserved apology to the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and to the LGBT human rights organisation OutRage!, regarding untrue allegations published in the book, Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality, edited by Adi Kuntsman & Esperanza Miyake (Raw Nerve Books, 2008).

These untrue allegations appeared in the chapter, Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the 'War on Terror', by Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem.

We regret that this chapter contains serious, defamatory untruths concerning Peter Tatchell and OutRage! It casts unjustified doubt on their character, motives and integrity, and involves a fundamental misrepresentation of their campaigns.

We accept that the human rights work of Mr Tatchell and OutRage! is motivated by a sincere support for people struggle against tyranny and injustice, and has involved valuable assistance to many LGBT campaigners in the UK and worldwide.

Raw Nerve Books hereby offers the following correction to the offending erroneous chapter in Out of Place:

Contrary to the claims made in the book, Out of Place, Mr Tatchell has never "claimed the role of liberator and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians." He is not Islamophobic and is not "part of the Islamophobia industry." Nor is OutRage!

Neither he nor OutRage! are racist. They have not engaged in "racial" politics. Mr Tatchell has never described "Muslims as Nazis" and he has never made the equation "Muslim=Nazi" or "Muslim=Evil." He has never "collaborated with the extreme right" and never "participated with several racist and fascist groups."

Mr Tatchell has never "employed tactics of intimidation and aggressive divide and rule", nor has he "attempted to discredit those who resist his patronage." He does not "sling mud onto Muslim communities". The Nigerian same-sex marriage bill was not "already defeated." It was merely dormant and was soon afterwards revived, as Mr Tatchell, OutRage! and some Nigerian LGBT activists predicted.

The condemnation of Mr Tatchell and OutRage! by a number of African LGBT activists in 2007 was signed by people who did not know Mr Tatchell and OutRage! and who had never had any connection with them. They were therefore not making an informed judgement based on their personal experience. The letter of condemnation resulted from
untrue gossip spread by one person who was waging a sectarian political vendetta. All of the African LGBT activists who have worked with Mr Tatchell and OutRage! refused to sign it.

We accept that Peter Tatchell was one of the first LGBT campaigners to reject a western-centred approach to LGBT human rights and, from the early 1970s, to campaign for LGBT human rights universally and internationally, not just in Britain. He has worked in solidarity with many LGBT activists in the global south, acting to support, empower and publicise their freedom struggles, including J-Flag in Jamaica, GALZ in Zimbabwe, Iraqi LGBT in Iraq, Blue Diamond Society in Nepal, OLGA and GLOW in South Africa, the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organisation, Iranian Queer Rights Organisation and Iranian Queer Railroad in Iran, to name just a few.

In the UK, he has worked with, and has been supported by, Muslim and black rights campaigners, including Adnan Ali, Valerie Mason-John and Ali Hili, who are cited favourably in the same chapter of the book that condemns Mr Tatchell. Indeed, Mr Hili has been a long-standing member of OutRage! and its Middle East spokesperson - yet the authors did not mention this in their citation of his work for Iraqi LGBT.

Several UK LGBT black and Asian groups have worked and / or continue to work with Mr Tatchell and OutRage!, including the Black Gay Mens' Advisory Group, Black Lesbians and Gays Against Media Homophobia, Gay Uganda (UK), Iraqi LGBT (UK) and the Naz Project.

We accept that Mr Tatchell has never criticised Muslims in general, only Muslim fundamentalists - in the same way that he has also criticised all other forms of religious fundamentalism, Christian, Judaist and so on. In fact, his criticisms and protests against Christian fundamentalism have been far more numerous and robust than those challenging fundamentalist Muslims.

The insinuation that he is anti-Muslim is untrue. He has been in dialogue with Muslim community and faith leaders for many years. He is on record as condemning anti-Muslim prejudice and defending Muslim communities against racist attacks. He has campaigned to support Muslims seeking asylum, Muslims abused in prisons and Muslims falsely accused of terrorism.

We accept that Mr Tatchell a long history of anti-racism, dating back to the 1970s, including Rock Against Racism, the Anti-Nazi League and the Anti-Apartheid Movement. During past and recent elections, he has written and campaigned against the British National Party (BNP). For many years, he was targeted for violent attack by the far right because of his anti-racist stance.

At the March for Free Expression in 2006, fascists were not invited. They were told to stay away. Moreover, Mr Tatchell denounced the far right and racists during his speech from the podium.

We accept that Mr Tatchell has campaigned against imperialism for over 40 years. From the 1960s, he has been active in anti-imperialist solidarity campaigns, supporting the national liberation struggles of the peoples of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Oman, Nicaragua, Palestine, Western Sahara, East Timor and West Papua.

He has received personal thanks for his solidarity work from, among others, Thabo Mbeki, the former President of South Africa, and Jose Ramos Horta, the President of East Timor.

Mr Tatchell continues to campaign for the independence of the Western Sahara, Palestine and West Papua. He supports the struggles for democracy and human rights in Iran, Russia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Turkey, Columbia, Somaliland, Baluchistan, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Belarus and elsewhere. As well as opposing the war in Iraq and the western occupation, he has spoken out against US threats to attack Iran.

Raw Nerve Books very much regrets the unfounded, baseless allegations against Mr Tatchell and OutRage!, and invites our readers to visit Mr Tatchell's website to judge his record for themselves:

Raw Nerve Books
Centre for Women's Studies
University of York
York, YO10 5DD


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Lady Gaga: 'I'm gay, my show is gay, my fans are gay'

Lady Gaga told Kanye West he had to accept the gayness of her show before they went on tour together.

Speaking to Out magazine, the star said she told the rapper that their US joint show, scheduled for October, had to remain gay to keep her fans happy.

She said she told him: "I just want to be clear before we decide to do this together: I'm gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that it's gay. And I love my gay fans and they're all going to be coming to our show. And it's going to remain gay."

In the interview, she discussed how gay culture had shaped her work.

“When I started in the mainstream it was the gays that lifted me up,” she says. “I committed myself to them and they committed themselves to me, and because of the gay community I’m where I am today.”

“I very much want to inject gay culture into the mainstream,” she added. “It’s not an underground tool for me. It’s my whole life. So I always sort of joke the real motivation is to just turn the world gay.”

Gaga appears naked yet artfully arranged on the cover of the September issue of Out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

OUTWEEKLY to launch campaign on the Hilton Hotel Chain in Jamaica, after a series of attack on the countries LGBT community.

The Hilton Kingston Jamaica
77 Knutsford Boulevard Kingston 10, and

Rose Hall Resort & Spa, a Hilton Resort
Rose Hall Road, Montego Bay, Jamaica

After a series of verbal attacks and treats of violence and death from members of the security team and members of staff at the Hilton Kingston Jamaica, OUTWEEKLY have decided to take up the mammoth task by campaigning for change at the Hotel Chains in Jamaica.

With the theme “Zero tolerance for homophobes” OUTWEEKLY will collaborate with local and International organization in an effort to tackle the high level of homophobia and bigotry that are face by the countries LGBT community when staying or visiting at the Hilton Chain of Hotels in Jamaica.

The Campaign aims to create an atmosphere free from discrimination and fear, to promote love and understanding for everyone who decides to visit or vocation at the Hiltons regardless of sexual orientation.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Murder Music singer Elephant Man Ban

Homophobic dancehall musician Elephant Man was booked to perform at Circa nightclub on Aug 2 as part of Caribana weekend. But after some in Toronto’s gay communities expressed outrage, Circa staffers say they cancelled his appearance. Even so, independent event promoters say Elephant Man is still planning to appear.

Circa staff released a schedule of events for Caribana on Jul 28 that included a poster for the Celebrity Ball, a Sunday night event featuring a photo of Elephant Man as the headlining performer. Minutes after the material was sent, the Twitterfacefriendspacebook-o-net twitched to life with outrage among some of Toronto’s gay people. Circa staff quickly backpedalled, telling the Twitterfacefriendspacebook-o-net that his booking was cancelled. On the promo poster, the musician’s image was replaced by a question mark.

Elephant Man will not be performing,” Circa staffer Tika Simone. Staff at Circa say they were unaware of Elephant Man’s homophobic lyrics prior to the backlash and pulled him from the lineup as soon as they realized what a fuss it would create.

Elephant Man has been the target of international activist organization Stop Murder Music. The Canadian branch of the coalition helped convince Apple i-Tunes to stop selling songs that incited violence against gay and lesbian people.

Matt Thomas, an associate editor of Toronto’s fab magazine, which is operated by Pink Triangle Press, which also publishes Xtra, says he posted a note on his Facebook account about Elephant Man performing at Circa soon after he received the promotional material from Circa. He was surprised by how fast word spread online and by how fast Circa acted.

“As an activist I’m used to not getting what I want,” says Thomas. However this time, “I didn’t have to leave my desk and it took three hours.”

Thomas says banning homophobic artists, like Elephant Man, from entering Canada isn’t a good way to oppose homophobia. He says in this case the protest is about putting “socio-economic pressure” on businesses that make a living partly from the support of gay people. Thomas says he wants to encourage venues to think twice before booking homophobic musicians.

“It’s about targeting people who profit from hate,” says Thomas.

Akim Adé Larcher of Stop Murder Music Canada says that some Jamaican dancehall artists with homophobic lyrics will pull their homophobic songs from their show when performing in some countries. However, “They sing those songs when they return to their home countries,” he says. “The songs still incite violence and hate.”

Some of Elephant Man’s lyrics include lines such as, “Battyman fi dead! Tek dem by surprise” (queers must be killed! Take them by surprise) and “When yuh hear a Sodomite get raped/but a fi wi fault/it’s wrong/two women gonna hock up inna bed/that’s two Sodomites dat fi dead” (“When you hear a lesbian getting raped/ It’s not our fault ... Two women in bed/ That’s two Sodomites who should be dead.”)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Curacao's 'Get Wet' Weekend

WILLEMSTAD - The traditional annual Get Wet-weekend for gays will not only be extended this year to an entire week of festivities, but also entail serious activities, such as discussions, and the consecration of the relations of homosexual pairs.

The organization is in the hands of the Curaçao organized interest group for homos and lesbians, Fundashon Orguyo Kòrsou (Foko), and of Curaçao Gay Plasa.

The Curaçao Gay Pride-week, which will take place during the last week of September, aims to stimulate and propagate the sense of self-esteem of homos, lesbians, transsexuals, and transvestites to the own community.

“For that matter, Pride does stand for proper pride, not in the sense of boasting, but with regards to self-awareness and self-esteem. We also view this widely under the terms of the human rights”, says Mario Kleinmoedig, chairman of Foko. The activities match this entirely.

For example, there will be a conference on the interest of transsexuals and transvestites, and a gathering on the role of spirituality and religion for homosexuals. At the end of the week, homosexual pairs may consecrate their relation by a priest of the Metropolitan Community Church.

The talk show with the topic: ‘Is there also a place for us in the new Curaçao?’ is also serious. The organization invites, amongst others, Curaçao politicians to participate with the discussion.

The serious events will be accompanied with entertainment activities, such as the choral performance, poetry recitals, film performance, and shows. Additional details on the program will be available during the beginning of next week.

Traveling opportunities
The fifth edition of the Get Wet-weekend, organized by Curaçao Gay Plasa, will be available this week, and includes activities such as the Navigation Boat Party, and the Sunset Lounge Party.

A lot of advertising is already been done on the internet for Get Wet, where considerable attention is paid to the traveling opportunities, and the hotels and apartments which are associated with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.

Even thought the Curaçao Gay Pride has never organized such a large celebration before this year’s, it is only a taste of what’s in store for us in 2010, namely an even larger event. “We view this as a pilot.

If all goes well, next year’s will be even bigger,” says Kleinmoedig. Curaçao Gay Plasa announces that foreign press will promote the events and those present will be drawing up press reports as well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Swedish study finds gay brains resemble those of opposite sex

Swedish scientists have suggested that brains of gay people may share similar physical attributes to those of the opposite sex.

Previous research has found differences between men and women in the extent to which they employ the brain’s hemispheres in verbal tasks, while other studies have suggested that gay people people may exhibit the tendencies of the opposite sex in brain behavior unrelated to sexual activity.

In this study, Ivanka Savic and Per Lindström, of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, say they believe the brains of heterosexual men and lesbians are slightly asymmetric, with the right hemisphere larger than the left.

However, the brains of gay men and straight women were found to be symmetrical.

The study, which analysed the brains of 90 subjects through MRI and PET scans, also found that in connectivity of the amygdala (which is used for emotional learning), lesbians resemble straight men, and gay men resemble straight women.

The authors suggested that one reason for the connectivity pattern in straight men and lesbians could be that the amygdala is wired for a greater fight-or-flight response.

Last year, another study found that the brains of gay men and women have structural and functional differences from those of their straight counterparts.

The Wellcome Trust Centre for neuro-imaging at University College London used MRI scans to look into the brains of 80 men and women, including 16 gays and 15 lesbians.

They found that lesbians have a "male-like" proportion and distribution of grey matter in their brain when compared with heterosexual women.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Remembering Michael Jackson

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)
was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene at the age of 11 as a member of The Jackson 5 and began a solo career in 1971 while still a member of the group. Referred to as the "King of Pop" in subsequent years, five of his solo studio albums are among the world's best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995).

In the early 1980s, he became a dominant figure in popular music and the first African-American entertainer to amass a strong crossover following on MTV. The popularity of his music videos airing on MTV, such as "Beat It", "Billie Jean" and Thriller—credited for transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool—helped bring the relatively new channel to fame. Videos such as "Black or White" and "Scream" made Jackson an enduring staple on MTV in the 1990s. With stage performances and music videos, Jackson popularized a number of physically complicated dance techniques, such as the robot and the moonwalk. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced many hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artists.

One of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records—including one for "Most Successful Entertainer of All Time"—13 Grammy Awards, 13 number one singles in his solo career—more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era—and the sales of over 750 million albums worldwide. Cited as one of the world's most famous men, Jackson's highly publicized personal life, coupled with his successful career, made him a part of popular culture for almost four decades.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

LGBT activists 'under-resourced, isolated and vulnerable'

Activists fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans rights are under-funded, lack support and face "routine" violence, a report has said.

The Human Rights Watch report, published last week, claims that despite progress, campaigning groups are still at risk from "brutal violence", especially those in the global south.

It found that such groups do not receive the necessary funding and support, even from fellow human rights organisations.

Citing an incident in Jamaica, where an angry crowd beat mourners at a gay man's funeral, the report said campaigners "routinely face extraordinary levels of violence".

HRW also highlighted the power of religious leaders and politicians, saying that sexuality had become a "battleground" in the fight for power.

Scott Long, director of the LGBT Rights Programme at HRW and the principal author of the report, said: ""Dozens of countries have repealed sodomy laws or enshrined equality measures, and that's the good news as activists celebrate their successes during Gay Pride month.

"But visibility breeds violence, and there is a pressing need for new support and protection."

The research was based on surveys and interviews with more than 100 LGBT activists around the world.

It found differing issues depending on regions. In Latin America, most sodomy laws have been repealed and new anti-discrimination protections being debated. However, the region still has repressive laws and pervasive violence based on gender identity and expression.

Those in sub-Saharan Africa were faced with violence, while extremist religious groups in North America were said to be actively promoting hatred.

The report also detailed successful strategies used by activists, citing Brazilian trans groups which organise monthly excursions to public spaces such as shopping malls or beaches.

The US was highlighted as having fewer LGBT equality protections than Brazil or South Africa.

"As the United States prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of its own gay rights movement, this report points to lessons of struggles and successes in other countries that everyone can learn from," said Long.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Relationship and me Cont,

continuation from last weeks advise

2. They openly communicate with each other and stay engaged in each other’s lives.This involves direct and honest dialogue about the mundane aspects of life to the serious thoughts and feelings that get triggered as a part of relationship dynamics. The partners create a climate in their home where each feels safe and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of themselves with each other and are attuned to each other’s needs. Listening skills are primed and each feels like an active participant in the relationship. Issues are not swept under the rug and are dealt with immediately in an assertive and caring way.

3. They manage conflict productively.Healthy gay couples recognize that conflict is an inevitable and normal part of a relationship, seeing these “rough spots” as opportunities for growth and positive change in their partnership. They deal with their anger in constructive ways, avoid hurtful comments and assigning of blame, and take the time to understand and validate each other’s points of views before initiating collaborative problem-solving to try and reach a win/win solution. They are open to compromise and sacrifice and always keep a teamwork stance in negotiating their differences.

4. They have a balanced lifestyle comprised of both individual and couple identities.In relationships it’s important to have time devoted to nourishing the relationship and also to focus on individual interests and pursuits. Too much “couple identity” causes both partners to feel suffocated. Too much “individual identity” creates a feeling of being disconnected and living as roommates. Striking a positive balance of both brings in just enough freshness and vitality to the relationship where boundaries are strong and healthy. Each partner feels supported by the other for striving for their own personal growth and goals without feeling threatened because the relationship vision is also being attended to simultaneously.

5. They have fun with life and try not to take things so seriously.Life can be stressful, so why add to the tension with a hardened demeanor? Successful couples are those that are playful with each other, enjoy a humorous banter between the two of them, and feel energized by such things as tickling, cracking jokes, pulling pranks on each other, and being perverted with each other. All things are done in a loving way and this approach to their interactivity creates an atmosphere of laughter and celebration for being in each other’s lives.

6. They enjoy a sensual and sexual camaraderie that helps them to meet their erotic potential.The happiest couples tend to report enjoying nonsexual affection in their daily lives through spontaneous touch, verbal strokes, holding hands, cuddling, and massage. They also understand the importance of maintaining a passionate sexual connection through regular pleasuring sessions and keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable. Even for those couples in “open relationships”, the sexual relationship with their partner remains an important component of intimacy for them and they find ways to meet each other’s needs, even when one isn’t necessarily in the mood.

7. They have a supportive network of family and friends who honor their relationshipHaving the backing and encouragement of loved ones can be a great impetus for reinforcing a gay couple’s commitment. Surrounding themselves with positive and affirming people can be a great boost.

8. They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it.Sexual identity struggles and internalized homophobia can really drag a relationship down unless both men tend to be in the same boat with their levels of outness. Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain. Whether it’s trying out a mattress at the local bedding store or attending a social function in a mixed-orientation crowd, these couples feel secure enough in their identities and relationship to combat any potential homophobia they may face by proudly being themselves. Being able to be free and uninhibited is a truly liberating feeling for a gay couple.

9. They possess the following in their partnership: trust, commitment, honesty, openness, flexibility, loyalty, dedication and devotion, quality time, sensitivity, nonjudgmental attitudes, loving and unafraid to express their feelings and passionate side, etc.These are obvious hallmark characteristics that typify a healthy relationship, but gay men in particular are vulnerable to power struggles, competition, and issues surrounding intimacy and closeness due to male socialization in their man-to-man relationships. Successful couples are aware of these pitfalls and work hard to embrace a holistic masculinity that counters the stereotypes they’ve been engrained with.

10. They place a high premium on their lives together and are focused on not taking each other for granted.Successful gay couples realize that the busyness of life can very easily put their relationship on the back shelf, but they don’t let it! They ensure that they devote quality time together, schedule special “date nights” with each other, and are attentive to each other’s needs. They make sure they are diligently working toward their shared relationship vision, validate their partner in the ways he likes it most, and make sure to show through words and actions how much they appreciate their guy being in their lives.


So how did you and your partner do? These are only some of the qualities that comprise a healthy gay relationship and it’s up to you and your man to define the parameters of what that would look and feel like for your unique relationship. Use these tips as a springboard to discuss how things are going in your relationship to gauge your strengths and areas for growth and craft an action plan to make things even better between the two of you.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Relationship and me

“Top 10 Qualities of Gay Super-Couples”
by Brian Rzepczynski,
The Gay Love Coach


So what makes a healthy and lasting long-term gay relationship successful? Our society certainly doesn’t make it easy for us as gay men to date and mate with all the homophobia and discrimination that exists. Though this is slowly starting to change in many parts of the world, man-to-man love continues to be stigmatized and this backdrop of cultural oppression and hatred can put a strain on a gay couple’s budding relationship that many heterosexual pairs may take for granted. As a gay community, we lack adequate and visible positive role models of gay couples that provide hope for lasting relationship success.

As men, we’ve been conditioned to define our masculinity in rigid and narrow ways as part of the socialization process growing up and this can create conflict when pairing up two individuals of the same gender looking for intimacy and emotional connection. And then we have our own layers of discrimination and pressure in our own gay community that at times can leave gay couples feeling unsupported and uninspired to achieve relationship longevity in the one place they thought they’d be safe—among their own.While the odds do seem to be stacked against us in the fight for the dream of claiming our rightful husband with the accompanying house, white picket fence, and prideful rainbow flag securely attached to the front porch, they don’t have to be obstacles to our success. Having to face so much adversity has actually enabled many of us to be quite resilient in the face of stress and makes us good candidates for partnerships with the right focus and determination.

There are many gay men in long-term relationships who can vouch for their fulfillment of this dream and speak of happiness and bliss in their coupled status. But what are the ingredients that make a healthy gay relationship? Characteristics of Successful Gay CouplesThere is no specific blueprint or formula for how to maintain a lasting and successful relationship. One of the beauties of being gay is that we can create our own definitions of what constitutes an ideal relationship for ourselves as we are not hampered down by restrictive gender roles and norms like our heterosexual counterparts. Each couple develops their own unique partnership that works for them. That being said, there are some universal qualities that can promote a more solid and functional relationship over the long haul for partners seeking long-term connection and happiness.

Successful gay couples can exhibit some of the following…

1. They share compatible interests and philosophies of life.It’s important that partners have similar interests and hobbies to share in common to build experiences with together, but it’s also essential to have some differences as well to complement each other. This helps to keep the mystery and intrigue alive in the relationship that exists with contrast. Who wants to have an exact replica of themselves that they interact with on a daily basis?! Boring! What is absolutely critical, however, is that both partners will have a smoother and more fulfilling relationship if they share comparable value systems. This forms the foundation of what the couple believes in and is the diving board from which they co-create a vision for their future together as a united front and alliance for life.

to be continue

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


After two full days, our rainbow flag was taken down, by unknown person(s). WE are proud of our work, and will do it again within a heartbeat, thanks to our many supporters. A huge step has been taken in the fight against homophobia here in Jamaica, and that is something that OUTWEEKLY is proud to be apart of.

More pictures from IDAHO

More picture from our successful IDAHO event, in H.W.T, Kingston, Jamaica

Monday, May 18, 2009

DAY 2, Down but not out

Today marks the second day since the rainbow flag was place in Kingston, Jamaica. However the Flag was taken down for a short time. We where able to hoist back the flag, that was left laying near its pole. Today marks the second day since the rainbow flag was place in Kingston to mark the Internation Day Against Homophobia, as we continue to call for an end to homophobia in Jamaica

For immediate release

Kingston - MAY 17, 2009.

OUTWEEKLY joins with other groups on International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) to make a statement that there is much work to be done to improve the quality of life for LGBT people internationally and as well here in Jamaica.

As part of its celebration of IDAHO, OUTWEEKLY raised a Rainbow Flag in the capital city of Kingston as it is the world’s most recognized symbol of LGBT diversity. The six colures represent various facets of LGBT communities: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for spirituality.

OUTWEEKLY recognises the need for an end to homophobia in Jamaica because our brothers and sisters continue to be attacked and injured, forced from their communities and even murdered for being themselves. We recognise and urge the government to take a stand to curb the drivers of Homophobia. The Church and the Dancehall, with its often violent and anti-gay lyrics, have and continue to play their part in instigating violence and creating a negative image of the gay community. We believe strongly that the church in particular should concern itself with preaching love and not hate. Jamaican Dancehall artists continue to produce and perform music that incites violence against homosexuals and this is somehow accepted. This type of contemporary music is very influential and has helped to shape the ignorance and callous nature in people, causing them to behave violently towards homosexuals. let us come together to end homophobia in Jamaica, together we stand divided we fall.

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is celebrated May 17.

Kenneth Davis,


Sunday, May 17, 2009

OUR Flag still flying high

We will be covering the life of our rainbow flag in Kingston, Jamaica. Join us this and every other day for an update on our rainbow flag.

A mini clip outside the site of the where we raise the rainbow flag marking IDAHO, in Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica.



MAY 17, 2009.

There are 77 countries in the world today where it is a criminal offence to be gay. These countries punish women, men and children because of their sexuality and in seven countries the punishment is death.

International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) provides a platform for everyone to make a powerful statement to demand improvements for the quality of life for LGBT people here in Jamaica. The 17th of May will be used to raise awareness of homophobic issues that are negatively impacting on people’s lives.

On this day we will be advocating for an end to homophobia in Jamaica. We will be addressing the three mayor factors that are the driving force to homophobia. The Dancehall music, Church and the Government.

Often times it is preach that violence is wrong and must not be accepted. However the double stand that is coming from the Jamaican Dancehall artists against homosexuals is accepted. This type of music is very influential to the Jamaican people. Ignorance and callous nature in people cause them to behave violently towards homosexuals.

Many other countries around the world are planning activities to combat homophobia. Costa Rica and Honduras will be having panel and pubic presentation, in some European countries same sex couples plan to hold hands in public.
The raising of a Rainbow Flag in the capital city of Kingston is one of the activities that are plan by us. The Rainbow Flag is the world’s most recognized symbol of LGBT diversity. The six colures represent various facets of LGBT communities: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for art, and violet for spirituality.
International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) is celebrated May 17.

Kenneth Davis,

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tatchell at Moscow Gay Pride

Tatchell at Moscow Gay Pride Undeterred by threat of arrests and bashings London - 11 May 2009 Despite threats to bash and arrest the marchers, British gay human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will attend this Saturday's Moscow Gay Pride parade - this year renamed Slavic Gay Pride to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality struggles in all Slavic countries, Russian and non-Russian.

The parade is scheduled to take place at lunchtime on Saturday 16 May, and coincides with the final of the Eurovision song contest which is being held later that night, also in Moscow. The Moscow authorities have said the parade is banned and have threatened "tough measures" against anyone who tries to march. In addition, there is the likelihood of mob violence against the marchers by neo-Nazis, skinheads, ultra-nationalists and Christian fundamentalists - as happened in 2006 and 2007.

"I am joining the parade to show my support for the courageous Russian gay campaigners. All year round they risk arrest, imprisonment and queer-bashing attacks. These men and women are absolute heroes. I salute them," said Mr. Tatchell, who is the human rights spokesperson for the Green Party of England and Wales and the Green Party parliamentary candidate for the university constituency of Oxford East in south-east England.

"International solidarity is hugely important. My presence is one way to show that gay people around the world support the right of gay people in Russia to live their lives without homophobic prejudice, ostracism, discrimination and violence. "This parade is in defence of human rights. We are defending the often violated human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians. They want legal protection against discrimination and hate crimes. I support their cause. "Not all Russians are homophobic, but many are. Gay Russians suffer queer-bashing attacks, blackmail, verbal abuse and discrimination in education, housing and employment,. This shames the great Russian nation. "Saturday's Slavic Gay Pride is about more than gay human rights. It is about the right of all Russian people to freely express their opinions and to protest peacefully.

The ban on gay parades is just one example of the systematic suppression of civil liberties in Russia. "I appeal to President Medvedev, Prime Minister Putin and Mayor Luzhkov: gay people are no threat to Russian society. Be magnanimous. Uphold democratic rights and freedoms. Allow the Slavic Gay Pride parade. "Although I am determined to support our Russian and Belarusian comrades, like them I am anxious about what may happen to us. But we have to take some risks; otherwise the homophobes and authoritarians will win. "I don't have much confidence that the Moscow police will accept our right to protest or that they will protect us against neo-Nazi violence. "At Moscow Pride in 2007 I was beaten almost unconscious by right-wing extremists, while the police stood by and watched. They then arrested me. I spent several hours in police detention before being released without charge. My attackers have never been arrested, even though they were clearly identified in photos and film footage," said Mr Tatchell.

Further information:

Peter Tatchell - 020 7403 1790 (until 10am Wednesday 13 May, and after 11pm 18 May)

Nikolai Alekseev (organiser Slavic Gay Pride) - + 7 916 255 8240 ENDS

Friday, May 1, 2009

Homophobia in Jamaica

IN the month of May, OUTWEEKLY will be covering stories of homophobia in Jamaica, and on May 17, we will be lauching a public campaign againts homophobia in Jamican, denoucing homophobia and transphobia.

THIS ia mini chips showing the three factors that are driving Homophobia in Jamaica. The Dancehall music, The Church and Government.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Three years ago, Time Magazine named Jamaica “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth,” and since that time the island has not seen much in the way of progress.

An organization called Boycott Jamaica has taken the initiative, asking all gays and friends of the community to avoid the nation “until the Jamaican government takes action to end the country’s virulently homophobic climate and draconian laws that persecute homosexuals.”In February, The New York Times published a story calling Jamaica a “dire place for gays,” telling the story of 5 gay men who were having an at-home dinner party when the front door was kicked in and they were beaten savagely by 15-20 men with machetes.
This type of attack has become too commonplace on the island, which still outlaws homosexuality under the crime “buggery.” Even funerals have proven to be unsafe territory if the deceased is a homosexual, as just last year a church was attacked by a mob armed with bottles and rocks. No one involved in that incident was even prosecuted. According to the Times article, while the Jamaican public defender condemned the church attack, “he also reinforced the common view that if only gays would be less flamboyant, there would be less violence against them.” This being the state of things on the island, “Jamaica’s gays socialize at underground nightclubs and worship at secret church services that move around the island.” Boycott Jamaica has made two demands of the nation, the first being a public commitment to end gay bashing and improve the island’s human rights situation, and the second being a statement from the Prime Minister condemning violence against the LGBT community and an expression of regret for past violence. Until these two demands are met, the organization claims its official boycott is in effect.The boycott is focused on the three largest sources of Jamaica’s national income – sale of Myers’s Rum, sale of Red Stripe beer, and money made from the cruise industry. New York’s Stonewall Inn is planned a “rum dump” on Wednesday evening, showing its support of the boycott against Jamaica by dumping Red Stripe and Myers’s Rum down the sewer. The bar had this to say in its statement: “We ask all people of all walks of life to send a clear message to the Jamaican people and their government, that as long as they continue to allow and condone violence and hatred toward the Gay community, we will neither buy their products nor support their tourist trade. To do so is to tacitly support the current climate of oppression.”

Friday, April 17, 2009


During this hard economic time another boycott on Jamaica’s tourism and goods will not be the best solution to Jamaica’s homophobia at this time, as we have seen before EGALE Canada had tried to boycott Jamaica goods and services including tourism, That international call had let to an increase in attack on the LGBT community, even on the lesbian population that has some acceptance. The calling of another boycott from another country clearly state that our conditions of living as reach the international community, with the call now coming from San Francisco, U.S.A.

The group is calling for a boycott on tourism and Jamaica’s top beer company Red Stripe, OUTWEEKLY do not support the call for an international boycott on Red Strip, this decision comes after Red Stripe made a proud and bold move to stop sponsoring events with Jamaican Dancehall artists who incite murder on homosexuals, It was only last month at there first live fund raising event, Red Strip prematurely ended the performance of the homophobic artist Jeffery Campbell (Assassin) where he use the term “fish” (gay man) in a negative term in one of his songs. However we have to question Red Strip decision to have Jeffery Campbell in there line up in the first, knowing that he publicly express his anti-gay views in his music. The issues of homophobia in Jamaican dancehall music has reach world wide, with various groups in different countries lobbing against it, and with positive moves like this we have seen a decline in murder music.

We share the same frustration that the US base group as on the issue of homosexual rights in the country, but boycott and threat is not going to make Mr. Bruce Golding and his cabinet of “straight,” think any better of us. Threats of Boycott can be made in your country where homosexuality and its acts are legal, and get a positive out come, but it will be a different case for us here in Jamaica, where the slightest suspicion of you been a homosexual can lead to verbal and physical abuse even death. In your country the fight for gay marriage is on the agenda, Jamaica is by far not close to that, we are stilling fighting for social change yet alone the removal of the Buggery Act. We are urging the US-base group who are leading this boycott to remove Red Strip off there list of products that they will be calling for to boycott, also urging others who decide to boycott Jamaica to do there research and communicate with local LGBT groups before they decide to go ahead with there plans.

We understand that the gay rights movement world wide is a force to be reckoning with, and any one who is targeted by this movement will have a rough time. In this hard economic time where countries are struggling, the call for an international boycott will only lead to more jobs cut and the closing of business, which include homosexual business as well.

In a time where homosexuality is now been place on “the plate” of issues that Jamaica is facing, it will not be wise to have boycott campaigns on the islands, for every action there will be repercussions, let us engage in positive things that’s will not jeopardize our safety, such as: more public campaign denouncing homophobia, the education of the society to different lifestyle and different family structure, the sanitization of Government official and church leaders, which are some of the key areas that are contributing to homophobia in Jamaica. With that said this is a call to local activists that the fight for our right in this country will not be achieve only by individuals, but the collective effort, support and determination of us all.

Kenneth Davis,

"together we stand divided we fall"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gay rights activists clash over tackling Jamaican homophobia

US gay rights activists have launched a campaign encouraging the boycotting of Jamaican products and services as a protest against the island's treatment of gays and lesbians.

However, a Jamaican LGB organisation has said the campaign will damage their cause as one of the products targeted, Red Stripe beer, is openly supporting the anti-hate movement.
A campaign website, was set up by former Human Rights Council Spokesman Wayne Besen, along with prominent LGB rights activists Jim Burroway and Michael Petrelis, and campaigns for Jamaica to become a pariah state until social attitudes on the island towards homosexuality change.

Jamaica is considered to be one of the most homophobic countries in the world, where gay sex between two men can carry a ten-year jail sentence or hard labour. Sex between two women is currently legal.
Mr Besen told the Huffington Post: "Why boycott [Jamaica]? Because Jamaica is on a downward spiral and suffers from collective cultural dementia on this issue. There is clearly a pathological panic and homo-hysteria that has infected this nation at its core.
"Jamaica is an island of self-righteous hypocrites. The Bible is used to rationalise brutality, and vigilante violence is justified with talk of virtues and values. But, the island is quite comfortable with ganja and gratuitous sex for heterosexuals."

The website calls for boycotting of specific of Jamaican products sold in the US, including Myers Rum and Red Stripe beer.

In an open newsletter, the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) responded to the website's demands:
" … we find it unfortunate that a campaign has been launched calling for the boycott of two Jamaican products, one marketed by a company that unequivocally distanced itself from the hostility and violence typical of Jamaican music towards members of the LGBT community.
"In April 2008, Red Stripe took the brave and principled stance to cease sponsorship of music festivals that promoted hate and intolerance, including that against members of the LGBT community.

"The naming of Red Stripe, therefore, as a target of this boycott is extremely damaging to the cause of LGBT activists in Jamaica.
The letter added: "Jamaica’s deeply ingrained antipathy towards homosexuality and homosexuals is a social phenomenon that will not be undone by boycott campaigns or government dictate. It requires the painstaking effort of confronting the society and talking to social actors who can bring change in the way society sees LGBT people."
Last month, it was revealed that gay men in Jamaica were at a higher risk of contracting HIV due to discrimination.
The prime minister of Jamaica, Bruce Golding, also recapitulated his government's attitude towards homosexuality:
"We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the laws as it relates to buggery," he said.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gay marriage legal in Vermont

MONTPELIER, Vt. - Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage — and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.

The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote — the minimum needed — to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto. Its vote followed a much easier override vote in the Senate, which rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.
Vermont was the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa in giving gays the right to marry. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts.Tuesday morning's legislative action came less than a day after Douglas issued a veto message saying the bill would not improve the lot of gay and lesbian couples because it still would not provide them rights under federal and other states' laws.
Override 'not unexpected'Douglas called override "not unexpected." He had called the issue of gay marriage a distraction during a time when economic and budget issues were more important.

"What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs," the governor said Tuesday. "We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work."
House Speaker Shap Smith's announcement of the vote brought an outburst of jubilation from some of the hundreds packed into the gallery and the lobby outside the House chamber, despite the speaker's admonishment against such displays.
Among the celebrants in the lobby were former Rep. Robert Dostis, D-Waterbury, and his longtime partner, Chuck Kletecka. Dostis recalled efforts to expand gay rights dating to an anti-discrimination law passed in 1992.

"It's been a very long battle. It's been almost 20 years to get to this point," Dostis said. "I think finally, most people in Vermont understand that we're a couple like any other couple. We're as good and as bad as any other group of people. And now I think we have a chance to prove ourselves here on forward that we're good members of our community."
Dostis said he and Kletecka will celebrate their 25th year together in September.
"Is that a proposal?" Kletecka asked.
"Yeah," Dostis replied. "Twenty-five years together, I think it's time we finally got married."
The House initially passed the bill last week with a 95-52 vote.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sweden approves same-sex marriage

Six of the seven parties in Swedish parliament have backed a proposal to introduce a gender-neutral marriage law.

The proposal passed today with a 261 to 22 vote and 16 abstentions.
The only party to oppose the ruling were the Christian Democrats, stating that the party wanted to maintain "a several hundred-year-old concept" of marriage.
It is not yet certain that the changes will affect church marriage ceremonies, but in February, a majority of Church of Sweden bishops said the church should no longer handle legal marriage registrations, DPA reported.

The new legislation comes into effect as of May 1st, replacing the current legislation established in 1995 approving registered partnership much like civil partnerships in the UK.
Couples with a 'registered partnership' can either retain this status or apply to the relevant authorities to have it amended.
The president of the Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights, Soren Juvas, called the ruling “a great victory” and Evon Frid of the Left Party said it was “a positive change”.
A poll for the Sifo Institute published in January 2008 found that 71 per cent of Swedes think gay people should be allowed to marry.

In January 2007 the Church of Sweden, which was disestablished in 2000, began offering religious blessings to gay unions and actively welcomed LGBT clergy.
A Lutheran denomination, it claims more than 7 million members out of a population of 9 million
Last year the Church agreed that marriage and partnership were equivalent forms of unions.
It recommended however that the term "marriage" be referred only to heterosexual couples.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Outweekly plans for IDAH

On Saturday, March 21, 2009 members from OUTWEEKLY had a mapping in the rural area of Kingston, Jamaica to find a suitable location to hoist the rainbow flag which is the symbol for LGBT people world wide. Speaking with the group’s programs manager Tyriek Issa, he explains to us that May 17, is the International Day Against Homophobia and on this day the group will campaign against homophobia in Jamaica. He went on to say that many homosexuals in Jamaica has lost there lives because of there sexuality and many continue to live in fear of losing there life, and it was on this case and many others why the group decide to campaign against homophobia on that day.
“The purpose of today’s event is to find a location where we can rise the rainbow flag, so far two suitable location has been determine and the group will meet to finalized which location will be choose.”- Tyriek Issa.
There are other activities that are going to be plan on this day, and the group is going to be sending out letters to other organizations seeking support on that day.

Leorio Ellis

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gay men in Jamaica 'face higher levels of HIV due to discrimination'

Gay Jamaican men are suffering from high levels of sexually-transmitted diseases due to discriminaty barriers in accessing healthcare, it has been suggested.
According to the Caribbean HIV & AIDS Alliance, gay men are reluctant to go to healthcare providers because of homophobic laws and attitudes in the country.
A 2008 survey commissioned by the Ministry of Health suggested that 31.8 per cent of gay men in Jamaica are living with HIV. Another 8.5 per cent were reported to have chlamydia, while 2.5 per cent had gonorrhea and 5.5 per cent had syphilis.
A gay healthcare peer educator told the Jamaican Gleaner: "Many MSMs [men who have sex with men] are not secure in themselves and so put themselves at risk by having multiple partners."
The source, who requested anonymity, added: "Our main problem is that based on the law, we have problems interacting with each other. There are no safe spaces."
Earlier this month, Jamaica's prime minister, Bruce Golding, said that the country will not decriminalise homosexual acts and that he has a duty to "protect" the country.
Speaking in parliament in support of a new sexual offences bill, he said: "We are not going to yield to the pressure, whether that pressure comes from individual organisations, individuals, whether that pressure comes from foreign governments or groups of countries, to liberalise the law as it relates to buggery."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Protection for lesbians

Dental dams are small, thin, square pieces of latex that are used for oral-vaginal or oral-anal sex. They get their name from their use in dental procedures. Dental dams help to reduce the transmission of STIs during oral sex by acting as a barrier to vaginal and anal secretions that contain bacteria and viruses. They come in a variety of sizes and flavors - so you can find a dam that satisfies your tastes.

How effective are they in preventing STIs?Because dental dams act as a barrier to bodily fluids, they help reduce STI transmission. Many STIs, such as herpes, genital warts and HIV, can be transmitted through oral sex. Like condoms, dental dams must be used correctly and consistently in order to be effective.

How do I use them?Although it may seem a little awkward to use them at first, dental dams are extremely easy to use. Before using the dam you may want to rinse off any powder that's on the dam and check the dam to make sure there are no holes or perforations. The partner performing oral sex will hold the dam against the vulva or anus of the receiving partner. You can opt to apply a lubricant on the vulva or anus before using the dam. The lubricant can help increase the sensation for the recipient. Just make sure the lubricant is a water-based lube because oil-based lubes and lotions can degrade the latex and decrease the dam's effectiveness.

When you use the dental dam, be sure to ONLY use one side. Don't flip the dam over for another round because you will expose yourself to the very fluids you're trying to avoid! And do not re-use a dam on another body part (e.g. from anus to vulva or vice-versa) because you can transfer germs from one body area to another. Do not re-use a dam for another act of oral sex later on either. Dams are for one-time use only.

Won't using a dental dam diminish the whole experience of oral sex?Many people believe that using a dam will nullify the enjoyment of oral sex. That's not how it has to be! Granted, the feeling of latex will be different than a tongue, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Using a dental dam with lube can offer your partner a new type of stimulation. Although oral sex is considered less risky than vaginal or anal sex, there is still a risk of transmitting STIs. To be as safe as possible, use a dental dam for every act of oral sex.

Dental dams can be hard to find, and they also may be somewhat expensive. There is, however, a condom can be used, cut the top of the condom and the cut in the middle.

A finger cot (also finger stool) is a device resembling a condom used to cover the fingers. Finger cots are typically used by kitchen workers and others to cover cuts and open wounds while working, in order to prevent infection and the spread of disease. They are very useful for keeping bandages on an injured finger, especially for activities like typing. Finger cots may also be used in the insertion of a medicinal suppository.
Because of their similarity to male condoms, they are also known as finger condoms. There are limits to that similarity, however, as finger cots are made from thicker latex and do not have features that condoms sometimes have for sexual purposes like reservoir tips and pre-applied lubricant.
Some people use them in sexual contact, although surgical gloves are probably more common. Finger cots are most often used for fingering of the vagina and anus, and can be effective in reducing the transmission of most STDs (the most notable exceptions are herpes and Human Papilloma Virus). However, latex surgical gloves are generally considered more effective for sexual contact than finger cots, due to the latter item's limited coverage of the finger and the impracticality of having multiple fingers covered by finger cots. In particular, finger cots usually do not cover the web or palm of the hand, allowing fluids to come in contact with skin and therefore potentially cause disease transmission.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Homosexuality in Turkey

Homosexuality is not illegal as such in the Republic of Turkey. However, owing to conservative values embedded in Muslim-majority Turkish society, homosexuality remains a taboo topic in public discourse.


Turkish LGBT rights activists created the Radical Democrat Green Party to campaign for a variety of issues, including support for LGBT human rights. Several of its members participated in a hunger strike in 1987 to protest the police harassment of LGBT citizens.
In 1988 the civil code was amended to allow for transgender people to have a sex change operation, under medical approval. In the 1990s the LGBT movement fought against government bans on LGBT conferences. This prompted the creation of Lambda Istanbul. In 1994, the Freedom and Solidarity Party banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity within the party and nominated Demet Demir, a leading voice of the community, to successfully become the first transgendered candidate for the local council elections in Istanbul.

In 1996 the Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling and removed a child from her lesbian parent, on the grounds that homosexuality is "immoral". While bias motivated violence against gay and transgender people intensified as did efforts at government censorship, the desire of Turkey to join the European Union has forced the government to grant official recognition to LGBT rights organizations, respect a greater degree of the freedom of speech and the press and to entertain gay rights legislation. Gay themed conferences and gatherings now regularly take place, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara. In 2006 Turk Gay Club, Turk LGBT Community was created in Istanbul and several universities have LGBT associations and societies.

LGBT civil rights organizations

The major LGBT community-based civil rights organization is KAOS GL, established in 1994 in Ankara. Lambda Istanbul, a member of ILGA-Europe, established in 1993 in Istanbul, was dissolved in May 2008. The prosecution argued that its name and activities were “against the law and morality.” That ruling, sharply criticized by Human Rights Watch, was finally overturned by the country's Supreme Court of Appeal on January 22, 2009
During the early 1990s, the organizations' proposals for cooperation were refused by the Government Human Rights Commission. April 1997, when members of Lambda Istanbul were invited to the National Congress on AIDS, marked the first time a Turkish LGBT organization was represented at the government level. During early 2000s, new organizations began to be formed in cities other than Istanbul and Ankara, like the Pink Triangle Group in İzmir and the Rainbow Group in Antalya.

In 1996, another LGBT organization, LEGATO, was founded as an organization of Turkish university students, graduates and academicians, with its first office in Middle East Technical University in Ankara. The organization continued to grow with other branches in numerous other universities and a reported 2000 members. In March 2007 LGBT students organized for the first time as a student club (gökkuşağı - in English: rainbow) and Club Gökkuşağı is officially approved by Bilgi University.

During June 2003, the first public LGBT pride march in Turkey's history, organized by Lambda Istanbul, was held on the Istiklal Avenue. In July 2005, KAOS GL applied to the Ministry of Interior Affairs and gained legal recognition, becoming the first LGBT organization of the country with legal status. During the September of the same year, a lawsuit by the Governor of Ankara was filed to cancel this legal status, but the demand was rejected by the prosecutor. In August 2006, the gay march in Bursa organized by the Rainbow Group, officially approved by the Governor's Office, was cancelled due to large scale public protests by an organized group of citizens.

The organizations actively participate in AIDS-HIV education programs and May Day parades.
In September 2005, the Ankara Governor’s Office accused KAOS-GL of “establishing an organization that is against the laws and principles of morality.” It also attempted in July 2006 to close the human rights group Pembe Hayat (Pink Life), which works with transgender people, claiming to prosecutors that the association opposed “morality and family structure.”Both charges were ultimately dropped.

In 2006 Lambda Istanbul was evicted from its premises as the landlady was not happy with the fact that the organization was promoting LGBT rights. The organization was then dissolved in May 2008 by courts.

Penal code

Gay sexual conduct between consenting adults in private is not a crime in Turkey. The age of consent for both heterosexual and homosexual sex is 18. The criminal code also has vaguely worded prohibitions on "public exhibitionism,” and “offenses against public morality" that are used to harass gay and transgender people. Turkish towns and cities are given some leeway to enact various "public morality" laws. For example, it was once reported that in Adana males were prohibited from kissing in public, on the cheek. However, there has been no evidence of enforcement of this regulation. Men kissing as a form of greeting is common in Turkey.
Istanbul has a very open gay scene with around 20 bars and clubs plus various other venues such as cinemas and Turkish baths. Gay bars have been used to shoot pop videos and celebrities can often be spotted there. Turkish artists tend to have sympathies with gays, particularly in recent years.

Article 428 prohibits "obscene" and "indecent" books, songs, literature, etc.Although the extent that these conditions apply to homosexual themes in the media has been liberalized in recent years. The film Brokeback Mountain was permitted to be shown in select theaters, but the Turkish Culture Ministry ruled that no one under the age of eighteen could be in the audience. It should be noted that age limits applied to Brokeback Mountain in many countries. Several books with gay themes have been published recently including 'Volkan's story' - about a gay policeman. Bestsellers often include gay characters. In 1997, Hamam: The Turkish Bath was released. The film depicted a gay romance between a married man from Italy and a Turkish teenager. The film was successful internationally and was even broadcast on state TV. Gay characters have started to appear on television series, although often in stereotypical or very restricted roles. The popular gay themed TV series Will & Grace and Queer as Folk have both been broadcast in Turkey by Digiturk (also Six Feet Under and Angels in America by CNBC-E). Istanbul Film Festival (held every year by İKSV) contains some selected LGBT themed movies. The! F Independent Film Festival, held every year in Istanbul and with a smaller selection of films in Ankara, has an LGBT section.

It is worth noting that the culture of "honour killings" is another key factor within Turkish society - families murdering members (usually female) who engage in sexual/moral behaviours regarded as inappropriate. The death of Ahmet Yildiz, 26, may be the first known example of an honour killing with gay male victim. Institutions like the police and courts tend to ignore violence and murder committed in such circumstances.

Military law

In Turkey, compulsory military service applies to all male Turkish citizens between the ages of 20 and 41. However, the Turkish military openly discriminates against homosexuals and bisexuals by barring them from serving in the military. At the same time, Turkey - in violation of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights - withholds any recognition of conscientious objection to military service. Some objectors must instead identify themselves as “sick” – and are forced to undergo what Human Rights Watch calls "humiliating and degrading" examinations to “prove” their homosexuality.