Thursday, January 29, 2009

Homosexuality in Iceland

Iceland as culturally related Scandinavia, is a very liberal country concerning gay rights. The majority of the public is supportive of homosexuality, and gay pride parades are held every August.

Iceland is an isolated nation with fewer than 300,000 inhabitants; 80% of its barren and volcanic land is unpopulated. But surprisingly, there is a vibrant Icelandic gay scene largely unknown to the rest of the world. This is due mainly to Iceland’s lack of contact with other countries. “Exposure of foreigners to this unique country and its gay lives and culture is virtually non-existent.

Iceland’s gay scene in the ’70s was a time when if you ran into another gay person, it was by sheer coincidence. “If you happened to find someone who was gay, then you were more or less sure he would go to bed with you because the pressure was so great then.” It was not a question of cruising or being in love. Iceland’s capital and currently home to over 60% of the country’s population, served back then as a common gay meeting place, the city with a “friendly village feel” was the scene of the discos and nightlife in the ’70s that fostered Iceland’s emerging gay scene.

Today, meeting other gays is easier and no longer a matter of pure luck. The Icelandic community is open. “Icelanders are getting more accepting of gay people and more people have come out of the closet.

In 1978, the formation of Iceland’s first gay social club changed the scene forever. Samtökin 78 ( became Iceland’s first gay and lesbian centre. It began as an organization that simply brought gays and lesbians together; it would grow to become Iceland’s central resource centre for queers. Hrafnkell Stefánsson, Samtökin’s office director, takes pride in his work: “We are Iceland’s biggest gay organization.” Both social and political in purpose, the organization offers a meeting place for local and foreign queers. It offers an extensive on-site library, a bar and meetings for gay youth. With almost 400 members, the organization receives support from the Icelandic and Reykjavik governments.

Laws governing Homosexuality were repealed in 1940. There is an equal age of consent set at 15.

Civil union for gay and lesbian couples were introduced in Iceland in 1996.
The legislation grants the full range of protections, responsibilities and benefits as marriage, and is only available to same-sex couples. A registered partner can adopt the other partner’s child, unless the child is adopted from a foreign country. All parties in Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, were in favour of the law; only one member of the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) voted against it.
On June 2, 2006 the Parliament voted for legislation granting the same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals in adoption, parenting and assisted insemination treatment. No member of the parliament voted against the proposal. The law came into effect on June 27, 2006. [1]
A law amendment which took force on June 27, 2008 allows the Church of Iceland and other religious groups to bless same-sex registered partnerships.[2]
A government committee is currently looking into allowing same-sex partners to get married.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which the immune system begins to fail, leading to life-threatening opportunistic infections. Previous names for the virus include human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III), lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), and AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV).

Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells. The four major routes of transmission are unprotected sexual intercourse, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth (Vertical transmission). Screening of blood products for HIV has largely eliminated transmission through blood transfusions or infected blood products in the developed world.
HIV infection in humans is now pandemic. As of January 2006, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized on December 1, 1981. It is estimated that about 0.6 percent of the world's population is infected with HIV.

In 2005 alone, AIDS claimed an estimated 2.4–3.3 million lives, of which more than 570,000 were children. A third of these deaths are occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, retarding economic growth and increasing poverty. According to current estimates, HIV is set to infect 90 million people in Africa, resulting in a minimum estimate of 18 million orphans

Antiretroviral treatment reduces both the mortality and the morbidity of HIV infection, but routine access to antiretroviral medication is not available in all countries.

HIV primarily infects vital cells in the human immune system such as helper T cells (specifically CD4+ T cells), macrophages, and dendritic cells. HIV infection leads to low levels of CD4+ T cells through three main mechanisms: firstly, direct viral killing of infected cells; secondly, increased rates of apoptosis in infected cells; and thirdly, killing of infected CD4+ T cells by CD8 cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize infected cells. When CD4+ T cell numbers decline below a critical level, cell-mediated immunity is lost, and the body becomes progressively more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
Eventually most HIV-infected individuals develop AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). These individuals mostly die from opportunistic infections or malignancies associated with the progressive failure of the immune system.

Without treatment, about 9 out of every 10 persons with HIV will progress to AIDS after 10-15 years. Many progress much sooner. Treatment with anti-retrovirals increases the life expectancy of people infected with HIV. Even after HIV has progressed to diagnosable AIDS, the average survival time with antiretroviral therapy (as of 2005) is estimated to be more than 5 years.

Without antiretroviral therapy, death normally occurs within a year. It is hoped that current and future treatments may allow HIV-infected individuals to achieve a life expectancy approaching that of the general public.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OUTWEEKLY Investigate Transgender in Jamaica

Transsexualism is a condition in which individuals identify with a physical sex different from the one with which they were born. Transsexualism is stigmatized in many parts of the world but has become more widely known in Western cultures in the mid to late 20th century, concurrently with the sexual revolution and the development of sexual reassignment surgeries. It remains controversial, however. Discrimination and negative attitudes towards transsexualism often accompany certain religious beliefs or cultural values. There are other cultures, however, that has not only held a place for transsexuals but even culturally sanction them, such as the two-spirit people in some Native American tribes.
The transgender population in Jamaica is small with most people within that community resolving to drag attires other than sexual reassignment surgeries.

In September 2008, the countries leading gay and lesbian human rights organization JFLAG ran a story on a transgender woman who was attack in Kingston.
According to the report on there site, the woman was at a bus stop when she was confronted by two men who befriended her, after which they began assaulting her, when they found out that she was a guy, they slash her throat, robbed her of cash and a cell phone. She was assisted by a CSW who called the police to take her to the hospital.

OUTWEEKLY interviewed members form the LGBT community to find out about Jamaica and transsexual.

Andrew * ( a university student) – Jamaica is not ready to accept transgender and I don’t think that it will, well not in my life time at least, the issue of gay rights and the homosexual lifestyle is just being put on the table, and already many deaths, the countries is struggling with so much problems right now. Before the issue of transgender can be confronted, the issue of gay rights will have been death with.

Michael* (a bisexual) – I didn’t even knew that existed in Jamaica. I don’t think I will ever be.

David (a gay man that is out to family and friends) – as a gay man I definitely think it will cause a much bigger uproar within the country. Heterosexual will not approve of this lifestyle and all its deceptions. It’s a much tougher fight for them.

Maria* ( lesbian) – since there are not many known transgender in the island the stress level here is not focus on them, so for now until the population become more aware of them, they will me seen as gays.

Many persons thought that the transgender lifestyle is something that Jamaica is not ready for at this time alone with homosexuality. Only 10% of the persons interviewed said that transgender should be able to live there lives without the fear of discrimination and been killed.

* The names of the persons mention above have been change upon there request.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson

The Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson (born May 29, 1947)
Robinson was elected bishop in 2003 and entered office on March 7, 2004. Prior to becoming bishop, he served as assistant to the retiring New Hampshire bishop.
Robinson is best known for being the first openly gay, non-celibate priest to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate. His homosexual feelings were privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family. He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in the 1980s. When delegates to the Episcopal convention were voting on the ratification of his election, he was a controversial figure. His election was ratified 62 to 45. After his election, theologically conservative parishes have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the U.S., a process called the Anglican realignment. His story has appeared in print and film.

A 1969 graduate of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, he has a B.A. in American Studies/History. In 1973, he completed the M.Div. degree at the General Theological Seminary in New York, was ordained deacon, and then priest, serving as Curate at Christ Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey. Upon moving to New Hampshire in 1975, Gene co-owned and directed an ACA accredited horseback riding summer camp for girls. As Founding Director of Sign of the Dove Retreat Center, in Temple, New Hampshire, he led retreat programs for vestries, diocesan committees, intergenerational groups, and all kinds of parish groups.
From 1978 to 1985, Gene was Youth Ministries Coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England, serving two years on the National Youth Ministries Development Team, where he helped originate the national Episcopal Youth Event. From 1983 until his election as bishop, Gene also served as Executive Secretary of Province I, coordinating all cooperative programs between the seven dioceses of New England.
Clergy wellness has long been a focus of Gene's ministry, and in the nineties he developed the A Being Well in Christ conference model for The Cornerstone Project, and led clergy conferences in over 20 dioceses in the U.S. and Canada. He initiated A Fresh Start, a two-year mentoring program for all clergy in new positions in New Hampshire, and co-authored the Fresh Start curriculum, now in use in nearly half of the dioceses of the Episcopal Church. Much of his ministry has focused on helping congregations and clergy, especially in times of conflict, utilizing his skills in congregational dynamics, conflict resolution and mediation.
Co-author of three AIDS education curricula for youth and adults, Gene has done AIDS work in the United States and in Africa (Uganda and South Africa). He has been an advocate for anti-racism training in the diocese and wider Church. He helped build the Diocese of New Hampshire's close working partnership with the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, advocated for debt relief for the world's most impoverished nations, and lobbied for socially-responsible investment within and beyond the Church. He is a past member of the Board of the New Hampshire Endowment for Health, which works for access to health care for the uninsured. Bishop Robinson currently serves as a Trustee of the Church Pension Fund and a board member of the NH Children’s Alliance. He holds two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards from national civil rights organizations. His story is featured in the 2007 feature-length documentary, For the Bible Tells Me So.
Gene enjoys entertaining and cooking, gardening, music and theatre. He is the father of two grown daughters and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters. He lives with his partner, Mark Andrew, who is employed by the State of New Hampshire's Department of Safety.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Swedish MPs move to legalise gay marriage

A motion tabled in the Swedish parliament and backed by three of the four parties in the coalition government would legalise gay marriage.
"Regardless of sexual orientation, people in stable couple relationships have a need to manifest their feelings and their desire to live together," it reads.
While there is widespread public support for same-sex marriage, the Christian Democrat party has used its role as a junior coalition partner to lobby against the use of the word "marriage" for gay unions.
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.
A 1987 law defines marriage as an union between man and woman.
Gay and lesbian couples can register their partnership through a civil ceremony, a process introduced in 1995 which gives same-sex couples the same rights as married couples.
A poll for the Sifo Institute published in January 2008 found that 71% of Swedes think gay people should be allowed to marry.
In November Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said:
"The coalition government has agreed that we will present a basic marriage bill to parliament.
"The three parties in favour of a gender neutral marriage law will then present an accompanying motion seeking to have such a law in place by May 1st 2009."
The new law would allow church weddings, though clergy can opt out of performing gay ceremonies.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gay Agenda on White House site

The new administration in the United States has already posted a lengthy statement on gay rights on the White House website.
The redesigned site is intended to "serve as a place for the President and his administration to connect with the rest of the nation and the world," said Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House.
"Millions of Americans have powered President Obama's journey to the White House, many taking advantage of the internet to play a role in shaping our country's future.
" is just the beginning of the new administration's efforts to expand and deepen this online engagement."
Under the heading 'Civil Rghts' the new administration sets out its agenda for the LGBT community.
"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
– Barack Obama, June 1, 2007
* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. President Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, colour, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, President Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.
* Fight Workplace Discrimination: President Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. The President also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defence of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognised unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.
* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
* Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. The President will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.
* Expand Adoption Rights: President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, President Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. The President will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. President Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma — too often tied to homophobia — that continues to surround HIV/AIDS.
* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. President Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ban on openly gays and lesbian in the U.S military to be remove

US President-elect Barack Obama has said the ban on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the Armed Forces will come to an end.
75% of Americans agree that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law should be repealed, but some conservative activists have claimed that gay personnel will "destroy" the country's military.
Talk radio polemicist "Gunny" Bob Newman has even claimed that gays will mean more HIV+ soldiers, especially in the case of a blood transfusion from "an openly gay person with a very active sexual, open lifestyle."
While Mr Newman's claims have been roundly dismissed, not least because all applicants for military service are screened for HIV at enlistment and every then two years, other critics have used new opinion poll data to claim there is disquiet among Armed Forces personnel about an end to the ban.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Centre for Military Readiness (CMR), has appeared on the National Review Online and Fox News quoting a survey conducted by the Military Times which found that 58% of respondents oppose openly gay service and 10% claim they would not re-enlist if the ban were lifted.
The Centre for Military Readiness claims that a "sexual agenda" is being pushed that "advances the goals of gay activist groups."
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a US federal law passed in 1993.
If army personnel are discovered to be LGB then they are sacked, but commanding officers are not allowed to ask about their sexual orientation.
Since 1993 more than 12,500 men and women have been dismissed.
The Military Times poll of those on active duty found that 71% would continue to serve if gays are allowed to serve openly.
Just under 10% said they would not re-enlist or extend my service and 14% said they would "consider not re-enlisting or extending my service."
"Before voting to repeal the law, members of Congress, and President-elect Barack Obama, ought to do the math," said Ms Donnelly.
"A rough estimate using Defence Department numbers for all service branches and components, totalling more than 2 million, indicates that a loss of one in ten (almost 10%) would cost the military approximately 228,600 people — more than the active-duty Marine Corps (200,000).
"If an additional 14% decided to leave, the voluntary exodus would translate into a loss of almost 527,000 — a figure approaching the size of today’s active-duty Army (more than 545,000).
"Estimates of losses in active-duty forces alone would range between 141,000 (10%) and 323,000 (23%)."
Researchers at the University of California-based Michael D Palm Centre, who study the gay ban, have rubbished her claims.
"The poll is not based on a random sampling pool but on the self-selected pool of readers of that publication who tend to be older and more conservative than the military population at-large, a fact which skews the results against gay service.
"Second, opinions about the policy are wholly distinct from actual behaviour, and bigoted attitudes do not predict discriminatory behaviour.
"When Britain and Canada polled their troops before ending their gay bans, two thirds said they would oppose the change and, in one survey, nearly half said they’d refuse to serve with gays; but when the changes were actually made, almost no one resigned. The same scenario played out at West Point when women were admitted."
Palm Centre researchers said that opinion in the military is actually far more favourable toward gay service than the Military Times poll suggests.
In the 1990s, the percentage of men in the Army who “strongly oppose” gays serving in uniform dropped nearly in half, from 67% to 37%.
In 2004, an Annenberg poll found that among junior enlisted personnel, a slight majority favored openly gay service.
In 2006, a Zogby poll of Iraq and Afghanistan vets found that 72% were “personally comfortable” around gays.
"The real news here is the opposite of what Donnelly claims,” said Dr. Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Palm Centre and author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America.
"While the media has reported it as news that the military opposes gay service, the trend is toward much greater tolerance: the 58% figure, which would actually be closer to 50% in a randomised poll, is a big drop from the 74% who opposed gay service in 1993, when the current policy was created.
"Gays already serve openly throughout the US military and we have no problems attributed to this; the force has hardly been destroyed."
An estimated 65,000 lesbian and gay service members serve on active duty and in the reserves of the United States military, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, an organisation dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Lohan gone gay

Celebrity same-sex couple, actress Lindsay Lohan and DJ Samantha Ronson, were the subject of "gratuitously sexist and homophobic remarks" during the BBC3 television programme, The Most Annoying People of 2008, according to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell of the gay rights group OutRage!
The programme is scheduled to be repeated by BBC 3 tomorrow, 7 January, and is currently available to view on the BBC iPlayer.
Ronson was listed as the 43rd most annoying celebrity of 2008, out of 100 stars who were named and shamed in the two-part programme that was first broadcast on 30 and 31 December.
Commenting on Ronson's and Lohan's "bizarre inclusion in a line-up of mostly genuinely annoying celebrities", Peter Tatchell said:
"I fail to see how Lohan or Ronson qualify as annoying, let along most annoying. What is annoying about this lovely couple?
"I know it was meant as a light-hearted review of the year, but even so the BBC did not offer an even half-way convincing reason to justify their inclusion in this programme, which at times bordered on lesbophobic.
"The remarks by BBC Radio 5 presenter DJ Spoony and straight US porn actor Ron Jeremy were gratuitously sexist and homophobic. The BBC should have never broadcast them. The upcoming repeat should bleep-out their stupid, bigoted remarks. A public apology is due from the BBC.
"DJ Spoony should be suspended by the BBC and be allowed to resume presenting his Radio 5 programme only after he has apologised on air and promised not to repeat his homophobic garbage.
"Ron Jeremy's comments were needlessly offensive. They added nothing to the programme and should have been edited out. He's ugly, sexist and arrogant. No self-respecting woman, lesbian or straight, would want to have sex with him or even spend a minute in his company."
"During the programme, one male interviewee disparaged most lesbians as "munters and mingers" and suggested that glamorous, sexy female Hollywood superstars should be reserved for straight men," said Mr Tatchell.
BBC Radio 5 Live presenter DJ Spoony said of lesbians: "Let the munters and mingers get each other. That's cool. No one really wants them ones."
Referring to Lohan and Ronson, he added: "But when they're hot and you know what I mean, and Hollywood superstars, they should be saved for guys like...not me ...for other guys."
"Porn actor Ron Jeremy made sick references to wanting to have a threesome with the couple and ejaculating on them. It was all a bit crude and misogynistic," said Mr Tatchell.