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