World Briefs

Posted on 20 Jul 2006 at 4:17pm
By Rex Wockner

Canadian government accused of blocking visas for some Outgames participants

Ottawa is delaying or denying visas for some people planning to attend the 1st World Outgames scheduled July 29-August 5 in Montreal, Liberal members of Parliament charged July 11.

Quebec lawmaker Raymonde Folco said more than 250 persons, most of them set to participate in an associated human-rights conference, lacked entry visas. Canada’s new Conservative government may be to blame, Folco suggested.

“I would like to be generous and say there may be another common denominator, but I don’t see it,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Monte Solberg, the minister who oversees citizenship and immigration, dismissed the accusation, telling the Winnipeg Sun that “most of the applicants are still in the normal review process.”

The spokeswoman, Lesley Harmer, contemporaneously told the Montreal Gazette that more than half of the individuals in question have yet to submit a visa application.

The Outgames press secretary, Pascal Dessureault, said he was “really worried” about the delays.

Under new socialist president, Chile may repeal laws used to harass gay people

Chile’s Congress is considering repeal of laws that have been used to harass gays.

The regulations, which ban “offenses to morals and good customs,” have been used against GLBT people who express their sexual orientation in public, activists said.

Lawmakers also are debating hate-crimes legislation that includes gays and lesbians.

Gay activists think there is a better chance of advancing their agenda under Chile’s new president, socialist Michelle Bachelet.

China bans South Korean movie, citing concerns about language, gay romance

Chinese censors have banned South Korea’s top-grossing film from China’s theaters because of concerns about its language and an implied gay romance.

The “King and the Clown” failed to pass muster with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

The censors reportedly objected to longing glances between the king and an effeminate clown during a puppet show they perform together.

French lesbian Am?lie Mauresmo wins women’s singles title at Wimbledon

French tennis champion Am?lie Mauresmo won the Wimbledon women’s singles title July 8, thereby becoming the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world. It was Mauresmo’s first appearance in the Wimbledon final.

Mauresmo, an outspoken lesbian, beat Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

“I wasn’t playing my best tennis, far from it. That kind of day happens,” Henin-Hardenne said.

Mauresmo said her win was “very sweet.”

“Maybe if it came seven years ago it would not have had the same taste. Things come when they have to come,” she said.

Mauresmo said she has gotten better at controlling her nervousness in big matches, and is playing better tennis than a few years ago.

“I think everything is really coming together,” she said.

Norwegian politician, paper face complaints over letter about “‘straight beaches’

A municipal councilor and a newspaper in Farsund, Norway, have been accused of discrimination over a letter to the editor the politician wrote calling for a straights-only beach, the Aftenposten daily reported July 11.

Odd Djoseland, a member of the right-wing Progress Party, maintains his letter was a joke. In it, he claimed straight beachgoers are uncomfortable when gay men and lesbians “drool” over them.

“I therefore want a beach in our community that’s free of gays and lesbians, a place where we normal, heterosexual people can sunbathe and swim in peace and quiet,” he said.

Some readers failed to see the humor. Local bisexual Bent Sandvand said he was “offended and insulted,” and filed a complaint against Djoseland with police. And reader Steinar Spjelkaviknes filed a complaint against the newspaper, Farsunds Avis, alleging violation of press rules concerning respect for people’s identities.

300 take part in inaugural gay pride parade in Portugal’s 2nd-largest city

About 300 people marched in the first gay pride parade in Porto, Portugal, on July 8.

The city, Portugal’s second largest, has had pride events since 2001, but never a parade.

The march started at the location where a transgender woman was killed this year, then proceeded through the narrow streets of the old city to a rally in a central square near City Hall.

In February, the woman, “Gisberta,” was beaten, stoned, stomped, burned and sexually assaulted with a stick for two days.

Near the end of her ordeal, Gisberta was tossed into a deep pit at the abandoned building where she lived. Fourteen boys admitted their involvement. Their trial, closed to the public, is under way.

Moscow pride official says Orthodox demonstrators were paid by church

A top coordinator of Moscow’s ill-fated first gay pride parade says the Russian Orthodox Church paid some of the women and neofascist demonstrators who attacked the gay marchers.

Nikolai Alekseev says the church gave “10 euros to 50 babushkas to demonstrate against us in the streets” and gave “a few Big Mac meals to the young boys who were running after us.”

As the marchers attempted to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier then walk a few blocks for a rally across the street from City Hall, they were attacked repeatedly by neofascists, skinheads, militant Orthodox Christians and riot police. Several marchers were injured and about 120 people from both sides were arrested.

Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who had ordered the May 27 march canceled, called the attempt to lay flowers a “desecration … a provocation, a contamination. People burst through and of course they beat them up,” he said.

Four anti-gay campaigners are convicted of hate crime for distributing pamphlets

Four Swedish anti-gay activists were convicted of illegal agitation against a minority group July 6 for distributing pamphlets that, among other things, blamed gays’ “promiscuous lifestyles” for the “plague” of AIDS.

The pamphlets were passed out near a school in Soderhamn, 150 miles north of Stockholm.

Thee of the men received a suspended sentence and were fined 100 days’ salary. The fourth man was given a year’s probation.

France lifts HIV blood ban, is revising donor screening guidelines

The French minister of health on July 7 lifted the nation’s blanket ban on blood donations by sexually active gay and bisexual men.

Xavier Bertrand made his decision after experts were unable to produce any proof that the donation of blood by a heterosexual having unprotected relations with multiple partners was less dangerous than that of a homosexual having no at-risk behavior.

Bertrand also said he wasconcerned that the French ban stigmatized an entire population group.

French officials are now developing new donor screening guidelines that focus on sexual activity rather than the gender of donors’ sexual partners.

The move follows similar actions by Portugal and Spain.

Editorial assistance was provided by Bill Kelley.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 21, 2006.

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