World Briefs

Posted on 07 Sep 2006 at 2:25pm
By Rex Wockner

Gays, lesbians in Nepal lobbying or constitutional protection

Gays, lesbians and transgender people in Nepal are seeking protection in the new constitution that is being prepared, the Indo-Asia News Service reported Aug. 24.

They have demanded decriminalization of “unnatural sex,” political representation, access to marriage or civil unions and the addition of a transgender category in addition to male and female on the citizenship card and other government certificates.

Organizations pushing for the changes include the GLBT Blue Diamond Society and the lesbian group Mitini Nepal.

Canada’s Bloc Qu?b?cois party to stand firm on same-sex marriage

Canada’s Bloc Qu?b?cois political party has promised to stand united against Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to initiate parliamentary reconsideration of the 2005 vote that legalized same-sex marriage.

All of the party’s 51 members in the 308-member House of Commons will be expected to vote in favor of same-sex marriage in any reassessment of the matter.

The 29 members of the New Democratic Party are planning to do the same.

Recent polling found that 62 percent of Canadians oppose any attempt to take away same-sex couples’ access to marriage.

British pro soccer team embraces gays by joining diversity program

In an unprecedented move, top-level British professional soccer team Manchester City Football Club has paid “four figures” to join the Diversity Champions program of the leading national gay rights group Stonewall, The Observer reported on Aug. 27.

The action commits the team to recruit gays to work at the stadium, reach out to gay fans, ban homophobic language and implement other “gay-friendly” initiatives.

“We want to send a welcoming message to gay, lesbian and bisexual supporters, be inclusive and be a progressive employer,” said Alistair Mackintosh, the club’s chief executive.

The Observer, which said Mackintosh’s sister is an open lesbian, commented, “The move could lead to a dramatic change of attitude in the macho world of football, which is regarded as one of the last bastions of homophobia.”

WorldPride parade rescheduled; Jerusalem police say they will stop march

The WorldPride parade scheduled for Aug. 10 in Jerusalem but cancelled because hundreds of police officers needed to protect it were unavailable due to the war in Lebanon will take place Sept. 21, organizers have announced.

But the Jerusalem police department has stated it will not allow the march to occur so close to the Jewish New Year holiday season. Officials said they’re open to considering other dates.

Pride organizers responded that they won’t back down a second time and will go to court to secure the Sept. 21 date if necessary.

Orthodox Jews had threatened a massive counter-demonstration against the August parade, which also was opposed by Christian and Muslim religious figures, the mayor, and right-wing politicians in Jerusalem.

At last year’s local Pride parade, an ultra-Orthodox protester stabbed three marchers and was later convicted of attempted murder. Orthodox Jews tried to block the march, and some 1,000 anti-gay militants staged a rowdy action during which some threw bottles of urine and bags of feces at the marchers.

WorldPride, which was last held in 2000 in Rome, is licensed by InterPride, the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Coordinators.

Latvians who attacked gays during Pride celebration are punished

Some of the protesters who pelted Latvian gays with excrement on Pride day have been punished.

The July 22 attacks in Riga occurred outside a gay religious service and meetings at a hotel events which replaced the planned gay Pride parade after it was banned by the City Council and a court.

LGBT people coming and going from the events were confronted by Christian fundamentalists, ultranationalists and neo-Nazis, some of whom threw eggs, rotten food and human feces.

To date, seven of the protesters have been fined from $42 to $92 for petty hooliganism.

Linda Freimane, spokeswoman for the Pride organizing group Mozaika, called the punishments inadequate, saying the attackers should have been charged with criminal hooliganism.

“This is not petty hooliganism but an incitement to hatred,” she said. “The punishment for such activities must be heavier so the others would [see] clear that similar activities carry heavy punishment and the state considers them as serious offenses.”

Latvia’s general prosecutor has agreed with Mozaika and is attempting to have the decisions annulled and the attackers retried under criminal statutes.

Bollywood star says he is ready to be a gay icon

Indian movie star Abhishek Bachchan, a rising Bollywood leading man with a growing female following, says he’s ready to be an icon for gays as well.

Asked by the Times of India newspaper if he would feel comfortable having a big following among gay men, Bachchan responded: “Great! Why not?”

“Appreciation and love from any quarter is welcome,” he was quoted as saying.

While such a sentiment would surprise few in Hollywood, homosexuality remains taboo among most of India’s billion people. Even in Bollywood’s relatively liberal social circles, there are few openly gay personalities.

As for his female fan base, Bachchan jokingly told the paper: “You bribe them very well and keep them on payroll.”

Bachchan is the son of Amitabh Bachchan, arguably one of India’s biggest stars over the past three decades. The two were among the star-studded cast of the industry’s latest big hit, “Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna,” or “Never Say Goodbye,” a movie about infidelity.

Editorial assistance provided by Bill Kelley.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, September 8, 2006.

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