World Briefs

Posted on 01 Oct 2007 at 5:45pm
By Rex Wockner News Service

Gays picket Saudi embassy in London to protest executions of gay men

About 50 people picketed Saudi Arabia’s embassy in London on Oct. 19 in protest against the nation’s reported floggings and executions of gay men.

On Oct. 2, two Saudi men convicted of sodomy in the city of Al Bahah received the first of their 7,000 lashes in punishment, the Okaz daily newspaper reported. The whippings took place in public, the report said.

The London protest, staged just prior to a state visit by Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, was organized by the National Union of Students and the gay direct-action group OutRage!

“As well as flogging and executing gay people, the Saudi leaders are guilty of detention without trial, torture and the public beheading of women who have sex outside of marriage,” said OutRage! leader Peter Tatchell. “The country is a theocratic police state.”

The activists delivered a protest letter to the Saudi ambassador.

ILGA-Europe meets in Vilnius, mayor blocks rally, rainbow flag display

The European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association was prevented by the mayor’s office from publicly displaying a 30-meter rainbow flag during the group’s 11th annual conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, Oct. 25-28.

Mayor Juozas Imbrasas also blocked an identical action in May when the display was planned as the centerpiece of the city’s first gay Pride celebration. He also banned the European Union’s traveling “anti-discrimination truck” from visiting the city at the same time. City officials said the flag display could cause “riots.”

More than 200 people attended the ILGA-Europe confab, which was otherwise uncontested by the city government.

Judge: Ireland must change birth certificates for transgender people

Ireland must grant transsexuals amended birth certificates or face legal action in the European Court of Human Rights, Dublin High Court Justice Liam McKechnie ruled Oct. 19.

Postoperative transsexual dentist Lydia Foy, 60, who launched the court challenge in 1997, called the decision “a wonderful breakthrough after such a long, long time.”

Foy said transsexuals need new birth certificates because when the document doesn’t match one’s current name or appearance, “you can be outed and embarrassed” anytime a birth certificate is needed for paperwork requirements. McKechnie said the state’s refusal to issue Foy a new document had subjected her to “stress, humiliation, embarrassment and loss of dignity,” and jeopardized her right to privacy.

Court denies document change for trans woman but acknowledges problems

The Philippine Supreme Court ruled Oct. 24 that a woman who had a sex-change operation can’t change her name and sex on her civil-registry record.

Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio wanted to change her name to Mely, identify her gender as female and marry her boyfriend. The court said Silverio “succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery [but] no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason.”

The court did acknowledge, however, “that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that, at least for them, life is indeed an ordeal.”

Brit judge who resigned to avoid approving gay adoptions fights back

A family court judge in Sheffield, England, who resigned to avoid having to approve adoptions by gay couples, has launched an appeal to get his job back. Andrew McClintock, 63, is claiming discrimination based on religious belief. A lawyer for the government said United Kingdom law supports gay adoptions, and that a tribunal that refused to excuse McClintock from same-sex cases had acted correctly.

Editorial assistance by Bill Kelley

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 2, 2007

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