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April 20, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 16
 
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Rex Wockner
International News
ANTI-GAY LEADER OF ITALIAN BISHOPS THREATENED
The head of the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, is under increased police protection due to continuing threats following a recent homophobic outburst.

Bagnasco angered Gays when he said: "Why say 'no' to forms of legally recognized cohabitation which create alternatives to the family? Why say 'no' to incest? Why say 'no' to the pedophile party in Holland?"

First, someone spray-painted "Shame On You Bagnasco" on the Genoa cathedral. And now "Death to Bagnasco" graffiti has appeared around the city accompanied by the logo of a left-wing terrorist group.

Bagnasco made the homophobic remarks shortly after the bishops conference instructed Catholic members of Parliament to vote against Italy's pending civil-union legislation.

A police officer is now posted at Bagnasco's office, officers have increased armed patrols in the area, and plainclothes cops are on-site when Bagnasco conducts mass.

CHINA GETS A GAY RADIO PROGRAM
PhoenixTV.com is airing China's first Gay talk show on the Web.

The weekly program, Tongxing Xianglian, features celebrities, lawyers, teachers, psychologists, social workers and others discussing sex, identity, discrimination and other matters.

It is hosted by Didier Zheng and produced by Gang Gang, both of whom are openly Gay.

According to Shanghai Daily, the show's name is a play on the words of the Chinese idiom "People with the same afflictions sympathize with each other." But the Chinese characters also can be translated directly as "Same-Sex Love," said one of this column's Chinese correspondents.

"In the West, it is usually pressure brought [on Gays] by religion," Gang told the Daily. "In China, it is usually family and neighbors and peers."

Gang said his parents would be "very angry" if they found out he is working on the program.

GROUNDBREAKING NEPALI ACTIVIST TO RECEIVE U.S. AWARD
The founder of Nepal's only Gay group, Sunil Pant of the Blue Diamond Society, will receive the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission's annual Felipe de Souza Award and its $5,000 stipend in May.

"Blue Diamond Society is one of the most effective human rights groups in the world," said IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick. "What Sunil and other members have been able to do in such a short time to build visibility and effective action around LGBT issues in Nepal and international renown among their global peers is nothing short of astounding."

Pant says the six-year-old group is "currently working hard to enshrine equality, nondiscrimination, freedom and security in Nepal's new constitution."

"The challenge for us is that major political parties don't take our issues seriously and this means we have to work hard to convince them," he said. "Funding is another major challenge as we don't receive any support from the government and it is difficult to find donors who are willing to support LGBT rights work."

The group also sponsors community forums, media campaigns, social events, talent shows, a pride festival and International Day Against Homophobia events. And it is planning the nation's first GLBT film festival, to be held in mid-May at Kathmandu City Hall. The organization also works to help GLBT people who are mistreated by Gay-bashers, police and officials.

"We have more than 40,000 LGBT people in our database, of which more than 10,000 are actively supporting BDS across the country," Pant said.

According to IGLHRC Communications Coordinator Hossein Alizadeh, members of the Nepalese GLBT community identify somewhat differently from similar people in the West.

"Effeminate homosexual men are referred to as metis, singarus or kothis," Alizadeh said. "Gay or Bisexual men who are not necessarily feminine are known as dohoris. [T]he sexual partners of metis and dohoris are known as tas. They see themselves as masculine and mostly act like heterosexual males. In fact, they often consider themselves as heterosexuals. Finally, those who are born biologically male and wish to be female are called hijras or eunuchs. Some undergo castration and join the hijra community." Alizadeh said "there is no open Gay life" in Nepal.

"Gay men mostly are either forced into marriage by their families or are left with no choice but to leave the country," he said. Gay sex is not banned but under a law on bestiality, unnatural sexual acts, which are not defined, are punishable with up to a year in prison or a $70 fine, IGLHRC said.

JAMAICAN POLICE QUELL ANTI-GAY RIOT AT FUNERAL
Police in Mandeville, Jamaica, had to restore order at the funeral of businessman Kirk Wayne Lester on April 8 after some mourners smashed windows and threw rocks and bottles at crossdressers in attendance at the True Vine Fellowship Church.

Other mourners ran for cover or spoke in tongues during the mêlée, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper.

The incident follows two other recent mob actions by anti-Gay Jamaicans.

On April 2, three Gay men were attacked by a mob at Montego Bay's MoBay Nite Out carnival event. The men, one of whom was hospitalized, angered other attendees when they took to a stage and gyrated on each other, the Observer said. The crowd threw rocks and bottles at the men and, when the men returned fire, the crowd lunged for them, chased them down and beat them.

On Feb. 14, a mob surrounded a pharmacy in Kingston and demanded that four Gay men inside come out and face punishment for being homosexuals. The crowd formed after another shopper took exception to the men's presence and began screaming that "battymen," or faggots, must be killed.

Police fired tear gas into that crowd of 200 and rescued the men. But after removing them from the scene, officers disparaged the men en route to, and at, the police station, according to the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays. One of the rescued men, J-FLAG leader Gareth Williams, said officers hit him in the head and struck him in the stomach with a rifle.

FINNS SUPPORT RIGHTS FOR GAY PARENTS
Eighty percent of Finns support granting custody of biological children of a deceased partner in a same-sex union to the surviving spouse, a poll by the market-research organization Taloustutkimus has found.

Currently, courts decide such cases on a case-by-case basis, the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper said.

A Ministry of Social Affairs and Health task force proposed legislation in 2003 to allow nonbiological same-sex parents to adopt their partners' children, but the ministry did not act on the suggestion.
Quote / Unquote

"I will not be rendering judgment about individual orientation. I do believe the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy is good policy."
--President George W. Bush when FOX News Channel correspondent Bret Baier asked at an April 3 press conference: "Since General Pace made his comments that got a lot of attention about homosexuality, we haven't heard from you on that issue. Do you, sir, believe that homosexuality is immoral?"

"Well, I think traditionally these have been issues that have been managed or regulated by the states, and that's the way I think it ought to be. I think each state ought to have the capacity to decide how they want to handle those issues. Obviously we love our daughters, both of them, Liz and Mary, very much. I'm delighted I'm about to be a grandparent for the sixth time. I'm looking forward to the arrival of a new grandson. And I obviously think it's important for us as a society to be tolerant and respectful of whatever arrangements people enter into."
--U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney when asked by ABC Radio News April 4: "You are about to have a grandchild born next month ... into a [Lesbian] family that won't necessarily have the same legal standing in every state. [S]hould there be changes, legal changes in some of the laws around the country to better provide for a family?"

"I think there are four kinds of Gays in Hollywood. There's the openly Gay; the Gay and everybody knows it but nobody talks about it; the married, closeted Gay who doesn't talk about it; and the screaming 'I'll sue you if you say I'm Gay' person. In other words, the no closet, the glass closet, the cast iron closet, and the closet you get buried in."
--Howard Bragman, CEO of the PR firm Fifteen Minutes, to Out magazine, May issue.

"Anderson Cooper has finessed it where straight women who have a crush on him think he's straight and Gay men actually think he's out."
--Writer and outing inventor Michelangelo Signorile to Out magazine, May issue.

"We need all the Anderson Coopers to come out. Besides, he's real cute, and I hear he wants a boyfriend very bad. And he can't get one being in the closet."
--Writer and activist Larry Kramer to New York's Daily News, April 6.

"I don't out anyone, people out themselves, it's a choice. I report on the private lives of public figures who make a choice to live their lives in the public eye. I don't believe in discrimination so I'm going to treat everyone the same, Gay or straight, out or not."
--Blogger Perez Hilton to London's Pink Paper, March 22.

"These blogs where people say that a celebrity is Gay actually took the sting out of saying a celebrity is Gay. When I outed people (and I was one of the very few doing so), they called it a smear campaign. No one does that now."
--Village Voice columnist Michael Musto to Windy City Times, March 21.

"I was around when the very first wave of AIDS hit us; it was like a tsunami, and the government wasn't even addressing it. Gay men and women came together to kick ass like I'd never seen. That was an exciting time."
--Village Voice columnist Michael Musto to Windy City Times, March 21.

"Many awards were given to the mainstream media for their positive coverage of the GLBT community. They respond well to awards. Just as GLAAD has reached out to the huge Hispanic viewing media, I hope soon they will reach out to the Gay media which is more a part of the mainstream than ever before."
--Comedian Kate Clinton reporting from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation Media Awards in New York City, in a March 28 column at The Huffington Post. GLAAD prohibits Gay media from submitting entries for the awards, arguing that the organization's mission is to improve the "mainstream" media.

"They [Gay newspapers] are becoming more like mainstream media and, in that sense, they are less necessary. They have cheapened themselves out of a role to a large extent. What they ought to be doing is investing resources in producing quality writing, investigative reporting, long features -- real writing that isn't otherwise available."
--Larry Gross, director of the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication, commenting on the Gay press' use of mainstream wire copy from the Associated Press, to the San Diego Union-Tribune, April 5.

"Yes, I do [think I'd be open to having a woman as a lover]. I don't know how you describe me then. I think there are some things I could say that are not politically correct, but I have to say that it definitely would be a possibility, depending on the person."
--Actress Cybill Shepherd to the D.C. Gay magazine Metro Weekly, March 22.

"I marched on Washington in a major Gay and Lesbian march. The Human Rights Campaign sponsored me, and when I got there I said, 'I want to be in that first row and carry the banner,' and they said, 'I'm sorry, unless you're Gay or Lesbian, we're not going to let you carry it. Because the people who've worked so hard, they deserve to carry it.' I took issue with that. I said, 'I don't know why you'd have to be Gay and Lesbian to lead the march and carry the banner. It is an equal investment for anyone, regardless of what their orientation is or whatever you want to call it.' I said, 'Would Martin Luther King not have let me march with him because my skin was white? I don't see any difference in the issue.' It's about bigotry and hatred."
--Actress Cybill Shepherd to the D.C. Gay magazine Metro Weekly, March 22. Organizers relented and let her help hold the lead banner.

"[Sara Switzer is] no nonsense, tough as nails -- a real ball-buster chick. It's really good because she doesn't go to those weepy places and she doesn't like it and I really think that has been the key to the success of our relationship."
--Comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard to the Palm Springs Gay magazine The Bottom Line, March 30.

"America is my second home. I slept with half of it and came out HIV negative. I'm a lucky, lucky person."
--From a list of Elton John's 60 "most memorable quotes" published March 24 by the British newspaper The Sun to celebrate Elton's 60th birthday.

"In hotels I use names like Binky Poodleclip and Sir Horace Pussy."
--From a list of Elton John's 60 "most memorable quotes" published March 24 by the British newspaper The Sun to celebrate Elton's 60th birthday.

"I'm a mad shredder. I get these Bibles sent to me saying 'Repent now' and I shred them."
--From a list of Elton John's 60 "most memorable quotes" published March 24 by the British newspaper The Sun to celebrate Elton's 60th birthday.

"What I learned when I first met Hillary, and what I know now, is that she is qualified to lead this country. As a young woman, mother, advocate, First Lady and Senator she has continually shown us she is passionate about improving family issues, healthcare, equal pay and the challenges that people all across this nation face on a daily basis. Hillary and I both believe strongly in equal rights and opportunities for all people. She is a winner and I am standing beside her because she has the vision, the drive and the knowledge to lead this country."
--Lesbian tennis great Billie Jean King in a March 28 statement.
photo - Sunil Pant

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