The British Prime Minister has vowed to get tough on African countries with poor records on gay rights by slashing millions of pounds from their aid payments.
In a sign that Britain is no longer prepared to turn a blind eye to nations that victimize sections of society, David Cameron will tell African leaders they will receive funding “fines” if persecution of gays continues, the Daily Mail reports.
The UK government has already taken steps against Malawi, cutting aid by $30 million after two homosexuals who held an engagement ceremony were sentenced to 14 months hard labor. And payments could be cut further to the southern African nation, which has received $312 since 2008, if it proceeds with plans to bring in tough anti-lesbian laws.
Uganda (due to receive $109 million this year) and Ghana (due $56 million) could also face sanctions if they refuse to drop antiquated anti-gay laws. The possibility that these countries will see their aid slashed seems increasingly likely as Uganda has plans to punish same-sex couples with the death penalty, while Ghana’s president has promised to “check the menace of homosexuality.”
A UK government spokesman said it is committed “to combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all circumstances, in this country and abroad.”
Reiterating Britain’s threat of aid withdrawal, the spokesman added, “We only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty and respect human rights.”
Last month, the leaders of Britain’s three main political parties pledged their support for a new London-based gay rights organization, called Kaleidoscope, hoping to modernize gay rights in former British colonies.
The organization, which plans to leverage the UK’s political clout by encouraging countries to revoke discriminatory legislation, was strongly backed by Prime Minister Cameron who said “I want Britain to be a global beacon for reform.”
Well played Britain!
In a country that isn’t known for its progressive politics, male-to-female transsexual Anna Grodzka is proving to be a political trailblazer.
The 57-year old, who completed her sex change last year, could become the country’s first transsexual parliamentarian after her party, the Palikot Movement, earned a surprising 10% of all votes during Poland’s Oct. 9 election. Poland operates under a party-list proportional representation system in which parties are allocated parliamentary seats based on the proportion of the votes the party receives. Because the Palikot Movement has earned an estimated 40 seats, and because Grodzka is at the top of the party’s candidate list in Krakow, she will likely earn a spot in the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament.
"I’m not yet sure if I’ve been elected, but I’m very happy with the result scored by the Palikot Movement," she said Sunday evening at a celebratory election party held in Warsaw. “If I’ll be elected in Krakow, I’ll be Poland’s first transsexual, and the only transsexual MP not only in Poland, but the entire world.” Transsexual Georgina Beyer became the world’s first only transsexual member of parliament in 1999 when she won election in New Zealand, but her term expired in 2007.
Grodzka and her supports are waiting for all the votes to be counted before declaring victory, which could be done as early as Tuesday morning. “We’re 85% sure of her win, but we don’t want to jinx ourselves,” a colleague at Trans-Fuzja, the transgender rights group Grodzka founded, told TIME on Monday morning.
It’s difficult to quantify attitudes towards Poland’s transgender community, but activists say they face a hostile environment in a country where 96% of residents identify as Catholic. Attitudes toward the gay community, which is more easily accepted than the transgender community, underscore the difficulty a transsexual candidate like Grodzka would have faced during the election. The 2007 PEW Global Attitudes Survey found that just 45% of Poles believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society. That lags far behind other Catholic countries like the Philippines, where 64% of people responded affirmatively, and Spain, where 82% of respondents did. Other European countries including France, Germany and Sweden all posted figures higher than 80%.
Grodzka, a trained clinical psychologist, believes her potential election signals a new day for marginalized groups across the country. “Today, Poland is changing. I am the proof along with Robert Biedron, a homosexual and the head of an anti-homophobia campaign who ran for office in Gdynia,” a city on Poland’s northern coast. But Grodzka’s campaign was about far more than gay rights. During the election she campaigned on a platform of raising the minimum wage, improving the availability of nurseries and kingergartens, and encouraging a greater division of church and state by stopping the flow of public funds to religious organizations.
Now if only Obama would become so enlightened….
Le Monocle was a well-know lesbian bar located in Montmartre section of Paris, France that was open from the 1920s thru the early 1940s.
During the 1920s, Paris gained a reputation for the variety of its nighttime options and for its free and easy attitude toward life in general. As a result, many gay and lesbian nightclubs opened and flourished. Among these was Le Monocle, which is credited with being one of the first, and certainly the most famous of lesbian nightclubs. It was opened by Lulu de Montparnasse in the Montmartre area, which at that time was the main gathering place for Parisian lesbians who were often seen at Montmartre’s outdoor cafes or dancing at the Moulin Rouge. Le Monocle’s scene was describe by Florence Tamagne as, “All the women there dressed as men, in Tuxedos, and wore their hair in a bob.”
The name Le Monocle derived from a fad at the time where women who identified as lesbian would sport a monocle to indicate sexual preference. The writer Colette once obsevered the fad by describing women in the area as “often affecting a monocle and a white carnation in the buttonhole.” (as seen in the photo above of Le Monocle)
No one would be surprised to learn that there are right-wing Christians in this country who disapprove of homosexuality. Neither would it come as a surprise that in rural parts of this country, Christianity and homosexuality when brought together, can create a highly combustible mix.
But who could imagine the hate and rage that would motivate a Pastor to instruct deacons and members of his congregation, Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland, TN. to physically attack a couple arriving in the church parking lot last Wednesday?
The fact that one of the gay men attacked happened to be the Pastor’s own son, Jerry Pittman, Jr., no doubt contributed to Pittman senior’s noxious edict. According to Pittman Jr., after hearing his Dad yell, “SICK’EM!:”
“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smashed me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back.”
The attackers also verbally assaulted the couple continually with anti-gay verbiage which continued even after a Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on the scene. Bystanders and other congregants made no effort to stop the assault. For that matter, neither did the Deputy Sheriff. Once the barrage of punches ended, the Deputy refused to let the two victims press charges.
Jerry Pittman Jr. and his boyfriend, Dustin Lee, have since filed charges against two of the men who beat them as well as Pastor Jerry Pittman. A hearing has been scheduled in Gibson County Court for Tuesday, October 4th.
One can’t help but wonder if Pastor Pittman really thinks Jesus would back him up on this assault?
(via Addicting Info)
Jamey had been bullied for years in school and online for not only his sexual orientation but also his weight and hateful speech of all kinds was sent his way. In May he came out to his friends as bisexual, and even made his own “It Gets Better” video to spread the message of hope he desperately wanted to believe in himself. But it seems that the hateful words only increased to an unbearable point, and feeling he had no one to turn to, on Sunday September 18th, only days before the anniversary of Tyler Clementi’s death last year, Jamey killed himself outside his home in Williamsville, NY.
You might have heard the news that Jamey was a huge Lady Gaga fan, even claiming that she was “the reason why I am alive.” The news of his death has left Gaga and people across the world both saddened and angry. Gaga is now pushing for President Obama to “make bullying illegal”, and the Paws Up Forever Project is circulating on YouTube to honor Jamey by discussing the harsh reality of suicide and the horrible bullying that has lead to so many lately.
So what can you do? Keep reaching out to the quiet kid in your class or dorm. Keep telling the ones you love that you are there for them and that they are amazing and beautiful. It might seem simple or even silly, but you never know how your words can heal over the ones that hurt.
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