The other day I watched two friends, both Indian, get married in a beautiful garden in Santa Cruz. One is Christian, the other Hindu, so they had two ceremonies. There was a three-tiered wedding cake and a sacred fire. But the really amazing part of the ceremony was that one of their fathers had flown in from India to bless them. It was amazing because my friends are both men.
And watching them touch the father’s feet during their unofficial ceremony, I realized that the fight over gay marriage is ending. Coming out in India is really about marriage. In fact, the standard coming-out line is, “Mom, Dad, I don’t think I am going to get married.”
For my immigrant friends, being gay in California is not much of an issue. Being unmarried in their 30s and 40s is the conversation-stopper at Indian potlucks.
One friend said that when an unmarried Chinese friend told his parents that at least he wasn’t gay, they retorted, “We’d rather you were gay with kids.”
When I left India for America, my aunts worried about who I might end up marrying. “I hope it’s another Bengali,” one told me. Over the years, that relaxed to, “I hope she’s a Hindu.” Then it became, “At least another Indian,” until finally we reached, “I hope you’ll get married before we all die.”
The pressure for marriage leads to acts of desperation. I’ve seen ads for marriages of convenience:
"A 29-year-old professional Indian, gay, 5-foot-9, good job, looking for Indian lesbian facing similar family pressures."
So at my friends’ wedding in Santa Cruz, I got a lump in my throat. Not when they said their vows, or when the minister pronounced them spouses for life. I teared up when the father blessed them both.
And I remembered that old coming-out line: “Mom, Dad, I am not going to get married.” The next generation of immigrant gays and lesbians might have to come up with some other coming-out line.
In fact, I can imagine this ad in the local Indian weekly:
"Hindu very well-established Los Angeles family invites professional match for daughter, 25, 5-foot-3, slim, fair complexion, U.S. born, senior executive in Fortune 500 company. Loves music and dancing. Prospective lesbians encouraged to reply in confidence with complete bio data and returnable photo. Must be professional, under 30, caste no bar."
It might just be time for the gay arranged marriage.
"The final vote today at the UN was 23 countries in favor of granting IGLHRC consultative status, 13 against, and 13 abstentions and 5 absences. Those in opposition were some of the usual suspects when it comes to human rights abusers around the world: Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China, Russia, and more."
"We say no to gay rights, We will not listen to those advocating for their rights in the new constitution," said Mugabe while addressing an Apostolic Church gathering in the country’s eastern Marange district.
"two Republicans, Reps. Chris Smith (NJ) and Trent Franks (AZ), have written a letter, obtained by TPMmuckraker, to the many of the other countries on the council urging them to vote against the resolution.
They claim that the LGBT rights group is a threat to human rights, including freedom of religion.
"Serious questions regarding the IGLHRC’s support for the internationally recognized rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression remain outstanding in the NGO Committee. Consequently, a forced, premature action by the [council] to approve the IGLHRC would potentially undermine these important rights," they wrote.
Smith is the Republican congressional representative to the U.N. and Franks leads an international religious freedom caucus in the House.”
We already have US evangelical churches backing and adding fuel to the fire in Uganda, do we really ready to have these Reps publicly declaring that LGBT groups are a threat to human rights!?! It remains amazing to me how much cognitive dissonance exists in the world to allow to people to claim that their rights would be infringed upon if you provided equal rights to all. Last time I check, the ability to hate on someone that does not live and believe exactly as you do was not a human right.
I hope New Jersey and Arizona unelect these fools!
"Today’s historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come, as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality," said Evan Wolfson, who runs the U.S. Freedom to Marry lobby.
He urged U.S. lawmakers to stand up “for the Constitution and all families here in the United States. America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law.”
"Mrs. Kirchner harshly criticized church leaders on Monday, saying that their discourse on the issue resembled “the times of the Crusades” and that they failed to acknowledge how socially liberal Argentina had become.
“They are portraying this as a religious moral issue and as a threat to ‘the natural order,’ when what we are really doing is looking at a reality that is already there,” the president said from Beijing. “It would be a terrible distortion of democracy if they denied minorities their rights.”
Gay rights advocates said Mrs. Kirchner and her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, are responding to polls showing that nearly 70 percent of Argentines support giving gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals.”
Irish President Mary McAleese, once an advisor to an early national gay rights campaign, may be close to signing Ireland’s first law aimed at providing legal protections for same-sex couples.
The Civil Partnerships Bill this week easily passed in the Irish Parliament’s upper chamber by a vote of 48-4. It was earlier approved in the lower chamber, known as the Dail, according to the Irish Times:
The Green Party Minister for State Ciarán Cuffe, who instigated the move to introduce the legislation in 2007, welcomed its approval last night.
He said changes will need to be made in social welfare and tax laws to facilitate the change. He said those changes would most likely be made in December’s Budget.
“I would be happy if it was in place from January 1 next year. Without giving too many hostages to fortune, I am optimistic that the first civil registrations can take place from then,” he said.
The Bill will extend marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in the areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.
Same-sex couples register their relationship before a registrar. The legislation also provides for the legal recognition of civil partnerships obtained outside the State. At present, cohabiting couples have few rights under family laws.
One year ago, the Delhi high court revoked Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalizing homosexuality. The 105-page judgment, which overturned a 149-year-old British colonial law, was the first legal decision in India to directly provide rights to gay people.
This past Friday, India’s LGBT community celebrated the anniversary of this decision.
While the decriminalization of homosexuality is certainly something to celebrate, the ‘365 without 377’ event was not just about fun. The event also involved protests against intervention petitions in the Supreme Court that could possibly make homosexuality illegal again. And while the law currently remains in favor of LGBT people, a negative social stigma toward LGBT people remains in the country.
But while these are great advances, public education on LGBT issues still lags behind the law. But the spirit behind the ‘365 without 377’ events was to move debate on LGBT issues forward. There’s no doubt that without Section 377, the law allows more people to express themselves.
Judith Nabakooba, a police spokesperson, identified the head as that of Pasikali Kashusbe, one of the workers on Kigggundu’s farm and a member of Integrity Uganda. Pasikali and his partner Abbey are youth workers with Integrity Uganda charged with the responsibility of mobilising young LGBT people in activities which build community capacity to face up to the challenge of homophobia, especially in the area of attitude change and care through drama and sports activities.
According to the police, a mutilated torso which was earlier in the week discovered in Kabuuma Zone, about half a kilometre away from Kiggundu’s farm was probably Pasikali’s The torso was described as belonging to a young man and had no genitals.
Pasikali went missing over three and half weeks ago when the country was celebrating Uganda Martyrs Day. All efforts by his partner Abbey and other family members to find him had been fruitless.
Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, Chairperson of Integrity Uganda lamented the murder of this young man as ‘absurd’ adding that, ‘clearly, the values of tolerance and social inclusion are sadly being sacrificed on the altar of state ignorance, ineptness and good old colonial stupidity’.
Uganda’s Martyr’s Day, a national holiday, is a particularly dangerous time for LGBT people. The holiday commemorates the death of several Anglican and Catholic missionaries ordered by the Bugandan King Mwanga II, who felt that foreign religious influences posed a threat to his kingdom. In fact, his fears proved correct; the executions prompted Britain to invade Uganda and turn it into a British colony. Popular lore has it that King Mwanga II, who himself was a teenager, killed the martyrs because they refused his homosexual advances. It is unclear how much of that part of the story is true or how much of it is lore that was reinforced by the British colonial government to discredit the king.
The farm where Kashusbe’s head was found is reportedly owned by Badru Kiggundu, who is the chairman of Uganda’s Electoral Commission. Police found the head while searching for a missing priest, Rev Henry Kayizzi Nsubuga, who disappeared almost two and half weeks ago after delivering a speech at St. Paul’s Church in Kanyanya supporting homosexuality in Uganda.
The independent television network NTV Uganda posted this video three days ago, but doesn’t mention the circumstances which appear to have led to Pasikali’s murder. (Please be warned, the video may bother some)
Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest newspapers, has a few more sparse details here. In this report, the victim is identified as Paschal Kashushu. Amid conflicting reports, it appears that at at least one man has been arrested, possibly a relative. I’m trying to get more information directly from Uganda.
Pasikali and his partner Abbey joined Integrity Uganda in June 2007 and during the last three years, Integrity Uganda has seen an increase in coordination and harmonisation of youth activities. Pasikali emphasized the promotion of the concept of care across the continuum through the formation of voluntary home care groups for young LGBTIs who continue to live in fear. He will be greatly missed by the entire LGBTI fraternity.
As for the missing priest, the only direct news reports that I can find about him appear in the government-owned New Vision. There is no mention of Rev. Nsubuga’s sermon. Instead, it appears that relatives are painting the missing priest as mentally “stressed.” A report by a reporter from Kamulali Newspaper and re-published on the virulently anti-gay web site Virtue Online provides more hints about the possible link between Rev. Nsubuga’s disappearance and his pro-gay sermon.
"To ensure an accurate depiction of the life of a transman and of the process of transitioning, producers of Hollyoaks hired Benson Bell, a 17-year-old transman to consult with the actress playing Jasmine/Jason.
To play Jasmine/Jason, Victoria Atkin, 23, says she draws inspiration from Hilary Swank’s performance as Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry, for her first ever television role.
Atkin told the Guardian that before meeting Bell and before preparing for this character, she had known very little about the transgender community.
“It was a big revelation for me how much taunting and bullying there is,” she said. “The trauma and the effect on the family is huge. The impact on siblings at school, for example, came up with a lot of the people I have spoken to. They are often attacked, too.’”
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