The Boy Scouts of America decided to end its’ long-standing ban on openly gay members, but the organization’s board must still vote in May on whether to ratify the resolution. If approved, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.
“This is a historic change for the Boy Scouts,” said Patrick Boyle, whose book Scout’s Honor examined sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America. “You have a more than hundred-year-old organization changing what it considered a fundamental belief just a decade ago. That says a lot about the Scouts and a lot about how far the gay rights movement has come in the United States.”
“Welcome to Zambia, the landlocked southern African nation slightly larger than Texas. Zambia boasts vast mineral wealth but remains “one of thepoorest and least developed nations on earth.”Human rights are also a significant problem. Zambia is one of at least 37 of 54 African nations that prohibit same-sex relations — and it “is among the more hostile political climates,” adds The Guardian. All consensual adult same-sex acts are criminalized, and convictions are harsh — a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison. Zambia does not permit the advocacy of rights for its besieged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. South Africa is the only African nation that offers legal protections for gays and same-sex marriage,” writes Rod Mccullom in The Atlantic.
There has been ” a frightening increase in violations of LGBT people’s rights ” in Zambia, says a human rights group. An openly gay and HIV positive activist says police denied him access to “his tuberculosis and antiretroviral drugs and put his life at risk.
Zambia in particular has the misfortune of being home to ” one of the world’s most devastating HIV and AIDS epidemics,” reports the advocacy group AVERT: “More than one in every seven adults in the country is living with HIVand life expectancy at birth has fallen to just 49 years. … Overall HIV prevalence was 13.5 percent [and] has been reported as high as 25 percent in some urban areas. … Unlike in some countries, HIV in Zambia does not primarily affect the most underprivileged. Infection rates are very high among wealthier people and the better educated.”
The article contends that Zambia’s anti-gay policies are making the HIV epidemic there, far worse.
Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
What is gay culture? asks Paul Burston in The Guardian. Well if he doesn’t know, who does?
“For many people, gay culture begins and ends with the gay scene. There are gay magazines devoted to it, and gay people who devote their lives to it. And compared to many countries, we have a gay scene we can be proud of. But all is not well in this rosy pink world. The impact of drugs like GHB has led to numerous deaths on the London gay scene. Next month, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in the capital is hosting a panel discussion to address the problem. The fact that it’s presented by someone called Sleazy Michael gives some idea of the target audience.”
Oh. Mr Burston takes a look at the portrayal of gays on television. (Your Activist has managed without one of those things for fifteen years now.)
"From this vantage point, it's easier to see things from a wider perspective. And with greater legislative freedoms, we have an opportunity to take a broader view of gay politics, and redefine what we mean by gay culture."
It would appear that Mr Burston and "Guardian writer Julie Bindel decided to launch a new online magazine called Gaze – A Modern Review."
In view of all the closures of gay media in recent times, any new development has to be welcomed.
2009 photo of Paul Burston by Polari
And finally, our French Parliamentary Correspondent reports: “Scuffles broke out in the French Parliament yesterday as right wing opponents of gay marriage got hot under the collar. Centre-right politicians surrounded the Justice Minister and tried to shove ushers aside when a government official “impersonated” a speech by one of their colleagues. Then the scuffling broke out in the main lobby.”
Oooh la la! Mesdames, s’il vous plaît! Vous vous comportez comme des citoyens.