India’s sham shame

The Times of India looks into why so many gay Indian men are going into sham marriages.

Marriages of convenience are clandestine part of South Asian gay culture — a homosexual man and woman decide to tie the knot to stave off questions from nosy families or find protection from the law in countries like India where homosexuality is a criminal offence. In India, the Delhi high court decriminalised homosexuality (Section 377) in 2009, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling four years later.

In 2015, a lesbian couple from China launched a smartphone app iHomo to facilitate marriages of convenience or ‘cooperative marriages’ between gay men and lesbians. But in more conservative India, the LGBT community looks for MoCs on private Facebook groups, chat rooms and Craigslist.

There is still a huge stigma attached to being gay in India. Many Indian parents prefer not to admit that their child is gay, and hope he or she ‘will grow out of it’ once married.

In a marriage of convenience, terms are agreed beforehand, so both sides know what they are getting into – but problems often emerge later.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-gay-men-are-seeking-a-marriage-of-convenience/articleshow/60811116.cms

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Tunisia won’t look up your bum any more

AFP reports that Tunisia has banned forced anal examinations to determine sexual orientation, the North African state’s minister for human rights said on Friday.

The authorities carry out the tests on suspected homosexuals but “these exams can no longer be imposed by force, physical or moral, or without the consent of the person concerned”, Mehdi Ben Gharbia told AFP.

Foreign and local rights groups have condemned the practice of forced anal exams as “cruel” and “inhuman”. In Tunisia sodomy is punishable by jail.

http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/tunisia-bans-forced-anal-exams-for-homosexuality-20170922

No gay parties allowed in Malaysia, says deputy Prime Minister

An announcement that a gay event would be held in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 30 to promote “White Party Bangkok”, the biggest annual gay music festival in Asia, has caused quite a stink.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Malaysian Government will not allow the gay event or party planned for Sept 30 to take place. The organiser had yet to apply for a permit for the event or party but he had instructed the police not to approve the gathering. “If such a party or event is held, then it is an illegal gathering,” he said to Malaysian journalists on Thursday.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/09/21/zahid-government-wont-allow-any-gay-party-in-malaysia/

Zanzibar arrests gays

Twenty people have been arrested in Zanzibar for alleged homosexuality.

“They are implicated in homosexuality. We arrested them and are busy interrogating them. The police cannot turn a blind eye to this practice,” said regional police commander Hassan Ali Nasri on state television. The twelve women and eight men were arrested in a hotel where they were undergoing training from an NGO that works on HIV/AIDS education programmes. In February, Tanzania announced it was stopping many privately run health centres from providing AIDS-related services, which Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said promoted homosexuality.

http://www.africanews.com/2017/09/16/tanzania-20-arrested-in-zanzibar-for-homosexuality/

Adoption to be legalised in Israel

Israel’s government said today it would introduce a bill giving same-sex couples equal rights to adopt a child, in 2018.

The High Court of Justice had given the Israeli government two months to reconsider its opposition to same-sex adoption. The government said that it would present the bill by June 2018.

The court ultimatum came after a legal challenge against the Welfare Ministry and Justice Ministry challenged the state to justify its previous opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt.

The government had claimed that adoption by same-sex couples places an “additional burden” on children.

Same-sex couples can be approved for adoption under Israeli law, but only three such couples have managed to adopt children over the last nine years. Some same-sex couples adopt babies from other countries.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/state-commits-to-legislate-adoption-rights-for-gay-couples/

Gay nomads turn up in Australia

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Sofie Wainwright/ABC | 17157

ABC have been to meet some of Australia’s gay nomads, fed up with city life who prefer to live in caravan parks and tour.

Laine Isaac is new to the group and said he felt at ease spending time with like-minded people during his travels.

“You don’t have to be closeted [with gay nomads] … you can be outspoken and discuss things,” Mr Isaac said.

“It’s very difficult when you’re sitting down at a camp with straight people to all of a sudden say, ‘Hey, I’m not quite what you think I am’.”

Lynne Hocking said the group debunked the stereotype that all LGBTI people were urban and city dwellers.

They felt more accepted in their nomadic community than they did in Australian cities.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-15/gay-nomads-fly-rainbow-flag-in-outback-caravan-parks/8944470

Gay people flee Ukraine

The United Nations reports on the Ukraine, where they found that gay men are fleeing for their lives.

When Viktor (not his real name), a 27-year-old gay man, opened his door to police one morning, he knew his secret was out.

His claims of having a girlfriend met with scorn – one of his neighbours had told them everything. Unless Viktor could present the woman within 24 hours or pay a bribe he could not afford, he would be arrested.

Panicked, he packed a bag. By the evening, he was gone.

Many LGBTI people face stigma, harassment and violent attacks. In some cases, home has become such a terrifying place that the only option is to leave.

“It is not easy to be LGBTI in the East,” says a shelter director, Olena Shevchenko. “They can beat you, they can rape you. It’s not possible to be open, because you’re never sure what will happen next. You need to lead a hidden life.”

To Your Activist what is happening to gay men in parts of the world is little more than Ethnic Cleansing.

http://www.unhcr.org/news/stories/2017/9/597ef1fc4/gay-displaced-frontlines-ukraines-conflict.html

Gay and right wing

CNN looks at gay men in Germany who have joined politically far right political groups, such as Alternative for Germany (AfD), who, if opinion polls are correct, are likely to secure enough votes to enter the Bundestag after the German general election on 24 September.

Karsten P. empties a test tube filled with metal pieces into the palm of his hand. They’re the tiny screws and bolts that held his face together after he and his partner Sven were violently assaulted in a life-changing attack outside their local store.

Two surgeries later and fearful of being attacked again, the openly gay 52-year-old taxi driver — who doesn’t want to be identified because of concerns of another attack — avoids public spaces and always takes pepper spray with him. He and his partner have also been forced to move neighborhoods in the northwest German city of Bremen following mounting costs as a result of being injured.

“I went outside and saw someone kicking my partner’s head. I was trying to stop him and right at that moment, I got hit from the side,” Karsten recalls about the attack. “I kind of lost consciousness and when I got up again, I thought my partner was dead. He was all covered in blood and he didn’t move at all.”

Police identified the attackers as two locally known Muslim extremists. They were never arrested and later fled to Syria. After demanding answers from local prosecutors and the mayor’s office and not getting a response, Karsten turned to Germany’s far right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

“I don’t like everything they say,” Karsten says, “but this is too dangerous for gay people to live openly here, if we get attacked like that. We need a party that’s talking openly about this.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/09/14/europe/germany-far-right-lgbt-support/index.html

Goodbye Edie

The BBC reports that Edith “Edie” Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88. She leaves her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor.

Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.
She sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died.

The couple had married in Canada in 2007.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41248327

Wedding cakes – the new battleground

American gays are concerned at the direction their new President is taking on gay rights.

Bloomberg comments:

Early on, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people seemed to be exempted from Donald Trump’s most inflammatory rhetoric. He was the first Republican presidential nominee to mention LGBT people in his acceptance speech. After his election, he declared same-sex marriage “settled law.” Once in office, he left in place an executive order protecting the federal government’s LGBT employees from discrimination.

But any early optimism among gay-rights supporters has disintegrated in recent months. The Trump administration has rescinded policies that supported transgender students and soldiers and signaled its opposition to gay rights in a pair of federal cases.

Most recently, the U.S. Justice Department filed a brief in support of Masterpiece Cakeshop, a Colorado bakery that refused on religious grounds to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. The bakery was sanctioned by the state, and the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case this fall. The Department of Justice supported the argument that cake decoration is artistic expression and therefore deserves special protection.

Expect a major battle.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/trump-adds-to-rollback-of-obama-legacy-with-anti-gay-measures