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

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Remembering and marching for freedom and rights

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Associated Press | 17105

Hundreds of thousands of gay citizens marched in cities across the United States in pride and protest this weekend, celebrating and demanding full rights for our community. The Equality March in Washington and the Resist March in Los Angeles were just two major events this weekend.

Many of the marchers noted what they believe is the setback in the progress made under the Obama administration, in the new Trump White House.

Several members of the new President’s Cabinet have been openly critical of the gay community, including Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Unlike Obama, Trump did not declare June Gay Pride Month.

Sunday’s marches came on an especially poignant day as many remembered the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, one year ago, when a pro-Islamic State gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 people.

https://www.voanews.com/a/lgbt-pride-marches/3896483.html

You haven’t got permission to object!

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AFP/Getty | 17088

Russian police have detained five activists who tried to deliver a petition to prosecutors in Moscow against the treatment of gay people in Chechnya. Police said they arrested them because their actions amounted to an unsanctioned protest.

Hundreds of thousands of people had signed the petition calling for an official investigation into the alleged torture and killing of gay men in the Russian territory.

Police detained the activists, four Russian and one Italian, on Thursday as they walked along Moscow’s Tverskaya Street holding mostly empty boxes with the words “Justice for the Chechen 100” written on them.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/chechnya-gay-rights-activists-delivering-petition-arrested-a7731401.html

Trouble in the glen

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File photo | Irish Times | 17071

The Irish gay rights group Glen is being investigated into whether it breached rules on political campaigning and financial management. The charity has appointed an external investigator to examine allegations of bullying made by staff.

The Charities Regulator has told Glen to provide it with financial records, details of credit cards and the report of an independent auditor by the end of this month. One of the issues being examined by the regulator concerns the use of the charity’s resources to support political campaigning.

Glen’s co-chairman Kieran Rose stepped down after it emerged that campaign literature for his Seanad election campaign last year was printed at the charity.

The intervention by the regulator follows a disclosure made by Glen in response to concerns raised by the executive director, Áine Duggan, appointed last October, who raised a number of issues with the board after carrying out a due diligence of the organisation, which works on issues such as sexual health, mental health and education in the LGBT community.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/gay-rights-charity-glen-hit-by-bullying-and-financial-investigations-1.3050746

Shoulder to shoulder

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Press Association | 17069

Hundreds of Britons held a protest outside the Russian Embassy against the reported torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, where up to 100 men are said to be held in concentration-style camps and at least three men have died.

Michael Salter-Church, co-chair of Pride in London, said: “It sends a shudder down the spine to hear about concentration camps in 2017. Russia’s abuses cannot be ignored.”

Demonstrators draped in rainbows shouted “close the camps” and laid pink flowers while passing traffic beeped their horns in support.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/hundreds-protest-against-chechnyas-gay-10223107

More to do

Writing for Third Sector, Kevin Curley notes that

It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales. The extent to which our society has changed since then is illustrated by the fact that the Westminster parliament, with 35 out gay MPs, is the most diverse of any in the world in terms of sexual orientation. But many challenges remain for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others community.

Giving young people support and safe places is a constant theme in my conversations with local activists. So too is the need to challenge prejudice. Proud2Be’s Price says it’s a misconception that “the battle for LGBTQ+ rights has been won”. He says there have been great advancements in terms of securing equality under the law, but “we are by no means there yet”.

Brooke shows me the videos produced with her young members and says: “We are a long way from achieving equality in practice.”

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/kevin-curley-battle-gay-rights-long-go/local-action/article/1427131

An old issue raises its ugly head once more

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Seattle Gay Pride | File photo | Christopher Zeuthen/Seattle Weekly | 17066

Ed Murray is the Mayor of Seattle and he has been accused of paying drug-addicted teenage boys for sex decades ago. Two other men are making similiar accusations. Murray denies the allegations.

Ed Murray has a lot to lose: in twenty years of local political activity he managed to pass both the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Law and the bill establishing gay marriage. He is Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

One old-timer who lived on Capitol Hill during the 1980s, who asked that his name not be used for reasons of political fealty, said that while he doesn’t know anything about the specific allegations against Murray, the kind of relationship described in the lawsuit—that is, an older man paying an under-age teenager for sex—“would have been very consistent with [Seattle gay culture in] the ’80s.”

This was caused in part, he says, by “the closet and how people could interact.” With an entire population (gay men) sanctioned into the shadows, there was no social mechanism for enforcing the age of consent,

says Seattle Weekly.

Gay Activist used to have a page about “Conduct in public office” but the page was deleted because so few people viewed it. Gay Activists everywhere should be aware that they are representing the community, and conduct themselves with pride.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/accusations-against-murray-leave-the-lgbt-community-he-fought-for-reeling/

Gay flags at half mast

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Gilbert Baker | Pride Winnipeg | 17063

Gilbert Baker, a San Francisco-based activist and artist best known for creating the rainbow flag representing gay rights, has died at the age of 65. He was living in New York.

Baker, who was born in Kansas in 1951, was stationed in San Francisco in the early 1970s while serving in the US Army, at the start of the gay rights movement.

According to the website biography Baker began making banners for gay rights and anti-war protests, often at the request of Harvey Milk, who would become the first openly gay man elected to public office in California when he won the 1977 race for a seat on the San Francisco board of supervisors.

Milk rode under the first rainbow flags made by Baker at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade in June 1978.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/31/gilbert-baker-rainbow-flag-inventor-gay-rights-dies

Here we (don’t) go again…

Some of Massachusetts’s top politicians said today that they would not attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston after organizers told a group of gay and transgender military veterans that they would not be allowed to march on March 17. For two years they have been included in the event.

The parade organizers, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, voted 9 to 4 to exclude OutVets. Dan Magoon, the executive director of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, resigned as the parade’s chief marshal over that decision.

The Allied War Veterans Council says the parade does not ban gay groups, but it “will not allow the advertisement or display of one’s sexual orientation as a topic that should in any way be depicted as a theme of our parade.”

Sponsors of the parade began to drop out today. The supermarket Stop & Shop said it would no longer sponsor the parade, and Anheuser-Busch said it was “evaluating” its continued participation in the event.

The committee may rethink the matter tomorrow.

Suddenly it’s 1969!

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Kwegyirba Croffie/Twitter | 17025

Thousands of LGBTQ New Yorkers rallied yesterday in front of the Stonewall Inn against President Donald Trump’s executive orders, a week after Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

A judge temporarily blocked the ban on Friday and the government has suspended enforcement of it.

“Let me remind people of why we’re here,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said. “The pioneers at Stonewall were alone, but they fought and fought and eventually they won. We are gonna do the same thing!” Schumer led chants of “Dump Trump” from the podium as a rainbow flag waved behind him.

New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman recalled the 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, when hundreds of gay New Yorkers rallied for equality in front of the iconic bar. He drew a parallel between the need to stand up for the rights of the marginalized then and now.

“It’s so appropriate that we are at Stonewall today, because we are here to say we stand up to oppression just like our LGBT brothers and sisters stood up to oppression that fateful evening: June 28, 1969,” he said, to cheers.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Hundreds-Push-Back-Against-Executive-Orders-at-Stonewall-Inn-LGBTQ-Rally-412783683.html