Azerbaijan starts de-gaying

Human Rights Watch notes:

Authorities in Azerbaijan are not denying that gay men in Baku have been rounded up in official raids, from mid-September, they are just disputing the reason. Ehsan Zahidov, spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said in a September interview with EurasiaNet.org that police were responding to complaints from residents in Baku that gay men were visible on the streets.

Government officials have also justified the Baku raids in the language of public health, claiming that the gay men arrested were tested for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and Syphilis. “Those who have diseases are being isolated from society,” Zahidov said. The director of the AIDS Center of Azerbaijan, Natig Zulfugarov, points out that it would be against the law for the police to do so without a court order, which they did not have.

In Azerbaijan, homosexuality was decriminalised in 2000. You’d never know, would you.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/29/familiar-rhetoric-anti-gay-raids-azerbaijan

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Hate leaflet given out at UKIP conference

The Mirror reports that a leaflet which compared the “alternative lifestyle” of gay people to that of Hitler and the Yorkshire Ripper, titled ‘Homosexuality – the real alternative’, was available on a stand this morning for the Support 4 The Family group at UKIP’s annual get-together in Torquay.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/leaflet-ukip-conference-compares-gay-11257866

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

Oh Jamaica

Another leading gay activist has been found murdered in Jamaica.

Dexter Pottinger, a fashion designer known locally as “the face of Pride”, was found dead on Thursday at his home in the Washington Gardens neighbourhood of Kingston. He had been stabbed, and there was blood “everywhere”, according to police officers quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner.

Mr Pottinger became the face of Pride Week in 2016 in celebrations organised by the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).

This is not the first time a prominent gay activist in Jamaica has been found killed. On 9th June 2004 Brian Williamson, who co-founded J-FLAG, was found killed. He was known for being one of the earliest openly gay men in Jamaican society and for being one of its best known gay rights activists. Williamson was murdered in his apartment by Dwight Hayden. Police believed that Hayden’s motive was robbery, although J-FLAG also suggested that homophobia may have played a part in the killing. Hayden was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Gay Activist sends condolences to friends, colleagues and family.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dexter-pottinger-dead-jamaica-gay-pride-murder-stabbed-kingston-a7925556.html

Uganda cancels Pride week again

The Ugandan government has cancelled a week of gay pride celebrations in the country for a second consecutive year.

On 16 August Simon Lokodo, the state minister of ethics and integrity, issued a directive shutting down a gala in Kampala, accusing the organisers of attempting to stage an illegal gathering aimed at the “recruitment, exhibition and promotion of homosexuality”.

“It’s true I ordered the police to stop and shut down all the gay pride events. No gay gathering and promotion can be allowed in Uganda. We can’t tolerate it at all,” said Lokodo. “We know they are trying to recruit and promote homosexuality secretly. But it’s worse to attempt to stand and exhibit it in public arena. This is totally unacceptable. Never in Uganda.”

Your Activist invites readers to join in his own and long standing personal total boycott of any goods and foods from Uganda.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/aug/21/no-gay-promotion-can-be-allowed-uganda-cancels-pride-events-lgbt

Ambassador in court for hate article

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Jon Qwelane | Robert Botha/Business Day | 17152

South Africa’s High Court has ordered Jon Qwelane‚ a former journalist and ambassador to Uganda, to “unconditionally” apologise to the gay and lesbian community for homophobic statements he wrote in a newspaper column nine years ago, and dismissed his constitutional challenge of the Equality Act.

Earlier the Equality Court had ordered Qwelane to apologise to the lesbian and gay community and pay a fine of 100,000 Rands.

There were 350 complaints about his offending statements. After Qwelane failed to apologise for his utterances in the column, the South African Human Rights Commission approached the High Court .

Qwelane appealed against the Equality Court ruling and filed a new case that questioned the constitutionality of the Equality Act.

Today the High Court found the statements Qwelane made in his July 2008 column titled “Call me names‚ but gay is not ok”‚ were hate speech and are hurtful and harmful to the LGBTI community.

Judge Dimpheletse Moshidi ordered Qwelane to write his apology within 30 days‚ publish it in the Sunday Sun and send proof of publication to the court. He was also ordered to pay costs of the proceedings‚ including postponements.

https://www.businesslive.co.za/rdm/news/2017-08-18-ambassador-ordered-to-apologise-to-gay-community-for-his-offensive-column/

Another nasty attack in Manchester

There has been another nasty attack on a gay man in Manchester.

Carl Johnson moved to Rochdale after getting a new job there and on Saturday night went out and got chatting to a group of people in a bar in the city. When he walked home in the early hours, he was set upon by three men and a woman in a vicious and unprovoked attack. Kicks and punches rained down on him and he was left for dead “curled up in a ball”.

Carl suffered a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain in the assault and his family say doctors said he was lucky he wasn’t killed.

This year there have been some very vicious attacks on gay people in the UK. Your Activist warns you to go out with company, and take great care. Avoid walking alone through unfamiliar places.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/gay-man-carl-johnson-homophobic-attack-pub-rochdale-manchester-hate-crime-lgbt-a7898136.html

This is why your Activist doesn’t trust religious leaders

A West Auckland pastor has delivered a sermon calling for gay people to be shot.

Westcity Bible Baptist Church pastor Logan Robertson agrees his comments are hate speech but is unapologetic.

Footage posted online at the end of July shows Robertson making highly offensive comments against homosexuals.

Unrepentant when contacted by a newspaper, Robertson said he did not deny his words were hate speech. “Of course it is. Does it sound like hate speech to
you? If the world thinks that’s hate speech then that’s fine.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11904818

Prison for Two Brewers arsonist

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Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147

Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.

Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of  before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.

He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.

Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-jailed-for-life-for-setting-fire-to-busy-clapham-gay-bar-a-second-time-a3605851.html