Call to ban anti-gay preacher


Franklin Graham | Alamy | 17169

Opposition is growing to a visit to the UK by Franklin Graham, the son of famous preacher Billy Graham. Franklin Graham is accused of hate speech for his past remarks about gay people.

Several MPs and a government minister have urged the home secretary to consider refusing UK entry to Mr Graham. Some suggest his comments contravene British laws on hate speech. A petition against his visit has more than 4,600 signatures.


Blackmailers sentenced

Two men blackmailed a man out of thousands of pounds by threatening to reveal that he was gay, and spent all the money they extorted from him on their drug habits, a court heard.

Between March and November 2015 Michael Rose, 20 and Elliot Haynes, 19 blackmailed their victim into handing over £3,360 to keep quiet about his sexuality, posted Facebook messages calling the victim a “sick paedophile” and threatening to beat him up.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lost his job and had to sell his car to pay Rose to keep quiet about his sexuality.

In June, Rose, of Hill Park Crescent, Greenbank, pleaded guilty to two counts of demanding money with menaces from a man. Haynes, of Exeter Road, Ivybridge, initially denied the joint charge of blackmail but changed his plea to guilty on November 14.

Rose was sentenced to 28 months in prison. Haynes received a 12 month sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 240 days of unpaid work, 20 days of rehabilitation and 19 sessions in thinking skills.

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 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.

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.

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.”

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.