At last, justice in Germany

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Nazi era gay prisoners with their pink triangles | Public domain | 17116

After decades of lobbying, Germany’s parliament has voted to quash the convictions of 50,000 gay men sentenced for homosexuality under the Nazi-era law known as article 175 of the penal code that remained in force after the second world war.

An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive, and can now clear their names.

Gay men convicted under the law are also to receive a lump sum of €3,000 and an additional €1,500 for each year they spent in prison.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/22/germany-to-quash-convictions-of-50000-gay-men-under-nazi-era-law

Human Rights Court ticks Russia off

Europe’s top human rights court ruled on Tuesday that Russia’s prohibition of “the promotion of homosexuality” discriminates and violates freedom of expression.

The prohibition became Russian law in 2013.

The case was brought to the court by three gay activists in Russia.

The European Court of Human Rights found that “the very purpose of the laws and the way they were formulated and applied” was “discriminatory and, over all, served no legitimate public interest” and ordered Russia to pay the men a total of 43,000 euros in damages.

The three activists who sued were Nikolai V. Bayev, 42; Aleksei A. Kiselev, 33; and Nikolai A. Alekseyev, 39. They had staged demonstrations from 2009 to 2012 in the cities of Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg, carrying banners stating that homosexuality is natural, and not a perversion. They were arrested and fined.

Face to face

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AFP | 17101

France welcomed its first gay refugee from Chechnya on Monday on the same day French President Emmanuel Macron pushed Russian leader Vladimir Putin to investigate the treatment and imprisonment of transgender and gay people in Chechnya, which is led by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin visited Paris to hold talks with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and to open a French and Russian exhibition. Mr Macron said that Putin had promised “the whole truth”.

“I had the chance to bring up how important it is for France to respect all people, all minorities and all sensibilities in a civil society,” he said, as Mr Putin stood beside him listening to the translation.

“President Putin told me… he had undertaken several initiatives on the subject of LGBT people in Chechnya with measures aimed at establishing the whole truth about the activities of local authorities,” Macron said at a press conference with Putin after talks in Versailles. “I spelled out France’s expectations very precisely.”

Mr Macron warned Mr Putin that he would monitor further civil rights violations of gay people in Chechnya. The pair of leaders shook hands for the cameras in front of the Palace of Versailles, but their body language appeared tense.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/emmanuel-macron-vladimir-putin-gay-rights-chechnya-russia-france-syria-conflict-civil-war-assad-a7762591.html

https://www.thelocal.fr/20170530/france-takes-in-refugee-from-chechnya-as-macron-presses-putin-on-gay-rights

George daubed

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Conan G Shore | Twitter | 17093

Ireland’s best known gay club’s exterior was vandalised with homophobic messages overnight. Discriminatory messages were chalked on the The George on Dublin’s George street in the early hours of this morning.

The vile messages were promptly washed away by staff.

The vandalism comes during a weekend of celebrations as Ireland marks two years since the Marriage Equality Refendum passed.

Looks like GLEN’s work is far from finished.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/irelands-bestknown-gay-club-vandalised-with-homophobic-messages-and-swastikas-35736306.html

Glen Gone

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Gay Activist is sad to note the end of yet another organisation which has provided excellent service to the gay community, this time in the Irish Republic.

RTÉ notes that the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, better known as GLEN, is to close following a review of its operations. There have been problems with its financial controls, and funding has been withdrawn.

Three employees are being made redundant.

Executive director Áine Duggan, resigned saying she raised financial issues and made the voluntary disclosure to the regulator, and co-founders Kieran Rose also resigned saying he regretted that he had not declared supports given by Glen to him during his Senate election campaign, and he said he had paid back over 11,000 euros.

Glen was set up in 1988 to promote gay rights and was a prominent backer of the 2015 Marriage Equality campaign. The Health Service Executive had withheld funding from Glen this year.

https://www.rte.ie/news/ireland/2017/0518/876090-glen/

Good for Angela

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Undated file photo | Copyright control | 17081

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to help protect gay rights at her first visit to Russia since 2015. She held talks with Mr Putin at his summer residence in Sochi.

At a joint news conference, Mrs Merkel said she had received “negative reports on the way that homosexuals are dealt with, particularly in Chechnya. … I asked President Putin to use his influence to ease the way that homosexuals… are dealt with in the country.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39779491

Gay men right wing shock

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BBC | 17073

The BBC have discovered that 20% of their sample of French gay men,many of whom are in same sex relationships, will be voting for the Front National in the French Presidential election this weekend.

They are more concerned about immigration and other cultural issues than any threat to end gay marriage in France.

“There are priorities in France other than homosexuality. I myself am in a same-sex couple and there have been many advances in this area,” Cedric explains. “But for me there are more pressing issues like the economy, the national debt and unemployment.” He thinks the anti-gay marriage policy of the FN is a ploy to win conservative voters over to their cause.

Polls suggest the party is now more popular in the LGBT community than perhaps many would want to admit. Of the 3,200 gay French men the dating app Hornet spoke to, one in five said they would be giving Marine Le Pen their vote.

Why does Marine Le Pen appeal directly to some LGBT voters? For many, it’s her tough stance on immigration.

“Where are the gays most in danger? In Islamic countries,” says Pascale, who doesn’t want to be photographed. “Gay people are being crucified – it’s a danger and I don’t want it coming to France, definitely not.” But further north, in the poorer and more multicultural suburb of Pont-de-Flandre, it’s a different picture. “The FN supporters you spoke to, were they white?” house DJ Kiddy Smiles asks us, “Yes? I’m not surprised.”

The first round of voting in the French Presidential election takes place this Sunday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/39641822/why-gay-french-men-are-voting-far-right

Hands on experience in Holland

Twitter/ Lise Gregoire | 17065

In Holland, straight politicians are sending out a powerful message to homophobes after two gay teenagers were brutally attacked while holding hands. The couple were attacked in Arnhem while returning home from a night out over the weekend. The attackers screamed homophobic abuse and launched a brutal attack on the couple who were taken to hospital. A 14-year-old boy was among the men arrested over the attack.

Politicians in The Netherlands took to the streets to hold hands with their colleagues to show solidarity. Lodewijk Asscher, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party took part in the campaign, which has even seen police officers getting involved.

Straight politicians hold hands in solidarity with gay couple beaten in homophobic attack

German Parliament to consider compensating Paragraph 175 survivors

Germany’s cabinet has backed a bill to clear men handed sentences for homosexuality after World War Two under paragraph 175 of the penal code, which was eventually relaxed in 1969. 50,000 men were convicted under paragraph 175.

Many were sent to jail and some took their own lives because of the stigma.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said it was a flagrant injustice and those still alive would be given compensation.

The German cabinet decided today to back the bill annulling the sentences and proposing paying compensation to survivors affected. If passed, every man convicted who is still alive will receive a €3,000 lump sum plus a further €1,500 for each year spent in jail.

Only 5,000 men are thought to be eligible for compensation as most have since died.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39350105

Finland ties the knot

Gay Marriage became legal in Finland this year, and on the day the law came into effect, there were many same-sex marriage ceremonies which in some cases were held in groups.

A 23-year-old Kurd who identified himself as Ziryan and from the Kurdistan Region got married to a Finnish man named Tomi on March 1, 2017.

“I have decided to marry a man. It is neither acting nor something artificial. This is my nature which I am proud of,” Ziryan said. “I am not a stranger. It was the society that didn’t accept me.”

He smuggled his way all the way to Finland, taking him two years to get there. He has been living in Finland for one and a half year.

“I am proud to be the first gay Kurd in Finland to hold the ceremony on this historic day, being one of those whose names were written in the history of this country,” he added.

Ziryan told Rudaw that his relatives had tried to kill him in the past.

“I was beaten up twice and injured, trying to kill me.”

http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/19032017