Let off for Christmas

A Moroccan judge has acquitted two teenage girls put on trial for homosexuality. LGBT rights groups in Morocco have long argued that same-sex relationships should not be a crime.

The girls, who are 16 and 17, had faced up to three years in prison according to a law forbidding “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”

One of their mothers reported them to the police in October.

The judge in Marrakech ruled that the girls must remain under parental authority until they turn 18. Rachid El Ghorfi, their lawyer, expressed relief at the acquittal. “They should have never been in front of the prosecutor or the judge.”

Women and girls are seldom charged under Morocco’s laws prohibiting homosexual activity.

http://www.njherald.com/article/20161209/AP/312099752

Ugandan gays flee

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ABC | 16498ga

Uganda is one the most intolerant places in the world for homosexual people. Many have fled to neighbouring Kenya and are now refugees, waiting to be relocated to a country that will protect them, reports ABC.

Many of them now live in poverty.

The conditions are not much better than Uganda and it is a tough existence. Some turn to prostitution, others make handicrafts, but living and working in dense settlements means there are very few secrets. It is also dangerous.

Umar Walusimbi escaped from Uganda to Kenya.

“Now I’m also here in Kenya. Life is not OK.” Recently he was attacked while walking home. “They called me, “You gay — where you going? Give us money”. They slapped me, I fell down. They wanted even to burn me. They do everything to me.”

This cannot continue.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-29/gay-refugees-flee-uganda/8074964

I want my record cleansed, says Veteran

Ed Spires, a 91-year-old US Air Force veteran who was discharged in 1948 for being gay, is now fighting for equality. He wants the “undesirable discharge” label removed from his record and to receive a military burial.

For seven decades, Mr Spires kept it a close secret that he was kicked out of the Air Force for being gay. His long-time partner and husband David Rosenberg spoke yesterday on his behalf. “You’re humiliated and when you know that you served honorably without causing any problems, that’s even worse.”

Mr Spires served in the Air Force from 1946 to 1948, but received an “undesirable discharge” when he was outed for sexual orientation.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is the ranking member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and says 100,000 vets received similar discharges for sexual orientation and only a small fraction of those have filed to have it upgraded.

Veteran discharged for being gay sues Air Force

They really like us, don’t they

African states have launched a bid at the United Nations to halt the work of the first U.N. independent investigator appointed to help protect gay and transgender people worldwide from violence and discrimination.

The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council created the position in June and in September appointed Vitit Muntarbhorn of Thailand for three years to investigate abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

“We … call for the suspension of the activities of the appointed Independent Expert pending the determination of this issue,” Botswana’s U.N. Ambassador Charles Ntwaagae, speaking for the 54-member Africa group, told the committee. The group was concerned that “non-internationally agreed notions such as sexual orientation and gender identity are given attention, to the detriment of issues of paramount importance such as the right to development and the racism agenda.”

Ntwaagae said that sexual orientation and gender identity “are not and should not be linked to existing international human rights instruments.”

The UN does not have a great record on protecting our rights. In June a group of 51 Muslim states blocked 11 gay and transgender organizations from officially attending a high-level U.N. meeting on ending AIDS, which led to a protest by the United States, Canada and the European Union.

http://www.voanews.com/a/african-nations-seek-halt-work-united-nations-gay-rights-investigator/3581758.html

The not so secret teacher

The Guardian has a “secret teacher” section. One of their contributors tells the story of coming out.

I told my new head of department that I was thinking about revealing my sexuality at school. Her only concern was that some members of the team might offend me by making jokes – though with the aim of making me feel part of the team. I then broached my intentions with the headteacher. He’s old-school, in a good way, traditionalist but totally living in the real world. He didn’t bat an eyelid and told me to get on with it.

Then the teacher wondered how to manage the event with pupils, and what their reaction was going to be.

An opportunity came when I took on a Y11 tutor group as a maternity cover. In our first session, one of the students asked straight out if I was gay. I answered with an emphatic “Yes”. I waited for the booing or the pretending-to-be-sick noises, but none came. A group of girls wanted to know if I was single (I’d recently broken up with someone) and whether I’d have a civil ceremony (yes, if I met the right guy) but otherwise it was a non-event. I do think my honesty served to make them trust me quickly – vital in a pastoral role – but my sexuality was ultimately quite boring.

Being out at work means you can just get on with things without it following you around. Eventually everybody forgets, because you have been accepted for what you are.

https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2016/oct/29/secret-teacher-school-gay-tell-pupils

Bi men paid less, says study

Two Men Enjoying Coffee

Uncredited file photo | 2nd Story | 16486ga

Bisexual men are paid on average a third less than their heterosexual counterparts. The study by Professor Alex Bryson, of UCL’s Institute of Education also shows that gay men and lesbians earn about the same as heterosexuals, as do bisexual women.

In an article in the journal Work, Employment & Society, published by the British Sociological Association, Bryson explains that the average gross hourly earnings for bisexual men were £9.39, compared with £12.30 for heterosexual men, a gap of 31%. Conversely, average hourly earnings for gay men were £13.33, £1.03 more than for heterosexual men.

The study, which used data from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey conducted in 2011 and 2012, also showed that the average hourly earnings for lesbians were £9.87, similar to the £9.97 earned by heterosexual women. The average hourly earnings for bisexual women were £9.58.

The study included 312 gay men and lesbians, 118 bisexuals, 18,635 heterosexuals and 986 people who declined to identify their sexuality.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/22/bisexual-men-earn-30-per-cent-less-than-gay-colleagues

Tanzanian terror

Tanzania has threatened to ban non-governmental groups that “promote” the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the first public statement the government has made on the subject.

Gay sex is illegal in Tanzania and punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The deputy minister for health, community, development and gender, Hamisi Kigwangala, said: “I cannot deny the presence of LGBTI people in our country and the risk they pose in fuelling the spread of HIV/AIDS but we don’t subscribe to the assertion that there’s a ‘gender continuum’. We still recognize two traditional sexes and there’s nothing in between or beyond … Any effort to claim otherwise is not allowed. Tanzania does not allow activist groups carrying out campaigns that promote homosexuality … Any attempt to commit unnatural offences is illegal and severely punished by law.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-tanzania-threatens-to-ban-groups-supporting-gay-rights-2016-9?IR=T

Orange pants are a no-no

Researcher Travis Dean Speice at the University of Cincinnati looked closely at the various strategies gay men use to manage both their gendered and sexual identities in the workplace. Gay men often feel they have to change certain distinct gestures and body language behaviours in order to avoid potential negative consequences from co-workers.

“From the initial interview to moving up the ladder at work, if a gay man feels his supervisors don’t agree with a gay population, he may not want to reveal his sexuality to them. Instead, he may test the waters with a variety of strategies, including managing the way he dresses, the way he talks and whether or not he decides to disclose his sexuality to the people at work.”

Gay men at work develop strategies for avoiding scrutiny using a concept he calls “hegemonic sexuality” – a tool he uses to understand how gay men are positioned hierarchically within society – where some men are labeled “too gay,” while others are more acceptable. Speice says his respondents refer to the label “too gay” as various speech patterns, body language and clothing choices they feel do not fit into an idealized form of hegemonic masculinity, or other commonly known masculine behaviors. Instead, these characteristics often follow common stereotypes of gay men. Men then have the choice to perform masculinity and gayness in any number of ways, with some men attempting to perform a more traditional masculine version of themselves at work.

“One man, a social worker, felt proud wearing his burnt orange khakis to work one morning until he had to visit the corrections institute later that day and noticed the inmates staring at him. The color of his clothes was significant in his perception of his own masculinity and gay identity, but later became too flamboyant in the face of scrutiny. He became insecure and felt that because the color of his pants indicated something about his sexuality, the inmates had suddenly gained a sliver of power over him.”

http://phys.org/news/2016-08-gay-men-corporate-world.html

Vicars are revolting!

Nearly a dozen ministers within the Church of England are to reveal that they are gay and have married their same-sex partners despite the Church’s opposition to gay marriage.

A letter in the Guardian will ask for permission from the Church to carry out blessings for people entering gay marriages.

“Our marriages are legal, celebrated and widely accepted in society,” said Andrew Foreshew-Cain, one of the first priests to defy the Church’s ban on gay marriage. “Yet the Church of England behaves as if they are somehow dirty and imposes penalties on clergy and refuses to acknowledge the marriages of those who wish to make lifelong faithful commitments.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/gay-anglican-ministers-defy-churchs-biblical-doctrine-by-revealing-they-are-in-same-sex-marriages-168364/

Egyptian Rotten

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Hassan Ammar/Associated Press | 16291ga

Since the 2013 military intervention that established former Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as Egypt’s ruler, at least 250 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been arrested in a quiet crackdown that has shattered what had been an increasingly vibrant and visible community. Through a campaign of online surveillance and entrapment, arrests and the closing of gay-friendly businesses, the police have driven gay and transgender people back underground and, in many cases, out of the country,

reports Liam Stack in the New York Times.

The arrests signaled the return of an aggressive approach by the morality police division, which has participated in a larger crackdown that has jailed tens of thousands of people since 2013. Using tools last deployed in a campaign against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people over 10 years ago, the division has reasserted the authority lost by the police before and during the revolution….

“The police want to show they have a strong grip on society,” Ms. Abdel Hameed said. “So this is the morality police having their own campaign to arrest L.G.B.T. people.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/world/africa/gay-egyptians-surveilled-and-entrapped-are-driven-underground.html?_r=0