Uganda have Pride today, sorry

Ugandan police prevented organizers from holding a gay pride parade on the orders of a government minister.

Frank Mugisha, a gay rights leader in Uganda, said police blocked organizers from staging the event at two locations outside the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

More than 100 LGBT people turned up for the event today at a beach on Lake Victoria. Most of them were ordered into minibuses and escorted by police to Kampala.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2016/09/24/uganda-police-stop-gay-pride-parade-deemed-illegal.html

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

Lube banned in Tanzania

The Tanzanian government has banned imports and sales of sexual lubricants in its latest move targeting the gay community. Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu justified the move on the grounds that the product encourages homosexuality, which is banned in the east African nation.

“It is true that the government has banned the importation and use of the jelly to curb the spread of HIV. It is estimated that 23 percent of men who have sex with men in Tanzania are living with HIV/AIDS. I have instructed stakeholders working with gay people to remove the products from the market.”

Gay male sex is punishable by life imprisonment under Tanzanian law, but there is no such ban on lesbian relations. In practice, there had been no known arrests for homosexuality in recent years.

Recently Paul Makonda, the newly appointed regional commissioner for the port city of Dar es Salaam, this month announced a major crackdown against gay people and there have been arrests of suspected gays in clubs.

Tanzania bans sexual lubricants in crackdown on gays

Tantrums in Paris

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William Soubrel/DPA/Picture Alliance | 16259ga

Thousands of people marched through Paris yesterday, three weeks after the deadly attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Around 1,000 police secured the route.

“Three weeks on from the LGBT-phobic and racist attack in Orlando, to march is an act of resistance. We must not give into fear,” said Inter-LGBT association spokesperson Amandine Miguel.

The celebrations sparked a heated debate in the right-wing party Front National after its student association at the Paris Institute of Political Studies supported the march. The party’s Vice President Louis Aliot voiced his disapproval. “The FN does not support the gay pride march, an exhibitionist and anti-FN symbol of militant communitarianism,” said Aliot.

FN leader Marine Le Pen has attempted to soften the party’s hard-line position by advocating for civil partnerships for same-sex couples.

http://www.dw.com/en/paris-gay-pride-sparks-heated-front-national-debate/a-19374073

Another Busy Pride Day… and for a change it was dry!

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London | Global Citizen | 16244ga

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London: One of a number of marching Policemen who proposed to their boyfriends during the March. This one said Yes. We think they will be the first serving policemen to get married in the UK | Metropolitan Police LGBT Network | 16245ga

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Merrion Square, Dublin | RTÉ | 16246

Gay Activist sends congratulations to the newly engaged couples – and everyone else who marched and showed solidarity and support for the community.

The London Gay Men’s Chorus has released a cover version of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water in aid of those recently attacked at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. You may remember two weeks ago they sang it at the London Vigil for the Orlando Victims. The track is available as a digital­-only release. It can be purchased or streamed on all major platforms including iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, Deezer and Tidal.

Proceeds from the sale of the charity single will be split equally between the Orlando Victims Fund, organised by Equality Florida, and Galop, UK LGBT anti­-violence and abuse charity. Please help these excellent charities care for members of our community.

Toronto cop apologises for old raids

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Police officers stand on the steps of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto in the early hours of Feb. 7, 1981 after gay rights demonstrators marched there in protest of the arrests on Feb. 5, 1981 of 253 men in four city steam baths | The Canadian Press/UPC/Gary Hershorn | 16242ga

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders made a historic apology today for raids on four gay bathhouses in the Canadian city that took place 35 years ago. The events caused activists to mobilise for gay rights in Canada. He called the raids “one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.” The February 1981 event was notable for its “destructiveness” and that the raids did not occur on only one night.

“The 35th anniversary of the 1981 raids is a time when the Toronto Police Service expresses its regrets for those very actions. It is also an occasion to acknowledge the lessons learned about the risks of treating any part of Toronto’s many communities as not fully a part of society.”

“Recognizing diversity requires consistently renewed practice strategies and reaching out to communities and vigilance in challenging stereotypes. Policing requires building mutual trust and that means forging links with the full range of communities that make up this extraordinary city. The Toronto Police Service recognizes the lessons from that period have continuing relevance for the creation of a more inclusive city.”

Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun and a colleague paid a visit to one of the bath houses at the time, in search of a story.

…Subsequent to the raids on the four bathhouses in which 300 men were arrested for being found-ins or operators of a bawdy house, I was assigned by the Sun to spend the night in one with fellow reporter John Paton. …On the night of our own Operation Soap, I was nervous lining up to get into the Romans II bathhouse on Bay St., mainly because I didn’t know what to expect.

The fact you had to check-in and be admitted through a secured door after paying your entry fee and receiving a towel didn’t help.

What would I say if I was propositioned? Would there be orgies? If I saw someone underage being compelled into sexual acts, wouldn’t I have a moral obligation to intervene?

Nothing like that happened.

Aaaah.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/police-apology-raids-1.3647668

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/06/22/my-night-in-a-gay-bathhouse

Counting the cost with pride

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Detective Brian Downey (centre) attending a Gay Officers Action League event at One Police Plaza, New York, last week | Peter Foley/Wall Street Journal | 16241ga

The ramifications and aftershocks of the Orlando shootings just over a week ago are still being felt in the US and elsewhere.

The shootings have led to a number of gay people coming out.

Just hours after the music at the Pulse nightclub was interrupted by the roar of gunfire, a teenager with a nose stud and tight jeans peered across his dinner table here. “Dad,” Carvin Casillas said, “I’m kind of gay.”

The worst mass shooting in United States history by a single perpetrator, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, has sent the nation reeling and ignited heated conversations about firearm access, terrorism and homophobia. It has also had the incidental effect of pushing some gay people in this increasingly Latino community out of the closet.

Some had their sexuality revealed by accident: Gertrude Merced learned that her 25-year-old son, Enrique, was gay only after she heard the news of his death. Others, though, have chosen to expose their inner lives, stirred by the outpouring of support for Orlando’s gay community or wrought with sorrow and unable to keep their secrets in anymore.

The Police in New York have had to pay more attention to links with the gay community after the shootings.

…The detective was walking away from a vigil where his boss, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton, spoke to a crowd of mourners outside of the Stonewall Inn. As Mr. Bratton spoke at the historic gay bar, some in the crowd chanted, “You kill people.”

“That vigil was not an accurate portrayal of who the [gay] community is,” Detective Downey said. He added, “The police commissioner is not a killer and I’m not a killer.”

The massacre of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub earlier this month awakened what some say are longstanding tensions between the New York Police Department and members of the city’s gay community.

Detective Downey, an openly gay member of the NYPD and the force’s primary liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, was thrust into the middle of the acrimony. In the span of 24 hours, the 36-year-old went from celebrating his ties to both worlds (at Brooklyn Pride) to scrambling to keep them together.

Looking after the relatives of the victims – and the survivors themselves – is also going to be hard work for the whole community.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch visited some of the people injured in the attack and the relatives of some who were slain. She spoke of those who might choose to hide their sexuality out of fear of such violence in the future.

“Let me say to our L.G.B.T. friends and family, particularly to anyone who might view this tragedy as an indication that their identities — their essential selves — might somehow be better left unexpressed or in the shadows: This Department of Justice — and your country — stands with you in the light,” she said.

The shooting will have effects for a long time to come.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-gay-officer-caught-between-two-worlds-1466556447

Plus ca change

1969: The Raid on the Stonewall Inn | New York Daily News/Getty Images

Officers armed with assault rifles stand guard outside the Stonewall bar in New York, protecting patrons after a gunman in Florida staged a massacre at a gay nightclub and spread fear of more attacks. The irony isn’t lost on the gay community that used to see police as the oppressor and counts the 1969 Stonewall Inn raid as the start of the US gay rights movement.

“Once upon a time they hit us with nightsticks, and now they’re our protectors,” said Gil Horowitz, 80, a retired research psychologist in New York who took part in the riots at Stonewall.

In Denver the first gay parade was held in 1975 in response to police raids on gay bars and arrests of gay men. On Sunday, police will march in solidarity and will have a robust presence among the crowd of more than 300,000 people.

http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/gay-leaders-turn-old-nemesis-police-safety-n595646

Well done PC Plod

Crawley Police announced its’ first seizure under the new blanket ban on legal highs, which came into effect this week. They raided three shops in Crawley town centre just hours after the new ban came into force, seizing the shops’ entire stocks of poppers.

Regular readers to Gay Activist will be aware that Poppers have not been banned, because they are not psychoactive. Poppers are legal.

A number of people responded to Crawley Police’s twitter announcement by drawing their attention to that bijou factette, but Crawley Police were having none of it. “POPPERS are now ILLEGAL”, they retorted.

A short time later they began to have second thoughts. “We are checking out the situation regarding the illegality of selling poppers and will update shortly,” they tweeted.

Minutes later they admitted the Poppers were seized “in error in good faith. All goods seized will be returned to the shops with apologies.”

Many thanks to Crawley Police for relieving the tedium of the Brexit debate for a day.

LA cops still do it

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Navymailman | 16223ga

The Los Angeles Times reports that LA Police are still enticing and entrapping gay men cruising.

Undercover officers, critics contend, often exchange flirtatious signals and make arrests of men who think their advances are welcome, when no one else is nearby to be offended. They say that the stings can ensnare men who hadn’t otherwise been seeking sex and that they rarely, if ever, target straight people.

…Courts have raised questions about the stings, invalidating a number of prosecutions in various parts of the state. In some cases, judges found no crime had occurred because the undercover officer conveyed sexual interest to the target and no one else was present to be offended by the lewd conduct. Last month, a Los Angeles County judge threw out the charges in one case stemming from Long Beach’s 2014 operation, saying police were discriminating against gay men.

Some things never change. Meanwhile if you are headed for LA this summer – be sensible.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-gay-stings-police-20160527-snap-story.html