Breaking the mould in the Philipines

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AFP | 17077

Philippine Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, in the yellow top, is the first transgender woman to be elected to public office in the Philippines. Geraldine replaced her mother as a district representative after the 2016 elections.

“I may be a neophyte congresswoman but I’m a veteran in politics,” she said over a quiet lunch in her ancestral home.

The election of Roman, who underwent sex reassignment surgery in New York in the 1990s, symbolised many things to many people: a transition to progressive liberalism in a country where religion is meshed with law; a breaking of stereotypes; a hope for change.

Hate crimes against transgender women are particularly horrific. The Philippine Hate Crime Watch reported 157 cases of hate related murders from 1996 to 2011 – a number which advocates say is likely to be underreported.

But Roman’s win meant a lot to the LGBT community, which saw in her a champion for acceptance and an advocate for the Anti – sexual orientation and gender identity expression discrimination bill.

http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2090744/transgender-politician-fighting-gay-rights-philippines

Anyone for tennis? No

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Gay Gooners/Islington Gazette | 17074

The Islington Gazette profiles the Gay Gooners, gay supporters of Arsenal football club. They are the biggest LGBT football fans group in the world. There are 500 members, with 40 per cent women. Dave Raval is chairman, and was one of the founding members in 2013.

The Gooners aim to stamp out homophobia in football, provide a safe forum for LGBT people to enjoy Arsenal, and act as a social group.

“The recent question has always been: ‘When is a male player going to come out?’ [Players have come out in women’s football.] But when we started Gay Gooners, our question was: ‘When are the fans going to come out?’

“It’s just as important for LGBT fans to be visible in the game. There are hundreds of us. We don’t accept what some people would call ‘banter.’ We don’t accept a football culture where a male player has yet to come out.”

Gay Gooners was the first LGBT fans group to be recognised by a professional club, as Arsenal did. There are now 30 groups in the UK.

http://www.islingtongazette.co.uk/news/arsenal-gay-gooners-biggest-lgbt-football-supporters-club-in-the-world-1-4985766

Campaigning, Bath style

Ben Howlett the Tory MP who was accused of groping a gay couple at a Eurovision Song Contest party last May will not be charged. It was alleged he put his hands in a man’s pants and tried to kiss him at a bar in his Bath constituency.

The party was held in a private residence at one of the city’s poshest addresses.

Howlett was accused of putting his hands inside a gay man’s pants and trying to kiss him; he is also alleged to have said “let me f*** you” to another man and grabbed his crotch. Prosecution chiefs said there was not enough evidence to proceed.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3387629/tory-mp-ben-howlett-accused-of-groping-a-gay-couple-at-a-eurovision-song-contest-party-will-not-be-charged/

Korea over for gay Korean soldiers

The South Korean army is trying to weed out gay soldiers after a video emerged online of two of their male soldiers having sex.

Lim Tae-hoon of the Military Human Rights Center for Korea told the Associated Press that there are “credible reports” that army investigators have seized mobile phones and “outed” soldiers who were secretly using dating apps or threatened those who have already been identified as gay by the Army.

There is no rule against gay men serving in South Korea’s armed forces but they are banned from engaging in “homosexual activity” while serving and face two years in prison if prosecuted.

http://www.newsweek.com/south-korea-army-gay-587310

The nastiest place in the world?

A group of 53 people have been charged in Nigeria after they were arrested last week from what police say was a party celebrating an unofficial gay wedding.

The group pleaded not guilty to charges relating to conspiracy, unlawfully assembly and membership in an unlawful society.

The defendants were mostly students who are alleged to have been illegally detained for more than 24 hours.

LGBT-rights activists refute the police’s report that the men were celebrating a same-sex wedding, saying the event in the northern city of Zaria was a birthday party.

http://time.com/4749868/nigeria-gay-wedding-arrests/

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

Kirk criticised

The Church of Scotland has been asked to apologise for its “history of discrimination” against homosexual people and could be a step closer to allowing ministers to perform same-sex marriages.

A report by the Theological Forum of the Church of Scotland to be debated at the Kirk’s General Assembly in May proposes having a church committee research allowing nominated ministers and deacons to carry out the ceremonies while retaining the ability for “contentious refusal” from those opposed to same-sex marriage.

The report also calls for “the Church to take stock of its history of discrimination at different levels and in different ways against gay people and to apologise individually and corporately and seek to do better”.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/church-of-scotland-urged-to-apologise-for-gay-discrimination-1-4422320

Gay pub goes integrated

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Craig and Leon | Kent Online | 17068

The Queen Anne in Maidstone, Kent, has been a gay pub for many years but the new proprietors are a gay couple who have renovated the pub into a pub for the whole wider community, hopefully to enable the pub to survive.

Craig Burns remembers the Sittingbourne Road venue as the beating heart of Maidstone’s lesbian, gay community when he and his husband Leon used to drink there a few years ago. He said: “This is quite a nice challenge for us. A number of people have come and gone over the past few years and the pub and community need some stability. We used to drink here quite a lot when Ricky and Darren were in charge. It was thriving then and we want to make it the heart of the gay community in Maidstone again but are opening the doors for everyone.”

http://www.kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/gay-pub-to-welcome-everyone-123880/

Slave masters jailed for 30 years

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Miami Dade State Court | 17067

In Florida, Gabor Acs (left) and Viktor Berki (right) were found guilty of human trafficking, conspiracy and racketeering in February and have now been sentenced to 30 years in prison. They preyed on young Hungarian men in their 20s who had moved to the US to start a new life.

They would meet their victims online, through social media sites, and would promise them a visa and free flights to the US if they carried out ‘legal escort work’ but the hopeful young men were forced into sex slavery and were made to perform multiple sex acts for up to 20 hours a day, either over webcams or with clients.

Five of the victims were forced to live in a one-bedroom apartment. While there they were fed extremely little, and were not paid. The abuse continued for years until the ring moved from Miami to New York. They attracted attention when they started a car washing service, presumably using their slaves to do the work.

Pair jailed for keeping countless men as gay sex slaves for years

An old issue raises its ugly head once more

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Seattle Gay Pride | File photo | Christopher Zeuthen/Seattle Weekly | 17066

Ed Murray is the Mayor of Seattle and he has been accused of paying drug-addicted teenage boys for sex decades ago. Two other men are making similiar accusations. Murray denies the allegations.

Ed Murray has a lot to lose: in twenty years of local political activity he managed to pass both the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Law and the bill establishing gay marriage. He is Seattle’s first openly gay mayor.

One old-timer who lived on Capitol Hill during the 1980s, who asked that his name not be used for reasons of political fealty, said that while he doesn’t know anything about the specific allegations against Murray, the kind of relationship described in the lawsuit—that is, an older man paying an under-age teenager for sex—“would have been very consistent with [Seattle gay culture in] the ’80s.”

This was caused in part, he says, by “the closet and how people could interact.” With an entire population (gay men) sanctioned into the shadows, there was no social mechanism for enforcing the age of consent,

says Seattle Weekly.

Gay Activist used to have a page about “Conduct in public office” but the page was deleted because so few people viewed it. Gay Activists everywhere should be aware that they are representing the community, and conduct themselves with pride.

http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/accusations-against-murray-leave-the-lgbt-community-he-fought-for-reeling/