What’s hot in Jakarta

Indonesian police detained 58 men including several foreigners in a raid on a gay sauna, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country.

They raided a sauna and gym in the capital Jakarta after they received information from the public that it was being used for prostitution.

“We secured 51 and seven employees for allegedly providing pornographic services,” Jakarta Police spokesman Argo Yuwono said in a statement.
Six foreigners were among those detained, including four men from China, one from Thailand and one from Holland.

Yuwono said six of those detained would be charged under Indonesia’s anti-pornography law, and could face up to six years in prison. It is not clear what – if anything – the remaining 52 would be charged with.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indonesian-police-arrest-58-men-in-raid-on-gay-sauna-9289614

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Romania pulls up the shutters

Romania is gearing up to hold a referendum to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage, a move that civil rights groups warn could put the country on an “illiberal” path alongside the likes of Hungary and Poland, writes Politico.

Romania’s civil code forbids same-sex marriage, and civil partnerships have not been introduced.

The planned vote — which could be held as early as November — is the result of a campaign by “Coalition for Family,” which brings together more than 40 groups, many of them religious or describing themselves as “pro-life.” They gathered more than 3 million signatures to force a referendum.

http://www.politico.eu/article/romania-gay-marriage-turns-illiberal-with-moves-against/

HIV in UK down again

There has been an 18 per cent drop in the number of people newly diagnosed with HIV, 5,164 last year, the biggest fall on record, according to Public Health England.

New cases of HIV are falling among gay and bisexual men for the first time, thanks partly to use of Prep.

In London new cases among gay and bisexual men fell by 29 per cent.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/03/hiv-cases-among-gay-bisexual-men-drop-first-time-experts-hail/

FA 0, Gay footballers 0

The Football Association’s attempts to make contact with gay professional footballers have drawn a blank, with “not one” willing to meet the organisation’s chairman, Greg Clarke, even in secret or anonymously, reports the Telegraph. Mr Clarke commented:

“I’ve met a lot of gay activists, gay publishers. I went down to Stonewall, watched a game, had a beer in the bar afterwards – and talked about the issues. At the semi-pro level and below, nobody’s worried. I haven’t met one player at professional level who would even agree to meet me in the middle of nowhere for a conversation over a cup of coffee. Not one.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/10/03/fa-draws-total-blank-bid-make-contact-gay-professional-footballers/

Pressure on Egypt to respect human rights

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File photo, dated 2014 | AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty | 17162ga

Associated Press reports that Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on Egyptian authorities to halt their crackdown on people suspected of homosexuality following the waving of the LGBT rainbow flag at a recent concert in Cairo, and to end anal examinations of people detained on suspicion of homosexuality to determine whether they were engaged in same-sex sexual relations. The practice is torture and is “abhorrent” and scientifically unsound.

Egypt is known to have arrested at least seven people last week after footage of the rainbow flag during a September 22 concert by Lebanese indie rock band Mashrou’ Leila (whose lead singer is openly gay) was posted on social media.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-to-conduct-anal-exams-on-men-suspected-of-gay-sex-report/

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 EurasiaNet.org 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.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/29/familiar-rhetoric-anti-gay-raids-azerbaijan

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.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/leaflet-ukip-conference-compares-gay-11257866

How we see ourselves

The Daily Mail has discovered what Gay Activist’s readers have known for some time.

Only two-thirds of young people describe themselves as heterosexual, a survey reveals.
The remaining third of those aged 16 to 22 say they are attracted to those of the same sex at least some of the time, although nearly half of these – 14 per cent – say they are ‘mostly’ heterosexual.
That contrasts with 88 per cent of baby boomers – people in their 50s and 60s – who say they are heterosexual and 6 per cent who are mostly so.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4923650/Third-16-22-year-olds-say-gay-bisexual.html

US gay workers rights in court

Reuters reports that the US government will urge a U.S. appeals court in Manhattan to rule that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company in a lawsuit brought by a former instructor who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.

The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-lgbt-court/u-s-appeals-court-to-consider-rights-of-gay-workers-idUSKCN1C10EW

India’s sham shame

The Times of India looks into why so many gay Indian men are going into sham marriages.

Marriages of convenience are clandestine part of South Asian gay culture — a homosexual man and woman decide to tie the knot to stave off questions from nosy families or find protection from the law in countries like India where homosexuality is a criminal offence. In India, the Delhi high court decriminalised homosexuality (Section 377) in 2009, but the Supreme Court overturned the ruling four years later.

In 2015, a lesbian couple from China launched a smartphone app iHomo to facilitate marriages of convenience or ‘cooperative marriages’ between gay men and lesbians. But in more conservative India, the LGBT community looks for MoCs on private Facebook groups, chat rooms and Craigslist.

There is still a huge stigma attached to being gay in India. Many Indian parents prefer not to admit that their child is gay, and hope he or she ‘will grow out of it’ once married.

In a marriage of convenience, terms are agreed beforehand, so both sides know what they are getting into – but problems often emerge later.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/why-gay-men-are-seeking-a-marriage-of-convenience/articleshow/60811116.cms