Common sense arrives in Tunisia

Forced medical examinations for homosexual men have been banned by Tunisia’s medical council.

Same sex relationships are banned in the north African country, where doctors perform anal “tests” on people suspected of being gay.

The National Council of the Medical Order has now decreed that doctors must tell people they have a right to refuse the examinations.

“Tunisian doctors have taken a courageous step in opposing the use of these torturous exams,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at HRW. “To ensure that forced anal testing in Tunisia ends once and for all, police should stop ordering the exams, and courts should refuse to admit the results into evidence.”

Your Activist hopes that this the start of a more reasonable future for gay people in Tunisia.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/tunisia-medical-council-anal-tests-homosexuality-abuse-gay-rights-men-lgbt-document-lgbt-a7680631.html

Shoulder to shoulder

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Press Association | 17069

Hundreds of Britons held a protest outside the Russian Embassy against the reported torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, where up to 100 men are said to be held in concentration-style camps and at least three men have died.

Michael Salter-Church, co-chair of Pride in London, said: “It sends a shudder down the spine to hear about concentration camps in 2017. Russia’s abuses cannot be ignored.”

Demonstrators draped in rainbows shouted “close the camps” and laid pink flowers while passing traffic beeped their horns in support.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/hundreds-protest-against-chechnyas-gay-10223107

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

More to do

Writing for Third Sector, Kevin Curley notes that

It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales. The extent to which our society has changed since then is illustrated by the fact that the Westminster parliament, with 35 out gay MPs, is the most diverse of any in the world in terms of sexual orientation. But many challenges remain for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others community.

Giving young people support and safe places is a constant theme in my conversations with local activists. So too is the need to challenge prejudice. Proud2Be’s Price says it’s a misconception that “the battle for LGBTQ+ rights has been won”. He says there have been great advancements in terms of securing equality under the law, but “we are by no means there yet”.

Brooke shows me the videos produced with her young members and says: “We are a long way from achieving equality in practice.”

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/kevin-curley-battle-gay-rights-long-go/local-action/article/1427131

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/

Ouch!

Two men in Indonesia, aged 20 and 23, face up to 100 strokes of the cane each after neighbours reported them to Shariah police for having gay sex.

The men were reported to police by residents in the country’s conservative Aceh province on March 29.

The chief investigator said the two men had “confessed” to being a gay couple and that this was supported by video footage taken by a neighbour.

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/men-face-100-strokes-with-cane-after-neighbours-report-them-for-gay-sex-a3510507.html

Torture alleged in Chechnya

Gay men are being tortured and murdered in Chechen prisons, detainees have alleged. Detainees told Novaya Gazeta they were tortured and electrocuted while they were imprisoned, and others described seeing prisoners beaten to death.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s spokesman called it “absolute lies and disinformation” and suggested there are no homosexuals in the Muslim-majority region. “You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told the Interfax news agency.

Victims told Novaya Gazeta they were beaten with sticks, forced to sit on bottles and had their hands electrocuted.

“Several times a day we were taken out and beaten,” said one. “Their main aim was to find out your circle of contacts — in their minds if you are a suspect then your circle of contacts are all gay. They kept our phones switched on. Any man who calls or texts is a new target.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/gay-men-chechnya-prisons-detain-torture-murdered-killed-detain-russia-region-a7669911.html

US Court rules for gay workers

In a significant victory for gay rights, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay workers from job discrimination, expanding workplace protections in the landmark law to include sexual orientation.

The ruling today comes as concern grows about the potential rollback of protections under President Trump. While the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, many other legal protections, including in employment and housing, have not been extended at all levels to gay people.

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