“Media reports are wrong. The Queen has NOT expressed support for LGBT equality. The Commonwealth Charter that she’s signing includes no pledge on LGBT rights. LGBT rights were deliberately excluded. In 61 years as Queen, she has never publicly uttered the words lesbian or gay. She is a patron of hundreds of charities but none of them are gay ones. Not once has she visited or supported a gay charity. For the last four years, I’ve been pressing Buckingham Palace over the Queen’s failure to acknowledge the existence of LGBT people - and got nowhere.
“The Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion in the charter. This makes the Queen’s signing of the charter even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.”
UK: Queen To Sign New Charter Backing Gay Rights[?]
The Telegraph reports:
In a special ceremony to mark Commonwealth Day on Sunday, she will also give a speech endorsing the new agreement which states signatories oppose “all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds”.The words “other grounds” are said to refer to sexuality however any specific references to gay people are not included to avoid antagonising Commonwealth countries that retain laws against homosexuals, according to theMail on Sunday.The charter is the first time the Commonwealth has had a single document setting out the “core values of the organisation and the aspiration of its members”.The document includes affirmations on democracy, human rights, international peace and security as well as freedom of expression. It also contains a commitment to “gender equality” and “women’s empowerment”.The charter was agreed by all Commonwealth heads of government in December.It will be signed by the Queen in a televised ceremony at Marlborough House on London’s Pall Mall, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat.David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth told the Mail on Sunday: “I fail to see why the Queen needs to make a special statement on this country’s opposition to discrimination against gays and women. It is a statement of the blindingly obvious.“My worry is that the politically correct brigade will use it to silence legitimate debate about issues like gay marriage. One can’t help wondering what Prince Philip’s view would be.”Forty-one of the Commonwealth’s 54 nations retain legislation against homosexual acts. In parts of Nigeria and Pakistan those found to have taken part in gay sex can receive the death penalty, in Trinidad and Tobago it can incur 25 years in jail and life imprisonment in Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh and Guyana.Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the gay and lesbian rights group Stonewall, described the Monarch as a “feminist icon”.He said: “This is the first time that the Queen has publicly acknowledged the importance of the six per cent of her subjects who are gay”.
I know this is a huge step, but doesn’t she needs to say the word “gay” first to fully acknowledge our rights? Just saying.
According to Pink News, this is an issue that affects LGBT people as well, although it is harder to identify them accurately, given that their status and sexuality is quite a taboo topic among cultures that force their offsprings to marry:
[O]nly ten of the 1,468 forced marriage cases the unit dealt with last year involved people who identified as LGBT, the problem is believed to be much bigger, with young people in affected communities less likely to be at ease with their sexuality due to strong taboos. Forced marriage is different from arranged marriage, which involves consent, and it affects a diverse range of groups, with those of Turkish, Ukrainian or Pakistani origin at particular risk. It is not a religious issue but stems from family tradition. 15 to 24 year olds are most at risk and in recent years there has been an increase in cases involving male victims. The FMU is concerned that men can be at greater risk because forced marriage is usually seem as an issue affecting only women. Some families believe that a gay or bisexual man, once married, will become straight. Introducing the government’s new campaign, Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said “Making it illegal is not enough on its own, so we are supporting work to protect victims. The Right to Choose campaign is another vital part of this and will help raise awareness of the damage being forced into marriage can do.” Young LGBT people forced into marriage report being falsely imprisoned, beaten and even sexually assaulted by family members. When abroad, they often have their passports, money and mobile phones taken away. Sometimes the pressure is more subtle and shame or threats of estrangement are used to persuade them to submit, but the FMU is clear that any marriage contracted without full consent is unacceptable. Help is available for British citizens (and those with dual nationality) who wish to leave such marriages, both in the UK and abroad.
If you’re a British citizen, or hold a brit dual nationality, that is in danger of going through a forced marriage, or you know someone who is in danger, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Forced Marriage Unite, in collaboration with The Home Office, has resources for you.
Guyana: Public Consultation On Removal Of Anti-Gay Laws
Pink News UK reports:
Authorities in Guyana are planning a series of public consultations on whether to repeal the country’s anti-gay laws. Guyana remains the only country in mainland South America with laws forbidding homosexuality on its statute books, though they are said not to be enforced. Homophobia and anti-gay laws remain widespread in the Caribbean, however, with which Guyana is more culturally aligned. Presidential Adviser Gail Teixeira told The Associated Press the government has “no line or position on the gay rights issue”. “We will hold the consultations, and if the recommendation is to change the laws, then that will be taken into consideration.” It is not clear how much public support there would be for a measure to strike down the laws. Currently, the law punishes a man convicted of “gross indecency with any other male person”, whether committed or attempted, with imprisonment for up to two years. The law also punishes “attempts to commit buggery”, “assault with intention to commit buggery” and “indecent assault” as felonies attracting up to ten years’ imprisonment. A life sentence follows “buggery, either with a human being or with any other living creature”. Public consultations and talks with religious leaders are due to take place this year as part of a pledge given by Guyana to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Ms Teixeira said the government will report to the UN on progress last this year, saying: “We are keeping our promise to consult with an open mind.”
Jamaica: Straight Ally Candidate Portia Miller Simpson To Become Prime Minister
The Washington Blade reports:
Portia Simpson Miller’s People’s National Party won a landslide victory in Parliament over the ruling Labor Party in Jamaica yesterday, giving her a second run at her previous role as first female Prime Minister of that Caribbean nation. Jamaica is well known for its severe homophobia around the world, and in the past decade, many instances of serious anti-gay violence in Jamaica have caught the attention of the international media. In addition disgraced former Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, had vowed to keep gays out of his Cabinet, a policy supported by Simpson Miller’s opponent, and outgoing Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who stepped in to take Golding’s place upon his resignation two months ago. “People are entitled to their opinion, as well as I am entitled to mine,” Holness responded to a question during a debate in December. “But as leader of the country, I have to respect everybody’s opinion, and make sure that the institutions of freedom are well in place so that the debate can continue.” “My sentiments reflect the sentiments of the country,” he continued. “The Prime Minister has a discretion, but that discretion cannot be exercised in a vacuum.” In a nationally televised December debate between Holness and Simpson Miller, the People’s National Party leader came out against the “buggery” law in Jamaica that criminalizes homosexual behavior — though she refused to vow to push for its repeal. “I think we should have a look at the ‘buggery’ law, and that members of Parliament should be given the opportunity to vote with their conscience, on consultation with their constituents,” she concluded. “Our administration believes in protecting the human rights of all Jamaicans,” Simpson Miller responded. “No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Government should provide the protection.” In addition, when both candidates were asked if they would appoint qualified LGBT MPs to their cabinet, Holness remained steadfast to the existing policy while Simpson Miller refused to apply a litmus test of that sort to her cabinet candidates. “But for me, I do not support the position of the former Prime Minister, because people should be appointed to positions based on their ability to manage and to lead,” she said of appointing a gay cabinet member. “I would appoint anyone with the ability, the capacity, and the capability to manage in my cabinet.”
Malawi: Government “Reportedly” Reviewing Anti-Gay Laws
The Advocate reports:
Following Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech on universal LGBT rights before the United Nations one week ago in Geneva, the east African country of Malawi is reviewing, though not rescinding, a law that condemns same-sex “indecent practices and unnatural acts.”
Voice of America reports: Malawi’s Justice Minister, Ephraim Chiume, last week called for a review of the law. Kamanga told VOA the government is referring the law and other provisions, especially those that have attracted adverse public comments, to the Law Commission for recommendation.“I wouldn’t say backing away is the right word. There are a number of other laws that have also received public comments, and what the government is doing is, we are taking the opportunity to look at all those laws, and we are referring those laws and provisions to the Malawi Law Commission. We are hoping that, as a way forward, we can have specific recommendations,” he said.
Last week the Obama administration articulated its foreign policy as it pertains to LGBT rights. Goals issued to agencies working abroad include protecting LGBT asylum seekers in dangerous regions and engaging with on-the-ground NGOs working to stop human rights abuses against gays. Reported human rights abuses in Malawi have already put the nation under scrutiny by aid groups in the U.S. and the U.K.
Responding to recent calls from U.K. prime minister David Cameron to cut one type of bilateral aid to Commonwealth countries that criminalize LGBT people, a Malawi government spokeswoman said it was “unfortunate” for Britain to tie “pro-gay strings” to foreign aid.
Sierra Leone has joined the list of African nations denouncing Britain’s threat to withhold financial aid over LGBT rights abuses.
Deputy Information Minister, Sheka Tarawallie told reporters that “it is not possible that we will legalise same sex marriages as they run counter to our culture”. The President of the 500 000-strong Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, Bishop Arnold Temple echoed the information minister’s objections to Cameron’s warning. “The church in Sierra Leone will do everything possible to protect democracy but our values will not accept the call from British Prime Minister, Mr Cameron for countries in the Commonwealth like Sierra Leone to accept the practice of lesbianism and gayism,” the bishop said.
Other African countries with similar positions include Kenya, Malawi, Ghana, and Uganda. Britain’s government has not yet responded to their reactions.
United Nations Wants Jamaica To Abolish “Buggery” Laws
The Advocate reports:
The United Nations’ Human Rights Committee wants changes in Jamaica — namely an end to bans on same-sex behavior, as well as new laws that prohibit discrimination against LGBT people.An advanced copy of a Human Rights Committee report was obtained by the Jamaican gay rights group J-FLAG. The committee recommends that Jamaica’s “State party should amend its laws with a view to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. The State party should also decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, in order to bring its legislation into line with the Covenant and put an end to prejudices and the social stigmatization of homosexuality. In this regard, the State party should send a clear message that it does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or violence against persons for their sexual orientation, and should ensure that individuals, who incite violence against homosexuals, are investigated, prosecuted and properly sanctioned.”The Committee also condemned music by Jamaican artists that incites violence against LGBT people.The UN also wants Jamaica to raise HIV awareness and change the deep social stigma that exists there for people with the disease. The intensely negative attitudes towards people with HIV, who are almost assumed to be gay, hampers treatment and prevention efforts in the island nation, the Committee warned. Read more at J-FLAG’s website. Recently, Britain announced that it will cut aid to antigay nations in Africa; it’s not clear if it will affect money going to Jamaica. Last month, Australia pressured all Commonwealth nations, which includes Jamaica, to end antigay laws. The UN this week also called for changes in Iran’s dealings with LGBT people.
Ghana: President Denounces British Threat To Cut Aid Over Gay Rights
Vowing that he will “never legalize homosexuality,” the president of Ghana is blasting British Prime Minister David Cameron, who last month threatened to cut aid to nations that abuse their LGBT citizens.
The Ghanaian President John Atta Mills has reacted angrily UK’s threat to cut bilateral aid if the country refuses to legalise homosexuality. He said the UK did not have the right to “direct to other sovereign nations as to what they should do”, saying their society’s “norms” were different from those in the UK. Mr Atta Mills told the BBC: “I, as president, will never initiate or support any attempt to legalise homosexuality in Ghana.” The British Prime Minister raised the issue of gay rights and bilateral aid at a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Australia.
Gay activists in Ghana and elsewhere have warned that Cameron’s cuts could result in local retribution against the LGBT community. British gay activist Peter Tatchell weighs in: “Instead of cutting aid, Britain and other donor countries should divert their aid money from human rights abusing governments and redirect it to grassroots, community-based humanitarian projects that respect human rights and do not discriminate in their service provision.”
Uganda: Official Fury At UK’s PM David Cameron Aid Treat Over Gay Rights
BBC News reports:
The UK is showing a “bullying mentality” by threatening to cut aid to countries where homosexuality is illegal, a Ugandan official says. UK Prime Minister David Cameron said at the weekend that those receiving British aid should respect gay rights. But Ugandan presidential adviser John Nagenda told the BBC Ugandans were “tired of these lectures” and should not be treated like “children”. Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda and most other African countries. Many people see it as violating religious and cultural beliefs. In Nigeria, the government has unveiled a draft law which makes it an offence for anyone to support gay marriages. Mr Cameron told the BBC he had raised the issue of gay rights at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Perth, Australia, last week. ‘Natural death’ Mr Cameron said those receiving UK aid should “adhere to proper human rights”. Ending the bans on homosexuality was one of the recommendations of an internal report into the future relevance of the Commonwealth. Continue reading the main story
Start Quote Those who have more should give to those who have less. It’s as simple as that” John Nagenda Ugandan presidential adviser Mr Nagenda accused Mr Cameron of showing an “ex-colonial mentality” and of treating Ugandans “like children”. “Uganda is, if you remember, a sovereign state and we are tired of being given these lectures by people,” he told the BBC’s Newshour programme. “If they must take their money, so be it.” Mr Cameron’s threat applies only to one type of bilateral aid known as general budget support, and would not reduce the overall amount of aid to any one country. Malawi has already had some of its budget support suspended over concerns about its attitude to gay rights. Mr Nagenda said the UK’s “bullying mentality” was “very wrong”. “Those who have more should give to those who have less. It’s as simple as that,” he said. Mr Nagenda said he doubted that the Ugandan parliament would ever approve a bill which proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts. “I believe it will die a natural death. But this kind of ex-colonial mentality of saying: ‘You do this or I withdraw my aid’ will definitely make people extremely uncomfortable with being treated like children,” Mr Nagenda said. The bill - tabled by MP David Bahati - sparked widespread international condemnation earlier this year. Meanwhile, a Senate committee in Nigeria is holding public hearings into a proposed new law on same sex marriages. Homosexual acts and gay marriages are already illegal in Nigeria but the draft law would also punish those who aid or abet such marriages, reports say. Mr Cameron said he had spoken with “a number of African countries” and that more pressure had been applied by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who deputised for him during parts of the Commonwealth summit. Some 41 nations within the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexual acts. Many of these laws are a legacy of British rule.
Homosexual acts between men are presently illegal in the tiny Central American nation of Belize, with punishments as harsh as ten years in prison. But according to the quite nasty alert I’ve just been forwarded, Belize’s sodomy law will be reviewed by the nation’s highest court on December 5th.
The homosexual organization UNIBAM (United Belize Advocacy Movement) and Caleb Orozco has brought a lawsuit against the Attorney General, and thus, Govt. of Belize, seeking to change Section 53 of the Criminal Code, which says: “Any person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or any animal shall be liable to 10 years imprisonment.” Orosco & UNIBAM are seeking to remove the words “any person or” so that this law would not apply to interpersonal relationships but only that of sex with animals. They are seeking to use the Constitution phrases & sections pertaining to “personal privacy, human dignity, etc.” to have the present law declared unconstitutional unless that wording is changed. The end goal is SAME SEX MARRIAGE in Belize and a broad HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA of what’s called “GENDER MAINSTREAMING,” making the gay & lesbian lifestyle accepted in our society & culture.
RELATED: Female homosexual acts are not banned in Belize. It is currently illegal for “professional homosexuals” to enter the country for any reason.
Belize is one of the many Commonwealth of Nations that have to yet decriminalize Homosexuality. Australia, another member of the Commonwealth, has urged them all to do so. I want to think it has had some effect, because so far, Botswana (another Commonwealth member( has also expressed wishes to repeal its homophobic laws.
WARNING: IQ 110+ only. Hi everybody! Welcome to my Blog. On my Web-Magazine you'll find a large variety of topics, from Gay Culture to Politics, Sexuality, Movies, Music, TV, News, Photography, Science, Literature, Religion (from an Atheist point of view), Technology (mostly Apple ), Latino Culture, and more.
I'm a Blogger, an Activist, a College Guy, and a Consultant in Social Responsibility.
I'm also a News Junkie, one of the contributors to the NYT Bestseller "ItGetsBetter" Book, a Cher devotee, a Nutella lover & a Dan Savage & Christopher Hitchens' loyal.
Feel free to re-blog, share and recommend. Enjoy!