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State Department Condemns Severe 'Aggravated Homosexuality' Law in Gambia: VIDEO

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The U.S. has condemned the decision of Gambia President Yahya Jammeh to approve a severe new law imposing life imprisonment for homosexual acts, reports ABC.

The law went into effect on October 9th. Homosexual acts had already been punishable with up to 14 years in prison.

The AP reported last week:

“It criminalizes ‘aggravated homosexuality’, which targets 'serial offenders' and people living with HIV or AIDS. Suspects can also be charged with aggravated homosexuality for engaging in homosexual acts with someone who is under 18, disabled or who has been drugged. The term also applies when the suspect is the parent or guardian of the other person or is 'in authority over' him or her."

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c70bfab2970b-300wiThe term “aggravated homosexuality” was borrowed from a Ugandan anti-gay law signed earlier this year that was eventually ruled unconstitutional.  More extreme anti-gay laws are expected to be enacted in Uganda shortly.

In a statement issued on Monday, State Department Director of Press Relations Jeff Rathke said:

"We are dismayed by President Jammeh's decision to sign into law legislation that further restricts the rights of L.G.B.T. individuals and are deeply concerned about the reported arrests and detention of suspected L.G.B.T. individuals in The Gambia.”

Rathke also voiced concerns about reports of recent arrests in Gambia of at least four men, a 17-year-old boy and nine women accused of committing homosexual acts.

Last week, Amnesty International accused Gambian security forces of resorting to beatings and the threat of rape and other abuses if the detainees did not confess.

Gambian officials have declined to comment on the new law or the arrests.

Watch a Young Turks report on Gambia's anti-gay law, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "State Department Condemns Severe 'Aggravated Homosexuality' Law in Gambia: VIDEO" »


One Direction, Sam Smith, and Others Team Up to Tackle Ebola in 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - WATCH

Bandaid

Band Aid, the supergroup behind 1984's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" charity song that helped in the 1983-85 Ethiopian famine relief effort, is re-recording its hit song with some fresh faces and for a new cause. 

One Direction, Bastille, Bono, Sam Smith, Clean Bandit, Ellie Goulding, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Seal, Sinead O'Connor, Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran and others have all teamed up to help raise money to help tackle the Ebola crisis in West Africa. 

Watch the music video, AFTER THE JUMP...

And to donate to the cause, visit bandaid30.com

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Continue reading "One Direction, Sam Smith, and Others Team Up to Tackle Ebola in 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' - WATCH" »


Study Finds Global Acceptance Of Homosexuality And Gay Rights Is Rising

A new study conducted by the NORC of the University of Chicago and the Wiliams Institute at the UCLA School of Law shows global acceptance of homosexuality increased over the last two decades in a release posted on the Williams Institute website. The results were released Nov. 7 in Washington D.C. during a meeting regarding LGBT rights, global stigma and economic growth.

WI-LOGO-NEW-330x170Around 90 percent of residents in the countries that were surveyed became more accepting of homosexuality over the span of 20 years. The study reviewed responses to 2000 survey questions asked in hundreds of surveys about general attitudes toward gays and lesbians between 1981 and the present. The Director of International Programs at the Williams Institute, Andrew Park, commented on the study.

Said Park:

"Available research on global public acceptance of lesbians and gay men is limited. This study shows a clear trend toward increasing acceptance across the globe."


Norc-330x80Findings show that women are generally more accepting than men of gays and lesbians, and younger people below the age of 30 are more accepting of homosexuality than those that are 65 and older, and tend to remain supportive as they age.

The highest rate of acceptance is in the Northwestern countries of Europe with an acceptance rate of 91 percent and the lowest rate of acceptance is in the African country of Ghana with a measely 2 percent. Surprisingly, the study listed the U.S., the majority of African and Muslim countries as some of the most accepting countries of homosexuality however, most African countries that were surveyed ranked in the bottom third of all the other countries in the world in regards to their level of acceptance of lesbian and gay people.

With new, even harsher anti-gay laws proposed in Uganda, and transphobic attacks still occurring in the U.S. with limited hate crime law protections, serves as a reminder that attitudes may be changing, but the fight for civil rights and protections is far from over.

The complete report on the study is available on the Williams Institute website.


Incredible Go-Pro Video Follows A Lioness On The Hunt In Africa: WATCH

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In a video that has racked up over 1 million views, Meg the Lioness takes you along for a ride as she hunts down a water buck. Kevin Richardson (aka the Lion Whisperer) follows along closely with Meg and sets the scene. 

Watch the stunning video, AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: semi-graphic footage ahead)

Continue reading "Incredible Go-Pro Video Follows A Lioness On The Hunt In Africa: WATCH" »


Ugandan LGBT Activist Sam Ganafa Avoids Homophobic Court Trial

GanafaIn November of 2013 as Uganda’s parliament moved forward in its decision to turn its anti-homosexuality act into law, Sam Ganafa was arrested along with three other LGBT rights activists. Ganafa, who leads Spectrum Uganda, an Ugandan LGBT organization that specializes in HIV education, is one of the country’s most prominent queer public figures. Ganafa and the three individuals were arrested while at a party together before being shuffled through the Ugandan court system notorious for its mishandling of defendants involved in LGBT cases.

Ganafa’s three companions have since fled Uganda for neighboring Kenya, where many LGBT refugees face a different, yet familiar kind of persecution.

On October 8, the charges against Ganafa were dropped after a long struggle  going back and forth with legal officials to set a proper court date. Technically Ganafa had been arrested on suspicions of violating the country’s strict laws prohibiting sodomy.

As is typically the case, authorities attempted to keep him in jail indefinitely due to not having sufficient evidence to bring his case to trial. Though Ganafa is pleased with being free, he still remains wary of local law enforcement who’ve vowed to come after him again.

“The court action is a good sign, because it’s independent and opens a window of hope for us,” Ganafa said in an interview with Erasing 76 Crimes in an exchange by Facebook message. “We also expect the same action to be taken in other cases currently before the courts. I pray that the courts will ward off possible pressures from the anti-gay lobby.”


Chad Considers Criminalizing Gay Sex With 20 Years In Prison

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(Chad President Idriss Déby)

Chad is likely to become the 37th African country to outlaw homosexuality after politicians voted in favor of a proposed law that would make same-sex relations a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, reports The Guardian.

According to Amnesty International, same-sex relations are illegal - and in some punishable by death - in 36 of Africa’s 54 countries.

Chad’s penal code does not explicitly mention homosexuality but the proposed amendment states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (around $100-$1,000). Chad map

Government officials have said that the measure, which has yet to be ratified by President Idriss Déby, is intended to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society”.

The Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights called on Déby to strike down the proposed law:

“By criminalising homosexuality, Chad’s proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice. I urge president Déby and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.”

Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, said that although it is to be welcomed that the proposed bill would abolish the death penalty, this positive “is unfortunately marred by the criminalisation of homosexuality.”

According to Geel, while the reform of the penal code had been in preparation for 10 years, the question of homosexuality, while considered immoral, had never been an issue in Chad.

A number of countries in Africa have recently enacted severe anti-gay laws. Some observers believe this may be a response to the increased visibility and assertiveness of LGBT people in Africa. However, US evangelical Christians - chief among them Scott Lively - have been widely blamed for instigating draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda and other countries.

Last month, The Gambia passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality.”

In January, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalising same-sex “amorous relationships” and membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe regularly attacks LGBT people in speeches and recently said he resented - but continues to accept - western aid because it depends on conditions such as accepting homosexuality.

Although Uganda’s harsh anti-gay law was struck down by judges on a technicality, it is expected to be reintroduced by MPs.


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