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04/19/2007


NY Times Op-Ed Highlights The IOC's Leadership Deficit

RingsIn an Op-Ed piece published earlier this week, The New York Times highlights an important upcoming election that few know about but nonetheless has the potential to impact many: the election of a new president of the International Olympic Committee. The September vote will be the first in 12 years and may in fact be, "the last chance for many years to reform the committee’s approach to repressive governments that seek to host the [Olympic] games." The author of the article, Human Rights Watch's Minky Worden, argues that "It is imperative that the committee elect a president willing to lead, not cave in, on this issue." Current IOC President Jacques Rogge has not left behind a sterling legacy when it comes to the IOC's commitment to human rights let alone its own charter:

The 12-year term of the current president, Jacques Rogge of Belgium, will be remembered in large part for the glaring contradiction between the I.O.C.’s explicit vision of its lofty role in the world (as outlined in the rules and guidelines of its charter) and the fact that Mr. Rogge has been responsible for two Olympics with extensive human rights violations: the 2008 summer games in Beijing and the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, which start in less than six months.

To host the Olympics, governments and cities pledge not only to build sparkling new stadiums but also to uphold the I.O.C.’s “Fundamental Principles of Olympism”: respect for human dignity and press freedom, and a rejection of “any form of discrimination.” But the I.O.C. under Mr. Rogge has failed to enforce its own rules.

The 2008 Beijing games, which cost an estimated $40 billion, led to a host of rights violations, including abuses of domestic migrant workers who were building Olympic infrastructure and a harsh clampdown on civil society and media, with punishment (including imprisonment) for those trying to protest.

Now the I.O.C. is preparing to stage another Olympics in a host country that almost appears to be taunting organizers and sponsors by flagrantly flouting its pledge.

Worden also points out that given the IOC's lackluster group of 98 voting members, comprised of "mostly sports federation leaders and members of royal families," only one of whom has criticized Russia's discriminatory laws, it will be up to corporations who have the power of the all mighty dollar behind them to push for change:

Before another I.O.C. president is selected, the corporate sponsors who make the Olympics possible should insist that the president enforce the committee’s own rules about human rights. Unless sponsors and franchise-holders like NBC, Coca-Cola, G.E., McDonalds and Visa want to risk being associated with an officially homophobic Olympics, they must find their voices — before the next I.O.C. head is anointed.


Watch: Gay Activists Crash Kissing Competition in Beijing

Beijing

Valentine's Day in China.

Shanghaiist writes:

"Two days ago, on Valentine's Day, ballsy gay and lesbian couples in Beijing decided to gatecrash a kissing competition held by the New World Shopping Mall to raise the visibility of China's LGBT community and to drum up support for same-sex marriage. Just moments before the competition was due to start, however, organisers announced that the kissing competition would be cancelled because there weren't, erm, enough contestants. Undeterred, the gay and lesbian couples decided they would stage their own kiss-in anyway, and they did so just outside the mall where the competition was supposed to be held, attracting a huge crowd of bewildered passers-by."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: Gay Activists Crash Kissing Competition in Beijing" »


Bang Ye: The Belly-Baring Daddies of Beijing

Bangye

The L.A. Times does some trendspotting in China:

"From the countryside to sophisticated urban centers such as Beijing, men of all ages, social standing and stomach sizes resort to a public display of skin, a hot-weather fashion faux pas that's the Chinese equivalent of knee-high black socks with shorts. They're known as bang ye, or 'exposing grandfathers'(despite their age range). In the hottest weather, bang ye seem to be everywhere, striding among the tall buildings in Beijing's business district, playing chess in parks, holding children's hands at the zoo and negotiating crowded alleyways. There are precious few washboard abs among the lot. Still, many fail to notice that they're drawing smirks from fashion-conscious passersby. Most just don't care."

(via buzzfeed)


Beijing World AIDS Day Event Crashed by Activists Fearing Arrest:
'It's OK because we have nothing left to lose.'

Aids

HIV PREVENTION GAY BAR DELAYED - see below...

A World AIDS Day event at a railway station in Beijing where pamphlets were being handed out on HIV prevention was crashed Tuesday by activists angry over tainted blood transfusions, the AP reports:

China "Wearing white face masks scrawled with the words 'Infected blood transfusions causes AIDS,' the 20 or so activists mounted the stage set up by China's Red Cross and spoke through tears. 'Our fight for free treatment has continued for the past eight years with no luck,' one protester, Liu Xiurong, said afterward. The HIV virus that causes AIDS gained a foothold in China largely due to unsanitary blood plasma-buying schemes and tainted transfusions in hospitals. AIDS was the top killer among infectious diseases in China for the first time last year. By the end of October, the number of Chinese confirmed with HIV-AIDS was 319,877, according to China's Health Ministry. Health Minister Chen Zhu said the actual level of infections is probably closer to 740,000. Liu, from the northeastern city of Harbin, said her son became infected with the HIV virus by tainted plasma several years ago. She received compensation from the Shanghai company that supplied the blood, but the money wasn't enough for medical costs.' The money we got is not even close to the amount that we need to live. My son still needs treatment,' she told Associated Press Television News. 'Now that we've put ourselves out there, there is a chance that we'll be beaten or arrested in the future,' Liu said. 'It's OK because we have nothing left to lose.'"

Dali Additionally, the gay bar set to open today in Dali, in the Yunnan Province, was delayed, the WSJ reports:

"But on Tuesday, slated to be the bar’s opening day, the plan apparently became a victim of its own premature success. Xinhua reports that the opening has been delayed 'due to pressure,' according to the bar’s founder, Zhang Jianbo, a doctor at the No. 2 People’s Hospital in Dali. Plans for the club had garnered perhaps too much domestic media attention in recent days, which could have had the effect of deterring some of the bar’s intended customers, who might not be out to family and friends. The volunteers who would have run the day-to-day operations of the club were also put in an uncomfortable position, according to Zhang. 'They will be looked at through ‘colored glasses’,' he told Xinhua. Zhang remained optimistic about the venture, for which the Dali government had reportedly earmarked nearly $18,000. He said 'the pub will open sooner or later,' according to Xinhua."


News: Mars, Neil Patrick Harris, Beijing, Lincoln Chafee, Bruno

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Wockner: Gay tsunami slams Obama.

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Schwarzenegger won't defend Prop 8 in federal court.

Marslake

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Definitive evidence of ancient lake on Mars discovered.

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Prince Harry checks the equipment.

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Wisconsin Senate approves domestic partnerships: "If domestic partnerships become law, Wisconsin would be the first state with an existing constitutional amendment banning both same-sex marriage and civil unions to provide domestic partnership protections for same-sex couples."

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Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka searching for surrogate mom.

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Henry Cavill goes Upstreet.

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Former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI): Gay Marriage a question of fairness. "Gays and lesbians have contributed to the diverse fabric of Rhode Island and the rest of the country for generations, strengthening our communities in innumerable ways...Once you acknowledge that homosexuality exists not by choice, the next obvious step is to grant gays and lesbians the same liberties and freedoms as every other American."

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David Archuleta's dad not so innocent.

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Katie Couric makes gay fan's dream come true.

Britcouple

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First gay couple to become fathers in the UK expecting fourth child: "Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow sparked outrage when they used donated eggs and surrogate mothers in the USA to have their nine-year-old twins Aspen and Saffron and  five-year-old son Orlando. The pair from Danbury in Essex, battled the American authorities to become the first gay couple to have both their names on their children's birth certificates. The millionaire couple revealed today that a surrogate mother is carrying a fourth child for them, with the possibility of another twin birth."

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For the Nth time: T.R. Knight officially done with Grey's Anatomy.

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Planet Out, Here Networks merge: "Here Networks on Wednesday completed a merger with the struggling PlanetOut to create a new company called Here Media. Here employs 200 people in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's a public company though not actively traded. PlanetOut shareholders received 20% ownership in Here.
The merger preserves the remaining assets of PlanetOut, a once high-flying Internet company that had struggled with losses and debt as it ventured into offline businesses. Its shares once traded for more than $100 apiece, but even an investment from a hedge fund controlled by Bill Gates didn't save PlanetOut from slipping into penny-stock status before Here swooped in to rescue it. When the NASDAQ delisted the stock last week, it traded at 38 cents."

Jesus

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Jesus Luz does Sao Paulo fashion week.

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Beijing queer film festival makes progress: "The biggest change is that I'm not the only one doing this. There's more support from the gay community. Society has become more relaxed and open-minded in its thinking."

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Guardian Film Review: Bruno. "There's an eye-popping montage of extreme gay sex practices (imaginary, one hopes), a surfeit of waving penises, dildos, fetish gear, anal bleaching, and an excruciating mime in which Brüno fellates the ghost of a deceased member of Milli Vanilli in front of a psychic."

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Washington Post book critic: gay books aren't being published anymore.

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Brian Graden says good-bye to MTV: "For me, it's time to complement my television ambitions with some new passions already in motion - the writing of two books, making music, creating theater, speaking on subjects that matter to me, raising alpacas…okay, perhaps not all calls will be heeded right away. I have no idea if I possess any of these talents, but my friends who know me well know that these new adventures have been tapping my shoulder for a few years."


Activists Hold Mock Same-Sex Weddings on Busy Beijing Street

Beijing1

Two men and two women took part in a same-sex marriage demonstration in Beijing on Valentine's Day, the Wall Street Journal reports:

"Reactions to the protest were divided; while many onlookers expressed support, saying they were aware there are many openly gay men and women in China now, others were not sympathetic to the cause. On the Internet, thousands of people who responded to news stories about the event were divided as well. One person responded to a news story on the protest by asking women not to date other women anymore. 'Make some contributions to the tens of millions of single males [in China],' this person wrote, alluding to China’s current gender imbalance. Another said heterosexual unions weren’t necessarily better: 'Love is love, and there is no specific reason. Who can say that there is no real love between them? How many males and females end up in divorce?” But no one, including the guards in the area on Saturday, tried to stop the group from its demonstration."

Watch some short live footage from the event, AFTER THE JUMP...

Gay Pride on Valentine’s Day in Beijing [wsj]
Activists hold mock wedding photo session on Beijing streets [fridae]

Beijing2

Continue reading "Activists Hold Mock Same-Sex Weddings on Busy Beijing Street" »


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