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LGBT Activists Create 'Gay Village' Hoax to Raise Awareness About Homophobia

WelkomInNederland

The town of Tilburg in the Netherlands recently created a genius plan to confront homophobia head on, threatening to create a "gay village" and effectively segregate society. Organizers of Pink Monday, an event promoting tolerance of the LGBT population, proposed the village with developer Blauwhoed after statistics showed that 30% of lesbians and 22% of gay men did not feel safe in their home country. Controversy and backlash ensued before the plan was revealed to be a hoax.

Yahoo! News reports:

Peter van der Vorst, a Dutch radio presenter, tweeted that the village would be "a fenced gay ghetto", while Cornald Maas, a television presenter, commented: "Shameful and moron plan, it is like creating an outdated ghetto community for a safer 'straight' society."

Tanja Ineke, president of the gay rights group COC Netherlands, condemned the plan and commented that law enforcement should improve safety and social inclusion.

"This is not the direction we want to go in to solve the security problems of the LGBT community," she said. "It is up to the police, local authorities and central government to solve them so that LGBTs in every city, every neighbourhood and every street feel safe, not only in a separate area with a fence around it."

The project's planners went so far as to make a website.

"We go further than just housing," the Gay Village website read. "Together with the future residents, we determine which services will provide for the community: its own supermarket, tennis court, a cooking school, a chapel or a gym, so you live in a quiet green area with all mod cons."

Pink Monday organizers were pleased with the outrage their plan engendered, stating: "All we wanted was to create an awareness, and we are certain that we succeeded in this." 

Well-played, Netherlands. Well-played.


New Senate Bill Would Create Special Diplomatic LGBT Envoy, Promote Equality Abroad

A bill introduced to the Senate on Thursday by Massachusetts senator Ed Markey (D, right) aims to create an LGBT envoy to promote equal rights abroad. The bill is backed by over twenty other democrats, and although it faces a difficult approval process, it is an exciting step toward LGBT-related diplomacy, particularly given the recent upswing in anti-gay violence in countries ranging from France to Uganda. The official title of the bill is "The International Human Rights Defense Act."

EdMarkeyBuzzfeed reports:

“For the United States to hold true to our commitment to defending the human rights of all people around the world, we must stand with the LGBT community in their struggle for recognition and equality everywhere,” Markey said in a statement to BuzzFeed. “By fostering a coordinated effort across the federal government and relevant agencies, we can meet the enormous challenge before us and work to ensure equality for all people around the globe.”

In addition to creating the envoy’s office, the bill would direct the State Department to “devise a global strategy” to prevent discrimination and violence against LGBT people and coordinate with LGBT-rights advocates in other countries and in international organizations.

If the bill were to pass, it would be a firm indication of a shift in American diplomacy, away from the George W. Bush era, when the U.S. blocked prioritization of LGBT rights in the UN. Though President Obama does not have the best track record with the LGBT community, including a continued refusal to sign the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, he could have the chance to create the envoy post without a congressional vote. 

Currently, twelve human rights organizations are endorsing the bill, including the American Jewish World Service and the Council for Global Equality. 

We will keep Towleroad readers posted as the bill is discussed in Senate.


Homophobe Alan Keyes On Gay Sex: 'It Is Not 'Sexual' Activity At All'

Former presidential and senatorial candidate Alan Keyes, who has compared same-sex marriage to nose-picking and claimed that it leads to totalitarian regimes, is back and ready to bestow another beautiful bit of wisdom upon us. In convoluted and pseudo-scientific language, Keyes recently expressed the essential belief that gay sex "is not 'sexual' activity at all." 

JohnKeyesWrites Keyes on wingnut rag WND:

"In the strict sense of the term, it is not 'sexual' activity at all. The functional difference that distinguishes one sex from the other quite literally has nothing to do with same-sex activity. That activity abstracts from the functionally defined difference in order exclusively to focus on bodily feelings and emotions that are important to the individuals involved, but that are of no consequence, concretely, for the species as a whole. As individuals, some human beings may find this activity intensely gratifying. But considered on the whole, in terms of its consequences, it implies the nonexistence of humanity. The homosexual couple is not engaged in the act of human procreation. Their activity is not haunted by the possibility of human offspring. Because it is, on the whole, of no consequence, homosexual activity involves no natural right – for every claim of natural right arises from respect for the law of nature, which in turn necessarily requires respect for the nature of law."

When will he quit? All signs point to never, but at least his latest statement is filled with laughable pieces of tired, recycled arguments.

(via joe.my.god)


Documentary Takes Aim At LGBT Prejudice, HIV/AIDS Awareness In American Heartland: VIDEO

Brokenheartland

"Broken Heart Land," a new documentary airing this month on World Channel's program American ReFramed, invests in an in-depth look at one teen's story in order to shed light on LGBT prejudice and a lack of awareness of HIV/AIDS in middle America. Focused on Oklahoman teenager Zack Harrington, who took his life in 2010, "one week after attending a local city council meeting in support of a proposal for LGBT History Month," the documentary seems to be an emotional and intimate look at the way tragedies deeply impact the communities in which they occur.

HuffPost reports:

"Even though we live in a slightly more progressive world where gay rights issues and HIV/AIDS education have made notable strides in many large cities, Zack's tragic story is representative of hundreds of young gay teens all over Bible Belt, conservative small towns across America who are still wrestling with feelings of shame," [directors] Jeremy and Randy Stulberg said in a statement. "We hope that through the film we will be able to start a dialogue across the country in the same way that the Harringtons have done in Norman, Oklahoma and hopefully prevent future suicides from teens in smaller towns who may feel hopeless."

You can watch the documentary on World Channel when it airs on June 24th, or catch its world premiere at the Frameline Film Festival in San Francisco, June 21st.

For now, check out the highly emotional trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Documentary Takes Aim At LGBT Prejudice, HIV/AIDS Awareness In American Heartland: VIDEO" »


New Report Dispels 'Myth Of Gay Affluence,' Shows Disproportionate Poverty Rates For LGBT Americans

Lookingfancy

The American public is getting used to seeing gay characters proliferate on their television and movie screens. Most of us would agree, however, that these portrayals leave a lot to be desired, and that "getting used to" is not the most desirable result. A new study from UCLA's Williams Institute suggests that one way in which representation in media, continued into modern day with Looking even, has failed is in its singularly affluent understanding of gay life (How did Jonathan Groff afford that apartment all on his own the whole season? Dom may be a waiter, but he sure has a nice pad!).

The reality? Gay Americans are more likely to grow up homeless, live an impoverished adult life, and require assistance in receiving necessities like food. 

The Atlantic looked to understand "The Myth of Gay Affluence," both in terms of inaccurate representation and economic disparity. The results are a work in progress:

A new report released by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 29 percent of LGBT adults, approximately 2.4 million people, experienced food insecurity—a time when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family—in the past year. In contrast, 16 percent of Americans nationwide reported being food insecure in 2012. One in 5 gays and lesbians aged 18-44 received food stamps in the last year, compared with just over 1 in 4 same sex couples raising children. The LGBT community has made huge political strides over the past decade, but in economic matters they still lag far behind the rest of the country.

The researchers suppose that those political strides have encouraged people across the country, not just in wealthier urban centers, to come out, increasing the amount of respondents who would identify as LGBT and impoverished in some way. "Alabama...is poorer than Seattle," or San Francisco, or New York. Thus a widening economic disparity. Why then is the public perception skewed toward wealth?

“Corporate America was one of the first targets in terms of trying to improve policies around LGBT issues,” says [Gary] Gates [author of the study], “and part of it was this idea that they needed to focus on the LGBT community as a consumer market that mattered.”

Marketing firms conducted surveys to try to show not just affluence, but disproportionate levels of brand loyalty were a hallmark of gays and lesbians...In 2012, Experian, a national marketing firm, released a business report claiming that the average household income of a married or partnered gay man is nearly 20 percent more than a straight married or partnered man ($116,000 compared to $94,500).

The Atlantic cited a 2010 study, however, that showed gay men to have a poverty rate of 20.5% compared to 15.3% for straight men. The Williams Institute points to a higher amount of lower paying jobs (such as nursing and teaching) taken by gay people, a very real disparity in hiring practices, and the realities of workplace discrimination, but nothing has conclusively shown why the economic difference exists. One thing is for certain:

...equality can’t and won’t be achieved as long as myths and stereotypes about LGBT people continue to be perpetuated and believed.


Congo Considering Anti-Homosexuality Bill

MbakayiThe Democratic Republic of Congo may follow in the footsteps of Uganda if the Congolese National Assembly approves a drafted anti-gay bill currently in legislative limbo, though the level of support there is variable and wavering. Introduced in December by Steve Mbikayi (right), an MP in the Parti Travaillaise Congolais, the bill would criminalize homosexual and transgender-identified people with jail sentences and hefty fines. Mbikayi has cited homosexuality as an identity akin to such acts as pedophilia and bestiality, and given that there are reportedly open-minded and un-closeted communities in Kinshasha, the capital of the DRC, the bill has the potential to do serious damage to a large number of people. 

allAfrica reports:

Mbikayi's bill - which has yet to be made public but which has been seen by Think Africa Press - contains 37 articles that would render homosexuality and transgenderism illegal. The proposed penalty for engaging in a homosexual act is 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of 1 million Congolese francs (about $1,000); while a transgender person would face the same fine and a jail sentence of 3 to 12 years.

The draft also contains a passage promising that the Congolese government will pay three quarters of any medical costs to "correct hormonal disorders that may result in homosexuality."

"The bill emanates from the Travailliste Party's philosophy," Mbikayi explained to Think Africa Press. "In relation to our culture, homosexuality is an 'anti-value' that comes from abroad. Already, in our country, seeing a man with a man or a woman with a woman is considered scandalous. So I promised my base that I would take care of the issue and penalise homosexuals."

DcrflagAnother similar bill lay dead in the water in 2010 after never receiving a vote, and many activists hope that Mbikayi's will meet a similar fate in the coming months. There is not a consensus, however, on whether or not the bill would meet the support required to enter a session of the National Assembly.

"In the city [Kinshasa], we know gays and transvestites who are known and accepted by their communities. No-one would try to attack them," explains Okakessema Olivier Nyamana, a lawyer from an NGO that works with HIV-positive people. "To me, it seems like political opportunism."

...

With the next parliamentary session looming, however, others are more pessimistic. "My fear is that the bill will pass next week without anyone noticing," says Françoise Mukuku, the executive director of Si Jeunesse Savait, a feminist organisation that also advocates for the rights of LGBT people in the DRC.

If the Congolese National Assembly approves the bill, which could enter into debate as soon as March 15th, it would become the 38th country in Africa to criminalize homosexuality. Hopefully the activist's outcries and campaigning will overcome Mbikayi's attempt to sign such discrimination into law. 


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