Best gay blog. Towleroad Wins Award

Gay Rights Hub



04/19/2007


Ethiopian Legislation Would Make Criminal Sentences of Homosexuality 'Non-pardonable'

The quickly escalating anti-gay trend in many African countries, including Uganda, has tacked on a new bill, this one aimed at increasing the potency of a law already in place.

EthiopiaLegislation states that Ethiopians found guilty on charges of same-sex acts can be imprisoned for up to 15 years, and persons found guilty of engaging in same-sex acts which transmitted HIV are susceptible to 25 years. Now, the Council of Ministers will likely approve a bill which would make those persons unpardonable by the president.

Mail & Guardian reports:

Ethiopia's president often pardons thousands of prisoners during the Ethiopian New Year. When the Bill becomes law, the president will lose his power to pardon prisoners facing charges ranging from homosexuality to terrorism.

As always, it is particularly disturbing to see homosexuality placed alongside inherently violent acts, though we should not forget that the equation has deep roots in American evangelism as well.

Uganda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community credits evangelical Christian pastors with sparking the anti-gay sentiment that led to the present-day legal repercussions for homosexuals in the country.

Hopefully the bill loses the battle. We will keep you updated. 


Newly-Appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Donated To Prop 8 Campaign

On Monday, Brendan Eich (right) became CEO of Mozilla, the software community responsible for developing Firefox, the popular web browser. Formerly the multi-tiered group's chief technology officer, Eich was an understandable but not altogether popular choice for the appointment. One reason some are not pleased? He donated funds in support of California's Proposition 8.

BrendaneichDevelopers Hampton Catlin and his husband Michael have decided to boycott the Mozilla community entirely.

Beta News reports:

"Today we were shocked to read that Brendan Eich has been appointed Mozilla CEO. As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization", says Hampton Catlin.

Catlin further explains, "I certainly recognize that there are great people at Mozilla. And that lots of people there want the org to be open and supportive. However, the board could have chosen ANY of those other, awesome people at Mozilla to be CEO. Hey, I've got a crazy idea, how about a woman at Mozilla? Nope. Out of all the possible candidates they could have chosen, they chose Brendan Eich. CEO's are extremely important to an organization. Their ideas, beliefs, philosophies, and personalities drive organizations".

Catlin wrote an open letter to Mozilla as well, explaining the boycott and urging the community to remove Eich from his position. 

Statistics reported by Beta News, sourced from the California Secretary of State's office, show that Eich gave $1,000 to support Prop 8. 

Prop8_eich


Rachel Maddow on How Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church Boosted Gay Rights: VIDEO

Phelps_maddow

Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church's plan to demonize gay people backfired over the years, helping the cause of equality by inspiring people to manifest their support for gay rights in reaction to the church's hate.

In a 'non-obituary' for Phelps, who died this week, Rachel Maddow looks at how it all went down.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Angel

Continue reading "Rachel Maddow on How Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church Boosted Gay Rights: VIDEO" »


Gay Ethiopian Teenager Faces Deportation, Persecution In Homeland

A 19 year old gay Ethiopian man is currently facing deportation by federal agents in Boston after he he stopped attending school and consequently lost his student visa, according to The Boston Globe.

EthiopiaImmigration officials arrested the young man in January. Though he appeared twice before an immigration judge last month it is unclear whether officials involved in the case are aware of the man’s sexual orientation, which he posted about on a "public forum," and the dangers he would face should he return home to Ethiopia. Those close to the young man, whose identity has been left undisclosed at this time, are concerned for his safety should he be sent back to Ethiopia given the nation’s strong anti-gay attitudes:

“This is a very serious deal,” said the student’s uncle, who spoke on condition of anonymity from Canada. “Back in his country, it will be like death.” […]

Two people in Worcester who know the young man — Todd Williams, an openly gay Republican candidate for state senator, and his campaign manager, Mesfin Beshir, a nonprofit director from Ethiopia — said in separate interviews that the student recently told them he is gay.

Williams and Beshir said they met him shortly before his arrest in January, when he asked to stay with Beshir’s family during winter break.

“He’s openly gay . . . He blatantly told me, ‘I’m gay,’ ” Williams said in a telephone interview. “If he’s returned or deported to Ethiopia, I’m in fear of what may happen to him.”

Beshir said the man seemed to suffer emotional troubles, sometimes seeming irritated and shutting himself in the guest room. He said he worried for the man’s safety if forced to return to Ethiopia.

“Culturally, he will be an outcast,” said Beshir […]

In Ethiopia, according to the State Department, gay people have been jailed, interrogated, and allegedly abused, and many reported anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts. Amnesty International said gay people face up to 15 years in prison in that country for aggravated offenses.

The young man, whose actions of late have seemed “erratic” to some, will also undergo a mental health review that was requested by the immigration judge presiding over his case. The 19-year-old has not officially requested asylum, which detainees may apply for if they fear returning home, however “lawyers say many foreigners are reluctant to confide in their jailers.”

Previously we reported that gay Ethiopians may soon face the death penalty for so-called aggravated offenses. Recently, fellow African nations Uganda and Nigeria enacted harsh anti-gay laws that are already beginning to have dire consequences for LGBT individuals.


17-Year-Old Japanese Student Comes Out In Inspiring 'I Have a Dream, Too' Speech: VIDEO

Japan

This past December, a seventeen-year-old Japanese student entered the Hokkaido Prefectural English Speech Contest, held in Sapporo, Japan and gave a rousing speech on LGBT rights. Little is known at this time about the young man who gave the oration which began with an examination of Russia’s recently enacted anti-gay laws and the controversy over the then-upcoming Sochi Olympics. The student asked, 

Why do gay people have to face discrimination? Is it because they are not heterosexual? Is it a sin to love somebody of the same gender? The law cannot control love or people's feelings.

However, what began as a more academic examination of persecutions LGBT people face quickly became personal:

I have faced discrimination too. I am gay. I realized this when I was a junior high-school student, although I never told anybody somehow my classmates guessed that I was. They rejected me and treated me like I was not a human being; one girl said to me "I can't believe someone like you exists". It made me feel like I was completely alone. In high school I decided to keep my secret safe and never tell anyone about who I really am on the inside. But this year I wanted to stop hiding that part of myself.

The student went on point out the differences between attitudes towards LGBT person in the United States and Europe and the rest of the world, particularly Japan:

In Japan, we are afraid of being different, but we don't show our hate so openly. It is silent discrimination. If nobody talks about the problem then it doesn't exist. Many gay people in Japan hide who they really are because they are afraid of being rejected, not with angry words or threats of violence, but with isolation. Being gay in Japan is a very lonely existence.

Maybe it will be difficult for me to live my life just like other people. But this is my life. I'm going to live it no matter what people say. Martin Luther King once said "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." When I feel scared I often think of this quote. Making this speech was my first step, I never thought that I could tell people that I am gay.

 I too have a dream. One day down in the meadows of Hokkaido, gay people and straight people are chatting together and eating BBQ in the sunshine. I have a dream of a world without any prejudice, hate or ignorance which causes blind discrimination against what we can't understand. I can see the road ahead will be difficult, but I must be brave. Not just for myself, but for other young people like me.

You can read the full transcript of the speech and watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "17-Year-Old Japanese Student Comes Out In Inspiring 'I Have a Dream, Too' Speech: VIDEO" »


Mississippi House Strikes 'Religious Liberty' Text From Anti-Gay Bill, Sends It To Study Committee

MSflagThe "religious liberty" bill proposed in Mississippi, whose language follows in the footsteps of the Arizona bill vetoed last month by Gov. Jan Brewer by allowing for anti-gay discrimination by businesses based on religious beliefs, has been passed on to a study committee to be reviewed further. The committee will research how best to pass the bill later on, and for now the text citing "religious liberty" has been struck from it.

Think Progress reports:

This leaves the fate of the bill in question. If it goes to conference between the House and Senate, the problematic language could be added back to it. In addition, the new study committee could meet in the near future and offer some version of the bill quite soon. Lawmakers with concerns about the original language pointed out that the study committee might very well investigate new ways to create the same “license to discriminate” that led to their objections in the first place.

Mississippi law's definition of "person" encompasses businesses, so passage of a "religious liberty" bill of any kind would, like Arizona, provide for businesses to discriminate openly against the LGBT community. There has been backlash in Mississippi, though, which again echoes the events leading up to the Arizona decision.

Many Mississippi religious leaders opposed the bill, suggesting lawmakers’ efforts “eerily echo Jim Crow laws that robbed African Americans of their basic human dignity.”

Hopefully the bill will lose steam in the committee as activism and opposition mounts. 


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged