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04/19/2007


Russian Anti-Gay Policies 'Could Kill Its Cities'

St-petersburg
Russia has undergone no shortage of bad press in recent months. Its newly adopted anti-gay propaganda hve prompted outrage the world over, and have already put a damper on events such as the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, months or even years in advance. 

Now, The Atlantic is reporting that Lansing, Michigan, is joining the growing list of global municipalities that are loooking to sever ties with their Russian "sister cities", which already includes the likes of Milan, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Reykjavik. Thus, as Russia inists on moving contrary to the global march toward human rights, the consequences could prove to have political and economic impact:

"St. Petersburg was, for hundreds of years, a city that took pride in its relative openness to global culture. When Peter the Great founded the city in 1703, he envisioned it as a "window on the West," a place where the values of the Enlightenment could be explored and celebrated. It was designed and built by the finest talents from around the world.

"Now, St. Petersburg is leading the way backward. Russia and its cities, by pursuing draconian anti-gay policies, are shutting themselves out of a global community where the benefits of an open society are ever more apparent."

Stolichnaya-1280x960It's no secret that international events such as the Olympics and the World Cup have the potential to generate a host of financial benefits for its host city and host nation. This is, of course, why so many cities vie for a chance to host such events. That said, should hosting a global event prove to be the potential source of controversy for the event's governing body, it would almost certainly deter them from coming back to that same city of country in the future. That's also not counting international boycotts of Russian products, which already have large companies such as SPI Group looking for ways to completely sever ties with the anti-gay nation. Let's also not forget the tourism dollars that Russia stands to lose in the future, from both gay tourists as well as those whom support human rights in general.

Finally, as The Atlantic illustrated by presenting the story of journalist and activist Masha Gessen, Russia's anti-gay laws have prompted an exodus of gay citizens, as well as their advocates. This only exacerbates the country's appartent desire "to shut down intellectually," and cost the country potentially vital intellectual capital. Thus, while the short term costs of losing "sister city" partnerships may be small, in the words of The Atlantic, "They are losing their future."


News: Molecule, DJ AM, China, Thai Boxer, Marvel Comics, Tel Aviv

RoadMale Shanghai prostitute charged for knowingly spreading HIV.

Road100+ protest in Guangzhou, China over police crackdown on gay activity in public park.

Molecule RoadScientists image first close-up view of a single molecule: "To give some perspective, the space between the carbon rings is only 0.14 nanometers across, which is roughly one million times smaller than the diameter of a grain of sand."

RoadDJ AM dead of drug overdose in NYC. Blink 182 offers tribute.

RoadGay ACLU counsel Larry Frankel found dead in D.C. park.

RoadFormer first daughter Jenna Bush joins the Today show.

RoadPopbytes visits Liza at the Hollywood Bowl.

RoadDisney to acquire Marvel Comics for $4 billion.

Road"Gravity tractor" to save the Earth from killer asteroids? "The spacecraft would intercept the asteroid and position itself to fly alongside it, just 160ft from its surface. From this position, the 10 tonne craft is able to exert a small gravitational force on the rock, pulling the asteroid towards it. By gradually modifying its course, over several years, the gravity tractor is able to slowly shift the asteroid's trajectory enough to ensure it misses the Earth."

RoadShalom Sesame: Jake Gyllenhaal to teach kids about Jewish culture.

Thaiboxer RoadThai boxer suspended for three months for appearing in gay magazine photo shoot.

RoadED: NYT pushes the penis pump.

RoadLesbian couples having a child through fertility treatments can now place names of both parents on child's birth certificate: "It's brilliant that women in our situation will have full legal rights for the co-parent from the beginning. It's fantastically good news. We didn't conceive our children together, but we did conceive of them. Hopefully it will have a positive effect on society's view of lesbian and gay people, because the government are basically saying that we're OK, and perhaps people who are not gay will begin to think the same."

RoadTwo men in India sentenced to life terms for murder of gay man who threatened to expose them.

Lansing1 RoadLansing, Michigan gay man Shawn Bennett lied about gay bashing: "But investigators say Benett admits he tortured himself. Over and over he burned his own body with a lit cigarette."

RoadLarry King: Chris Brown does not remember beating Rihanna.

RoadFLASHBACK: Madonna's eulogy for Herb Ritts.

RoadOne month later, hundreds mourn Tel Aviv gay center shooting victims: "Last week, the manager of the youth center, Shaul Asa-el Gannon, opened a temporary center in an alternate location. He noted that there were more teenagers in attendance at the center's events than there were before the shooting. This week, the gay and lesbian youth center will return to its original location on Nachmani Street - the site of the attack - where it will remain under police and security surveillance."


Michigan Gay Man Beaten, Burned in Possible Hate Crime

Lansing1

Shawn Bennett, a gay Lansing, Michigan man, is recovering after being attacked in a public park by suspects he says began threatening him in June. He says they made the attacks because of his sexuality.

WLNS reports: Lansing2 "He was sitting on a picnic table when he heard a noise behind him, and that's when the beating began. The suspects pulled him to the ground and burned him at least a dozen times with a cigar or cigarettes. Bennett says the attack wasn't random. He says the suspects live in his neighborhood started threatening him back in June. On Saturday night they turned their words into actions because he is gay. Lansing police say they've identified the suspects, but Bennett says nothing can change what's been done he wants justice. He just wants to know why."

Said Bennett: "This shouldn't happen to anybody, no matter if they're gay, straight, black or white. We are people. They stuck gravel in my face, putting rocks in my ears, the hospital actually had to take them out. I was just begging them to stop. I told them to just stop, just leave me alone."

Lansing police are investigating but have not made any arrests.

WLNS video report here.


Michigan Gay Sex Sting Was 'Bag-a-Fag' Operation, Email Reveals

In May, community members in Lansing, Michigan alleged that a gay sex sting at the Fenner Nature Center, which resulted in two arrests and a warrant for a third, unfairly targeted gays. New evidence appears to show that was the case. The sting was prompted by an email request from Board of Police Commissioners member Jan Kolp.

Kolp The request was revealed in an email from Lieutenant Larry Kraus to his Special Ops unit.

Said Kraus:

"I’d also like to get Police Commissioner, Jan Kolp off my back and help out Lt. Nosotti. Apparently the fella’s are out in full force at Fenner looking for male love. I’d like to set up some surveillance and see if we can catch a couple of them servicing one and other, so they can be charged with Gross Indecency."

The Michigan Messenger reports: The email seems to run counter to earlier statements by Kolp who has argued she did not call in her capacity as a police commissioner but only 'as a person who has lived on Forest Road for 40 years and president of Forestview Neighborhood Association … I would hope they would handle anyone’s complaint the same way.' Kolp declined to comment Tuesday when reached for comment."

The Michigan Messenger reports: "Triangle Foundation, which monitors and reports on hate crimes and discrimination against the LGBT community, has long criticized what they have characterized as 'Bag-a-Fag' or gay sting operations. The term was coined by Michigan State Police troopers involved in operations at state highways, according to a report by former judge and lawyer Rudy Sierra."


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