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Russian Lawyer Assaulted For Defending Gay Rights Activist - VIDEO

Kirill Kalugin

Vitaly Cherkasov, a Russian human rights lawyer employed to defend a gay rights activist, was attacked after leaving a St. Petersburg court, reports the Moscow Times.

Cherkasov was defending Kirill Kalugin (pictured above), who contested his detention for a one-man demonstration during Russia's Paratroopers Day celebrations on August 2nd. Kalugin was later attacked by a group of paratroopers taking part in the annual holiday for Russian airborne troops.

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Chekasov, a member of the Agora human rights group, said a group of men accosted him splashed him with an unidentified "corrosive, smelly liquid" that got on his hands, neck and clothes.

He later identified one of the assailants as Anatoly Artyukh, a conservative activist and aide to anti-gay St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov. Milanov is currently drafting a bill to eradicate a loophole in Russia's same-sex marriage ban after lesbian couple Irina Shumilova and Alyona Fursova tied the knot earlier this month.

Although Milanov has denied Artyukh’s involvement, he said that "lawyers are scum and mercenaries who work for money" and suggested that Cherkasov and Kalugin should be exiled.

The court ruled that although police had acted legitimately by interrupting Kalugin’s demonstration, his continued detention at the police station was illegal.

Watch a disturbing video of the paratroopers attacking Kalugin, AFTER THE JUMP...

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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...

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Alliance Defending Freedom Tome Ramps Up Fear Of Christian Persecution - READ

ADF book

Ramping the fear-mongering up a notch, anti-gay litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has produced a 44-page tome that attempts to convince churches that laws preventing businesses from discriminating against gay customers are actually part of a wider aim to “compel Christians to accept, endorse, and even promote an ideology and behavior that violates their faith.”

ADF is one of a number of organizations and individuals involved in promoting harmful anti-gay laws abroad, as exposed by Human Rights Campaign’s Export of Hate report. ADF book 2

According to ADF, the new book Protecting Your Ministry aims to help churches prepare “for the legal intrusions and onslaughts that have already engulfed some of your fellow believers and Christian leaders around the country.”

It argues that “those advocating for homosexual behavior and transgender ideology will eventually target anyone who blocks the path of their political progress – including you and your ministry.”

Helpfully, it also provides a step-by-step “action plan” on how to deal with “marriage counterfeits and those advocating for complete sexual license.”

The book then goes on to profile a number of cases in which anti-gay business owners faced litigation for refusing to work with same-sex couples, including Robert and Cynthia Gifford, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm in New York.

To make it clear that ADF doesn’t really hate gay people, the book concludes with a message of hope and inclusion:

“Preparing yourselves legally will give your group or institution greater freedom to continue presenting the Gospel clearly and effectively to your community – and that freedom may well make an eternal difference for lost and hurting souls all around you.”

ADF just wants to help you to see the error of your ways.

Read the book, if you can stand it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay British Pundit: Gay People Live 'Deathstyle', Have 20,000 Partners In 'Short, Miserable Lives'

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Anti-gay bigot Lord Christopher Monckton has taken to birther wingnut rag WorldNetDaily to defend an Australian politician who last week attempted to place a ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality, reports Right Wing Watch.

10374510_10152725157610279_5630085284282987900_nRight-wing Rise Up Australia counsellor Rosalie Crestani had called for the City of Casey near Melbourne to stop all diversity training and to put a ban on media releases related to sexual orientation. She also called for the removal of pro-gay signs on council premises and for pro-LGBT messages to be banned for discriminating against straight people.

Monckton, a member of British racist and anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-EU party UKIP, argued that Crestani discovered during a consultation with “an expert in non-heterosexual lifestyles” that gay people have “an average of 500-1,000 partners in their sexually active lifetime, and that some had as many as 20,000.”

Continuing the tone of absolute hatred, he added that gay people lead “short, miserable lives” as part of their “deathstyle.”

Praising Crestani for her “Christian” beliefs and for being “so nice” to gay people, while promulgating the notion that being gay is a choice, he added:

“Councillor Crestani was so shocked by the official mortality figures for homosexuals that she proposes to circulate a memorandum to all councillors and staff giving them detailed statistics for promiscuity, prevalence of HIV and many other sexually transmitted diseases, and for the consequently short, miserable lives and high death rate of homosexuals.

“As the experts she has consulted have pointed out, the QWERTYs [Monckton’s term for LGBT activists] – who represent about 0.5 percent of the population – have brilliantly promoted themselves by carefully shifting the debate away from what homosexuals actually do to each other (just ask any proctologist: all of them are heartily sick of trying to repair the gross damage caused by deviant sexual practices) and on to “celebrating” what is misleadingly presented as a “valid alternative lifestyle.” Deathstyle, more like.

“And why have homosexuals – most of whose partners last as little as a few hours – been so keen to promote the lifetime promises of so-called “gay” so-called “marriage”? The reason, of course, is that they cannot produce children, so they want to adopt them. Is this fair to the children? The answer is no.

“What makes Councillor Crestani so deadly to the QWERTYs’ cause is that she is so relentlessly nice to them. She is a Christian, so she is well used to the ancient theology that draws a clear distinction between hating the sin and loving the sinner. The key point she makes over and over again is that educating potential homosexuals in the medical dangers of their deathstyle will benefit the homosexual community first and foremost. For it is they that are most at risk, and we do them no favors by being over-delicate in refusing to educate them in the dire risks they run.”


Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran Suspended For Anti-Gay Religious Tract

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Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran has been suspended from his position for one month for writing a religious book in which he describes homosexuality as a “sexual perversion,” reports AJC.com.

In the self-published book “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” (yours for only $13.18!), Cochran argues that homosexuality is akin to bestiality and pederasty. Kelvin Cochran Who Told You That You Are Naked?

Arguing that “men who carry the curse of condemnation and deprivation cannot fulfill their purpose as husbands, fathers, community and business leaders,” the book includes passages such as the following:

• “Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

• “Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s spokesperson Anne Torres said the administration didn’t know about the book until employees came forward with complaints last week.  Reed wrote on Facebook that he was “deeply disturbed” by the book book and will “not tolerate discrimination of any kind” in his administration.

Cochran has been ordered to undergo sensitivity training and has been barred from distributing copies of the book on city property.

Additionally, Reed’s office has now opened an investigation to determine whether Cochran has violated city policies or discriminated against employees.


Rikers Island Jail Opening Transgender Housing Unit This Week

Rikers islandRikers Island is opening its new transgender housing wing this week for its male-to-female inmates who have yet to undergo transition surgery reports Gay City News. The news organization toured the new 30-bed facility located on the sixth floor of the jail's north infirmary command, which is not part of the jail's actual hospital. The unit is a large dormitory-style room with another smaller room complete with round tables and fixed seats where inmates can watch TV, eat or play games. Inmates have yard access and can use physical and mental health services located nearby the unit.

The jail is known for its history of unsafe conditions and documented brutality at the hands of officers. Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Planning and Programs at the Department of Correction (DOC), Erik Berliner, is assessing the safety and security of the unit.

Said Berliner:

"We are finding ways to keep people safe, giving them a place where they don’t have to worry about being themselves. This is a place that can be sensitive to them. It is the right time for it. We are reassessing everything about safety and security."

The transgender housing unit is an option offered only to transgender inmates; the inmate can voluntarily choose the unit or a unit with the rest of Rikers' 11,000 general population inmates. Berliner surveyed incoming transgender inmates, who have not had transition surgery yet, about what option they would choose. Half of those surveyed chose the new unit, and the other half chose to remain among the male inmates.

Advocates of the facility have pushed for its implementation for years. More than a 100 jail staff members received training on transgender issues by two of the advocates for the facility; Chase Strangio, himself transgender and a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, and Alisha Williams, director of prisoners’ legal services at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Strangio spoke about the unique opportunities that the training presents.

Said Strangio:

"It's an incredible opportunity to have advocates on issues impacting trans people in confinement settings to be the ones training uniformed correctional staff. The trainings represented a point of potential progress insofar as they show a commitment by leadership at DOC on meaningful training on trans issues.

"But like with all training, the culture change that is going to need to happen is going to take much more than a two-hour training could ever accomplish. So much will depend on the governing document and our hope is that the directive will permit all trans people who wish to access the unit to do so. One of the reasons why this model is important is that it is a voluntary unit. It is not one they are forced to enter. From an advocate’s perspective, that’s the only way a unit like this could work."

WireBerliner noted that one of the trainers referred to a correction officer as a "guard," which is considered a mislabelling term among corrections officers. However, Berliner felt that it proved educational to the officers as they now understand what transgender people encounter on a daily basis. Former inmate, Maria Lopez, and executive director of transgender rights group STARR is optimistic about the program.

Said Lopez:

"Like most programs that are new and innovative, it's going to take some time to work out the kinks. But I’m optimistic. This is an opportunity to work with law enforcement for a change. I’m elated.

"What is remarkable about this opportunity is that it is about more than just getting trans people jailed better but also connecting them to services. The deputy commissioner said he will do what he can to connect people to non-profits. It will save the city money in recidivism."

Berliner urges staff, inmates and advocates to continue providing input on the new facility.

 


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