Recent arrests in Egypt have the gay community there very worried, the Guardian reports:
Activists interviewed by the Guardian said they had documented up to nine raids across the country since October 2013 – an unusually high rate of arrests. Most significantly, at least seven raids have seen people arrested at home rather than at parties or known meeting places, raising concerns that the community is facing the start of a targeted crackdown.
The latest and most concerning raid saw four men seized from their east Cairo apartment on 1 April within hours of signing the lease, according to activists. Within a week, the four were given jail terms of up to eight years – sentences unusual for both their length and the speed at which they were handed down.
No one seems to be sure of the reason behind the increasing arrests but there are a few hypotheses:
Some think the raids are simply another example of the aggression aimed at all kinds of dissidents in recent months. Also, several of the raids may have been caused by complaints from neighbours, rather than instigated by the state itself.
...Many wonder if the government wants to assure a largely homophobic Egyptian society that – despite ousting Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer – they can be as conservative as the man they replaced. April's arrests, for instance, came soon after a police chief announced a special taskforce to arrest atheists.
or...Another explanation is that widespread coverage of the raids would help distract the public from the government's failings – much as the media storm sparked by the 2001 arrest of 52 men at the Queen Boat, a gay nightclub in Cairo, did for Hosni Mubarak's regime.Sphere: Related Content
X-Men director Bryan Singer has been accused of drugging and raping a teen boy at estates in L.A. and Hawaii 15 years ago, according to The Hollywood Reporter:
The plaintiff is Michael F. Egan III, a Nevada resident who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Los Angeles with his family as a teen to further his acting career. Egan, who is 31 today and describes himself as heterosexual, filed the suit without a pseudonym and his name appears in a press release issued by his counsel. He alleges that Singer and others threatened to make or break his Hollywood aspirations depending on whether he kept them happy.
Egan has contacted police authorities, his lawyer’s media director told THR. An LAPD spokesperson said he had not seen a complaint but would look further, and messages left with the Honolulu Police Dept. were not returned.
The lawsuit reads:
Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.
Others were involved as well, according to the legal filing:
According to the suit, the Los Angeles parties were held at a mansion in Encino referred to as the M & C Estate, whose residents were Marc Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley, whose younger brother Scott Shackley was in Egan’s high school class. Collins-Rector and Chad Shackley were principals of Digital Entertainment Network, an early online streaming video company. The complaint asserts that Collins-Rector sexually abused Egan and threatened him with a gun, but does not name him as a defendant.
(Collins-Rector subsequently was charged and pled guilty to transporting minors across state lines for sex, and is a registered sex offender.)
Singer's lawyer Marty Singer denied the charges:
"The claims made against Bryan Singer are completely without merit. We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit...It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at a time when Bryan's new movie is about to open in a few weeks."Sphere: Related Content
For all you who feel shy about asking people out on dates, cringe in amazement as a man and woman ask total strangers (of the same sex) for their digits.
See the videos AFTER THE JUMP…
There's a girl-on-girl version of the video too. Unsurprisingly, the women seem more open to same-sex dating than the men.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP....
According to Blackbook, on May 5th Michael Alig — the gay founder of the 1990s New York Club Kids scene — will get paroled from prison after serving 17 years for the murder and dismemberment of Andre “Angel” Melendez.
The now 47-year-old Alig began serving time on October 24, 1997 after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He and his accomplice Robert Riggs murdered Melendez during an argument over a drug debt. After Riggs hit Melendez with a hammer, the men forced Drano into Melendez’s body and put the corpse in a tub filled with ice to prevent its decomposition. A few days later, Alig dismembered the corpse and threw the remains in the garbage and the Hudson River. Alig claims to have been on so many drugs at the time that he does not clearly remember the ordeal.
In 2013, Blackbook said of Alig: “The mixing of his club kids with the ravers, the model crowd, the art crowd, and the hipsters at Tunnel and Palladium looked easy at the time, but is rarely duplicated today.”
In another 2013 article, Alig’s friend Steve Lewis told Blackbook, “[Alig] believed that those who surrounded us were ready to break out into mainstream America. He saw them as the future fashion designers, photographers, artists, stylists, etc.” Lewis added that Alig brought current drag luminaries like RuPaul and Lady Bunny into the limelight and that Alig worked as if he were the creative descendant of Andy Warhol.
Lewis most recently told Blackbook about what Alig might do after leaving prison:
“[Alig] will be staying with a close friend, and has been recruited for creative jobs by many. His transition to the real world will be eased by a support group who, for the most part, have stuck by him for more than a decade and a half. Michael has never used a computer or cellphone but he has remained keenly aware of the world we live in. There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life, but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.
… during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.”
Alig’s rise and fall among the NYC club scene has been examined in the 1998 documentary Party Monster: The Shockumentary, James St. James’ 1999 memoir Disco Bloodbath: A Fabulous but True Tale of Murder in Clubland as well as the 2003 movie Party Monster in which Macaulay Culkin played Alig.
You can watch Alig’s 1993 interview with Joan Rivers and the trailer for Party Monster AFTER THE JUMP...
Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is set to hear a case challenging Arkansas' ban on same-sex marriage today at 1 pm in Little Rock, the AP reports:
Late last year, Piazza refused to grant a motion by the state that sought to dismiss the lawsuit, but he also refused to grant a motion by the couples suing, who asked him to block enforcement of the ban. The plaintiffs include 21 same-sex couples and a woman who wants to dissolve her New York marriage to another woman.Sphere: Related Content
TENTH CIRCUIT HEARS SECOND CASE:
The same three-judge panel that heard the lawsuit challenging Utah’s ban on recognition of same-sex marriages today hears a lawsuit challenging Oklahoma’s. Jim Campbell, legal counsel from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group that has been opposing same-sex marriage, will argue for Oklahoma. Don Holladay, counsel with Holladay & Chilton in Oklahoma City, will argue for the plaintiffs. Argument begins at 1:30 MDT at the Denver federal courthouse. Each side will get 15 minutes. Audio recordings of the proceedings will be available on the court’s website within 24 hours of adjournment.
U.N. ADMONISHES BRUNEI STONING LAW:
The United Nations’ Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement April 11 admonishing the southeast Asian nation of Brunei for revising its penal code to require stoning to death any person convicted of sodomy and other sexually related offenses. The revised code goes into effect April 22. U.N. spokesman Rupert Colville said the revised code “may encourage further violence and discrimination against women and also against people on the basis of sexual orientation.”
OHIO JUDGE SPLITS THE STAY:
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black did as he said he might: He ordered the state of Ohio Wednesday to include the names of both same-sex parents on the birth certificates of children born and adopted to four same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. But he stayed his ruling that the state ban on recognizing marriages of same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The stay will remain pending review by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The case, Henry v. Wymyslo, was led by civil rights attorney-activist Al Gerhardstein in Cincinnati.
DON’T MESS WITH ANYBODY IN TEXAS:
Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry is into a big-time scrap with lesbian Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat. Lehmberg, who’s gay, is the top prosecutorial officer for Travis County –the same county that runs the state’s Public Integrity Unit which is charged with investigating wrongdoing by state officials. She’s credited with convicting U.S. House Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2010 for money laundering (a case now on appeal to the state’s high court for criminal appeals). But Lehmberg ran into trouble last April when police found her drunk and behind the wheel of a car in a church parking lot. Lehmberg acknowledged guilt, apologized, spent three weeks in jail, and entered a treatment program. But she refused calls from Perry and other Republican leaders to resign. Perry then claimed Lehmberg had “lost the public’s confidence” and vetoed funding for her Public Integrity budget. Texans for Public Justice, a political watchdog group, charged that Perry is breaking the law by trying to coerce Lehmberg’s resignation. And this week, a Texas judge seated a grand jury to look into those allegations. Perry has reported hired a defense attorney.
THE SILVER FORECAST:
Openly gay political data cruncher Nate Silver yesterday echoed predictions that are being heard more and more frequently these days: Republicans appear poised to take over the Senate in the mid-term elections this November. Silver’s latest model “puts Democratic losses in the Senate at 6.8 seats….”
NORTH CAROLINA SOFTENS:
A poll this month in North Carolina indicates opposition to same-sex couples marrying has softened by eight points in the past two years. In May 2012, 61 percent of voters said yes to a ban on same-sex couples marrying. But a Public Policy Polling survey taken April 3-6 of 740 registered voters found only 53 percent still oppose same-sex marriage.
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