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04/19/2007


Lush Cosmetics Launches 'Sign of Love' Campaign Against LGBT Discrimination In Russia

Love

The cosmetics company Lush has announced a new campaign directly aimed at speaking out against anti-LGBT discrimination in Russia. With the Sochi games set to start on February 7, Lush hopes to keep attention on the country's anti-gay propaganda law that criminalizes the promotion of "non-traditional sexual relations" to minors. The Independent reports:

In its Valentine’s campaign, to be launched tomorrow, Lush’s stores will display signs proclaiming “We believe in Love”. Staff will also encourage customers to paint pink triangles on their bodies as a symbol of support for equal love. Yet the campaign, a response to Russia’s anti-gay legislation, would be at risk of violating the country’s “homosexual propaganda” law if the signs appeared in any of the retailer’s 63 Russian shops...

“Valentine’s Day is the perfect to time to stand up [for] everyone’s right for love. No country, company, or individual can stop love; all they can do is punish people for that love,” said Tamsin Omond, head of Lush campaigns. “To do so – to forbid or criminalise love – is unnatural and cruel, so I am proud that we are standing in solidarity with LGBTQ people and campaigning for equal love.”

Activist Peter Tatchell was quick to point out the disparity between the position taken by Lush and the corporate sponsors of the 2014 Olympics:

Lush’s “proactive stand” contrasts “with the silence and inaction of Winter Olympics sponsors like Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Visa. They have shown great cowardice by refusing to make any public statement criticising Russia’s anti-gay laws and the escalating levels of homophobic violence in Russia.”

Lush has also taken to social media site Pinterest, calling on people to upload photos of themselves marked with the sign of love to show support for LGBT people in Russia and to sign a petition started by LGBT rights organization All Out that "urge[s] leaders around the world and within Russia to work to eliminate all anti-gay laws and protect all citizens from violence and discrimination in Russia."

Photo via Pinterest.


Was Alan Turing Murdered By British Security Services?

Although Alan Turing — the famous British World War II codebreaker who helped thwart the Nazis and was later prosecuted for being gay — recently received a royal pardon for "gross indecency," British gay activist Peter Tatchell wants an inquiry into Turing's death, as he suspects that Turing may have been murdered by British security services rather than committed suicide as previously thought.

TurningAfter what Tatchell calls a "perfunctory and inadequate" inquest of Turing's death, Turing's cause of death was reportedly self-poisoning through ingestion of a cyanide-laced apple.

However, Tatchell says that during the homophobic and xenophobic political atmosphere of the 1950s "the security services would have been very fearful that Turing [and his gay life were] vulnerable to blackmail and anxious that he might pass information [regarding his 'expert knowledge of code breaking, advanced mathematics and computer science'] to the Soviets."

Tatchell adds that, "Although there is no evidence that Turing was murdered by state agents, the fact that this possibility has never been investigated is a major failing... A new inquiry is long overdue, even if only to dispel any doubts about the true cause of his death.”

Turing's punishment for "gross indecency" was to undergo chemical castration to diminish his sex drive — a hormone therapy that rendered him impotent and caused him to develop breasts. Nevertheless, Express.co.uk reports, "There was nothing in Turing’s final days to suggest he was in despair. He had left a note on his office desk the Friday before he died reminding himself of tasks to be done after the weekend."

Turing has experienced a recent resurgence in popularity. In addition to the royal pardon, the famed cryptoanalyst has also received a statue of himself in Paddington, London; an upcoming movie about his life as well as a petition to get him on the £10 note.


David Cameron to Skip Sochi Olympics, Says It Isn't a Boycott

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has no plans to attend the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, but government sources insist that his absence should not be interpreted as a statement about Russia's anti-gay record. The Independent reports:

David CameronGovernment sources told The Independent that culture ministers would be part of the British delegation to Sochi, although the final line-up had not been decided. It is also unlikely that Britain will follow President Obama’s lead and send a high-profile gay rights activist as part of the official presence.

“The PM believes in engagement. He doesn’t think that boycotts and grand gestures achieve much,” an aide said. 

Downing Street sources pointed to Mr Cameron’s decision to attend the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka in November, even though the Canadian and Indian prime ministers stayed away, and pointed out that Mr Cameron raised the issue of gay rights with President Putin when he attended the G20 summit in St Petersburg in September.

In other UK news, Peter Tatchell and other gay rights activists ambushed Coca-Cola's Christmas event in Covent Gardens, London yesterday to protest against the company's sponsorship of the Sochi Games.

Peter Tatchell
 


Activist Peter Tatchell Talks to BBC About Tom Daley's Coming Out, Hits the IOC While Doing So: VIDEO

Tatchell

Longtime activist Peter Tatchell sat down with BBC World News to talk about Tom Daley's coming out and the lack of openly gay athletes. Tatchell cleverly turns the conversation to challenge the International Olympic Committee to do something about Russia's anti-gay laws.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Activist Peter Tatchell Talks to BBC About Tom Daley's Coming Out, Hits the IOC While Doing So: VIDEO" »


London College Theater Head Suspended After Rant On 'Gayism,' Racism and Elton John: AUDIO

Walcott

Dr. Mark Walcott — the head of the dance and drama department in Newham College of East London — was recently suspended after a colleague secretly recorded and published Walcott's 50-minute staff-meeting rant about "gayism."

During the rant, Walcott compared gay professors to members of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis,  saying that each hopes to indoctrinate young students into their ranks.

Here's some other highlights from his cray-cray rant:

He is heard on the recording saying: “I’ll give the name of someone I’d never have run a school: Elton John. His gayism is so liberal. 

He added later: “I don’t like him. His sexuality, his gayism is over-burdensome.”

“And gay people’s objectives is not just to have lots of gay sex but also to increase the gay community, to make the gay community more accepted…"

In another section he says: “I see nothing wrong with the Klu Klux Klan. 

“They are fighting for their country. 

“They’re fighting for their country, they’re fighting for their right. 

“They are a culture, they’ve got a creed, they’ve got a nation and other people have come from other countries have come there and changed that made it difficult for them to continue with the way they want to progress and evolve.

“So it’s out of fear if you went to Jamaica and you tried to breed out the Jamaicans…so that our people started to become afraid and our reggae music was starting to sound like rock and our Jamaican (people were) starting to look like Chinese people, we would kill people. I understand the fear.”

The college has declined comment pending an external investigation. However, they have suspended Walcott and said that they "do not support any discrimination against, or unfair treatment of, staff or learners in any context." The college recently appeared in the top 100 workplaces ranked by the UK LGBT-organization Stonewall.

However, UK-based human rights activist Peter Tatchell thinks the college has much more to answer for:

"The college says it is setting up an investigation. This is not good enough, given its past failing to address these issues. There needs to be a completely independent inquiry by an external body that has no links to the college. The accusations involve much more than a homophobic rant and collusion with homophobia. They also involve allegations of racism, nepotism and cover-up. Complaints were made against the college in 2012 and they appear to have been sat on."

You can hear Walcott's insane rant for yourself AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "London College Theater Head Suspended After Rant On 'Gayism,' Racism and Elton John: AUDIO" »


On the Queen's Lack of Pro-Gay Speech

The Guardian's Patrick Strudwick puts the kibosh on the Mail on Sunday's weekend headline that started a snowball of proclamations (here, included) that Queen Elizabeth II was coming out for gay rights:

QueengayrightsFighting for gay rights? The Queen won't even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper's inference that "other grounds" denotes an "implicit support of gay rights".

Let us assume it does mean that, and that Stonewall's assumption is correct. How does keeping ma'am about a minority help? Jesus never mentioned homosexuality – has that dissuaded many of his followers that "love thy neighbour" does not in fact mean: "as long as his partner's not called Steve"?

No, to refrain from specification is to collude with silence, the Grand Pause that keeps lesbians and gay men invisible, suffocating in marriages of inconvenience or trapped in police cells...

...The Mail on Sunday's splash is to be applauded, given its apparent heralding of a more liberal stance for the paper, an intriguing contrast to the Daily Mail. But this charter isn't a fight for gay rights, it's a vague whisper muffled by the screams of gay people awaiting the noose.

If only the alleged intention were expressed explicitly, unequivocally. Most Commonwealth nations, injected by our colonial laws and Old Testament homophobia in the first place, need it. Desperately.

Longtime activist Peter Tatchell agrees:

TatchellShe's made no such explicit commitment and not used any such words.

Indeed, in her 61 years on the throne, the Queen has never publicly uttered the words lesbian or gay. She is a patron of hundreds of charities but none of them are gay ones. Not once has she visited or supported a gay charity.

For the last four years, I've been pressing Buckingham Palace over the Queen's failure to acknowledge the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people - and got nowhere.

Not surprisingly, the Commonwealth Charter does not include any specific rejection of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This was vetoed by the homophobic majority of member states. They blocked its inclusion.

This makes the Queen's charter signing even less of a big deal. It is certainly not the breakthrough for LGBT rights that some people are claiming.

Nevertheless, it is true that some Commonwealth Secretariat officials interpret the charter wording that rejects discrimination on 'other grounds' as including a rejection of anti-gay discrimination. It is claimed that this catch-all phrase was inserted to circumvent the objections of homophobic Commonwealth countries. Possibly.


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