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The Gay Rights Push (And Push Back) In Southeast Asia: VIDEO

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For one day in June, the tiny city-state of Singapore brims with bright pink clothing, banners, and festivities to mark the annual "Pink Dot" gathering, a celebration in support of inclusiveness, diversity and the freedom to love. This year's celebration, the fifth such event, was the biggest so far; at 21,000 people it was the largest civil-society gathering in Singapore history.     

But for all Pink Dot's success, the Singapore government's official ambivalence regarding gay rights reflects a common hesitation among Southeast Asian countries when faced with this new notion of human sexuality. Like our own 50 state variety of attitudes towards LGBT rights, some Southeast Asian countries are beginning to take their first hesitant steps towards equality, while others seem to be reinforcing their disapproval of homosexuality.

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Thailand Considers Civil Union Bill; Would Be First Country in Asia

Hundreds of people have turned out for hearings on a civil unions bill in Bangkok before the Rights and Liberties Protection Department and the House committee on Legal Affairs, Justice, and Human Rights. The bill, if passed, would be the first of its kind across Asia.

ThailandThe Bangkok Post reports:

The House committee chaired by Pol Gen Viroon Phuensaen, a Pheu Thai Party-list MP, started drafting the bill a year ago after receiving a complaint from a gay male couple. The couple said they had been denied a marriage certificate.

Three more public hearings will take place at Chiang Mai University on Friday, Khon Kaen University on Feb 22 and Prince of Songkhla University on March 1, respectively. Opinions from the public will be gathered and used to amend the bill before being proposed to the cabinet for further consideration. If the cabinet rejects the bill, the supporters have pledged to collect 10,000 names of eligible voters or at least 20 members of the House of Representatives to forward to parliament for consideration.

The bill would give same-sex couples the same marriage rights as other couples, said Setthawut Rugsujitrat, a participant at the public hearing.

Supporters acknowledge that the bills chances are slim, but are hopeful that its consideration marks a new era for gay people in the region.


Gay Couple Breaks Record for World's Longest Kiss: VIDEO

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A gay couple kissed for 50 hours, 25 minutes and one second to break a world record for longest kiss, VOA News reports:

The two men were taking part in the annual Ripley's Believe It or Not longest kissing competition in the resort town of Pattaya, Thailand. The seven competing couples started kissing Sunday and had to keep their lips locked at all times, including to eat and drink and to go to the bathroom.

Thirty-one-year-old Nontawat Jaroegenasornsin and 28-year-old Thanakorn Sittiamthong won $6,500 worth of diamond rings, cash and a voucher for a five-star hotel in Thailand for their first place kiss.

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PC Air To Employ 'Third-Gendered' Flight Attendants

LadyboyattendantsPC Airways is about to become the first Thai airline to employ "ladyboys" as flight attendants. From The Bangkok Post:

PC Air is due to commence its maiden commercial service, a charter flight for a tour group from Bangkok to Vientiane on Dec 24, and plans to inaugurate flights to two Chinese cities on a charter basis on Jan 23 next year.

The launch comes after a nine-month delay, which company reps said was occasioned by a desire to cash in on the glut of people traveling during the holiday season, rather than any financial shortfall. (To demonstrate his confidence in the airline's prospects, PC Air's sole proprietor, Peter Chan, elected not to lease the company's first airplane, an Airbus 310-222, and instead bought it outright for 1 billion Thai baht.)

PC Air offered a demo flight last week for members of the media. Aboard were the airline's four "ladyboy" flight attendants, pictured above. (Photo courtesy of Boonsong Kositchotethana. And no -- "ladyboy" is not at all an un-PC term in Thailand.)

In the coming years, PC Air hopes to expand service to Hong Kong, China, South Korea, and Japan, and Mr. Chan promises to continue hiring third-gendered flight attendants. The Post again:

"It's our policy to promote equality," he said.

Among [the airline's] first batch of 30 cabin attendants are four ladyboys, 19 females and seven males, all of whom are officially certified. One of the ladyboys is Thanyarat Chirapatpakorn (second from right in the photo), who was crowned Miss Tiffany Universe 2007 and is best known as a model and soap opera actress who uses the name "Nong Film".


Watch: Transgender 'Thailand's Got Talent' Contestant Shocks Judges and Audience with Surprise Vocal

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Beautiful from the beginning, but the magic really begins at (1:04).

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News: Lady GaGa Hard On The Eyes, DOJ vs. AZ, Angle's No Angel, Sorry Levi

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Road These cartoon characters are totally gay.

20100706_gagaeyes_560x375 Road Lady GaGa's "Bad Romance" video has quite a reach—it has apparently sparked a trend to use circle contacts, colored lenses to make irises look huge. Problem? They're "dangerous and illegal." Meanwhile, she just beat President Obama to the 10 million mark on Facebook.

Road The Department of Justice is suing the state of Arizona over its immigration law to nip a nationwide "patchwork" of policies in the bud.

Road I bet Republican Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle is not thrilled to be the subject of the site Sharron Angle's Underground Bunker,filled with her nutty quotes on everything from health care to Scientology.

Road Generation X writer/visual artist Douglas Coupland is now designing clothes and furniture for Roots Canada.

Ben_browder_200811_10_1 Road Sci-fi guy Ben Browder is a hunk of the day.

Road Levi Johnston has abjectly apologized to the Palins for unkind remarks he's made in the past. "To the Palin family in general and to Sarah Palin in particular, please accept my regrets and forgive my youthful indiscretion. I hope one day to restore your trust." Does Playgirl have a return policy?

Road President Obama preps to recess-appoint Dr. Donald Berwick to oversee Medicare and Medicaid to bypass Republican objections.

Road Climategate, not global warming, was a hoax. Full report vindicates scientists.

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Road Hot mess in a hot dress Lindsay Lohan will do jail time. Soon.

Road Teen Vogue weighs in on the gay best friend trend: "No one deserves to be treated like a passing fad or arm candy. If you are lucky enough to have a GBF in your life, enjoy the lovefest but remember to fight for his rights to be treated equally in our society."

Road Acclaimed Russian pianist/conductor Mikhail Vasillievich Pletnev charged with raping a 14-year-old boy in Thailand; says the charges are a "misunderstanding."

Road Same-sex marriages "booming" in Mexico City.


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