The BBC's flagship News at Six on BBC One featured a right-wing fundamentalist Christian who had previously supported the execution of gay people to comment on the birth of a surrogate son to Sir Elton John and his civil partner
David Furnish. Incredibly, the BBC did not seem to realise that the same preacher had faced bankruptcy after losing an attempted private prosecution for blasphemy against the director general of the BBC after the character of Jesus described himself as
a little bit gay in Jerry Springer: The Opera.
On the 28th December, Sir Elton and his partner, the film-maker David Furnish announced the birth of their son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, to an
unnamed surrogate mother.
The same night, the BBC broadcast a report by Lizo Mzimba on the birth of the child. With the introduction not everyone is pleased to see such a high profile same sex couple start to raise
a surrogate child , Mr Mzimba proceeded to interview Stephen Green, of right-wing group Christian Voice, without any warning that he is someone who has in the past supported the death penalty for gay men.
interview that was visibly edited together, Mr Green told the BBC: This isn't just a designer baby for Sir Elton John, this is a designer accessory… [cut] Now it seems like money can buy him anything, and so he has entered into this peculiar
arrangement…[cut] The baby is a product of it. A baby needs a mother and it seems an act of pure selfishness to deprive a baby of a mother.
The BBC has mounted a defence of its decision to include an interview with a supporter of state sponsored execution of gay men in its coverage of the birth of Sir Elton John and David Furnish's first child. A spokesman for the corporation told
PinkNews.co.uk that the interview with a right-wing Christian fundamentalist allowed the BBC News at Six to reflect a genuine debate over the issue of surrogacy for gay couples.
In a statement, the BBC said: The practice of surrogacy is a
sensitive subject and remains controversial in some quarters. Our short news bulletin featured Elton John talking about wanting to have a child and an opposing viewpoint. All sides of the debate on surrogacy have been widely reported in the news media
and our coverage has reflected this.
The BBC has refused to answer whether other organisations were also contacted to comment on the birth of Sir Elton's child, or if Christian Voice, a small fundamentalist group with around 500 supporters
was the only organisation contacted. A BBC source told PinkNews.co.uk it is Christmas so a lot of people are away or not answering their telephones.
The BBC also declined to comment on whether the reporter or producers working on the report, or
the programme editor were aware of Green's background. Although, PinkNews.co.uk points out that a simple search on Google or Bing reveals considerable coverage of Green's past activities and extremist views.
The BBC has effectively admitted interviewing a known homophobic extremist in order to reflect what they perceive is a genuine debate over gay couples having surrogate children. The
corporation makes no apology for the choice of interviewee. PinkNews.co.uk believes that the BBC were unable to find anyone else willing to give an interview on camera in opposition to Sir Elton's decision to have a child.
The decision to include an interview with Stephen Green was hurtful not just to the millions of LGBT licence fee payers but also to millions of Christians who do not hold or subscribe to the extremist views of Christian Voice.
Most Christians would not support the abhorrent views of Mr Green and his small band of supporters who simply smear the name of the Christian faith.
6th January 2011.
Ofcom reported receiving 95 complaints about using Stephen Green for sound bite balance
A counter petition has launched to protest Apple's decision to ban an iPhone app opposing gay marriage.
The Manhattan Declaration app, which allowed Apple users to add their name to the ecumenical document in support of the sanctity of life,
traditional marriage and religious liberty, was pulled from the App Store over the Thanksgiving holiday after a group of activists rightfully charged the app as anti-gay.
Some 7,700 Change.org members petitioned the company to ask them to pull
the app, contending the statement contained hateful and divisive language.
Supporters of the Christian declaration are now fighting back with a petition of their own. As of Friday afternoon, over 37,000 people have signed the petition
launched by the organizers of the Manhattan Declaration asking Apple to reinstate the app.
The petition addressed to Apple founder Steve Jobs and the company itself asserts that the positions espoused in the declaration are based on biblical
Christianity. The letter rejects claims that the declaration promoted hate or homophobia: Disagreement is not hate, the petition states. We urge you and Apple, therefore, to promote communication and civil dialogue on these important
social issues by reinstating the Manhattan Declaration App.
More than 46,000 people signed a petition asking Apple to reinstate the Manhattan Declaration app, which is based on a document that upholds religious understanding of marriage and the sanctity of life.
But organizers behind the
Manhattan Declaration said they were notified last week that the resubsmission was not accepted.
Apple is telling us that the apps' content is considered 'likely to expose a group to harm' and 'to be objectionable and potentially harmful to
others, they said: Apple's statement amounts to the charge that our faith is 'potentially harmful to others.'
Those behind the Manhattan Declaration called the latest rejection by Apple appalling.
Organizers plan to take
their rejected app matter to Apple's App Review Board.
Last month a UN committee dropped sexual orientation from a yearly resolution condemning the unjustified killing on grounds of race, nation, ethnicity, religion or language or other discriminatory reasons.
The move was proposed by
Morocco and supported by African countries and the middle East It was passed 79-70 with 17 abstentions.
The proposal will now be voted on by the general assembly.
US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice said the US would seek to reinstate
references to gay people in the UN resolution condemning executions.
Nations have restored an LGBT provision to a resolution that opposes the unjustified killing of various minority groups, after it had been removed last month at the request of several African and Arab countries.
Human rights advocacy groups were
shocked at the removal of the provision of sexual orientation in the U.N. resolution, which seeks protection to vulnerable groups from extrajudicial and arbitrary executions. The resolution originally included language in 2008 that explicitly protected
LGBT people, but which was taken out this year when Morocco and Mali introduced an amendment to replace it with discriminatory reasons on any basis. That amendment passed in November by a 79-70 vote, upsetting many nations and organizations such
as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice was credited with introducing a measure to restore the language. We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation. We're going to stand
firm on this basic principle, she vowed on December 10. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon agreed, saying When there is tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, universal human rights must carry the day. The U.S. was able
to recruit the votes of several member states, including Albania, Rwanda, South Africa, and Colombia, and the vote this time was 93-55, with 27 abstentions. The new resolution was then approved by the General Assembly with 122 in favor, 0 votes against,
and 59 nations abstaining. After the vote, Rice commented, The United Nations General Assembly has sent a clear and resounding message that justice and human rights apply to all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.
Meek was so 19th century. Updated it reads: The easily offended will inherit the Earth
Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine is to receive £7,000 in damages after Cumbrian police admitted wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and a breach of his human rights.
According to the Christian Institute, which funded Mcalpine's
legal defence, Cumbrian police have accepted that they acted unlawfully.
Mcalpine was arrested in April by Cumbrian police in Workington after he mentioned that homosexuality was among the sins listed in the Bible. His comments were not made in
his main public sermon but in response to a question about homosexuality put to him by a passerby.
He was arrested by PC Craig Hynes for a racially aggravated offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act and, after being detained at the
station for more than seven hours, was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words to cause harassment, alarm or distress . The charges were later dropped.
The arrest sparked fears for freedom of speech for Christians
and was also criticised by prominent gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
The Christian Institute is appealing to the Government to amend Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which makes it a criminal offense to use threatening, abusive or
insulting words or behaviour in a way that could alarm or distress another person. It wants the Government to repeal the word insulting .
A car advertisement that shows two lesbians meeting at a party has been banned in Italy.
Italian TV chiefs are refusing to broadcast the 30 second advertisement made by Publicis for the new Renault Twingo, The Daily Mail reports.
commercial, which commentators have noted for not presenting any technical aspects of the car, begins with two attractive women noticing each other at a house party. The blonde woman follows the brunette to a bedroom and peeks through the door to see her
removing her pink top before she lies down on the bed and smiles.
The brunette smiles cheekily and blindfolds the blonde with a black stocking, but she then quickly moves off the bed, grabs the other woman's discarded top from the floor, puts it
on and leaves. Outside viewers see the blonde walking to a Renault which is the same colour as the shirt.
Italian gay nutter groups have slammed the advertisement, claiming it is offensive to lesbians.
Publicis spokesperson Daniele
Tranchini said the advert was meant to be enjoyable but not vulgar: We wanted to create an advert that was original, enjoyable and at the same time not vulgar and I believe we have achieved that .
Word TV, a Christian TV show run by evangelical pastor Charles McVety, has been shut down temporarily after the Canadian TV censor ruled that it had discriminated against gays.
'Outraged' nutters have called the ruling an act of censorship, while
McVety himself has condemned the ruling, calling it a gross breach of democracy and reminiscent of totalitarian regimes of the past.
Crossroads Television System, a Christian broadcaster took McVety's show off the air after the
Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) ruled in June that the program put them in violation of their code of ethics.
The CBSC panel, which released the decision on Wednesday, rebuked McVety for claiming that the homosexual movement is
driven by a conspiratorial agenda and suggesting that they prey on children.
The panel complained that he had described the Pride parades, which they said had become mainstream, as sexual perversion and sex parades. They also chastized him because he said Toronto was being advertised as a
sex tourism destination ... with full opportunity for sex with hot boys.
McVety had also said that homosexual activists seek to indoctrinate children because unfortunately they have an insatiable appetite for sex, especially with young
people. And there're not enough of them, so they want to proselytize your children and mine, our grandchildren and turn them into homosexuals .
The panel wrote: Given the central role that the manifestation of gay pride plays in the LGBT
world, the immediately preceding comments constitute a derision of the traditions and practices of that community.
The panel also stated that McVety broke the code of ethics by attributing to the gay movement a malevolent, insidious and
conspiratorial purpose, a so-called 'agenda'. This constitutes abusively discriminatory comment on the basis of sexual orientation, they wrote.
CTS TV, who made the decision to cancel the show, told LifeSiteNews, that as a member in
good standing of CBSC they have a responsibility to comply with the Canadian Association of Broadcaster's Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code. It is our policy in these circumstances not to air the program until we have assurance from the
program that content will be compliant. CTS anticipates that the program Word TV will be reinstated in short order.
The recent decisions by Crossroads Television System (CTS) – first, to remove the popular Dr. Rev. Charles McVety's Word TV, and subsequently to
re-instate it, albeit with conditions of pre-screening and censorship – are not the end of the story, according to the Christian Evangelical leader.
Another finding against him is expected with possibly more to come, Rev. McVety said,
referring to a discussion he had with Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) chair Ron Cohen. It was the CBSC findings upon which the CTS decisions were based.
Word TV was pulled last week because of statements the council determined –
behind closed doors – that Rev. McVety, president of Canada Christian College and the Canada Family Action Coalition, allegedly made against the gay community in violation of sections of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters code of ethics.
According to a media release from Rev. McVety, which compared CBSC practices to kangaroo courts, the accused had been told nothing about the proceeding, shown none of the evidence, told nothing of the accusation, was allowed no defence and
is permitted no appeal. This is undemocratic. It flies in the face of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In an interview, Cohen acknowledged that Rev. McVety, the strongest voice of Canadian Evangelical Christians, was denied the
opportunity to attend meetings where accusations had been made against him or to defend himself.
Air New Zealand has said it was cutting an in-flight safety video showing an All Black rugby player jokily refusing to kiss a male flight attendant after ludicrous complaints it could spur gay suicides.
The airline said it had agreed to remove
a scene from the video featuring All Black centre Richard Kahui politely turning down a request to give gay flight attendant Will Coxhead a peck on the cheek.
The move comes after complaints from members of the gay and lesbian community in the
past week, Air New Zealand said in a statement. It said an unnamed university professor had raised concerns the homosexual rejection could lead to gay male suicides.
The light-hearted video called Crazy About Rugby shows All Blacks
running through safety procedures for passengers boarding Air New Zealand flights.
The offending scene had All Black pin-up Kahui posing for photographs with female flight attendants then shaking his head, holding up his hands and refusing to
pucker up when Coxhead points to his cheek hoping for a kiss.
Coxhead, a real-life flight attendant with the airline, said he was absolutely gutted at the complaints over a scene he described as a bit of fun. I'm proud to be gay, proud
to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video . Obviously there are some people in the gay community that can be a little precious and need to lighten up.
The atmosphere in the atrium at Hampstead Town Hall was relaxed and mellow. I enjoyed discussing the artwork on the walls with the young people passing through on their way to media workshops and the older people waiting for classes
in literature and art appreciation.
I was a volunteer at GFEST, London's LGBT arts festival during November 2010. It featured more than 80 artists in exhibitions, theatre, dance and performance, short films and
However on a Friday afternoon, Subodh Rathod, GFEST's administrative director who has also been looking after the exhibition, asked me to help cover some of the artworks for the weekend.
I am very taken aback at this request and Subodh told me that the management of the centre were concerned that the artwork might be seen by young people and their parents. It wasn't clear to us why this was a problem, but it was
clear that if we didn't do it they would shut down the show.
The Town Hall is managed by Interchange, a social enterprise which provides and hosts community services such as the WAC arts and media project for young
We were intrigued and bemused by the criteria this equal-opportunities charity had devised. Acting on instructions from Interchange staff, we covered up 10 of the 21 photos and paintings.
This made me wonder even more about how and why Interchange's decision to mask some of the artwork was made. Craig Huxley, the Events Manager at Interchange said his impression is that reactions to the exhibition have been varied,
from the majority which have been very positive, to a few older people who complained but were then found to be taking a closer look at the exhibits .
Craig said the real issue is that four- and five-year-old
children and their parents use the building at the weekend and there was a feeling that the parents might not like the images and titles of the artworks. He also said that when public events are held security is always an issue as it is difficult
to control who enters the building and there might be inappropriate behaviour .
He told me that decisions were made at a meeting of senior managers, including the child protection officer. Each manager saw
slides of the artworks and, on the basis of suggestions made by individuals, a general consensus was reached as to the 10 artworks which might cause offence.
Homophobia, it seems, is alive and well at Interchange. And
it's not only the artists and the LGBT community who were silenced. By censoring this exhibition, Interchange effectively prevented young people, their families and the general public from enjoying and engaging with this exhibition.
A street preacher has been awarded more than £4,000 in damages after a judge ruled it was wrong for police to arrest and handcuff him for speaking out against homosexuality.
Anthony Rollins was preaching in Birmingham city center in June
2008 when a member of the public, John Edwards, took offense at comments he made describing homosexual conduct as morally wrong.
According to the Christian Institute, which backed Rollins' case, police arrived on the scene after receiving a call
from Edwards and PC Adrian Bill proceeded to handcuff Rollins without any further inquiry.
Birmingham County Court ruled that PC Bill had committed assault and battery against Rollins by handcuffing him unnecessarily. Judge Lance Ashworth QC said
in his ruling that the arrest demonstrated a lack of thoughtfulness. He ruled that hehad made the arrest as a matter of routine without any thought being given to Rollins' Convention Rights , which pertain to free speech and religious
After his arrest, Rollins was taken by PC Bill to the station where he was held for three hours but never questioned for his account of events. He was charged with breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act but the charges were dropped
before the case came to trial.
Rollins decided to sue West Midlands Police after a complaint he made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about his treatment was rejected.
Sorry our rooms are only for couples in a properly consummated marriage
Enter the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Marazion, near Penzance, and in the bedrooms you will find open Bibles and Christian leaflets.
Here at Chymorvah you will be met by a friendly welcome. Besides excellent food in plenty and comfortable beds,
you will find a warm hospitality and much happiness, mingled with good service.
But only if you are heterosexual and married.
And this, according to that bastion of paranoia, the Christian Legal Centre, has landed them deep in the soft and
smelly, for they are now facing a discrimination claim brought by a gay couple who were refused a double bed.
Martyn Hall and his civil partner, Steven Preddy, from Bristol, have lodged a claim for damages, alleging sexual orientation
discrimination. The couple are claiming that the refusal to allow them to share a bed was: Direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
They are relying on Equality Act regulations and are claiming up to £5,000 in damages
against the hotel owners, who are now facing a civil action at Bristol County Court this coming Monday.
The Christian Institute, which is assisting the Christian couple, is outraged, and has issued a statement saying: This case is about liberty
of conscience. This guesthouse is Mr and Mrs Bull's own home. They have rights too, and they should not be forced to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs under their own roof. This Christian couple are being put on trial for their beliefs.
Equality laws are being used as a sword rather than a shield.
A judgement on the case will be made after Christmas.
Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality Theresa May has announced that the socio-economic duty, which was created as part of the 2010 Equality Act, will be scrapped.
The announcement came as the Home Secretary outlined a new approach to
equalities that rejects political correctness and social engineering.
In a speech at the Coin Street Community Centre in south London, the Home Secretary announced plans to tackle inequality by treating people as individuals rather than labelling
them in groups, and ending the top-down approach that saw Whitehall trying to impose equality from above.
At least there is at least one welcome twig on the government bonfire. The speech also included the Home Secretary announcing that a measure
in the Freedom Bill will allow people who were prosecuted for having consensual gay sex at a time when this was illegal to apply to have their convictions deleted from criminal records.
Up to 12,000 men will be treated more fairly thanks to the
changes relating to convictions for consesual gay sex with over 16s.
The Freedom Bill, due to be published by February next year, will change the law so that people can apply to have such convictions deleted from the Police National Computer.
Until 1967 gay sex was illegal, and many men who were convicted in the 1960s now find themselves unable to volunteer with charities because criminal record checks show they have been convicted of a sexual offence.'
Australian Sex Party convenor and Victorian Upper House candidate Fiona Patten has hit out at Victoria's classification laws following a police raid on a festival director's home, for showing a banned film earlier this year.
Police searched the
home of Melbourne Underground Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft last week in an attempt to uncover a copy of banned Bruce LaBruce gay zombie porn film, L.A. Zombie .
Wolstencroft screened L.A. Zombi e in protest in August
after the Censor Board refused to okay the film for the festival.
At the time, Wolstencroft told the Star Observer the film's gay themes played a part in the reason the film had been banned.
Patten said Victoria's
classification laws need to change: It just goes to show how archaic Victoria's laws are that Richard could face jail or a $240,000 fine for showing a film that's been seen widely around the world, to adults who've paid to see it. Despite years of
campaigning, the government has refused to to act and now someone could be facing jail for showing a mainstream film to adults. It shows the classification laws desperately need a change.
It just shows how Victorian,
Victoria's laws are. I think people in this state are far more progressive than this and it's not in-line with how the public feels.
Malaysia's first gay romance movie opens with playful scenes of a bare-chested male couple massaging each other on a beach at night — but their euphoria soon evaporates in a story that seeks to placate both conservative government censors and
contemporary audiences hungry for edgy material.
Dalam Botol , or In A Bottle , is a Malay-language film about a man who gets a sex change operation because he thought it would satisfy his male lover, but ends up regretting it.
The film earned applause from movie bloggers invited to its first public screening, three months before its scheduled nationwide release.
Even five years ago, we wouldn't have been able to make it, Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, the film's
producer and writer, said after the screening: I'm glad that at this time, at this moment, we can show it.
Censors now say depictions of homosexuality like those in Dalam Botol are no longer barred — as long as being gay isn't
If the movie had tried to glamorize the lifestyle of a gay person, it would be against our current standard guidelines, censorship board chief Mohamad Hussain Shafie told The Associated Press this week: But the character
repents in the end. We can say it is in line with our social values.
But the film takes few risks — its heterosexual male leads never kiss. The most explicit acknowledgment that the characters have sex is when one gets out of bed in his
underwear while the other sleeps, presumably naked, beneath a blanket.
Nevertheless, there are raw, poignant scenes that capture the realities of being gay in a country where homosexuality is effectively outlawed.
In Dalam Botol, the
main character is wracked with remorse after his operation prompts his partner to abandon him.
It's not an anti-gay movie. I believe it's not wrong to be gay, but it's wrong to have a sex change, Raja Azmi said.
Some gay men have
mixed feelings about the film. I want to see gay characters in local movies, but it's wrong to make it seem like we're all so tragic and depressed, said a 30-year-old financial analyst who asked to be identified only as Mark. Of course, I hope
that someday, our society will be open enough to have a Malaysian movie about two gay men who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after.
The film — which has been approved for a February 2011 release to audiences older than 18
— was carefully vetted by censors from the start. Raja Azmi submitted her script to the board before filming it. She was told to change the original title — Anu Dalam Botol, or Penis in a Bottle — and remove an intimate
bedroom conversation between the male characters.
A Christian adoption adviser dismissed for refusing to recommend same-sex couples as suitable parents has lost her claim for religious discrimination.
Dr Sheila Matthews lost her job with the county council when she asked to abstain from voting in
same-sex cases. She told her employers Northamptonshire County Council she felt children did best with heterosexual parents.
The employment tribunal, sitting in Leicester, dismissed the claim. Concluding a two-day hearing, regional
employment judge John MacMillan said she had no case against the council. He said: The complaints of religious discrimination fail and are dismissed. This case fails fairly and squarely on its facts. In our judgment, at least from the time of the
pre-hearing review, the continuation of these proceedings was plainly misconceived... they were doomed to fail. There is simply no factual basis for the claims.
MacMillan said there was no evidence that Matthews was treated differently from
any other panel member who might request to abstain from voting, or that she was specifically discriminated against on the basis of her Christianity. He said the issue transcended the boundaries of all religions and ruled that Matthews should pay
the council's legal costs.
A district judge will decide what amount of costs should be paid by Matthews to the council at a county court hearing on a date to be fixed.
During the hearing Matthews, who was dismissed from the adoption panel
in April last year, told the tribunal the Bible was clear that homosexual practice is not how God wants us to live . She told the hearing: As a Christian, my faith leads me to believe that marriage between a man and a woman in a faithful
monogamous sexual relationship is the most appropriate environment for the upbringing of children.
A Saudi man was sentenced to receive 500 lashes and serve five years in prison for engaging in consensual sex with another man--a crime under Islamic law. The 27-year-old man was also fined $13,300, reported Bloomberg.com. He also was convicted on
additional charges of posting photos that showed him wearing women's undergarments.
Religious police placed the man under arrest, the Bloomberg article said.
Islamic law provides severe penalties for a range of behaviors associated with
homosexuality, including cross-dressing.
In the latest instalment of the zombie film saga, Victoria Police raided the home of Richard Wolstencroft, the director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF), seeking a copy of the banned film LA Zombie .
movie, by American underground filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, was screened by Wolstencroft before about 200 people on August 29 despite effectively being forbidden from public exhibition in censorial Australia.
The Censor Board banned the film, which
was originally slated to appear in the Melbourne International Film Festival in July 2010.
However, on August 11, Wolstencroft announced his intention to stage a public disobedience freedom of speech event — an illegal screening of
the film — on August 29. The screening went ahead as planned.
The police didn't attend at the time but now turned up on Wolstencroft's doorstep with a warrant to enter his premises and search for any copies of the film.
It is believed
the police considered removing every DVD in Wolstencroft's house, as well as computers containing two movies on which he is working. They were eventually dissuaded by his insistence that he had destroyed his only copy of the film, on DVD, after the
August screening. Wolstencroft also admitted to police that the August 29 screening had gone ahead and that he was solely responsible for it.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said Wolstencroft would face court at a later date.
appeared to be quite shaken by this morning's events saying: I've never been charged with so much as jay-walking, he told Fairfax. I find the situation that a little festival is being pursued in this way quite distressing and depressing.
Roughly 100 gay and lesbian couples greeted the Pope on his visit to Barcelona with a collective kiss to protest against the Vatican's stance on sexual freedom, divorce and condom use.
This is a peaceful act of protest to demonstrate
that love is the same in the hearts of everyone, said Jordi Petit, leader of the Catalonian activist group that organised the smooch fest.
Church attendance in Spain continues its steep decline. So it is not surprising that the Pope on
Saturday declared Spain the epicentre of a battle between faith and modernity in Europe.
After waxing poetic on the relationship between beauty and religion, he took aim at Spain's abortion law, calling on the state to defend the
life of a child from the moment of conception . He also registered a plea for state support of the traditional family. Generous love between a man and a woman is the efficient framework and basis of human life, he said.
The latest twist in Uganda's hang the homos saga was played out last week when the High Court in Kampala ordering Rolling Stone newspaper to stop publishing the names, photographs and addresses of people it says are gay. Alongside the photos, the
paper urged the government: Hang them.
The court order came too late for the 26 already featured in two issues of the newspaper.
Frank Mugisha, director of gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, told me last week that almost
everyone outed by the paper, including himself, had since been attacked or harassed and that some were in danger of losing their jobs.
Giles Muhame, the defiant 22-year-old editor of Rolling Stone, now says he will find a way to dodge the law
and work through a list he says he has of 100 gay men and women.
Muhame's views will be abhorrent to many Western people but his views are not uncommon among many young Africans. In Uganda's bars and cafes, I found a lot of support for Muhame
and his paper.
The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) has hit the Nine Network with an enforceable undertaking , its most severe punishment, over a gay sex scene in the television series Dante's Cove.
ACMA was responding to
a complaint alleging that a December 9 episode of the show screened at 10.30 at night should have been given an R rating and hence banned from TV.
It had detailed and explicit scenes of oral sex etc and in one scene you got a full frontal view
of the man's genitals, wrote the complainant.
ACMA found the offending scene contained significant quantities of, unambiguous visual detail including, thrusting during simulated fellatio , thrusting during simulated
intercourse and genital nudity in a sexual context .
The length of the scene and the unambiguous visual detail, including genital nudity, are such that the intimate sexual behaviour is not discreetly implied or discreetly simulated.
It therefore cannot be accommodated within the AV classification.
Nine argued in its defence that a flaccid penis should be as acceptable as naked breasts and that the scene did not contain depictions of genital penetration, oral
stimulation … genital contact or other forms of explicit sex.
Nine's classifiers will now have to attend training approved by the Director of the Classification Board. However it is hard to determine what impact this will have as the
Classifications Board itself assessed the first season of Dante's Cove as MA15+ for DVD for its violence and horror themes — not its sexual content, which the Board deemed would have been acceptable for an M rating by itself.
of Dante's Cove broadcast over the next two years will now have to be edited and Nine must provide weekly reports to ACMA on any complaints it receives about the show.
Nine already planned to edit season two of Dante's Cove which is R rated
on DVD, but the ruling means that it will have to edit season three as well — also deemed MA15+ by the Classifications Board.
Notes: Australian TV Censorship & Ratings
Mature Adult (MA)
Suitable for viewing only by persons 15 years or over because of the intensity and/ or frequency of sexual depictions, or coarse language, adult themes or drug use.
Allowed 9:00pm - 5:00am.
Adult Violence (AV)
Suitable for viewing only by persons aged 15 years or over. It is unsuitable for MA classification because of the intensity and/or frequency of violence, or because violence is central to the theme.
Allowed 9.30pm and 5.00 am.
18 rated material (R)
Banned at all times on free to air TV. (Allowed on subscription TV)
A rally against gay parades, legalization of same-sex marriages and immorality propaganda gathered some 1,000 protesters on Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow.
The rally was organized by a number of Orthodox organizations and began with a prayer.
Many people carried icons and signs reading We do not need gay parades! , A gay parade will never be held in Moscow , and others.
The rally followed the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights that Moscow's ban on gay
pride marches is illegal.
Vladimir Khomyakov, a co-chairman of the Narodny Sobor (People's Gathering) Orthodox organization, said, Despite the stories about our belligerent homophobia, we have never urged and are not urging to destroy gay clubs
and attack gays. We have come to claim that the ECHR ruling is a gross interference in Russia's domestic affairs and a violation of the Russian constitution and international law.
Malaysian film censor demands comeuppance for gays
The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has approved one of the country's first explicitly gay films but has insisted on an unusual catch in order for it to get to theaters.
Dalam Botol (In A Bottle) is one of the first Malay-language films
to overtly tackle the issue of homosexuality. As the extremely conservative Muslim-majority country very rarely lets films dealing with sexuality, religion, or politics past the censors, some were surprised to hear that the film would hit theater
screens. However, in order to get to the public, the film which contains absolutely no nudity, sex, or even kissing had one hoop that other Malaysian films do not have to jump through: censors insisted that the gay characters must either repent or
come to a bad end during the course of the film.
The movie has been described by producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman as a tragic love story between two men, one of whom undergoes a sex change operation in order to allow them to have a public
relationship. The story is based off the real-life experience of a man the producer knew.
When asked about the requirement that gay characters must repent or be shown in a negative light, Raja Azmi would only say that the characters indirectly
Mohammad Hussain, chairman of the Film Censorship Board, said in an interview that, under new guidelines released in March, films dealing with homosexuality would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, although the
theme was not encouraged. Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.
Mohammad said there must be some good intention on the part of the filmmaker to show people that homosexuality is something
that's not normal at least in our culture.
Dalam Botol will be released in Malay-language markets next February.
I can't believe it is quite so straightforward to infer life preferences from browsing habits. Sites of interest are often the exact opposite of sites of
preference. Anyone reading my browsing history would probably infer that I was lining myself up as the next MediaWatch-UK chairman!
Facebook might be inadvertently outing its gay users to advertisers, according to a new study.
Researchers have discovered that different targeted advertising is being sent to users' accounts if they have described themselves as gay or straight.
The discovery could mean that people who wish to keep their sexuality private may be sharing it with advertisers without their knowledge.
A team from Microsoft and Germany's Max Planck Institute created six fake profiles: two straight men,
two straight women, a gay man and a lesbian. They wanted to see if Facebook targeted ads based on sexuality, and so the profiles were left otherwise completely the same.
The team then monitored what ads each virtual user was sent over a period of
a week. They found that the ads displayed on the gay man's profile differed substantially from those on the straight one. Many of these adverts were not obviously adverts for services that only gay men would require, and half of them did not mention the
word gay in the text.
The researchers write in the paper: The danger with such ads, unlike the gay bar ad where the target demographic is blatantly obvious, is that the user reading the ad text would have no idea that by clicking it he
would reveal to the advertiser both his sexual-preference and a unique identifier (cookie, IP address, or email address if he signs up on the advertiser's site).
The loophole means that any advertisers who collect data such as Facebook IDs
could match a person's sexual preference with their unique ID and their name.
Last week it emerged that vast amounts of data including the names of individual members and their online friends were passed to internet advertising firms,
with tens of millions of people thought to have been affected. The leaks were possible even when members had deliberately set their privacy options to the maximum secrecy levels.
Security experts warned that the details could be used when
combined with other publicly available information to build up a detailed picture of an individual's interests, friendship circle and lifestyle.
Around 25 different advertising and data firms were receiving the information, an investigation by
the Wall Street Journal found. It was passed to them by firms whose apps games and other features operate on Facebook and not by the social networking site itself.
Dunno Y.... Na Jaane Kyun has been refused a certificate from the Censor Board untill the cuts directed by the revising committee are incorporated into the final print. The film has been stuck for the last two months after the committee suggested
that the kissing and love-making related stories
Scenes between actors Kapil Sharma and Yuvraj Parashar have to be snipped out. They also had strong objections to the nudity in the film.
Kapil Sharma confirms the news and says that giving
in to the CBFC's demands would have been a major compromise. The scenes in question were essential to depict the romance between the two men. If the censors can allows kisses between hetrosexual lovers why should they be averse to those between
homosexual partners? he argues.
Dunno YHe points out that homosexuality is legal now following the Supreme Court's ruling on article 377 last year. And says that they may move court if the revising committee doesn't change its decision.
We don't mind reducing the length of these scenes that are already blurred but editing them out is not an option. We've already made some cuts suggested by one of the previous committees.
The LGBT community has promised to support them
should they move court. But we'd like to settle the matter amicably, says Sharma.
Indian censor board has cut a lovemaking scene from Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyon by about 40%. Another scene taken of a nude Yuvraj Parasher from behind has been deleted.
The first censor committee refused to pass. The revising committee (appeal
board) also had problems with a kissing and lovemaking scenes, along with some dialogue.
Parashar points out that a lot of it had to do with the fact that the scenes features two men instead of a girl and a boy: We convinced them that the film
is about love and not sex. And got away with 60% of the scenes intact.
The actors have also been been getting pressure from a homophobic organisation in Delhi over the last week warning them with dire consequences if the film was released. A
complaint was lodged with the Khar Police Station last week. Says a petrified Parashar: Kapil and I are new to the film industry and don't want these people to harm us before our career even takes off.
A newspaper in New Hampshire has come under fire for refusing to print wedding announcements for homosexual couples, despite same-sex marriage being legal in the US state.
Joseph McQuaid, the publisher of the Manchester-based newspaper, said that
it was not anti-gay ...BUT... its stance was that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.
While the law sanctions gay marriage, it neither demands that churches perform them or that our First Amendment right to choose
what we print be suspended, Mr McQuaid said in a statement.
The Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest newspaper, declined to publish a notice of the marriage of two men in Portsmouth on Saturday. New Hampshire is one of five US states to have
legalised homosexual marriage.
But Paul Hodes, a Democratic Senate candidate for the state, told McQuaid that the newspaper should respect the law of New Hampshire and change its policy.
Greg Gould, one half of the homosexual couple
involved, described the newspaper as out of touch . It's just news. If they didn't want to report on all the things they didn't like, then they wouldn't report on murder, and war, and government.
The European Court of Human Rights has fined Russia for banning gay parades in Moscow, in an important victory for the country's gay community.
A leading activist, Nikolai Alexeyev, brought the case after the city authorities repeatedly rejected
his requests to organise marches.
The Moscow authorities had argued the parades would cause a violent reaction.
But the court in Strasbourg said Russia had discriminated against Alexeyev on grounds of sexual orientation. It said that by
refusing to allow the parades, the authorities had effectively approved of and supported groups who had called for (their) disruption .
The mere risk of a demonstration creating a disturbance was not sufficient to justify its ban, the court said. It ordered Russia to pay Alexeyev 29,510 euros ($41,090) in damages and for legal fees.
This is a crippling blow to Russian homophobia on all accounts, Alexeyev said after the verdict was announced: The authorities now have to ensure the security of peaceful gay activists, and must allow our protests to take place in Moscow
or any other city in Russia. We will be applying to hold a sixth gay pride event in Moscow in May 2011 . We'll be taking the former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov to court: he broke the law by blocking our protests.
Yuri Luzhkov, who was
mayor of Moscow for 18 years before he was sacked last month by President Dmitry Medvedev, described homosexuals as satanic .
Facebook is working with a gay-advocacy group to reduce the amount of hate speech and bullying on the online social hub.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it reached out to Facebook last week after Internet bullies flooded a
page set up to honor teens who recently killed themselves in response to anti-gay hate.
The page, set up by a Facebook user, asks supporters to wear purple next Wednesday in memory of the teenagers. Purple represents spirit in the rainbow
flag that's the symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Facebook said that its policies prohibit hateful content and that it has systems in place to take down such posts as soon as possible. But the company also said it
wants its users to be able to express unpopular opinions and as such must strike a careful balance between removing harmful content and letting people speak freely.
Bulgarian authorities have brought charges against a French man for creating and distributing porn on the Internet.
Jean Noel Rene Clair, well known for JNRC labelled gay porn, was also charged for persuading 10 men to fornicate, according to a
national radio report.
Officials say Clair stored the recorded material, which consisted of various male sexual encounters, on thousands of files and distributed them on the Internet on more than 20 websites, some of which were managed by Clair
He was arrested last May at the time of filming and he could be facing up to 10 years imprisonment.
The openly gay, flamboyant rocker Adam Lambert kept his promise to Malaysias government and steered clear of sexually provocative moves at a concert that was protested by dozens of Islamic activists.
Last week, Lambert wrote on Twitter that
while he did not believe his shows were in any way offensive I have agreed to make a few minor adjustments out of respect for the Malaysian government. Looking forward to a fun show.
Lambert, an American Idol runner-up, is well-known
for racy performances. At the American Music Awards last year, he kissed a male keyboard player.
A controversial new BBC lesbian drama which showed two women having sex next to a corpse has left TV viewers appalled.
BBC 3's Lip Service , which is aimed at viewers as young as 16 and
began airing this week, has attracted complaints from scores of viewers.
And one of the show's actresses has revealed that filming the controversial drama was like working on a porn set. Laura Fraser, who plays a
character called Cat, said: I started to feel like I was making a porno film. It started to freak me out a bit. We were all freaked out. At the end of a day I was thinking 'what am I doing for a living?'And then I was going home to my six-year-old
daughter Lila which felt very weird.
The BBC describes Lip Service as being a bold drama about the sex lives and love affairs of twenty-something lesbians living in contemporary Glasgow .
However, the show has attracted a number of complaints. Alice Seddon, who contacted a national newspaper, said: I was shocked and horrified. It was so off-putting I switched off. Churning
Another viewer, commenting on an internet forum, described the funeral parlour sex scene as stomach churning .
Harriet Braun, the show's creator, spoke to BBC's Newsbeat and claimed that
the show is as realistic as possible. She said: It was important to me that the lesbian characters came across as authentic to a lesbian audience. I wanted it to reflect real life.
Anti-gay protesters have fought running battles with police in an effort to disrupt a Gay Pride march in Belgrade - the first in the city since 2001.
Rioters threw petrol bombs and stones at armed police, who responded with tear gas and rubber
The office of the ruling Democratic Party was briefly set on fire, and at least one shot was fired.
Calm was eventually restored but more than 100 people, mostly police, were injured, with another 100 arrested.
march was the first Gay Pride parade in Serbia since a 2001 event was broken up in violent clashes provoked by far-right extremists. 'Hooligan gangs'
Before the march, the head of the EU mission in Serbia, Vincent Degert, addressed around 1,000
gay activists and their supporters who gathered at a park in downtown Belgrade surrounded by riot police and armoured vehicles. We are here to celebrate the values of tolerance, freedom of expression and assembly, Degert told the crowd.
While the Gay Pride parade was moving though the city, several hundred protesters began chanting at those taking part as they tried to get close to the march.
The hunt has begun, the AFP news agency reported them as saying. Death to homosexuals. Reports told of gangs of skinheads roaming the streets, throwing petrol bombs and setting off firecrackers as police battled to hold them back.
Thousands of police sealed off central Belgrade to protect the event.
Moscow police have detained several gay rights opponents at the first sanctioned gay rights protest in years, marking a sharp reversal of policy after last week's dismissal of the city's notoriously intolerant mayor.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov had
compared gay people to the devil, and gay rights rallies in Moscow were forbidden. Many went ahead regardless and were violently dispersed under his leadership. He was fired this week after President Dmitry Medvedev said he had lost faith in him.
Two dozen activists protested Friday outside Swiss International Air Line's Moscow office against the carrier's alleged role in the kidnapping of the leader of Russia's gay rights movement, which sparked concern in Western Europe.
Nikolai Alexeyev is widely known in the international gay rights movement for his repeated efforts to organize parades in Moscow. Alexeyev alleges the airline removed him from a boarding gate at Domodedovo Airport at the behest of four
unidentified men, not in uniform, who took him to a police station.
Alexeyev was to board a flight to Geneva but instead was taken to the nearby town of Kashira and, he told The Associated Press, insulted with all the slang words for
homosexuals in the dictionary and commanded to withdraw complaints filed against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights
On Friday, Alexeyev and the other activists held aloft posters accusing the Swiss airline of complicity in
kidnapping, while police arrested at least four protesters trying to sabotage their rally.
The police worked professionally, and we are thankful to them, said Alexeyev, who has been roughed up and detained several times by police in the
past. They protected us.
Indonesia's top Islamic body has said that homosexuality is an abuse of human rights and demanded the government ban an ongoing gay and lesbian film festival.
It also condemned foreign cultural centres for showing the films at private screenings.
We reject the screening of the films which contain gay and homosexual lives as they are against Islamic and Indonesian cultural values, Indonesia Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amin said: The foreign representatives including the
German and French cultural centres must show their respect for our sovereignty. They should not bring their culture which goes against our local value .
Q! is in its ninth edition and has become the biggest festival of its kind in Asia and the
only one in the Muslim world, testifying to Indonesia's fading reputation as a moderate country.
Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring has posted comments on Twitter blaming perverted sex acts for the spread of AIDS, and quoted a
Koranic verse about stoning homosexuals.