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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Tanzania arrests 12 suspected of promoting homosexuality
19 October 2017

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) -- Tanzanian police say they are holding 12 men, including two South Africans, for questioning over allegations of promoting homosexuality in this East African country.

Dar es Salaam Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa said Thursday that authorities are gathering evidence and will arraign all the suspects in court to face criminal charges. He said the suspects include two South Africans, a Ugandan and nine Tanzanians. The men were arrested at a hotel in the port city of Dar es Salaam.

Homosexuality is criminalized in Tanzania under a colonial-era law banning sex acts "against order of nature." Tanzanian authorities have recently ramped up a crackdown on the activities of LGBT people, even ordering clinics to stop offering services to homosexuals.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:02 pm 
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Tanzania deports three South Africans for 'promoting homosexuality'
28 October 2017

NAIROBI (AFP) - Tanzania has deported three South African lawyers arrested last week for "promoting homosexuality", their organisation said in a statement.

The Initiative for Strategic Litigation (ISLA) in Africa said that the three had been "deported earlier this evening", in the statement dated Friday. The lawyers were amongst a group of 13 people, including a Ugandan and Tanzanians, who were arrested last Tuesday at the Peacock hotel in Dar es Salaam. Local police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said they had been "promoting homosexuality". "Tanzanian law forbids this act between people of the same sex, it is a violation of our country's laws," said Mambosasa.

Just days later an NGO, the Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA) centre, was suspended on the same charge and accused of organising a workshop at the Peacock hotel. CHESA and ISLA insisted they were merely coordinating a "legal consultation" to challenge a government decision to limit the provision of some health services.

In February, Tanzania provoked criticism notably from the United States after announcing the closure of several health centres specialising in AIDS prevention, alleging they were fronts for promoting homosexuality. Tanzania has vowed to deport foreigners campaigning for gay rights in a country where gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment. In July 2016, the government banned the import of some lubricant gels alleging they were used exclusively by homosexuals. Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said the sale and occasional free distribution of the gels encouraged gay sex.

According to Amnesty International, homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 African states and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan. Uganda repealed a 2014 move to impose the death penalty on gay people.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 3:18 am 
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Big Brothers Big Sisters loses funds due to LGBTQ training
October 31, 2017

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) -- A Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter in West Virginia will suspend mentoring services for underprivileged children after donors pulled funding earlier this month in response to an LGBTQ-awareness training program.

Sara McDowell is executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central West Virginia. The Charleston Gazette-Mail quotes her as saying the organization won't recruit or match volunteer Big Sisters and Big Brothers in Raleigh County or fill two vacancies until it has adequate funding. Organizers said the program lost $80,000 in local grants after donors learned the agency accepted a $20,000 national grant to provide resources and training to promote inclusiveness of LGBTQ volunteers and youth. McDowell says the agency has since raised more than $30,000. The program currently serves 34 children from ages 6 to 11.

Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:28 pm 
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Imam in Denmark gets suspended sentence for anti-gay remarks
9 November 2017

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- An imam has been given a two-week suspended jail sentence for making public remarks against homosexuals, whom he compared to pedophiles.

The city court in Viborg, 260 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Copenhagen, said Thursday that Mohamad Jammal had violated Denmark's penal code in newspaper interviews in June 2016 following the attack at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub, where 49 people were shot dead. Many Muslims consider homosexuality to be sinful. Jammal, who spoke to the Skive Folkeblad newspaper, was convicted of making comments deemed threatening, insulting or degrading to a group because of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation. It was not immediately clear whether Jammal would appeal.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:41 pm 
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Istanbul district bans gay film festival
25 November 2017

ANKARA (AFP) - An Istanbul district authority has banned a one-day festival that had been set to showcase short films on gay issues on Saturday, claiming the event posed a threat to public order.

The ban came after a similar decision on all LGBT cultural events in Ankara province. The Istanbul event, co-organised by Turkish gay rights group Pink Life LGBT Solidarity Association and the British Council, had been set to screen 10 short films at Pera Museum in the popular district of Beyoglu on the European side of the city.

But the Beyoglu district governor's office said on Friday the event would not be allowed to take place, in a bid to "protect public order and safety, others' rights and freedoms, and to prevent crime". In a statement, the governor's office said the planned "events may be against constitutional order or public morality". It also said the event organisers had not sought the necessary permission to stage the event.

The Pera Museum meanwhile said the event had been postponed, though it did not give a new date. Earlier this month, a similar ban was imposed on another planned screening by the Pink Life group in Ankara. And last week, authorities banned all LGBT cultural events in Ankara until further notice, to "maintain public order".

The Istanbul ban will add to growing concern among gay rights activists in Turkey that their right to freedom of expression is being curtailed under the Islamic-rooted government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. While homosexuality has been legal since the creation of the modern Turkish republic in 1923, LGBT individuals often say they are subject to harassment, rape and abuse. The once hugely popular annual gay pride rally in Istanbul has been blocked by authorities for three years in a row now.

The authorities insist they are acting to ensure the security of citizens but activists claim the government is seeking to impose a conservative morality. Earlier this month, Erdogan criticised a quota for gays on a neighbourhood committee, saying it was at odds with the nation's values.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:09 pm 
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Gay rights groups take legal action over Ankara events ban
29 November 2017

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish gay rights groups said Wednesday they would take legal action against a controversial ban on all LGBTI cultural events in Ankara that was announced this month.

The Ankara governor's office on November 19 issued the ban to "maintain public order", arguing LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) events are likely to "provoke reactions within certain segments" of society. Ankara-based gay rights group Kaos GL and Pink Life LGBT Solidarity Association said they were filing a complaint calling for the "illegal" ban to be lifted. Pink Life lawyer Emrah Sahin said the ban, which affects films, theatre shows, screenings, exhibitions and other such events, was "political". "It is necessary as soon as possible to put an end to this clear infringement of rights and to cancel this decision," he said, expressing hope that the move was the result of "individual error" rather than government policy.

Kerem Dikmen, legal counsel for Kaos GL, said it was "indisputably an attack on the freedom of LGBTI individuals to organise and express themselves", saying it effectively banned gay rights groups and removed their right to association as recognised by the constitution.

On Friday, authorities in Istanbul's Beyoglu district banned a day-long film festival showcasing short films on gay issues. And in mid November, the Ankara governorate banned a festival of German-language gay films on the grounds it could incite hatred and risked provoking a terror attack.

The bans have raised concerns about freedom of expression for LGBTI individuals under the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Earlier this month, Erdogan took aim at a quota for gay representatives on a neighbourhood committee, criticising it as being at odds with the nation's values in a rare comment on such issues. Homosexuality is legal in Turkey, but LGBTI individuals often complain of abuse and harassment.

The annual gay pride rally in Istanbul -- once the most important LGBTI gathering in a Muslim country in the region -- has been blocked by the authorities for three years, citing security grounds. But such reasons are dismissed by activists who claim the government is seeking to impose its conservative morality on a diverse country and is undermining its secular tradition.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:33 pm 
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'Gay' toilet sign in southern Italy draws controversy
14 August 2017

Lecce, Italy (ANSA) - An LGBT rights group is denouncing a bed and breakfast in​ Cavallino, in the southern Italian countryside near Lecce, for displaying a bathroom sign with icons for men, women, and "gay"​, as reported in the Lecce edition of the regional daily Nuovo Quotidiano di Puglia.

The sign showed blue and pink icons for men and women, respectively, with a third icon scratching its head, colored half blue and half pink, labeled "gay". "It's shocking that in 2017 there are still cases like this, where there's great confusion between gender identity and sexual orientation, and it's flaunted in such misleading and homophobic signs in public places, which are demeaning and d​o much harm," said Gianluca Rollo of the LGBT rights organisation LEA. The bed and breakfast said the sign will be removed.​

Source: ANSA

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:45 pm 
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Italian filmmaker Riso victim of homophobic attack
3 October 2017

Rome (ANSA) - Italian director Sebastiano Riso was the victim of a homophobic attack by two men in the lobby of his building in Rome's Ostiense district yesterday afternoon, sources said Tuesday.

Riso, 34, whose latest film 'Una Famiglia' was presented at the recent Venice Film festival, was punched, kicked and insulted, the sources said. Taken to the ER at Fatebenefratelli Hospital, he was found to have minor injuries to his side, cheekbone and eye. Police are viewing CCTV footage of the incident.

"I was targeted as a filmmaker, as a gay, and as a person" said Riso. "Three blows, to the face, stomach and sternum. Yesterday I was struck three times, and I feel myself attacked three times, as a gay, as a film director and as a person. He said that while they were hitting him the two men directed homophobic insults at him.

Riso made his debut to some acclaim with 2014's 'Piu Buio di Mezzanotte' (Darker than Midnight). 'Una Famiglia' (A Family) stars Micaela Ramazotti as a womb donor.

Source: ANSA

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:49 pm 
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2 attackers arrested for beating gay couple
17 October 2017

Bari, Italy (ANSA) - Two men were arrested Tuesday for beating up and robbing a gay couple on the beach in Bari on the evening of June 8.

The couple, both 30, a Bari man and his Spanish boyfriend, were attacked by a gang of seven young people. Police have so far managed to indentify three of them, the two arrested Tuesday aged 19 and 20 plus a minor who has been placed under investigation. The attack took place in front of many beachgoers.

Source: ANSA

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:09 pm 
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Tanzania arrests 1 of 2 women seen kissing in online video
3 December 2017

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) -- Tanzanian police are holding one of two women accused of kissing in a video widely circulated on social media.

Ahmed Msangi, police chief in Tanzania's Mwanza region, said authorities arrested the woman in the northwestern region of Geita and are looking for the other woman and some others seen in the video. He said "it is just a matter of time" before law enforcement officers arrest the others, adding "the plan is to eliminate the entire chain of people involved or supporting homosexuality for the betterment of the generations."

Homosexual relations are criminalized in Tanzania and the law prescribes jail terms of up to life. This East African nation has launched a countrywide crackdown against people accused of promoting homosexuality. Authorities have threatened to deregister NGOs accused of supporting gays.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:43 pm 
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Tanzania arrests 3 more over online video of women kissing
8 December 2017

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) -- Tanzanian police say they have arrested three more people over a video shared online in which a woman kisses and embraces another woman.

Ahmed Msangi, police chief in the Mwanza region, says 25-year-old Janeth Shonza was arrested in the central region of Singida. He says police also are holding a man accused of creating the video and another woman seen in it. One of the women seen kissing, Milembe Suleiman, was arrested in the northwestern region of Geita earlier this week.

Homosexual relations are criminalized in Tanzania and the law prescribes sentences of up to life in prison. This East African nation has launched a crackdown against people accused of promoting homosexuality. Authorities have threatened to deregister non-governmental organizations accused of supporting gays.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Nationalists block gay rights march to Poland’s top shrine
8 July 2018

WARSAW (AP) — A few dozen right-wing extremists have blocked a gay rights march on its route to Poland’s holiest Catholic shrine while the prime minister was attending an event at the religious site.

About 1,000 people with rainbow-colored banners and umbrellas were heading toward the Jasna Gora shrine in the southern city of Czestochowa when they came across a police cordon that separated them from the extremists. The group of nationalists had an anti-gay banner and chanted “National Czestochowa.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was addressing supporters of Catholic Radio Maryja at the shrine while the first Equality March to be held in Czestochowa was underway. Morawiecki said the Jasna Gora monastery has been across centuries a “symbol of spirit, hope, of Poland’s values and of resistance from evil.”

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:26 pm 
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Brazil’s fearful LGBT community prepares for a ‘proud homophobe’
By Tom Phillips
27 October 2018

It was exactly a fortnight after round one of Brazil’s poison-filled presidential election that Aretha Sadick found herself sprinting for her life away from a man wielding an iron bar.

“It was a hate crime. No doubt about it. Hate is the only word,” recalled the 29-year-old black transgender artist and campaigner, still shaken by her run-in with death.

“It was on a street I always walk down. An area where I always go. And I’ve never experienced such an overt act of hostility,” she said. “These things don’t happen by accident. There’s been a validation.”

Sadick and fellow members of São Paulo’s LGBT community are clear who they blame for legitimising such violence: a far-right firebrand who is notorious for his spiteful, homophobic remarks and looks very likely to become Brazil’s next president on Sunday.

In nearly three decades as a congressman, Jair Bolsonaro has never concealed his dislike of gay people. “Yes, I’m homophobic – and very proud of it,” he once proclaimed.

In a 2013 interview with Stephen Fry – which the British actor later called “one of the most chilling confrontations I’ve ever had with a human being” – the far-right populist claimed “homosexual fundamentalists” were brainwashing heterosexual children to “become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future”. Bolsonaro declared: “Brazilian society doesn’t like homosexuals.”

The politician – whom polls give a 12-point lead over his leftist rival Fernando Haddad, down from 18% a fortnight ago – has ramped up such rhetoric during the campaign, accusing LGBT campaigners and other minorities of “self-pity”, while simultaneously claiming that he will govern for all.

Activists, however, say that while violence and discrimination against the LGBT community have long existed, Bolsonaro’s brazen bigotry has helped launch a new era of brutality and threats.

“It’s as if the gates of hell have been opened – as if hunting season had been declared,” said Beto de Jesus, a veteran LGBT activist and founder of São Paulo’s huge annual gay pride parade. “It’s barbarism.”

James Green, an American academic with longstanding ties to Brazil’s gay movement, said Bolsonaro’s “repulsive” discourse had left some gay and lesbian couples wondering if it was even still safe to hold hands in public: “He has unleashed all the demons in Brazilian society and they are out there now: unmasked and vicious and violent.”

Renan Quinalha, a São Paulo-based lawyer and LGBT activist, said recent weeks had seen a “frightening” spike in reports of physical or verbal abuse carried out by Bolsonaro supporters. He described a mood of fear and trepidation, both at the violence and the prospect that, as president, Bolsonaro might try to roll back hard-fought gains such as the 2011 legalisation of same-sex unions.

Even if the far-right candidate suffered a shock defeat, the hatred he had fanned and sanctioned would remain, he said. “It’s no longer just about Bolsonaro, but a set of values and postures that he represents and that will live on in Brazilian society.”

But Quinalha and other activists said there was a determination, too, to fight back: “Nobody is going back into the closet. We will resist.”

One place that is already happening is Casa 1, an LGBT shelter and cultural centre whose exterior has been plastered with anti-Bolsonaro posters reading: “Not him. Never. Ever”.

The walls inside are similarly decked with protest art. “Without struggle (and poofs) there will be no revolution!” reads one banner. Another says: “Stop killing trans!”

Iran Giusti, the centre’s founder, said Casa 1 had been conceived as a space that was politicised but had no party affiliations. Facing Bolsonaro’s threat, however, it was throwing its weight behind his Workers’ party (PT) opponent, Haddad, hosting meetings of an anti-Bolsonaro “brigade” and serving as a distribution centre for PT pamphlets that ask voters: “What kind of a Brazil do you want?”

“We are here defending our very survival,” said Giusti, 29.

Casa 1 is also offering counselling sessions to those disturbed by Bolsonaro’s rise. After a pre-election session of “drag bingo”, Giusti said it would also open its doors as the results were announced: “Lots of people don’t want to go through this moment alone.”

Giusti said he saw some bright spots amid the gloom. In a historic first, two trans politicians, Erica Malunguinho and Erika Hilton, recently secured places in São Paulo’s state legislature. But the overall atmosphere was bleak: “We can feel the fear.”

Sadick – who escaped serious harm after a friend saw her being attacked, and intervened – said she also felt despondent. As mayor of São Paulo from 2013 to 2017, Haddad had assisted its “T community”, creating an educational programme called Transcidadania (Transcitizenship), she remembered. Bolsonaro, in contrast, had helped release a deep-rooted loathing towards LGBT people previously “hidden in people’s hearts and minds”.

Sadick said she was so troubled she was considering exit strategies. “I have been talking to my friends about the possibility of leaving Brazil, about asking for political asylum,” she admitted. “I just don’t know how much I want to expose myself and my body … Is it worth being a martyr?”

One member of São Paulo’s LGBT community will not get that chance. Two days after the attack on Sadick, Jessica Gonzaga, a 25-year-old trans woman, was murdered just a few streets away, near some of the city’s most famous LGBT bars and clubs.

One witness recalled hearing shouts of “Bolsonaro!” and “Faggots must die!” as Gonzaga was stabbed – although the victim’s cousin, Gabriela, said police now believed it had been a crime of passion – the latest chapter in a long and brutal history of exclusion and violence to which Brazil’s trans community is exposed.

On Friday lunchtime, as Brazil prepared to vote, Gonzaga’s body arrived at a palm-dotted cemetery in the city’s south inside a black hatchback provided by the town hall.

The mourners were so few in number that the Observer had to help carry her plywood coffin into an outdoor chapel with a mud-coated floor and pigeons nesting in its roof. One of the nine people who had turned up to say goodbye placed two pots of yellow and white marguerite daisies on the casket. Another wore a badge reading: “Ele Não!” (“Not Him!).

Trans activist Maite Schneider said she had come “because a piece of me has died. I live one block away from where she was killed – it could have been me.”

“Whatever the motive – political or not – it doesn’t matter. It’s a life,” Schneider, 47, continued. “Just this year I must have been to 15 burials. I’ve stopped counting … I’m just grateful that, after all this, I still have tears.”

Seven years ago, Schneider clashed with Bolsonaro during a chat show in which she accused him of fuelling violence against gay people, and said: “Love should be respected, whatever form it takes.”

On Friday, with that same man poised to become her country’s leader, Schneider said she feared what came next: “Whatever happens, the damage has been done.”

Source: Guardian UK

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Polish police use tear gas to protect gay rights march
By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
13 October 2018

WARSAW (AP) — Polish police used tear gas and a water cannon Saturday against right-wing extremists who were trying to block the first equality parade in the city of Lublin in eastern Poland.

More than 1,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists with rainbow-colored flags and banners gathered Saturday in Lublin for the parade, while around 300 right-wing opponents stood in the march’s way. Police used tear gas, concussion grenades and high-pressured water to disperse them. The right-wing protesters pelted police with stones and dispersed, but some small groups tried to get through the police cordon that was protecting the march.

The colorful parade then proceeded undisturbed. The march took place after Lublin’s Court of Appeals on Friday overruled a ban by Mayor Krzysztof Zuk, who had cited security concerns as his reason for banning the parade.

Gay rights parades have been taking place for years in Warsaw, the capital, and many other cities in predominantly Catholic Poland, but the ruling conservative party is not supportive of gay rights groups.

Source: AP

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