Dubai men get three years in prison for ‘gay prostitution’


Dan Littauer | Gay Star News | April 14, 2013

Emirates men entrapped and jailed for three years for working as male prostitutes, local rights group slam police procedures and laws

Two men have been jailed for three years each for posing as male prostitutes over a social media network, WhosHere, and offering their dancing and sexual services for money in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Two men were caught after being monitored on the Internet and then entrapped in a hotel by a police agent posing as a client.

The Emirati defendants, known by their initials and age only, A.S. 22 year-old and A.H. 30 year-old, were found guilty of male prostitution and promoting their services on the Internet.

A.S. was charged with breaching public modesty by publishing profile photos wearing women’s clothes and using make up.

Prosecution said the defendants had been involved in similar cases in 2007.

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Will Sec. John Kerry do enough to help LGBT international human rights?


Press Release invokes questions

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 5.42.29 AMThe struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.” –President Barack Obama

By Melanie Nathan and Cathy Kristofferson April 14, 2013.

The Press release:  Secretary of State John Kerry has committed to advancing the human rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) individuals as a central part of our human rights engagement. Taking into account the Secretary’s commitment as well as the Presidential Memorandum issued December 6, 2011, that directs all federal agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) has developed a regional strategy that strives to eliminate violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Respect for the human rights of LGBT persons in the Western Hemisphere varies dramatically by country. Some countries offer legal protections for LGBT persons, whereas others have laws that criminalize same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults. Recognizing that violence and discrimination based on a person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity hinder the prosperity of countries, WHA has developed a four-part strategy to:

  • Expand public outreach and awareness of LGBT issues;
  • Create and leverage existing partnerships and programs;
  • Collaborate with multilateral partners; and
  • Engage directly with host country governments.

Public Outreach and Awareness:

WHA engages the public on promoting the human rights of LGBT individuals by:

  • Working with media outlets and
  • Facilitating LGBT roundtables and web chats with civil society, academia, representatives from U.S. embassies, partner countries, and multilateral organizations.

Creating and Leveraging Partnerships and Programs:

WHA partners with governments, civil society, and the private sector in the region by:

  • Participating in regular consultations with the diplomatic community in Washington, D.C., about ways to improve respect for the human rights of LGBT persons in the region and
  • Building multi-stakeholder partnerships to share best practices for the promotion of the human rights of LGBT persons.

Multilateral Action:

WHA works with multilateral organizations by supporting:

  • The Organization of American States in the promotion of the human rights of LGBT persons;
  • The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Unit on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons and the proposal to create a Special Rapporteurship for the Protection of Human Rights of LGBTI Persons; and
  • Collaborative efforts with countries in the region to promote the human rights of LGBT persons before the United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

Engagement with Host Country Governments:

  • Engaging in high-level discussions with officials from host country governments in the region regarding human rights of LGBT persons and
  • Creating spaces for dialogue with a diverse group of stakeholders.

For more information, please visit our website at http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/social.

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The Questions from Melanie Nathan and Cathy Kristofferson, from OBLOGDEE: OBLOGDEE is an activist and advocate BLOG, not a mere information provider. A great deal of advocacy work goes on behind the scenes.

While we thank to Secretary of State John Kerry, we at OBLOGDEE  have some questions we intend to explore with the Department of State and ask others to feel free to weigh in:

1.  Which Countries does the WHA cover with regard to this statement?

2. Looks like a lot of talking suggested- hopefully there will be action or support for action to match it- will there be funding to help organizations and religious leaders provide education and take action on the ground?

3. Is there a similar program in place for non- Western countries – such as African countries which are not in the Western Hemisphere? Why is only the Western Hemisphere mentioned here? Are there other programs in place?

4. How does the WHA prepare to handle the negative impact and backlash problems that occur as a result of the perception that homosexuality is a “Western value/ import/ etc “? 5. What work is being done to curb our own haters who run off to foreign vulnerable countries preaching hate against LGBTI people in the name of Christianity?

6. Are any re-education or counter programs being fostered for those abroad who have succumbed to the export of hate from the U.S.A.

7. What plans are being made to help mitigate the hardships for LGBTI refugees and what about asylum seekers from around the world – the current protocols barely help the myriads seeking to escape persecution.

8. Sec. Clinton ‘engaged’ everyone with no such press release with it. So we wonder if Sec. Kerry is aiming at South America, Caribbean, Tennessee or Kansas maybe?

Note: U.S. Department of State Engagement on the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People BUREAU OF DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR Washington, DC December 6, 2011 http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/fs/2011/178355.htm

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By Melanie Nathan and Cathy Kristofferson nathan@privatecourts.com  m@melanienathan1

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South African Government condemns attacks on gays as custom and constitution clash


Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | April 14, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 7.49.11 AM

World Press Photo

The ANC South African government on Saturday condemned all forms of violence against homosexuals following the assault of a gay man in a Cape Town township.  However one incident used to spark the warnings involved aspects of custom that may without education continue to be the root cause of the violence itself.

“Government condemns in the strongest terms possible and reiterates its commitment to fight all forms of hate crimes perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and inter-sex people in South Africa,” said acting Cabinet spokeperson Phumla Williams.

The Times reported on Friday that Lunga Voko was beaten and left unconscious in an area near Khayelitsha by a group of men because he was gay .

Voko’s attackers allegedly inspected his penis to verify if he had been circumcised. Why did they do this. It is assumed because it is a tribal Xhosa tradition, that requires circumcision as the initiation of a young man into manhood. The rite usually occurs when a young man is around 18 years of age. After being Circumcised he is sent into the “bush” and expected to nurse himself and survive for weeks. The thinking of the attackers was that if he had in fact been subject to the rite, then he should be living his life in a heterosexual fashion, according to what tradition requires of him. The assumption being that homosexuality does not quite fit in. They were enraged after finding that he was in fact so circumcised and beat him up. A clash of custom and the inability to reconcile it with the constitution and the right of the gay man to his freedom of sexuality.

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French Lawmakers Move Up Gay Marriage Debate; Opponents Threaten Violence


On Top Magazine | April 14, 2013

Opponents of gay marriage in France have threatened violence after lawmakers expedited final passage of a marriage bill.

The French Senate on Friday approved the bill which seeks to legalize marriage and adoption for gay couples, joining the National Assembly, which approved the measure in February.

Minor alterations in the Senate means the bill must return to the lower house for reconciliation.  Lawmakers were scheduled to consider the changes on May 20 but announced on Friday that the National Assembly will get the bill next week.

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Pennsylvania Court Deals Blow to Secrecy-Obsessed Fracking Industry


Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet | Truthout | April 14, 2013

A gas drilling well pad sits on a hill behind a farm house in Faridale, Pa., Oct. 2, 2011. (Photo: Ruth Fremson / The New York Times)A gas drilling well pad sits on a hill behind a farm house in Faridale, Pa., Oct. 2, 2011. (Photo: Ruth Fremson / The New York Times)

A Pennsylvania judge in the heart of the Keystone State’s fracking belt has issued a forceful and precedent-setting decision holding that there is no corporate right to privacy under that state’s constitution, giving citizens and journalists a powerful tool to understand the health and environmental impacts of natural gas drilling in their communities.

“Whether a right of privacy for businesses exists within the prenumbral rights of Pennsylvania’s constitution is a matter of first impression,” wrote Washington County Court of Common Pleas Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca late last month. “It does not.”

Judge O’Dell Seneca’s ruling comes in an ongoing case where several newspapers sued to unseal a confidential settlement where major fracking corporations paid $750,000 to a family that claimed the gas drilling had contaminated their water and harmed their health. The Court ordered that settlement unsealed, enabling the papers, environmentalists and community rights advocates to examine the health issues and causes.

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Ireland will hold referendum aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage


LGBT Today | April 14, 2013

DUBLIN — Ireland will hold a referendum aimed at legalizing same-sex marriage after a the Irish Constitutional Convention on Sunday voted  overwhelmingly in favor of extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian  couples.

The  convention voted 79 percent in favor of amending the constitution to  allow for same-sex marriage, 19 percent voted against, and the remainder  had no opinion, reported the Irish Times.

Supporters  of the proposal, some of whom cheered and wept as the result was  announced this afternoon, hailed it as a landmark on the road towards  equality for gay couples and urged the Government to act swiftly by  calling a referendum. The convention’s recommendation will now be sent  to the Government, which has pledged to hold a debate in the Oireachtas  and set out its response within four months.

[…]

The  members also voted in favour of recommending that the State pass laws  “incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage,  guardianship and the upbringing of children”.

LGBT advocacy groups quickly hailed the news as “an historic step.”

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The Supreme Court & Us: Next Steps for Equality


Andy Thayer | LGBT Today | April 10, 2013

We do not want to look back, many years from now, and see the year 2013 as the apex of our movement (and the Valley Forge of our opponents).

When the Supreme Court rules, probably in late June, on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, there are three possible courses it can choose to take:

 

 

1) An outright rejection of any claims for same-sex couples’ rights;

2) A total affirmation of the equal rights of same-sex couples;

or, most likely,

3) A mealy-mouthed affirmation of some rights for some people, while screwing many other millions of LGBT people. This will most likely be done by embracing the discredited, anti-civil rights notion of “state’s rights.”

Regardless of the outcome, we will need to be in the streets to secure our rights.

If we get option #1, a total loss, we need to be in the streets to challenge the legitimacy of an unelected, presumably 100% “straight” institution crapping all over the rights of LGBT people. In doing so, we will begin the long process of undermining that decision, much as we did with the odious 1986 Bowers vs. Hardwick decision, which ultimately led to the 2003 Lawrence vs. Texas victory.

The louder, the larger, the more vigorous our protests, the shorter will be our time in legal purgatory.

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