An openly gay former British soldier is causing quite a stir in the UK after he penned an editorial saying that true equality for homosexuals can only be accomplished when gay saunas are closed down.
James Wharton wrote his opinion piece for the new LGBT lifestyle mag Winq. He claimed the existence of gay saunas - where he said men congregate to have anonymous sex with strangers, often in an alcohol and drug-infused haze - only "feeds the haters."
"Sex saunas need to be history," he wrote. "The time has come to close them down. ... [They are] thorns in our side that mark our community as different for the wrong reasons.
"If we don’t, we feed the haters and we hand the bigots who remain a vocal minority ammunition with which to attack us."
Of course, with that logic we should stop letting men wear ass-less leather chaps or perform in drag, because that dastardly vocal minority will whine about them. (Oh, and no more anal sex. Bigots don't like that, either!)
Although he claimed he was not a prude, he admitted that he was turned off by the idea of these bathhouses. "For me as a gay man, the notion that there exist within our communities a series of places that actively promote the convening of gay men for participation in sex of shades various and in groups of all sizes rather revolts me – and I‘ve been round the block a few times, believe me."
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell disagreed. '‘It would be very wrong if the gay community became proscriptive and moralistic over consenting adult behavior," he argued. "Plenty of gay and bisexual men use saunas without resorting to drugs or unsafe sex. A small minority may act recklessly and that should be challenged but it would be wrong to penalize the majority."
Gay former soldier: ‘If LGBTs want equality, shut down saunas’ [Gay Star News]
James Wharton responds to backlash over closing gay saunas [Gay Star News]
Gay Soldier James Wharton "Shut Down Gay Saunas" [The Gay UK]
After receiving a lot of pressure from human rights groups, politicians and business leaders, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners to turn away gay customers if they felt serving a homosexual would compromise their religious beliefs.
Brewer said that the legislation would have "unintended and negative consequences," potentially tarnishing the state's reputation, scaring away business and leading to unexpected lawsuits.
"I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberty has been violated," she said. "It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and nobody could ever want."
Sadly, seven other states are considering "religious liberty" bills like the one almost passed in Arizona. At least for today, though, we can revel in the knowledge that there are a lot of unhappy bigots out there. Suckas!
Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay bill passed by right-wing legislature [The Guardian]
Jan Brewer, Arizona governor, vetoes anti-gay bill [CBC]
It is now official: being gay in Uganda can land you in jail for life. President Museveni (pictured) signed the new anti-gay legislation into law on Monday.
Museveni said he wanted to see scientific proof that homosexuality was not a choice before approving the bill. A group of MPs provided him with a report based upon the findings of the country's 'top' scientists.
The report stated: "Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behavior which may be learned through experiences in life. In every society, there is a small number of people with homosexuality tendencies. ... The practice needs regulation like any other human behavior especially to protect the vulnerable. There is need for further studies to address sexuality in the African context."
That was enough for Museveni, who, upon signing the law, said that gays were all prostitutes and that oral sex gave people worms. (Obviously an educated man.)
Africa's Mail and Guardian discovered that the report was - surprise, surprise - doctored. The scientists actually said that people did not choose their sexual orientation, and that homosexuals had always existed in Africa and homosexuality was not introduced to the continent by Westerners.
To make matters worse for the local LGBT community, the tabloid Red Pepper published a list of the top "200 homos."
"The media witch-hunt is back," tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a Ugandan lesbian activist named on the list.
The West has started to take a stand, however.
The Netherlands stopped a $9.6 million subsidy to Uganda's judicial system. And Norway and Denmark said they will redirect $17 million earmarked for the Ugandan government to non-governmental agencies in the area.
The US, however, seemed less willing to act. Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that his government would look at the aid being sent to Uganda. "Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programmes, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,'' he said in a statement.
Canada and the UK have also been critical of the new law, but have not stated if aid will be affected.
Europeans Stop Uganda Aid After Antigay Law [Wall Street Journal]
Ugandan tabloid prints list of 'homosexuals' [CNN]
Last week, Arizona politicians passed a law that would allow vendors to deny service to gay customers on religious grounds. The bill, known as the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," was approved by Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday.
The bill was heavily inluenced by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group claimed the bill was a response to increasingly "activist" federal courts that were allowing same-sex marriage.
"The world is upset with how Russia has treated gay rights... I think it's time for that same anger to be directed towards AZ," countered state House minority leader, Democrat Chad Campbell, through Twitter.
Governor Jan Brewer has not said whether she will sign the bill or veto it. "It's a very controversial piece of legislation," Brewer said. "I will make my decision probably by next Friday, if I do decide to sign it."
Soon gays will only be able to drink from certain water fountains and be asked to sit at the back of the bus. Can this really be happening in 2014?
Wary Arizona businesses urge veto of anti-gay bill [LA Times]
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: ‘I’ve Got Plenty of Time’ to Decide on Anti-Gay Bill [ABC News]
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a new web video highlighting the role that American extremists have played in the passage of Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT laws. The video details how more than a dozen Americans, including National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown have traveled to Russia in the last year to meet with policy makers and lobby for these laws. (Geez, homophobes are ugly!)
Dale Hansen, Dallas-Fort Worth's WFAA newscaster, called out the bigots who are upset a homosexual might get drafted into the NFL. Brilliant!
In related news, New York Giants Terrell Thomas has an interesting issue with gays in the locker room.
"There's a lot of talk and joking around, and some guys walk around completely naked all the time, and they might not want to do that anymore," he said. So ... he's sad because he won't get to see more of his teammates naked? Maybe someone else needs to come out of the closet ...
Move over Uganda: Nigeria is aspiring to be the most dangerous country in Africa for gays and lesbians.
Gay sex in Nigeria has been illegal since British colonial days in the late nineteenth century. But to make sure everyone understood just how awful homosexuality is, President Goodluck Jonathan recently signed legislation making it illegal for gays to get married, and for gay rights groups to even meet (punishable by up to 14 years in jail). The law was welcomed in both the Muslim dominated north and the Christian dominated south.
"This draconian new law makes an already-bad situation much worse," the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement. "It purports to ban same-sex marriage ceremonies but in reality does much more. Rarely have I seen a piece of legislation that in so few paragraphs directly violates so many basic, universal human rights."
Arrests of gay men have multiplied since the new law was passed. In Bauchi, northern Nigeria, ten men were recently arrested and held in jail. One has been found guilty of homosexuality and - though he could have been stoned to death - the judge was "lenient" and sentenced him to 20 brutal lashes from a whip. The other nine are still in prison, with crowds outside chanting for their death and threatening to burn down the prison.
"It’s reawakened interest in communities to ‘sanitize,’ more or less, to talk about ‘moral sanitization,'" Dorothy Aken’Ova, executive director of Nigeria’s International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights, said. "Where it was quiet before, it’s gotten people thinking, ‘Who is behaving in a manner that may be gay?’ It’s driven people into the closet."
Those who are arrested are presumed guilty. They have difficulty finding lawyers, as no one wants to represent them. Friends and family don't want to be associated with them. And they are also kept away from other prisoners, so as not the 'spread the gay' (which actually may be a good thing, as it protects them from other inmates).
Criticism from Western countries is scoffed at. Viola Onwuliri, the acting foreign affairs minister, said the law was “democracy in action,” and the West should shut-up about legislation Nigerians almost unanimously support. (A Pew Research Center survey from last March found that 98 percent of Nigerians said homosexuality was unacceptable).
Of course, Nigeria will still take foreign aid, thank you very much. It has received over $400 billion in aid since it gained independence in 1960. Though it is rich in natural resources, it is also one of the most corrupt countries on the planet, so most of the aid dollars have gone to waste.
Maybe that is why the government has decided to direct this hatred on a helpless minority. Let the masses rage against the gays, rather than working to end the endemic economic and social problems facing their nation.
Wielding Whip and a Hard New Law, Nigeria Tries to ‘Sanitize’ Itself of Gays [The New York Times]
Nigerian gay people being hunted down [BBC News]
Michael Johnson is young. He's good looking. And he's now been charged with willfully spreading HIV.
The 22-year-old college jock, who attended Lindenwood University in St Charles, Missouri, allegedly failed to advise a boyfriend that he was HIV+ before the two had unprotected sex. Last October, the unidentified man contacted police after he discovered he had contracted the disease.
After several months of investigation, police are now claiming that another 30 people may have also been infected. A large cache of homemade videos was discovered on Johnson's computer. The videos, all bareback, seem to have been taped without the knowledge of the other individuals involved.
"It's safe to say that numerous of those videos were taken inside his dorm room; we know that because we recognize the furniture." said a police spokesman.
Johnson used the online nickname Tiger Mandingo and had six social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram and two Twitter feeds where he is believed to have met his sex partners.
If convicted of knowingly transmitting HIV, he could get up to life in prison.
Come on, people: you have to stop having unprotected sex with someone you've just met online!
HIV-positive student secretly filmed sex tapes with 32 people [Digital Journal]
College student accused of exposing partners to HIV; taping sex [CBS News]
Wasting little time, authorities in Nigeria have started aggressively rounding up homosexuals since a new anti-gay bill was signed into law last week.
Calling the new legislation a "welcome development," the head of the Muslim city of Hisbah, Usman Nabahani, said the government would "work tirelessly toward the enforcement of this law by the special grace of God."
"Obviously, we will embark on similar raids on gays and lesbians in Kano," he added, vowing to work "From now on, we will go into every nook and corner of Kano state to ensure that (the prohibition of) prostitution, gay marriages, marriages of the same sex and consumption of alcohol... is fully complied with, so that we can have a decent society....We are given more power, we are given more support now to wage serious war against these issues."
Eleven men are currently on trial before an Islamic court. If found guilty of homosexuality, they face the death penalty. Those facing trials in Christian dominated regions of the south, where American Evangelicals have been pushing their version of the Christian faith, now face up to 14 years in prison just for gathering in a group.
Sadly, things are sure to get worse before they get any better.
Nigerian Sharia enforcers emboldened by anti-gay marriage law [Google News]
Nigeria Islamic court tries gay suspects in Bauchi [BBC News]
Ivan Okhlobystin is a very evil man. Best known as the Russian actor who starred in his country's version of 'Scrubs,' he called on Vladimir Putin to make homosexuality illegal, and said that gay people should be burned alive in ovens as they were a "living danger to my children."
He served as an Orthodox priest for almost 10 years before quitting the church in 2010 to resume his film career.
More recently, he worked as the creative director of Euroset, Russia’s biggest mobile phone retailer. When word came out that Apple was looking to work with Euroset, people on the Internet cried foul and demanded that Apple pull out of any negotiations as long as Okhlobystin was at the company. It wasn't long before Okhlobystin was forced to quit.
"Given the incessant threats, provocations and insults from the sodomites in respect of my friends, associates and their families, I have insisted I should resign," he said. (Yes, we're sure the decision was entirely his to make.)
"People close to me do not have to suffer from my public position from which I will never give up." He then added: "Sodom and Gomorrah must be destroyed!"
Well, better plan your vacation before he gets his wish! We've heard Sodom is quite lovely this time of year.
Russian ‘Scrubs’ actor who wanted gays burned in ovens resigns after backlash [Gay Star News]
Russian Actor Ivan Okhlobystin Calls for Criminal Persecution of Gays [The Hollywood Reporter]
With little fanfare, Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan signed a bill that makes being gay even more dangerous in his country. The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act criminalizes homosexual marriage, as well as all LGBT clubs and organizations, with penalties of up to 14 years in jail.
Oddly, a copy of the bill shows that lawmakers and senators approved the new law on Dec. 17, yet no announcement was ever made. Dumbfuck - er, Goodluck - signed the bill into law on January 7.
Homosexual acts are already illegal in Nigeria. And, in areas governed by Shariah law, gays and lesbians can be legally stoned to death.
"This is a law that is in line with the people's cultural and religious inclination," explained a spokesman. "So it is a law that is a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people. ... Nigerians are pleased with it."
According to Amnesty International, 38 African countries have laws persecuting gay people. Who cares about poverty, and war, and inequality ... let's get those pesky gays instead!
New law in Nigeria bans same-sex marriage [Chron.com]
Openly gay reporter Itay Hod is calling out the media for not exposing closeted politicians with an anti-gay voting record. At the same time, he implied that Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock (pictured, above) is a perfect example.
Hod posted his rant on Facebook, claiming that if a hypothetical GOP Illinois Congressman was caught in the shower with his male roommate and had been spotted by TMZ "trolling gay bars," the media would say nothing. Even if said Congressman had voted against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," opposed marriage equality, and even supported a federal marriage amendment to bar same-sex couples from federal recognition - which Schock has done - the mainstream media would still remain mum on his sexuality.
"Are we still not allowed to out him?" Hod asked. "Let me ask another question... doesn't the media have an OBLIGATION to expose his hypocrisy? If he had done something so hypocritical and he wasn't gay, wouldn't we demand journalists do their job? But they can't ... because we won't let them. You're not allowed to out ANYONE, we tell them. We've created a situation where even though news organizations know this guy is gay, they can't report it because he hasn't said so on Twitter."
Schock has not responded to Hod's accusations, but has denied the allegations in the past.