Singapore

Singapore glbt community celebrate Independence Day

(Sent to us by fridae.com)

Date sent: Thu, 18 Jul 2002 13:54:45 +0800

Latest: Qantas to sponsor nation02 Organisers to secure Qantas, Pepsi, Planet Fitness, and The Gallery Hotel as sponsors for NATION02; sponsorship seen as an affirmation of the significance of the event and the community. More: http://www.fridae.com/magazine/en20020717_2_1.php

For immediate release

Singapore glbt community celebrate Independence Day

12 July 2002 (Singapore) – For the second time in Singapore, the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community will come together on August 8 to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day.

Organized by Fridae.com, an online Asian gay and lesbian Internet community-based in Hong Kong and Singapore’s Kinemat Productions, NATION02 hopes to celebrate the country’s 37th birthday with more fanfare than last year. The second annual event will be held at the Fountain Gardens in Sentosa, a resort island located just south of mainland Singapore.

NATION01, which has been dubbed by the international press as Singapore’s “gay and lesbian Mardi Gras” and “coming out” party, took off with over 2,000 guests coming to celebrate National Day, as well as their joy and sense of togetherness.

“NATION02 will be unprecedented in many ways – we are fortunate not only to have some of the best-liked DJ’s from the Australian party circuit, but also sponsors such as Qantas who have been very supportive of the glbt scene in Australia, and now Singapore. Ticket sales have been phenomenal, and we expect NATION02 to be a truly international event.” Says Dr Stuart Koe, COO, Fridae.com.

Organizers will also donate a portion of the proceeds of NATION02 to Action for Aids, which has received more than S$10,000 through Fridae’s events last year.

Dr Roy Chan, President of Action for Aids, Singapore’s only HIV/AIDS advocacy group said: “Nation 2001 was not just a major social event in the gay/lesbian calendar last year, it was also a stepping stone in community building and social activism for homosexual man and women in Singapore.

“Acceptance, self-respect, and accurate information are all prerequisites to responsible and safe behaviors. These in turn are necessary to prevent the spread of HIV/STI and to provide a compassionate and supportive environment for those already infected. Greater effort is needed to develop unity and togetherness among the glbt communities if we are to face off our common enemies. AFA would like to invite one and all to be at Nation 02 – to be part of this exciting process.”

Nation 02 promises to be a mind-blowing light and sound extravaganza featuring 2 dance areas with top Sydney DJs Marky Mark and Luke Leal of Frisky (Sydney Mardi Gras recovery party) fame; Singapore-based Spanish DJ Borhead from Kinemat Productions and out lesbian DJ – Lisa C.

Partygoers will also be treated to a specially produced laser show by Oracle Lasers.

Nation02 is expected to draw visitors from the region including Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan.

Security will be stepped up at the venue to ensure the privacy and safety of all Nation02 participants. To ensure the privacy of our guests, there will be no photography allowed.

Event info
What: Nation 02
When: August 8, 2002
Where: Fountain Gardens, Sentosa, Singapore
Tickets: Presale S$35 (1-31 July) Online ticketing available (www.fridae.com/nation/ticketing); at the door S$45
Dress theme: Red and white

For further information, please visit http://www.fridae.com or contact:

Dr Stuart Koe COO, Fridae.com (65) 64714132 (office) or (65) 9875 7670 (Mobile)

About Friday

Based in Hong Kong, Fridae.com is the first and largest non-pornographic English language gay and lesbian portal in Asia to tap the full potential of a huge and rapidly growing community. Fridae.com, which turned one in March this year, has garnered such broad coverage by the international mainstream and gay media including the BBC and Agence France-Presse, The Advocate, and Datalounge.com. For more details, please go to http://www.fridae.com/inthenews.php.

About Action for AIDS

Formed in 1988, Action for AIDS (AfA) is a voluntary community-based organization and a registered charity. Our objectives are to provide support and assistance to persons living with HIV and AIDS (PWAs); to increase awareness, education, and understanding of AIDS and HIV infection; to combat discrimination and stigmatization of (PWAs) and their loved ones; and to encourage AIDS-related research activities in Singapore. Action for AIDS is entirely self-funding through donations from private individuals, foundations, and businesses both large and small; we do not receive monetary support from the government but collaborate in many areas with governmental organizations. (www.afa.org.sg)

News from far and wide

Rex Wockner has kindly given us permission to re-print articles from his excellent weekly INTERNATIONAL NEWS that deal with gay Asian and “East-West” issues.

Here’s news from 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996 and some highlights from 1995, 1994.


WAN REGISTERS GROUP
80 ATTEND ILGA ASIA CONFAB
New LYC-Toronto Yahoo Group
CHINESE ACTIVIST RELEASED
ELTON TO PERFORM IN INDIA
ACTIVISTS EXPECT INDIAN SEX BAN TO FALL
VIETNAMESE POLICE ARREST ALLEGED CALLBOYS
CHINESE ACTIVIST ARRESTED
CHINESE AIDS ACTIVIST MISSING
VIETNAMESE GAY NOVEL WINS PRIZE
ILGA ASIANS PLAN GATHERING
GAY SUPPORT INCREASES IN HONG KONG
KOREANS ORGANIZE
SRI LANKAN TRANNY FILM BANNED
INTERNET FLING LEADS TO MURDER
Singapore glbt community celebrate Independence Day
CHINESE AIDS GROUP EVICTED
CASH-STRAPPED FIJIANS AIM FOR SYDNEY
BISHOP: GAYS CAN BE PRIESTS
BLACKMAILERS TARGET GAY NUDE BEACH
CHINA GETS A GAY MAGAZINE
TAIWANESE MILITARY POLICE UNBAN GAYS
Gay Korea: A Paradigm is Shifting
POLICE TARGET HIJRAS AND KOTHIS
VIETNAMESE GAYS PARTY
GAY, LESBIAN MARRY IN HONG KONG
NET HURTS TOKYO GAY BARS
CHINESE MEDIA BECOMES OBSESSED WITH GAYS
IMMIGRATION ACTION ALERT
BANGKOK CONFERENCE
JUDGES PROMOTE GAY RIGHTS IN INDIA
KOREAN GAY WEB SITES HIT HARD
CHINESE BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED FOR FONDLING


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #444
October 28, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

WAN REGISTERS GROUP

China’s most well-known AIDS activist, who recently spent a month in jail for revealing state secrets, has been allowed to register his private AIDS organization.

Wan Yanhai registered the Beijing AIDS Action Health Education Institute with the city’s Industry and Commerce Bureau in mid-October.

Wan was released from jail Sept. 20 after admitting he’d made a “mistake.” He had been taken into custody Aug. 24 for widely e-mailing a leaked government report on thousands of farmers in Henan province who were infected with HIV by selling their blood to unsanitary, government-sanctioned blood collectors in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

Wan says up to 2 million people may have been infected in similar circumstances.

“I admitted wrongdoing and I asked the government for leniency, so that is why I think they let me go,” Wan told Agence France-Presse.

80 ATTEND ILGA ASIA CONFAB

About 80 delegates from 10 nations turned out for the International Lesbian and Gay Association’s first Asia Regional Conference Oct. 11-13 in Mumbai, India.

Participants hailed from Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the USA.

“The culturally diverse Asian region has witnessed many different emerging LGBT identities and groups,” said ILGA’s Tom Hoemig. “The main aim of the conference was to enhance visibility, empower LGBT groups and organize them into a meaningful social force that remains rooted in local cultures and traditions.”


New LYC-Toronto Yahoo Group
October 11, 2002

Open to members and non-members alike. Subscribe to join in discussions, read news about the club, post photos, and so on. Please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LYC-Toronto to take a look and hopefully join the group!


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #439
September 23, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CHINESE ACTIVIST RELEASED

China’s most well-known AIDS activist was released from jail Sept. 20 after admitting he’d made a “mistake,” he said.

Wan Yanhai was detained Aug. 24 for widely e-mailing a leaked government report on thousands of farmers in Henan province who were infected with HIV by selling their blood to unsanitary, government-sanctioned blood collectors in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

Wan has said up to 2 million people may have been infected in similar circumstances.

“I admitted wrongdoing and I asked the government for leniency, so that is why I think they let me go,” Wan told Agence France-Presse. “I think the whole ordeal is over, but in this society there are many things that are not up to me to decide.”


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #437
September 09, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

ELTON TO PERFORM IN INDIA

Elton John will perform in India for the first time in November, in the southern city of Bangalore.

“I’m way beyond excited,” John said, according to Pop-Music.com. “It’s a whole new experience for me, and I’m thrilled to finally do this and hang out with the many beauties they have there.”

ACTIVISTS EXPECT INDIAN SEX BAN TO FALL

Gay activists told the Times of India Sept. 4 that they expect the government to legalize gay sex later this year.

The gay/AIDS group Naz Foundation is challenging the ban before the Delhi High Court. Same-sex relations (“carnal intercourse against the order of nature”) are punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Some of the foundation’s members were prosecuted under certain provisions of the law last year for handing out safe-sex brochures.

“The sentiments expressed by the judiciary have been very liberal and progressive,” said Naz spokesman Shaleen Rakesh. “The public debate in the media has also vocalized the opinion that two consenting adults should have the right to choose whom they love. Things are finally looking optimistic.”

VIETNAMESE POLICE ARREST ALLEGED CALLBOYS

Police in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, busted what they called a gay prostitution ring, local media reported Sept. 5.

Police said they nabbed nine callboys and two pimps. Nguyen Van Tuan and Truong Hoang Minh Tuan were charged with organizing prostitution and circulating obscene DVDs, videos and magazines.

The nine alleged prostitutes were sent to rehabilitation centers; the alleged pimps will face a judge, prosecutors said.

CHINESE ACTIVIST ARRESTED

China’s most well-known AIDS activist has been arrested and jailed, charged with revealing state secrets.

AIDS Action Project head Wan Yanhai faces prosecution for widely e-mailing a leaked government report on thousands of farmers in Henan province who were infected with HIV after selling their blood to unsanitary, government-sanctioned blood collectors in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

Wan has said up to 2 million people may have been infected in similar circumstances.

“What my husband did is good for his country, his people and AIDS prevention in China,” Wan’s wife, Ivy Su, said Sept. 5. “He is a very intelligent, rational scholar. I believe that in the fight against AIDS, the government is not enough. NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and volunteers and community-level work cannot be ignored.”


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #436
September 02, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CHINESE AIDS ACTIVIST MISSING

The man who is perhaps China’s most well-known AIDS activist is missing and feared to have been detained by police.

To the authorities’ distress, Wan Yanhai and his AIDS Action Project (AAP) have extensively documented scores of cases of farmers who died from AIDS after selling their blood to unsanitary, government-sanctioned blood collectors in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

Wan has said there may be up to 2 million such cases in China.

AAP was evicted from its office at a private university in July after officials told the school to stop cooperating with the organization and now Wan himself has gone missing.

“I haven’t been able to reach him on his mobile phone or home phone for days,” his wife, Su Zhaosheng, told Agence-France Presse. “We talk every day. No matter how late, he always answers the phone.”

In Hong Kong Sept. 2, gay and other activists marched on the Chinese government liaison office demanding information on Wan’s whereabouts.

Guards locked the gates and repeatedly tossed the protesters’ petition back at them before eventually tearing it into pieces.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #435
August 26, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

VIETNAMESE GAY NOVEL WINS PRIZE

A crime novel built around a gay love affair — A World Without Women by Bui Anh Tam — has won Vietnam’s Peace and Safety literary prize.

The award is conferred jointly by the police department, the public-security ministry and the Vietnam Writers Association.

ILGA ASIANS PLAN GATHERING

The Asian region of the International Lesbian & Gay Association will stage its first regional conference in Mumbai, India, Oct. 11-13.

Registration and scholarship forms are available from graycat@eureka.lk.

ILGA is a networking organization made up of hundreds of gay groups from all corners of the globe. The association’s last worldwide conference was in Oakland, Calif. The next global gathering will be in Manila next year.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #434
August 19, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

GAY SUPPORT INCREASES IN HONG KONG

Acceptance of gays and lesbians has increased substantially in Hong Kong since 1996, a new survey found, according to reports in the South China Morning Post.

The survey, conducted by the Polytechnic University and the gay group Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting, found that 75 percent of the 500 people questioned consider homosexual colleagues “acceptable” or “highly acceptable,” 73.1 percent accept homosexual classmates, and 69.2 percent accept gay strangers.

More than half approve of gay siblings, school teachers and high-ranking government officials, the report said. Eighty percent said gays should be allowed to marry and adopt children.

However, the research, which was conducted by telephone in May, also found that a majority of people believe homosexuality is a mental illness.

Women, younger people, single people and people with more schooling polled more gay-friendly than other respondents.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #433
August 12, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

KOREANS ORGANIZE

Several South Korean gay groups have formed an umbrella organization called Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Korea, the Korea Times reported July 26.

“The landscape surrounding the issue has changed so much over the last few years, but the movement has not. So we felt the need for a turning point, with an emphasis on priorities,” said Kim Byung-suk, the group’s secretary.

Founding members include the gay groups Chingusai and Kirikiri and the Web sites Another Love and Safe Zone. South Korea heavily censors gay Web sites. For more information, see http://lgbtkorea.org.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #432
August 05, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

SRI LANKAN TRANNY FILM BANNED

Sri Lanka’s government censors have ordered filmmaker Ashoka Handagama to delete scenes from his new movie Thani Thatuwen Piyambanna (Flying with One Wing) if he wants it to be screened in Sri Lanka.

The movie is based on the true story of a transvestite who was jailed without charges last year when the parents of her female partner discovered she was not biologically male.

Handagama has refused to alter the film and says he will pursue the matter in court.

INTERNET FLING LEADS TO MURDER

A 19-year-old man in Vietnam who discovered that the girl he had been flirting with online was really a 14-year-old boy killed the youth July 14.

Tran Quoc Dung was arrested for stabbing Nguyen Bui Linh outside an Internet cafe in Vinh City in Nghe An province, said Agence France-Presse.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #429
July 15, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CHINESE AIDS GROUP EVICTED

Beijing’s AIDS Action Project was evicted from its office at a private university after officials told the school to stop cooperating with the organization, the South China Morning Post reported July 4.

“It will be very difficult for us to apply for funding without being connected to an institution,” said project founder Wan Yan hai.

Wan believes the authorities targeted the group after it published on its Web site the names of 170 farmers who died from AIDS in Henan province after selling their blood to unsanitary, government-sanctioned blood collectors in the late 1980s to mid 1990s.

Wan told the Post that up to two million Henan residents may have been infected by the blood collectors.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #425
June 17, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CASH-STRAPPED FIJIANS AIM FOR SYDNEY

Thirty gays and lesbians from Fiji have been awarded free air tickets, lodging and registration to attend the Gay Games in Sydney but still may not be able to go because they don’t have the money for visa fees and other paperwork, Agence France-Presse reported June 11.

Games organizers handed out the scholarships in hopes of increasing participation by indigenous peoples.

But no one is Fiji is willing to help with the incidental expenses.

“There was absolutely no response from those we approached for assistance,” Luisa Tora, who hopes to attend the games with her lover, Sangeeta Singh, told AFP.

She said they targeted businesses and other entities that have funded sporting efforts.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #424
June 10, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

BISHOP: GAYS CAN BE PRIESTS

One of The Philippines’ senior-most Catholic bishops says he has no problem with priests being gay as long as they don’t have sex.

“Homosexuality as an orientation is not sinful,” said Sorsogon Bishop Jesus Varela.

In the wake of the ongoing priestly sex scandal, some U.S. bishops have called for a ban on gay priests even if they’re celibate.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #420
May 13, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

BLACKMAILERS TARGET GAY NUDE BEACH

Blackmailers are preying on gay men who congregate at Taiwan’s Sha Lun nude beach, the Taipei Times reported May 2.

“The victim is approached by a man while alone at the beach,” the paper said. “After striking up a conversation — with the victim responding positively to the man’s friendly overtures — a group of three or four other men appear, threatening to reveal the victim’s sexual orientation while demanding that he turn over his wallet or ATM cards.”

The paper said few of the incidents are reported to police.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #419
May 06, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CHINA GETS A GAY MAGAZINE

An AIDS awareness magazine for gay men has begun publishing in China.

Friend Exchange publishes six times a year with funds from the U.S. Ford Foundation.

Editor Zhang Beichuan says the most important thing the magazine can do is keep repeating “the ABCs” of HIV prevention.

TAIWANESE MILITARY POLICE UNBAN GAYS

Taiwan’s defense minister lifted a ban on gay military police officers May 2, just days after the Military Police Command acknowledged its existence.

The official change of heart followed a rare street protest by dozens of gay activists.

The policy stated that people with “sexual orientation impairment” cause inconvenience in “managing and meeting the needs” of the job.

“We don’t remember when the rule was formulated,” said a police spokesman, “but we are certain that sexual orientation impairment was considered a mental illness at the time. Now times have changed. The rule is not quite appropriate by current standards.”

Taiwan has about 10,000 military cops. They protect military installations, government offices and the president.

The nation’s army, navy and air force do not ban gays.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #415
April 08, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

POLICE TARGET HIJRAS AND KOTHIS

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission says police in Bangalore, India, are mistreating hijras and kothis.

Hijras are transgendered people and people with intersex conditions — mostly men who undergo castration. They are found throughout South Asia. Kothis are men who have sex with men and see themselves as feminine.

IGLHRC cited instances of arbitrary arrest and torture, and an apparent ban on hijra meetings within the city limits.

On March 17, seven policemen from the Commercial Street Police Station visited the offices of the sexual-minorities resource center Sangama and demanded the center stop hosting hijra meetings. The officers followed up on March 31 by physically preventing hijras and kothis, as well as some activists and others, from entering Sangama’s premises, IGLHRC said.

For more information, visit www.iglhrc.org and www.sangamaonline.org.

VIETNAMESE GAYS PARTY

A gay fashion show and dance at a hotel in Long Hai, Vietnam, attracted hundreds of homosexuals in late March, the newspaper Thanh Nien reported April 1.

The official youth daily called the event a “highly frenzied … monstrosity,” noting that most of the models had been “partially turned into women” at sex-change clinics in neighboring Thailand.

“It was an abnormal phenomenon in the activities of the youth [that] is foreign to our country’s cultural tradition,” the newspaper said. “This monstrosity poses a headache for officials in charge of culture and education.”

Very little gay news emerges from Vietnam. In 1998, Agence-France Presse reported that the national assembly banned gay marriage in response to ceremonies that had taken place.

In 1999, activists in San Francisco spread word of a gay AIDS-education group in Ho Chi Minh City. They said the organization — called Information, Education, Communication — had 40 members who dispensed condoms, advice and crudely duplicated pamphlets to the estimated 20,000 men who visit the city’s gay pick-up spots.

Also in 1999, Vietnam’s Labor Ministry reportedly banned HIV carriers from working in hotels, kindergartens, restaurants, health-care facilities, beauty shops, vaccine-production labs and cosmetic-surgery facilities. The ministry said there would be no mass-testing program but that people already known to be infected would have to leave their jobs.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #414
April 01, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

GAY, LESBIAN MARRY IN HONG KONG

A gay man wearing a wedding dress and a lesbian wearing a tuxedo and a moustache got married in Hong Kong March 25 in order to access subsidized rental housing available only to heterosexual couples and challenge heterosexist laws.

Noel Chen, 28, and Yeo Wai-wai, 25, said they have no intention of living together because they already have partners — and that their partners plan to get married to each other as well, in order to obtain housing benefits.

“Our purpose is to challenge the ban on housing assistance, married persons’ tax allowances and adoption services to homosexual couples in Hong Kong,” Chen told Agence France-Presse.

The wedding took place at the City Hall registry office.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #406
February 04, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

NET HURTS TOKYO GAY BARS

The more than 200 small gay bars in Tokyo’s Shinjuku 2-chome neighborhood have seen a drop-off in customers, in part because it’s easier and cheaper to make new friends online, Japan Times reported Jan 28.

“Today, gays can meet friends or sex partners through Internet sites quickly and for free,” said Bungaku Ito, editor of the gay magazine Barazoku. “They no longer need to bother to come all the way to 2-chome and pay for drinks just to meet people.”

Ito said the number of personal ads in his magazine also has plummeted, from about 1,000 a month to 200.

Shinjuku 2-chome’s bars also are losing customers to hundreds of small gay bars that have opened up in nightlife areas that previously were patronized only by straight people, Japan Times said.

CHINESE MEDIA BECOMES OBSESSED WITH GAYS

China’s state-run media has developed an “insatiable appetite” for news about gays in the past two months, Singapore’s Straits Times reported Jan. 27.

It started in November when the Huaxia Times called China “half a heaven for homosexuals,” the paper said.

This month, the craze led Modern Civilization Pictorial, published by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, to devote the entire issue to homosexuality.

There’s also a gay cover story in this month’s City Weekend magazine.

The Ministry of Public Health says there are 30 million to 40 million gay men in China. It has no estimate of the lesbian population.

Gay activists speculate that the new openness flows from the government’s desire to prevent an explosion of HIV infection among gay men, who are believed to make up only a small percentage of current Chinese AIDS cases.


January 26, 2002

From Egale Canada’s January Update:

Immigration Action Alert

Towards the end of last year, the Canadian Government published a first draft of new proposed immigration regulations. These regulations set out the criteria for deciding when same-sex partners will be eligible to immigrate to Canada as members of the family class.

Unfortunately, the regulations require that couples cohabit in a conjugal relationship for one year before they will be recognized as members of the family class. This requirement is wholly unrealistic in the immigration context, where couples often cannot cohabit, precisely because they are separated by immigration requirements! The only exception in the proposed regulations is for couples who cannot cohabit for fear of persecution. While Egale welcomes the exception, it is far too narrow to cover the range of couples who will be excluded by the family class provisions.

Anyone not recognized under the family class may still be admitted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but there are substantial disadvantages to this approach. Humanitarian and compassionate decisions are made on a discretionary basis, which can lead to arbitrary results. Unlike the family class, there is no right of appeal from a refusal on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Family class members are exempted from the medical inadmissibility provisions, an exemption not necessarily available to applicants on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Heterosexuals can avoid the cohabitation requirement altogether, simply by marrying. A married spouse has automatic access to Canada as a member of the family class.

Egale is finalizing a brief on the proposed regulations, which will soon be available on our Website at www.egale.ca. We will also be appearing with LEGIT and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network at hearings before a Parliamentary Committee next month.

In the meantime, the government is seeking public feedback and community-members need to make their voices heard! Contact Johanne DesLauriers, Social Policy, Selection Branch, Citizenship & Immigration Canada today – ph: (613) 941-9022; fax: (613) 941-9323; Jean Edmonds Tower N, 7th floor, 300 Slater St, Ottawa, ON, K1A 1L1.

Call upon the government to:

(i) eliminate the cohabitation requirement altogether. It is unrealistic in the immigration context;
(ii) process applications by couples intending to live common law directly
under the family class, not under the arbitrary humanitarian and compassionate category;
(iii) broaden the exceptions to the cohabitation requirement to include couples unable to live together, for example, because they are separated by immigration requirements.

Bangkok conference

Recently, Egale was able to use funds available through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to assist our brothers and sisters in South East Asia. It is very rare that these kinds of development funds from Canada and other countries have been used to specifically assist development of the LGBT communities around the world.

“Sharing Our Experiences” was a conference held in Bangkok, Thailand from January 18-20, 2002. Organized by long-time Egale member and supporter, Prof. Douglas Sanders, the goal of the conference was to bring together people from the LGBT communities and organizations in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Participants shared their common and different experiences within their own countries and built strategies for networking within the South East Asia Region. There were also panels on international human rights, equality and non-discrimination achievements in Canada and beyond, and religion and values in Asia.

Egale President Kim Vance also attended the conference. In her conference report, Kim noted a variety of themes identified by conference participants: the immense challenges to coalition building as a result of the religious and cultural diversity in the region, barriers posed by invisibility, particularly for lesbian women, the cultural role of transgendered people in South East Asia, and the responsibility of Western nations to use their current positions of relative privilege to help address at the international level many of the discriminatory attitudes that colonizing nations often exported around the globe.

To join Egale or support them financially, fill out the secure form at:
https://www.islandnet.com/~egale/intro/appeal.htm


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #403
January 14, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

JUDGES PROMOTE GAY RIGHTS IN INDIA

Two gay judges visiting from overseas promoted gay rights in Mumbai, India, Jan. 8, the Times of India reported.

Australian Justice Michael Kirby and South African Justice Edwin Cameron told a gay conference that convincing the media to include gay characters on television entertainment programs could be an important goal.

“We need to blow away that spell cast on people to keep quiet about their sexual identities,” Kirby said. “We had a program featuring gays in Australia and believe me, it did more for furthering the community’s cause than anything else.”

In December, the AIDS organization Naz Foundation filed suit in the Delhi High Court against India’s ban on gay sex, Penal Code Section 377.

The organization says the law violates constitutional rights to life, liberty and equal protection under the law, and impedes HIV prevention work.

Section 377 punishes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” with up to life in prison.

Kirby is a member of Australia’s High Court. Cameron sits on South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal. In 1999, he revealed that he is HIV-positive.

KOREAN GAY WEB SITES HIT HARD

South Korea’s oldest and biggest gay Web site, Exzone.com, has been ordered by the government to label itself a “harmful site” and prevent access by young people.

Failure to follow the order will result in a $10,000 fine and a two-year prison sentence for the site owner, officials said.

The Ministry of Information and Communications enacted an Internet content rating system last year that classifies gay Web sites as “harmful media” that must be blocked from youth. The determination followed a decision by the Korean Information and Communications Ethics Committee (ICEC) to classify homosexuality as “obscenity and perversion” in its “Criteria for Indecent Internet Sites.” Activists trace that definition to a 1997 law that classifies descriptions of “homosexual love” as “harmful to youth.”

Since the introduction of the Internet Content Filtering Ordinance last July, more than 12,000 Web sites, including several gay ones, have been blocked, deleted, turned off or shut down.

The large gay site Ivancity.com was turned off by the Internet service provider that hosted it, without any notice or request for content modification. Gay online clubs at two of Korea’s biggest Web portals (Daum and Say Club) also were deleted, reportedly on orders from the ICEC.

On Jan. 9, 15 Korean gay groups filed suit against the government, claiming the clampdown violates the constitution’s guarantees of freedom of expression, speech and press.

“The government has no right to determine people’s sexual orientation,” said Im Tae-Hun of the Lesbian and Gay Alliance Against Discrimination in Korea. “Even if we don’t stand a chance of winning the case, we will take the case to international human rights organizations to call international attention to this issue.”

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission has called for protest letters to several South Korean officials. (See www.iglhrc.org for details.)

“These actions violate the right to freedom of expression, enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Korea is a signatory,” IGLHRC said.

“The rights of the lesbian and gay communities are not acceptable ‘trade-offs’ to satisfy concerns about protecting youth from viewing material considered offensive. In fact, blocking information about sexual orientation on the Internet denies access to vital, even life-saving information and community, particularly for the vulnerable population of lesbian and gay youth.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS #402
January 07, 2002

©Rex Wockner
wockner@panix.com

CHINESE BUSINESSMAN SENTENCED FOR FONDLING

A 68-year-old businessman in Haikou, Hainan, China, was sentenced to apologize and pay a one yuan fine (12 U.S. cents) to each of three male coworkers he fondled and kissed, Xinhua reported Jan. 4.

Wang Guang told the local court he thought the men were fellow homosexuals.

One plaintiff told the court his wife filed for divorce and threatened to have an abortion after the case became public knowledge.