Archive for May, 2010



News from the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia 2010 (IDAHO).

From our friends at IDAHO

Once again, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be marked by hundreds of events across all continents and will witness some historic initiatives.

Projects to join, projects to watch out for – a glimpse of diversity!

In Turkey, LGBT and Human Rights organizations have put together an impressive week-long program, including Pride marches in different cities and an international congress on May 15/16, that will witness the presence of several European MPs, members of the LGBT intergroup, several Ambassadors and representatives of the international Human Rights community. The renowned queer feminist writer and philosopher Judith Butler will be holding a conference as part of the program. Find all the details on www.antihomofobi.org

This year again, Cambodia Pride will mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with a vast programme of activities. Alongside the Pride march itself, Cambodia Pride is organising an impressive series of events between the 10th and the 17th of May to celebrate IDAHO. Check the detailed programme on http://www.phnompenhpride.blogspot.com/

Havana, the brand new site dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Israel, is born. Check out all that is happening around the country and stay in touch with the IDAHO Israel team at http://www.havana.org.il/

More than 150 events mark IDAHO across France, including a national conference on Religions, Homophobia and Transphobia, with high level representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim faiths, and the launch of a National Campaign against Homophobia in all secondary schools across the country. Check out the Campaign website for more info on this.

In Romania, the LGBT festival GayFest starts right on 17th of May and will be placed under the sign of IDAHO
The programme in in English and in Romanian at www.gay-fest.ro

In Kenya, this year GALCK will mark the day once more by reaching out to the public to try to change misconceptions and misrepresentations of LGBT people. As part of the program Galck member organisations will be presenting dances and acting a play based on the Ugandan Law. IDAHO shall also be marked in at least two other cities in Kenya, including Nakuru and Kisumu.

In Russia, 17 May 2010 will be the day GayRussia applies officially to the Mayor of Moscow for permission to organise the Jubelee 5th Moscow Pride on 29 May. GayRussia will also celebrate its 5th anniversary on 17 May.

At the same time, GayRussia will support organisations in Belarus for the Slavic Pride that is planned to take place for IDAHO in Minsk

Still in Russia, . organisations who launched last year the Rainbow Flashmob initiative have this year expanded their initiative to the Czeck Republic and various cities across Germany and invite more cities and countries to join in. Check participating cities on the RainbowFlash 2010 Google Map. More info to join this initiative on the Flashmob webite

In Germany still, the anti-homophobia project Maneo is once more gearing up for IDAHO with a special edition of its traditional Kiss-in,  this year as part of the Great Global Kiss-in :

In at least 20 different cities in 11 countries, groups will come together to peacefully celebrate the freedom to love under the “Great Global Kiss-in” initiative. Individuals all over the world can join into this project by sending a videokiss message on gays.com//idaho or to kissin@idaholophobia.org

In the UK, an impressive programme of action is once again on the IDAHO menu. Check out all the details on http://idahomophobia.org/wp/?p=1948&lang=en

This year ILGA Europe will mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia by organising a public event right in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels. The aim of the ‘Rainbow Buzz’ action is to raise awareness of the rights of LGBT people and promote objectives to advance the rights of LGBT people in Europe. ILGA Europe is also preparing an updated and amended edition of the Rainbow Europe maps, including a new ‘European Rainbow County Index’

In Ukraine, IDAHO will be marked by the Queer Week Festival. The goal is to create positive visibility for LGBTQ people and celebrate diversity. There will be a lot of different activities, such as photo exhibits and a film festival called “Different love. For more details about the Queer Week Festival, see the programme on www.insight-ukraine.org.ua.

More information is coming in every minute. Watch out for updates and check out www.idahomophobia.org for details.

The “Us Versus Them” Mentality

Much already has been said by others on Arizona’s new law that would allow – no, require – police officers to infringe on civil liberties in an effort to hunt down those who might be in this country illegally. But we have to add our voice to these concerns.

There’s an ugliness about Arizona’s new law that those of us who are gay or transgender find familiar. The law is steeped in the “us versus them” mentality with which our community has struggled for decades – a full-throated determination to shield America from the very diversity that American civil liberties and principles are designed to protect. And claims to the contrary notwithstanding, the law clearly appears to single out a group of people for arbitrary action — something of which our community, too, has been a victim at the local, state, and national levels.

Far worse legislation, of course, has emerged in countries overseas – Uganda’s “anti-gay law,” still pending in that parliament, being perhaps the most current and egregious example. But foreign laws should not be the standard of repulsion. In this country, we are seeking to repeal discriminatory laws and to enact others that would put gay and transgender people on equal footing with other citizens. Those efforts reflect America’s growing understanding that the rights of one part of society cannot be secured at the expense of another. But as we seek these changes, we have every reason to hold our country, and its state components, to higher standards of expectation in how it protects the individual freedoms that all of us hold dear. Surely Arizona’s law falls far, far short of those expectations.

We do not deny the need for comprehensive immigration reform – indeed, the Council is clearly on the record as having encouraged such reform, in an inclusive manner that addresses, too, the needs of LGBT citizens and their families. But that national need in no way can empower individual, misguided, and inappropriate efforts at the state level to take actions that violate the liberties of any class of individuals. Indeed, the very same forces in this country have helped to pass anti-gay measures in a majority of our states. We need comprehensive immigration reform and federal protections for LGBT people, while at the same time vigilantly ensuring the protection of civil and human rights of all individuals in the fifty states. Arizona’s law is an affront to the values that we as a country should protect. It brings shame to that state and should be repealed.

Lou Engle’s Personal Crusade to Encourage the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill”

For some time now, Uganda’s so-called “anti-homosexuality bill” has been on a slow roll, still pending in parliament but with no visible sign of movement.  Last weekend, U.S. evangelist Lou Engle stepped into that calm, roiling the waters with a personal crusade to encourage the bill’s passage.

Mr. Engle has said he does not endorse the harshest penalties in the bill’s current version. That’s no consolation for Uganda’s gay citizenry, however, as they still would be singled out for discriminatory treatment and incarceration on the basis of who they are. Nor should it be acceptable to others who would risk penalty should they fail to report homosexuals to the police.

These provisions of the bill are un-American, to say the least.  But that hasn’t deterred Mr. Engle, who reportedly sees Uganda as “ground zero” in what we see as an effort to demonize gaysand who praised Ugandan clergy and politicians for the “courage” and “righteousness” in supporting the bill last Sunday at a rally in Uganda. We would not presume to deny Mr. Engle’s right to travel abroad, and he of course should be entitled to his own personal religious views, even if those views suggest that he has inherited the role of the Pharisees, who substituted man’s judgment for that of God.

But Uganda does not claim to be a theocracy, nor should our country abide attempts by Mr. Engle and others to make it one. We hope the State Department will be quick to underscore to Ugandan authorities that Mr. Engle’s views are counter to the standard of respect for civil rights that any aspiring democracy must hold, and that this bill, in any form, is nothing short of an affront to basic standards of fairness and decency.

Read more regarding Lou Engle’s involvement in Uganda

In Uganda, Push to Curb Gays Draws U.S. Guest – New York Times
Engle Offers Tactical Support For Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill – Box Turtle Bulletin

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