Monthly Archives: April 2009

Some moments with Tanvir Alim

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Tanvir Alim a prominent Gay Rights Activist from Bangladesh shares his views on the mindset of the Homosexuals in this pre-dominantly Islamic society. He also gives a vivid description about the contribution of BoB towards educating the gays about their rights and aspirations.

Ashok Deb: Dear Tanvir tell me about your association with BOB

Tanvir: I was basically an inactive member of BoB. Few BOB well wishers cajoled me to be active way back in 2005, but I refrained being scared of disclosing my sexual identity. The prevailing Homophobia in society and office created an invisible wall which prevented me to COME OUT.

Ashok Deb: and then what happened?

Tanvir: Later at a certain stage I felt isolated and lonely in this homophobic society and decided to come closer to like-minded people.  I started meeting BoB members in different offline events and found them to be quite friendly and helpful. Sharing my feelings with them was of great relief which I could not communicate with my colleagues, family or classmates. The homely atmosphere of the community inspired me to COME OUT and subsequently work for it.

Ashok Deb: When I talked to Himadri last time, he said that it is quite difficult to make people COME OUT and proclaim their sexual identity. Even after COMING OUT rarely people opts to be an activist. So what is the journey of yours into Gay rights activism?

Tanvir: Absolutely right. At a certain point of time an individual feels that it’s not worth enough to conceal his sexual identity, and at that time he COMES OUT. I found BoB community to be very co-operative which ultimately convinced me to become a volunteer. Initially I advised BoB on concepts of event management and now as an activist and moderator I’m whole heartedly associated with BoB.

Ashok Deb: I think Bangladesh has a higher percentage of Homosexuals than other countries. Some studies have indicated that about 10 percent of the total population may belong to the category of SEXUAL MINORITY taking their count to about 18 million. Still the gay and lesbian community is virtually visible, as people rarely comes out.

Tanvir: No idea about the statistics, but I feel in Dhaka the rate of Bisexual people is increasing. Secondly there is a significant category [I am not aware if there is a suitable term for them. If not, we should make one J] who are gay and later they get married succumbing to social pressures. After marriage still they claim themselves as gay and not bisexuals. These two categories were not identified in the statistics I presume.

Ashok Deb: Why does so few of the Bangladeshis decide to Come out?

Tanvir: I have knowledge of some people who CAME OUT but generally homosexuals lack strong self-confidence, determination and visionary thoughts [actually the correct wordings would be "some people are hopeless", even though I don't want to use the phrase] and hence can’t sustain the social approbations. Societal pressures, family bondings, poor skills of managing a crisis, lack of self-confidence, religious beliefs are the main obstacles to COMING OUT. I want to quote a line here.

I often ask people, “Why don’t you be a member of BoB?”

The reply is always, “ki dorker.” I repeat, “Ki dorker” [What's the need of that?]

The general perception of the homosexuals is “I can get what I need physically without socializing with the community. So why do I need to get in to a coming out hassle?”

If you consider our economy,Bangladesh operates barely at basic levels of survival. Earning a livelihood is the sole priority of an individual and neither are the sexual minorities much concerned about their social bonding, mental needs or community building. In this situation proclaiming his sexual identity or activism is a cock and bull story even among the Gay community, let alone lesbians and others. The consequences of COMING OUT for lesbian in a society like ours is beyond imagination. Hijras and Kothis are OUT in a way but people’s perception towards them is quite shocking. I presume that Bangladeshi Gays opts a path of least social resistance, ridiculing and approbations and hence they get married. In my opinion it’s not the Gays who are solely responsible but also the social structure, taboos, and religious mindset which acts as a barrier to COMING OUT. But I’m optimistic that things will change soon.

Ashok Deb: So the norm in Bangladesh is that ALL GAYS HAVE TO GET MARRIED to avoid social scrutiny

Tanvir: I would like to say the norm in Bangladesh is that ALL GUYS AND GIRLS HAVE TO GET MARRIED to avoid social scrutiny J.The rule applies even to straight people too.

Ashok Deb: yes……I have been watching the transformation of BOB , which early acted just a meeting point of Dhaka Gays is transforming itself as one of the premier Gay activist centre in the country.

Tanvir: Yes, but few are supporting the concept where majority thinks it still not the right time and is unnecessary. I personally enjoy the transformation as a gift of time.

Ashok Deb: Even the same feelings echoed with my conversation with Himadri, who told that people wants to use BOB more as a Gay meeting place

Tanvir:  Earlier members used it as a cruising site but things are changing. Lots of appreciation, suggestions, ideas as well as criticisms towards activism are appearing on the message board. Initially the general members may not approve of this TRANSFORMATIONS but I believe it will have an impact in changing their mindset and will contribute in awareness building. You may have already noticed that some people have found BoB message board as their room to give independent opinion which I feel is very positive.

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Ashoka Deb: So what BOB is doing to help the homosexuals come out and recognise their sexual orientation

Tanvir: Well, BoB is working very strategically and with caution. Initially BoB Management arranges get-togethers, hang-outs and picnics. When the new members feel comfortable with BoB volunteers and understand that we can be relied upon, they start keeping in touch [Community Building] and at a certain level, community develops. In this development process it helps people to recognize their sexual orientation and some people do COME OUT.

Ashoka Deb: Generally I feel that there should be more visibility of the homosexual community and that cant be achieved if people don’t come out.

Tanvir: You are right that there should be more visibility of the homosexual community, and truly it cant be achieved if people don’t come out. But the closeted trend so far and the hesitations to COME OUT reflects that the members are not comfortable with the concepts of coming out and visibility. Even the online message board is saying the same regarding activism. While arranging some events, I found people are more still prefers meeting someone in private , rather in an event. I was often asked in online chats,Are you very open? I don’t prefer too open people to meet.” Even my X boy friend was discouraging me sometimes to attend BoB meetings frequently though he was open to his parents. If you add all, the abstract is – people do not encourage this coming out and visibility right at this moment. There are lots of factors, variables, misperception, and politics working behind it. I believe, let them take their time and come out naturally. I think we need some more time to establish our own visibility.

Ashoka Deb: It means still we are not even near to push for same sex rights in the country.Right??

Tanvir: Yes, I don’t think it’s the right time. The recent crowd are not ready for it.But I strongly believe that we should start the ground work for the same sex rights. Finding our  identity, coming out, relationships, social bonding, relying on each other are dependent on this.

Ashoka Deb: Is BOB taking any steps of awaring the society that Homosexuality is not a sin but a natural phenomenon

Tanvir: Yes Bob is doing it in a very strategic ways. The events are the best solutions I felt, the film shows, the hang outs, workshop, training seems initially fun but deep inside it is giving the message to the people - Homosexuality is not a sin but a natural phenomenon and come out with your identity. You are what you are. There is nothing to feel shy or hide and you are not alone. We are here with you.

Besides while arranging events, we generally inform the venue owners about the crowd. Often there are heterosexual peoples  whom BoB never restricts , so the message in a way goes out.

Ashoka Deb: I heard that last few years in Dhaka Book Fair there was few gay affirming literatures

Tanvir: Yes, there are books like Prantiki, Iraq er Diary and some others. Some other writers a re-working on it I know. I hope there will be more reviews on these books so these issues can come to the lime light.

Ashoka Deb: Even BOB has written many Gay affirming letters to the dailies for granting rights for the sexual minorities, aint it?

Tanvir: In Daily Star there were submission of letters and debates on homosexuality in 2006. It was quoted that even though homosexuality has been omitted from the psychological disorder list but in Bangladesh we are still under Sociatal and Governmental pressure as it is  perceived more of a perversion.

There was a telecast at ETV on THIRD GENDER where our friend Katha Apa speaks on the issue. Last month I was watching a documentary at Goethe Institute “Reflection” based on MSM populations. One of our friends has prepared an article for Bangla newspapers which I was reading the other day. I admit that things are a bit scattered but still in progress.

Ashoka Deb: That’s good. Tell me about your new publication

Tanvir: Well, during my early days in this community, I heard lots of efforts for a publication but  it never came out.So I took up the challenge and started working for it. Our major objective is to reach the general community people who can not access the internet or read English. That’s the sole reason we have opted to publish it in Bengali.

Ashoka Deb: Is it a work by the gays…..or FOR the gays

Tanvir: It’s on Sexual diversity. The contents cover homophobia and lesbians, articles on personalities, dialogues between Hijra community, community news, book reviews, interviews, travel etc both from Bangladesh and Kolkata. Now we are working on photos, classified ads, quotations, cartoons etc. You can say it is a collaborative work by the sexually diversified people to all. On the other hand a straight person can read it and have an impression or awareness about sexual diversity

Ashoka Deb: Is it a little magazine or a full fledged BOOK

Tanvir: It’s going to be a twenty page mag and will be published every four months.

Ashoka Deb: So its more of a BOB mouthpiece or in other words the voice of sexual minorities of Bangladesh

Tanvir: The Voice of sexual minorities of Bangladesh. We initially asked for the write ups at BoB message boards. Besides messages were put up at Bombay-Dost and kolkata_ gayindiansmeetingpoint message boards too. There were oral communications to our friends. The response came that way. Here I want to mention a point

Ashoka Deb: Yes

Tanvir: The content of the publication is the people’s voice, which may not go with the motto, moral, mission or vision of BoB

Ashoka Deb: I could conceive it……so the appeal or target audience is the homosexual community.Right?

T:anvir Yes, you can say sexually diversified bangla speaking people who does not have internet access or cannot read English.

Ashoka Deb: and where did u get the funding from

Tanvir: No funding so far.

Ashoka Deb: But have you guys approached any international Gay Rights Agencies for fundings of your activities

Tanvir: We can easily get funds but in that case we may have to compromise with our morals. For example, now I identify myself as a male homosexual, in that case may be I have to call myself an MSM. But still we are thinking of this issue. If we can get a fund with comfortable guidelines, which could really help us to bring a creative communication.

Ashoka Deb: Yes funds do come with guidelines, fortunately or unfortunately.

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Ashoka Deb: I know that BOB generally prescribes people to Jagory for voluntary blood testing

Tanvir: Yes, from our experience they proved to be the most homo friendly, educated, reliable and cheap. To them BoB has a certain image which is reflected in their service.

Ashoka deb: If I may summarize, BoB have an aids awareness program, workshops on sexual diversity and its own publication.

Tanvir: Regarding HIV, we generally distribute safe sex manuals and had voluntary HIV testing. But our main work area is rights activism. At present there is a training program in progress on Gender, sexuality and rights. We have a good coalition with other people like lesbians, bisexuals, Hijras etc and organizations who are working on this with that we are participating in some national and international workshops. We are planning for the next phase of our organizations. If we can become an organization in near future, we have plan to document the rights violations in Bangladesh, special campaign to remove homophobia etc. There are loads of on line and off line activities in the pipe line that are about to come

Ashoka Deb: Did BoB ever send any representation to the government about Gay rights

Tanvir: There are some ground works in progress from our end where some other organizations are also involved.

Ashoka Deb: Now as a journalist I hate to ask this question. I was in Bangladesh and so I am aware of the volatile political situation and the influence of Jamaat and Islamic Unity Alliance in Bangladesh scene. Recently The Islamic Ain Bastobayaon Samiti is pressing for Sharia Law ,which was hithero unknown in our society and scrapping of all development projects by UN. Do you fear that at one time your visibility will be a problem for you?

Tanvir: When we plan for something, we keep that in mind. Even in small get together we have to think of security measures. It will be a problem for sure, but we have to fight. Jamayet is a threat for progressive thinkers let alone us.

Ashoka Deb: Later when the community increases in numbers and starts fighting for its rights, there may be persecutions. Does that make you people  less confident?

Tanvir: We are not. There were prosecutions as well as compromise with them before.  So are we supposed to sit idle thinking of that?

Ashoka Deb: its great to have this conversation with you. It will be posted in BOB page of LGBT Bangladesh

Tanvir: I enjoyed talking to you a lot. For further details or clarification readers can e-mail me anytime. thecrowbd@yahoo.com

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Report: Iraqi Militia Killing Gay Men with Painful Anal Glue Torture

http://www.towleroad.com/2009/04/report-iraqi-militia-killing-gay-men-with-painful-form-of-anal-torture.html

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission writes: “The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country.”

Sadrcity 

“A prominent Iraqi human rights activist says that Iraqi militia have deployed a painful form of torture against homosexuals by closing their anuses using ‘Iranian gum.’ … Yina Mohammad told Alarabiya.net that, ‘Iraqi militias have deployed an unprecedented form of torture against homosexuals by using a very strong glue that will close their anus.’ According to her, the new substance ‘is known as the American hum, which is an Iranian-manufactured glue that if applied to the skin, sticks to it and can only be removed by surgery. After they glue the anuses of homosexuals, they give them a drink that causes diarrhea. Since the anus is closed, the diarrhea causes death. Videos of this form of torture are being distributed on mobile cellphones in Iraq.’ According to this human rights activist, for the past 3 weeks a crackdown on homosexuals has been going on based on a religious decree that demands their death; dozens have been targeted. She says that the persecution of homosexuals is not confined to the Shiite clerics. Some Sunni leaders have also declared the death penalty for sodomy on satellite channels.”

Earlier today I posted disturbing BBC video of a young Iraqi man being forced to strip at a police stop for wearing women’s clothes, as well as reports of fliers being posted around Baghdad’s Sadr City (above) threatening death to homosexuals.

The BBC posted disturbing video of what they say is a young Iraqi gay man being forced to strip at a police post for wearing women’s clothes.

Iraqi Watch the report, AFTER THE JUMP

They report that these sorts of videos are circulated on mobile phones in the country: “The sobbing boy, who appears to be about 12, tries to explain that his family made him do it to earn money, as they have no other source of income. The scene, apparently filmed in a police post, reinforced reports of a campaign against gay men in Iraq which activists say has claimed the lives of more than 60 since December.”

The L.A. Times reports that fliers have been posted around Sadr City in eastern Baghdad threatening death to homosexuals:

“‘If you don’t cease your perverted acts, you will get your fair punishment,’ read the warnings, which were posted on walls on a variety of streets around the neighborhood. On some were scrawled the names of two or three local men suspected of being gay, says one resident, who estimates he saw about 15 names in all. The fliers were signed by a previously unknown group calling itself the Platoons of Righteousness. In addition, graffiti reading ‘we will get you, puppies’ — a derogatory Iraqi term for gays — was sprayed on walls in red paint. Residents said the fliers and graffiti were removed after a few hours, though it wasn’t clear by whom.”

I’ve reposted the BBC report, AFTER THE JUMP

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THE PINK MIRROR – Gulabi Aina

THE PINK MIRROR

Pink MirrorMen bring out the best in queens… and sometimes the worst.
When two bitchy drag queens and a sly gay teenager lust after a handsome hunk… can seduction, jealousy and cunning be far behind? A hilarious comedy replete with bitchiness and camp humour set a la Bollywood. Apart from being a drag romp, the film is an exposition of the Indian gay / transgender landscape, the humanly tender bonds between drag queens in India who form unique, non-patriarchal families and the lurking impact of HIV/AIDS.

The film draws interesting comparisons between indigenous Indian Drag Queens who are a vanishing clan and the contemporary young gays of Bombay city’s queer culture with borrowed western gay identity. Awards This underground indie film has been dubbed a cult film for being the first ever Indian film to reach so far and wide, offering a peep into the darkly closeted Indian homosexual world with empathy and sensitivity.  Official Website: www.solarispictures.com/ga.htm gay indian hunk BANNED in India because of its homosexual content, the film has received tremendous recognition and appreciation at 62 international film festivals around the world and has been feted with several awards including Jury Award for Best Feature at Fire Island Film Festival, New York and Best Film of the Festival award (Le Prix Comtesse des Flandres) at Le Festival Question de Genre de Lille, France.     Renowned Universities have added the film to their archives / library an using it as resource material in their academic courses like Gender, Nation and the World; Activist Voices in India; Gender and Film course.   Film DVDs available at
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The End of Homophobia

by Rahul ~ October 29th, 2008. Filed under: Analysis.

At the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, the conservative senator Stephen Douglas wielded racist sentiment like a katana. Lincoln was rather ambivalent toward the issue of slavery, only opposing it because of the instability of the slave system. Nevertheless, Douglas capitalized on the prejudices of the American public of the age, and went as far as to say that Lincoln was…

anti-slavery?

150 years ago, abolitionism was a radical fringe movement. In the white-centric society, few stood up for the rights of the slave-drivers’ “property”.

Even 50 years ago, civil rights took center stage. In the conservative former slave-states, previously unquestionable Black codes and Jim Crow laws that dominated the scene for a hundred years were put into question.

Now, of course, we live in a world where racial equality is a basic right guaranteed under the law (unfortunately, not always in practice). The thought of racial discrimination is worrisome for most, and slavery is positively repulsive. Scientific advances, such as the elucidation of inheritance principles, have morphed our society into one where discrimination on the basis of immutable genetic traits is unjust. Race is one of these genetic trates, mental capacity is another, and disease is a third.

Stepping back for a second, we can see that societies tend to become more liberal as time goes on. Discrimination based on race and other genetic factors, once considered part of the natural order, is now more or less gone (or at worst, not publicly displayed).

Today’s main civil rights debate is that of sexual orientation. Homosexuality in ages past was (and in some places, still is) taboo. Homosexuals have historically been discriminated against with society’s most brutal treatments – ostracization, and in some cases, reeducation or execution.

Clearly, the treatment of homosexuals has improved exponentially over the past few decades. However, there is one hurdle remaining to complete equality: marriage.

The trump card for advocates of homosexual rights – and therefore, civil rights – is slowly being revealed, though. Scientists studying the Drosophila fruit fly last year found that they could turn homosexuality on and off by modifying a gene. While the results are only preliminary, they do suggest that homosexuality has a genetic basis. Hopefully, as further research is done into this, it will strike the death blow for anti-gay marriage campaigns. If homosexuality really is genetic (which, judging by these results, it does seem to be), then discrimination of any kind by virtue of sexual orientation will die.

Nevertheless, as time goes on, chances are, all opposition to gay and lesbian rights will phase out, regardless of scientific study. If past history is any indicator, then as history progresses, we will see society slowly progress as well. Harmful tradition and prejudice are always fighting a losing battle against time. Though conservatives might be able to delay the inevitable, the truth – everything that is right and just – will always go marching on.

Stay tuned over the next week for my take on a hilariously misguided campaign: “Protect Marriage”, which aims to ban gay marriage in California.

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When You Should Come Out of the Closet?

Should you come out to your family about your sexual orientation or personal beliefs about religion(such as Agnosticism or Atheism or conversion to another religion)?
Honestly I think yes.But only after you have achieved such a status in your life that you can support yourself ably even when your family has kicked you out,for there are a great many chances of happening so.
There is nothing wrong in being an Atheist or turning away fromyour religion,if you feel that another stance or religion is better.There nothing wrong with you being homosexual or even pansexual .But try not to open up to your family when you are quite dependent upon them.There are advantages of coming out of the closet as well as disadvantages,for has there been anything with no side-effects and benefits,in this world?
Its better if you try to conceal your religious convictions or sexuality while you are financially dependent upon your family.They may kick you out and you may have no place to give yourself a shelter.
Once you have achieved the basic necessities of life such a wealth and education,you can then come out of the closet and proclaim yourself whatever you want,for then even if you family kciks you out you have a shelter to hide under and independence.

Till then you should try to:

1:Complete your education.
2:Open up to our close friends who you believe love you unconditionally.
3:Meet/Contact like minded people and try to converse with them as to how you should come out.
4:Join some communities in which you are sure your information will be kept confidential.
5:Be in peace with your religious convictions/sexuality and religion/yourself.
6:Try to educate other people about your stance,but be sure that they don’t rise against you for holding such an opinion or your sexuality.

Ashok Deb: This post was published in Humanistblog.blogspot.com

http://myhumanistblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/when-you-should-come-out-of-closet.html

by a Palistani free-thinker

This is how he describes himself

About Me

My Photo

The Humanist
I am Agnostic and recognize myself as a humanist,and even Secular Muslim.That means that even if I am an ex-Muslim,I still practise some Muslim beleifs that I feel are humanistic,such as Zakat and I would love to marry like a Muslim.I am Muslim,socially,not religiously. Other than that,I am blunt and blatant enough to express myself in any way I feel I should,as long as I am not being a simpleton and when it comes to my morality.

Ashok Deb: This is his experience of Coming out for the First time

http://myhumanistblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/coming-out-of-dark-closet.html

Coming Out Of The Dark Closet…..

Me and my mother,like sometimes we did and do,went for a walk in the park together.My mother has gone through alot because of me,but has never stopped loving me.Unlike others,who leave or loathe their parents for not accepting their orientation,my love for my mother is unconditional(until and unless she’s not telling me that I should sacrifice anyone else for her…haha).So, aswe were walking around in the park,we had a desultory talk in which she explained to me that I could tell her anything,since she’s already been through so much because of me.I took this opportunity and explained to her that I might have attarction towards women and men both.At that time I wasnt sure if I was gay or bisexual.And also I told her that I was having doubts about Islam.She was,obiously,disappointed.And tried to overlook the reality.She explained that this feeling that I was having towards my own gender would go away and it should be just a platonic one.To establish her point she went on to tell me that in her class there used to be these girls who used to cry for teachers and loved them because they were their favourite.Her desperation to somehow turn be staright was palpable.But I wasnt going to,since I couldnt.I gave her an immense amount of good research,over the time,in favour of homosexuality.I even tried to change her mind b introducing her to ijtihad(Islamic free reasoning) and that using it,Islam and Homosexuality could be reconciliated.But no! She wouldnt accept anything and turned her deaf ear to all my exlanation which I gave her every now and then.Then one day I recieved the email that my brother had sent me from Glasgow to give me an elder brother’s advise on how to be aware of those disgusting homosexuals,since I was moving to an all-boy’s school from co-education.I took this opportunity to tell him the truth about my bisexuality,which he didnt like either.Since then my whole family knows(maybe excluding one of my sisters,since she’s married and wasnt there when all of this happened).One of my sister think I am gay and that there’s no difference between bisexuals and gays and she even makes fun of my orientation and taunts me when we have a fight.My whole family is homophobiac.And my mother think gays are hijras(eunuchs),thanks to the media,especially that Nadia Khan of the Nadia Khan Show,who is one hell of an extremist.But I have decided.I have to stand for my orientation,even if it means leaving my family,although I’ll be a zombie without their love and them.Millions of people have gone through,are going through and will go through because of homophobia,misunderstanding of connotation of the owrd ‘gay’,and lack of education and tolerance.I have to be their voice.At this time anonymously ,maybe.But one day I’ll have a name and a title which will be able to influence others.And I’ll use it influence people and spread tolerance towards LGBT community,Hopefully….And anyway, I have always been giving my voice to minority,like secularists and repressed religious minorities of Pakistan,so why not my own community.Even if it mean my own life,because its better that I get killed than be frightened to death by these intolerant Mullahs and stupid and idiotic taboos of our society.My freedom from my Pakistani society or even my life for the freedom of others means nothing less to me then what Koran and Bible mean to Muslims and Christians ,repectively.The purpose to narrate my story here is not to scar you from coming out.But to encourage you.Even Hitler had his supporters.So be content with you orientation and stop worrying about what others will think,because if you’ll lose them it’ll be for your own betterment,since you’ll find others,who’ll be ready to accept your orientation as a part of you.Its not the quantity but the quality of you family which matters.And sometimes its better to leave the family that created you to create a family yourself,for the liberation of others and yourself.But the choice is yours.I am always here to be your friend and advise you and help you.Thank You


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India – Eunuchs avoid polls over ‘third sex’ dilemma

India – Eunuchs avoid polls over ‘third sex’ dilemma Print No Entry
NineMSN
Sun, 19 Apr 2009 13:24 UTC

© Associated Press
Eunuchs pose for photographs before participating in Miss Koovagam, a beauty contests among the Eunuchs at VilupuramIndia’s one million eunuchs face a unique dilemma every election season – do they stand in the men’s or women’s queue at polling stations or stay away altogether?

In the past, eunuchs – the term used for cross-dressers, pre- and post-operative transsexuals known here as hijras – have largely abstained from casting their ballots because they are unwilling to identify themselves as male or female on voter registration forms.

While some eunuchs do vote by listing themselves as female, many are pushing for an alternative or “third sex” option on identity cards, after being granted the franchise in 1994.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a prominent eunuch activist and founder of NGO Astitva, which works with sexual minorities, has never voted and refuses to do so until there is a transgender option on identity cards.

“It’s the question of the identity of our whole community,” she said.

“In spite of so many years of independence we haven’t got our own identity, our own place in the constitution of India.”

Most eunuchs live on the outer fringes of society, ostracized and excluded from decent job opportunities and reduced to begging at traffic junctions in major cities or working in the sex trade.

Despite the stigma surrounding them, a campaign to recognise eunuchs as a third sex has yielded some results.

They can now write “E” for eunuch on passports and on certain government forms, but the quest for acceptance at the ballot box – where they have to identify themselves as male or female – still eludes them in culturally conservative India.

“There has been quite a bit of progress so structurally the only thing that comes in is gender politics,” said Ashok Row Kavi, chairman of the Humsafar Trust, a male sexual health NGO.

Eunuchs who want to contest in elections for greater rights have come up against similar problems, even though several have been elected to public office as women.

Last month India’s election commission denied three eunuchs in the eastern state of Orissa permission to run as candidates unless they identified themselves as male or female.

Pratap Sahu, president of the All-Orissa Eunuchs Association, which fielded the candidates, said the unsuccessful bid had been a form of protest against election authorities.

“We wanted to fight the election on the third sex issue. In India nobody has fought for this,” he said.

The relatively small number of eunuchs, compared to other minority groups, means it is unlikely that any party deems them a priority vote bank, said Anil Bairwal, national coordinator for the Association of Democratic Reforms.

“Whether it will be taken up or not – as far as our political parties are concerned, the only language they understand is the language of numbers,” he said.

Month-long general elections in the world’s largest democracy began on Thursday, with the last of five phases taking place on May 13. Results are expected May 16.

Agency France-Presse

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সমকামি বিশয়ের ওয়পরর দুটি কথা।

সমকামি বিশয়ের ওয়পরর দুটি কথা। সমকামি হওয়া কোন রোগ বা ব্যাধি নয়।  সমকামি ছেলে মেয়েরাও আর দশজনের মত মানুষ এবং স্বাভাবিক। আপনি যদি সমকামি হন তাহলে আপনাকে শুভেচ্চা, কারণ আপণি খুবি ভাগ্যবান।

সমকামিরা সাধারনত খুবি চালাক প্রক্রিতির হয় এবং তাদের অনেক রকম বিশেষ বিশেষ প্রতিভা বা গুনাবলি থেকে থাকে। এরা বেশিরভাগেই নিজেদের ভবিশ্ব্ত নিজেরাই নিরধারণ করে থাকে, এবং  জীবনে খুবি প্রতিশটিতশীল হয়ে থাকে। আর আপনি যদি সমকামি না হয়ে থাকেন, তাহলে এদের বুঝতে চেষ্টা করেন। কারণ এদের সুন্দর আচার আচরণ এবং প্রতিভায় আপণি নিজেও প্রভাবিত হতে পারেন। যা নিয়ে আসতে পারে বৈচিত্রময় পরিবরতন আপনার নিজের জিবনেও।

একটা সময় ছিলো যখন শিক্ষা ও দিক্ষার অভাবে মানুষ সমকামিদের বুজতে পারেনি। এটা একটা রোগ ভেবে পৈচাশিক আচরণ করেছে সমকামিদের সাথে। কিন্তু বিংশ শতাব্দিতে এসে, মানুষ বিজ্ঞান এবং প্রজুগত্বির সাহাজ্যে  অনেক পথ এগিয়ে এসেছে। বুজতে শিখেছে সমকামি হওয়াটা আসলে দোশের নয়, এটা প্রক্রিতিরই একটা দান।  শিক্ষিত্ব সমাজের প্রায় সব দেশগুলোতেই, সমকামিদের, দেশের অন্ন্যান্য নাগরিকদের মত সমান সমান অধিকার দেওয়া হচ্ছে।

ইতিহাসের পাতা খুজলে দেখা যায়, বিশ্বের সব বিখ্যাত্ব খ্যাত্যিমান ব্যাক্তিদের প্রায় অনেকেই ছিলেন সমকামি।  শেইক্সপ্রিওর, অস্কারওয়াইল্ড থেকে শুরু করে অনেক রয়েল ফ্যেমিলির নারি পুরুশদের এবং বরতমান কালের অনেক খ্যাতমান ব্যাক্তিদের অনেকেই  সমকামি বা কোন না কোন ভাবে সমাকামিওতার সাথে  জরিত আছেন এবং যোগাযোগ রয়েছে বলে দেখা যায়।

উন্নত দেশগুলোর মত বাংলাদেশ যদিও এখনও সমকামিদের সব সযোগ সুবিধা দিতে পারছেনা, তবে অনেক আগে থেকেই সরকার সমকামিদের সাহায্যে হাত বারিয়েছে। অনেকগুলো শহরেই খুলে দিয়েছে সমকামিদের জন্য (মধুমিথা)হেলথ সেন্টার। যেখানে গেলে পাওয়া যায় নানা রকম যৌন রোগের চিকিতশা, এইচআইভি ও এসটিআই প্রতিরোধ বিষয়ক তথ্য ও শঠিক পরামরশ, কাউন্সিলিং, বিনোদন এবং অন্নান্য সমকামিদের সাথে মেলা মেশার সুযোগ। এটা ইউকের নাজ ফাউন্ডেশানের ১৯৯৬ সালের একটা উদ্দেগেরই সাফল্যতা।

ধীরে ধীরে সমকামিওতা ব্যাপারটি খুবই স্বাবাবিকভাবে নেওয়া হবে এবং টাব্বু বলে মনে করা হবেনা তাতে কোনো সন্দেহ নেই। তবে তার জন্ন্য আমাদের আরও লরতে হবে। কিন্তু তারও আগে আমাদের নিজেদেরকে নিজেদেরকাছে স্বিকার করে বা মেনে নিতে হবে যে আমরা সমকামি। মহাত্মা গান্দি যেমন বলেছেন – “প্রিথিবিতে যদি পরিবরতন আনতে চাও, তাহলে প্রথমে সেই পরিবরতনটা তুমি  নিজের মধ্যে আন”।

taken from bengayliz.com

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ইতিহাসে বিখ্যাত্ব সমকামি ব্যাক্তিত্বদের অবদান ও লরাই

ইতিহাসে বিখ্যাত্ব সমকামি ব্যাক্তিত্বদের অবদান ও লরাই

১৮৭০ সালে কারল- হেন্রিক উলরিচস(Karl-Henrich Ulrichs) বলেন “The Urning(সমকামি)ও একজন মানুষ। প্রকরিতি তাকে সমকামি বানিয়ে পাঠিয়েছে ঠিকই, কিন্তু আর দশ জনের মতো সেও একজন নাগিরিক এবং একজন নাগরিক হিসেবে তারও দাবি আছে”। হেন্রিক উলরিচস ১৪ বছর বয়সে সেক্স করেন, এবং সমকামি হওয়ার কারনে তাকে তার কাজ থেকে বের করে দেয়া হয়।

১৮৯০ সালে উইলেম ভন গ্লোইডেন (Wilhelm von Gloden) প্রথম সমকামি ছবি তোলতে শুরু করেন। যা ছিলো সিসিলিয়ান ছেলেদের পরিধান বিহিন ছবি।

১৮৯৫ সালে মে মাসের ২৫ তারিকে বিস্ববিখ্যাত্ব লেখক অস্কার ওয়াইল্ড আদালতে বিচারের মাধ্যমে (মেইল প্রস্টিটিউটদের সাথে বেআইনী সমপরক থাকার কারনে)দোষি প্রমান হন, এবং দুবছর, কঠিন মজুরির সাথে কারাদন্ড করা হয়। আলোরণ তৈরি করেন ইউরোপে এবং বিশ্বের সকল ইংলিশ ভাশিদের মধ্যে। তবে লন্ডন বাসিদের কাছ থেকে সহানোভুতি পেয়েছিলেন খুবই কম। শুধু এখানেই শেষ হয়নি, এ ঘটনার জের ধরে তাকে জেলের ভেতরে অনেক অপমান এবং পরে বাইরে এসেও তিনি অনেক কস্ট সহ্য করেছেন। জেলে থাকা কালিন সময়ে, একটা লোক লেখককে চিনতে পেরে তার কাছে এসে তার মুখে থুথু ফেলে। এ ঘটনা তাকে মানুষিক ভাবে খুবী আগাত করে। জেল থেকে বেরোনোর পরও তিনি প্রতিদিন ঠিক ঐ সময়টাম কাদতেন।

১৮৯৬ সালে এডলফ ব্রান্ড (Adolf Brand), ডের ইজিইন (Der Eigene) নামে একটা মেগাজিন পাবলিস করেন। যাতে থাকত সুদরশন পুরুশদের পরিধান বিহিন ছবি। তার একটা সোসাল গ্রুপও ছিলো, যেখানে মাঝে মাঝে naturism ও হতো। ম্যাগাজিনটি পাবলিস হয়েছিলো ১৯৩২ সাল পরযন্ত, যখন নাজ্জিরা ম্যাগাজিনটা বন্দ করে দেয়।

১৮৯৭ সালের ১৭ই মে, অস্কার ওয়াইল্ড জেল থেকে রেহাই পান- তিনি ইংলেন্ড পরিত্যাগ করেন চিরদিনের জন্য এবং আর কখনও ফেরেননি। ১৭০০ সালে মরার আগ পরযন্ত তিনি কন্টিনেন্টাল ইউরোপে ফ্রেনচ এবং ইটালিয়ান ছেলে সংগিদের সাথেই কাটান। এসময়েই জারমানিতে শুরু হয় আদুনিক জুগের সমকামি নাগরিক্ত্বের দাবি। যদিও লন্ডনের মতো জারমানিতেও সমকামিতা তখনও বেআইনি ছিলো, জারমানি সমকামিদের প্রটেস্ট করতে দেয়া হতো এবং সমকামি বা একি লিঙ্গের দুজন মানুষের মধ্যে ভালোবাসা সম্ভব এ ব্যাপারে লেখা লেখি করতে দেয়া হতো।

১৮৯৭ ব্রিটিস সেস্কোলোজিস্ট হেভলক এলিস(Havelock Ellis) প্রথমে লিখেছিলেন, সমকামি কোন গুনাহ নয় বা বেমারও নয়।

১৮৯১ সালে ইংরেজি ভাষার মধ্যে John Addington Symonds প্রথমে “Homosexual” বা “সমকামি” শব্দটা ব্যাবহার করেন তার লিখা রচনায় A problem in Modern Ethics.

১৯৫৭ সালে বায়োগ্রাফির মাধ্যমে জানা যায়, যে হৃদয় কাপানো কবি Byron, শুধু মহিলাদের সাথেই নয় পুরুষদের সাথেও তার প্রণয় হয়েছিলো হ্যরো ও কেম্ব্রিজে এবং পরে ইটালিতে ও গ্রিসে। যা তিনি তার স্ত্রি Lady Caroline Lamb এর কাছে গোপন করেননি। যার জন্য তিনি স্বামির ব্যাপারে বলতেন “mad, bad and dangerous to know”

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Ashok Deb responds to the Khutba of UK Imam

A few weeks back a fatwa issued by an Imam in UK mosque of stoning gays to death literally stunned me.This is again is a topic of debate that which group of individuals deserve such a horrific death.Is it those law abiding and peace loving citizens,who bear the brunt of societal approbation and rejection for preffering same sex partners in life….yes….I am refferring to the Homosexual community here.Or is it the other ones who lives and dies by every word of a mediaval war manual named Quran,barely provides any human rights for indivduals who are sceptical about divinity of the cult,advocates women to be veiled under BURKHAS and endorses that blasting off innocent civilians is a viable path to salvation to the Islamic  heaven of 72 virgins.

The militant ideology of Islam and its advocacy of genocide over the non-believers has  demoted it’s status from a religion to barely a cult of disillusioned individuals who dream of world dominiation through brute force.Recently it has been in vogue for the Muslim fundamentalists to demand the implementation of SHARIA law,the most illogical,faulty and homophobic legal structure the mankind has ever experienced. Infact the moral weakness and political short sightedness of the UK law makers are to be blamed who quietly succumbed to the radicalists’ demand of Sharia Law to be considered for the muslim community in Britain.The result has been disastraous with the increase of domestic violence on women,persecution of the gays and lately honour killings among the Arabs and Somali expatriates.

The muslims right from the inception of Islam,has showed tremendous intolerance towards the non-believers and threatened their existence in every possible way. Historical evidences prove that Islam spread through conquests rather than by any missionary activities since the aspects of forgiveness,love,mercy and salvation tremendously lacked in Islamic doctrines.

The early muslims raged a brutal campaign of invasion and swept through the northern coast of Africa.While the military campaigns on the east were initiated by Umar bin Khitab,the second Caliph which lead to the fall of Persia,Quandhahar( modern Iran and Afghanistan) and they devoured upto Sindh.The vanquished inhabitants were forced to accept Islam,this resulted millions of Parsis(a fire worshipping cult) to take refuge in the state of Gujrat.

The next two centuries followed the Golden Age of Islam,infact the only achievement of this so called Golden Age was the development of written script of Arabic and some Islamic martial victories against the Mongols,which helped them to expand their empire northwards deep into Asia Minor.The term Golden Age of Islam was attributed due to financial upliftment of the muslims,from a race of nomadic sheep herders named Ismailis to the rulers of one of the largest empires in the world.
The present muslims are still languising in the hangover of the Golden Age of those bygone era.Unfortunately the Islamic scholars were prompt to discard the scientific findings which contradicted the doctrines of the Quranic verses.This attitude has lead them to lag behind tremoundously in every academic spheres and resulted to an overall backwardness in thought and spirit to the entire community.

The majority of the Muslim immigrants in the west suffers from an invisible INFERIORITY COMPLEX and tries to overcome it by forcefully thrusting that the words of a sixth century illiterate  Arabian nomad is the last say for mankind.The liberal and civilised West have calmly acknowledged the Islamic way of life.This gesture of tolerance has been mistaken as weakness of the CIVILISED westerners. Naturally they have proceeded with their goal towards Islamisation of Europe.Slowly the Islamists are pushing forward their agendas of building mosques and madrassas (Islamic learning centres),which not only establishes a visible presence of this community on the landscape but also acts as bases where the Imams can issue sermons and religious verdict and exercise his grip over the community.

At the onset of the last century Britain was undoubtedly the most dominant world power with colonies across the globe.In that scenario UK was facing a manpower crunch to do the menial jobs,as most of its citizens including hardcore convicts were sent on administrative assignments to her different colonies.So the policy makers in UK regularly imported muslim labourers from the Indian subcontinent,who over the time have become financially affluent.These semi or uneducated individuals have attributed their sudden change in fortune and lifestyle to Allah,and are doing their best to gain favour in HIS eyes.Thus we see that immigrants in UK have taken to Islam very seriously as London has become the city of Mosques.The Imams in such mosques have weilded considerable control over the immigrants guiding and influencing them to elect radical Muslim candidates from their constituencies.

Emboldened by their success of transforming the migrant asian population into the strict doctrines of Islam,the Imams now want stricter Islamic moralities to be imposed over entire UK.Thus the call to stone gays to death was such an attempt.I am skeptical whether this Imam will be prosecuted for spreading hate messages and calling for genocides on the sexual minorities,as the British Legal system provides enough loopholes for his graceful aquittal.Right now Britain needs strong statesman to speak out against this imperialistic aggressiveness of the muslim imigrants.We cannot tolerate these fanatics to impose on us their substandard mediaval Arabian culture based on superstitions,ignorance and inter-communal hatred.

Presently Europe needs strong leaders to curb the Islamic fanatism,and the present Australian PM is one such personality.This is what he said when the Muslims radicals demanded Sharia law in Australian Courts.

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told to get out of Australia , as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. Howard angered some Australian Muslims by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques.

Quote: IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians

This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom

The Honourable
John Winston Howard
AC, SSI, LL.B.
John Howard

25th Prime Minister of Australia
Elections: 1987, 1996-2007
In office

We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society . Learn the language

Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture

We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE

If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted

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False Hope- LGBT Rights in the Middle East by Omar Hassan

False Hope- LGBT Rights in the Middle East by Omar Hassan

March 31, 2009 in Be Like Others, Brian Whitaker, EOHR, GLBT, GWB, Gay, Gay Life, Gay Muslims, Gay Rights, Helem, Homophobia, Homosexuality, Imaan, Irak, Iran, Iraq, LGBT, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Middle East, Omar Hassan, Peter Tatchell, Queen Boat, Tanaz Eshaghian, UN

By Omar Hassan, http://www.pinknews.co.uk

unspeakablelove1Execution, public humiliation and imprisonment have long plagued the lives of the LGBT community in the Middle Eastern world. It is a well-known fact that “LGBT individuals are at a constant struggle,” notes the Imaan Secretariat (an organisation dedicated to the wellbeing of gay Muslims, based in Britain). “[They] must [fight] for the right to be LGBT… [and] for the freedom to love somebody of the same sex,” he argues further.

Brian Whitaker, of the Guardian, who authored the book ‘Unspeakable Love‘, notes that the subject of homosexuality is as unmentionable in the Middle East as it was in the UK 60 years ago.

This tension can be attributed largely to Islamic conservatism. In 2006, it was reported that radical Islamic militias were attacking homosexuals in Iraq; and it was only a year later that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that there were “no homosexuals in Iran”.

“Ironically, Ahmadinedjad’s remarks and the laughter from his audience probably did a lot to bring [the issue] out in the open’, Whitaker told us. Indeed, soon after, filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian released a documentary entitled ‘Be Like Others’. The film revealed that the government had been paying for homosexual men to have sex-change operations. Arguably, this was the Iranian administration’s humane ultimatum to the death sentence, which is bestowed on any two men who wish to engage in a homosexual relationship.

At the time of the film’s release, the filmmaker stated that it was easy to find her subjects, noting that gender reassignment surgery is a “public phenomenon [even] encouraged by the Islamic clerics”.

These instances do not begin to explain the extent of the pressures that one faces for being gay in this part of the world.

Even at a basic level, one can argue that Arabic language in itself does not accommodate a neutral definition of the term ‘homosexual’. The most inoffensive branding for an LGBT man for instance is ‘Luti’ or ‘Shaz’, which roughly translate to mean ‘pervert’ or ‘deviant’. How then, is anyone who identifies as part of this minority group going to be able to stand up to such political, social and linguistic barriers?

Human rights activists the world over had hoped that a UN joint statement released last December would help alleviate the situation. Signed by over 60 countries, the assertion called for the decriminalization of homosexuality and the protection of various other LGBT human rights, including the protection against discrimination.

However, according to human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, it is important to note that this is not a resolution.

“It has no force on international law. [Still], it is an important symbolic benchmark, being the first time that the UN General Assembly has ever heard such a statement,” he said.

As expected, the statement was opposed by Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. “They will ignore it…[and it will] have little moderating effect on their abuse of LGBT citizens”, argues Tatchell.

Undeniably, Middle Eastern politicians and religious figures are prone to use arguments relating to cultural rights and relativism, claiming that the West (and its allies) have no authority to infringe on any nation’s legal system, regardless of whether the matter concerns the seemingly universal human rights to life, freedom and personal liberty.

Indeed, one can make an example out of the public reaction to the Queen Boat raid, which took place in Cairo nearly eight years ago. At the time, the relatively liberal Egyptian government enforced a crackdown on an unofficial floating gay nightclub, which was moored on the Nile. The raids subsequently lead to 52 arrests, with many of the victims claiming to be arbitrarily detained whilst simply passing by the docks. The men involved were publicly humiliated (whilst in court, they were placed in cages) with their faces splashed across the covers of newspapers.

Although there is no law in Egypt that explicitly bans homosexual practice, the accused men were charged on the grounds of ‘debauchery’. In the end, over twenty of those arrested faced sentences which ranged between three to five years in prison. Many of those who were released returned home to find that they had lost their jobs and were rejected by their families.

Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist and journalist who was working at the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) at the time, protested against these injustices. He argued that the administration was using the raid as a means to sidetrack public focus from the impending recession, its Western alliances (which are unpopular with the public) and to quell the tensions growing in the Islamic Brotherhood (who are of increasing importance in the Egyptian political arena).

Soon after speaking out, Bahgat was removed from his position at the EOHR. The EOHR’s secretary-general, Hafez Abu Saada told the press at the time: “Personally, I don’t like the subject of homosexuality, and I don’t want to defend them.” He also went on to explain that sexual preference was not a human right.

At the same time, the Egyptian government went so far as to arrest individuals who used online chat rooms and social networking websites as a means for sourcing homosexual relationships. Futhermore, reports were circulating that government officials were masquerading as potential suitors in order to set gay men up for arrest. Scott Long of Human Rights Watch has spoken previously about this matter, asserting that when governments crack down on homosexual gathering places, whether real or online, they do it for political rather than purely moral reasons. “They are saying to their people that they are defending what is authentic, what is Islamic,” he said.

In turn, the politicians, journalists and even the human rights activists of the Middle Eastern world are arguing back at egalitarian impositions that beg for the equal rights of the LGBT community.

Considering the sensitivity of the issue and the rise of anti-Islamic attitude in the West, it is very easy for Islamic states to claim that announcements (such as the UN statement) are imperial infringements by the secular West on the Islamic world. Accordingly, it is evident that the UN’s efforts will reap only meagre benefits for the distressed LGBT community in the Middle East.

How then do we begin to envisage change in the region for this vulnerable community? On an individual basis, many Middle Easterners seeking an escape believe that Western states should implement more liberal asylum policies towards LGBT groups.

However, if we are going to be realistic about safeguarding the rights of these communities than we need a new strategy. The West must use political leverage to bring LGBT rights up on the international agenda as, undeniably, many of the biggest gay rights’ abuses committed in the Middle East are by Western allies.

Undoubtedly, this will require significant effort, especially considering that many of the Arabs and Muslims who live in the diaspora also occupy negative attitudes towards homosexuals. Still, the beliefs of an increasingly blindsided religious majority should not take precedence over anyone’s basic humanity.

According to Tatchell, what is most likely to change is the self-organisation of LGBT people in Muslim states, as has happened in Lebanon, through the work of the LGBT group, Helem.

“Some…changes might also come through HIV prevention work, where governments will have to reluctantly recognise the LGBT communities in order to combat the HIV pandemic,” he added.
Whitaker argues further that “it is becoming more difficult to keep a lid on discussion of homosexuality in the Middle East”.

“Western debates about gay priests, films like Brokeback Mountain, and even George Michael’s arrest [coupled with the use of the internet] are all heightening gay awareness” in the region, he says.

However until these governments recognise that gay rights are of importance, it should be the obligation of the international community to take a holistic approach to ensuring the protection of this vulnerable LGBT population. Only then, will the new UN statement be able to ensure that our universal human rights are protected.

Omar is a writer and freelance journalist. He has also been involved with a range of TV production companies, working predominantly in the area of factual programming. Born in Cairo, Egypt, he has lived in the U.S.A and Saudi Arabia and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

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Asylum news: Biplob Hussein


From Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Northern Nigeria, Sudan, Yemen… To Australia, Canada, England… Gay Refugees Face Prejudice Across the World

 

 

Gay refugees face prejudice across the world

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/view.php?id=7403

15th April 2008 18:20
Adam Lake

Biplob Hossain, a gay refugee from Bangladesh who is seeking asylum in Australia, and Joaquin Ramirez, facing deportation to El Salvador, have highlighted the plight of gay men who flee their countries to escape persecution.

Mr Hossain, 25, moved to Australia on a student visa when he was 19.

He applied for asylum on the basis that he would suffer persecution in Bangladesh. He was placed in a detention centre for 29 months.

After three rejections by the Refugee Review Tribunal and a failed High Court bid, Mr Hossain is hoping for a personal intervention from the Minister for Immigration, Senator Chris Evans.

He was released from Villawood Detention Centre in October 2006, but is not allowed to work or collect social security benefits.

Sandi Logan, a spokesperson for the Immigration Department, told Australian SX News:

“A person’s sexual orientation does not of itself enable that person to be granted asylum.”

“We provide protection for asylum seekers under the UN definition of a refugee, under the Convention 67 protocol, which doesn’t include their sexual orientation or their fears of persecution associated with that orientation.”

Bangladeshi law states that gay sex acts are illegal and will be punished with deportation, fines and life imprisonment.

The national law itself is rarely directly enforced however there have been numerous reports of incidents of vigilantism.

People suspected of homosexuality have also been sentenced to death by a fatwa.

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All homosexuals should be stoned to death, says Muslim preacher of hate

Anjem Choudary, the firebrand cleric who wants to see Britain ruled by Sharia law, said such a regime was the only way to fix the country’s ills.

Under it, adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning. Asked if that would include anybody – even a Cabinet minister such as Business Secretary Lord Mandelson – Choudary responded with an astonishing diatribe.

Enlarge   Choudary

Hate, hate and more hate: Anjem Choudary (centre), flanked by two cohorts, prepares to give a press conference on Friday in which he says homosexuals should be stoned to death

 

He said: ‘If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow. You don’t stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.

‘There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.’

Choudary was speaking at a press conference in London arranged by Muslim extremists to justify their protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from Iraq.

 

More…

His incendiary remarks immediately prompted calls for him to be investigated by police. Tory MP Patrick Mercer said: ‘These statements show the depravity of this man’s beliefs. They must incite hatred and encourage terrorism, and I would encourage the Metropolitan Police to investigate them as rigorously as possible.’

The Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: ‘This is appalling. The police should look very closely at what has been said to see if there is any action they should be taking.’

Contempt: Muslim protesters at Tuesday's parade in Luton

Contempt: Muslim protesters hurl insults at the homecoming parade of British soldiers in Luton

Police were not at the press conference but a Scotland Yard spokesman said officers would investigate if a complaint was made.

Only last week, Choudary, a self-styled ‘judge of the Sharia Court of the UK’, was defending the shameful protests against soldiers parading through Luton after a tour of duty in Iraq.

Yet a week ago, the Daily Mail exposed fundamentalist Choudary’s student days when he was pictured swigging beer, cavorting with women and puffing on a cannabis joint – offences for which he would be lashed and stoned under his version of Sharia law. Yesterday he sheepishly confessed:

‘Yes, I was not always practising Islam. Certainly in my student days I was not a practising Muslim.’

Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammedi

Wake-up call: Omar Bakri has warned of another 7/7-style attack

 

Yesterday Choudary, 42, was flanked by two fellow firebrands at the press conference at the Express by Holiday Inn Hotel in Chingford, East London.

It started with warning from fellow hate cleric Omar Bakri, who warned that Britons should ‘wake up before it is too late’ or suffer another 7/7 terror attack.

The preacher threatened that ordinary Muslims living here would rise up and retaliate for the ‘evil’ acts of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bakri, banned from Britain four years ago, broadcast his threats from his Lebanon bolthole over a speakerphone.

In London, sitting alongside Choudary was Ishtiaq Alamgir, another ringleader of the Luton protests, who accused British soldiers of torture, rape and murder. He said: ‘Those British soldiers have blood on their hands.’

A third firebrand, Abu Abdullah, 30, branded the British Government ‘tyrannical’ and warned: ‘Do not relax, do not recline, or you will be touched by the fire of hell.’

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