Americas / Europe

Bad news, briefly, from Jamaica, Gambia, Russia

In brief, some troubling news from countries with anti-gay laws, excerpted with slight modifications from UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI-related news and elsewhere:

Scene from anti-LGBTI rally in Jamaica on Sept. 28. (Photo courtesy of Loop Jamaica)

Scene from anti-LGBTI rally in Jamaica on Sept. 28. (Photo courtesy of Loop Jamaica)

Anti-LGBTI rally in Jamaica portrays homophobes as victims

In Jamaica, hundreds of Christians rallied against same-sex marriage in a move organizers said was meant to ‘give heterosexuals a voice’ against an “aggressive homosexual movement.”   Anti-LGBTI speakers claimed that they are actually the victims of people who seek human rights for LGBTI people.

Children’s advocate Betty-Ann Blaine told the gathering, “Every single Jamaican must be in support of the cause, because every single one of us now is at risk. It is clear to us that we are under persecution, particularly Christians. We are in an era now of the criminalisation of Christians and Christianity because the aggressive homosexual movement, much of it is atheistic, they don’t believe in God and Christians are a stumbling block.”

Queen Ifrica (Photo courtesy of Urban Islandz)

Queen Ifrica (Photo courtesy of Urban Islandz)

Reggae singer Queen Ifrika, criticized for anti-LGBTI remarks in the past, apparently blamed the whole uproar on Jamaican LGBTI rights activist Maurice Tomlinson, who moved to Canada after receiving death threats in his homeland. As Loop Jamaica reported:

Queen Ifrika said, although she had been targeted by a particular gay Jamaican now living in Canada, her career was not adversely affected.

“I have not been targeted by the gay community I have been targeted by one individual out of Canada. However, there is an obvious agenda taking place by the homosexual lobby where we are not allowed to have a voice of our own,” she said.

Update on victims of gay-bashing mob

Mob victim Lionel Parkes (Photo courtesy of Loop Jamaica)

Mob victim Lionel Parkes (Photo courtesy of Loop Jamaica)

Also in Jamaica, a second man was identified as a victim of anti-gay men attacking LGBT youths who have been repeatedly evicted from wherever they choose to stay. A previous report on the Oct. 24 attack noted that Asheen Walford, a young man who works with homeless LGBT youths, was hospitalized in critical condition, suffering from knife wounds. Last week he woke from a coma and was speaking and eating, Loop Jamaica reported on Oct. 28.

The second victim of the mob attack was Lionel Parkes, 30, who was walking “to meet his girlfriend, when he was caught in the middle of a brawl between thugs and a group of gay homeless men at the Cholera Cemetery,” Loop Jamaica reported on Oct. 29. Parkes was reported to be on life support at Kingston Public Hospital.

African Union seeks to exclude LGBTI voices as ‘un-African’

Logo of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. (Click on the image to donate to Justice 4 Eric Lembembe)

Logo of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) this year granted observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) after a seven-year struggle for recognition. Now the executive council of the African Union is seeking to undo that, based on the widespread, but thoroughly misguided, belief that homosexuality is non-African Western import.

The council has asked the ACHPR to revoke observer status to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) not subscribing to “African values,” urging the commission to:

“Take into account the fundamental African values, identity and good traditions, and to withdraw the observer status granted to NGOs who may attempt to impose values contrary to the African values; in this regard, requests the ACHPR to review its criteria for granting Observer Status to NGOs and to withdraw the observer status granted to the Organization called CAL, in line with those African Values.”

Pan-Africa ILGA  and The AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA) have urged the commission to reject the council’s proposal and “stand by her mandate to protect and promote the human rights for all Africans without discrimination.”

Homophobic proposal seeks fines, jail for ‘coming out’ in Russia

Ivan Nikitchuk (Photo courtesy of Lesbiru.com)

Ivan Nikitchuk (Photo courtesy of Lesbiru.com)

A draft law pending in Russia’s parliament would penalize people who engage in public displays that would suggest that their sexual orientation is gay, Human Rights Watch reported on Nov. 4. It urged the Russian parliament to reject the draft as “wholly incompatible” with the country’s human rights obligations.

“This draft law is a new and absurd low in discriminatory legislative proposals,” said Tanya Cooper, Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The draft proposes to effectively outlaw being gay, and just being yourself could land you behind bars.”

The draft law was introduced Oct. 29 by two members of parliament from the Communist Party, Ivan Nikitchuk and Nikolai Arefyev. The authors propose fines of between four and five thousand rubles (US$65-$80) for “the public expression of non-traditional sexual relations, manifested in a public demonstration of personal perverted sexual preferences in public places.” If such public displays occurred “on territories and in institutions, providing educational, cultural or youth services,” the offender would be fined or put under administrative arrest for up to 15 days.

The draft law has not yet been scheduled for plenary debate.

The bill’s authors contend that homosexuality is “socially infectious,” especially for children and teenagers exposed to public manifestations of homosexuality.  He also called gay people “cattle” and said they “infect people around them.” They also confuse homosexuality with pedophilia, explicitly accusing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement of striving to support pedophilia.  Nikitchuk said in a media interview that the law would be applied only to gay men, because women are “more reasonable” and “respected.”

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