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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Australia's gay teas; anti-gay bill in Russia
World news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-03-07

This article shared 3632 times since Wed Mar 7, 2012
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In Australia, the company Slurp has launched a line of gay-themed teas to benefit LGBT health charities, according to Pink News. The new DiversiTEA brand includes eight blends: B!tch Please, Disco Ball, D.R.A.M.A Queen, F@g H@g, French Tickler, Pearl Necklace, Pinkies Up and Pride. B!tch Please includes chili, while D.R.A.M.A Queen is blended with lime, lemon peel and daisies. See www.slurpnow.com .

In Russia, St. Petersburg legislators officially adopted a bill that would impose fines of up to $16,700 for the "promotion of homosexuality," according to SDGLN.com . The bill criminalizes reading, writing, speaking or reporting on anything related to LGBT people. Dozens of human-rights organizations around the world held demonstrations at Russian embassies in Argentina, Germany, Belgium, the United States and other countries.

A YouTube video showing a "gay cure" in the United Arab Emirates has been removed—a development seen as a step forward in the Middle Eastern country, according to Advocate.com . The video, "Be Yourself," showed two young men giving an effeminate friend a "straight makeover. The video's director, 21-year-old Abdullah Al Saeedi, said he and his friends produced it as a "simple and funny way to show how gays can be changed to men." Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transexual Rights UAE, in collaboration with Gay Middle East and the international LGBT press, urged the video's removal.

In Spain, insurance company Groupama has yanked an ad featuring soccer player Jose Manuel Reina after some people said that the piece was homophobic and racist, Pink News reported. In the ad, Reina arrives at an African tribal meeting; the tribe's leader—playing off the fact that "reina" means "queen" in Spanish—says, "You queen, me king," before leading Reina off-screen. Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote said, "Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?"

In South Africa, the organizers of Mr. Gay World have unveiled what is believed to be the first-ever gay-themed billboard in Africa, according to Pink News. Also, the event is having its first-ever Black contestants, with representatives from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa and Namibia. The competition will take place April 4-8 in Johannesburg.

In Liberia, the government is considering two anti-gay measures, Boston.com reported. The law does not explicity address homosexually, although "voluntary sodomy" is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. However, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi has introduced a bill making "same-sex sexual practices" a second-degree felony. Former First Lady Sen. Jewel Taylor introduced a measure making same-sex marriage a first-degree felony, with prison sentences of up to 10 years.

In Britain, a survey showed that eight in 10 actors were "out" professionally, according to Pink News. Moreover, three-quarters of the respondents said that coming out did not hinder their careers. However, 43 percent said they would not be so open talking to their agents. Equity—the union for actors, models and stage managers—polled 326 actors.

In Malaysia, a court rejected gay-rights activists' attempt to reverse a ban on an LGBT-themed festival, according to ChannelNewsAsia.com . Police banned the fourth annual "Seksualiti Merdeka" ( "Sexuality Freedom" ) festival before it was to open in November, saying they made the move to avoid angering Muslims. On March 1, the court in Kuala Lumpur sided with government attorneys who said police acted within their powers to prevent any sort of disturbance. In Malaysia—in which homosexuality is not openly discussed—sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The Huffington Post has written about Evie, President Obama's former nanny who is now a transgender individual residing in Indonesia, a place that's been brutal to her. Evie—who was born a man but believes she's a woman—described how soldiers once shaved her hair to the scalp and put out cigarettes on her hands and arms. After finding a friend's body in a canal, Evie said, "I knew in my heart I was a woman, but I didn't want to die like that. So I decided to just accept it. ... I've been living like this, a man, ever since."


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