St. Petersburg gay
blocked by city
'Side by Side,' the first gay film festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, was blocked from starting Oct. 2 by city officials who declared the clubs The Place and Sochi, where the films were to be screened, to be fire hazards.
Originally, the festival was to take place in a state cinema house, which later backed out of the deal. Then the festival was moved to the private Pik theater, which then backed out as well.
'Russian authorities continue their policy of homophobia and arbitrary unlawful actions by preventing events organized behind closed doors in private places,' said leading Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev.
The festival was to offer 22 films and appearances by international filmmakers.
Irish trans laws
Ireland needs to fix its laws on transgender issues, the Irish Human Rights Commission said Oct. 1.
Among other things, post-op transsexuals should be able to get a new birth certificate and get married to someone of the opposite sex, the commission said.
The group recommended the government move on the matter with urgency, pointing out that the current laws run afoul of decisions by the European Court of Human Rights.
Brazil: Gay couples can be recognized
under current law
Same-sex couples can be officially recognized as families under existing law, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice has ruled 3-2, according to a Sept. 17 report by GayNewsWatch.com .
The ruling seemingly clears the way for other courts to recognize gay couples without legislators' passing any new laws.
The decision came in a case brought by longtime gay couple Antônio Carlos Silva and Brent James Townsend. Townsend is Canadian, the couple married in Canada, and he is seeking permanent residence in Brazil.
The case now returns to Rio de Janeiro's highest court for a determination consistent with the Superior Court ruling.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Sept. 17 that he supports passing a national civil-union law for same-sex couples.
One such measure has been stalled in Congress for several years.
'There are men living with men, women living with women, and they often live well, even extraordinarily,' Lula told TV Brasil. 'They are building lives together, working together, and that's why I am in favor ( of civil unions ) .'
'We must stop with hypocrisy,' he added. 'One thing that deeply bothers me is these politicians are not rejecting gay votes and the Brazilian government is not refusing the taxes they pay.'
Ten masked protesters attacked 25 people leaving an event of the 5th Queer Belgrade Festival Sept. 19 in Serbia, injuring four people.
One of the injured individuals was American and another Russian. Two of the attackers were arrested.
The Queer Belgrade Collective issued a statement demanding police locate and arrest the remaining perpetrators and punish them in a proper and timely manner.
The group also urged the government to amend the Serbian Criminal Code to recognize hate crimes.
The festival featured movies, performances, bands and panel discussions.