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This article shared 2462 times since Wed Jan 14, 2004
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The European Court of Justice said Jan. 7 that transsexuals must have equal access to marriage and pension rights.

The court was responding to a request for advice from Britain's Court of Appeal in a case where a woman is contesting her partner's ineligibility to apply for a widower's pension.

The case now faces further consideration in England, but could soon become irrelevant there since legislation to allow transsexuals to change their birth certificates and marry is presently moving through the House of Lords.

The Euro court's opinion applies to the other 14 European Union nations as well.

In 2002, the European Court of Human Rights—the court of final appeal for citizens of the 45 nations that make up the Council of Europe—also ruled in favor of transsexuals' right to marry.


Singapore is considering decriminalization of oral sex but only for opposite-sex couples.

The move follows the arrest and jailing of a 27-year-old policeman for receiving fellatio from a 15-year-old girl.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee said Penal Code Section 377 may be revised within three months to permit heterosexual oral sex between people age 16 and above.

Current law criminalizes 'whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animals.' The punishment is up to life in prison.

Another law, Penal Code Section 377A, specifically bans sex between men. It states, 'Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two (2) years.'

Ho said that law, too, is being looked at, but gave no details.

Meanwhile, Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Jan. 6 that the nation may lift its ban on gay activist groups. The remark came during a speech to the local Harvard Club.


Russia has a new gay magazine, KVIR (Queer). It launched in August and distributes 15,000 copies in clubs, saunas and bookstores from Moscow to Vladivostok. All of Russia's other gay magazines had gone out of business.

Advertisers include dentists and travel, hair-removal and security companies, but the publication is still losing money, reported the Moscow Times.

Surveying indicates that the typical KVIR reader is between 30 and 35, has an above-average income, and is 20 percent more likely than the average Russian to have a car, apartment and credit card.

The magazine emerged from the Web site founded by Ed Mishin, who also has set up a small gay center.

'When people come to [the center's] support group, they often say in the feedback session that the most important thing that they got out of the group was the realization that it's possible to be gay and normal,' Mishin told the Times. 'They say, 'I saw normal people, and it just astounded me.''



Britain's Sky TV will reportedly pay about $925,000 each to six men who threatened to sue over their participation in a reality show where they did not know the woman they were courting was a transsexual.

The program, There's Something About Miriam, was postponed after the men issued their threat but now reportedly will be aired. The suitors said they were traumatized and devastated upon learning they had kissed and cuddled a woman who used to be a man.

They alleged breach of contract, deceit, personal injury and sexual assault.




The Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, which bans male-male sex, has nonetheless passed a bill that protects gay and transgender people, Trinidad & Tobago Newsday reported Jan. 11.

The House of Representatives included 'gender or sexual preference' among the protected categories in a measure that restricts when someone can be extradited to another nation to face criminal charges.

The law would apply to crimes in other nations that are punished with death or imprisonment for more than one year.

The measure amends the Extradition Act 'to prevent an accused person's return to a declared Commonwealth territory or a declared foreign territory if it is determined that the request for his return is based on his sex, gender or sexual preference,' according to the official notes attached to it.

The bill now moves to the Senate.


The chair of the United Kingdom's Gay Police Association, Inspector Paul Cahill, was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's annual New Year's honors list. The award recognizes Cahill's 'services to diversity in the police and the wider community.'

Another MBE went to Anne Patrizio, 63, who runs the Parents Enquiry Scotland hotline for people with gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender children.

A detailed explanation of the British honors system can be found online at .uk/ceremonial/.

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