POLAND HAS 1st GAY PRIDE PARADE
More than 200 people marched in Warsaw, Poland's first gay-pride parade May 1.
Led off by drag queens, the "Parade of Equality" began at Castle Square, one of Poland's best-known locales, proceeded down Krakowskie Przedmiescie ( a major street in the old city ) , and halted in front of the Presidential Palace where a declaration was read demanding that President Aleksander Kwasniewski support a gay-marriage bill.
Marchers stopped again at the University of Warsaw and accused the school of anti-gay discrimination before reaching the end of the route at the Copernicus monument.
Two politicians marched: Socialist Member of Parliament Piotr Ikonowicz and Robert Biedron, a leader in the Left Democratic Union party.
Ikonowicz, a candidate for president last year, promised to support all efforts to legalize gay marriage.
At a post-parade rally, lead organizer Szymon Niemiec called on the Sejm, the Polish parliament, to form a commission charged with bringing Polish law into line with European Union directives on gay equality. He also urged gay/lesbian citizens to bombard politicians with gay-rights questions between now and the next parliamentary elections on Sept. 23.
The parade was organized by the Polish branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network, the AIDS organization TADA, Nowy Men magazine, Outsider magazine and www.gay.pl.
BEYER WILL NOT RUN AGAIN
The world's first openly transsexual member of parliament, New Zealand national MP Georgina Beyer, will not seek a second term next year.
She wants to devote more time to her Maori tribe and family and to working on gay and human-rights issues.
Beyer was first elected to local public office in 1993 and says she never planned to spend her life in politics.
"It was not my intention to be in politics forever," she told local media. "There are other things that I want to do in my life."
Beyer represents the conservative Wairarapa region in the southeastern corner of the North Island.
Before becoming a politician, she was a nationally known actor and, before that, a prostitute, stripper and drag queen.
BOTSWANA MAN CHALLENGES GAY SEX BAN
A man arrested in Gaborone, Botswana, for engaging in gay sex has filed suit in the High Court against the nation's sodomy laws.
Utjijwa Kanani says the ban on "unnatural sex" unconstitutionally discriminates against him based on his gender and violates his right to freedom of association.
Kanani was arrested in bed with another man in 1995 at the other man's residence.
The case will be heard on May 31.
GROUP ACCUSES GUATEMALAN POLICE
The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission May 3 accused Guatemala's National Civilian Police of aggressive and systematic abuse of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.
"In the last year, authorities in Guatemala have turned their appointed task to protect the people into a campaign of social cleansing which takes sexual diversity as its preferred target," IGLHRC said.
"Incidents of harassment by police officers, includ [ e ] : arbitrary arrests; unnecessary use of force; verbal, physical and sexual abuse; and intimidatory behavior and retaliatory threats against activists and victims who have denounced the abuses," the group said.
Detailed information and sample protest letters are available at http//www.iglhrc.org .