STUDENTS BEATEN AT JAMAICAN UNIVERSITY
Four male students at Jamaica's Northern Caribbean University reportedly were beaten with wooden planks Jan. 19 by other students who believed the victims were gay.
Six students face expulsion—three who carried out the attack and three who knew of the planned assault and did nothing to stop it, university officials said.
"This incident only adds to the staggering number of human-rights abuses meted out against persons solely on the knowledge or mere suspicion of homosexuality," commented the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays ( J-FLAG ) .
"While homophobic violence, including assault and murder, continues to be a source of national pride and moral satisfaction for many Jamaicans, the government and police force continue the campaign of legal exceptionalism and tacit approval of these shocking and deeply disturbing crimes against innocent citizens," the organization said.
University President Herbert Thompson reportedly said the victims of the attack also are under investigation to determine if they are in fact gay. Homosexuality is not permitted at the university, J-FLAG quoted him as saying.
J-FLAG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
TENS OF THOUSANDS AT HERO PARADE
Tens of thousands of people braved the drizzle on Ponsonby Road to watch Auckland, New Zealand's seventh gay Hero Parade Feb. 17.
According to the New Zealand Herald, "It was a night of mega-high heels on tarseal, loud music, transformed trucks, marching girls and boys, dykes on bikes, lesbian mothers with their kids and ordinary folk just out for a look."
Prime Minister Helen Clark cut a ribbon to launch the two-hour parade. Transsexual Member of Parliament Georgina Beyer and Auckland Mayor Christine Fletcher were among other guests of honor.
Among the 70 floats was one entered by the Coast Guard. There was also a firefighters contingent.
"The parade was fantastic, colorful, spectacular and amazing," said organizer Heather Lee.
GAS BOMBS THROWN AT GAY GROUP
Two gas bombs were thrown at a building in Limavady, Northern Ireland, where a gay men's support group was meeting Feb. 5, the Irish News reported.
It was the Rainbow Project's first meeting at the former Roe Valley Hospital, which now hosts community groups. One of the bombs hit a car and one landed on the building's roof. Neither ignited.
"The petrol bomb attack only indicates how virulent homophobia is in Northern Ireland," said Rainbow Project Chairman David McCartney. "It will only further the marginalization of those individuals who are already marginalized by a society which holds them in a position of second-class citizenship."
BRITS PICKET EMINEM
About 100 gays picketed a concert of American rapper Eminem in Manchester, England, Feb. 8.
They chanted, "Stop the bigotry, stop the hate."
"His lyrics have a direct affect on the lives of gay people," said Daniel Murphy, a protester from the National Union of Students. "People look up to Eminem and adopt his language and his attitude."
Among the lyrics on Eminem's CDs: "You faggots can vanish to volcanic ash / And re-appear in hell with a can of gas, AND a match ... I'll knock you fuckin faggots the fuck out ... I don't get fucked in mine like you two little flaming faggots! ... Suck my fuckin dick, you faggot ... My words are like a dagger with a jagged edge / That'll stab you in the head / whether you're a fag or lez / Or the homosex, hermaph or a trans-a-vest / Pants or dress — hate fags? The answer's 'yes' / Homophobic? Nah, you're just heterophobic."
The Scottish Tartans Society says it was tricked into approving a pink and purple "gay kilt."
Members say they didn't know the design was for homosexuals and wouldn't have OK'd it if they had been aware of that fact.
A spokesman for the gay Equality Network said the society needs to get with the times.
COLOMBIAN JUDGE RECOGNIZES GAY PARTNER
The First Civil Municipal Court in Soacha, Colombia, on Feb. 11 sided with a gay man who was battling his late lover's parents for the gay couple's possessions.
Carlos and Juan had lived together for five years. Juan's parents argued that Carlos had been merely a domestic servant and that their son had had girlfriends.
Carlos' attorneys fought back with photos showing the men together as a couple in the presence of Juan's parents.
INTRODUCES GAY MARRIAGE BILL
Gay Canadian Member of Parliament Svend Robinson introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage Feb. 14.
"Valentine's Day is a perfect time to remind parliament that the relationships of gay and lesbian people are just as strong, just as loving, just as worthy of full recognition and respect and celebration as those of heterosexuals," Robinson told reporters.
"Denial of our right to marry sends out a powerful message to society that our relationships are not worthy of equal recognition."
The bill has support from members of Robinson's party, the New Democrats, and from some Liberal, Bloq Quebecois and Conservative MPs, Robinson said.
BRAZILIAN SKINHEADS CONVICTED
IN ANTI-GAY MURDER
Two Sao Paulo, Brazil, skinheads who participated in a mob attack that killed a gay man were sentenced to 21 years in prison Feb. 16. Sixteen other defendants remain to stand trial.
Shouting anti-gay epithets, the group attacked Edson Neris Da Silva, a 35-year-old dog trainer, and his companion a year ago in downtown's Republic Plaza where the two men were holding hands.
The companion escaped but Da Silva was beaten with brass knuckles and chains and kicked with steel-toed boots. He died a short while later at a hospital.
The trial was Brazil's first related to a hate crime.
According to activist records, more than 1,600 homosexuals and transvestites have been murdered in Brazil in the past 11 years because of their sexuality.
THE PRINCE ISN'T GAY
The Netherlands' Prince Johan Friso —second in line to the throne—is not gay, the government said Feb. 14.
"He's fed up with these rumors. He's not a homosexual," said government spokesman Eef Brouwers.