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World Roundup

This article shared 1695 times since Wed Aug 16, 2006
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Turkey bans gay mag,

blocks parade

The full press run of the summer issue of Turkey's only gay magazine, Kaos GL, was confiscated by police July 24.

Judge Tekman Savas Nemli of Ankara's 12th Justice Court approved the seizure at the urging of the Public Prosecutor's Press Crimes Investigation Bureau. The authorities took action for the 'protection of general morality.'

The summer issue of the 12-year-old magazine critically analyzed the relationship between homosexuality and pornography and contained articles by Ahmet Tulgar, Fatih Özgüven, Güner Kuban, Hasan Bülent Kahraman, Mehmet Bilal Dede and Meltem Arikan.

'It is the first time that our magazine is banned on the same day it was delivered from the printing house even before it is distributed to bookstores,' editors said in a press release.

'What is attempted to be buried with a siege of 'general morality' is the freedom of expression of Turkish national gay and lesbians.'

The magazine bears the name of the activist group that publishes it, the Kaos GL Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association.

In Turkey's fourth-largest city, meanwhile, police and antigay soccer fans stopped a GLBT march from taking place Aug. 6.

Hundreds of members of the fan club of Bursa's Bursaspor team trapped about 100 members of the transgender and gay group Gökkusagi ( Rainbow ) inside their headquarters by throwing rocks and threatening to kill them.

The would-be marchers escaped only when the protesters' numbers dwindled as the day's soccer match began.

The march was planned in reaction to attempts by the provincial governor to shut down the newly formed Rainbow group under laws designed to protect morality, activists said.

Success for 1st

World Outgames

The 1st World Outgames, staged in Montreal July 29-Aug. 5, were an apparent success.

Montreal organized the first Outgames after a bitter dispute with the Federation of Gay Games led to the seventh Gay Games being relocated from Montreal to Chicago, where they took place July 15-22.

More than 10,000 athletes from 111 nations participated in 35 sports at the Outgames, and the opening ceremonies attracted an additional 28,000 spectators to the Olympic Stadium.

The crowd rowdily cheered Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, who said: 'I know some of you are from nations where your sexual orientation can send you to jail or even cause your death. Your presence here encourages us to continue working for a better world.'

Athletes came from more than 20 nations where gay sex is banned.

The crowd aggressively booed federal Public Works Minister Michael Fortier, who was Prime Minister Stephen Harper's stand-in, both because Harper himself didn't show up and because Harper supports a plan for Parliament to revisit Canada's legalization of same-sex marriage.

According to the Montreal Gazette, 'Fortier's remarks were swallowed up in a rising tide of boos which grew even more deafening as much of the crowd began slamming their folding seats up and down.' Ironically, later in the week, Fortier mentioned to reporters that he is a supporter of same-sex marriage.

Olympic gold medal swimmer and Outgames Co-President Mark Tewksbury told the crowd: 'When I swam at the Olympics in Seoul, I felt all alone. I don't feel like that anymore!' During the games, Tewksbury's 4 x 100 relay swim team set a Canadian record. Tewksbury swam the 100-meter backstroke portion of the relay in 1 minute, 2.33 seconds.

In a video greeting, Québécoise superstar Céline Dion gushed, 'The 1st World Outgames in Montreal are a wonderful occasion to celebrate the love that binds us. ... I know in my heart that the 1st World Outgames in Montreal will be an unforgettable moment in our struggle for tolerance.'

Entertainment at the opening event was provided by k.d. lang, Martha Wash, Cirque de Soleil and several Canadian stars. Gay icon Liza Minnelli headlined the Aug. 5 closing ceremonies, which attracted 32,000 athletes and spectators.

A world record in swimming was broken Aug. 3 when gay San Franciscan Daniel Veatch completed the 200-meter backstroke in 2 minutes, 14.83 seconds, besting a 2:15.49 in the age 40-44 category by U.S. swimmer William Speicht in 1999. Veatch competed in the Olympic Games in Seoul in 1988. Outgames swimming competitions were sanctioned by the Quebec Swimming Federation, which means Veatch's world record 'counts.'

Openly gay Canadian Member of Parliament Réal Ménard, who represents a Montreal-area district, won a silver medal in wrestling.

Prior to the games, organizers hosted a four-day International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, promoted as the largest gay-rights conference ever.

More than 1,500 delegates approved a 'Declaration of Montreal' that will be presented to the United Nations and national governments.

Speaking at the conference, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called for the decriminalization of homosexuality throughout the world.

Media took particular notice of attendee Mariela Castro Espín, niece of Fidel Castro and daughter of Raúl Castro, Cuba's current ruler while Fidel is hospitalized. She is director of Cuba's National Sexual Education Center.

In Chicago, meanwhile, Gay Games organizers said Aug. 3 that they will show a profit when all the accounting is finalized. The Gay Games have a history of ending up in debt.

George Michael to sue fellow cruiser, photog

Gay pop singer George Michael has told the BBC he will sue the man with whom the News of the World tabloid said he had a late-night tryst in a cruisy area of London's Hampstead Heath.

'I'm suing the individual involved who I have never, ever seen, let alone wanted to have any kind of sexual encounter with,' Michael said.

The star said he also will sue the photographer who photographed him at the scene. 'They're harassing me and I should not have to worry about who's watching me at 2:30 in the morning,' he said.

'A very large part of the male population, gay or straight, totally understands the idea of anonymous and no-strings sex,' Michael added. 'The fact that I choose to do that on a warm night in the best cruising ground in London—which happens to be about half a mile from my home—I don't think would be that shocking to that many gay people.'

The July 22 News of the World report alleged: 'Mega-rich pop superstar George Michael this week sank to new levels of depravity—trawling for illegal gay sex thrills in a London park. News of the World investigators caught the singer red-handed and red-faced as he emerged from the bushes after cavorting with a pot-bellied, 58-year-old, jobless van driver. When challenged George, 43, was wild-eyed and trembling. Trying to hide his face under a baseball cap, he screamed: 'I don't believe it! Fuck off! If you put those pictures in the paper I'll sue! ... Are you gay? No? Then fuck off! This is my culture!''

The report included several unflattering photos of Michael at the scene. The paper claimed: 'The pair kissed and groped each other before going even further. It was all in a public place and totally illegal.'

The reporters said they followed Michael's alleged sex partner, Norman Kirtland, 60 miles home to his 'squalid flat' and interviewed him.

The newspaper said Kirtland said: 'He told me I could contact him on the Gaydar Web site and we just started kissing. ... Then it was fondling and mutual pleasuring. It wasn't full sex but it was fantastic. ... I admit I was there for sex. But I'm astonished a man as famous as George should even think about doing it.'

Michael said he has no plans to sue the newspaper itself.

Iraqi gays flee

death squads

Iraqi gays are fleeing the nation to escape Shiite death squads, Britain's Observer newspaper reported Aug. 6.

'There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused,' the report said.

As a result, the United Kingdom has seen a surge in applications for asylum by Iraqi homosexuals.

The newspaper said it had seen a photo of 'two men, suspected of having a relationship, blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs—guns at the ready behind their heads—awaiting execution. Another picture captured on a mobile phone shows a gay man being beaten to death. Yet another shows a corpse being dragged through the streets after his execution.'

One such militia is the Badr Brigade, which, the Observer said, 'work with the Ministry of Interior and are the informal armed wing of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who make up the largest Shia bloc in the Iraq parliament.'

Lithuanian gay

parade banned

Authorities in Klaipeda, Lithuania, a city on the nation's west coast, prohibited a planned gay pride parade, the Russian wire service Interfax reported July 28.

The parade was to coincide with Klaipeda's 754th anniversary celebrations Aug. 1.

Mayor Rimantas Taraskevicius' office said the request to hold the parade lacked details about its route, time, reason and number of participants.

U.K. court rejects

lesbians' marriage

Two British lesbians who tried to get their Canadian marriage recognized in the United Kingdom failed July 31.

U.K. law automatically converts foreign same-sex marriages into U.K. civil partnerships, which nonetheless provide all the same rights and obligations.

Sue Wilkinson and Celia Kitzinger, who were married in Vancouver in 2003, denounced the decision by Sir Mark Potter, president of the London High Court Family Division, as 'profoundly discriminatory [ and ] an affront to social justice and human rights.'

'We feel distressed, demeaned and humiliated,' they said in an e-mail.

In his ruling, Potter said: 'Parliament has not called partnerships between persons of the same sex marriage, not because they are considered inferior to the institution of marriage but because, as a matter of objective fact and common understanding ... they are indeed different.

'To accord a same-sex relationship the title and status of marriage would ... fail to recognize physical reality.'

Kitzinger, 49, is a sociology professor at the University of York. Wilkinson, 52, directs the social psychology degree program at Loughborough University in Leicestershire.

The couple said they may appeal the ruling, though they're very concerned that the government is now seeking £25,000 ( US$46,850 ) in costs from them for the High Court case—an amount roughly equal to their life savings.

—Assistance: Bill Kelley

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