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  WINDY CITY TIMES

World Roundup
by REX WOCKNER
2004-11-10

This article shared 1850 times since Wed Nov 10, 2004
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Lebanese gays push for decriminalization

An organization in Lebanon is pushing for decriminalization of gay sex—a first in the Arab world, Middle East Online reported Oct. 19.

The group Hurriyyat Khassa ( Private Liberties ) launched its campaign with a screening of the British film Victim, which is credited with helping end Britain's gay-sex ban in the 1960s. The movie was shown at the American University in Beirut.

The activists say Article 534 of Lebanon's penal code, which punishes 'sexual intercourse against nature' with one year in prison, violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

South Africans overwhelmingly disapprove of homosexuality

South Africa's constitution may have been the first one in the world to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, but the people of South Africa still overwhelmingly disapprove of same-sex relationships, Afrol News reported Oct. 21.

Seventy-eight percent of 5,000 people surveyed by the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa said homosexual relationships are 'always wrong.'

Less than 7 percent said they are 'not wrong at all.'

The results varied by race. Eighty-one percent of Blacks said gay sex is always wrong, compared with 76 percent of Indians, 70 percent of whites, and 64 percent of what South Africans call 'coloureds,' or mixed-race people.

Geography is also a factor. Disapproval was highest in Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces, around 90 percent, and lowest in the Free State and Western Cape, around 75 percent. Cape Town, South Africa's gay capital, is in Western Cape province.

South Africans also oppose abortion. Fifty-six percent said abortion is 'always wrong' even if it is known that the child will be born with a serious defect. Seventy percent said it is wrong if the reason for the abortion is that the family cannot afford to have any more children. Abortion was legalized in 1994.

Gay man sues

British Airways

A South African gay man is suing British Airways for about $254,000 after flight attendants allegedly chastised him for kissing and hugging his lover as the couple awoke on a flight from Cape Town to London four years ago.

Neal Potgieter filed suit in the Cape High Court, saying two flight attendants told the couple 'not to kiss each other as doing so was offensive to the other passengers on the flight.'

Heated exchanges ensued and Potgieter later was arrested and fined about $7,200 for refusing to tighten his seat belt prior to landing.

As a result of the ordeal, Potgieter says, he suffered depression and anxiety which affected his ability to work.

Man called 'fifi'

wins payout

A gay man who was called a 'fifi' by a car salesman in Sorel, Quebec, was awarded $1,000 ( US$799 ) by the provincial Human Rights Tribunal Oct. 11.

The tribunal said salesman Marcel Bardier at the Roger Poirier Automobile dealership used 'hurtful and vexatious terms.'

'The use of this term wounds and adds to the disgrace and lack of respect of human dignity [ of ] a person, homosexuals in particular,' Judge Michéle PauzĂ© wrote.

The auto dealership also was ordered to pay Dominique Lanthier expenses and interest. Sorel is about 42 miles ( 70 km ) northeast of Montreal.

Dutch worried about gay acceptance

The Netherlands' Social and Cultural Planning Office thinks acceptance of gay people may be on the decline and has launched a study to look at the matter.

The office is particularly upset about the recent rejection of the gay youth magazine Expreszo by scores of Christian and immigrant-oriented schools.

Surveys show a majority of Dutch residents believe the magazine should be distributed to help combat antigay discrimination.

Some school officials said they were upset about a 'tolerance test' in the magazine that refers to seeing a neighbor having sex with a goat.

The Netherlands is famously liberal but in recent years the Dutch have openly discussed the fact that immigrants, particularly Muslims, often do not share that liberal mindset. As often as not, such conflicts seem to center on gay issues.

Taipei withdraws

Pride funding

The city government of Taipei, Taiwan, will not fund the gay-pride parade.

The city did fund last year's parade as well as a gay-pride festival in 2000.

'Because the government has the responsibility to instruct the next generation that homosexual conduct is wrong, it follows that it is inappropriate to subsidize the GLBT Pride Parade event,' the city reportedly said.

The parade was expected to go ahead as planned Nov. 6, stepping off from the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial and winding through the 228 Peace Park to the Red Theater in Ximending.

'Displaying our rich diversity, we will carry forth the call for a more tolerant and more progressive future for our capital city, our republic and our country,' organizers said.


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