GAY FILM WINS CHINESE OSCARS
The Hong Kong gay-themed film Lan Yu won four Golden Horses at the Chinese film awards in Taiwan Dec. 8.
Stanley Kwan won the best director trophy and Liu Ye snagged the best actor nod. The film also picked up best screenplay adaptation and best film editing awards.
SPERM DONOR MUST PAY CHILD SUPPORT
A man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple allowing them to have three children must pay $265 a month in child support now that the couple has split up, a Swedish county court ruled Dec. 9.
The man plans to appeal the decision, the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper said.
LESBIAN HEADS UK AMNESTY
The new chair of the United Kingdom section of Amnesty International is openly lesbian author, playwright and activist Linda Wilkinson.
She has worked with the organization in other capacities for five years.
According to the British lesbian magazine Diva, Wilkinson was instrumental in the successful campaign to free Amnesty's first lesbian prisoner of conscience, Mariana Cetiner of Romania.
Last September, Wilkinson and her partner, Carol Budd, were the first lesbian couple to sign London's largely symbolic Partnerships Register.
ILGA-EUROPE SITE BEEFED UP
The Web site of the International Lesbian & Gay Association's European region has been revamped at www.ilga-europe.org .
All publications and documents ILGA-Europe has produced in the past five years are now archived at the site.
"The huge amount of information is logically structured in various sections around specific areas of work," said ILGA-Europe Information Officer Mette Vadstrup. "A site-wide full-text search engine will help people find the information they are looking for."
The site also provides links to numerous European gay organizations.
AUSTRALIAN STATE ADDRESSES GAY LAW REFORM
The lower house of parliament in the Australian state of West Australia, where Perth is located, passed a gay law reform bill Dec. 12 following a heated all-night session. The Acts Amendment Lesbian and Gay Law Reform Bill 2001 lowers the age of consent for gay sex from 21 to 16, grants same-sex couples the rights that straight common-law couples have in areas such as property transfer, medical treatment, inheritance and death benefits, and gives gay couples equal access to adoption and in vitro fertilization, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The bill was a matter of fervent public debate in the state for weeks. Opponents said lowering the age of consent would encourage pedophilia. In November, around 2,000 "family" activists picketed parliament in opposition to the measure.
The bill now goes to the upper house, where it is expected to pass.
FRANCO'S GAY VICTIMS REHABILITATED
Spain's parliament voted Dec. 12 to erase the criminal records of homosexuals locked up by the regime of former dictator Francisco Franco, who died in 1975.
Legislators also plan to compensate the men for the torture and imprisonment they suffered, according to Britain's The Guardian.
The newspaper said "thousands of homosexuals were jailed, put in camps or locked up in mental institutions under Franco's homophobic dictatorship, which lasted for 40 years."
Gays who caused a "public scandal" or presented a "social danger" were imprisoned for up to three years. Others were treated with electric shocks in mental hospitals.
LIECHTENSTEIN PASSES PARTNERSHIP LAW
The parliament of the small European nation of Liechtenstein passed gay partnership legislation Dec. 13. The measure awaits ratification by the government.
It extends marital rights to same-sex couples in areas such as taxation, residency and insurance. Adoption and reproduction-technology rights were not included in the bill.
Liechtenstein, population 30,000, is located between Austria and Switzerland.
Nations that grant many, most or all marriage rights to same-sex couples include Canada, Denmark ( and Greenland ) , Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, The Netherlands ( the only nation where gay couples, including foreign residents, can marry under the ordinary marriage laws ) , Norway, Portugal, Sweden and, in the United States, the state of Vermont.
MAN DONATES GAY PORN TO CITY
A wealthy, 97-year-old gay man in Rovereto, Italy, has donated his vast film and video porn collection to the city government and asked that it be displayed in the public library after he dies.
According to the Supereva Web site, the collection contains "all the masterpieces of the best gay porn directors."
Rovereto is in northern Italy.
BRITISH GAY RADIO STATION DOES WELL
Britain's first and only gay radio station, LBH, is a success with a regular audience of 300,000 listeners after one year in business.
And the straight-owned and -operated company doesn't even play the Village People or Abba, noted London's Telegraph.
"Fifteen, even 10 years ago it would have been too early for something like this," said founder Torquil Riley-Smith. "There would have still been a taboo attached. But, now, gay culture is firmly in the mainstream."
The station broadcasts on Sky Digital and on the Internet at www.lbhradio.com .
RASH OF ATTACKS IN MANCHESTER
At least 24 men have been severely beaten by a masked man in Manchester, England's, cruisy Alkrington Woods in recent months.
Police believe there are other victims who have not come forward.
"These attacks are looking distinctly homophobic," said Middleton Police Detective Inspector Bob Ashton. "We want to catch this man before someone is more seriously hurt."
Anyone with information related to the attacks should phone Ashton at ( 011-44 ) 161-856-8751.
MORE CANADIAN GAYS CATCHING HIV
Reported AIDS cases increased 13.7 percent in Canada last year and HIV transmission is climbing in large cities.
Vancouver's annual rate of HIV infection has increased from 0.6 per 100 males during the period 1995-1999 to 3.7 per 100 males in the year 2000.
As in other developed nations, officials blame the rising numbers on safe-sex fatigue, a perception that anti-HIV drugs can control AIDS, and a belief that people who are taking HIV drugs are minimally infectious. While many people taking anti-HIV drugs see a major reduction in blood HIV levels, the virus often remains present in semen and preseminal fluid at levels sufficient for transmission. Anti-HIV drugs do significantly delay progression to AIDS in many individuals, but the drugs have a host of unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects.