April 17, 2014

“Jews Register, Gays Stone to Death”History Always Repeat



Much of the world, including the U.S. State Department, understandably reacted with horror today when Jewish residents of Donestk, Ukraine, reported being given flyers outside of a synagogue requiring them to "register" their citizenship and declare their property. According to reports first circulated by Israeli news site Ynet and USA Today, the pamphlets were delivered by masked men holding the Russian Federation flag and directed Jews to a government building currently occupied by pro-Russian forces.
But Denis Pushilin, the Russian separatist whose name is on the flyers, claims he has nothing to do with them, and that the documents were spread to make his side look bad.
"Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property," reads the flyer, according to a translation. It also lists a $50 fee for doing so.

"Some idiots yesterday were giving out these flyers in targeted areas," hoping "to blame the attack on separatists," said Pushilin. Nonetheless, the U.S. government condemned the flyers, which are indeed disgusting, whoever created them.

Captain and Crew Safe 287 People Unaccounted on Ferry Accident


South Korean Coast Guard officers search for missing

The parents of hundreds of children missing after Wednesday's ferry accident off the coast of South Korea have accused the captain of the vessel of abandoning passengers after it emerged that he and six other crew members were among the first to leave the ship after it started to sink.
The captain, Lee Joon-seok, who is reportedly in his 60s, escaped from the 6,835-ton Sewol just 40 minutes after the vessel apparently ran aground and started to list severely.
Survivors and the families of 287 people, most of them teenagers, who are thought to be trapped inside the sunken vessel directed their anger towards Lee, according to South Korean media reports, as rescue efforts continued in the dim hope that some of the missing passengers might still be alive. Navy divers tried to enter the capsized ship more than 10 times on Thursday, but were hampered by strong currents and poor visibility.
Local officials said 287 people remained unaccounted for more than a day after the vessel, with 475 on board, quickly sank in what may be South Korea's worst ferry disaster for two decades. Twenty people, including five high school pupils and two teachers, are known to have died, while 179 have been confirmed safe, including most of the 30 crew members, South Korean media said.
Lee, his face hidden by a grey hoodie, told reporters at the coastguard offices that he felt "really sorry for the passengers, victims and their families and am deeply ashamed. I don't know what to say." He had earlier been criticized after he was seen drying wet banknotes on his bed while being interviewed by journalists. 
Kim Jae-in, a coastguard spokesman, said coastguard officials were questioning Lee, but denied earlier reports that the ferry had turned too swiftly when it was supposed to make a slow turn. He also declined to say whether the ferry had strayed from its usual route.
The tragedy was given added poignancy by text messages sent by pupils among those thought to be trapped inside the ship. "Sending this in case I may not be able to say this again. Mum, I love you," said Shin Young-jin.
Kim Woong-ki, a 16-year-old pupil pleaded with his brother to help in a text sent after the ship listed suddenly to one side. "My room is tilting about 45 degrees. My mobile is not working very well," Kim texted. His brother attempted to reassure him, saying: "So don't panic and just do whatever you're told to do. Then you'll be fine."
An 18-year-old female pupil identified only as Shin texted her father to tell him not to worry. "I'm wearing a life vest and am with other girls. We're inside the ship, still in the hallway," she told him. Her father's response, urging her to get out, arrived too late.
"Dad, I can't," she said in her final message. "The ship is too tilted. The hallway is crowded with so many people."
Distraught parents who travelled to the southern island of Jindo to be near the scene of the accident reacted angrily to reports that the ship's passengers, including 325 pupils from Danwon high school in the Seoul suburb of Ansan, had initially been told to stay in their cabins rather than head to the emergency exits.
A crew member said an evacuation order had been issued 30 minutes after the accident, but several survivors said they did not hear any instructions to abandon ship. There was speculation that the order was not relayed to passengers on the public address system.
Some relatives threw water at the South Korean prime minister, Chung Hong-won, during a visit to the Jindo gymnasium. "How dare you come here with your chin up?" one screamed at him. "Would you respond like this if your own child was in that ship?"
Another blocked Chung's path as he tried to leave, saying: "Don't run away, Mr prime minister! Please tell us what you're planning to do."
A rescued pupil confirmed that passengers had been told to stay in their seats or cabins after the ship struck what may have been an underwater rock and began to list.
"We must have waited 30 to 40 minutes after the crew told us to stay put," the pupil said. "Then everything tilted over and everyone started screaming and scrambling to get out."
Another passenger, Koo Bon-hee, said more people might have escaped had there been an immediate evacuation order.
"The rescue wasn't done well. We were wearing life jackets. We had time," said Koo, 36, who was on his way to Jeju island - the ship's intended destination - on a business trip with a colleague.
"If people had jumped into the water … they could have been rescued. But we were told not to go out."
But instead of ordering passengers to leave, officers on the bridge were trying to stabilise the vessel, a crew member said.
The Sewol's wreckage is in waters just north of Byeongpung island, located about 470km (290 miles) from Seoul.
Three vessels equipped with cranes are due to arrive on Friday today to help with the rescue and salvage the ship. The rescue operation now involves 169 boats, including 26 navy ships, and 29 aircraft, Kang Byung-kyu, the minister for security and public administration, was quoted as saying by Yonhap.
Picture of Justin McCurry

Running one day Behind Because of A Birthday

adamfoxie blog International is running one day behind because of it’s founder’s birthday. Also the blog is experimenting in going by-day instead of daily. Decisions are made on readership and expense. The blog has stayed on as a daily for 5 years. The times in which we stopped for a few days the readership continued so is very hard to stop or change the publication in which   viewers continue to read (10 Countries and the USA). The commercials for whatever reason have been a flop which we find alright sharing with you.

Be Well.
The stories will come back at midnight for tomorrow’s edition.



April 16, 2014

Homoerotic Stamps Coming Out in Finland


The Finnish postal service has created 3 Tom of Finland stamps 

The work of iconic gay artist Tom of Finland will be honoured this fall when it appears on a new set of stamps released by the Finnish postal service, Itella Posti Oy.

Set to be rolled out between September and October 2014, the three Tom of Finland stamps were unveiled this week by the postal service on its blog, alongside seven additional sets of stamps featuring the works of other prominent Finnish artists.

"His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion," reads a press release issued by the Itella Posti Oy. "In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures."



The release, which also hails the artist's work as "confident and proud homoeroticism" goes on to note that the self-adhesive stamps will be launched in conjunction with an art exhibition dedicated to Tom Finland in the Postal Museum.


While Tom of Finland (whose real name was Touko Laaksonen) died in 1991, his work lives on as some of the most iconic and daring of its kind.Within the LGBT and arts communities, he is legendary.

"He created an archive of erotica with a distinct aesthetic – vast-shouldered men in leather, denim and knee-high boots – that is said to have influenced figures including Robert Mapplethorpe, Freddie Mercury and the Village People," writes the Guardian's Kira Chochrane. "[His works] are considerably more erotic than those usually seen on any nation's envelopes."

"His sketches, often explicit, were unapologetic depictions of gay sex and relationships," wrote Soraya Nadia McDonald, similarly, for the Washington Post. "Laaksonen’s subjects were almost always muscle-bound, handsome figures, often bursting out of their clothes. His work, a meditation on masculinity, was also heavy on leather fetish imagery."




Being one of the most well-known Finnish artists in the world with more than 3,500 drawings to his name, it makes sense that Tom of Finland was chosen for the honor of having his work appear on stamps — and yet, in a country where gay marriage is not yet legal, the fact that his graphic homoerotic works are being celebrated by the post office has come as a surprise to some.

by Lauren O’Neil 
http://www.cbc.ca/

Supreme Court in India Recognizes a Third Sex: Transgender


                                                                                                                                                 
Suicides among transgenders in India under-reported
India's Supreme Court has recognized transgender people as a third gender, in a landmark ruling.

"It is the right of every human being to choose their gender," it said in granting rights to those who identify themselves as neither male nor female.

It ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities, as well as key amenities.

According to one estimate, India has about two million transgender people.

In India, a common term used to describe transgender people, transsexuals, cross-dressers, eunuchs and transvestites is hijra.

Campaigners say they live on the fringes of society, often in poverty, ostracised because of their gender identity. Most make a living by singing and dancing or by begging and prostitution.
 

In medieval India too, they played a prominent role in the royal courts of the Mughal emperors and some Hindu rulers. Many of them rose to powerful positions.

Their fall from grace started in the 18th Century during the British colonial rule when the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 categorised the entire transgender community as "criminals" who were "addicted" to committing serious crimes. They were arrested for dressing in women's clothing or dancing or playing music in public places, and for indulging in gay sex.

After Independence, the law was repealed in 1949, but mistrust of the transgender community has continued. Even today, they remain socially excluded, living on the fringes of society, in ghettoised communities, harassed by the police and abused by the public. Most make a living by singing and dancing at weddings or to celebrate child birth, many have moved to begging and prostitution.

It is hoped that the landmark court ruling will help bring them into the mainstream and improve their lot.

Rights groups say they often face huge discrimination and that sometimes hospitals refuse to admit them.

They have been forced to choose either male or female as their gender in most public spheres.

'Proud Indian'
"Recognition of transgenders as a third gender is not a social or medical issue but a human rights issue," Justice KS Radhakrishnan, who headed the two-judge Supreme Court bench, said in his ruling on Tuesday.

"Transgenders are also citizens of India" and they must be "provided equal opportunity to grow", the court said.

"The spirit of the Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender."

The judges asked the government to treat them in line with other minorities officially categorised as "socially and economically backward", to enable them to get quotas in jobs and education.

"We are quite thrilled by the judgement," Anita Shenoy, lawyer for the petitioner National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa), told the BBC.

"The court order gives legal sanctity to the third gender. The judges said the government must make sure that they have access to medical care and other facilities like separate wards in hospitals and separate toilets," she said.

Prominent transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, who was among the petitioners in the case, welcomed the judgement, saying the community had long suffered from discrimination and ignorance in the traditionally conservative country, reports the Agence France-Presse news agency.

"Today, for the first time I feel very proud to be an Indian," Ms Tripathi told reporters outside the court in Delhi.

In 2009, India's Election Commission took a first step by allowing transgenders to choose their gender as "other" on ballot forms.

But India is not the first country to recognise a third gender. Nepal recognised a third gender as early as in 2007 when the Supreme Court ordered the government to scrap all laws that discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And last year, Bangladesh also recognised a third gender.

Tuesday's ruling comes after the Supreme Court's decision in December which criminalised gay sex by reversing a landmark 2009 Delhi High Court order which had decriminalised homosexual acts.

According to a 153-year-old colonial-era law - Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code - a same-sex relationship is an "unnatural offence" and punishable by a 10-year jail term.

Legal experts say Tuesday’s judgement puts transgender people in a strange situation: on the one hand, they are now legally recognised and protected under the Constitution, but on the other hand they may be breaking the law if they have consensual gay sex.

Johnny Weir’s Husband Demands Apology, Weir Shows Pre-Nuptial

Peace...with stipulations: Victor Voronov recently demanded a public apology from Johnny Weir as part of the couple's reconciliation and now Weir has hit back with a very specific and explicit, 5-page 'post-nup' agreement


Johnny Weir's ugly public breakup with husband Victor Voronov has become an equally out-there reconciliation.
The flashy figure skater has fired back at Voronov's demands for a public apology with a bizarre and explicit post-nuptial agreement, reports TMZ.
The 5-page document includes a list of no-no's like extramarital sexting and mutual masturbation, denies each the right to be 'in close range' of any exes and requires bi-yearly STD tests from both parties.
  point claimed his figure skater husb  
Olympic favorite: Weir was a hit as he commentated on the Sochi Olympics with Tara Lipinski earlier this year - but he has said that behind the scenes he was struggling with his demanding husband
He added that their fights involved wrestling - and that it sometimes got out of control, including the incident in which he bit Voronov, who called the police.

A picture of the alleged bite appeared on TMZ and shows a deep gash on a man's forearm.
Weir officially came out as gay in his memoir Welcome to My World in 2011, citing a recent string of gay suicides as his reason to be open about his sexuality.
On New Year’s Eve that year, he married Voronov.

But in February, he told Access Hollywood that the relationship could be fiery.
'A marriage between two guys is different than what I imagine a marriage between a man and a woman [to be],' he said. 'I mean, we're both constantly trying to fight to wear the pants in the relationship. It's constant fireworks. It’s very boom, boom, boom.’ 

A section about 'ultimatums' in the relationship ends with a loophole for the champion skater.
'If I give you one more day to get your bank records to me,' it reads. ‘Then I want to have a free f*** of anyone I want.'

The nasty divorce battle had been publicly escalating since February.
Johnny was reportedly set to move back into their home over the weekend, but only if the figure skater agreed to publicly apologize to Voronov, TMZ reported.
Voronov’s agreement also stipulates that Weir's mother Pamela must stay out of the couple's private life and personal finances.

According to the report, Weir was planning to move back into their home as early as Monday but the couple were seen bickering over their own reconciliation agreement, which likely gave the skater the idea for his own legally binding document.

Weir filed for divorce from Voronov, whom he married at the end of 2011 after just months of dating, in February while working as a commentator for NBC at the Sochi Olympics. 

The split sparked a series of bitter digs - from Weir claiming Voronov destroyed his beloved Birkin bags, and Voronov claiming his ex sent text messages to gay porn star Michael Lucas and engaged in threesomes.
Voronov accused his estranged husband of sending a ‘hateful' and 'disgusting' email and filed court papers saying Weir had violated a temporary restraining order by sending the email.

‘Johnny sent Victor a disgusting, hateful email which violated the no contact order as part of the temporary restraining order he got last week,' a source told Radar. 
Voronov had the restraining order put in place after an incident on March 5 in which Weir allegedly hit him on the arm and threw a wooden Russian doll at him.
'So on Monday, Victor filed a police report with cops in Rutherford, New Jersey,' the source added. 'Johnny could be in very serious legal trouble if the judge finds him in contempt for violating terms of the temporary restraining order.'
Voronov, 29, claims Weir committed multiple acts of adultery - including an affair with an unidentified Chicago club owner. He also says Weir is holding their dog Tema hostage.

Nasty divorce: Weir, pictured naked on his show Be Good Johnny Weir, was accused by Vornonov of sending  nude photos and steamy messages to men online, and his husband also has nude images of him 
Nasty divorce: Weir said he was not concerned about his ex sharing naked images of him following the split. He claimed Voronov physically and emotionally abused him 
In legal documents obtained by TMZ, Voronov alleges Weir forced him out of the closet and that he married him because his life with a Georgetown-educated lawyer would make compelling reality TV.
In addition to the allegations of adultery and cruelty, Voronov is also requesting a judge to force Weir to return property the lawyer claims the Olympian took from him.
These include 20 furs - including a $125,000 coat made from sable - a crocodile Celine bag, 40 Balenciaga bags, one green and one orange Hermes Birkin and 12 Chanel bags.
The source also added that Weir 'categorically denies' the adultery allegations.
In an interview with Access Hollywood, Weir made his own swipes at his ex, claiming his non-practicing attorney husband was often abusive towards him and relied on his money.
He claimed he was struggling with a ‘personal hell' of an emotionally and physically abusive partner.

'Sochi was one of the hardest times in my life,' he said. 'When I was on the broadcasting, I escaped my own personal hell that I was living in.
'My husband was behaving very erratically. The majority of the time off camera I was in tears. I was on the phone. I was fighting. I was not in a good place.’ 

He added that their fights involved wrestling - and that it sometimes got out of control, including the incident in which he bit Voronov, who called the police.
A picture of the alleged bite appeared on TMZ and shows a deep gash on a man's forearm.
Weir officially came out as gay in his memoir Welcome to My World in 2011, citing a recent string of gay suicides as his reason to be open about his sexuality.
On New Year's Eve that year, he married Voronov.
But in February, he told Access Hollywood that the relationship could be fiery.
'A marriage between two guys is different than what I imagine a marriage between a man and a woman [to be],' he said. 'I mean, we're both constantly trying to fight to wear the pants in the relationship. It's constant fireworks. It's very boom, boom, boom.'


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 

Nation of Brunel New Law: Death by Stoning to Gays




The United Nations Human Rights office has condemned a revised penal code in Brunei which calls for the death penalty for numerous offenses, including same-sex sexual activity, and introduces stoning to death as the specific method of execution for crimes of a sexual nature.
BruneiBrunei, a predominately Muslim state in Southeast Asia where homosexuality has long been criminalized, will implement a set of extreme Sharia laws that demand death by stoning for homosexual acts, adultery, rape, murder, and for declaring oneself to be a non-Muslim.
The law comes into effect on April 22.
“Application of the death penalty for such a broad range of offenses contravenes international law,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“We urge the Government to delay the entry into force of the revised penal code and to conduct a comprehensive review ensuring its compliance with international human rights standards,” he told a news conference in Geneva.
“Under international law, stoning people to death constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and is thus clearly prohibited,” stated Colville.
The criminalization and application of the death penalty for consensual relations between adults in private also violates a whole host of rights, including the rights to privacy, to equality before the law, the right to health and freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, Colville added.
The provisions of the revised penal code may also encourage further violence and discrimination against LGBT people, he warned.

After Attack and Overdose Gay Rights Advocate Left Dying 3 Hrs Before Police Gave help

                                                                       Terence McCartney had taken a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs
                                                                                                                                                         

A coroner has raised serious questions after hearing how the PSNI took three hours to gain entry to a flat where a man had taken an overdose. 

Police told the inquest into the death of Terence McCartney (42) they had no means of getting into the apartment block where he lay dead or dying.

The well-known gay rights campaigner, known as Terry, had taken a combination of prescription drugs and alcohol.

The court heard that an hour before his body was found, Mr McCartney’s sister Caroline Ferry found a Facebook message from him that read: “Thank you for everything. Tell mum I’m sorry.”

He had also been assaulted just hours before he died in a suspected homophobic attack, although his injuries were not major.

Questioned by coroner Jim Kitson, one PSNI officer told the court there was no policy or procedure for keeping contact details for keyholders to apartment blocks in the city, or on how to gain entry to them.

The inquest heard that police had received an emergency call at 6.30am on February 5, 2013 from Mr McCartney's friend, Christine Hegarty.

She was very distressed after a telephone conversation she had just had with him, in which Mr McCartney told her repeatedly: “It's too late, it's over.”

A short time into the call Mr McCartney's speech became very slurred and he started making gurgling noises and could be heard gasping for air.

Ms Hegarty told the court she then used a second phone to call the police while trying to keep her friend talking.

But she said she ended the call to Mr McCartney on the advice of police — without having obtained an exact address for him.

Ms Hegarty explained that although she had previously seen Mr McCartney on a daily basis, he had moved to an apartment in John Street three weeks previously and she was unsure of the exact address.

Police were dispatched to John Street 10 minutes after Ms Hegarty made the call.

Two officers successfully gained entry to one block of apartments there, and were able to establish that Mr McCartney wasn't known there.

But two other officers were unable to gain entry to the second block — Meridian Court apartments — where Mr McCartney was living. A police officer told the court that neither he nor his colleague knew the code for the outer door that would allow them inside. He said that even though they rang the internal buzzers of all 30-plus apartments, no-one answered.

By the time police gained entry to Mr McCartney’s flat at around 9.30am, he was already dead.

The call dispatch officer who was on duty at the time confirmed that there was no policy or procedure within the PSNI in Derry whereby they held contact details for keyholders of apartment blocks, or other details to gain entry.

Mr Kitson voiced his concern about this and said: “If something like this happened in the city tonight does it not concern you that you would not be able to gain entry?”

The officer said it was a matter of concern but added: “There is a large number of apartments in the city so it would be quite a task to actually go around and get codes into all of them.”

Mr Kitson said that this failure to gain entry “was one factor in this case”. He ruled that Mr McCartney had sadly died as a result of choking.

He said this had been brought on by a failure of his gag reflexes due to the effects of the high levels of alcohol and prescription drugs in his system.

“Having heard from Terry's family and friend Christine and from his GP it is clear that Terry was a gentleman who clearly had issues around substance abuse who had previous indulged in self harm and had attempted suicide,” said the coroner.

“I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that this was a serious suicide attempt, but was a cry for help.”

Mother weeps as she hears of son’s last hours

Terence McCartney's grieving mother wept as she listened to harrowing evidence about the final few hours of her son's life during his inquest in Londonderry yesterday.

Coroner James Kitson heard from Mr McCartney's friends how he was prone to binge drinking and had in the past taken ‘legal highs' but that he had hoped to go to a detox centre to get help to stop drinking.

His substance abuse was confirmed in a statement from his GP who also provided evidence that Mr McCartney had a history of self-harm and previous suicide attempts.

Margaret McCartney, who is wheelchair bound, was comforted by her family during the difficult and painful evidence about her son.

The court was told how he had been assaulted by a group of men in what is understood to be a homophobic attack on Shipquay Street at around 1.30am on February 5, 2013.

However results of a post-mortem showed that although there were minor cuts and abrasions on Mr McCartney's face consistent with a fall to the ground and a punch to the mouth they would not have contributed to his death a few hours later.

One witness, Gavin Gillespie, told the court that he had been driving around Derry with two friends between 1am and 2am on February 5, 2013 and saw Mr McCartney on Shipquay Street.

Mr Gillespie said they stopped and spent some time with Mr McCartney and shared a bottle of whiskey Mr McCartney had with him.

They left but returned 45 minutes later and saw Mr McCartney still there — but by now there was also a group of around 15 men present.

Mr Gillespie said he got out of the car and his two companions left. Mr McCartney was being verbally abused by some of the crowd, with one man in particular “being mouthy”.

Mr McCartney was described as being polite and had “tried to calm things down”. Mr Gillespie said he left the scene after trying to “stand up” for Mr McCartney when the man who was being abusive to Mr McCartney challenged him.

Mr McCartney's friend Christine Hegarty told the court that when she was talking to him just a few hours later he had said: “You should see the state of my face.” He added: “I am fed up with all of it.”

Ms Hegarty added that she offered to take Mr McCartney to hospital but he repeatedly told her: “It’s done, it's too late.”

BY DONNA DEENEY

April 15, 2014

Russia’s Anti-Gay Law: One Result *Fueling an AIDS Crisis*

 

By Hayato Watanabe

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia ignited a conflict-ridden and violent discussion about the status of LGBT rights in the country. News of hate crimes and protest crackdowns sparked a firestorm of outrage amonginternational and local gay rights activists, who are calling for greater scrutiny of the Putin administration. But the consequences of the LGBT struggle in Russia extend even beyond the violence seen on TV.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is spiraling out of control, and LGBT communities are some of the most seriously affected. From 2002 to 2012, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Russia has increased an astounding 41%, with the numbers of those infected towering over 1.3 million. The Putin administration is ignoring the needs of this community, and is worsening the epidemic by promoting laws that stigmatize homosexuality. Greater international  attention must be brought to the relationship between Russia’s homophobic politics and public health. The Russian government must be pushed towards more equitable policies on both LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues.

Recently, global infection statistics have declined in historically hard-hit areas such as India and South Africa. Sadly, this trend has not made it to Russia – the infection rate there has increased 7% just this year.  These new HIV cases are a direct result of Russia’s policies. They refuse adequate HIV/AIDS services, stop information about safe sex, and shun the LGBT community into fearing violence, or even death.

Russia has passed legislation that bans the “propaganda” of nontraditional sexual relations to minors. In reality, any sign of sexual nonconformity, at any age to any audience, is met with brutal repression. Gay rights activists have widely condemned the law since its passage in June 2013, but Russian officials have shown no intention of backing down from their hardline stance on gay rights.

If Russian lawmakers cannot look to their own consciences on the issue of LGBT discrimination, maybe they will listen to statistics, or to the cries of the international when the devastating consequences of this law are fully realized.
Health activists are concerned that ratcheting up anti-LGBT rhetoric, in addition to fanning the flames of anti-LGBT hysteria, will impede the dissemination of accurate AIDS awareness information. This will affect the ability of health professionals to reach individuals who have been affected by HIV/AIDS or who might be at risk.


Russia’s law reinforces the narrative that LGBT people are not deserving of respect and equality. By further engendering a culture of shame, the law may cause individuals seeking testing and treatment to conceal their homosexuality, or to falsely attribute their status to other methods of transmission (such as injection drug use), in order to avoid the stigma of being gay.
Misreporting or underreporting created by an environment of fear and shame constrains the ability of health professionals to properly study and address the HIV/AIDS crisis. Additionally, the conflation of HIV stigma and gay stigma may even stop heterosexual people from seeking testing. These policies obscure how many diverse communities grapple with this epidemic, and will have disastrous consequences down the line. Along with country's failure to address drug addiction that also spreads HIV/AIDS, Russia's stance on the LGBT community is repressive and backward.

Unfortunately, the outlook appears bleak. The ongoing conflict in Crimea has destabalized relations between Russia and the international community, diminishing hope that Russian lawmakers can be lobbied to repeal the anti-gay propaganda law or allocate more funds to battle the HIV/AIDS crisis.

While the world is obsessed with debating whether Russia’s takeover of Crimea constitutes an act of war, Russia is waging another war – one against its own LGBT people. The Russian government is advancing a health agenda that neglects the needs of one of its most vulnerable communities and treats them like second-class citizens.
Russia needs to repair its approach to public health and its fractured relationship with its LGBT citizens. The country could start by repealing the anti-gay propaganda law. Ending stigma and inspiring openness will not only increase testing, it will also encourage greater awareness of HIV/AIDS related issues.

The Russian government must also ensure there are ample resources available to educate the public and help those grappling with HIV/AIDS. For example, the government could sponsor initiatives that provide access to accurate sex education. Accurate knowledge is the first critical step towards ending this global epidemic. The government should also subsidize medications such aspost-exposure prophylaxis, which can actually prevent transmission in high-risk situations. Finally, ensuring that HIV positive people have access to medication is critical, because maintain low viral loads can affect how easily the virus is spread.

Russia’s anti-LGBT propaganda law is shameful – and it’s also an example of shockingly bad policy. The government’s intransigence on the issue of LGBT rights challenges the “it gets better” idealism trumpeted by the larger international gay rights movement. Rather, things seem to be moving backwards in Russia, impeding the country’s ability to stop an epidemic. As some LGBT Russians might say, “it gets better everywhere but here.”
worldpolicy.org
*****
*****
Hayato Watanabe is a graduate student at the NYU Department of Politics. He specializes in human rights and critical race theory.
[Photos courtesy of Welt.deBloomberg Marketspadresteve andNomadNewYork]

Tory Inquiry into Expenses Paying for Gay Sex Partying Continues but No Consequences Seen



                                                                                    


Parliament’s expenses watchdog is to investigate claims that the taxpayer indirectly funded a hotel suite that was used for a gay-sex party during a Conservative Party conference.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said it was “deeply worried” by allegations that public money was used to pay for a suite of rooms used where the party took place.
It said it would be investigating the claims, which come in the wake of revelations about inappropriate relationships between young Tory researchers and MPs following the Nigel Evans trial. Mr Evans was cleared of a string of sexual assaults on young men following a five-week trial at Preston Crown Court.
The Independent understands that a suite of rooms costing up to £2,500 per night was booked at Manchester’s Light ApartHotel by an organisation called the Policy Research Unit (PRU). The PRU, which is overseen by senior Conservative figures, provides “parliamentary research” for the party’s MPs that is carried out by a team of mainly young researchers and interns. 
The majority of the PRU’s £437,725-a-year income comes directly from the taxpayer via MPs’ expenses. Tory MPs each pay nearly £4,000 a year to the PRU which they claim back through Ipsa.
The organisation states on its website that it only carries out “the same work which would otherwise be permitted to be undertaken within a member’s own office by their own publicly funded staff”.
If the PRU paid for the suite of rooms in Manchester it may have been in breach of parliamentary expense rules – regardless of what went on there. Ipsa’s rules clearly state that “staffing expenditure may not be claimed for any party political activity”. The rules add that “attendance at political party conferences or meetings” cannot be covered by parliamentary expenses.
Last night an Ipsa spokesman said: “MPs who use a parliamentary research company, such as PRU, can seek reimbursement for the cost as a perfectly reasonable claim. Allegations that the PRU has misused public money are deeply worrying and pose serious questions for the PRU board to answer.
“We have received the proper assurances and evidence from all MPs who claim through PRU but, in the light of these concerns, we will be contacting PRU to seek further assurance about their work and that the claims fall within Ipsa’s scheme.”
The Independent understands concerns were raised with senior Tory officials after the gay networking application Grindr was used to “advertise” the party which took place during the Conservative Party conference in 2011.
While there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on behalf of anyone involved, it follows revelations in yesterday’s Independent that a number of Conservative MPs regularly got drunk, “flirted” and made passes at young male parliamentary workers during Commons drinking sessions. The Independent has been told that some of these researchers may have worked for the PRU.
Separately, earlier this month Iain Corby, director of the PRU, resigned from his job to “return to the commercial world”. His departure was not linked in any way to the booking of the Manchester hotel rooms.
Oliver Heald, the Conservative MP who was at the time the chairman of the PRU, confirmed that members of the unit would go to party conferences and that this was paid for by the organisation.
“They did used to go,” he said. “Three or four people from the unit would go. It was all approved by the Treasurer (of the PRU) and it has all been audited.” Mr Heald said he was unaware that such expenditure might have been breach of Ipsa’s rules.
Henry Bellingham, the Conservative MP and current chairman of the PRU, confirmed that the majority of the PRU’s income came through the parliamentary expenses scheme. He said that, to his knowledge, no one from the unit had attended the Conservative Party conference since he took over in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions defended the decision to prosecute Mr Evans, the former Commons Deputy Speaker, saying people who have been sexually assaulted do not always consider themselves victims.
Alison Saunders told the BBC that the CPS did not take “weak” cases.
She said decisions to prosecute were normally based on police documents and video interviews, saying “evidence is tested in court in a way in which we are not able to when we make our decision”.
She added: “Victims may not always think of themselves as victims. It rather depends on the relationship they are in with their alleged abusers, so if someone is in a position of power... We have seen it in grooming cases where victims think they are not victims because their abusers love them and take care of them.”
Nigel Evans case: The ‘victims’ who didn’t think they were victims
Several of the seven alleged victims in the Nigel Evans trial told the court they did not believe the MP had committed any crime, seriously damaging the prosecution’s case:
Case One
A Westminster worker allegedly touched by Nigel Evans while drinking with friends at a Soho bar in 2003. According to the case for the prosecution, the man considered it a drunken pass rather than an indecent sexual assault. The two men remained friends.
Case Two
He was contacted by police two weeks after Mr Evans’s arrest in 2013 over an alleged assault said to have taken place at a Tory party conference in Blackpool 10 years earlier when the MP was accused of twice putting his hand down the younger man’s trousers. He believed the incident had been dealt with effectively at the time and did not want to press charges.
Case Three
The prosecution claimed Mr Evans attempted to kiss him in a corridor outside the Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons. The complainant said he was “embarrassed and bewildered” by the incident but did not feel like a victim of crime. He did not wish to make a complaint.
Jonathan Brown

However I’ve ( Adam Gonzalez)learn from other sources t that:
A senior minister has been criticised after claims that the taxpayer indirectly funded a gay sex party at the Conservative Party conference.
Oliver Heald, the solicitor-general who was head of the Parliamentary Resources Unit (PRU) at the time, has come under fire for his inquiry into the incident.
Mr Heald issued an informal warning to Iain Corby, a senior party official, who reportedly exchanged messages with another man on a gay dating website referring to “cute boys” and “orgy” at a hotel suite hired for Tory researchers.
Mr Corby quit as head of the PRU, which conducts research on behalf of Tory MPs, earlier this month. The unit is paid for by MPs through their taxpayer-funded expenses.
Mr Heald, the member for North East Hertfordshire, started an investigation after party whips were shown a transcript of Mr Corby’s conversation on Grindr, the gay dating website.
He also examined allegations that Mr Corby was rude after returning to work under the influence of alcohol. Ipsa, the expenses watchdog, will this week investigate whether the hotel booking was a breach of the rules, which state that expenses cannot be used to cover the cost of “attendance at political party conferences or meetings”.
Mr Heald said yesterday that he was “unaware” that the expenditure might have amounted to a breach of the rules.
He said: “About three years ago the whips brought to me complaints about a staff member at PRU. I brought in an adviser and the matters were investigated, leading to a final, informal warning.” John Mann, a Labour MP, said: “It raises questions about whether any real investigation ever happened. Mr Heald needs to explain why he failed to spot the misuse of parliamentary money. I would question his judgment.”
The claims come amid growing concern about Westminster’s “drinking culture” and suggestions that young gay researchers are bullied into accepting sexual advances from MPs. The PRU is a team of 20 young researchers who advise Tory MPs on political issues. Each Tory MP pays the PRU £4,000 a year, which can be claimed back on their expenses.
In 2011, Mr Corby and other members of the PRU allegedly attended the Conservative Party conference and booked into Manchester’s Light Aparthotel, where rooms cost as much as £4,500.
The Mail on Sunday claims Mr Corby sent a series of messages to another man on a gay dating website. He reportedly made an open invitation for anyone else logged on to the website to join him in his three-bedroom suite.
Mr Corby reportedly said: “Sharing with two colleagues but I chose the cutest boys from my team.” He refers to a man “just out of the shower walking around naked,” adding that “he knows how to keep his boss happy even if he is straight.” A Tory MP said yesterday he told party chiefs about the “drinking culture” at the PRU but no action was taken.
Michael Fabricant claimed that he complained to Mr Heald after he was approached by two PRU officials.
Mr Fabricant said in a statement: “In 2011, I met with two members of PRU staff, both of whom felt that activities at the time fell far below the standards expected for a professional employers.” Mr Corby was unavailable for comment.

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