Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Death. Show all posts

February 5, 2019

Dignity For Gay People in India Is Fought Every Day, Is 50 Million Deaths ok?


A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex 
By Siddharth Dube

In 1988, when Siddharth Dube was a deeply in love 26-year-old, the majority of gay men in India concealed their sexual orientation. A colonial-era law, Section 377, criminalized homosexuality, which was defined as an “unnatural” offense. To protect themselves from arrest, many gay men socialized in public parks and toilets under the cover of darkness. As an Americanized journalist just in from New York, Dube was often shielded from the accumulation of traumas that defined the lives of others. With his partner, a Parisian Bharatanatyam dancer, the cool Delhi nights passed in idyllic fashion. Until the night the police called them in.

“The man sitting behind the desk in the muddy-brown uniform of the Delhi police looked at me with such aggressive loathing,” Dube writes in “An Indefinite Sentence,” his heart-stopping memoir of being gay in India and the world. “I thought, momentarily, that he had mistaken me for someone else. … He burst out angrily, almost as if in a rage. ‘You are a homo! You have naked men dancing at your house, exposing themselves. Go back to America! If you want to live here, you will live as an Indian, not like an American!’”

Dube fled. A scholarship at Harvard put him on the path to a career in global health policy, with a special focus on AIDS. “In every way, this was a disease about me,” he explains. “This virus that was intertwined with our essential human longing for sex and love, and with being outlawed, shamed and persecuted.”

From that distance it was easier to assess the things — beautiful and terrible — that had defined life in India. There was the magical childhood in Calcutta with loving parents, private yoga lessons and bedtime stories. But then, from the age of 11, there were the seven years at the Doon School, the elite public school in the Himalayan foothills, where sexual abuse by older students flourished and headmasters cruelly advised victims to “become tougher.” It speaks to the author’s transcendental capacity for forgiveness that he was later able to harness the memories of his abuse into fighting for the human rights of others. “My own suffering seemed less random and unfair,” he writes, “now that I could see so many other people who had also been wrongfully cast out by society.” 

As the AIDS epidemic gathered ferocious momentum in the United States, the activist and author Paul Monette observed, “Death by AIDS is everywhere around me, seething through the streets of this broken land.” Dube responded by living a life of virtual abstinence. Over the next few years he poured himself into work for the United Nations, the World Bank and then Unicef. He published two books, including a deeply reported account of one impoverished family’s life in India.

And so, although this is a personal memoir, it is also a memoir of work. Work helped Dube find himself. And work allowed him to live a life he could be proud of. It’s in combining his personal story with the ravages of AIDS he witnessed that Dube advances the genre of queer memoirs in India. 

The book has precursors. Firdaus Kanga’s novelized account of his life in Bombay, “Trying to Grow” (1991), is one important example. Another is “Because I Have a Voice” (2005), in which the editors Arvind Narrain and Gautam Bhan brought together an indelible set of essays and personal narratives from across the country. At the opposite end of the class spectrum, A. Revathi’s gut-wrenching “The Truth About Me” (2010) recounted the normalized violence facing the country’s hijras — a term for a variety of third gender. But Dube’s return to India in the 1990s, at the height of its AIDS crisis, equipped him to chronicle another vital story. His critical and vivid reporting of the time brings to mind the achievements of David France in “How to Survive a Plague.”

In 1996, doctors in India told The New York Times that the death toll from AIDS could reach 20 million, or even 50 million, by the end of the century. That year, after a group of prostitutes in the southern city of Madras were arrested for solicitation, a researcher working for Dr. Suniti Solomon, the microbiologist credited with pioneering AIDS research in India, drew samples of their blood. The women didn’t know what they had consented to. The six who tested positive for H.I.V. were immediately transported to a government-run reformatory where they were confined to a tiny room. They were refused legal and medical aid and access to their families.

A pattern was set in place. “Forever after in India,” Dube writes, “AIDS was thought of as a disease of women prostitutes merely because the first indigenous cases were detected among them. They were accused of spreading the sexual infection to hapless men, who then spread it to their innocent wives and babies.” On the pretext of protecting the public, human rights abuses became rampant.
Some doctors didn’t just refuse to treat victims; they leaked their status to the media. Prostitutes were imprisoned in such large numbers, the government had to set up makeshift camps to house them. And Hindu supremacist politicians censored any public conversation about sex and sexuality. In 1996, vigilante groups empowered by such politicians burned down movie theaters that screened Deepa Mehta’s film “Fire,” because it focused on a lesbian relationship. The idea that homosexuality is a disease brought to India by Islamic invaders is popular even today. Last September, after the Supreme Court overturned Section 377, a politician from the prime minister’s Bharatiya Janata Party called homosexuality “a genetic disorder, like having six fingers.”

Such statements betray an ignorance of traditional values. “Hindu mythology,” the author Devdutt Pattanaik writes in “Shikhandi,” his retelling of popular myths, “makes constant references to queerness.” A key character in the war epic Mahabharata was born a woman and becomes a man. A great king experiences life as both a man and a woman. And, in an oral retelling of the story of Lord Ram, the Hindu god is so moved by the steadfast devotion of his hijra subjects that he promises, “Never again shall you be invisible.” In the literary history “Same-Sex Love in India” the academic Ruth Vanita reminds us that pre-Islamic texts feature “men and boy prostitutes and dancers who service men … in descriptive, nonjudgmental terms, as normally present in court and in daily life.”

Nationalist politicians, more so than anyone else, should by now be aware that it was the British, with their Victorian prudery, and their fear and distaste of Indians, who criminalized homosexuality. They empowered the police to arrest hijras without a warrant for merely “appearing” to be “dressed or ornamented like a woman.”

By the time of the AIDS crisis, these forms of persecution were widely embedded in Indian society; they forced vulnerable groups to take the lead in the campaign to spread awareness. In Madras, one of the H.I.V.-positive prostitutes isolated at the start of the epidemic started working as a peer educator. In the coastal state of Goa, Dominic D’Souza, a young gay man, fought to dissolve the law that had allowed the state to isolate him in a TB sanitarium after he fell ill. Collectives of prostitutes mushroomed across the country. On one memorable occasion a protest outside Parliament shut down the main streets of the Indian capital. In the time they had, many victims catalyzed transformative change in how the public approached the unprecedented crisis.

By reminding us of their achievements, Dube gives his readers the substantial gift of hope. The sentiment is, in fact, the spine of his memoir. “The impoverished, the reviled and the outcast — whether black or untouchable, whether girly boy, faggot, hijra or whore — never stop fighting for dignity and justice,” he writes. “There is hope in this — undying hope. It makes bearable the most indefinite of sentences.” 


July 13, 2018

Great Loss At The Death of Tom Gallagher, Diplomat and Fighter for LGBT Rights

 Image result for tom gallagher

Tom Gallagher used to say that during his long career as a Foreign Service officer, he worked in countries where he might have been imprisoned or worse if officials learned he was gay. For much of that time his home country wasn’t welcoming either; he had to keep his sexual orientation hidden to stay on the job.

After coming out — he is widely recognized as the first Foreign Service officer to do so publicly — Mr. Gallagher left the service in 1976. But he lived to see and benefit from a transformation that not only allowed him to resume his government career, but also saw him celebrated in State Department publications and singled out by Hillary Rodham Clinton, then secretary of state, at a 2012 event.

The occasion was the 20th anniversary of Glifaa, an organization for L.G.B.T. State Department employees. Mrs. Clinton cited Mr. Gallagher as a pioneer.

“I don’t want any of you who are a lot younger ever to take for granted what it took for people like Tom Gallagher to pave the way for all of you,” she said. 

Mr. Gallagher died on Sunday in Wall Township, N.J. He was 77.

His husband, Amin Dulkumoni, said the causes were a staph infection and a heart condition.

Secretary Clinton Delivers Remarks at the 20th Anniversary of GLIFAACreditVideo by U.S. Department of State

Mr. Gallagher was in Saudi Arabia when the Arab-Israeli war broke out in June 1967. He spent two years in Nigeria during the Biafran war there. He worked on the American response to wars in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Between his two stints with the State Department, he spent almost 20 years doing social work and volunteer counseling in California, first in Los Angeles and then in San Francisco as that city was grappling with AIDS.

“Tom’s story isn’t about all he saw so much as it is about the impulse to serve that got him there,” said Jacqui Shine, a writer who has researched his life extensively and just two weeks ago wrote an article about him for Slate.

Mrs. Clinton, in her 2012 remarks, also cited Mr. Gallagher’s determination to serve, using him to represent the whole pre-gay-rights era. 

“All of the employees who sacrificed their right to be who they were,” she told her audience, “were really defending your rights and the rights and freedoms of others.”

Thomas Patrick Gallagher was born on Sept. 11, 1940, in Manhattan. His parents, Thomas and Mary Josephine Murphy Gallagher, were personal servants on the estate of a wealthy New Jersey family; as a boy he caddied at the Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J.

Mr. Gallagher said he made his career plans early.

“I wanted to be in the Foreign Service from the fourth grade,” he said in an interview for the website of his alma mater, Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Mr. Gallagher, to the left of Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state, at a State Department event in 2012 celebrating the 20th anniversary of Glifaa, an organization for L.G.B.T. State Department employees. “I don’t want any of you who are a lot younger ever to take for granted what it took for people like Tom Gallagher to pave the way for all of you,” Mrs. Clinton department of State.

“The Peace Corps application asked ‘What country do I know better than someone who has lived there for six months?’ ” he recalled years later. “I had never been any further away from home than Philadelphia in my entire life, so I didn’t know anything about anywhere.”

But he had written a paper about Ethiopia.

“Having read all nine books in the New York Public Library on Ethiopia, I figured I knew as much as anyone in America,” he said. “So I wrote that down.” 
He was sent there, and he even met Emperor Haile Selassie.

“Had he known of my orientation, the emperor might have had me executed, which was considered the appropriate response to homosexuality in Ethiopia at the time,” Mr. Gallagher noted in the Monmouth interview.

In 1965 he joined the State Department and was assigned to Saudi Arabia. In 1966 he married Carolyn Worrell, and for a time it seemed as if he had found a niche in the heterosexual world. As Ms. Shine’s Slate article, written in timeline fashion, put it, “Tom loves his wife, and he loves his job, and his secrets — well, he doesn’t think about them very much these days.”

After a posting in Nigeria, Mr. Gallagher was given a series of assignments in the United States. One was at the personnel office; decades later, when he received the State Department’s Tragen Award, William J. Burns, then deputy secretary, cited his support of equality for female employees during this period.

But his marriage ended in 1972, and in the broader world, the gay-rights movement was ramping up. Mr. Gallagher was becoming more open about his sexuality, including doing counseling at the Gay Community Services Center in Los Angeles during an assignment in that city.

In 1975 the Gay Activist Alliance held a conference in Washington called “Gays and the Federal Government.” He volunteered to speak at it.

“I think it was sort of a ‘to hell with it’ decision,” Ms. Shine said by email. “He knew he had to get his security clearance renewed soon (in 1975 he’d been there a decade), and anyone they called in Los Angeles could tell them that he had worked at the center.”

During the panel discussion at the conference, when someone asked him what the State Department thought of his being gay, he responded, “I guess this is my coming-out party,” the Slate article said. 

After a brief posting to Ecuador, Mr. Gallagher left the Foreign Service in 1976 rather than go through the process of renewing his security clearance, which would have involved scrutiny of his sexual orientation. But in 1994, with the State Department’s policies having been changed under President Bill Clinton, he rejoined.

He held posts in Madrid, Brussels and elsewhere, and had several high-profile assignments involving Africa. His final job was with the Office of International Health. He retired in 2005.

Mr. Dulkumoni, whom he married in 2017, is his only immediate survivor. They lived in Tinton Falls, N.J.

Though he had lived through substantial changes in attitudes toward gay employees in the United States, Mr. Gallagher was quick to note that there was more to do.

“Being gay still merits the death penalty in a dozen or so countries around the world,” he told his alma mater, which gave him a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. “Saudi scholars debate the question of whether it is more Islamic to stone homosexuals or to behead them. Brunei, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and Uganda have recently taken big steps backward. We still have a long way to go.”

New York Times
By Neil Genzlinger

December 2, 2017

First Man To Have His Same Sex Marriage Recognized Also His Divorce//Died of an OD

Wayne Hincks 2013
An architect who was the first Britain to have a same-sex marriage legally recognized died after overdosing on a gay sex drug when they broke up, an inquest has heard.
Wayne Hincks, 48, had taken a lethal dose of GHB as well as another drug after his relationship with former partner Gerardo Gallardo broke down, the court heard.
They underwent a civil partnership ceremony at Hackney Town Hall in east London 2009 and moved to Toronto.
But when their relationship broke down, Mr Hincks sought a divorce due to him being entitled to half their assets as a married couple.
It was following his two year legal battle that a senior judge in Canada ruled that it would be “impermissible discrimination” not to view them as married and claimed that the distinction in UK law between civil partnerships and marriage “violates human dignity”.
Mr Hincks returned to London when they split up.
He was found dead at his luxury canalside apartment in Hoxton on May 15 this year after taking an overdose, an inquest heard.
Mr Hincks, who held both Canadian and British passports, was found by a colleague when he failed to turn up for work.
Mr Gallardo only came to be aware of his former partner's death just 24 hours before the inquest began on Tuesday.
Mr Hincks, who worked at Camden-based architects Dexter and Moren Associates, had been rushed to hospital in similar circumstances four months earlier but his housemate, who later moved out, rushed him to hospital, saving his life.
In her evidence read out by Assistant Coroner Jacqueline Devonish, Wayne's colleague and friend Kate Sandle said: "Wayne started working at Dexter Moren in 2016 and he had an ongoing lung problem and he had collapsed before in late January early February where he nearly died.
"During this time he had a room mate living with him who took him to hospital.
"I last saw Wayne at work and he seemed fine."
Assistant Coroner Devonish ruled his death was caused by a GHB overdose and gave a conclusion of a drug related death.
A spokesman for Dexter Moren Associates said: "Wayne's sunny outlook and cheerful personality will be greatly missed along with his enthusiasm and dedication to his career in architecture."
Telegraph UK  {By (Randy Boswell) {{2013}}
An Ontario judge has controversially ruled that two Canadian men should be considered married in this country as a result of their 2009 “civil partnership” ceremony in Britain.Monday’s decision in the case by Ontario Superior Court Justice Ruth Mesbur, which showcased conflicting stands on the issue from the Ontario and federal governments, is being hailed in the U.K. as a step forward in the push for full, Canadian-style gay marriages rather than the more limited civil unions for same-sex couples currently permitted under British law.For 44-year-old architect Wayne Hincks, who went to court following the deterioration of his relationship with Toronto architect Gerardo Gallardo, the ruling strengthens his bid to obtain financial support from his former partner as an ex-“spouse” under Ontario law.“I’ve spent $50,000 to get to this point,” Hincks told Postmedia News on Friday from London, England. “And the point I’ve gotten to is having exactly the same rights as any other same-sex or married citizen in Canada.”Hincks and Gallardo met in Britain in August 2009 and were formally joined a few months later in a civil partnership — a form of union that encompasses virtually all of the same rights and responsibilities as a heterosexual marriage in the U.K., but is (contentiously) not called a “marriage.”According to an account of the relationship contained in the court decision, Hincks soon gave up his job in Britain and moved to Canada with Gallardo, who owned an architecture business in Toronto. They shared a home, but the relationship faltered and the two eventually split.Hincks sought a financial settlement, but has so far been denied that because — under Canadian law — the estranged couple’s civil partnership was not considered a marriage, and Hincks was not formally entitled to the full benefits of a legal “spouse.”Hincks launched a court challenge, winning support for his cause from the gay-rights organization Egale Canada and Randall Garrison, the NDP’s critic for gay and lesbian issues.In October 2011, citing the Toronto couple’s legal fight over spousal rights, Garrison challenged Justice Minister Rob Nicholson in the House of Commons over the federal government’s intervention in the case against Hincks, accusing the Conservatives of reopening the debate over gay marriage.“We have been very clear that we are not reopening the issue, but it is a legal dispute over definitions,” Nicholson responded at the time. “As the matter is before the court, I look forward to the decision of the court.”The Ontario government intervened in the case on Hincks’ behalf, arguing that he should be treated in the divorce settlement with all of the rights available to a legally married spouse under the provincial Family Law Act.

June 12, 2017

Since Pulse-Orlando Many Have Seen The Hatred They Created by Their Homophobia

You see them everywhere you go in this bruised city.
Murals, hand-painted signs, stickers in windows, ribbons on lapels, decals on police cars. #OrlandoStrong. You Matter. #OrlandoUnited. Love Wins.

The rainbow-colored messages even stretch across entire buildings, like the one at Se7en Bites, the eatery that Trina Gregory-Propst runs with her wife east of downtown. To her, they are bittersweet symbols of a community that is healing.

“When people try to push you down, there’s always a rise up (afterward),” she says. “And this rise up has been about the good and not just dwelling on … the bad that happened.”
The bad that happened. A year later, it’s still hard to talk about.

And yet 12 months after a gunman massacred 49 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub, members of Orlando’s LGBT community say they feel embraced here like never before.
The blood drives and candlelight vigils in the days and weeks after June 12, 2016, shooting were soon followed by more enduring action.

Donations poured into a fund set up by the city to help the families of those killed, along with those who survived. By the time the OneOrlando fund closed officially on March 31, it had distributed more than $30 million.

Although gay rights have been a divisive issue among Florida Republicans, nearly two dozen GOP officials in Central Florida signed a resolution last year calling for laws banning discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

When Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs unveiled the measure a month after the Pulse shootings at an annual Republican Party fundraising dinner, she got a standing ovation.
“I took it head on and was shocked by the support … that was just unbelievable,” said Jacobs, who has been increasingly forceful in her support for the city’s LGBTQ community. The mayor says she has seen a dramatic shift in attitude among her fellow Republican lawmakers on gay rights, and she speaks often of the city’s new “culture of compassion.”

‘This is your family’

In December, Orlando Police launched a Safe Place initiative which encourages businesses and organizations to display decals stating their commitment to sheltering gay, lesbian or transgender people who are victims of hate crimes or are feeling threatened.
Buildings displaying the decal agree to serve as a refuge from harassment or violence while police are called. More than 200 businesses have signed up.

In the wake of the shootings donations to the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida have allowed the Orlando agency to expand its free HIV testing and mental health counseling, says Gabe Martinez, the center’s director of clinical services.
“The Orlando community has changed … we have more of a togetherness,” he said. “When anyone goes through such tragedy we know that people tend to come together. I think we have that unity more than ever.”

And then there are the murals and the rainbow flags, which have sprung up seemingly everywhere since the shootings. None have been defaced.
Lt. James Young, the Orlando Police Department’s liaison to the gay community, says he’s never seen so many rainbow flags outside of Pride weekends.

“It’s overwhelming in so many ways,” said Young, who believes the city’s reaction to the Pulse tragedy has reminded residents of all stripes that their commonalities outweigh their differences.
“I think this has allowed people to see we’re just human,” he said. “It’s not the gay community, it’s not a minority community — this is your family. These are your relatives, they’re your neighbors, these are your friends, these are your people who work in your businesses.”

Glancing over shoulders

Despite all this, the psychic scars of that horrific night remain.
Some members of the city’s gay community say they have been afraid to return to bars and clubs. Others do so warily, glancing over their shoulders for potential threats.

Dan Fraser, a manager at Stonewall, a gay bar in downtown Orlando, says he keeps a closer eye on people entering the bar. Barbara Poma, who owned Pulse, says she and her friends are on high alert when they go out at night. Whenever possible, they try to sit near an exit.

Still others cannot bring themselves to drive past the Pulse site on Orange Avenue, where fencing and makeshift memorials still surround the shuttered nightclub.

And no one in Orlando is kidding themselves that homophobia is gone, says City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the first openly gay elected official in central Florida. Sheehan, who has complained that some local officials overlooked the LGBT community in announcing plans to commemorate the shooting’s anniversary this month, said that discrimination still exists — it’s just subtle.

“We as Americans will be nowhere if we hate each other and spend all our time shooting and hurting and hating,” she said, in a plea for the city to keep banding together the way it did in the days after the attack.
“Why not love? Why not be like all those people who I saw holding candles and giving blood and donating money and caring?
‘It’s ok to say ‘I love you”

Still, many in Orlando’s gay community say that over the past year they have felt a welcoming communal spirit in the city that makes them stand a little taller and feel a little … well, prouder.
“Many hearts and many minds were changed after what they saw at Pulse,” said Poma, Pulse’s owner, who has announced plans to turn the site into a permanent memorial.

Across the street from Pulse is an Einstein’s Bagels, whose parking lot was used to treat Pulse victims on the night of the shooting. Police told general manager Tammi Hamburg that some died there.
Today on one side of the Einstein’s building is a mural showing four hands spelling out the word “LOVE.” The mural also contains 49 orange blossoms — one for each of the 49 people slain at Pulse.
Hamburg said the store thought they might get some pushback from customers who were uncomfortable supporting gay rights. But feedback has only been positive.

In Orlando these days, the pain still is never far away. But neither is the love.

“I felt so helpless as it (the attack) was going on. But … Orlando has really stepped up to the plate,” said Fraser, the manager at Stonewall. “The camaraderie that we have in this city is unbelievable.”
“We check on each other constantly,” agreed Gregory-Propst, the Se7en Bites owner. “It (the attack) brought out the best of people. It’s ok to say ‘I love you’ to your friends and to let them know that you truly care about them.”

December 27, 2016

George Michael’s Death

 Fadi Fawaz, George Michael’s last partner and it definably shows Michael always had good taste on Men 

New details surrounding George Michael's death have been revealed.

The "Careless Whisper" singer's boyfriend, celebrity hairstylist Fadi Fawaz, announced on Twitter Monday that was the one who discovered the 53-year-old pop icon's dead body in his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day. "ITs a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning.." Fawaz tweeted. "I will never stop missing you xx."

Fawaz opened up to the U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph Tuesday in his first interview since Michael's passing. "We were supposed to be going for Christmas lunch. I went round there to wake him up and he was just gone, lying peacefully in bed," he said. "We don't know what happened yet."

Michael's rep said the singer died of heart failure and passed away "peacefully." Investigators later told E! News there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the pop singer’s death.

May 16, 2016

Famous Barrister Gets Swift Sentence(140hrs) for Supplying Drugs Killed Partner

Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
This story is a follow up of a very well known ‘barrister to the stars’ young gay London lawyer. He supplied the drug that killed his lover in their bed. For all the drugs that were found in his flat or apartment plus a dead body, this rich lawyer got swift…well fast justice.
He was sentenced to community work. Just like in the US just in a lesser stand there are convicts serving in theirs and ours justice and penal system doing so much more for so much less. Still there are people upset that that CNN last week wrote the below story on this tragedy and it talks about the lover that died as not being the victim but the smart young, good looking barrister who lost his career. 
I wont write about that just to include the piece by CNN and the original story we posted here at adamfoxie*.   Original story (Barrister 35 kills)-click here
It could be the plot from a Bret Easton Ellis novel featuring drugs, sex, death, and an almighty fall from grace. But this is no fictional setting. As lovers do, Henry Hendron was sitting up in bed with his boyfriend one night, speaking of the depths of his infatuation. 
“I said to him: 'Miguel, I don't know what I'd do without you,'" said 35-year-old Hendron, a successful lawyer from London. "And he said: 'Oh come on Henners -- which is what he called me -- what if I fell under a bus?'"
A few hours later Miguel Jimenez, an 18-year-old waiter from Colombia, was dead.
"I woke up and turned him over," remembers Hendron of that winter's morning in January last year. "Mouth frozen, blood there, clearly dead."
In desperation, he performed CPR on his boyfriend until the ambulance arrived -- "It must have been four or five minutes I was doing it, it felt like a lifetime."
"At one point blood starts to trickle out of his mouth, and I'm thinking 'he must be alive.' But he's not. I've broken his ribs or something, and moving that blood around."
When the police arrived, Hendron's nightmare only worsened.
Within minutes of being told his boyfriend was dead, Hendron was arrested, handcuffed, and marched to a waiting police van.
At that moment, "my whole world came crumbling down," he said.
Jimenez had overdosed on a cocktail of drugs -- which Hendron admits he supplied.
Hendron pleaded guilty in March to two counts of possession with intent to supply mephedrone and GBL.
Today he was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, at London's Central Criminal Court.
On the night of his death, Jimenez took GHB (commonly known as "G") and mephedrone (also known as "meow-meow"), according to Hendron. 
GHB is particularly easy to overdose on, and potentially lethal when taken with alcohol -- as Jimenez did on the night he died.  In the past, Hendron said the couple who had been dating for one year, would take these drugs together during group sex sessions -- called "chemsex" or "party and play" in the U.S.
The drugs, along with crystal meth, are often associated with chemsex due to their ability to induce heightened arousal, sexual stamina, and reduce inhibition. 
Sex sessions may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and Hendron estimates he was spending "anything up to £1,000 ($1,400) a weekend" on drugs.
However on the night of Jimenez's death, there was no such party.
Instead, Hendron says his teenage boyfriend took the drugs after dinner, with plenty of wine, at the home they shared in Temple -- an area of central London popular with lawyers, and across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice.
A high-profile barrister who has represented MPs, aristocrats and reality TV stars, Hendron was working the next day, and so didn't take any drugs the night Jimenez died.
His partner's death turned the successful lawyer's world upside down -- "it was the other side of the coin," he said.
"I'd gone from a situation of having everything -- professionally, socially, financially -- to losing the love of your life, losing your career, and where there is no future. Or there is no certain future," he told CNN ahead of his sentencing on May 9.
“And it was only because I chose drugs, and I chose that lifestyle." 
Miguel Jimenez died after taking GHB and mephodrone.
Up until the age of 30, Hendron, who came from a conservative Catholic family and was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with the prestigious Strand Chambers law firm, had never touched drugs in his life.
But after trying them at a private event, he quickly became hooked, engaging in chemsex sessions most weekends.
He said they offered an escape from a high-pressure job with 18-hour work days -- and he wasn't alone.
"In the London gay chemsex scene, a lot of people that do that are actually doctors," he said. "They're professionals, they're lawyers.
"And a lot of them manage to juggle this lifestyle -- weekends of drugs -- and then they go to work perhaps a bit worn on Monday, but they manage."
Indeed Hendron's mother didn't even know he was gay, much less that he took drugs, until she read about it in the Daily Mail.
Jimenez's mother could not be reached for comment, but Hendron says she, along with his twin brother Richard, also a barrister who has been representing him throughout the trial, have been a source of strength.
Growing up in a well-to-do area of west London, Hendron's dentist father died when the twins were babies. Today Hendron speaks with the cut-glass English accent of a privileged upbringing.
When Hendron talks of the heartache of Jimenez's death, and the deeply personal details of his sex life, it is matter-of-factly. In a manner befitting a barrister.  Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
Hendron says Jimenez's mother, understandably, took a little more time to come round.
"In the beginning she rightly blamed me and couldn't speak to me," he said.
Over time the pair have become close, and Hendron now visits both her, and his former boyfriend's grave, in Colombia once a month.
"We are each other's rock of support for what has been a nightmare over the last 14 months," he said of his relationship with Jimenez's mother. 
At today's sentencing, Judge Richard Marks told Hendron: "I bear in mind the anguish you feel over the death of your partner and the very moving letter from his mother in which far from wanting you to be punished -- she stands by you."
After Jimenez's death, Hendron very nearly died himself, embarking on chemsex binges that at one point saw him overdose on GHB -- and end up in intensive care. 
Today, dressed in a trim navy suit and clutching a folder of papers for his next meeting, Hendron appears to have emerged from his darkest days -- but the weight of them still hang heavy on his thin shoulders.
"I was the older one who should have known better. I was the one that funded those drugs. I should have been the one to say stop," he said.
"And you know, it's me that's taken away my happiness. And he was a core pillar of my happiness. 
"I feel totally responsible."
Hendron says he became addicted to the heightened sexual highs the drugs offered -- and has warned others to carefully consider the risks involved.
"At the time it was quite fun -- you're around other guys, you think this is a good time, you think you're having good sex, and then you become used to it," he said.
"And then that becomes all that you know -- in terms of sex on drugs at the weekend."
The barrister who carved his career in the court room, has now also been judged in the same setting. 
"There isn't much I can do apart from try and move on," he said.
"The pain doesn't become any less. You just become more used to it, more familiar with it."
Do You think justice was done? and Why? Why Not?

April 26, 2016

ISIS Hacks to Death Gay Academic,Activist in Bangladesh

A portrait of Bangladeshi academic Rezaul Karim Siddique.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the murder of a university professor who was hacked to death in Bangladesh, adding to a grisly death toll linked to religious intolerance in the country.
Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, a professor of English at the University of Rajshahi in northwest Bangladesh, was waiting for a bus near his house on Saturday when two men approached on a motorbike and attacked him.
“We don’t even know why Professor Siddique has been killed,” journalist and author Afsan Chowdhury told The Australian yesterday.
“I’ve been talking to Rajshahi University teachers and students. Some could not even recognise Professor Siddique — he was ­almost an invisible person on campus.”
The SITE Intelligence Groupthat monitors jihadist networks says Islamic State claimed to have killed Professor Siddique for “calling to atheism”.
The government of Bangladesh has denied Islamic State has a presence in the country.
The Muslim-majority nation of 160 million has seen a surge in violent attacks in which members of minority Muslim sects and other religious groups have been targeted. Five secular bloggers and a publisher have been hacked to death in Bangladesh since ­February last year.
Islamic State has also claimed responsibility for the killings of two foreigners, and attacks on mosques and Christian priests in Bangladesh since September, but police said that local militant group the ­Jamaat-ul-Mujaheddin was behind those attacks. At least five militants have been killed in shootouts since November as ­security forces have stepped up a crackdown on Islamist militants looking to establish a sharia-based Muslim state.
Badiul Alam Majumdar, the director of the Hunger Project in Bangladesh and founder of Citizens for Good Government, said while the government of Bangladesh claimed Islamic State did not exist, “the government has a credibility gap”.
The police had failed to make any credible arrests relating to ­numerous attacks and, while “we would like to believe the government, when they say there is no Islamic State here we are in the dark as to who the real perpetrators are”.
“I am not one to mince my words and have been prepared to speak out,” he told The Australian. “And, yes, I am frightened of what may happen as a result of that.”
He said Professor Siddique had apparently been a quiet, deeply religious Muslim who had wanted to promote traditional Bengali culture and music.
He had founded a music school and edited a literary magazine and his family have said he was not an atheist.
Police said he may have been targeted by extremists because he was involved in cultural activities, particularly music.
Dr Majumdar said if he was targeted for those reasons, “then nobody is safe”.
He said the government did not appear to have any effective strategy to deal with rising Islamist fundamentalism.
“We have lost confidence in the police,” said journalist Afsan Chowdhury. “It’s much more a failure of the police. There are now several murder cases that have never been resolved.”

March 27, 2016

Partying to Death Sexing to the Death because We Are GAY


A night at Trade. Photo courtesy of Trade

On this March 24,  I posted the story of a 36 year old Lawyer to the Stars in London and his boyfriend of just turning 18 and now dead due to the drugs his boyfriend supplied for him.
A very important , conservative man headed for politics acted like there were no rules and no boundaries once he came off the public eye.  Click to see that story Top Barrister 35 kills Young Boy Friend 18  Who OD

I don’t want to judge too harshly nor minimize what gay guys do to each other to hurt us in the name of sex and fun but this a community that has been so demonized and repressed that now that we have more freedoms than before and still very far from the mark sometimes lack the restraint that the new generation of gays will certainly have.

 We see gays dying in ways that are vicious and unnecessary.  It’s so screwed up that many of these guys can still go on hazings, drugs and sex parties.  The more conservative the city or town that offer more strict laws for drugs and public homosexual related conduct, the more of it goes on behind eyes of the community at large and without any sense of what the safe boundaries are. Those are side effects of an intolerant, homophobic society. The pressure buid up has to give somewhere. I know this out of my true experience in finding and dealing with my own sexuality.

I think one has to be gay or very close to gays to understand how it feels to be ostracized even before we know we are gays our selves. [I’ll try to explain it using me for the first time]

I remember being called a f***t by my father and my oldest sister when they got pissed at me which was often. At six I could not understand what was wrong with being a f**** . I went on without care but knew something was wrong with that word. I knew I could not be that because as troublesome as I was as a kid,  stub born and hard to handle,  I knew I was a good kid. I loved my mother with a love unsurpassed by anything or anyone.  I fear god,  I even loved my father and my oldest sister and eventually I became close with my oldest sister.

I loved my friends and my teachers and all of my family even loved my older brothers that abused me physically when drunk or thinking I needed to be slapped around thinking it was time or that Ive done something wrong,  (which brought me close to serious injury once I got older, around 9-10) because now I would use my mouth to repealed every slapped which brought a new one instead. May be I hoped to be injured bad enough for a trip to the hospital and see if it was true that a child could not be abused by someone, even a brother.  I was afraid of pain and afraid of blood but once tasted it did not matter anymore.
My mom never called me that and she would say to not pay attention but to try to be better.

When I came out to myself around 19 I decided I wanted to do sexually everything that could be done (as long as I did not hurt anyone or got hurt myself). I was so repressed about gay sex and such a novice. No one to ask except by trial and error with my sex partners which usually I never saw after the first time. Some said I did just the right thing and others thought I was selfish in sex except I only knew how to do one thing and never knew how well I was doing it for my partner, just concentrated on the inside feeling of a new exciting and forbidden experience. How heavenly, particularly when the guilt could not make me retreat it. I looked to every encounter as a new school. I wanted high marks.

I figured that by the time I got old I would want to remember all those experiences and pick out and choose which ones where the ones for me. How many trips to the Dept of Health venereal disease clinic I made!  I would pick different neighborhoods so I would not be recognize as a frequent flyer. Condoms many times where of no use because sex many times was with not much warning. The testosterone of guys in their late teen early twenty is a volcano that’s  ready to erupt, I think most of us know that.

As I started to experiment,  a look, a glance and a nod of approval would start the conversation or not even much conversation. I would often be asked if I was a cop because I was told, clean cut and conservatively dressed.  I told myself I would stop when I became comfortable in my own skin of who I was always told myself but truly I thought I might not finish my exploration into this forbidden field because of the dangers I encounter. I was afraid of the so called “bears’ and their leather customs and the uniforms made laugh but I would hope to find someone close to me in this zoo of lost humans, I thought. Once in the west v ullage behind the infamous trucks I decided after passing by so many times on foot on car on my dreams. I actually intended this time to walk to the back to where most guys were busy doing what ever they where doing. I had to see it. As I commenced my trek a white casual but “square” dressed man of about 45-50 stop in front of me. He had a hanker-ship and it looked like he had just finished eating fried chicken or may be just drinking milk which spilled down his lips . He said “your first time agh. Welcome to this awful life”   he continue walking out into the street and getting lost in the fog of the night.

Everything I tried confirmed that I was gay not bi (I used to called myself that and I was but I knew I belong with a guy not a girl) Had I been born during this millennial period,  I doubt all that would have happen. I would have searched to meet a guy and I would have stayed with him. I would not have looked in the wrong places.

Sometimes I think that we should be a screw up community and in many ways we are but not more than any other and we have so many excuses to be the worse yet with the exception of many in the community having problems of fidelity,  communication and fairness to each other, we are still better than most. With all the garbage society and religion has imposed on us we usually strive to be better, to find our rainbow or at least white cloud.

In this this beautiful  well to do couple you add drugs and it will be just like me, except I was not well off nor did I partake in drugs. The dangers I encountered were others in which you got the wrong person who wants to make spaghetti out of your brains. Fought many fights and got shot once. Never thought I would live to get old before I found what I was looking for and felt at ease with me. It was like I had to prove to myself how gay I was and more importantly that it was ok no matter if god himself said the opposite.
 Particularly being young and butch without realizing I was,  I slit into a night life of dancing and cruising.  I had to even accept so money once, wanted to know if this was me. I actually envied guys that seemed to have no job and lived with a few roommates.

I worked hard and went to work with a suit and tie. Had my own place,  always had my own apartment.  This alone will keep me from drugs because I wanted to grow in my company or another company. I had  boyfriends coming over and boyfriends that moved in but I always kept my sense of belonging in a sane work.  To say I wish wanting to belong to a straight world but felt inside of me I didn’t because I always had to make up stories about my where a bouts.

 My love for my mother and the security I decided to keep by having a professional life I had and I was not going to fuck it up. I could go to work without sleep and boozed up from the night before but I was there on time and ready to do a job I though. One co worker would tell he knew when I had gone out because he would smell a nice aroma of cologne around my locker.

Had I would have gone down in drugs I would have never come back. A seemingly well off boyfriend I had that was into coke. It was the first time I tasted it and it fucked me up.  Went to work the next day after having breakfast with him. He went to work in the West village and I headed to work midtown.  Not two hours into work I was being rushed in an ambulance to the hospital.  Once was enough I had to leave my boyfriend and keep my goals.  What if I could just turn straight by having enough gay sex to hate it,  it would be great! I thought  but that never happened. Instead I became who I was and that was cool.

Adam for ever
 On the left is my mom and on my right my second mom and main Seminary Teacher
I’m at the center on my 3 yrs Graduation Ceremony,  I was 18. I spent 14-18 at the Seminary working to pay for my studies there.

March 24, 2016

Top Barrister 35, Kills young boy friend18, who OD

Henry Hendron
Henry Hendron has admitted supplying the drugs that killed his teen lover

A barrister to the stars has admitted supplying the drugs that killed his teenage boyfriend during a gay sex and drugs orgy at the country’s most prestigious legal chambers.

Henry Hendron, 35, bought £1,000 of designer drugs including Mephedrone, or ‘meow meow’, from BBC producer Alexander Parkin, 41, to sell on to revellers for a ‘chemsex’ party at his exclusive London flat.

The drugs killed Hendron’s waiter boyfriend Miguel Jimenez, 18, who was found by the sobbing lawyer after the all night bash.

Police found Methodrone, known as meow meow, and GBL at the flat in the Temple, the collection of chambers where Britain’s top lawyers and judges are based.

Hendron, wearing glasses, a smart blue suit, striped shirt and blue and red patterned tie, appeared in the dock at the Old Bailey .

Central NewsAlexander Parkin at the Old Bailey today, pleaded guilty to supplying drugsAlexander Parkin has pleaded guilty to supplying the drugs
He had previously denied a string of drugs charges, but pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing drugs with intent to supply.

His confession may mark the end of a glittering career for the Tory lawyer once tipped to lead the party.
Hendron’s famous clients include MP Nadine Dorries, the Earl of Cardigan and The Apprentice winner Stella English.

Prosecutor Martyn Bowyer said: "It is accepted this defendant bought in bulk for use in what is known as the gay chemsex scene.

"He would be making them available for friends at cost price."

The batch of designer drugs included meow meow
Mr Bowyer added: "The drugs found at the flat were purchased by him for his own and others’ use, others including his then partner, who tragically died as the result of taking those drugs.

"Text messages taken from his iPhone are consistent with him purchasing those drugs for around £1,000."

Hendron, who charges up to £1,750 per day for his services, could now face jail when he is sentenced on 3 May.

Judge Richard Marks QC told him: ‘You know, I am sure if you fail to attend that in itself would be an offence punishable by imprisonment and in all likelihood the court would sentence you in your absence.

‘The fact I am adjourning this matter for a report is no indication.

‘This is obviously a serious matter and all options remain open to the court.’

Parkin also faces jail after admitting two counts of supplying controlled drugs earlier this month.

PACentral Criminal Court, also referred to as the Old BaileyHendron has been warned he faces jail at the Old Bailey
His barrister, Dominic Bell, said after the pleas: "He is 40-years-old, he’s an executive producer at the BBC, he has one caution for possession of Mephedrone - there’s clearly a background to the abuse of narcotics."

Hendron, who was represented by his brother Richard Hendron, acted for Tory MP Nadine Dorries when she was accused of smearing a rival during the 2015 election campaign.

As a 17-year-old schoolboy Hendron addressed the 1998 Conservative Party conference calling for the re-introduction of corporal punishment.

Prosecutor Nathan Miebai said at an earlier hearing at City of London Magistrates’ Court: "The defendant, Mr Hendron, and his partner Mr Jimenez were present at their flat on the evening of January 19 through to January 20, 2015.

"Mr Jimenez was found unresponsive by Mr Hendron on January 20.

"There has been a toxicology analysis which found that Mr Jimenez died of a drug overdose."

Hendron, of 6 Pump Court, Temple, City of London, pleaded guilty to possession of the Class B drug Methedrone and the Class C drug Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) with intent to supply.

Parkin, of Manchester Street, Westminster, admitted supplying the Class B drug Methedrone and the Class C drug Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL).

The ‘chemsex’ phenomena sweeping the gay community has been identified as a major health hazard by the NHS and the BMA.

Participants take drugs for up at a week at a time and have sex with multiple partners often summoned to the orgy on the internet.  

March 27, 2015

He was the global face for gay rights in Cameroon but he was arrested and died alone and in poverty

Disowned by his family for being gay and not hiding in the closet, arrested and died coming out of Prison with nothing but what he was wearing. He knew he was fighting not for himself but for all gays in Cameroon, victimized by their families, their church and their government. This is the fight that played in the US, Canada,Britain and every country that now accepts gays as people that are in need of their civil rights and beyond that, their human rights. The Civil right to walk out of their house without being beaten or bullied. The human right to love another man just like them.
How can any human being of any religion, any decent human being with empathy in their hearts for others not just for themselves and the ones like them not understand this? This is the fight that tragically has to be fought but we know now that this is the fight we will win in every educated moral nation. I wish I could make 350 million framed messages for the door of every american home, giving them the meaning of Morality not as I define it but the way it has always been defined and see if it applies to denying any American or human being for that matter, their civil and human rights. A religion dogma and rules does not trump human rights.
That was for the past ages in which human ate other humans and kill them as sacrifice to their god. What ever the religion says it cannot take away those human rights of loving and making a home together legally and with the same rights marriage affords them. Don’t want them in your church? That is more than fine but you can’t say they be not allowed at city hall to get a marriage license. 
Roger Jean-Claude Mbede was denied all of the rights I mentioned above and lastly he lost his life.
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

file photo of roger mbede

In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede stands in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mbede, a gay man who was jailed for sending an amorous text message to another man, and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, died on Jan. 10, 2014. 
Anne Mireille Nzouankeu / AP
In this July 2012 photo, Roger Jean-Claude Mbede stands in the home of a friend where he had sought refuge in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mbede, a gay man who was jailed for sending an amorous text message to another man, and who was later declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, died on Jan. 10, 2014. Anne Mireille Nzouankeu / AP
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon — On the night of July 16, 2012, Roger Mbede walked out of the central prison in Cameroon’s capital city, having served 16 months of a three-year term for violating the country’s anti-gay law. Though Mbede, then 33, had entered prison a nobody, he was emerging an icon, a man whose story had come to exemplify the challenges facing sexual minorities in Cameroon and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. 

The previous year, Mbede had been arrested and convicted under a penal-code provision imposing prison terms of up to five years for same-sex sexual acts. This in itself was not unusual. Cameroonian officials have carried out waves of arrests targeting sexual minorities for the last decade. According to Human Rights Watch, the country prosecutes more people for homosexuality than any other in sub-Saharan Africa, often on limited or fabricated evidence. 

But the specific claims against Mbede were flimsy even by Cameroonian standards. Instead of being accused of having sex with another man, he was arrested on the basis of three amorous text messages he sent to a government official. One of these messages confessed “an attraction to men,” while another declared, “I’ve fallen in love with you.”

In the years leading up to Mbede’s arrest, activists had struggled to attract much attention to the lack of gay rights in Cameroon. It soon became clear that Mbede’s case provided an opportunity to make up for lost time. Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience, and the organization’s Write for Rights campaign generated up to 500 letters of support a day from all over the world, according to one of his lawyers, Alice Nkom. Human Rights Watch and All Out, a New York-based advocacy group, also took up the cause. 

I pledge to continue to follow his story and do what I can to secure his safety.
David Cicilline
Congressman from Rhode Island
The international pressure likely contributed to the decision to grant Mbede provisional release while his case was appealed. But he soon realized that any attempt to resume his normal life would be complicated by his newfound notoriety. 

Mbede remained the face of gay rights in Cameroon even after he was let out. On the ground, however, in his home village of Ngoumou, he was impoverished and ailing, desperate even for basics such as money for food. 

On Dec. 12, 2013, David Cicilline, the Democratic congressman from Rhode Island, delivered a statement about Mbede in the United States House of Representatives to mark Human Rights Day. “I pledge to continue to follow his story and do what I can to secure his safety,” he said. 

Mbede would die a scant month later, his final weeks shrouded in mystery. The news came as a shock to those who had worked on his case. According to the reports, Mbede was held in his village by his family, who were intentionally depriving him of medical treatment. Speaking to The Associated Press, Nkom said, “His family said he was a curse for them and that we should let him die.”

Cameroonian officials have never properly investigated this claim, and the evidence to support it is thin. But the decision by global campaigners mourning Mbede to focus on the family’s role in his death obscured a less dramatic yet still disturbing story — one of an international activist community that placed a high value on the symbolic utility of Mbede’s case but did very little to help him cope with the price of exposure. While Mbede was clearly a casualty of a hateful, homophobic law, a less obvious truth is that activists probably could have, but failed, to save him.

 Michel Togué

Michel Togué, one of the lawyers for the defense, smiles at the Yaounde court which on July 23, 2013, sentenced a man to two years in prison and handed down a suspended one-year jail sentence to an underage youth for homosexuality
Reinnier Kaze / AFP / Getty Images
Michel Togué, one of the lawyers for the defense, smiles at the Yaounde court which on July 23, 2013, sentenced a man to two years in prison and handed down a suspended one-year jail sentence to an underage youth for homosexualityReinnier Kaze / AFP / Getty Images
Born in Yaoundé in 1979, Mbede never knew his father, and his mother died when he was young. He was raised by an aunt and uncle who had nine children of their own but nonetheless welcomed Mbede into their home on the outskirts of the capital. 

In an interview taped after his release, Mbede said he first realized he was attracted to men when he was around 10. He said he recognized at an early age that homosexuality was widely abhorred and that this prompted him to “fight a battle, a tough battle.” Yet those who knew him, including foreign campaigners and members of the local gay community, say his role as an activist was entirely accidental. No one in the country’s 10 or so active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations seems to have met him prior to his arrest, which was the first time he’d encountered any trouble related to his sexual orientation.

The official who eventually denounced Mbede to the police worked at the office of Cameroon’s president, and Mbede met him while applying for a job there. After a brief interview, Mbede sent the man a text message: “I feel a desire to sleep with men and I am attracted by your beauty.” After two subsequent messages from Mbede, the official arranged a meeting, then tipped off the police. Two plainclothes officers arrested Mbede not long after he showed up.

Mbede appeared before judicial officials one week after his arrest. “Everyone in the courtroom started to cry out and insult me — even the judge,” he later told Human Rights Watch. He had no lawyer at his trial the following day. “They didn’t ask me questions,” he said. “When I stood up to go to the bar, it was just shouts and insults.”

The case might never have attracted any publicity had it not been for Michel Togué, the only other local lawyer besides Nkom who regularly defends Cameroonians charged under the anti-gay law. Togué happened to be at the court the day Mbede was sentenced. Before Mbede was transferred from the court to the prison, Togué approached him and asked if he wanted to appeal. Mbede said yes, and Togué filed the next day. (Nkom joined Mbede’s team later.) 

It is with eyes filled with tears and a heart completely saddened that I write you this letter. Please go cancel the appeal. I don’t want to suffer any more from constant persecution from my enemies.
Yaoundé’s central prison is by all accounts a rough place, and Mbede fared especially poorly. Inmates familiar with his story refused to share a cell with him, and he was often expelled to the courtyard, exposed to the sun and rain, said Lambert Lamba, a Cameroonian activist who became close with Mbede. Some called him “pédé,” a derogatory slang word derived from “pedophile” or “pederast,” and “diaper wearer,” a slur hurled at gay men based on the belief that anal sex renders them incontinent. Guards did little to protect him from violence, Lamba said. At the time of his release, Mbede had a scar on his brow where, he said, he had been hit with a wooden bench.

Mbede’s correspondence from prison suggests he wasn’t eager to embrace a struggle larger than his own. A letter to Nkom written in February 2012, nearly a year after his arrest, indicates he wanted only to keep his head down until his prison term was over. “It is with eyes filled with tears and a heart completely saddened that I write you this letter,” he began, lamenting that the system seemed stacked against him. “Please go cancel the appeal. I don’t want to suffer any more from constant persecution from my enemies.”

Upon his release, Mbede’s health was his first priority. He underwent badly needed surgery for a testicular hernia, but the procedure was not entirely successful, according to friends and activists. He also tested positive for HIV. It was unclear where he contracted it, and he never got on a treatment plan.

Mbede had been working toward a master’s degree at a local Catholic university, but resuming his studies also proved difficult. The university had become a hostile environment. One friend recalled that someone posted a sign on Mbede’s door that read “Dirty Pédé,” and Amnesty reported that he was later assaulted by four unknown men just off campus. 

Fearing for his safety, Mbede moved in with Lamba for three months and then returned to his village. The relocation indicates that he was still figuring out what kind of life he wanted. Though he was primarily attracted to men, he sometimes slept with women and, about 10 years ago, fathered a son. When he returned to the village, he was accompanied by a woman who identified as a lesbian but, in need of a place to stay, had agreed to pose as Mbede’s girlfriend. Mbede told his family he was no longer gay. The woman, who asked not to be named, would become pregnant with Mbede’s second child inside of six months. 

'A bit of negligence'

In December 2012, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a global federation pushing for sexual-minority rights, held its world conference in Stockholm, Sweden. By this point, most activists were aware of Mbede’s case and concerned for his welfare. Conference organizers decided to invite Mbede as a “special guest,” knowing he would then seek asylum, according to French activist Thomas Fouquet Lapar. The idea was hatched late, however, and it was not possible to process Mbede’s visa application in time, Lapar said. 

On Dec. 17, the day after the conference came to a close, an appeals court upheld Mbede’s verdict. Mbede went into hiding, and his ambiguous legal status complicated subsequent efforts to get him out of Cameroon. 

Jean-Eric Nkurikiye, a former Amnesty campaigner who worked on Mbede’s case, believes Mbede’s conviction made it illegal for him to leave, meaning the organization was in no position to help. But Togué, the appeals lawyer, said Cameroonian authorities would have needed to issue a specific order barring Mbede from traveling if they didn’t want him going anywhere. There is no evidence they did so.

In late 2012, a regional organization, the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, drew up budgets for two possible escape plans for Mbede, both of which involved overland travel to Chad to avoid altercations with airport authorities, who were more likely than border officers to stop Mbede. From Chad, he would fly either to Europe or the United States. However, Patience Freida, who works on LGBT issues for the organization, said it lost contact with Mbede while the budgets were being approved. “There was a bit of negligence in this case,” she said. Because members had no news of Mbede, she added, “We said to ourselves, ‘He must be out of danger.’” 
In fact, Mbede believed his situation was becoming more precarious. In a January 2013 email to an activist at All Out, he reported having received a letter the previous week — it was apparently “slipped under his door” — that included a threat: “Be very careful and don’t be stupid. You risk losing your life, while those who are encouraging you will remain living.”

Around this time, Lapar, the French activist, turned to Dignity for All, a program run by a consortium of rights organizations that provides emergency assistance to activists and human-rights defenders endangered because of their work on LGBT issues. The program was created in September 2012 and receives significant funding from the U.S. State Department. Generally speaking, while the fund was designed for activists, exceptions for people like Mbede are possible, said senior program officer Mindy Michels. Lapar said Dignity eventually approved Mbede’s case and agreed to provide him with about $5,000, more than enough to pay for his travel, though the money was not disbursed until August 2013. 

The plan then was for Mbede to travel to France. Dignity does not provide help with the visa process, however, and the French embassy in Yaoundé dragged its feet. Lapar, who is based in France, said he found little help on the ground in Cameroon as he tried to get Mbede’s papers in order. Local organizations had few resources and little influence, and international groups failed to coordinate their efforts, wasting valuable time. 

To Lapar, this inability to mobilize at a time when Mbede was perhaps most in need of assistance reflects poorly on the priorities of global activists. “People can say a lot of things — ‘Oh, we’re so indignant about the sentence that he faced’ — but when it’s just about picking up a phone and calling an ambassador of a country to say we need this guy to be out, no one does it,” he said. “And it’s so easy.”

Final days

There are competing versions of how Mbede’s final weeks unfolded. In the most widely accepted account, Mbede’s family removed him from the hospital and held him in the village against his will, waiting for him to die. The source of this information is Lamba, who went to the village in early January, days before Mbede’s death, for a visit that quickly turned chaotic.

Soon after Lamba arrived, dozens of people gathered around as members of Mbede’s family questioned Lamba about their relationship as well as the extensive interest in their relative’s case. Lamba felt threatened. Two of Mbede’s cousins had machetes, he said, adding that they kept him there “for nearly 10 hours.” 

At no point was Lamba permitted to see Mbede. Lamba said he left the village convinced the family had decided to let Mbede die. Several days after Mbede’s death, Lamba told The Associated Press that, during the course of his visit, family members “said they were going to remove the homosexuality which is in him” — a claim that is central for those who say Mbede’s death was the direct result of his family’s homophobia. 

Today, though, Lamba says that because of the general confusion of the scene, he doesn’t remember anyone saying these things in so many words. “Nobody said that explicitly,” he recalled. While his broad claims may be accurate, his version of events appears far from the definitive account activists portray it as being. 
 alice nkom, one of mbede's lawyers

Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer who was on Roger Mbede's legal team, gestures during an interview in Berlin on March 14, 2014, where she was to receive a human rights prize from Amnesty International.
Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
Alice Nkom, a Cameroonian lawyer who was on Roger Mbede's legal team, gestures during an interview in Berlin on March 14, 2014, where she was to receive a human rights prize from Amnesty International.Johannes Eisele / AFP / Getty Images
Noel, a cousin with whom Mbede was particularly close, provides a different version of what happened. He said he understands why Lamba may have been intimidated during the confrontation. But he said Mbede’s relatives and neighbors were simply trying to understand what was wrong with him to see if there was any way to help. Noel denied his family wanted Mbede dead. To the contrary, he said, they simply couldn’t afford to pay for Mbede’s medical care. 

The woman who was posing as Mbede’s girlfriend might have been able to provide an account of Mbede’s final days. However, she had left the village several weeks before, just four days after delivering their daughter. She said she was trying to find a place where Mbede could recover from his illness, since he seemed to be faring poorly at home.

What she does recall, though, undercuts Noel’s claim that Mbede faced no threat in the village. She said she remembers getting a call from Noel a few days before Mbede’s death, warning her to stay away. She said Noel told her there were certain members of his family who thought Mbede was cursed and might harm him. This woman said she is not surprised Noel neglected to disclose this information himself, citing his apparent wish to protect his family’s reputation.

Given how much time has passed, and the absence of an official investigation, it may prove impossible to ever determine which story — Lamba’s or Noel’s — is closer to the truth.
A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization.

A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. 
Robbie Corey-Boulet

A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. 
A painting in memory of Roger Mbede hangs in the office of a Cameroonian LGBT organization. Robbie Corey-Boulet
Mbede was buried hastily in his family’s village, in a makeshift coffin cobbled together with wooden planks. Noel suggested waiting to see if some of Mbede’s international contacts would send money for a proper service, but the family concluded this was unlikely, given what was being said about them, and they were reluctant to pay to continue keeping his body in the morgue. They decided to just get on with it. 

Activists honored him in different ways. All Out organized a “virtual vigil”: a petition calling on world leaders to do away with anti-gay laws. In Cameroon, one LGBT organization has paintings of Mbede hanging in its office. Another named a conference room after him.

These gestures mean little to his relatives and friends, however, one of whom lamented that Mbede was buried “like a dog.” The lack of help on the part of Mbede’s international contacts in honoring someone who attracted so much attention while he was alive is an enduring mystery for the family, Noel said. “The entire world knew my brother. Ambassadors, everyone,” he said. “If they didn’t do anything for his death, well, that really disappointed me.”

Noel said Mbede’s aunt, especially, wonders how someone who became so well-known had, apparently, been forgotten so quickly. “She asks until today, ‘With all the relations he had, with all of his friends, what kind of friends are they?’”


Just today in the NYTimes: Initiative to Execute Gays

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