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

June 12, 2019

Botswana Decriminalizes Being Gay

    
   
Botswana's High Court has ruled in favour of decriminalising homosexuality in a landmark decision for campaigners. 
BBC  Reports

The court rejected laws that impose up to seven years in prison for same-sex relationships, stating they were unconstitutional. 
The move contrasts with Kenya's recent ruling against campaigners seeking to overturn laws on gay sex. 
"Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized," Judge Michael Elburu said. 
Three judges came to the decision unanimously. 
Judge Elburu labelled laws banning gay sex as "discriminatory" and added: "Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It is an important attribute of one's personality." 
The law has been in place since 1965 when it was brought in by the colonial British government. 
The case was brought to court by a student who argued society had changed and homosexuality was more widely accepted. 
Activists welcomed the decision and described it as a significant step for gay rights on the African continent.
Laws outlawing same sex relations exist in 31 out of 54 African countries, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).
A map showing where homosexuality is illegal and where it is punishable by death
Gay sex can be punishable by death in northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia and Mauritania. Tanzanian laws mean homosexuality can result in a life sentence. 
Angola, Mozambique and the Seychelles have all scrapped anti-homosexuality laws in recent years. 
On 24 May, Kenya's High Court ruled against overturning a law banning gay sex.

May 8, 2019

Sex Offender’s Law Has Many Inequalities For Gay Men { 17 Yr Old With19 yr Old BF=Punished for Life}




Legislation May Keep LGBT Romeos Off Sex Registry
California law brands LGBTQ young adults for sex with teen lovers but treats straight relationships differently.
(Advocate picture credit)
                                          




(In SACRAMENTO) — 
If a 19-year-old man is convicted of having sex with his 17-year-old boyfriend in California, he must register as a sex offender. But that may not be the case for a 24-year-old man who gets a 15-year-old girl pregnant — he can avoid that penalty if a judge decides it’s unnecessary.
That disparate treatment lingers from a historic criminalization of gay sex that California struck from law decades ago. Critics warn that it leaves LGBT young people vulnerable to unfair punishment in more conservative parts of the state where local prosecutors might be more inclined to pursue such cases.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, hopes to eliminate the discrepancy with a bill giving judges discretion over sex-offender registration in all cases involving voluntary intercourse between teenagers and young adults. 
When California created its sex-offender registry system in 1947, anal and oral sex was illegal, as was vaginal penetration with anything other than a penis. Even after the Legislature decriminalized those acts between consenting adults in 1975, adults who engaged in them with minors continued to be treated more harshly than those who had vaginal intercourse with a minor.
The California Supreme Court upheld the legal difference in 2015. Among its arguments was that vaginal intercourse can lead to pregnancy, and forcing a father to register as a sex offender would subject him to social stigmatization that could make it difficult to find a job and support his child.
Wiener said that decision is to the “eternal shame” of the court. His bill, SB145, would instead treat sex acts the same: Although minors cannot legally consent, if a teenager ages 14 to 17 voluntarily had sex with an adult who is less than 10 years older, the judge would decide whether the adult should register as a sex offender based on the facts of the case. 
The measure has support from Equality California, the LGBT advocacy organization, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of California and groups representing district attorneys, police chiefs and public defenders.
It is sponsored by the Los Angeles district attorney’s office. Deputy District Attorney Bradley McCartt told lawmakers at a Senate committee hearing in April that the bill is about public safety as much as fairness.
It takes the same amount of time to register and track these young adults who are at little risk of re-offending as it does serial rapists and child molesters, McCartt said.
“It’s important to look at the actual purpose of the registry,” McCartt said at the hearing. “Remember, it’s not the punishment for the crime. It’s a public safety issue that has to do with crime-solving and keeping track of predators.”
He told the story of a 17-year-old girl whose mother was upset to find out she was a lesbian. The mother pressed charges against her daughter’s 18-year-old girlfriend. Although McCartt was able to stop the prosecution, he said, the girlfriend still lost a scholarship to a University of California campus as a result.
“It seems like we went in a time machine and pulled out something that I can’t even believe still exists on the books of our penal codes,” McCartt said.
Two years ago, Wiener carried another bill to end automatic lifetime registration for California’s sex offender registry and allow offenders convicted of less-serious crimes to remove their names after 10 or 20 years. Law enforcement officers said that with about 100,000 registered offenders, the database had become too large to be useful.
According to data provided by Wiener’s office, at least 2,400 people on the sex-offender registry, and potentially hundreds more, have been convicted of non-vaginal sex with a minor age 14 or older.
There is no formal opposition to SB145, though some conservative news sites wrote stories after the bill was introduced accusing Wiener of trying to “protect pedophiles who rape children.”
The measure does not apply to forcible sex acts. Wiener noted that it does not change any crimes, merely whether they result in automatic sex offender registration.
“We need to stop criminalizing teenage sex,” he said. “At a minimum, we should not be forcing these kids onto the sex-offender registry and ruining their lives.”

Alexei Koseff is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: alexei.koseff@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @akoseff

September 6, 2018

A Landmark Court Decision in India "By Decriminalizing Gay Sex"




New Delhi (CNN)
India's Supreme Court has struck down a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual gay sex, overturning more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation.
The court announced the landmark verdict in Delhi on Thursday, as jubilant crowds cheered and rights activists hugged one another, overcome with emotion. 
Section 377, an archaic law imposed during British rule that penalized intercourse "against the order of nature," had carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 
The decision to repeal the law is a major victory for India's LGBT activists and supporters after years of determined struggle.
    Crowds in Mumbai cheer the Supreme Court announcement.
    "I can't even explain how I am feeling right now. The long battle has been won. Finally we have been recognized by this country," said Bismaya Kumar Raula, wiping away tears outside the court. 
    Others gathered said that, while they had anticipated a positive outcome, the result still came as a shock.  
    "It's an emotional day for me. It's a mix of feelings, it's been a long fight," said rights campaigner Rituparna Borah. "There was not enough media or society support earlier but we have it now. People will not be seen as criminals anymore." 
    Though the law was rarely enforced in full, lawyers argued that it helped perpetuate a culture of fear and repression within the LGBT community. 
    A change in legislation will "create a space of freedom where you can start expecting justice," Danish Sheikh, a law professor at Jindal Global Law School and LGBT advocate, told CNN. 

    Long battle

    Thursday's historic ruling is the culmination of a lengthy and often fraught legal battle for equality in a country where homosexuality remains taboo.
    In 2009, the Delhi High Court ruled that the ban on consensual gay sex violated fundamental rights. The decision, which only applied to the Delhi region, was quickly overruled by the Supreme Court in 2013, following a petition launched by a loose coalition of Christian, Hindu and Muslim groups.
    In its 2013 ruling, the Supreme Court said that only a "minuscule fraction of the country's population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders" and it was therefore "legally unsustainable" to repeal the act. 
    During the latest hearings, lawyers representing more than a dozen gay and lesbian Indians questioned the constitutional basis of that earlier ruling. 
    LGBT Indians gear up for possible U-turn on anti-gay laws
    LGBT Indians gear up for possible U-turn on anti-gay laws
    "It was a wrong judgment. It was not legal and it was based wrongly on the tenets of the constitution," said Colin Gonsalves, one of the lawyers representing the current group of petitioners.
    That case was strengthened last year, when the Supreme Court moved to uphold the constitutional right to privacy
    The ruling, which declared sexual orientation to be an "essential attribute of privacy," helped galvanize campaigners. 
    "Last year's ruling eviscerated the 2013 judgment," said Gonsalves. "There is no issue now. There is not much left to argue," he added. Opposition to moves to overturn Section 377 had rested predominately on religious and moral objections. In an interview earlier this year, lawmaker Subramanian Swamy, a prominent member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), described the legalization of gay sex as a "danger to national security" and "against Hindutva."
    Hinduism has traditionally maintained a flexible, non-prescriptive view of sexuality. However, in recent years hardline Hindu groups have taken a more conservative approach.
    In the run up to the judgment, the BJP refrained from taking a public stand, deferring instead to the court.

    Dehumanizing colonial law

    Out of the estimated 48 former British colonies that criminalize homosexuality, 30 still have laws based on the original colonial anti-LGBT legislation, according to Lucas Mendos, co-author of the 2017 International LGBTI Association "State-Sponsored Homophobia" report.
    In the case of India, the original British law had remained in place more or less unchanged since it was introduced by British colonizers in the 1860s. 
    According to India's National Record Bureau, more than 2,100 cases were registered under the law in 2016. India did not maintain a separate database of prosecution under section 377 until 2014.
    Arif Jafar, one of the current group of petitioners whose case the Supreme Court ruled on, was arrested in 2001 under Section 377 and spent 49 days in jail. 
    Supporters in Mumbai react to the Supreme Court ruling that gay sex is no longer a criminal offense.
    Jafar now runs an informal support group in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. The group, named "Trust," provides counseling, support and sexual health services to gay and transgender persons.
    In his petition, Jafar described the experience as dehumanizing and a violation of his fundamental rights. He also alleged that he was beaten and humiliated every day because of his sexuality. 
    Campaigners in India pointed out that the law didn't only trap members of the LGBT community in the closet, it also invited other forms of discrimination, providing a cover for blackmail and harassment. 
    Members of India's LGBT community dance in celebration after the ruling was announced in Bangalore on Thursday.
    "The constant fear of 377 we have felt will not be there for the coming generation," said Yashwinder Singh, of Mumbai-based LGBT rights group The Humsafar Trust. 
    "Laws getting passed is one thing but changing the society is a big challenge," said Singh of the court's decision, Thursday. 
    "Our work has started multifold now. We have to go and talk to people and change their mindset so that they accept every human as one." 
    Following the announcement Thursday, the Congress Party, the country's main opposition, posted a message of congratulations on social media, welcoming the "progressive and decisive verdict" from the Supreme Court.
    As supporters celebrate the decision, activists will now be shifting focus to the broader issue of equality. 
    People celebrate the decision in Bangalore on September 6.
    "The next step is to start looking at issues of rights. Right now, it is just decriminalizing," Anjali Gopalan, founder of the Naz Foundation, which has spearheaded the fight against Section 377, told CNN.
    "The right that every citizen of the country should have access to and should not be taken for granted. Like the right to marry, the right to adopt, the right to inherit. Things that no one questions and that are clearly denied to a certain section of citizens."

    August 6, 2018

    Instead of keeping it Like A Secret Let's Celebrate Gay Men Can Have Sex Without Fear

    Have you heard of the anti-AIDS drug PrEP? Most straight people are unaware of it. In 2015, the World Health Organization said “the efficacy of oral PrEP has been shown in four randomized control trials and is high when the drug is used as directed.” 
    PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a drug that allows you to have as much sex as you want, without a condom, and remain HIV-negative. If you use it, you probably won’t catch HIV. POZ magazine says that it has “100 per cent efficacy for those who stick to the treatment.”
    Doctors recommend everyone use condoms, because although PrEP is very effective as a protection against HIV, it does not guard against the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.
    Recently, Patrick William Kelly — a gay academic from Northwestern University who is writing a “global history of AIDS” — sounded the alarm about PrEP. For many straight people, Kelly’s discussion of PrEP may be the first they have heard of this revolutionary drug. 
    Kelly’s concern is that the popularity of PrEP will cause gay men to stop using condoms. He worries:
    “An entire generation of gay men has no memory or interest in the devastation [AIDS] wrought. AIDS catalyzed a culture of sexual health that has begun to disintegrate before our eyes. What is there to be done to bring it back?…The nonchalant dismissal of the condom today flies in the face of the very culture of sexual health that gay men and lesbians constructed in the 1980s.”

    Doctors still recommend that everyone use condoms because although PrEP is effective as protection against HIV, it does not guard against the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases. (Shutterstock)

    There is one sentiment that is missing from Kelly’s article. Why doesn’t he celebrate the fact that gay men — and everyone else — can now have sex without fear of death? PrEP makes sex safer for everyone. It is just one new tool in the “safe sex arsenal.” Why not be happy about the fact that PrEP will undoubtedly save many lives?

    Not a lethal illness anymore

    Some might ask — isn’t AIDS still a lethal illness? Not so much. 
    The gold standard in HIV treatment” (highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART) was first introduced at the 1996 Vancouver International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference. According to Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, “this was a pivotal moment, when HIV infection became a chronic manageable condition.” 
    In 2014, The Globe and Mail reported that worldwide deaths from AIDS were massively decreasing
    “In 2013, 1.5 million people died from AIDS-related causes worldwide, compared with 2.4 million in 2005, a 35 per cent decrease.” 
    This state of affairs seems particularly significant when one considers hysterical early predictions concerning the effects of the disease. In 1987, Oprah Winfrey stated confidently that “research studies now project that one in five — listen to me, hard to believe — one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years.” 
    This never happened.

    In this 1989 photo, protesters lie on the street in front of the New York Stock Exchange in a demonstration against the high cost of the AIDS treatment drug AZT. The protest was organized by ACT UP, a gay rights activist group. (AP Photo/Tim Clary)

    It’s absolutely true that AIDS affects different demographics, ethnicities and geographies differently, and that gay men are not the only population to be affected by it worldwide. But the improvement in the lives of HIV-positive people everywhere is only in part due to the tireless efforts of doctors, researchers and health-care workers. 
    It is also due to the tireless efforts of gay men everywhere — many of whom became safe-sex activists during the last 35 years, distributing pamphlets, marching and just generally spreading the news. 
    So why would a gay professor characterize PrEP as a bad thing? Why is he worried that gay men — en masse — will suddenly start practising unsafe sex?
    Kelly is the victim of another kind of infection — the notion that gay men are criminals whose desires must be controlled. 
    This criminalization of homosexuals goes back as far as the notion of sodomy. 

    Viewing homosexuality as criminal

    In the England of Henry VIII, the punishment for sodomy was deathIndia today is still struggling to legalize same-sex encounters. 
    In 1972, gay liberation theorist Guy Hocquenghem flatly stated in his book Homosexual Desire: “Homosexuality is first of all a criminal category.” 
    Hocquenghem went on to suggest that even though the late 19th century brought a tendency to view homosexuality through the more “tolerant” lens of illness, the human need to view homosexuality as criminal is persistent.
    “Certainly as we shall see later, psychiatry tends to replace legal repression with the internalization of guilt. But the passage of sexual repression from the penal to the psychiatric stage has never actually brought about the disappearance of the penal aspect.” 
    Both the sexuality of gay men and the sexuality of women are a threat to the primacy of patriarchal male heterosexual desire. Heterosexist culture believes this threat must be controlled. The LaBouchere Amendment in England (1885) was used to incarcerate Oscar Wilde for his homosexuality as a crime of “gross indecency.”
    But Labouchere was an amendment to legislation designed to control female prostitution  — a law that angered many 19th-century trailblazing feminists. 
    When AIDS appeared in the early 1980s, some heterosexuals saw it as primarily a gay disease (AIDS was first called GRID — gay-related immune deficiency). They worried that gay men might infect straight people, especially children. 
    In his influential book of essays, Is The Rectum A Grave?, Leo Bersani suggests that when small-town Americans wanted to ban HIV-positive hemophiliac children in schools, what they actually feared was the spectre of “killer gay men” acting too much like women:
    Women and gay men spread their legs with an unquenchable appetite for destruction. This is an image with extraordinary power; and if the good citizens of Arcadia, Florida could chase from their midst a very law-abiding family it is, I would suggest, because in looking at three hemophiliac children they may have seen — that is unconsciously represented — the infinitely more seductive and intolerable image of a grown man, legs high in the air, unable to refuse the suicidal ecstasy of being a woman. 

    A doctor holds Truvada pills, shown to help prevent HIV infection. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

    AIDS was not the first thing to make straight people think gay men had to be controlled. It simply fit like a glove on a fear of homosexuality that was already culturally endemic. 
    Our society seems addicted to the notion that homosexuality is something uncontrollable and potentially lethal. So when AIDS came along, as the long-time AIDS worker Simon Watney wrote, it was “effectively being used as a pretext throughout the West to justify calls for increased legislation and regulation of those who are considered to be socially unacceptable.”
    The concern over gay male imagined libidinal insanity is a throwback to an old trope. Gay men don’t need to be controlled; at least not any more than anyone else. And if you think otherwise? Well, it’s based on prejudice. Not fact.
    This page was published on Aug 1, 2018 on The Conversation by,


    July 11, 2018

    Gay Sex Could Be Decriminalized For 1.3 Billion People




     India Supreme Court



    NEW DELHI — India could be on the brink of repealing a 157-year-old law that criminalizes gay sex in what is one of the world’s largest and longest-running LGBT legal battles.
    On a sweltering Tuesday afternoon in a courtroom so full people barely had space to turn round, a bench of five judges from India’s highest court began hearing arguments against a law known as Section 377, which was introduced under British rule in 1861 and states that all sexual activity apart from heterosexual intercourse is “against the order of nature.”
    If the Supreme Court judges strike down the law it would transform gay rights in a country of more than one billion people.
    But the ruling could have huge repercussions in other countries — particularly the Commonwealth, an association of countries made up mostly of former territories of the British Empire — where LGBT activists are fighting similar legal battles against colonial-era penal codes
    Akhilesh Godi, a 25-year-old petitioner from Hyderabad who travelled to New Delhi for the hearing, told BuzzFeed News that making legal history was exciting, but that was not his primary goal. “I came out in my early twenties, and it took me a long time to understand what that even meant,” he said. “I battled severe mental health issues and depression, even went on medication. But I feel stronger now.”
    Godi, an ex-student of the Indian Institute of Technology, (a prestigious university that is India’s version of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) said that as a result of filing the petition as part of a group of 20 students, he has been able to discuss his sexual orientation freely with his colleagues — and is now in the process of helping them set up an employee resource group that is inclusive of LGBT people.
    “What I want more than anything else is for other educational institutes to set up support groups and safe spaces for young queer people like me, that are confused and perhaps battling similar mental health troubles.” 
    The list of petitioners includes well known figures such as dancer Navtej Johar, trans activist Akkai Padmashali, chef Ritu Dalmia, and a hotelier named Keshav Suri.
    But there are also petitioners representing the broad spectrum of society and queer experience, such as HIV activist Gautam Yadav and Arif Jaffar, a 47-year old man who was sent to police custody and tortured for over a month for his sexual orientation under Section 377. (Jaffar has been fighting a separate case against the officers that arrested him for the last 18 years).

    A significant proportion of the petitioners against Section 377 are men – in part, this is due to the social stigma all expressions of female desire carry in India, but also because according to senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, the law penalizes men far more often: "Section 377 in our country will affect mostly men even though the section appears sex-neutral," he said during arguments in court.
    Activists say the most hopeful part of this latest fight against Section 377 is that it is no longer limited to allies or members of the community standing in as proxies for others who are too afraid to come out.   
    The petitioners from IIT, nearly all of whom are below 30 years of age, are scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, researchers, and business owners who describe themselves as the children of farmers, teachers, homemakers and government servants. The 17 men, 2 women and one trans woman described the impact of Section 377 on their lives to the court on Tuesday.
    “People think coming out as gay is some kind of happy ending, but it’s not,” Anwesh Pokkuluri said, as the court broke for lunch. “Even after you muster up the courage to speak with your parents or maybe your siblings, there’s still people at work, people you meet socially, or landlords...and as a result of 377, you never know how they will react to the news of you being gay.” 
    Despite this, Pokkuluri said he was eager to join the petition because he is relatively more privileged than others in his home town in Kakinada, in Southern India. “If not me, then who? When I explained my decision to my parents in this way, they understood.”

    Other petitioners — despite the fact that they were now part of Indian legal history at the country’s highest court – were still to discuss the matter of sexual orientation with their families. One of them, Krishna Reddy Medikonda said that if his parent learnt about his orientation “through this fight,” that was probably the best way for them to find out. “In a way, you could say I’m hoping for that,” he said, breaking into laughter.

    Being treated as “unconvicted felons” (the term senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi used to describe the plight of LGBT people in India) has meant that billions of people have been unable to access sex education and seek medical and legal assistance when required. Despite having received scholarships to some of the most elite institutions in the country, the petitioners from IIT said that they frequently considered leaving India for a country where same-sex love was not treated as criminal. Their petition cites Section 377 as one of the major reasons for a “brain drain” from India.
    But there were also some pleasant surprises — as the day's proceedings drew to a close, Romel Baral, a 25-year-old from Bengaluru who studied at IIT Guwahati and is presently employed at Goldman Sachs, said that his employers were actually the main reason he felt empowered to join the petition. “I knew I would have to admit it some day, I always imagined what it would be like — but seeing how inclusive and warm my colleagues were made it really easy for me to talk about my sexual orientation. When I told them why this law needs to change and why I need to be part of the petition – they told me to make them proud!”
    Hearings into the Section 377 petitions will take place over the coming weeks.
    Nishita Jha
    Nishita Jha

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