By Rex Wockner
Gay american jailed in Afghanistan
An American working for Afghanistan’s Finance Ministry in Kabul has been arrested for engaging in gay sex, the Pak Tribune reported Sept. 1.
An 18-year-old Afghan man, whom the unnamed American allegedly was paying for sex, gave the American’s name to police after they questioned the Afghan’s comings and goings from the American’s upscale hotel.
“Islam doesn’t allow homosexuality,” said Abdul Halim Samadi, a prosecutor handling the case.
He said the American could be jailed for 15 years. Charges also may be filed against the Afghan, pending the results of medical tests, police said.
Indian court refuses to legalize homosexuality
India’s Delhi High Court turned down a petition seeking legalization of gay sex Sept. 2.
The court ruled that the law criminalizing homosexuality could be challenged only by people who have been prosecuted under it.
The case was filed by the gay and AIDS organization Naz Foundation.
Government lawyers argued against legalization of gay sex on the grounds that society disapproves of it.
They also said, “While the right to respect for private and family life is undisputed, interference by public authority in the interest of public safety and protection of health and morals is equally permissible.”
Naz plans to appeal the decision.
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code states, “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment … for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
Aussie students stage sit-in
Gay students at the University of Wollongong in Australia’s New South Wales staged a two-day sit-in at a university office in late August demanding that the administration take action against antigay attacks and death threats on campus.
The members of the Queer Collective declared the office “queer space” and insisted the university establish a “safe house” for gay students who feel threatened.
The sit-in ended when the administration called in police who arrested the queers for trespassing.
“I’m absolutely outraged that the university would consistently ignore requests for a safe space,” the Queer Collective’s Sophie Williams told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “When the students try to reclaim some of that power themselves and take it into their own hands, the university continues to ignore the demands and the requests, fails to negotiate and then just brings in the heavies.”
Singaporean gay magazine restricted
Access to the Singaporean gay magazine Manazine has become severely restricted after “parents” complained to the Media Development Authority (MDA) that the publication was too easy to acquire, The Straits Times reported Aug. 28.
Ten thousand copies of the bimonthly magazine had been distributed free at bars, art galleries, restaurants and theaters. Now it will be available only by subscription.
Subscribers can either receive it in the mail or present a specially issued card at selected retail outlets to obtain their copy.
Publisher Arjan Nijen Twilhaar said the MDA also told him to tone down some of the homosexual content.
“We were also told to be sensitive to society’s reactions to the gay issue,” Twilhaar said. “We listened to the advice and made sure that we do not cross the line.”
MDA spokeswoman Casey Chang said the agency also told Twilhaar that Singaporean magazines should not promote homosexuality as a lifestyle.
Singapore has a complete ban on magazines such as Playboy.
Nigerian transgender arrested
A man in Kano, Nigeria, will face trial for dressing and living as a woman, the BBC reported Sept. 1.
As Abubakar Hamza awaits his Sept. 16 court date, however, he has become a celebrity in the city, with posters of him selling briskly among male admirers, the network said.
If found guilty under Section 9 of the Prostitution and Immoral Acts Law, Hamza, 19, could be sentenced to one year in prison or fined about $80.
He is being kept in jail until the trial.
Honduras recognizes gay organizations
The government of Honduras granted legal recognition to three gay groups in late August.
Approval was given to the Violet Collective, the Sampedrana Gay Community and the Kukulcn Group. It allows them to act officially before courts and government agencies.
The organizations first applied for recognition in 1989.
Several religious groups denounced the development, saying it amounts to government legitimization of homosexual behavior.
Gay cops receive support in Fiji
The director of Fiji’s Human Rights Commission said the agency supports police plans to recognize and support gay cops, the Fiji Times reported Aug. 28.
Director Shaista Shameem said Fiji’s Constitution guarantees all Fijians equal rights under the law.
“If the Fiji Police Force was to deny access to employment to police officers based on their sexual orientation, this would be a violation of Section 38 of the 1997 Constitution,” she said.
Police Commissioner Andrew Hughes called the issue of gay cops “sensitive.”
“But we have to deal with it,” he told the Times. “I am preparing a paper for my board of management to endorse. Obviously, any sort of relationship cannot be brought into the workplace.”
Government funds gay archive
The government of the Canadian province of Ontario has given the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives $150,000 (US$113,000).
The money came through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is an agency of the Ministry of Culture. The foundation is funded by state-run casinos.
An Archives spokesperson said the money will help the organization relocate to the heart of Toronto’s gay neighborhood and hire its first full-time employee.