by Rex Wockner
Swedish MP gay-bashed
Swedish Member of Parliament Fredrick Federley was gay-bashed at a hot-dog stand after leaving a gay club in Stockholm on Dec. 8.
Federley, 29, and two friends were attacked by six or seven men in their 20s who called them “fags.” Federley was hit four times.
“They screamed that we were disgusting and a threat to Sweden and that they were going to beat us up,” he told The Local newspaper.
Federley spent the night at a friend’s house rather than take the bus home. He did not seek medical treatment.
Botswana gay group to sue government
Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) is suing the Department of Civil and National Registration for refusing to register the organization.
Lawyer Duma Boko served Attorney General Athaliah Molokomme with a notice of intention to sue on Dec. 6.
The department reportedly rejected LEGABIBO’s application because of Penal Code Section 164, which states: “Any person who has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature, has carnal knowledge of an animal, or permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years.”
Boko called the department’s rejection “improper and unlawful” and demanded that it be “nullified.”
“This matter implicates a whole array of constitutional rights and protections not least of which are the right to freedom of expression, freedom of association as well as the right to the equal protection of the law,” he said.
Men jailed for gay sex in Morocco
Six men were sentenced to prison in Ksar el Kbir, Morocco, on Dec. 10 for alleged violation of Penal Code Article 489, which bans “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.”
The men were arrested and jailed in late November after media reports identified them as attendees at an alleged “gay marriage” party that was the subject of an amateur video uploaded to YouTube.
Following the arrests, hundreds of people marched in Ksar el Kbir calling for the men to be punished.
Lawyers for the men, who were sentenced to between four and 10 months’ imprisonment each, complained that prosecutors presented no evidence that any crime had taken place, and Human Rights Watch denounced the verdicts.
“The men’s rights to privacy and freedom of expression have been violated, and the court has convicted them without apparent evidence; they should be set free,” said HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson, who directs the group’s North Africa programs.
“These men are behind bars for private acts between consenting adults that no government has any business criminalizing in the first place,” she added.
The one individual who received a 10-month sentence also was convicted of selling alcohol.
Article 489 punishes gay sex with imprisonment for six months to three years and a fine of $15 to $150.
Dramatic HIV increase among Chinese gays
The percentage of Chinese gay men infected with HIV jumped from 0.4 percent to 3.3 percent between 2005 and 2007, according to a new report from the State Council AIDS Working Committee Office and the U.N. Theme Group on AIDS in China.
But the overall rate of HIV infection has slowed, said the report, “The Joint Assessment of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care in China (2007).”
While there were 70,000 new infections in 2005, only 50,000 are expected this year, the report stated. In all, around 700,000 of China’s 1.32 billion residents are believed to have HIV.
Heterosexual sex is expected to account for 45 percent of new infections, intravenous drug use for 42 percent, and gay sex for 12 percent.
The report claimed that 70 percent of gay men have multiple sexual partners and that only 30 percent use condoms.
HIV travel report released
The European AIDS Treatment Group and the German AIDS Federation have produced a report on “Travel and Residence Regulations for People with HIV and AIDS.”
“This latest edition reflects the most up-to-date information available in 2007 and includes a specific section on entering the United States of America in spite of state-sponsored discrimination still in vigor,” the groups said in an English-language press release.
The report is online at http://eatg.org/hivtravel. It also is available as a PDF document — in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish — at http://tinyurl.com/2e25l9. Corrections are invited and should be sent to David Haerry at email@example.com.
The authors also seek feedback on “positive and negative experiences regarding traveling as an HIV+ person.”
“This information helps us provide practical information on how to travel in spite of the various regulations,” they said.
Aussie PM chooses lesbian minister
New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has selected lesbian lawyer Penny Wong, 39, as minister for climate change and water.
Wong, 39, was born in Malaysia and is one of only a handful of openly gay Australian politicians.
She will help lead the government’s effort to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
Gay activists picket Cameroonian outposts
Gay activists picketed Cameroon’s diplomatic outposts in France, South Africa and the United States Dec. 10 to protest arrests and harassment of gays and lesbians in the African nation.
“More than 30 people have been arrested in Cameroon in the last two years on charges of homosexuality,” said the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which helped organize the demonstrations. “Dozens of students, particularly girls and young women, have been expelled from schools as [a] result of their real or perceived sexual orientation.”
In Paris and Washington, D.C., the demonstrators delivered protest letters to diplomatic officials, while the action in Pretoria, South Africa, attracted more than 100 demonstrators to the Cameroon High Commission.
In May 2005, 17 men and women were arrested at an open-air bistro in Yaounde, the Cameroonian capital. Eleven of them spent more than a year at the Kondegui Central Prison before seven of them were convicted of violating Penal Code Article 347, which bans gay sex. The gay group Alternatives-Cameroun has documented the cases of 16 other men detained under the article.
“As soon as the shadow of homosexuality enters into a case, due process goes out of the window,” said IGLHRC Program Associate Joel Nana, who is monitoring the cases.