By Rex Wockner
Fundamentalists trash cinemas showing lesbian film
Zealots from India’s Shiv Sena party trashed movie theaters in Mumbai (Bombay), Delhi, Indore, Jabalpur, Varanasi and other cities in mid-June to halt screenings of the new lesbian-themed Indian film “Girlfriend.”
They broke windows, destroyed posters and burned effigies, reports said.
But gay activists noted that the film is hardly pro-lesbian, because it treats homosexuality as an illness.
“‘Girlfriend’ reinforces all the negative stereotypes about lesbian and bisexual women,” India’s Organized Lesbian Alliance for Visibility and Action told the Indian Web site Sify.com. “Not only is it a cheap and titillation-oriented film masquerading as one that’s liberal, but it portrays the minority community in a negative light.”
Activists: Count of gays is too low
Statistics Canada’s recent attempt to determine the percentage of Canadians who are gay or bisexual failed in its task, activists said.
Figures from the Canadian Community Health Survey show that 1.3 percent of men and 0.7 percent of women identify as gay. Another 0.6 percent of men and 0.9 percent of women said they are bisexual.
A spokesperson for the national gay lobby group Egale said that, in reality, between 5 and 10 percent of people are gay but the majority choose not to out themselves to the government.
The survey questioned 83,729 Canadians between ages 18 and 59. It found that younger people are more likely to own up to their sexuality than older folks.
Two percent of the 18-34 age group came out to questioners as gay or bisexual, compared with 1.9 percent of those 35-44 and 1.2 percent of people ages 45-59.
Harassment up in Aussie military
Harassment of homosexuals in the Australian Defense Forces jumped from 12 cases in 2002 to 51 in 2003, The Australian reported this month.
The paper obtained an internal report under freedom-of-information laws. There are 51,791 people serving in the Australian military.
Blue Jays go gay
The Toronto Blue Jays major-league baseball team celebrated Gay Pride Community Day June 25.
Queer As Folk’s Sharon Gless threw out the first pitch, and gay Olympic gold medalist Mark Tewksbury presented a check on behalf of the team to Pride Toronto.
The national anthems were sung by Simone Denny, the voice behind the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy theme, “All Things (Just Keep Getting Better).”
The Skydome reserved a special section for gays at field level along the baselines, and offered a 30 percent discount to gay groups of 10 or more.
Panamanian gays seek partner rights
The gay-rights group Association of New Men and Women of Panama is collecting signatures to place a same-sex partnership bill before the nation’s Legislative Assembly.
The organization plans to collect four times the required 500 signatures and will submit the proposal on Sept. 1, as the newly elected president and legislators come into office.
Servant says he lied about Charles
A former royal servant said June 13 that he lied when he claimed he saw Britain’s Prince Charles having sex with a male employee, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
George Smith sold the story to a newspaper last year for about $109,000 but now says it was a fabrication.
“I didn’t see him in a compromising position,” Smith said. “The reason I said that was because I was angry with another royal servant.”
Another report from last year said that Princess Diana’s “secret video diary” from the early 1990s revealed that she believed Charles had an “unhealthy relationship” with former top aide Michael Fawcett.
“He is too close to Fawcett,” the princess said. “What can one do when your husband is in an unhealthy relationship?”
Diana also said Charles and Fawcett appeared “uncomfortable” and “uneasy” when disturbed while together in one of Charles’ private rooms.
Fawcett was forced to resign last year for bending palace rules forbidding staff from accepting perks, hospitality and gifts.
The videos, which Diana made by herself, had been hidden in the loft of her former butler, Paul Burrell, until three years ago when police took them as evidence in a theft trial against him. Burrell was cleared mid-trial when Queen Elizabeth II said she had known he was guarding some of Diana’s belongings.
Ontario gays wrong about their HIV status
The newest Ontario Men’s Survey found that 27 percent of gay men who thought they were probably HIV-negative tested positive via saliva samples taken when they were questioned.
The survey quizzed more than 5,000 men across the Canadian province.
Other findings included: About 25 percent of those surveyed engaged in unprotected anal sex with a casual male partner at least once in the previous three months; the percentage of gay men who acknowledged barebacking at least once has doubled since 1991 when a similar survey was conducted; and 45 percent of those questioned never discuss their HIV status with casual sex partners.
Fourteen percent of those questioned said they’ve had condoms slip off and an equal number said they’ve had condoms break.
Stockholm Pride to push for marriage
As Sweden’s gay registered-partnership law celebrates its 10th anniversary, organizers of Stockholm’s annual pride celebration will focus on pushing for access to full marriage.
Like laws in some other European nations, the Swedish partnership law grants more than 99 percent of the rights and obligations of marriage – but under a different name and a separate-but-almost-equal framework.
“There is an intense debate in mass media and in the government about gender-neutral marriage,” said Pride President Hkan Steenberg. “Stockholm Pride wants this year’s festival to proclaim [the] gay right to express love through marriage.”
Pride will be held from July 28 to August 1.
Pope disses gays again
Pope John Paul II called gays self-centered during a June meeting with U.S. bishops at the Vatican.
“Rights are at times reduced to self-centered demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women’s rights, the approval of same-sex unions in the name of homosexual rights,” he said.
“In the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking you must do everything possible to encourage the laity in their special responsibility for evangelizing culture and promoting Christian values in society and public life.”
Catholic teaching forbids all sex that is not between a man and a woman who are married to each other, and prohibits any ejaculation, even within a marriage, that could not lead to pregnancy.