Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nigerian anti-gay law leads to arrests of people for attending "gay" events


In a northern city in Nigeria, Kano, up to twelve people were arrested for attending a supposed same-sex marriage ceremony, according to a Nigerian news source that called the story “Caught in the act”, link here.
  
That is, merely attending the ceremony could lead to arrest.  The story also says that the “Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act” signed by Goodluck Jonathan, actually prohibits gay bars and homosexual organizations as well 
  
The person holding the gathering  claimed that this was a “birthday party”.  Was this raid the result of the country’s law, or because of Shariah law in the North?   The brutal raids of Boko Haram would not be too far away.
   
I have run into people from Nigeria in church services in the DC area, often brightly dressed.  While they are aware of the horrific attacks in the north by BH, and indicate that these don’t get enough attention when compared to ISIS, they generally have little or no awareness of the anti-gay laws.

This sort of thing has to be a problem for companies or charities needing to place people overseas in developing countries with very conservative social norms.
    
Curiously, in the 1980s, Nigeria had been the site of several churches in the UFMCC.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

LDS Church supports LGBT protections "in guard mode"; Lass Bass and husband appear on TV, recall 'Nsync days


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon Church, now says it supports legal protections for the rights of LGBT people, with the caveat that legal protections don’t step on “religious freedom” – essentially, apply to religious employers.  USA Today has a typical story here.  It’s less clear how it would see a case like Hobby Lobby, where the religious beliefs of an employer of a for-profit company affects the employer’s benefits policies.
 
A draft of the statement is here
     
Nevertheless, the turnaround in the attitude of the Mormon Church is quite remarkable, and seems sudden. 
   

In another matter, Lance Bass and husband Michael Turchin appeared today on Access Hollywood, and their reporting is discussed on Entertainment Online, here.  Bass is from Mississippi, and was a performer in ‘Nsync.  I attended a PopOdyssey concert in the Metrodome in June, 2001, the Sunday night as Minneapolis gay pride ended. Chavez sang at the Dec. 20 wedding, and the couple apparently intends to adopt and raise children.  (See earlier posting on Bass, Aug. 4, 2012).  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Alabama faces same-sex marriage while "Selma"plays


The latest news from “Alabama the Beautiful” is that same-sex marriages are on hold, as per the judge Callie Grandade, who had ruled the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.  The Reuters and Yahoo story is here

I drove a rent car through the state last May, particularly visiting Auburn, Montgomery, Selma, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham (site of the 1963 church bombing), and Huntsville.  I came back through the state from Tupelo, MS.  The state looked backward economically to me, even compared to Mississippi, and especially compared to Georgia.
  
Here’s a Vox article on the conduct of police in Alabama toward more recent student protests, link
  
This was the state that gave us George Wallace (as in the movie “Selma”), a "Democrat".  An Army buddy back in 1969 said “he wasn’t a candyass”. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Russian convicted of violating propaganda law for running LGBT youth site


A judge in Russia has convicted someone of violating the country’s anti-gay propaganda law for running a website for LGBT youth, the “Children 404 Project”, which still has a page in Russian on Facebook, here. On the Internet, "404" usually means "not found". 
  
Yelena Klimova was fined about $780.  The judge refused to postpone the trial despite the apparent non-availability of the defendant’s attorney.  Michael Lavers has a story on the Washington Blade Friday here
  
The main result of the law still seems to be the indirect condoning of vigilante violence, and the closing of clubs because of harassment.   The Blade results some people seeking asylum (previous stories) and it isn’t yet clear how dependent asylum processing might become on sponsorship, in the future, as the idea is rarely discussed openly.
  
A question remains, can an “out” LGBT person safely visit Russia?  It appears that social media pages and websites of westerners are readily available in Russia (there appears to be less attempt to block them than in China) and I wonder if they could be used to detain visitors who might try to visit for legitimate tourism.  Yet, a lot of heterosexual business people with no ties to the LGBT community find Russia “hip”, even given economic problems recently and Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine.
  
I still think that the main reason for Russia’s attitude has to do with the low birth rate, and a notion young adults will find having children burdensome unless everyone has to do it.
  
On the local club front, I’m trying to find out when the new DC Eagle will open, since its Twitter feed shows a lot of construction progress,  The website says that after a previous move years ago, it opened at a new location without missing a beat.  Not this time.  (Update:  A new story in the Blade Jan. 26 says that new DC mayor Muriel Bowser spoke at a private "soft opening";  the grand opening has yet to be announced, link..) 
  
While in Philadelphia last week, I found a small place called UBar, SE of City Hall, during happy hour.   

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Russia did enforce anti-gay propaganda law on Crimea, presumably would do so in any territory Putin annexes


Although not widely reported in the main media, The Advocate reported in May 2014 that, after Russia annexed Crimea, taking it by force from Ukraine, Russia imposed its “anti-gay propaganda law” on the population in the province, story by Daniel Reynolds, link here.
      
Authorities canceled a gay pride parade in Sevastapol and apparently closed gay bars in the area.
I don’t see the Adovcate on newsstands the way I used to, in print.  It had a little feature “20 celebrities that aged horribly.” 
  
It's pretty horrible to lose your rights because of a foreign conquest based on "ethnic nationalism". (Ukraine had not exactly been like the Netherlands.)  But look at the 1930s.  
 
Picture:  near HQ of Breaking Glass Pictures and TLA  (downtown Philadelphia) which release a lot of LGBT indie films. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

President Obama's statement about LGBT marriage equality and civil rights: Bill Clinton had started the presidential discussion in 1992 campaign


Again, President Obama broke new ground in his State of the Union (SOTU) address by maintaining that marriage equality for LGBT people is a civil rights issue.  He also implied that protecting LGBT people, as with many other people, from targeted violence would be a national security issue, an idea that has a disturbing undertone in the era of asymmetry.  He may have had recent reports from Britain on targeted ISIS acts against gays (in Syria or Iraq) in mind (not much in the news but widely reported in social media).
  
I don’t recall a president’s mentioning “gay rights” until Bill Clinton, as a candidate, did so at the 1992 Democratic convention, setting up the debate over gays in the military that started even before his inauguration (partly because of the stories at the time about Keith Meinhold and Joe Steffan).
  
Back in 2004, on my “doaskdotell” site, I opined an “Editorial” (a term that seems an overreach today) called “Gay marriage and family responsibility”.  My biggest concern that the implications of supporting children or elderly parents don’t always wait for procreative sexual intercourse to happen.  “Personal responsibility” has become a much broader concept. For years, there has grown an unhealthful disincentive to delay having children or not have them at all.  
  
In fact, as I recall all those desperate anti-marriage-equality essays over a decade ago (by Maggie Gallagher and others).  They seem to suggest that “traditional marriage” would thrive only in a restrictive social context that made committed marital intimacy “meaningful”.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Major Washington DC Baptist church again fields a question on inclusiveness


Sunday morning, at a congregational breakfast at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, consultant John Wimberly was asked about inclusiveness.  Apparently a few years back the Church did not vote a LGBT inclusiveness measure when it had came up.
   
Wimberly said that a church should follow its own conscience first.  However, the practical world suggests that the biggest source of new members, the 35-44 age group or “Gen X”, has changed in attitude tremendously in one generation;  furthermore the highly educated workforce in Washington and around the Dupont Circle area is among the most socially liberal in the nation.  He also said that his own interpretation of Christian theology was that the Bible is neutral on sexual orientation as if is understood in the modern world and does not consider adult homosexual relations wrong on their face.
  
The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC is affiliated with both American and Southern Baptist Conventions, and is located very near the "17th Street Strip" in Washington's "gay" neighborhood.   17th St, between P and R Street, is "Frank Kameny Way" (Wiki).  I grew up in this church, which opened its current sanctuary on Christmas Day 1955.  The Church has operated since 1802.  Dr. Edward Pruden was pastor from the 1940s to the 1960s, and (raised in Richmond) was wat ahead of his time on race, and his book "Interpreters Needed" (1951) had examined why a "Christian" country Germany could become vulnerable to Nazism.

In the morning presentation, Dr. Wimberly mentioned President Truman's order integrating the military in 1948 (as in the HBO film "Truman", 1996) as a precursor to civil rights;  he did not specifically mention the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" under Obama in 2010-2011, but that was a rather obvious inference in context. 
        
Even the Vatican, as in more recent statements, seems to recognize biological differences but seems to believe it is appropriate to ask for more disproportionate “sacrifices” from some people to support the reproductive activity and future generations of everyone else.  Faith, at some point, seems to be about something more than equality as we discuss it in political contexts.