Dan Choi Dan Choi Photo by Rex Wockner
Saturday, September 03 2011 15:04

International News, Sep 2 - Sep 15, 2011

By  Rex Wockner

Defense Personnel Enter Boat in Amsterdam Pride Canal Parade

For the first time, around 80 defense personnel—military and civilian—took part in Amsterdam’s gay pride canal parade with their own boat Aug. 6. Joining them was U.S. gays-in-the-military activist Dan Choi. Defense personnel participated in the previous two years’ parades, in uniform, but onboard other groups’ boats. This year’s contingent was organized by the Dutch Foundation for Homosexuality and the Armed Forces. It also included a British Royal Navy lieutenant commander and Dutch generals.

“After years of trying to realize our aim of participating, we are extremely pleased, because visibility, particularly in the case of LGBT defense personnel, is so important,” said Peter Kees Hamstra, chairman of the foundation that organized the contingent. “By increasing this visibility, we aim to be an example to other defense organizations,” he said. “Although social acceptance has improved in the Netherlands too, there is still a great deal of work that must be done to strengthen the position of LGBT defense personnel.”

On Facebook, Choi commented: “Honored to ride with Dutch generals and admirals and MoD (Ministry of Defense) officials. ... We must see the gay rights movement from afar to realize how dismal it is at home, how manipulative the party politics can be. Our effort to bring international shame upon the disingenuous ramblings of career politicians makes clear the enormity of second-class citizenship to our officials and ourselves.”

Czech President: Prague Should Not Support Gay Parade

Czech President Václav Klaus said Aug. 4 that Prague city officials should not be supporting the gay pride parade. “I do not feel pride in this event,” he wrote on his website. “Tolerating is one thing, giving public support on behalf of major institutions is something completely different. ... We may respect homosexuality, but not homosexualism.” Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said Klaus’ feelings will not affect the city’s patronage of the Aug. 13 parade, which also has support from numerous foreign embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

Ugandan LBTI Group’s Membership List Stolen

The LBTI group Freedom & Roam Uganda reported Aug. 1 that its offices were burglarized and sensitive information was stolen. Taken were computers, printers, a server, telephones, a microwave oven, and documents—including the database of the group’s members. No members were in the building during the weekend break-in. “The mood is very low; members are filled with trauma and worries,” the group said in a statement.

Police found fingerprints at the scene and told FARUG there is a good chance of tracking the perpetrators because a rare kind of acid was used during the break-in, apparently to damage locks. FARUG said it wonders if the robbery was random or targeted. The group said that four days earlier, the offices of the LGBT organization Sexual Minorities Uganda also were broken into. FARUG said it needs help “financially, technically and emotionally.”

A spokesperson said the group needs to hire a security guard, install security cameras with battery backup, replace equipment, and reinstall the Internet. “The struggle continues,” the group said. “These kinds of things are just one way of distracting us. We shall not give in to them.”

‘Last’ Gay Victim of Nazis Dies

Germany’s Lesbian and Gay Federation reported that the last living gay victim of the Nazis, Rudolf Brazda, died at age 98 on Aug. 3 in Bantzenheim, France. Along with up to 15,000 other homosexuals, Brazda was sent to a concentration camp—Buchenwald in his case, in 1942. He was freed by U.S. forces three years later. Most homosexual inmates did not survive. Brazda had said he remained alive thanks to a guard who moved him to less perilous jobs in the camp and another guard who hid him from a death-march roundup. Brazda came out as a gay survivor of the camps in 2008 after hearing on television that no gay survivors were left. France later appointed him a knight of the Legion of Honor.

Anti-Gay Bill Introduced in Ukraine

An anti-gay bill has been introduced in Ukraine’s parliament, according to the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. The measure “regarding protection of children’s rights in the safe information sphere” would amend the Criminal Code—as well as laws concerning public morality, print media, television and radio, and publishing—to make “propaganda of homosexualism” a criminal offense. “(The measure) is absolutely discriminatory,” said the Ukrainian organization Insight. “The bill strengthens censorship, restricts freedom of speech, which is the basis of mass media, and legalizes violence against homosexual people.”

Slovenia Sees First Same-Sex Second-Parent Adoption

Slovenia’s first same-sex second-parent adoption has been approved by the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Affairs, according to Ljubljana’s SKUC-LL, the Students’ Cultural Center Lesbian Section. A new Family Code adopted in June allows a same-sex partner to adopt a partner’s biological child. The ministry stepped in, SKUC-LL said, after the adoption was denied by the Center for Social Work.


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