Eric Ohena Lembembe, Gay Rights Activist, Tortured And Killed

I will never ever EVER understand why violence is always the answer to any problem or disagreement for these people. It’s no wonder there’s always fighting in African countries. They think the ONLY solution to any problem is to just kill the opposition.

DAKAR, Senegal — A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by “anti-gay thugs,” Human Rights Watch said.

Friends discovered the body of Eric Ohena Lembembe at his home in the capital, Yaounde, on Monday evening after he was unreachable for two days, the rights group said in a statement Tuesday.

One friend said Lembembe’s neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron.

Lembembe was among the most prominent activists in one of Africa’s most hostile countries for sexual minorities. First as a journalist and later as executive director of CAMFAIDS, a Yaounde-based human rights organization, he documented violence, blackmail and arrests targeting members of Cameroon’s gay community. He was also a regular contributor to the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, which focuses on countries where homosexuality is illegal, and he wrote several chapters of a book released in February on the global gay rights movement titled “From Wrongs to Gay Rights.”

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Employment Non-Discrimination Act Passes Senate Committee

Like most Americans, I had assumed all this time that there was some sort of protection for us against being fired from our jobs. Although I told one co-worker a few years ago about my “orientation” in a rather indirect manner, I don’t typically speak of my relationship to anyone but close friends. It’s certainly none of their business. I also know that my current employer has previously employed a Lesbian and she left on her own terms, not due to being fired over her “orientation”. I know that’s not always the case, but I think in the future I would endeavour to find employment somewhere that is either gay friendly or where, like here, they don’t give a fig. So, I’d never dream of working at a religious institution of any kind.

I hope this protection moves forward. Soon.

WASHINGTON — LGBT rights advocates chalked up a win on Wednesday as a Senate committee passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions passed the bill, 15 to 7. All Democrats supported it, along with three Republicans: Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (Utah). The Republicans who voted no included Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Pat Roberts (Kansas) and Tim Scott (S.C.).

Kirk is a cosponsor of the bill and was expected to support it, while Murkowski was mum when asked on Tuesday how she planned to vote. Hatch told The Huffington Post on Tuesday that he planned to support the bill.

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Geeks OUT calling for movie protest

I’m really sad to learn this news. I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie, but not now. 😦

It’s one of the most highly anticipated films of the upcoming holiday movie season, though “Ender’s Game” now has a considerable amount of controversy to go with the hype.

Geeks OUT has launched an online protest of the film due to author Orson Scott Card being an outspoken opponent of gay marriage. Called “Skip Ender’s Game,” the boycott urges potential audiences to steer clear of the film, which is based on Card’s popular 1985 novel.

“Do NOT see this movie! Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand,” Geeks OUT officials write. “Ignore all merchandise and toys. However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card’s pockets.”

Geeks OUT is organizing a series of “Skip Ender’s Game” events in New York, Orlando, Seattle, and other major U.S. cities to coincide with the movie’s debut this November.

I’m surprised that his not-so-veiled threat against the US government has largely gone ignored.

Just Because He Breathes

I just read a beautiful and very tragic story about parents who lost their gay son before he reached the prime of his life and before he was able to share much of the triumphs and tragedies we all experience as each year passes into the next. I’m not going to post a bit of the article as I usually do. If you want to read it, you can find the article here. I’m also going to link to the blog Mrs Robertson maintains on this subject among the other links I have over on the side.

I hope that many people are touched by her experience and that slowly, but surely, the hatred which abounds for the LGBT community will get eaten away by those who do have a change of heart. I just hope it all happens with less tragedy and a lot more triumph.



Turkey’s Violent Homophobia

This is so awful. 😦 I will never understand why people have to resort to violence when they disagree with someone over ANYTHING. A lot of the time I fear that’s what will end up happening here more and more. I don’t believe for an instant that this country is more civilised than all other countries in the world.

For a brief moment, Istanbul’s Taksim Square was transformed yesterday. The riot police, clouds of tear gas, and barricade-building protesters that characterized the past month’s unprecedented unrest were gone. Instead, a mass of rainbow flags, garish makeup, and neon clothing and face paint gleamed in the afternoon sunshine ahead of the city’s 10th LGBT pride march.

The atmosphere was festive. Despite that the demonstration was not legally sanctioned and there were frequent anti-government chants, uniformed police were almost nonexistent. Public reaction seemed to be almost overwhelmingly positive, and bystanders applauded the procession as it passed down İstiklâl Avenue. Attendance, estimated at least 20,000, was among the largest in the march’s history and included three M.P.s from the Republican People’s Party, an opposition group.

It was an undeniable success, and organizers were justifiably delighted. But under any other circumstances, things might have been very different. Homosexual conduct between consenting adults is legal in Turkey, but far from accepted. Prejudice is widespread: 84 percent of Turkish people said gays or lesbians were among the groups they would least like living in their area, according to 2011 research conducted as part of the World Values Survey.

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Russia’s Bad Weekend for Gay Rights

Please take a moment to be thankful that no matter how difficult the struggle feels for those of us in the US, we don’t live in Russia. I hope somehow things change for them. 😦

As the U.S. celebrated the intersection of Pride parades and two landmark Supreme Court decisions, Russia spent the weekend moving even closer to the Worst Timeline for gay rights there. On Saturday, police arrested dozens of protesters after anti-gay rights activists attacked about 100 pro-gay rights demonstrators. And today, President Putin signed a new law that criminalizes homosexual “propaganda” aimed at minors.

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The Day After DOMA

So it’s now the day after the Supreme Court overruled DOMA. It’s still all over the news. People are still celebrating. Though it is a major milestone for someone like me, I find I’m celebrating a little less today. Cheering a little softer. Why? Because their ruling doesn’t apply to me. There are still only 13 states where same-sex marriage is legal. Neither my state nor the one I wish to live in with my Beloved recognise same-sex marriages. So as far as I am concerned and my future marital state, yesterday’s ruling doesn’t matter.

Best of luck to those of you fortunate enough to live in states where you are allowed all rights and privileges.



Victory is OURS!

We have won the battle, my friends, but believe me when I tell you we have not won the war.

But let us savour the victory given to us by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a 5 to 4 decision. I have been dreading this ruling, feeling that the delay meant bad news.

Even though she will never read these words, I wish to give heartfelt thanks to Edie Windsor, the woman who made this possible when she requested a refund of state taxes paid when her wife died in 2009. Edie, and by default her beloved Thea, is a true pioneer for the LGBT community.

Keep up the fight, my sisters and brothers, and most importantly, never lose sight of hope!!!

Edit: I misspoke earlier regarding Ms Windsor and also left out a bit of information. Ms Windsor was suing the IRS for a refund of federal estate taxes that she’d paid upon the death of her spouse, Thea, not state taxes. Also, I neglected to point out that not only was DOMA struck down today, but California’s Proposition 8.


Gay marriage would lead to polygamy

Well, I have to admit, this is a new (and creative) argument against gay marriage: that if you move beyond the bounds of the traditional man/woman relationship within a marriage then it will lead to polygamists demanding that polygamy be decriminalised. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter to me how many you want to marry. If everyone is happy and no one feels neglected, knock yourselves out. As it stands, those who live in a polygamist relationship can rely on the government for assistance. I mean think about it. One man and one woman can legally marry, yet other women (and presumably their children) live with them in a “marriage” that’s not considered legal. Any and all women who are not legally married to that one man are technically single mothers and can seek government assistance as such. I say let them all marry and get off government assistance!!

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli’s opposition to gay marriage is well established.

But as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue decisions on two major gay marriage cases this week, less well-known is his co-authorship, in January 2013, of a court brief that laid out an argument against the constitutionality of allowing same-sex couples to marry.

In the amicus brief, Cuccinelli, the attorney general of Virginia, and Greg Zoeller, the attorney general or Indiana, used a novel justification to make their point in one section of the 55-page brief — namely that gay marriage could lead to polygamy.

“Responsible parenting is not a justification for same-sex-couple marriage, as distinguished from recognition of any other human relationships. It is instead a rationale for eliminating marriage as government recognition of a limited set of relationships. Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, the conclusion that follows is that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage. See, e.g. , Jonathan Turley, One Big, Happy Polygamous Family , NY Times, July 21, 2011, at A27 (“[Polygamists] want to be allowed to create a loving family according to the values of their faith.”).”

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