Kuwait is asking gay tourists to stay home.
Officials in the country are looking at ways to block anyone who is openly gay from entering the Muslim state. They also want 'straight' visitors to pass "homosexuality tests" before crossing the border.
Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry, explained that a routine clinical screening of expatriates entering the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) - including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) - would include tests to identify LGBT people.
"Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries," he said. "However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states."
The exact nature of these tests has not been revealed. Multiple choice? Blood test for the fabulous gene? Anal probe? Your guess is as good as ours.
Kuwait to conduct ‘gay tests’ to bar LGBTs from entering the Gulf [Gay Star News]
October 11th is National Coming Out Day, and a new campaign has been launched to promote it. "Closets Are For Clothes" uses the closet - surprise, surprise - as a metaphor for LGBT individuals forced to hide their sexual orientation.
The video is sponsored by Heterosexuals for Same-Sex Equality (HSSE) and The People Project; they hope that the video will show "there are enthusiasts, allies and supporters all over the place of various shapes and sizes.
"We also wanted to show that coming out can be a very liberating and empowering act."
And what is more empowering than stripping?
Guido Barilla, the chairman of Barilla Pasta, stuck both feet in his mouth when he told an Italian radio show Thursday that the world’s largest pasta producer will never, not ever, feature gay couples in its advertisements.
“I would never do [a commercial] with a homosexual couple, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them,” said Barilla (sounding, well, disrespectful). “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role. … If [gays] don’t like it, they can go eat another brand.”
Of course, the next day he was backpedalling, ever so slightly. He apologized if anyone had taken offense to what he said.
"I apologise if my words generated misunderstandings or arguments, or if they offended the sensibilities of some people," he said.
Competitor Bertolli Pasta took the opportunity to remind customers that it loves all people, and even included gay men in a TV spot 4 years ago.
Several people have created some humorous responses to Barilla's homophobia.
Barilla pasta baron’s anti-gay comment touches off boycott, apology [Toronto Star]
Pasta firm Barilla boycotted over 'classic family' remarks [The Guardian]
Pope Francis thinks the Catholic Church spends too much time focusing on gays. He made the statement during an interview with the editor in chief of Italian Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica,
"During [a recent] return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says," the pope explained. "Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person."
He continued: "A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: 'Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?' We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation."
Granted, he still thinks gay acts are a sin, but this is certainly a less aggressive position on homosexuality than any previous pope has taken. Pope Benedict XVI, after all, declared homosexuality an "objective disorder" with "a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil."
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said he hoped others in the church would follow the pope's lead. "Now, it's time for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to catch up and drop their opposition to even the most basic protections for LGBT people," he said. "Otherwise, they risk being left far behind by American Catholics and this remarkable Pope.
“At a moment when Pope Francis is re-dedicating the Church to tirelessly helping the poor, it's unacceptable for American bishops to continue wasting millions of parishioner dollars on harmful anti-LGBT political campaigns that target members of their own flock."
The Catholic Church still has a long, long, long way to go, but it's a start ...
Pope says Church must end obsession with gays, contraception, abortion [Reuters]
Pope Warns Church Focusing Too Much on Gays, Abortion [The Wall Street Journal]
If you've ever had the urge to stroke a load off at the beach, you might want to consider a trip to Sweden next summer. According to a Swedish prosecutor, a recent court decision has made it "OK to masturbate on the beach."
Olof Vrethammar made the statement following a court's decision to acquit a 65-year-old who had been charged with sexual assault after he stripped and masturbated at Stockholm's Drevviken in June. But because his masturbation wasn't directed at a specific person, the court said he could not be charged with assault.
"For this to be a criminal offense it's required that the sexual molestation was directed toward one or more people. I think the court's judgment is reasonable," Vrethammar said. "The district court has made a judgment on this case. With that we can conclude that it is OK to masturbate on the beach."
However, he added, hinting that the jerker had actually been charged with the wrong crime: "The act may be considered to be disorderly conduct."
And possibly littering, if you don't clean up after yourself!
Swedish court rules it IS legal to masturbate in public (if it's not directed at anyone specific) [Daily Mail]
Stephen Crohn, nicknamed “The Man Who Can’t Catch AIDS” because of his resistance to HIV, has committed suicide. Crohn reportedly took his life on August 23, but the news was only released this past Friday.
In 1978, Crohn’s boyfriend, Jerry Green, contracted HIV and in 1982 was among the first people to die of AIDS. Other friends died, but Crohn - who was sexually active and not taking any precautions - somehow remained healthy.
Eventually, he volunteered to have the disease injected into his own body in order to help researchers study the illness. Doctors were unable to infect him. They discovered that his CD4 white blood cells, which HIV normally penetrates, locked out the virus due to a genetic flaw. The anomaly is found in less than 1% of the population.
“What he contributed to medical knowledge is really quite extraordinary,” said Dr Bruce D Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard.
“My brother saw all his friends around him dying, and he didn’t die," said his sister, Amy Crohn Santagata. He went through a tremendous amount of survivor guilt about that and said to himself, ‘There’s got to be a reason.”‘
His depression grew in the past few years, she added.
He was 66.
The 'man who couldn't get AIDS' commits suicide at 66 out of 'survivors guilt' ... [Daily Mail]
Yesterday, the NALT (Not All Like That) Christians Project was launched.
The purpose of the initiative - being spearheaded by Dan Savage, Wayne Besen from Truth Wins Out, and openly Christian John Shore - is to give LGBT-affirming Christians the opportunity to share with the world and young gay people their belief that there is nothing anti-biblical or inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
"We are playing a symphony inspired by Christ's Great Commandment that all of his followers love our neighbors as we love ourselves," Shore explained. "If you're an LGBT-affirming Christian, there is a seat waiting for you in the orchestra of The NALT Christians Project."
"The NALT Christians Project aims to inspire Christian LGBT allies to move their support from the shadows into the public square," added Besen. "Through their NALT videos, Christians will put their values into action, and lead the clarion, Bible-based call for freedom and justice for all people."
Several religious groups have already signed on, including the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Auburn Theological Seminary, Covenant Network of Presbyterians, The Evangelical Network, and Methodists in New Directions.
"This project is designed to reach people like myself when I was sixteen and growing up in a conservative religious community," said Evan Hurst, Truth Wins Out associate director. "I wish I had known about the millions of loving Christians who take Jesus' teachings seriously, and if this project can help keep LGBT youth from the spiritual turmoil of being convinced they are hell-bound simply for being who they are, then we've done our jobs."
St John’s Anglican Church, located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, has received a lot of attention this week for one of its signs. Looking to promote tolerance and acceptance towards the queer community, the church erected a signed that said: “Jesus had two dads, and he turned out just fine!”
Someone took a picture of the sign and posted it on Reddit. The image has been viewed over a million times and been shared through social media.
Earlier in August, Australia’s Gosford Anglican Church posted similar messages, critical of those opposed to LGBT rights, and speaking out in support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The most popular sign read: "Dear Christians, some people are gay. Get over it. Love, God."
Finally, real Christians are reclaiming the Church!
'Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine' - church sign attacking homophobia goes viral [The Independent]
Anderson Cooper used his Ridiculist segment on Wednesday to go after Pat Robertson for his recent comments saying gay people have "AIDS rings" that spread the disease.
The nut job that is televangelist Pat Robertson went on quite the rant yesterday, claiming that gay men in San Francisco wear special rings that allow them to transmit HIV to people who shake their hands.
The 'insight' came when a woman called in to Robertson's show and asked if she should tell her church that a man she was driving to services was dying of AIDS.
Robertson said that AIDS could not be transmitted through casual contact.
But he quickly added: “I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction, you can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they’ve got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you’ve got AIDS.
“You know what they do in San Francisco. Some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger. Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”
All aboard to crazy town!
After much criticism, Robertson was forced to apologize (in his characteristic 'I'm sorry you misunderstood' sort of way).
"In my own experience," he said in an e-mail statement, "our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.
"I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise (sic) were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease."
A Russian politician - and potential mayor of Moscow - is proposing more homophobic legislation to add to the already passed 'gay propaganda law.' Mikhail Degtyaryov said lawmakers in the country's State Duma were working on two new measures to deal with homosexuality.
The first bill would create a system through which gays can have the chance to become "normal" again through so-called conversion therapy.
“Many [gays] want to return to a normal life, to become heterosexual like 95 to 99 percent of our citizens,” Degtyaryov, the vice chairman of the Committee for Science and Scientific Technologies, claimed.
He said the treatment would be covered by the state and be voluntary and anonymous.
A second piece of legislation would reinstate the country's ban on blood and organ donations from gay men.
"We will suggest amendments to the law on donors that reintroduce homosexuality to the list of contraindications for blood donations in Health Ministry instructions," Degtyarov said. He said there was nothing discriminatory about the policy, because 65 percent of all HIV-positive persons were homosexual. (He pulled the stats from a most reliable source: his ass.)
Russia Gay Blood Donation Ban, Free Conversion Therapy Proposed By Moscow Mayoral Candidate [Huffington Post]
Russian MP proposes gay blood ban, free gay-to-straight conversion therapy [LGBTQ Nation]
Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, was arrested in December 2008 when he returned to Iran to visit his dying father. He was accused of operating a pornographic website, which he denied throughout his trial.
In 2010, the married 37-year-old was found guilty on three counts, including "designing and moderating adult content websites" and "insulting the sanctity of Islam." He was sentenced to death.
However, this week the death sentence was reduced to life in prison.
"He repented, blocking implementation of the death sentence, and it has been commuted to life in prison," lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabee said.
While an Iranian prison cell will certainly be awful, at least he has a chance of appealing and maybe even getting out of the country.
Iranian gets life for running porn site [The Times of Israel]
You may have heard the alarming news that Arizona has passed a law making 'gay-to-straight' training mandatory in schools.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, allegedly signed off on the ‘People Can Change’ program, and told CNN she was excited about the program. “I think this will be an amazing opportunity for gay children to finally learn who they truly are for once in their lives,” Brewer said. “Can you imagine how much more productive these ‘now-straight’ children will be not always being bullied or wondering why god made them defective? What we have done here today is monumental. I can only hope and pray that other states follow suit.”
People are up in arms, and word is quickly spreading across social media.
But the whole thing is a hoax. The story first appeared on NationalReport.net , which is a satirical site (similar to The Onion).
The same site has produced such articles as "Strengthen the Republican Party - Pray Away the Black," and "Michelle Obama To Play Wife Of Lando Calrissian In Star Wars: Episode VII."
What worries me is that Jan Brewer is crazy enough to consider this a good idea!
Vitaly Milonov, co-sponsor of the infamous anti-gay law in Russia, is now arguing that a gay activist should be put to death for "extremism."
Milonov - also known (by me) as the taint of Russian politics - said that Cyril Kalugin must be arrested for his one man gay rights protest, in which he held a poster calling for "Sodom in every home."
"Either he is mentally ill or well-paid," he said, claiming Kalugin is a terrorist. "There are things that are unacceptable. We have monitored the activities of this activist, and I believe that we must discourage and punish these provocative acts."
Death, he said, was the only way to send a clear message to others.
Kalugin countered that his call for "Sodom in every home" was a cry for the education of Russian people about the facts of homosexuality, and a way to challenge the propaganda of Vladimir Putin’s parliament. He also promised that he would stay in the country to fight, and not seek asylum abroad.
If anyone should be charged with extremism, it's Milonov himself. And a life sentence in Siberia wouldn't be a big enough punishment!
Russian lawmaker: Gay activists must die for 'extremism' [Gay Star News]