Berlin – Two homosexual penguins have successfully hatched an egg that was rejected by its parents and are now proudly rearing the chick, the German zoo housing the couple said on Wednesday.
”Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their ‘Easter present’ and began straight away with hatching the egg,” the zoo in Bremerhaven in northern Germany said.
“Since the chick arrived they are behaving in the same way as one would expect a heterosexual couple to do. Both happy fathers are now diligently handling the everyday care… of their adopted offspring,” the zoo said.
Z and Vielpunkt are part of a six-strong gay community among the zoo’s collection of endangered Humboldt penguins who rose to fame in 2005 when four Swedish females were brought in an unsuccessful attempt to “cure” them.
“Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals,” the zoo said on Wednesday. “Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction.”
The Humboldt penguin is normally found on the coast of Chile and Peru, but numbers have dropped to between 12 000 and 20 000 as industrial fishing methods have led to dwindling stocks of the anchovies on which they feed.
Los Angeles – Charlize Theron says the current marriage laws are a “form of apartheid”.
The South African-born actress – who has previously stated she will not marry her long-term partner Stuart Townsend until same-sex marriage is legal in the US – can’t understand why America refuses to give gay people the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts.
She said: “I don’t like living in an elitist world, it bothers me. I don’t want to be part of an elitist sexual preference. It bothers me, maybe it’s because I come from a country where I lived under apartheid but this is a form of apartheid and I don’t want to be a part of that.
“It’s not the reason I’m not getting married but it’s maybe a part of it. My ability to get married is a piece of me that I wish I could give to somebody who it would mean so much to. We should all have the chance. It’s just so caveman, I can’t believe we’re still talking about it.”
Charlize, 33, praised Milk – which won Sean Penn a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of gay politician Harvey Milk – for helping keep the issue in the public consciousness.
She said: “I just loved the film, I absolutely loved the film. I loved the way it was embraced and the speeches and this conversation that we’re constantly having about this issue, I don’t want that to go away, I want us to keep having it.”
Na gister se beriggewing oor die Ugandese minister, James Nsaba Buturo, se oproep dat homoseksualiteit verder in dié land gekriminaliseer moet word, berig News24 vandag dat twee gay mans in Baghdad vermoor is nadat geestelike leiers gevra het vir ‘n ingryping teen die sogenaamde “verspreiding van homoseksualitiet”. Die volledige artikel word hier geplaas.
Baghdad – Two gay men were killed in Baghdad’s Sadr City slum, a local official said on Saturday, and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality.
Homosexuality is prohibited almost everywhere in the Middle East, but conditions have become especially dangerous for gays and lesbians in Iraq since the rise of religious militias after US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein six years ago.
“Two young men were killed on Thursday. They were sexual deviants. Their tribes killed them to restore their family honour,” a Sadr City official who declined to be named said.
The police source who declined to be named said the bodies of four gay men were unearthed in Sadr City on March 25, each bearing a sign reading “pervert” in Arabic on their chests.
Sermons condemning homosexuality were read at the last two Friday prayer gatherings in Sadr City, a sprawling Baghdad slum of some 2 million people. The slum is a bastion of support for fiery Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mehdi Army militia.
The Mehdi Army has frozen its activities over the last year and government forces have wrested control of the slum.
Many young men who might have cut their hair short and grown beards when religious gangs controlled much of Iraq now dress in a more Western style as government forces take back control.
Some are now accused of being gay, and residents of Sadr City say at least one coffee shop has become a gay hangout.
A member of the slum’s Sadrist office said the Mehdi Army was not involved in the killings, but said homosexuality was now more widespread since the Mehdi Army lost control of the slum.
“This (homosexuality) has spread because of the absence of the Mehdi Army, the spread of sexual films and satellite television and a lack of government surveillance,” said the office’s Sheikh Ibrahim al-Gharawi, a Shi’ite cleric.
Homosexual acts are punishable by up to seven years in prison in Iraq. A gay Iraqi man said any alleged crimes should be left to the law to deal with.
“If they’ve committed a crime, then there is the law. Killing is a big sin,” he said, giving his name as Laith.
03/04/2009 22:08 – (SA)
Kampala – Ugandan Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo alleged on Friday that some United Nations member states were engaged in a covert campaign to spread homosexuality around the world.
“At the United Nations there are attempts by some nations to impose homosexuality on the rest of us,” he told reporters. “We have learned that they want to smuggle in provisions on homosexuality.”
He said he was particularly concerned about an ongoing UN conference on population.
“We got to learn from our sources that there are interests that want to use that conference to bring in issues that will protect homosexuals,” he said.
Buturo spoke on Thursday to Uganda’s UN ambassador and reminded him of the country’s position that homosexuality is “unnatural, abnormal, illegal, dangerous, and dirty”.
Buturo also hit back on Friday against a Ugandan gay rights groups who recently made a public call for equal rights.
Accused in the name of ignorance
“We deserve equal rights and protection under the law and constitution. We don’t deserve to be demonised and falsely accused in the name of ignorance of who and what we are,” Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex Ugandans had said in a statement on Wednesday.
Buturo responded by insisting that the constitution affords no rights to sexual minorities.
“It is not true,” he said. “They have been making claims that they are protected as a minority group. If we accept that homosexuals are a minority group then robbers are going to come to us to say that ‘we too are a minority group’.”
The minister said that Uganda would pass a law that further criminalises homosexuality. “Our current laws are weak,” he said.
Buturo has previously said that homosexuality threatens the future of civilisation because homosexual sex does not produce children, and called for the criminalisation of mini-skirts because they can cause traffic accidents by distracting male drivers.
Countries in the region where evangelical churches are powerful have recently mounted what rights groups describe as a crackdown on homosexuals.
By Lisa Larges
On the heels of learning the San Francisco Presbytery will allow her to move forward in the process toward being ordained a minister, out lesbian deacon Lisa Larges weighs in on the concept of god vs. gay.
Like a colonoscopy or head lice, the word Christian is a conversation killer among LGBTs. So I will admit up front that whatever it is you’re thinking right now about Christians — hypocritical, antigay, anti-sex, anti-women, anti-choice — you’ve got plenty of evidence to back you up. Let’s also say, while we’re still here in the first paragraph, that whatever the church or its representatives did to you — whatever abuse, whatever violation of trust, whatever was said to make you believe that you were not a child of God in your whole beautiful queer self, whatever the silence in which you did not hear how infinitely and immeasurably God loves you — whatever drove you out of the church is simply inexcusable. But unless our community changes the “God vs. Gays” paradigm, we will never achieve full equality. Nor will it be possible for so many of us to live out our truths. My truth, strange as it may be, is a calling to ministry. It’s also the truth of a lot of fierce and beautiful gay people I know, whose stories aren’t told often enough.
The big question is this: How can we engage the larger LGBT community in this struggle, especially with all the pain and rejection caused by the church? That rejection is exactly what makes it so hard for me, and most LGBT people who call themselves Christian, to explain to others why we stay. Why should we stay where we are either simply not “wanted,” or openly denounced. Most varieties of Christianity still practice religion-based discrimination against same-gender loving and gender-nonconforming people in one way, shape, or form. So why bother?
We do not stay because we’re naive about the poor track record of the church on queer issues. The colossal cluelessness of the church is something that LGBTs in the church have to laugh about — in that ironic, rueful, shake-your-head-in-disbelief kind of way. We have also cried about, drank over, and raged against the bias for the last several eons. That bumper sticker that says “Jesus, save me from your followers” is something we relate to all too well. But we don’t leave our home. We stay to make needed repairs.
There are plenty of reasons why we stay, many of which are hard to describe in words. It can be a spiritual awakening that finds resonance in the Christian story, or an unyielding belief in what the church can, should, and perhaps will be. It can be that our hearts are so deeply connected to the people we share our faith with and we cannot leave that home. We all have our personal reasons and they are all valid.
But more important, I can tell you why it matters for the broader LGBTQ community — the churched, the un-churched, and anti-church, as well as believers in other religious traditions — to care about fighting faith-based discrimination in mainline Christian churches. As someone who has been a part of the grassroots struggle to fight discrimination for over 20 years in the Presbyterian Church, I have a few opinions in this regard.
First, there’s the obvious. The Christian extremist right, which has increased its influence in mainline churches, must be countered. Many of the Christian denominations have a history of being moderate on many things and progressive on others. In the last three decades that moderate Christian voice has been drowned out, silenced, or taken over. The influence of the Christian right must be countered directly and from the inside. While the Christian right is regrouping, reviewing the payout of its just past homophobic spending binge, and wearing that deer-in-the-headlights look, now is the time.
Last week, I sat all day observing the proceedings in a Presbyterian Church trial on whether I could be moved forward in the ordination process as an out lesbian. The decision that came down yesterday was a mixed bag, but the reality is that I am looking at a longer struggle that includes advocating for a change in church policy to include LGBT people, not just ongoing individual fights where candidates for ordination struggle in a system that blocks them at every turn.
Once again I saw little of the Jesus or church I know in the proceedings. No out queer voices were heard at that trial, including mine. Opponents of LGBT equality in the church are rightfully wary of the personal testimonies of queer people of faith, and likewise wary of conversation, dialogue, and any live-and-let-live compromise.
But here’s the thing. God still shows up at these things. (You might be thinking that it was just caffeine, some other hormonal imbalance, or a perverse quirk, but let’s just call it God for the moment.) It was a God that was patient but frustrated, loving but forceful, and alternately laughing and crying over what some followers do in God’s name. There was a magnificent gaggle of young queers who turned out to observe the trial. Some of them were asked to leave on account of illegal twittering. So there they were, full of love, vibrancy, strength, and faith. I say that’s the church. So sue me.
But back to this “God vs. Gays” thing. I know just yesterday you told someone you were “spiritual, not religious.” But there are plenty of us in the queer community who identify as both spiritual and religious. It’s going to take all of us to counteract the heterosexist agenda of those who appear to be religious and not the least bit spiritual.
Our primarily secular LGBT organizations are doing a much better job of including LGBT people of faith in their work these days. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, The Human Rights Campaign, and others are making faith issues part of their program initiatives. There are several prominent LGBT people of faith who write and blog about their beliefs. They all understand that it is simply not enough to meet religious-based bigotry with secular argument. Not only is doing so ineffective, it contributes to the lie that LGBT people are not people of faith and that all religions and religious leaders view LGBT people from the same perspective.
As the Prop. 8 loss in California and President Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation have recently shown us, it is still critical to our community to take seriously the intersection of LGBT rights and issues of faith and religion.
But it will take all of us. Taking a page from Sarah Silverman, if you grew up in a faith tradition, go back to your family, your church, synagogue, or mosque and talk about these issues. Challenge them on what they are doing to make the church more inclusive. Let them know, and know for yourself, that Scripture and theology do not teach homophobia, transphobia, intolerance, or bigotry. Remember the young people who are sitting there hearing the messages of exclusion and judgment that drove you out the door. Our movement needs political, economic, and spiritual strength.
My wish — OK, since I’ve come out this far, I’ll say “my prayer” — is that all who seek spiritual strength in the Christian church will find it, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity. That all may freely worship. That all may freely serve. That is my prayer.
So, amen anyway.
What is not stated in Lisa’s column is that she is blind.
She sees better than a lot of people.
People of prejudice, for example.