2005-05-06

Homophobia Watch

A Republican Alabama legislator named Gerald Allen wants to ban all works mentioning homosexuality or gay people from public schools and libraries, according to this item at CBS News (hat tip: Baldilocks):
Republican Alabama lawmaker Gerald Allen says homosexuality is an unacceptable lifestyle. As CBS News Correspondent Mark Strassmann reports, under his bill, public school libraries could no longer buy new copies of plays or books by gay authors, or about gay characters.

"I don't look at it as censorship," says State Representative Gerald Allen. "I look at it as protecting the hearts and souls and minds of our children."

Books by any gay author would have to go: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal. Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple" has lesbian characters.

Allen originally wanted to ban even some Shakespeare. After criticism, he narrowed his bill to exempt the classics, although he still can't define what a classic is. Also exempted now Alabama's public and college libraries. ...

The report adds that "When the time for the vote in the legislature came there were not enough state legislators present for the vote, so the measure died automatically." Good riddance.

The Food and Drug Administration has banned sexually active gay men from donating sperm according to this news item:
To the dismay of gay-rights activists, the Food and Drug Administration is about to implement new rules recommending that any man who has engaged in homosexual sex in the previous five years be barred from serving as an anonymous sperm donor.
The FDA has rejected calls to scrap the provision, insisting that gay men collectively pose a higher-than-average risk of carrying the AIDS virus. Critics accuse the FDA of stigmatizing all gay men rather than adopting a screening process that focuses on high-risk sexual behavior by any would-be donor, gay or straight.
"Under these rules, a heterosexual man who had unprotected sex with HIV-positive prostitutes would be OK as a donor one year later, but a gay man in a monogamous, safe-sex relationship is not OK unless he's been celibate for five years," said Leland Traiman, director of a clinic in Alameda, Calif., that seeks gay sperm donors. ...

The FDA rejected a proposed criterion based on sexual behavior:
In a letter to the FDA, Lambda Legal has suggested a screening procedure based on sexual behavior, not sexual orientation. Prospective donors -- gay or straight -- would be rejected if they had engaged in unprotected sex in the previous 12 months with an HIV-positive person, an illegal drug user, or "an individual of unknown HIV status outside of a monogamous relationship."

The new rules will not affect cases where the donor's identity is known to the recipient.

A gay-bashing in Amsterdam is recounted in this piece in the Washington Blade (hat tip: Sully):
I was walking through central Amsterdam with my boyfriend back to our hotel. People were still milling about on the sidewalks from Friday night's revelry. We were only blocks from the most popular gay areas; and we were holding hands.

As we passed two men standing on the side of the street, one of them deliberately spat on us, mainly hitting me in the face. Without saying a word, we stood our ground. We stopped, turned around, and asked why. The man, who looked in his 20s, had Moroccan features and spoke with a heavy accent, murmured something about "fucking fags."

Within seconds, the two somehow turned into seven ...

Read the whole thing at the link.