Lavender Alert

BBC: Indian lesbians face repression. It's nothing you didn't already know, but the BBC has a sobering look at life for two young lesbians in India:
"It has been more than two weeks since we spoke and I haven't seen my partner for almost a month. Life is not the same for me anymore," says Usha Yadav.

Hailing from a middle class family in Allahabad, a town in India's northern Uttar Pradesh state, Usha first met her girlfriend Shilpi Gupta through a common friend a year back.

Since that first meeting there was not a single day when they did not meet or talk to each other.

But now the two lesbian lovers are not allowed to meet.

Shilpi's parents are keeping her under virtual house arrest and she is even barred from using the telephone. ...

Read the full article at the link, and don't miss the reader comments. (BBC)

IDAHO stands for tolerance. May 17 is the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), and Gay Middle East reports that Lebanon's Helem organization
held a Film and Discussion Evening to mark this event. Helem’s aim, in putting on this event, was to give public exposure to the strong existence of homophobia in Lebanon.

The film selected by Helem was “I Exist”, a documentary which interviews individual gays and lesbians of Middle-eastern background, living in the United States. It focuses on their queer experiences with their families and religion, and their life in the United States.

The Film & Discussion evening was held at The Monroe Hotel in Beirut Downtown, and there was an attendance of close to two hundred people in the auditorium.

Also in Lebanon, the rainbow flag made an appearance in the Beirut Marathon:
There is certainly strength in numbers. It was obvious that, during the race, the 17-strong Helem contingent grew in confidence and pride – not only for Lebanese unity and peace, but also for being part of the LGBTIQ community in Lebanon. Having participated with these guys, it reminded me of how easy things are in Australia (both at a National level, and a queer level).

Of course there were plenty of mixed reactions from other participants, and the media; we were filmed, interviewed, and photographed. Many people asked what the rainbow flags meant – and we proudly told them.

We could hear laughter and comments directed at us, with even the odd derogatory “charmoota” and “maniac” thrown in. But for every negative comment, there was a positive one...

At one stage in the race, two women approached us, and after finding out who we were, they beamed with excitement as they started to affectionately hold hands. It was also great to see a Member of Parliament showing genuine interest, when he was told that we are as much a part of the wider community as anybody else. ...

And what a diverse bunch of queers we were! We had butch boys, girly boys, lipstick lesbians, and muscle boys. We certainly “kicked ass” in showing that queer diversity is alive and well in Lebanon. ...

Full details at the links. (Gay Middle East)

Conservative case for gay marriage. Craig Westover gives an articulate presentation of the conservative case for gay marriage (hat tip: Gay Patriot). Money quote: 'Gays -- conservative gays -- do not want to redefine marriage. The want to participate in it. And even if they didn’t, conservatives ought to be encouraging them to do so with the same vigor and for the same reasons we encourage our own children "to settle down and raise a family."' (Craig Westover)