Lavender Alert

Climate of fear for Iraqi gays. An April 17 BBC report paints a stark picture of gay life in post-Saddam Iraq:
"I don't want to be gay anymore. When I go out to buy bread, I'm afraid. When the doorbell rings, I think that they have come for me."

That is the fear that haunts Hussein, and other gay men in Iraq.

They say that since the US-led invasion, gay people are being killed because of their sexual orientation.

They blame the increase in violence on the growing influence of religious figures and militia groups in Iraq since Saddam Hussein was ousted.

The report cites an anti-gay proclamation Ayatollah Sistani's website, and SCIRI control of the Interior Ministry, as factors contributing to the climate of violence.
Hussein is 32 and lives in Baghdad with his brother, sister-in-law and nieces.

He says his effeminate appearance and demeanour make him stand out and attract hostility.

"My brother's friends told him: 'In the current chaos you could get away with killing your brother without retribution and get rid of this shame,'" Hussein said, after agreeing to speak to the BBC only if his real name was not used.

A transsexual friend of his, who had changed names from Haydar to Dina, was killed on her way to a party in Baghdad about six months ago, Hussein said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Blade carries a report on the Iraqi teen recently murdered for homosexual activity:
Human rights groups are condemning as "barbaric" the shooting of a 14-year-old male who allegedly slept with men for money to support his poverty-stricken family, the Independent reported May 5. Witnesses said the youth was shot after men in police uniforms accosted him based on the allegations, the newspaper reported. The teen’s death came during a surge in homophobic killings by Iraqi state security services and religious militias following an anti-gay fatwa issued by Iraq’s most prominent Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Ali Hili, the coordinator of Abu Nawas, a group of exiled Iraqi gay men who monitor homophobic attacks inside Iraq, told the Independent that the fatwa had instigated a "witch-hunt for lesbian and gay Iraqis, including violent beatings, kidnappings and assassinations." The boy’s family fled the area fearing further reprisals, the newspaper reported. Hili said U.S. coalition forces are unwilling to address the issue. "They just don’t want to upset the Iraqi government by bringing up the taboo of homosexuality even though homophobic murders have intensified," he said. Darla Jordan, from the U.S. State Department said, "The U.S. government continues to work closely with our Iraqi partners to ensure the protection of human rights and the safety of all Iraqi citizens."

US gays: Advances and setbacks. A court upholds Salt Lake City's partner plan: 'A judge on Friday upheld a Salt Lake City ordinance that extends health insurance benefits to "adult designees" of employees who live together but are not married. In a five-page ruling, 3rd District Judge Stephen Roth said the plan does not violate state law, nor the Utah Constitution.' The US House voted to restrict demonstrations at military funerals, a move meant to keep Fred Phelps and his band of psychotic goons at bay. Meanwhile, Virginia came closer to a gay marriage ban, but it's not just a "gay marriage ban": 'The amendment, if approved statewide on the Nov. 7 ballot, would write existing statutory bans on same-sex marriage and civil unions into the state Constitution. It also would prohibit any contracts or legal arrangements intended to approximate marriage. Critics, including Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), say it could broadly threaten the validity of other personal contracts.' All articles from Edge New York.

Danforth takes stand against FMA. Via Log Cabin Republicans:
Former U.S. Senator and former UN Ambassador John Danforth (R-MO) made a strong case against the anti-family constitutional amendment during the Log Cabin Republicans National Dinner on Saturday April 29th. Danforth, an ordained Episcopalian Priest, spoke to hundreds of Log Cabin members, allies, and supporters in Washington, DC at the organization's largest national convention in its history. "It is said that this [amendment] is necessary to protect marriage. Whose marriage is this going to protect?" asked Danforth. "How conceivably could it protect any marriage in the United States?"

"Some historian should really look at all of the proposals that have been put forth throughout the history of our country for possible Constitutional amendments," Danforth said. "Maybe at some point in time there was one that was sillier than this one, but I don't know of one."

Cross-posted at Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad.