Thousands of Costa Rican LGBTs and their supporters have taken to the streets to protest the appointment of a Human Rights Commission president who actively opposes gay rights
17 June 2012
Thousands of LGBT Costa Ricans and their supporters took to the streets of San Jose on Saturday morning in what they called a March of the Invisibles to protest for the rights of marginalised people and to ensure the separation of church and state in the country.
The march was the culmination of an online campaign which saw 15,000 people sign a petition calling on the president of Costa Rica’s Human Rights Commission, Justo Orozco, to resign.
Orozco, an independent evangelical Christian MP, was appointed to the post as part of a deal to shore up his support for the governing coalition between the National Liberation Party and Access Without Exclusion Party.
The Commission is a panel within the Costa Rican Congress that decides which human rights bills will be given priority in the Congress.
Since Orozco joined the Commission it blocked a bill that would have given same-sex couples inheritance rights and recognition as couples for the purpose of pensions and other social security benefits.
Following the move Orozco told news media that he believed that homosexuality was a sin and a curable condition.
‘It is written in The Bible,’ Orozco said.
‘I have anecdotal proof. In the local churches here, I met one who was that way and who got straightened out.’
The march was joined by opposition lawmakers Carlos Gómgora, Carmen Muñoz and Manuel Monestel, who helped scrub the walls of Congress to symbolically cleanse it of corruption.
Earlier in June, Muñoz, who is also a member of the Human Rights Commission, described Orozco’s appointment as “bad taste,” saying he had no understanding of human rights.
Only the month before Orozco had voted against a motion declaring the Congress “free of homophobia.”
While it is nice that Kameron will now be able to deliver his speech, why does it have to be “in some sort of a different assembly”?
Updated 06/15/2012 04:44 PM
By: Ruschell Boone
A Queens fifth-grade student planned to give a speech about same-sex marriage for a school competition but his principal prohibited him, saying the speech was inappropriate. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Kameron Slade worked on his speech with his mother and his teacher after winning a class competition. He was slated to deliver it in a school-wide contest at PS 195.
That’s no longer going to happen. His mother, who doesn’t want to be identified, said the principal told her the topic is inappropriate.
Fifth-Grade Student Performs Banned Speech for NY1 Cameras
A Queens fifth-grade student was prohibited from giving a speech on same-sex marriage at a school competition, but NY1 had him recite the speech for our cameras. Watch the full speech here.“For him to be denied the right to voice his opinion really upsets me,” she said.
“I was really looking forward to it,” Kameron said. “I thought that this was a real good winning speech for tomorrow.”
Kameron’s mother said he was told to choose any topic, so he chose same-sex marriage. But on Wednesday, the principal said he should write another speech or be removed from the contest.
“She said that people have different opinions on it and that some parents may not want their children to learn about this type of topic,” Kameron said.
Kameron’s speech calls for acceptance and tolerance. It describes his mother’s explanation of the issue and his impression of his mother’s friends who are gay.
“They seemed happy,” he said. “Best of all, they seemed to love each other. The only difference was that there were two moms instead of a mother and a father.”
“It’s on the news,” his mother said. “It’s a part our lives now. They need to open up. The New York City Department of Education need to open up.”
The New York City Department of Education told NY1 Thursday night that Kameron will be permitted to give the speech Monday in some sort of a different assembly. They did not comment on the principal’s decision.
We spoke with a number of parents at the school about the issue. Most of them supported the principal’s decision, but one parent said she didn’t.
“I wouldn’t mind,” she said. “That’s fine. It’s a free country.”
The other parents said they support gay marriage but the subject doesn’t belong in school.
“That’s an adult conversation, yes,” said one parent. “That’s between a parent and a child.”
“I think they are a little too young to hear about this,” said another.
Kameron and he mother feel otherwise but he’s writing a new speech. This one is on preventing animal cruelty.
Actress and model April Ashley was honored by Queen Elizabeth II for services to transgender equality
16 June 2012| By Joe Morgan
Actress and transgender pioneer April Ashley was given a MBE for services to equality today (16 June).
Ashley, 77, was the first British person to have gender reassignment surgery in 1960, and since has dedicated her life to transgender equality.
She was given a MBE, or Member of the British Empire, as part of the annual Queen’s Birthday Honors list.
On her website, she says: ‘In Paris, I debated with myself the decision to have a sex change. It was a hard decision. I knew I would be pioneering a dangerous operation.
‘The doctor told me there was a 50/50 chance I would not come through. However, I knew I was a woman and that I could not live in a male body. I had no choice. I flew to Casablanca and the rest, as they say, is history.’
After her tortuous 7-hour surgery, Ashley became a successful model and actress, appearing in movies like Road to Hong Kong. She was outed as transgender by The Sunday People in 1961.
April Ashley’s Odyssey, a biography written by Duncan Fallowell, was published in 1982. In 2006, she released her first autobiography titled The First Lady.
Other people honored by the Queen this year include Take That’s Gary Barlow, and actor Kenneth Branagh.
Ashley is currently writing her second autobiography, about her life from 1980 to the present day.
Archive suggests relationship between Jewish bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach and India’s Mahatma Gandhi was ‘intimate’ but not sexual
14 June 2012| By Matthew Jenkin
Letters between Mahatma Gandhi and the man some say was his gay lover are to go under the hammer at Sotherby’s auction house in London.
The correspondence, papers and photographs, which were owned by German Jewish bodybuilder Hermann Kallenbach, are expected to fetch between £500,000 to £700,000 ($777,000 to $1.1m).
Kallenbach became a close friend of Gandhi after meeting in Johannesburg in 1904 and their bond has been the subject of speculation after his biographer Joseph Lelyveld hinted at a more ‘intimate’ relationship in his book Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle.
However, the Pulitzer Prize winning author denied there was any sexual element to the pair’s relationship.
Gabriel Heaton, a books and manuscripts specialist at Sotheby’s, said while the letters were important in shedding light on the leader’s life and his friendship with Kallenbach, the content is not of a sexual nature, reported The Times of India.
However, Lelyveld claims that Gandhi destroyed the ‘charming love notes’ to him because he believed Kallenbach wanted them to be seen ‘by no other eyes’.
Gandhi is revered by Indians as the ‘father of the nation’ after spearheading the independence movement against British occupation.
Other letters in the collection include those written by Gandhi’s family and other friends.
The Indian government had previously tried to buy the letters from Kallenbach’s niece in Israel but the asking price was too high, reported The Times of India.