The convictions of an Australian tourist and a Fijian man for having sex in private in Fiji last April were overturned Aug. 26. Lautoka High Court Justice Gerard Winter struck down the convictions on constitutional grounds, citing rights to privacy and equality. State prosecutors said they may appeal the decision.
Thomas McCosker, 55, and Dhirendra Nandan, 23, had been convicted of â€śunnatural offenceâ€ť and â€śindecent practice between malesâ€ť by a judge who called their crimes â€śsomething so disgusting that it would make any person vomit.â€ť They were sentenced to two years in prison, spent a week in jail, and then were bailed out pending appeal.
Officials became aware of the menâ€™s activities after McCosker reported a theft and police discovered incriminating images on his digital camera. The photos were used as evidence in court. McCosker, a retired university teacher from the state of Victoria, has now returned to Australia.
Romanian Politician Warned Over Hateful Rhetoric
Romaniaâ€™s National Council for Combating Discrimination issued a disciplinary warning against ultranationalist party leader Vadim Tudor Aug. 25 for defaming gaysâ€”and threatened to fine him if he does it again.
â€śHomosexuals are an aberration of nature,â€ť Tudor said on television in May. â€śThey shouldnâ€™t mess with me because Iâ€™m going to impale them on wooden stakes and they might like it.â€ť
The council said the remarks â€śviolate gay minority rights to dignity, freedom from discrimination and equal treatment.â€ť Tudor responded with a threat to sue the council, according to Reuters. â€śI am the one who is discriminated against because they donâ€™t allow me to express my constitutional right to free speech,â€ť he said.
Dutch Get Gay Menâ€™s Encyclopedia
In what may be a world first, an encyclopedia of gay men has been published in the Netherlands, Expatica.com reports. Published by Ambo/Anthos, the book contains 1,300 entries written by 25 gay-male authors covering such issues as history, culture, politics, the law, philosophy and media. A spokesman for the publishing house said the book is written in accessible language and contains many things â€śthat outsiders would not know about.â€ť
Two foundations, Hartenfonds and VSN Fonds, provided subsidies to help get the book printed. A copy from the initial print run of 3,000 was presented to Amsterdam Mayor Geert Dales on Aug. 25, Expatica said.
Gays Picket Iran Air
About 50 gays picketed Iran Airâ€™s Vienna office Aug. 26 protesting the Iranian governmentâ€™s executions of gay men, the death penalty and sodomy laws. The action was organized by the groups Rosa Lila Villa and Homosexual Initiative Vienna.
Iran recently executed two gay teenagers. The government said they raped another boy but some activist groups claim the rape charge was bogus and that the two were hanged solely for being gay. The Iranian exile gay group Homan reportedly claims that 4,000 homosexuals have been executed in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
British Soldiers March In Pride Parade
Thirty members of Britainâ€™s armed forces joined Manchesterâ€™s gay-pride parade Aug. 27 as part of a recruitment drive in the gay community. The United Kingdom lifted its military gay ban in 2000 under order from the European Court of Human Rights.
Ten soldiers marched in the parade and 20 members of the Royal Air Force rode on a float with a replica of an airplane cockpit.
The soldiers handed out candy as they trailed a float of muscular men in pink Lycra shorts dancing and blowing whistles, said Sky News. â€śWe donâ€™t really care what sexual orientation you are if you want to come and join us in the army,â€ť said Logistics Corps Warrant Officer Lutha Magloire. â€śThe army can only get better the more it represents all the community.â€ť More than 200,000 people watched the parade, which featured 80 floats.
â€śThere were men in frocks with big moustaches, sailor boys with blow-up dolphins and bare-chested dancers wearing tiny black hotpants,â€ť said the Manchester Evening News. â€śThere were cowboys, jugglers, acrobats, stubble-chinned nuns, a rather manly impersonator of Queen Elizabeth II and even a pink tank.â€ť
Gay Mexican Sues Coca-Cola
A Mexican man has sued a Latin American branch of Coca-Cola alleging antigay discrimination, the NotieSe news service reported.Former senior manager Roberto Mendoza Ralph says Coca-Cola FEMSA, a branch that covers Mexico and eight other nations, harassed, demoted and ultimately fired him after he came out.
Mendoza claims several witnesses heard one executive declare, â€śAs long as I am director of human resources, we will not have a fag as a directorâ€ťâ€”the position Mendoza had been in line to achieve.
Coca-Cola FEMSAâ€”the worldâ€™s second-largest Coca-Cola bottlerâ€”maintains Mendoza was let go because he was no longer needed.
Berlin Mayor Welcomes Sadomasochists
Berlinâ€™s gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit, took some heat in late August for welcoming a sadomasochistic street festival to the city. Some Christian Democratic and Social Democratic politicians accused him of showing poor taste, Reuters said. â€śThe first weekend in September stands for the pure zest for life,â€ť Wowereit wrote in the Folsom-Europe Street Festival program book. â€śA warm welcome to Berlin!â€ť
The mayor called his critics â€śnarrow-minded.â€ť â€śAnyone who has a problem with it doesnâ€™t have to go to the event,â€ť he said.
ILGA To Meet In Paris
The European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association will stage its annual conference in Paris Oct. 26-30. Better funded and more active than the larger ILGA organization, the European subgroup is promoting the confab as â€śone of the hottest events on LGBT activistsâ€™ calendars.â€ťA special Web siteâ€” www.ilga-europe.org/conference/Parisâ€”provides registration forms, tourist information and details on this yearâ€™s conference themes.