New Zealandâ€™s 122-member Parliament has five openly gay members following the September elections, the Sydney Star Observer reported. Labour MPs Tim Barnett and Chris Carter were re-elected, as was transsexual Labour MP Georgina Beyer. Labour MP Maryan Street and National Party MP Christopher Finlayson were elected for the first time.
â€śIt will have some impact on Parliament as a whole because having an openly gay MP in your party allows you to see and understand some of the issues that affect LGBT people,â€ť activist Calum Bennachie told the paper.
Woman Attacked At Johannesburg Pride
A lesbian on a float at Johannesburgâ€™s Sept. 24 pride parade was pierced in the neck with a broken bottle hurled from a high-rise apartment building, the Cape Times reported.
â€śBlood spurted from her neck,â€ť said fellow participant Paula Coburn. â€śI ripped open some packets to get T-shirts out to try and stop the blood, then I phoned the paramedics. ... We were terrified. The blood was spurting out in big clots, and she looked as if she was having a fit.â€ť
The 18-year-old victim, who asked not to be identified, was stitched up and released from the hospital two days later. â€śIâ€™m much better now,â€ť she told the Cape Times. â€śBut my right hand doesnâ€™t want to work. I am not going to change because these people have a problem with me. Iâ€™ll be back next year.â€ť
The woman was riding on the Forum for the Empowerment of Women float which was the only float in the parade that carried a political message, the newspaper said. The float was the target of homophobic abuse all along the route from Constitution Hill to the Heartland gay village in the Braamfontein district, the report said.
Several thousand peopleâ€”most of them whiteâ€”took part in the 16th annual march. This yearâ€™s theme was â€śThe right to be, the freedom to express.â€ť
Spanish Opposition Wants To Undo Same-Sex Marriage Law
Spainâ€™s main opposition party, the Partido Popular, plans to file a Constitutional Court case to attempt to undo the nationâ€™s legalization of same-sex marriage. Party leader Mariano Rajoy believes the Spanish Constitution restricts marriage to opposite-sex pairings. The move is opposed by the president of the partyâ€™s Madrid region, Esperanza Aguirre, who said it would be perceived as gay-bashing. The Congress of Deputies legalized same-sex marriage June 30 in a 187-147 vote with four abstentions.
â€śToday, Spanish society is responding to a group of people who for years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, their dignity offended, their identity denied and their freedom restricted,â€ť Prime Minister JosĂ© Luis RodrĂguez Zapatero said. â€śToday Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity and restores their liberty.â€ť
Full marriage also is available to same-sex couples in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands and Massachusetts.
Hospital Must Accept Gay Blood
Italian Health Minister Francesco Storace ordered Milanâ€™s Policlinico hospital to stop banning gays from donating blood Sept. 21, according to the ANSA news agency.
The facility was told to â€śeliminate all references to homosexuality as a screening factor.â€ť Storace called the ban â€śgrave and offensive discrimination.â€ť The situation came to light when Paolo Pedone, a staffer at the gay magazine Pride, was turned away from the donation center â€śbecause young gay males pose a high risk of having AIDS.â€ť
Muscovites Plan Pride Parade
Moscow gays and lesbians are planning the cityâ€™s first pride parade for May 2006, says Nikolai Alekseev of Project GayRussia.Ru. The parade will occur in conjunction with the international conference of IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia), scheduled for May 24-28, he said. â€śAlready some European politicians confirmed their participation including European Parliament deputy Michael Cashman,â€ť Alekseev said.
Lesbian Selected For New South Wales Parliament
A lesbian was elected to the parliament of the Australian state of New South Wales in late September. Penny Sharpe, 34, was chosen by Parliament to fill a vacancy in the Legislative Council.
â€śYes, I am gay,â€ť Sharpe told reporters. â€śYes I have two children. ... Beyond saying that I have been in a relationship for 12 years and I have two children, I am not saying anything. No other parliamentarians are asked about their families and how their children are conceived and I donâ€™t see why I have to. I have children to protect and I donâ€™t want to go into it.â€ť
Police Attack Nepalese Gays
Nepalese police have attacked gays and metis (transgender males) again, assaulting a group in Kathmandu on Sept. 24, reported the British gay-rights group OutRage! and Nepalâ€™s gay Blue Diamond Society.
The attack began with plainclothes policemen sexually harassing several metis who were socializing outside the Himalayan Java CafĂ©. One policeman, Nava Raj Adhikari, allegedly stuck a lit cigarette onto the hand of one meti and demanded she go have sex with him. When she refused, he reportedly pulled her hair and slapped her.
Adhikari later returned with other cops who beat several metis with sticks and rocks, kicked them with heavy boots, then arrested at least one of them, the gay organizations said.
The Blue Diamond Society said it asked the National Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Cell of the Nepal Police to investigate the incident,
But they refused, claiming it was merely a fight between a â€śmeti gangâ€ť and a â€śpolice gang.â€ť
â€śThese assaults are a continuation of a long history of homophobic abuse and violence by sections of the Nepali police,â€ť said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!. â€śWe are concerned that LGBT people in Nepal have no legal redress against state violence, and that they get little support from mainstream human rights groups and political parties.â€ť