|Anthony Callea - just a year ago he denied heĂÂ˘Ă˘âÂŹĂ˘âÂ˘s gay.
Australian pop-music star Anthony Callea, 24, came out in newspaper interviews and on his Web site March 27. Calleaâs No. 1 hit âThe Prayerâ is the biggest-selling single in Australian chart history.
âYes, I am gay,â Callea wrote on his Web site. âBut I want it clear that I am proud, happy, comfortable and confident in who I am. And I have no issue with my sexuality.
âThings now feel right for me to share this part of my life. I am content. I have been in a long-term relationship with my partner, Paul, who has been by my side for the past two and a half years. Together we have the love and support of our family, friends and peers.â
In a 2004 interview, Callea had denied being gay.
âI know some people may feel deceived or betrayed,â he said. âI hope you can find it within to understand that âcoming outâ can be a very troubling, confusing, and emotional time. ... For some, âcoming outâ isnât a big issue. For me it was. ... I hated myself. ... I thought there was something wrong with me and I couldnât escape it or fix it. ... I lied, and for that, Iâm sorry.â
âI have no issue with my sexuality now but itâs taken time to become confident with who I am and happy with who I am,â Callea told local media. âIâm looking forward to living a life with no holds barred and not worrying about having to say the right thing.â
Gayâs The Word May Close
The United Kingdomâs last gay bookshop may close because of Londonâs very high rents and loss of sales to the Internet. Gayâs The Word is hoping to ward off disaster by raising $40,000 before May 1 to pay bills and set up an online sales site itself.
Among other steps, it has launched a âSponsor a shelfâ scheme. âIt costs ÂŁ100 [$196] and you can either send us a cheque (payable to GTW), e-mail your card details or give us a bell (0207 278 7654),â says the storeâs Web site. âYour name/organisation will be listed in-store as an official Friend of Gayâs The Word and sponsor.â
Novelist Ali Smith told The Guardian, âItâd be a political, cultural, communal and human loss if it went [out of business].â Author Edmund White said: âItâs a shop that keeps gay titles on the shelves for years in a way no regular bookshop, even one with a gay section, would ever do. The staff know the books and can give advice. It would be very sad to see it go.â
Author Sarah Waters commented: âFor me itâs more than a bookshop. It was one of those places you went to when you first arrived in London. ... It felt very empowering that it was here and it is still important that there is a visible place for people to go.â
Assistant manager Uli Lenart told The Guardian that teenagers arrive at the store âon the verge of tears. This is a place where you can feel less alone.â
Normal Heart Theater Trashed
A foreign national has been detained for questioning in an attack on a theater in Monaghan County, Ireland, that had just finished a performance of Larry Kramerâs The Normal Heart. According to the Irish Times, the March 11 incident caused extensive damage to the windows and interior of the Iontas Theatre at Bree. Nearby cars also were damaged.
A police spokesman told the Times, âWe cannot comment on whether there is any link between the [gay] nature of the drama festival presentation and the criminal damage which took place.â
Blair: Civil Partnerships âProfoundâ
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the UKâs new Civil Partnership Act âdoesnât just give me a lot of pride, but it has actually brought a lot of joy.â Speaking to the Stonewall Equality dinner March 22, Blair said: âThe change in culture and the civilizing effect of it has gone far greater than the gay and lesbian community. ... By taking a stand on this issue and by removing a piece of prejudice and discrimination, and by enabling people to stand proud as what they are, it has had an impact that I think is far more profound on the way the country thinks about itself.â
Stonewall is the UKâs leading gay-lobby group.
City Funds Reykjavik Pride
Meeting with members of the gay pride committee March 22, the mayor of ReykjavĂk, Iceland, VilhjĂĄlmur Th. VilhjĂĄlmsson, agreed to fund the cityâs pride festivities to the tune of $180,000 a year for the next three years, the MorgunblaĂ°iĂ° daily reported. During the meeting, VilhjĂĄlmsson kissed the hand of the Queen of Videy, a local drag queen and member of the committee.
Officials: UK Catholic Schools Donât Protect Gay Students
A House of Commons education select committee has found that Catholic schools in the United Kingdom arenât protecting GLBT students from homophobic bullying. Church officials in the UK have refused to set up government-recommended policies for dealing with the problem. Catholic and some other schools also likely downplay the extent of anti-gay abuse to prevent bad publicity, the committee said.
The committee also is âconcerned that some schools try to tackle bullying by attempting to change the behaviour of the victim.â
âThe focus of anti-bullying work should be tackling bullying behaviour and making it clear that such behaviour is not acceptable,â the MPs said. âWe are concerned to hear that some schools are excluding the victims of bullying [from school] on health and safety grounds.â
Turkish GLBT Students Organize For First Time
Fifteen students at Istanbulâs Bilgi University have set up the nationâs first GLBT student club, Turkish Daily News reported March 29. The Bilgi GĂśkkusagi LGBT Club applied for and received official university approval. The club meets weekly and is open to any student who wants to fight homophobia.
Planned projects include a fanzine, forums, movies and workshops with other student clubs.