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Kyiv’s historic Zhovten cinema after suspected act of anti-LGBT motivated arson on Oct. 29. © Ilya Timchenko.
In response to a series of attacks in Kyiv over the past month, the party of President Petro Poroshenko said they support introducing criminal liability for discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
“We support safety guarantees for the LGBT community and criminal liability for discrimination based on sexuality,” the party said in a recent letter addressed to the National LGBT Portal of Ukraine.
On Oct. 29 Kyiv’s historic Zhovten cinema was devastated by fire in what authorities believe to be an act or arson. At the time an LGBT themed film was being show as part of the Molodost film festival. On Oct. 31 a group of men in camouflage attempted to force their way into a screening of another LGBT film being shown as part of the festival but were stopped by police.
The film festival’s organizers later said on Facebook that the men were wearing far-right Pravy Sektor insignia though the group itself denied being involved in the attacks.
The state-own Zhovten cinema has been at the center of real-estate development disputes making it unclear whether LGBT issues were the real focus or whether the attacks were a cover for an attempted land grab.
Following the incidents critics said that politicians had failed to keep promises made during the EuroMaidan protests to meet European human rights norms.
“It seems that not everyone understands human rights. Not everyone understand that LGBT rights are human rights and we are not talking about something special for one community,” said the Director of Amnesty International’s Ukraine branch Tetyana Mazur.
The National LGBT Portal of Ukraine received the letter from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc signed by the head of the party secretariat Maksym Savrasov after sending out appeals ahead of the Oct. 26 parliamentary election to all major Ukrainian political parties. In these appeals, they asked whether the parties would support legislation introducing criminal liability for LGBT discrimination.
The Petro Poroshenko Bloc was the only political party to respond to the inquiry, according to the LGBT rights group.
The letter the party sent emphasized that the path to EU membership was also a “tool” for change that allowed implementing “European standards of life” in both economic and social spheres. It did not mention any time frame or specific plans for introducing a bill supporting criminalizing LGBT discrimination in the new Rada, which is expected to convene in December.
A previous attempt to pass a similar law in 2013 failed.
LGBT rights groups experienced a setback in July when Kyiv police asked them not to hold an equality march saying they couldn’t ensure their safety. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko who recently ran as number one on the party list for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc compared the event at the time to a “carnival” and said it was not a time for celebrating.
An LGBT march had taken place the previous year when now ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was still in power.
Cairo court hands down jail sentence amid uproar from defendants’ families.
Eight Egyptian men were convicted following their appearance in a video of an alleged gay wedding party. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
Chris Johnston and agencies.
A court in Egypt has sentenced eight men to three years in prison for appearing in a video that purported to show a gay wedding.
The video, which became an online hit after it was posted on YouTube in September, shows two men kissing, exchanging rings and embracing among cheering friends. It was filmed at a birthday party held on a boat on the Nile.
The sentences, which can be appealed, were met with uproar from the families of the defendants, who demonstrated outside the court in central Cairo and were dispersed by police. The defendants, who had denied the charges, stood silent in the courtroom cage as the verdict was read, one of them holding up a copy of the Qur’an.
The eight were arrested in September when Egypt’s chief prosecutor decided that the video was “shameful to God” and “offensive to public morals”.
At the last hearing, on 11 October, a spokesman for the justice ministry’s forensics department insisted the men were innocent.
“The entire case is made up and lacks basis. The police did not arrest them red-handed and the video does not prove anything,” Hesham Abdel Hamed said.
“The medical test showed that the eight defendants have not practised homosexuality recently or in the past.”
He was referring to anal examinations, a long-standing practice in Egypt that Human Rights Watch has condemned. The New-York-based lobby group had called for the men be released.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but it is a social taboo, and allegedly gay men have often been arrested on charges of immorality.
In the most notorious example, 52 men were arrested in 2001 for their perceived sexuality, in what became known as the Queen Boat case.
In April, four men were convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison for “debauchery” after allegedly holding gay sex parties where women’s clothing and makeup were found.
Human Rights Watch said in September that Egyptian authorities had repeatedly arrested and tortured men suspected of having gay sex.
Saturday’s sentences are the latest in a crackdown by authorities against gay people and atheists. The campaign also targets liberal and pro-democracy activists and anyone who breaks a draconian law on street protests.
Lord Michael Cashman.
Labour leader Ed Miliband says Lord Michael Cashman will serve as the party’s LGBT rights envoy – at a time when LGBT rights “are going backwards” abroad.
Mr Miliband made the announcement this afternoon in his speech to the Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
“We’ve made extraordinary progress on lesbian and gay rights over the last 20 years. When I think about the transformations, growing up into adulthood? It’s the biggest transformation,” Mr Miliband said.
“We’ve made such progress on equality. But we have to face the fact that internationally things, if anything, are going backwards.
“We can’t just let that happen. We can’t just say that’s okay. The next Labour government will fight to make sure that we fight for our values and human rights all around the world.”
The Labour leader said Lord Cashman would stand up for LGBT rights abroad.
“So today I can announce that I am appointing Michael Cashmann, Lord Cashmann, as our envoy on LGBT rights all around the world.”
It would mean that the gay peer would become a diplomat to the UK Government – if Labour wins next year’s general election.
In August, he was elevated to the House of Lords.
At the time, Lord Cashman told PinkNews.co.uk: “It’s a huge and humbling honour, and if anything it just brings me closer to my roots, closer to where I began. I just wish my old Mum and Dad were alive to witness it.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair personally congratulated Lord Cashman for his long service to politics and LGBT rights at a central London reception earlier this summer.
The peer is a highly-regarded figure in the Labour Party.
A video tribute from all four surviving Labour leaders, Ed Miliband, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Neil Kinnock, was played out in front of the former MEP who was visibly moved by the testimony.
Lord Cashman co-founded gay rights charity Stonewall in 1989.
Before going into politics Michael Cashman had long been a household name.
As a child actor he was cast in the role of Oliver Twist in the original run of Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver!
However, he is possibly best known for his role as Colin Russell in the BBC’s long-running soap Eastenders.
His character is best remembered for taking part in the first ever same-sex kiss in a British soap.
Kremlin puppet issues chilling threats to gay community in occupied Crimea #Homophobia #LGBT #Crimea
Homophobia in Occupied Crimea
Occupied Crimea’s pro-Russian leader has claimed that gays ‘have no chance‘ of living a normal life on the Black Sea peninsula. Sergei Aksyonov said that Crimea ‘did not need such people’ and that police would ‘react’ within minutes to tell them the ‘sexual orientation they should stick to’. 1
- A message to Russia & other bigoted nations: If you do not want gays in your countries, you should stop procreating, The LGBT community ALL came from ‘straight’ parents! Science has shown that the more children you have the higher chance that one or two may be gay. So Mr Putin, Mr Aksyonov and all the rest of you bigots do us all a favour and stop procreating now!!! ↩