H & R Block, America’s leading tax preparation company, has said it is “evaluating alternatives” after it emerged that their online services refuse to accept legal civil unions.
Connecticut gay couple Jason Smith and Settimo Piscu were attempting to use their “Tax Cut” service but a message told them: “We don’t support Connecticut civil union returns.”
Through its website, the company said the couple would have to work with one of their professionals, by phone or at one of their office locations, which would be more time consuming and cost an additional $150 (£75).
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SOUTH KINGSTOWN, Rhode Island – In Nazi Germany, some gay men were castrated and prosecuted under draconian laws prohibiting homosexuality. Others were subjected to crude medical experiments designed to «correct” their sexual orientation. Gay men in concentration camps were singled out with distinctive pink triangle badges and assigned backbreaking labor that often killed them.
A traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum uses photographs, documents and artwork to chronicle the Nazis’ arrests and persecution of tens of thousands of gay men from 1933 to 1945.
The exhibit, on display through the end of the month at the University of Rhode Island, gives voice to what its curator describes as «one of the lesser-known stories of the Nazi era.
“You could substitute the word ‘homosexual’ and put in any minority group and see a story of how easy it is to persecute somebody,” said curator Edward J. Phillips, also the acting director of the museum’s division of exhibitions.
“It still serves as an example of how easy it is to get the wheels of persecution in motion and follow through with it,” he added.
The exhibit, “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945,” has been on the road for about five years, largely at college campuses. It is scheduled to travel this fall to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Phillips said it reflects the Washington museum’s goal to be as inclusive as possible in discussing victims of the Nazis, which include most notably the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust. Gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war and gypsies were among the groups who were also persecuted.
About 100,000 German men were arrested under a sweeping anti-gay law, and roughly half were convicted and sent to prison, according to the exhibit. Between 5,000 and 15,000 were sent to concentration camps, where many died from starvation, beatings, exhaustion and murder.
The Nazis regarded gay men as a socially deviant subclass whose sexual orientation threatened the elite and masculine Aryan race they sought to establish. A diagram included in the exhibit likens homosexuality to a contagious infection that could be spread among men by seduction.
Sexual relationships between women, already regarded as second-class citizens, were not criminalized and lesbians were generally seen as less of a cultural threat, Phillips said.
The exhibit begins just before the Nazis rose to power, when an estimated 1.2 million gay men lived in Germany and a gay culture flourished in nightclubs and cafes.
But after Hitler took power, the Nazis began shuttering gay clubs and, in 1934, the Gestapo asked local police departments to compile lists of men believed to be gay.
A law known as Paragraph 175 that had previously prohibited “unnatural indecency” between men was reworked to dramatically expand the range of illegal behaviors and, by 1938, even a perceived wayward glance or touch could be interpreted by the courts as criminal.
Washington is quite possibly the perfect setting for a tale of pretense and murder. By Michael Cieply
Paul Schrader is a maverick who left an indelible imprint on Hollywood in the ’70s and ’80s with his scripts for Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. He also wrote and directed American Gigolo, a movie that shares a similar theme to his latest offering, The Walker.
It’s an intriguing murder thriller in which sexual and political hypocrisy are key factors.
“A walker” is insider slang for an attractive, affluent gay man who is always available to walk the rich and famous women of Washington down the red carpets.
Because he is known to be gay there can be no scandal, but as an intimate friend of all these influential women, he knows all the secrets of the rich and politically powerful.
Woody Harrelson plays Carter Page, a minor celebrity, who is targeted as a suspect in a murder case because he is shielding the reputation of a politician’s wife.
Key to the closet
The Times, South Africa
The Chairman of Strabane District Council is set to open the town’s first gay bar at an official opening next Friday night, the ‘Journal’ can reveal. Sinn Fein Councillor Gerard Foley says that he hopes the opening of the Central Bar will attract “some positivity” to the town. Colr. Foley added: “Chatting to people around the town, they seem to be all in favour of this gay bar. ”I think it should do well, it will take some people a while to adjust to it, the same way they had to adjust to the peace process but in the end they will accept it,” he said. See Strabane district council chairman to open gay bar
Derry Today, UK
Ivan Toms, who has died in Cape Town at the age of 54, was just about everything the old apartheid government abhorred: loudly gay, loudly anti- conscription, loudly pro the poor and downtrodden and loudly anti- apartheid.
He was born in Durban on July 11 1953 and went to Durban High School.
Two life-changing things happened to him while putting himself through medical school at the University of Cape Town: he became a committed Christian and he realised that he was gay.
For a long time he tried desperately to make this go away, hoping that prayers and the laying-on of hands would change his sexual orientation.
After being assured by a priest friend that God accepted him as he was, he rushed around telling everybody who cared to know, and many who didn’t, that he was gay, and he became an outspoken champion of gay and lesbian rights. By this time he had a theology degree as well as a medical one and he had hopes of being a lay preacher at his Anglican church. Instead he was pretty much shown the door, told that he could welcome people and hand out hymn books if he must, but nothing more.
He left the church, although his belief in God remained unshakeable.
In 1979 he felt that God was telling him to build a clinic in the sprawling Cape Flats squatter camp known as Crossroads. It was the first and for many years the only clinic serving about 60000 people. He was the only doctor although he quickly built up a team around him, training women as receptionists and nurses.
See Ivan Toms: Bold campaigner against bigotry
The Times, South Africa -
Manse: A Chinese gay magazine
Given current debates about China and Tibet, what stances do both societies have on LGBT issues?
Before Communist China occupied it in 1948, Tibet was a theocracy, ruled by a monastic hierarchy, whose population growth tended to be low, given the high proportion of celibate Buddhist monks and nuns in the mountainous Himalayan nation. The current Dalai Lama believes that lesbian and gay sex are closed to his school of Buddhism, in which they are depicted as “bad” forms of sexual contact, although monogamous heterosexual recreational sex with birth control is okay. However, it should be noted that he acknowledges that there is global Buddhist debate on the subject, does not claim infallibility, although from this perspective, lesbian and gay Buddhists are not “good” Buddhists. He also stated he did not believe that homosexuality should be subject to criminal sanctions.
As for China, it had a rich tradition of male homoerotic literature, with accompanying candid artwork. Emperors, nobility, civil servants and peasants all embraced same sex love, especially in cases of exemplary spousal fidelity between partners and otherwise virtuous ethical conduct. Taoism and Chinese Buddhism didn’t concern themselves about regulating gay sex, and while Confucianism was puritanical and family oriented, it was only intermittently so.
More of Being gay in China or Tibet
Gay NZ, New Zealand
With many common misconceptions towards those who suffer from HIV and AIDS, staff at AIDS Niagara are working with the community to dispel myths and create a better understanding about the complex. Jody Yurchuk, education support co-ordinator with AIDS Niagara, spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Port Colborne Centennial yesterday and explained what services the St. Catharines-based operation provides to Niagara residents who suffer from the disease. “HIV is a complicated disease. It’s a very intelligent virus,” she said, explaining why certain doctors chose not to treat patients with HIV, with the closest HIV treatment facility being in Hamilton. She said HIV and AIDS were once associated with the male gay community but said its increasing rate is now being associated with young women as more people are being educated and tested. “It’s not primarily a gay disease, it’s an everybody disease.”
See The changing face of AIDS; Speaker says AIDS no longer associated … Welland Tribune
SCOTTSBORO – Jackson County Circuit Judge John Graham today ordered the Scottsboro City Board of Education to allow a gay couple to attend Scottsboro High School’s senior-junior prom tonight.
Chelsea Overstreet, 17, a junior at the high school, and her date Lauren Martin, 16, a sophomore at the school, were initially told by school officials they could not attend because the school board does not allow students of the same sex to attend the prom together, their lawyer Parker Edmiston of Scottsboro said in a press conference this afternoon.
Because there is no state law specific to the issue, Graham cited a federal court ruling that prohibits public schools from barring same-sex couples from proms.
Court orders Scottsboro High to let gay couple attend prom
The Huntsville Times – al.com, AL
The number of people in the United States reported to have HIV increased by about 50 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to data released this week by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
In 2006, at least 52,878 Americans were reported having HIV, compared to 35,537 in 2005, according to the CDC’s annual HIV/AIDS surveillance report. Experts said that part of the increase is due to large states like California and Illinois being included in the CDC’s estimate for the first time, as well as increases in risky sexual behavior that are also being borne out in rising STD rates.
CDC announces sharp increase in U.S. HIV cases
By RYAN LEE
A national gay rights organization is filing arguments in a case that will decide whether Iowa’s ban on same sex marriage is legal.
The New York-based group has spearheaded same-sex marriage drives across the country.