Over 100 gay rights activists have held a flash-mob demonstration in the Russian city of St. Petersburg to observe International Day Against Homophobia and to call attention to claims of gay persecution and torture in Chechnya.
Authorities routinely deny LGBT activists permission to hold rallies in Russia under its draconian anti-gay bill banning the promotion of “homosexual propaganda” Unauthorized gatherings often end in arrests and attacks by thugs and Orthodox religious counter protests . But the Wednesday evening demonstration ended without arrests or trouble.
In 2015 after signing the anti-gay bill into law Vladmir Putin insisted “We have no persecution at all. People of non-traditional sexual orientation work, they live in peace, they get promoted, they get state awards for their achievements in science and arts or other areas. I personally have awarded them medals.”
The St. Petersburg demonstrators called on Western governments to grant asylum to Chechen gays.
Horrific news out of Chechyna where it has been reported that the country has opened up its first concentration camp for homosexuals since Hitler, where campaigners say gay men are being tortured with electric shocks and beaten to death.
One of the camps is reportedly at the former military headquarters in the town of Argun.
Svetlana Zakharova, from the Russian LGBT Network, told MailOnline: ‘Gay people have been detained and rounded up and we are working to evacuate people from the camps and some have now left the region.
‘Those who have escaped said they are detained in the same room and people are kept altogether, around 30 or 40. They are tortured with electric currents and heavily beaten, sometimes to death.’
One of those who escaped told Novoya Gazeta that prisoners were beaten to force them to reveal other members of the gay community.
Another prisoner who fled said that before being incarcerated in one of these camps, he had been forced to pay bribes to Chechen police of thousands of rubles every month in order to survive.
Now the regime had taken another step against gays by creating these camps, the survivor said.
This horrifying news comes after last weeks report that over 100 gay men had been detained and three killed in Chechnya by police.
The German government Wednesday approved plans to quash the convictions of 50,000 men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law which remained in force after the war, and offer compensation.
The measure marks a triumph for activists after a decades-long struggle to clear the names of gay men who lived with a criminal record under Article 175 of the penal code. An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty are still alive.
The legislation was passed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet and will soon head to parliament, where her ruling right-left coalition enjoys a large majority. “Article 175 destroyed careers and ruined lives,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement. “The few victims who are still alive today deserve to finally have justice.”
The measure follows Britain’s so-called “Turing Law” approved in October, which offered pardons to thousands of men convicted of homosexuality before its decriminalisation in 1967. The legislation was named after World War II hero Alan Turing who was prosecuted under the law in 1952 and forced to undergo chemical castration treatment. He committed suicide two years later at the age of 41.
However the British measure, unlike Germany’s, only automatically pardoned dead people while the living must still make an individual application to have their names cleared. It also failed to provide compensation.
The Nazis believed that male homosexuals were weak, effeminate men who could not fight for the German nation. They saw homosexuals as unlikely to produce children and increase the German birthrate. The Nazis held that inferior races produced more children than “Aryans,” so anything that diminished Germany’s reproductive potential was considered a racial danger.
The police had powers to hold in protective custody or preventive arrest those deemed dangerous to Germany’s moral fiber, jailing indefinitely—without trial—anyone they chose. In addition, homosexual prisoners just released from jail were immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if the police thought it likely that they would continue to engage in homosexual acts.
From 1937 to 1939, the peak years of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the police increasingly raided homosexual meeting places, seized address books, and created networks of informers and undercover agents to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals. On April 4, 1938, the Gestapo issued a directive indicating that men convicted of homosexuality could be incarcerated in concentration camps. Between 1933 and 1945 the police arrested over 100,000 men as homosexuals.
The sinister Paragraph 175 was in effect until 1969. Even after the concentration camps were liberated gay prisoners would be sent to sent to regular prisons to finish out the terms of their sentences.
Learn more about paragraph 175 and watch the award winning documentary of the same name by clicking HERE
Rentboy.com, founder and CEO Jeffrey Hurant, has pleaded guilty to prostitution charges 14 months after the male escort website’s offices was shut down after being raided by federal agents.
Prosecutors had alleged that Rentboy was the equivalent of an online brothel, and what the site called escorts were actually prostitutes. They said part of the proof were in the explicit ads that featured nude photos, listings of all manner of physical attributes and pricing options ranging from $150 an hour to $3,500 for a weekend.
Jeffrey Hurant faces up to five years in prison and a $10 million fine for conspiring to launder the proceeds of illicit advertising on the website through his corporation Easy Rent Systems Inc. from 1996 to 2015.
“The corporation operated primarily for a criminal purpose,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Smith said.
Hurant, 51, admitted in Brooklyn Federal Court that he knew the ads on the website were for male prostitution.
The takedown of the website was led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Its involvement, along with an absence of any allegations that Rentboy was a menace to society beyond simple prostitution – like engaging in human trafficking or exploiting minors – has stirred anger and fear in the gay community. Activists questioned why the agency would single out Rentboy when other escort websites, gay or straight, continue to do business.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation along with the New York Police Department and other agencies, issued a statement saying “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false.”
Federal authorities dropped charges against six other employees in February.
A Giza court sentenced 11 men on Sunday to terms of up to 12 years in prison over charges of “inciting debauchery” after they were arrested for allegedly committing homosexual acts, the Ahram Arabic news website reported.
Three people were sentenced to 12 years in prison while the rest were given between three to nine years. The defendants, who were arrested at a rented apartment in Giza, denied the charges. One of the defendants was convicted several years ago in another homosexuality-related case, according to investigators. Homosexuality is not explicitly a criminal offense by Egyptian law, though prosecutors have often tried gay men under laws against “debauchery”, “immorality” or “contempt of religion.”
Arrests of gay men in Egypt have increased dramatically in recent months, according to LGBT activists. And earlier this month an Egyptian court ruled that gay foreigners can be deported from the country or banned from entry.
The AP is reporting that 11 men have been arrested in the West African nation of Senegal, for attending a gay wedding.
Boukhari Ndiaye said the arrested were among 20 people attending a celebration of a gay marriage at a school in the town about 200 kilometers southeast of the capital, Dakar, on Friday.
He said the 11 remain at the police station. Homosexual acts are criminalized in at least 34 African countries, including Senegal, where they are punishable by up to five years prison and fines of up to $2,500.
In 2013, President Obama visited Senegal and spoke out about the country’s criminalization of homosexuality.
Said Obama: “People should be treated equally.”
President Mack Sall of Senegal replied: “We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality. I’ve already said it in the past. We’re still not ready to change the law. This does not mean that we are all homophobic.
Homosexual acts are punishable by up to five years prison and fines of up to $2,500 in Senegal.
The criminal complaint is so saturated with sexually explicit details, it’s hard not to interpret it as an indictment of gay men as being sexually promiscuous. “Based on my investigation,” Susan Ruiz, a Homeland Security special agent, wrote in the complaint, “I have learned that a sling, also known as a ‘sex sling,’ is a device that allows two people to have sex while one is suspended.” Later, she helpfully explained that “the term ‘twink’ is a slang term for a young, gay man with an effeminate manner, thin build, and no body or facial hair.”
Prosecutors can credibly argue that the site’s operators were breaking the law. But they have provided no reasonable justification for devoting significant resources, particularly from an agency charged with protecting America from terrorists, to shut down a company that provided sex workers with a safer alternative to street walking or relying on pimps. The defendants have not been accused of exploiting sex workers, featuring minors on the website, financial crimes or other serious offenses that would warrant a federal prosecution.
Gay men in the United States turn to sex work for a variety of reasons. In New York, where homeless shelters for gay and transgender youths have lengthy waiting lists, sex work can mean the difference between sleeping on a bed and sleeping on the street. For others, it is a way to afford a degree. The Rentboy.com bust may spook clients and sex workers for a while, but it would be naïve to think it will do much more. Federal authorities should consider whether continuing to spend time and money turning the website’s operators into felons is worthwhile, while far more serious crimes, including human trafficking and sexual exploitation, go unpunished.
Rentboy.com must have forgotten to make this month’s extortion payment to someone.
For the first time biases against gender (male or female)(0.3%) and gender identity (transgender and gender nonconformity which surprisingly ranked among the lowest at .05%) have been added to the FRI’s annual release of statics of hate crimes in America, and next to incidents of racial hate crimes (45.8%), sexual orientation hate crimes came in second with 20.8% with over over 60% of that statistic number accounting for crimes committed against gay males.
Today, the FBI released its annual Hate Crime Statistics report, which revealed that 5,928 hate crime incidents involving 6,933 offenses were reported by our law enforcement partners to the Bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program in 2013. These hate crime incidents impacted a total of 7,242 victims—which are defined as individuals, businesses, institutions, or society as a whole. Hate Crime Statistics, 2013—the first UCR publication to contain data collected under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009—has a few changes from previous reports. First, biases against gender (male or female) and gender identity (transgender and gender nonconformity) have been added to the list of bias categories. And in response to the Shepard/Byrd Act, we modified our data collection so that reporting agencies can indicate whether crimes were committed by, or directed against, juveniles.
And before the Christian Right extremist jump on the 17.4 percent Religious Hate Crime statistic:
Of the 1,223 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:
60.3 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
13.7 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
6.1 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
4.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
3.8 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
0.6 percent were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
11.2 percent were victims of bias against other religions (anti-other religion).
Our persecution is far from over. Because for a minority that is said to constitute only two or three percent of the population, we certainly get a disproportionate amount of hate crimes directed at us.
The BBC is reporting that seven Egyptian men have been arrested and will be charged with inciting debauchery and spreading images that violate public decency after a video the men surfaced showing them celebrating on a Nile river boat at what appeared to be a gay wedding.
During the minute-long video two men are seen exchanging rings before kissing each other aboard a Nile felucca. The pair are surrounded by cheering friends. Meanwhile a cake featuring the pair’s faces is also present in the film.
In the hours following the clip’s release, many Egyptians took to social media in support of the couple.
The men could face charges of inciting debauchery and spreading images that violate public decency..
The prosecutor general also ordered for the men to be forced to undergo forensic exams before calling for their trial to be fast tracked to “safeguard the values of society and implement justice.”
A statement released by state news agency MENA described the video as showing “a devilish shameless party.” The prosecutor said the video dates back to April.
While Homosexuality is not explicitly outlawed in Egypt, Egyptian police have long made the lives of homosexuals a living hell. In 2001, 21 men were handed three-year jail sentences after cops raided a so-called ‘gay party’ on the Queen Nile boat.
Meanwhile 14 men were arrested at a sauna in Cairo’s El-Marg district in October last year and have since been charged with a variety of offences linked to so-called “indecent behavior.” In November, nine men were arrested on similar charges at a private party in 6th October City.
The two were arrested after neighbors alerted police to their home in Grand Medine neighborhood of Dakar, the capital.
In court Friday the two men acknowledged having sex. Judge Racky Deme sentenced them under Senegal’s penal code that calls for prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to $3,000 for committing “an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex.”
More than two-thirds of African countries outlaw consensual same-sex acts, and discrimination and violence against gays, lesbians and transgender people is common.
Senegalese President Macky Sall insists gays in the conservative, predominantly Muslim country are only prosecuted for breaking the law.
Senegal recieves about $700 million dollars in assistance from the United States yearly.
Remember gay persecution and hate in other countries is not just confines to Russia and Uganda,