Xenophobic homophobia in Austria

This video says about itself:

Austria: ‘Let us stay!’ – Afghan asylum-seekers march against deportations in Vienna

20 May 2017

Hundreds marched against the deportation of asylum-seekers to Afghanistan, on the streets of Vienna on Saturday, under the motto “Afghanistan is not safe, let us stay.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

AUSTRIA: An immigration official has been disciplined for “linguistic lapses” after rejecting an Afghan man’s application for asylum on grounds of homosexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Afghanistan and those who murder gay people can use the victim’s sexuality as a mitigating factor, making it an “honour killing” with reduced penalties.

The Austrian official told the applicant that “neither the way you walk, nor your behaviour, nor your clothes even slightly suggested you might be homosexual.”

Right-wing Austrian bureaucrats may not know, but: LGBTQ people, like straight people, walk with two legs. Like with straight people, there are very big individual differences in behaviour among LGBTQ people. Like with straight people, there are big differences in ways LGBTQ people dress.


LGBTQ rights victory in Costa Rica

This 2 July 2018 video says about itself:

Hey everyone! I’m glad you passed by. This was how we celebrated Pride in Costa Rica. This video was recorded with a Canon 80D.

Now after Ireland, after Cuba, Costa Rica?

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

LGBTQ Costa Ricans will be able to marry in one and a half year’s time

The Supreme Court in Costa Rica has declared the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The parliament now gets a year and a half to come up with a law that allows same-sex marriage. If that does not work, marriages between men and men and women and women will automatically become legally valid.

The ruling is in line with the judgment of the Inter-American Court for Human Rights. That decided in January that all member states must recognize gay marriage.

That verdict became an important theme in the presidential elections in April. The conservative candidate Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz, an evangelical preacher, spoke out against gay marriage.

The winner, the leftist candidate Carlos Alvarado Quesada, presented himself as a supporter. He is therefore pleased with the decision. “Nobody should be discriminated against here because of sexual orientation”, he said.

LGBTQ rights and religion in Cuba

Gay Pride march in Havana, Cuba

By Father Geoff Bottoms in Britain:

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

CUBA: Referendum to decide if gay marriage becomes law

Cuba’s newly proposed constitution will, if adopted, open the door for same-sex marriage in the country. Catholic priest Father Geoff Bottoms offers his reflections on Cuba, same-sex marriage and the Catholic church

TWENTY-FIVE years ago, Cuba broke new ground with the first overtly gay film Strawberry and Chocolate directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio.

Set in 1979 it is the story of a flamboyant gay artist Diego who attempts to seduce a straight and idealistic young communist called David but without success.

David conspires to befriend Diego so that he can monitor the artist’s subversive life for the state, yet as they discuss politics and the nature of free artistic expression a genuine friendship develops between the two.

This video is a clip from the film Strawberry and Chocolate.

It could almost be a parable of the evolving promotion of gay rights in Cuba that has been in train for decades.

Take for example the LGBTQ cultural centre known as El Mejunje, meaning The Mixture, located in the centre of the city of Santa Clara. Founded in 1985 it is an open space shared by everyone regardless of sexual orientation in order to promote social integration and includes a theatre, a cafe, an art gallery and a small music venue ranging from rock and roll to Cuban folk music.

Activities also include social and cultural initiatives aimed at both children and adults, film screenings and there is a gay disco every Saturday night.

Discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of sexual orientation is now illegal in both the state and private sector, with recent legislation imposing fines and suspending the licences of employers who discriminate on the grounds of race, gender or sexuality.

Sex-change operations were legalised as long ago as 2008 and are carried out at no cost to the patient, with dozens being performed in the last year.

Yet the leading light in the campaign for gay rights has been Mariela Castro, the director of the National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), who is a member of the National Assembly and daughter of former president Raul Castro and Vilma Espin.

CENESEX has been advocating same-sex marriage since 2007 and Cuba is set now to become the latest country in Latin America to approve gay marriage after the National Assembly recently approved a new constitution that defines marriage as “the consensual union of two people, regardless of gender.”

This replaces the current constitution’s definition of marriage as the “voluntary union between a man and woman.” The new constitution will be put to a referendum later this year.

Needless to say the churches are opposed on the whole to any such change to the traditional understanding of marriage and five Protestant denominations have openly criticised the move.

The Roman Catholic Church’s position is that homosexual inclinations are “intrinsically disordered”. although gay people should be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.

Yet Pope Francis is on record as saying that he is in no position to judge and that gay people should realise that God loves them and made them like that, so they should love themselves.

The Anglican Communion is divided on gay issues and same-sex marriage in particular with some branches actively providing gender-neutral wedding services or a blessing of civil unions.

The Methodist Church is in the process of reviewing the whole concept of marriage which includes the possibility of gay weddings.

The problems about sexuality which continue to sap the churches’ energies are really about gender.

Early Christianity understood women’s bodies to be inferior versions of the superior male body, but this was replaced during the Enlightenment with a binary model that prevails to this day.

As a result of this understanding, a pattern of patriarchy, androcentrism and sexism emerged in both church and society that has been challenged by the both the sciences and the feminist movement which paved the way for a more enlightened attitude towards sex, gender and sexual orientation that is more fluid and increasingly seen as forming a spectrum or continuum.

It is in this context that marriage is being evaluated so that even on a traditional understanding marriage is now seen more as an equal partnership than a question of the woman being subordinate to the man.

All of this is a far cry from the bride’s promise in the medieval marriage rite “to be bonny and buxom at bed and at board” where the relationship was bound up with the idea of property.

It remains to be seen whether Cuba’s inclusion of same-sex marriage in the proposed new constitution is ratified by the people so that it joins Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia in Latin America in recognition of gay marriage.

Homosexuality was an issue in the early days of the Cuban Revolution and the country has made great strides in the area of LGBTQ rights compared with seven other Caribbean island nations where homosexuality is a criminal offence.

If approved, Cuba’s evolving social project is set to become even more revolutionary.

Father Geoff Bottoms is a Catholic Priest and member of the Cuba Solidarity campaign executive committee. He will be leading a study tour to Cuba in November 2018 including visits to El Mejunje.

Homophobic ‘conversion’ quackery in Mexico

This 30 July 2018 video says about itself:

In Mexico, Warnings About The Increase Of Conversion Therapy That Targets LGBTI people

Organizations in defense of the rights of the LGBTI community along with Mexico City’s Council Against Discrimination have warned about an increase of groups promoting conversion therapy. They say this puts an already at-risk sector of the population into even greater danger.

Equal marriage voted for in Cuba

A member of Cuba's National Assembly studies the draft constitution

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Cuba to enshrine equal marriage in the constitution

Marriage will now be ‘a consensual union between two people without distinction of sex’

LGBT rights activists in Cuba celebrated on Saturday after the country’s National Assembly voted to enshrine equal marriage in the new draft constitution.

Under a new definition, marriage will now be recognised as “a consensual union between two people without distinction of sex”, in a landmark decision.

Previously Cuba’s constitution only recognised marriage as between a woman and a man.

However State Council secretary Homero Acosta said: “I believe that our project’s standards for equality, justice and humanism are reinforced by the possibility of marriage between two people.

“There are around 24 countries that have this concept incorporated and we cannot turn our back on this issue when we are shaping the constitution.”

It was welcomed as a victory for equal rights in Cuba with Mariela Castro having led a campaign for the adoption of same-sex marriage.

Speaking earlier this year, she praised Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel for his “sensibilities and awareness” on LGBT issues.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Cuba in 1979. However there were few protections for LGBT people in the country’s legislation and no rights for same-sex couples.

LGBT rights activist Francisco Rodriguez welcomed the move, saying it would be “the open door to be able to make advances in the legalisation of homosexual couples.”

‘Free love’ or ‘family values’ — is there a Marxist view? Here.