Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Interview with Dosmanzanas (Two Apples) in Valencia, Spain

Here is the interview with Dos Manzanas - the biggest LGBT news website in Spain.
Translated (mostly) by Google Translate:


Interview with PATRICK ATTARD / Maltese Politician (AD): "In Malta we need someone like Zapatero, who can stand up to the bullying of the Church"
Written by Nemo 28-04-2008

Patrick Attard, a 28-year old, has become the first gay candidate -"the first openly gay candidate”, he observes with a smile- to stand for a general election in the history of the Republic of Malta (the election was held just one day before the Spanish one, on March 8). He was with the Green Party Alternattiva Demokratika (AD), wich had a clearly pro-LGBT agenda. Dosmanzanas (Two Apples) has taken advantage of his recent stay in our country to interview him.

Dosmanzanas .- What motivated you to enter politics?

Patrick Attard .- In 'An Inconvenient Truth', Al Gore said: "If there is something you would like to change, write to Congress about it, if nothing changes run for Congress." In my country nobody talked about LGBT issues in the months leading up to elections, that was a big taboo, there was a huge vacuum in this regard… so I decided to try and move the agenda a bit forward.

Dm .- How did the election campaign progress?

P.A. - I was invited to speak on television and newspapers. After leaving television for the first time in a discussion program, the day after I ended up in the news, and people stopped me on the street to tell me well done. There were some gays who had lost hope in politics who felt inspired by me, and I think I managed to communicate a few ideas.

Dm .- Alternattiva Demokratika has been the third party in Maltese politics for many years, but the Maltese political system is very bipartisan and you did not obtain parliamentary representation. How do you assess your experience in these general elections?

P.A. - Well, at first I was disappointed at the low number of votes we got, despite being the only party that is clearly positioned in favour of LGBT rights… but I am happy to have been able to help a person who had attempted suicide and having managed to bring to light the plight of gays. In addition, in Malta we have a 'transferable' voting system, which allows us to mark next to the name of each candidate a number that expresses the order of preference of the voter, so if the candidate that I had marked with 1 does not get enough votes to be elected, my vote goes to the one I had marked with 2, and if this one does not get enough votes either, to the one to whom I had given a 3, and so on with the entire list… Well, I was impressed by the fact that over one third of those who voted for me only marked only the 1 next to my name in their ballots, and nothing next to those of the other candidates: that is, they thought that only I could represent them.

Dm .- What are prospects for the future, politically?

P.A. - In June, we have a party general meeting in which we can reflect on the past election and plan the future direction.

Dm .- I see that you speak the political language well…

P.A. – Yo mean that I give you vague answers, right? (laughs).

Dm .- Before you said that you feel happy to have been able to help a person who had attempted suicide. This topic of suicides of gays and lesbians is also high on your blog, along with the LGBT who have to go into exile in search of a place where they can develop their lives in a freer and fuller way… How serious are these problems in the Maltese society?

P.A. - I do not have figures, but I know that these problems exist. It is a fact that in the very devout Christian communities around the world, the incidence of suicide among gays is higher. In my blog I pasted a letter from a guy who tried to commit suicide and, fortunately, the doctors were able to save him. I also pasted a newspaper article of another gay guy who tried to kill himself repeatedly. Both texts are published in the Maltese press.

One week before the election I was in a gay disco and I thought that I could make a small speech, but the music was very loud and I didn’t want to spoil the atmosphere and the owners of the premises did not like the idea of letting politics in the club and at the end I dared not talk. Later I learned that a 23 year old guy who was there had committed suicide the next day: I could not help wondering if I could have helped him somehow, had I dared to speak at the club that night.

Dm .- What about the LGBT who go into exile?

P.A. - Yes, the press in Malta (the newspaper 'It-Torċa', 'The Torch') has also published two articles on this subject. In addition, there is a group that is called 'Malta Gay Exiles', which tries to bring together people who have lived this experience. And many of the hits of my blog come from outside Malta, which, bearing in mind that my blog is mostly in Maltese, suggests that these hits are from Maltese people who are scattered throughout the world.

Dm .- Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and this year has entered the euro… Do you think that these changes will help the LGBT cause in the Maltese islands?

P.A. - Yes, of course. First, there is the issue of discrimination in the workplace on grounds of sexual orientation: The European Commission forced us to prohibit this type of discrimination by law in Malta, even though our Conservative government did not want to. And thanks to being part of the EU, the euro and the Schengen Treaty, it will be easier for people to travel more and have a more open mind –let us hope that people come to Malta from all over Europe and that we travel to other European countries too, and most importantly, let us hope that it will enhance our degree of tolerance toward people who are different.

Dm .- What is your opinion on Spain and on the changes that have recently been implemented in our country regarding LGBT rights?

P.A. - I think that in Malta we need someone like Zapatero, who is able to confront the arrogance and intimidation of the Catholic Church. What I like about Spain is that the Catholics can go to pray in their churches, but people who are not religious have a place in society as well.

Dm .- How much influence do you think has the Catholic Church in Maltese society, and what you think about this situation?

P.A. - Well, in the last election the priests were telling people not to vote for AD during the Mass, since AD was in favour of divorce (which remains illegal in Malta) and gay partnerships. The Church does not want to deal with the harassment of gays in Catholic schools, and when there is a discussion on LGBT topics on television, the Church always sends someone to say that God loves the gays but hates 'the act'. Isn’t it more sinful for a Catholic woman that I know of to claim that, had she knew that her son was going to be gay, she would have preferred to abort (which, incidentally, is illegal in Malta)? I also know of a man, also a Catholic, who said that he would have preferred if his son had cancer than was gay.

Dm .- The wife of the former Spanish President, of Spain’s Conservative Party, expressed her opinion about the access of gay and lesbian couples to marriage with these words, which became famous in our country: “If you add two apples, then you get two apples. And if you add an apple and a pear, you can never get two apples, because the components are different. A man and a woman is one thing, which is marriage, and two men or two women will be another thing, a different thing.” What do you think about this reflection?

P.A. - What can I add to such words of wisdom? (laughs again).

Note: This argument with apples and pears is similar to the one in the Maltese media with electrical plugs and sockets.


That is what we need here.
by 29-04-2008 at 14:41 wow

I want to say that the origin of this interview with Patrick Attard is also dosmanzanas, and specifically, the column "Tolerance" I published here last April 2, in which I talked about him and quoted him. That is why I –who didn’t know him personally– sent him an email to tell him about my column; he liked the column and posted it, translated into English, on his blog. Then he came to our country for personal reasons, and I took the chance to meet and interview him in my city, València (the photo was made in the Garden of Túria).

I would like to thank Patrick Attard for granting me the interview, and the ‘bosses’ of dosmanzanas for posting it.
by Nemo 29-04-2008 at 19:31

On the blog of Patrick Attard, you can read the English version of "Tolerance"… along with your own comments (the latter in rather approximative English, it has to be said). You are now international and ‘interlingual’, too.
by Nemo 29-04-2008 at 19:37

Congratulations on your interview Nemo:) If I had known you were going to go international, maybe I would have posted some comment on "Tolerance" LOL.
You should now send the contribution to Zapatero: perhaps it’ll inspire him to finally take the separation of church and state seriously. It is about time.
by Rukaegos 29-04-2008 at 19:48

Great interview, Nemo. It was lucky that after publishing your column, Patrick Attard came to Spain. I think the situation they are still living through in Malta is terrible. Even divorce is illegal there! The shadow of the Vatican is very long, that is obvious.
I’m still moved by the fact that we have become a model country for gays and lesbians from other countries.
“Approximative English", you said? Why you are benevolent, Nemo. Machine translators should be banned. LOL
by Fer 29-04-2008 at 20:02

Thank you, Rukaegos, Fer (and wow too, for leaving his comment this morning).
Rukaegos: it would be a good thing if Zapatero decided to do -even more- honour to his fame beyond our borders, of being brave in front of cassock-wearing bullies… I wonder if they read dosmanzanas in the President’s palace.
Fer: the mentality prevailing in Malta is not very different from that which prevailed in our own society not so many years ago… and remains very strong in many areas of our society. If our Catholic reactionaries -and their Protestant or even Agnostic henchmen- should have it their way in the future, I am afraid that we could resemble Malta (today’s Malta) again far more than you and me -and most readers of dosmanzanas- would like.
by Nemo 29-04-2008 at 21:03

You can vote for the interview on Menéame.
by Fer 30-04-2008 at 00:15

Well, then send Zapatero to Malta, it’ll be the only country where they’ll want him, because in Western and democratic countries…
How pitiful:
by fanfatal 30-04-2008 at 00:22

I do not think Zapatero has stood up to the Church beyond the issue of same-sex marriage, here is a recent example.
by Armel 30-04-2008 at 00:45

True. Zapatero still has much to prove to many of us regarding the Church issue, but it is true that for foreign countries, he has achieved a dramatic effect. And so they see him as a point of reference.
by metabolic 30-04-2008 at 12:42

Well, it is obvious that in the field of secularism still much needs to be done in Spain, but it not reasonable to minimize the importance of having approved full legal equality for homosexual and heterosexual people as regards access to marriage despite the enraged opposition of the Church hierarchy and all its appendices (media, politicians, associations…).
Let us not forget that the spokesman for the Spanish Bishops' Conference said that that legal reform was nothing less than "the most serious thing which the Catholic Church has had to deal with in its two thousand years of history" (!) And that is why Bishops had to "act with all the consequences" against it. Let us not forget all the manoeuvres, all the demonstrations, all the catastrophic and vaguely threatening statements… and all this for years. So I think that what was adopted on that occasion was more than a mere "dramatic effect": it was a brave and determined move for equality, really standing up to the intimidation of a social sector (which gravitates around the Catholic hierarchy) which is as influential as it is fanatical and arrogant.
by Nemo 30-04-2008 at 14:28

For some the separation of Church and State is the same as the expulsion of religion from the State. The first thing is healthy secularism. The second, totalitarianism. For example, who are you to prevent a Catholic/Christian devotee to run for President, then win and legislate according to his/her own conscience? That is individual freedom, not meddling.
30-04-2008 by yo at 17:49

Provided they legislate according to their own conscience without attempting against oter peoples freedom of others or against the law…. What if the opposite happens, though? Would you the say that "the Catholic Church is being persecuted"?
by Odysseus the Ithacan 30-04-2008 at 18:19

Any ruler in principle, whether Catholic or Atheist or ‘Pastafarian’, can legislate "according to their own conscience." What they can not do in a liberal democracy, though, is to forbid citizens to act, as far as their private lives are concerned, according to their own conscience as well. Therefore, a devout Catholic who has won an election would not (or should not have) the right to ban divorce or abortion, or to exclude certain couples from marriage, on the basis of the gender of their members. Catholics have (and should have) the right not to marry someone of their own sex, not to get divorced, not to get an abortion… if that is what ‘their conscience’ dictates to them. But they do not have the right to forbid other people to do so, because other people have their own consciences too, different from the Catholics’ but equally valid.
All this, I repeat, within the framework of a liberal democracy. Of course I understand that things would be quite different in a theocracy.
by Nemo 30-04-2008 at 20:37


Actually I think that both you and Nemo have addressed the question from the wrong perspective. Of course, a Catholic can stand for election and if they win, they can do any office to which they have been elected.

But "legislate according to their own conscience" is not possible for a ruler, no matter whether they are Catholic or not. Firstly, because consciousness is individual, and a minister, the chairman of a government, an MP or whatever can not be in our system a tyrant or a dictator, who would be the only ones with the ability to legislate according to their will or their conscience. All legislation must be under the Constitution, in accordance with international treaties signed by the Kingdom of Spain, with the present legal system and with a programme that has been submitted to the elections; and laws will be in each case validated by Parliament, according to established procedures.

That is, according to their conscience rulers may propose laws, but these laws will not be passed by their own conscience, but by a formal and objective procedure. But in addition, there would be many legal and constitutional limits to what they can legislate, limits they would not be able to skip under any circumstances.

That's because for better and for worse conscience and politics do not have too much in common. Max Weber proposed precisely to clarify this problem of two ethical models living together in society, each of which has its role. He called them "the ethics of responsibility", which corresponds to politicians in the public sphere, and "the ethics of conviction", each individual's own private sphere. Sometimes these two match, but not always.


by Rukaegos 30-04-2008 at 21:51


You're right, of course, Rukaegos, although I think your comment and mine are not incompatible. The ruler’s conscience may inspire them this or that piece of legislation, but in a liberal democratic system they will have to comply with all those legal and formal limits that you explain in your comment, and which are there precisely to protect the rights of the people he rules over (including the right, which I mentioned in my previous comment, to follow one’s own path in personal life, according to one’s conscience and also, of course, to legal limits).

by Nemo 30-04-2008 at 22:17

Monday, 28 April 2008

Telegraph: "warped morality" of ban on gay blood

Finger on the Pulse - 21/04/2008
Max Pemberton on rejected blood donors

While the others get up, John remains seated. "I can't go," he says, shaking his head. In the hospital grounds sits a mobile blood donation unit, and doctors and nurses are going to donate blood.

"Why not?" I ask.

"I'm gay," he shrugs.

The National Blood Service's (NBS) policy, as stated on its website, is never to accept blood from men who have had sex with a man. It doesn't matter if you've used condoms or been monogamous: you're banned for life. This is despite the NBS being short of blood products, and the fact that there's no such policy on organ donation.

The policy dates back to the dark days of HIV, when moral panic was high and knowledge about transmission low. All blood is screened, but the potential for a brief window when testing cannot detect infection remains.

But it represents a tiny risk. Indeed, since 1985 only three infections have been blamed on the "window period", but still, even one more infection should be avoided at all costs.

John, a nurse, has been with his partner for 20 years. Their most high-risk activity is going to Ikea at weekends. The ironic thing is, while John stays put, Will, a straight doctor whose sexual adventures make Casanova look chaste, bounces up and soon a pint of his blood is being greeted by the blood service with smiles and offers of sweet tea and biscuits.

The rules appear to be based on a warped morality whereby the sexual practices of straight men, no matter how heinous, are ignored, while gay men - and women - are vilified.

A man can have whatever type of sex he desires with a woman, protected or not, and with as many women as he wants, and the blood service won't mind. He can have unprotected sex with a prostitute and a year later donate blood. A woman who's been paid for sex, though, is banned for life.

Last week a campaign backed by Amnesty's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Network to change the rules, and a petition, BloodBan, were put to the Scottish Parliament.

The rationale for upholding the existing policy rests largely on statistical modelling, which raises concerns that lifting the ban could result in an increased risk of HIV contamination of the blood supply. However, the theoretical concerns don't seem to correspond to reality.

France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Russia and Australia have lifted their bans, and none has seen a rise in contaminated blood. Indeed clinical evidence suggests lifting the ban has cut contamination.

Italy screens donors on the basis of risk, rather than sexuality, and since introducing this policy in 2001 the number of HIV infections via blood transfusion has fallen by two thirds. Spain also screens according to risk. Its health ministry says HIV contaminations have plummeted 80 per cent.

It seems the NBS is irresponsible in not screening donors' sexual history. It focuses on gay men when it should assess all sexual practices. Its policy is based on generalisations that all gay men pose the same risk, ignoring the fact that their lifestyles are as myriad as any heterosexual. Back in the office, Will recounts his latest sexual conquest, while John looks on. I know whose blood I'd prefer.

'Trust Me, I'm a Junior Doctor' by Max Pemberton is published by Hodder. To order a copy for £11.99 + £1.25 p&p, call Telegraph Books on 0870 428 4112.


Blood Supply in Crisis: Behind the Gay-Donor Ban Protests
by Steve Weinstein / New York Editor-In-Chief / Thursday Apr 24, 2008

On April 23, Sean Martin, a student at Bowling Green State University, wrote an opinion piece in the Ohio public college's newspaper, in which he defended the ban on men who have sex with men giving blood. What was unusual about the piece was that it appeared at all.

The vast majority of colleges that have weighed in on this issue around the country, and increasingly, the world, are coming down heavily on the side of the ban being lifted. And notably, the vast majority of comments appended to Martin's article expressed a different opinion.

The issue of gay men donating blood has been a contentious one for the Red Cross, which generally oversees the blood supply in this country, and other such groups. In the early 1980s, the formative years of the AIDS epidemic, AIDS was initially thought of as a disease only among gay men. When Haitians and IV drug users started getting sick, researchers suspected a blood- as well as semen-born virus.

Then, one by one, people who had had blood transfusions in large urban centers came down with AIDS. Hemophiliacs were especially susceptible, since they depended on blood transfusions. The case of the three brothers in Florida who were forced out of their home by hostile neighbors became a cause celebre. But it was a young Midwesterner, Ryan White, who transfixed the nation and became a symbol of the "innocent victim" of the crisis.

The Red Cross and others responded by banning anyone who had male-on-male sex since 1977. The ban has remained in effect from 1983 through today.

Pressure Mounts to Lift Ban
But now, more and more groups are asking why the ban is needed. HIV testing for blood has been in place for decades. Nucleic Acid Testing can even find out if HIV is present in the blood before antibodies form.

To date, only a handful of people have developed AIDS from blood in developed nations with the notable exception of Japan and France, where two individual cases of corrupted blood resulted in lawsuits and prison sentences. Those two anomalies aside, however, supporters of the ban are hard-pressed to point to tainted blood.

Gay groups have long asked that the ban be lifted. They have been joined by the Red Cross itself. But the Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency responsible for protecting the nation's blood supply, has reaffirmed several times its lifetime ban on any man who has had gay sex, most recently a little over two years ago.

But the pressure is mounting, and it's coming from some unlikely sources.

Outside U.S., Protest-& Change
In the United Kingdom, a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood also exists. But it looks to be on the ropes, as government officials inch away from the policy. The Scottish Parliament, which has some self-governing authority away from Parliament in London, is expected to lift the ban soon.

If so, it joins France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Russia and Australia, which have lifted their bans. Most significantly, none of those countries has seen a rise in contamination in its blood supply. Clinical evidence suggests lifting the ban has actually cut contamination, according to several news reports.

Italy screens donors on the basis of risk, rather than sexual orientation. As the U.K. Telegraph reports, "Since introducing this policy in 2001, the number of HIV infections via blood transfusion has fallen by two thirds. Spain also screens according to risk. Its health ministry says HIV contaminations have plummeted 80 per cent."

What these countries have done is to change screening procedures to allow gay men who have been monogamous or safe in their sex lives--and instead screening for specific risk factors regardless of sexual orientation. This follows the theory that a heterosexual man, for example, who has been notably promiscuous is at least as likely if not more so than a relatively monogamous gay man who has practiced safe sex. Examples of heterosexual transmission are certainly not uncommon, from basketball player Magic Johnson to less notable figures.

In fact, the fastest-growing risk group for HIV infection is women of color. Women overall have far outpaced men in HIV infections for several years.

Compounding the issue is the fact that the nation's blood supply remains at critically low levels, which leads advocates to ask why a swath of the population is excluded because of what they see as an outmoded rule.

Significantly, the rules for tissue and organ donation--where the shortage is even more critical than the blood supply--have been relaxed for gay men. The FDA now mandates five years of no gay sex for such donations. And even that rule is stretched in critical situations.

It isn't just Western nations that have changed their policies. In mid-April, Thailand moved to allow gay blood donations. The Southeast Asian nation is especially notable because of its high rate of HIV infections: 28 percent of gay men in Bangkok in 2005.

Closer to home, Canada has just announced that it will re-examine its policy. "What we want to do is get a really firm handle on where we are now, what can be supported by science and move forward when and where we can," says Anne Trueman, a spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services.

Students Lead Protests Here
In the U.S., college students--often led by gay groups but supported by non-gay groups--are leading the fight to rescind the ban.

Middlebury College in Vermont recently held an open forum with the American Red Cross on the issue. An official with the Red Cross again blamed the FDA for the policy, but he also complained that campus protests across the country could threaten the nation's blood supply and may prove counter-productive.

"We've had meetings with other schools that just have not been productive in any way," said the Red Cross' David Carmichael. "The response we got from the community made us feel backed up."

The student government of the University of Pennsylvania recently discouraged students from participating in a blood drive. Activists maintained that the FDA is discriminating and hence violates the university's own policies--an argument similar to the battles against military recruiting roiling college campuses because of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule banning openly gay Armed Forces personnel.

In Januray, San Jose State University in California banned outright blood drives in protest. The university's president took the unusual step after reviewing the school's anti-discriminatory policies. The ban attracted wide media attention, both positive and negative. But more importantly, it instigated a flood of editorials and discussions on other college campuses, including Dartmouth in New Hampshire, and the University of Buffalo and State University of New York/Binghamton, both in New York.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is putting pressure on the FDA to change a policy that is increasingly dogging its efforts to replenish the nation's blood supply. "The Red Cross is working really hard to fight this restriction," said Amy Pudvar-Pecor, an account executive for the American Red Cross.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Independent: European Court of Justice ruling welcomed by Maltese gay community


by FRANCESCA VELLA, 9th April 2008

The Maltese gay community welcomed a ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last week, which, in the words of lawyer Helmut Graupner, “would indirectly help gay couples in countries where there is no equivalent to marriage”.

Reacting to the judgement, which is essentially about pension rights for same-sex registered couples, the Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) said it welcomed the ruling and its strong wording.

Details about this landmark case were first carried in last Friday’s edition of The Malta Independent. The case was triggered by German national Tadao Maruko in 2005, after his partner died and he was refused a widower’s pension.

The German pension fund refused to grant Mr Maruko a widower’s pension, claiming that only people who have been married are entitled to such a pension.

However, the ECJ ruled that this was a violation of EU law, and it established a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

MGRM said the ruling unequivocally states: “...the refusal to grant the survivor’s pension to life partners constitutes direct discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation...” and therefore cannot be justified in any circumstance.

This is a significant achievement that will be applicable in EU countries that provide formal registration of same-sex unions and require mutual maintenance, said MGRM, adding, this decision does not have, however, immediate legal consequences for same-sex partners in Malta, which does not yet recognise same-sex unions.

As stated by the European branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA-Europe), “This creates a discriminatory two-tier level of protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) EU nationals, who are divided into two categories as their access to survivor pension rights depends on their country of residence”.

MGRM said it looks forward to seeing how the EU is going to eliminate this discriminatory divide based on nationality and/or place of residence of LGBT people.

Patrick Attard, who contested the general elections on the AD ticket, told The Malta Independent that the ECJ ruling is a step in the right direction.

“Since the death of one of the partners is just the starting point, it is important not to forget the importance of the survivor’s bereavement leave.

“Whenever bereavement leave is granted, the surviving partner is more likely to recover quicker and be productive again.”

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Mietet tirrakkonta lit-Torċa... Ħarbet minn Malta b’jott għax kienet gay


minn Victor Vella (victorvella2002@yahoo.com)
23 ta’ Marzu 2008

Kienet il-ġurnata tas-Sibt, 15 ta’ Marzu. Dakinhar jien u l-mara iddeċidejna li nqattgħu ġurnata barra. Kif irritornajna lura, tard wara nofsinhar, insibu messaġġ mir-Renju Unit fuq l-imejl. Kien Antoine. Infurmana li Janice, li l-istorja tagħha qiegħda tidher illum, kienet mietet. Lil Janice kont ikkomunikajt magħha f’nofs il-ġimgħa rigward l-istorja tagħha bħala persuna Maltija b’orjentazzjoni sesswali gay li bħal ħafna oħrajn kellha teżilja ruħha biex tgħix mas-sieħba tagħha li tant kienet tħobb. Janice mietet bil-laptop mixgħul fuq is-sodda, bil-messaġġ tiegħi għadu jidher fuqu. Għalkemm ma laħqitx lestiet l-istorja kollha, qabel ħallietna hi laħqet kitbet dak li għaddiet minnu, kif kellha tħalli Malta u l-esperjenzi tagħha.

L-istorja Janice
Janice tibda r-rakkont tagħha hekk:

"ħallejt din il-gżira tagħna ħafna żmien ilu u qatt ma ħarist lura. Għext ħajja ta’ lussu u privileġġi iżda mhux dejjem kont xortija tajba. L-ewwel snin ta’ ħajti kienu karatterizzati minn traġedji. Jien tlift kemm lill-ġenituri tiegħi kif ukoll liż-żewġ ħuti subien, ftit żmien wara li bdew jindaqqu s-sireni biex juruna li ġejjin l-attakki mill-ajru. Tlifthom fi-x-xahar ta’ Ġunju qabel għabet ix-xemx. Kienet is-sena 1939 u jien kont għadni tifla żgħira.

"Minn dakinhar l-hawn jien spiċċajt ngħix mal-ġirien, li bdew jieħdu ħsiebi f’dawk iż-żminijiet diffiċli. Kienu jittrattawni tajjeb ħafna u jien kont ngħinhom fix-xogħol tad-dar mill-aħjar li nista’. Kull fil-għodu kont inqum ottimista, bit-tama li din kienet xi ħolma kerha. Maż-żmien irrealizzajt li dan ma kinitx ħolma, imma kont tlift lill-membri tal-familja kollha."

Janice tkompli tgħidilna li

"għext iż-żminjiet tat-tieni ġwerra dinjija. Meta spiċċat il-gwerra, kulħadd beda jipprova jibni ħajtu mill-ġdid. Kien fl-ewwel snin ta’ l-erbgħijnijiet meta jien iltqajt ma ma’ mara barranija. Kienet tilbes pulit ħafna u kellha wiċċha ħelu. Iltqajt magħha waqt li kienet qegħda tixtri l-ħobż. L-ewwel kliem li qaltli kienu ‘għandek dehra ta’ waħda li kont l-infern u erġajt lura". Jien irrispondejtha li "kollha spiċċajna hekk, imma issa qed nippruvaw ngħixu mill-ġdid." Qabel telqet tbissmitli u missitli wiċċi bi tmellisha ħelwa. Dak il-ħin ħassejt qalbi tħabbat b’mod differenti. Qatt ma ħabbtet hekk. Ħarist madwari u nnutajt li n-nisa l-oħra li kien hemm għand tal-ħobż baqgħu iħarsu iċċassati lejja, qisni għamilt xi ħaġa ħażina jew inqasthom. Jien kont għadi kif esperjenzajt l-aħjar mument mindu tlift lill-ġenituri tiegħi".

L-imħabba ma’ Zehuva

Janice tkompli tgħidilna li

"kull fil-għodu kont inmur bi ħġari għand tal-ħobż, bit-tama li nara lil din il-mara. Il-mara kien jisimha Zehuva. Hi dejjem kienet puntwali u maż-żmien bdejna ngħaddu ħafna ħin flimkien. Kienet semmietli kif kienet tilfet lill-ommha, meta huma ppruvaw jaħarbu mill-Ġermanja. Hekk kif kienu qegħdin jaħarbu mis-suldati, il-karozza tagħhom kienet il-mira ta’ diversi tiri mill-istess suldati. Ommha ntqatlet. Il-karozza kien qed isuqha z-ziju tagħha u hu rnexxielu jwassal il-karozza f’post il-bogħod mill-periklu. Difnu lil ommha u komplew bil-vjaġġ tagħhom. Id-destinazzjoni kienet il-Messiku. Fl-ewwel parti tal-vjaġġ huma marru l-Italja u wara ġew Malta. F’Malta kienu qegħdin jisennew l-ewwel opportunità, biex jitilqu minn hawn u jkomplu bil-vjaġġ. Meta kienu qegħdin jistennew li jkomplu bil-vjaġġ, iz-ziju tagħha irċieva l-aħbar li ħuh, jiġifieri missierha, kien għadu ħaj u kellu bżonn l-għajnuna. Iz-ziju mar Praga biex jgħinu u jingħaqdu flimkien. Sadanittant, Zehuva jew ‘Z’ kif jien kont ngħidilha, baqgħet f’Malta, tistenna lil zijuha jġib lill-missierha. Qatt ma semgħet f’zijuha u missierha aktar."

Janice tkompli tgħidilna li

"ir-relazzjoni tagħna kompliet tikber u fil-bidu tal-ħamsinijiet, jien kont bdejt ngħix ma’ Zehuva. Bl-għajnuna tal-qraba li kien għad fadlilha rnexxielha b’suċċess tiret, parti mill-ġid tal-familja tagħha u għalkemm dan ma ġabx lura il dawk li mietu, għenna biex infiqu flimkien minn dak kollu li għaddejna mingħajr ma jkollna nittalbu l-flus. Imma l-ġlidiet personali f’dan iż-żmien kienu għadhom se jibdew. Konna kuntenti ħafna flimkien, iżda kien qed jidher biċ-ċar li n-nies fil-komunità tagħna ma kinux kuntenti bir-relazzjoni tagħna. Bdiet issir pressjoni mentali fuqna u jien ma bdejtx niflaħ għaliha. Din laħqet il-quċċata meta l-familja li rabbietni fi żmien il-gwerra, kienu qaluli li ma kontx milqugħa aktar id-dar sakemm jien nibqa’ b’relazzjoni u kuntatt max-‘xitan’. Kontiwament kont niġġieled miegħi nnifsi biex nipprova nifhem kif il-familja li tant uriet ġenerożità miegħi meta mietu l-membri tal-familja tiegħi, spiċċaw jarawni daqshekk f’dawl ikrah. Dan kollu għax kont qed ninħabb ma’ mara oħra. Kien diffiċli li nifhem dan, għax jien irraġunajt li huma għandhom ikunu kuntenti li jien kont qed ngħix ma xi ħadd li kien qed jieħu ħsiebi."

Jaħarbu minn Malta
Janice tkompli tgħidilna li

"għexna f’din it-tensjoni għal ftit snin oħra. Kemm Zehuva kif ukoll jien, qbilna li biex ngħixu ħajja normali, kien ikun aħjar għalina li nibdew ngħixu f’kommunità li taċċetta li jkun hemm koppja ffurmata minn żewġ nisa. Ma kinitx deċiżjoni faċli. Ridna għalhekk bil-fors inħallu l-Malta. Konna eskużi mill-bqija tas-soċjetà f’Malta, għalkemm aħna konna kuntenti. Jien kont inħobb lill-pajjiżi, iżda jien ma kontx aċċettata. F’Għawdex qatt ma kont mort.

"Zehuva kienet akbar minni u hi kellha esperjenzi diretti ta’ xi tfisser persekuzzjoni. Hi kienet Lhudija u bħal ħafna Lhud oħra, hi kienet determinata li ma tkunx trattata bħala ċittadina tat-tieni klassi. Hi kienet assiguratni li koppji lesbjani jkunu aktar aċċettati fil-komunità fejn il-familja tagħha kienet tgħaddi s-Sajf. Zehuva għamlet l-arranġamenti kollha biex inmorru ngħixu f’waħda mir-residenzi li hi kienet wirtet fl-iSvizzera.

"Ftit xhur wara ħrabna minn Malta fuq il-jott ta’ kuġinuha. Ma stajtx nemmen li kienu ġew għalina fuq dgħajsa privata. U s-sorpriżi komplew. L-ewwel li morna kien f’Venezja. Hemmhekk ġejna milqugħin mill-kuġina tagħha Yitta u r-raġel tagħha Ismail. Venezja kienet qisha dinja ġdida għalija. Dan kien il-bidu ta’ xi ħaġa ġdida, imma d-dwejjaq bdew ġejjin ukoll. Bdejt inħoss in-nuqqas ta’ Malta. Bdejt kontinwament inġib il-memorji ta’ qraba tiegħi qegħdin imutu. Bdejt nistaqsi għalfejn kelli nitlaq minn pajjiżi.

"Għodwa waħda, dgħajsa żgħira ħaditna minn Venezja lejn post ieħor fejn hemm sibna karozza tistenniena u bdejt vjaġġ twil. Bqajt impressjonata meta dħalna fil-grada prinċipali li kienet tagħti lejn id-dar ġdida tiegħi. Bdejt nieħu l-idea ta’ kemm Zehuva kienet privileġġjata. Ridt tieħu l-isbaħ ħames minuti sewqan biex mill-grada prinċipali tasal fid-dar. Kienet dar stupenda u mill-isbaħ. Kienet qisha Berġa, minn dak li bnew f’Malta il-Kavallieri. Il-ġonna ta’ madwar kienu kkultivati. Kien hemm għadd ta’ ħaddiema, impjegati magħhom, li kienu qegħdin jistennewna. F’dan il-ħin bdejt nibki. Bdejt inħossni qisni prinċipessa. Bdejt ngħix f’dan l-ambjent ġdid u jien apprezzajt ħafna il-ħajja ġdida. Sirna attivi f’dik il-komunità lokali. Konna aċċettati ħafna minn nies u fi ftit żmien sirna l-qalb ta’ dik il-komunità Svizzera".

Ħajja ġdida

"Minn dan il-mument jien u Zehuva bdejna ngħixu ħajja mill-ġdid. Iddeċidejna li ngawdu l-ħajja mill-aħjar li nistgħu. Bdejna norganizzaw diversi parties u attivitajiet soċjali u meta bdiet tiżdied il-popolarità tal-vjaġġi bl-ajru, bdejna nivvjaġġaw u nesploraw id-dinja. Għaddew erbgħin sena u għalkemm konna akbar fl-età sirna aktar naħsbu b’moħħna. Jien kont inweġġa’ meta niftakar li kelli nitlaq minn pajjiżi. Għadni nitnikket sa’ llum b’dan."

Weġgħat ġodda

"Illum għandi weġgħat ġodda. Weġgħat li ma nistax naħrab minnu u li bil-mod il-mod qegħdin jherruni minn ġewwa. Zehuva mietet fl-1993. Jien waqajt f’dipressjoni u ngħalaqt fid-dar għal aktar minn sena. F’dan iż-żmien ma kontx noħroġ mid-dar. L-anġlu kustodju tiegħi kienet mietet. Ftit żmien wara kelli ninħareġ mid-dar, biex ħaduni l-isptar. Kont waqajt f’salt u f’moħħi kont qed naħseb li kien xi attakk tal-qalb. Ma kienx hekk. It-tobba qaluli li kelli Kanċer, u tawni ftit xhur biss ħajja. Dan daqq bħal allarm f’widnejja. Jien kont wegħdt lil Zehuva li meta tmut hi, jien xorta kont se nibqa’ ngħix ħajja kuntenta. B’dan il-ħsieb f’moħħi bdejt naħseb biex ngħix ħajja ġdida. Bdejt nerġgħa nagħmel il-kuntatti mal-ħbieb u nies fil-kommunità u ntfajt b’ruħi u ġismi ngħin lill-komunità. L-intenzjoni tiegħi kienet li fl-aħħar ftit jiem inkompli ngawdi ħajti u ngħin".

Ftit xhur ħajja spiċċaw snin
Janice tkompli tgħidilna

"li l-ftit xhur ħajja spiċċaw kienu snin. Għaddew għaxar snin minn mindu qaluli li kelli ftit xhur ħajja. Jien kont spiċċajt ngħin lil-omosesswali jaħarbu minn reġimi ta’ dittaturi fl-Afrika u fil-Lvant Nofsani. M’iniex se nispeċifika fuq każijiet partikolari, iżda rrid ngħid li dawn l-attivitajiet u azzjonijiet kienu tawni l-ispirtu mill-ġdid. Kont inħossni kburija b’dak li kont qed nagħmel. Il-fatt li kont qed ngħin persuni bi problema jew persekuzzjoni kienet qiegħda ttini sodisfazzjon kbir. Inħoss li l-ħarsa fuq l-uċuħ tiswa ħafna aktar mid-deheb tad-dinja. Dawn kienu nies li anki fid-dinja ta’ llum, fl-istess pajjiżi dittatorjali qegħdin jiġu ppersegwitati u maqtula. Dawn il-persuni huma aħna, l-omosesswali. Aħna il-Lhud il-ġodda. Jekk taħseb li hi esaġerata erġa’ aħseb mill-ġdid. L-Iran pereżempju jagħmel spettakli pubbliċi minn nies bħalna billi jgħallaqhom fil-pubbliku. Fin-Niġerja, jpoġġu tyres tal-karozzi madwar għonq persuni omosesswali, jimlewhom bil-fjuwil u jtuhom in-nar. Jien smajt il-krib u l-weġgħat tagħhom. Smajna b’każijiet fejn rabtuhom ma trakkijiet u kaxkrhom. Dawn kienu l-istess tweżiqiet li l-ħbieb Lhud tiegħi semmewli. F’Malta qatt ma kien hemm dan l-istat. Minkejja l-istatus ċivilizzat ta’Malta, pajjiżkom qiegħed jittraskura l-bżonnijiet tal-persuni omosesswali. M’hemm riżorsi biżżejjed għall-familji omosesswali. Is-suwiċidji fost persuni ‘gay’ ftit li xejn jingħata kashom. Dawk li qegħdin jeżiljaw ruħhom minn pajjiżkom ukoll qegħdin jiġu injorati. Il-politiċi f’Malta m’għandhom il-kuraġġ li jieħdu pożizzjoni biex jgħinu l-kommunità omosesswali. Tlaqt minn pajjiżi aktar minn nofs seklu ilu. Riċentament jien sirt attiva ma’ attivisti Maltin biex dawn jieħdu d-drittijiet tagħhom bħala persuni omosesswali oħra fl-Unjoni Ewropea".

Il-kummenti ta’ Janice jieqfu hawn. Dan hu dak li laħqet kitbet, qabel ħallietna. Dawn instabu fuq il-laptop tagħha, li kien għadu mixgħul, bl-imejl tagħna fuq l-istess laptop.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Malta Independent: European Court of Justice ruling could indirectly help gay couples in Malta

4 th April 2008
by Fr
ancesca Vella fvella@independent.com.mt

A landmark ruling handed down by the European Court of Justice on Tuesday would “indirectly help gay couples in countries where there is no equivalent to marriage,” lawyer Helmut Graupner told the BBC website shortly after details of the case were announced.

It was the first time that the ECJ ruled in favour of same-sex couples. The case, essentially about pension rights for same-sex registered couples, was triggered by German national Tadao Maruko in 2005, after his partner died and he was refused a widower’s pension.

A Maltese man – who preferred not to be mentioned by name – was slightly more cautious than Dr Graupner, saying: “I don’t think experts, even, can predict what this ruling would mean for gay couples in countries where there is no legal recognition whatsoever of gay relationships.

“This is legal territory that is yet to be discovered, since the first cases of gay discrimination under the Employment Directive have only just started reaching the ECJ.”

The Luxembourg-based court ruled that a person is entitled to his or her dead partner’s pension in EU states that treat homosexual partnerships similarly to marriages.

The German pension fund refused to grant Mr Maruko a widower’s pension, claiming that only people who have been married are entitled to such a pension.

However, the ECJ ruled that this was a violation of EU law, and it established a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

In practice, a person should – after the death of their life partner – receive a survivor’s benefit equivalent to that granted to a surviving spouse, but this is only applicable if national law treats same-sex partnerships in a comparable way to marriages as far as the survivor’s benefit is concerned.

The court, therefore, underlined that it is up to national courts to determine whether a surviving life partner is in a situation comparable to that of a spouse entitled to the survivor’s benefit, provided for under the occupational pension scheme.

A European Commission spokesman welcomed the judgement, saying: “It strengthens the principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, and further specifies the right of registered homosexual partners in the area of employment and occupation.”

At the same time, the spokesman stressed that family law was exclusively in the hands of member states and they were free to decide whether homosexual partnerships should enjoy the same treatment as marriages.

“The right to a survivor’s pension exists only if the two institutions (marriage and same-sex partnership) are analogous,” said the spokesman.

However, giving comments to the BBC, Dr Graupner suggested that the ruling could eventually affect the entire 27-nation EU, including countries that do not recognize same-sex partnerships at all.

“The next case may be one of indirect discrimination, from a country that excludes same-sex partners from the rights and obligations of marriage,” he said, adding, “The way out for such a country would mean they would have to provide the same benefits as other countries”.

To date, only Belgium, Spain and Holland recognise full same-sex marriages. Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Sweden, the Czech Republic and the UK allow for legal partnerships, while France and Luxembourg have established civil contracts.

Sources told The Malta Independent that as a result of this ECJ ruling, future court cases could have two opposing outcomes in countries where there is no form of legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

Since the benefits in these cases are dependent on the nature and legal status of the relationship in question and since gay couples in these countries are considered as single people, the court could rule that there would not have been any form of discrimination, because cohabiting straight couples do not receive the benefit either.

Going a step further, however, the court could find that in such countries, since gay couples cannot get married (as opposed to cohabiting straight couples who could get married if they wanted to), failing to provide them with a widower’s pension could account for indirect discrimination.

This is one of the issues brought up in Recital 22 of the Employment Directive, which states that the directive does not affect rights dependent to marriage (even though recitals are not binding).

In Tuesday’s ruling, the ECJ did not take Recital 22 into account; had it considered this “unbinding” recital, it could have held that there is a difference between marriage and registered partnerships, and therefore could have decided to dismiss the claim.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

From Spain with Love

Today I received this nice email. It's incredible my message went so far, yet it didn't convince the Maltese voters :-)

Dear Patrick,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your fight for the visibility, the dignity and the rights of Maltese gays and lesbians.

I shall introduce myself: I am a gay man from València (Spain). I was in your beautiful country last month. I write a weekly column in Spain's main gay and lesbian news website, dosmanzanas.com, under the pen name Nemo, and I devoted this week's column to the situation of homosexual people in Malta. In my text I mention you, I quote you and I even include a link to your blog, so I thought I should write to you and tell you about it. This is the link to my column: http://www.dosmanzanas.com/index.php/archives/4938.

I do not know wether you can read Spanish; if you cannot, I could try to translate some of the text for you.

I hope you do not mind my referring to you in my column. Anyway, I would be interested in knowing your opinion on it.

Best regards,


The English translation from Google is here:


I am pasting an English translation by Nemo here:


Malta is a small island republic (316 square kilometres: a bit less than, for example, the municipal district of Elche; although the population density is high, the inhabitants of the Maltese archipelago are not many more than 400.000) located right in the middle of the Mediterranean, little more than 90 km south of Sicily and less than 300 off the North African shores of Tunisia and Libya. Although Malta has been part of the European Union since 2004, the fact that it is an island country, its small dimensions, its geographic situation, so peripheral with respect to Europe- would be enough to make us suspect that the culture and society of the Maltese islands must have some peculiarities with respect to what is usual in most of the EU. One of these peculiarities is, no doubt, the Maltese language: Maltese is derived from medieval Arabic, and although throughout the centuries it has incorporated many European words (from Italian especially, and also from English in more recent times), its basis is decidedly still of Arabic origin.

Another peculiarity of Malta is the religion. Not that the Maltese are Muslim: they are not, but Catholic (98% of them), despite the fact that they call God "Alla" and give Jesus and his mother the titles of "Sultan" and "Sultana", respectively; the real peculiarity of Malta is the religious fervour of its inhabitants, which far surpasses that which is usual in Europe, and especially in the western part of it. More than half the Maltese population attends mass regularly, which is one of the highest rates in the EU, and one in every four or five Maltese is a member of some Catholic movement or group. The most important of these movements or groups it is the Neocatechumenal Way, known in Spain popularly as ‘ kikos' because of its founder’s (a Spaniard, Kiko Argüello) name: in Malta, apparently, they have the highest concentration of ‘kikos' per capita in the whole world. The Constitution of the Republic of Malta very clearly reflects the strong influence that the Catholic religion has on the society of the islands: in article 2 of the first chapter it is not only proclaimed that "the religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic apostolic religion ", but also that "the authorities of the Roman Catholic apostolic church have the duty and the right to teach which principles are right and which are wrong."

In this religious country, what can be the situation of gays and lesbians? Weeks ago, looking for information on the Internet before making a brief trip to Malta, I found that they recently held a general election there too (on the 8 of March, a day before Spain’s; it was won by the party that has been ruling the islands since 1987, except for a parenthesis of two years in the 90’s: the Catholic and Conservative PN, Partit Nazzjonalista); I also discovered that, for the first time in the history of Malta, on this occasion they had an openly gay candidate, clearly favorable to LGBT demands, standing. His name was Patrick Attard, and he stood by the small Green party Alternattiva Demokatika (a party that obtained only 1.3% of the votes; even so, it has been the third force in the strongly bipartisan Maltese politics for almost two decades). During the electoral campaign, Attard had organised a meeting on LGBT questions in one of the few gay businesses to be found in the country, a hotel and called Adam's, which opened less than one year ago in the tourist locality of San Ġiljan or St. Julian's; once in Malta, I found out that this bar was not far away from my own hotel and I decided to visit it with my husband.

It was 9pm on a Tuesday, so we could not expect to meet a lot of people there: in fact, all along we were accompanied only by the British owner of the place and by two Maltese young men who, as we found out later, were a couple. Being so few -the bar, in addition, was very small- it was easy for us to start a conversation, especially with the owner; the Maltese did not talk much and looked a bit uncomfortable, I do not know whether because of the language of our conversation, which was English, or because of its subject. My husband very directly asked the other guests what being gay in Malta was like, and it was the owner of the place who answered him, insisting several times that Malta was "a very tolerant" society, and adding that when he had announced that he was planning to start a gay business in Malta to his English friends, many of them had told him to prepare himself for the worse, but in reality he had not had any problem and had suffered no aggression (it is true that St. Julian's is one of the most modern and ‘cosmopolitan’ parts of the country). As our conversation progressed, we also learnt, again from the lips of the hotel-bar’s proprietor -and timidly corroborated by the Maltese-, that in Malta "everybody knows everybody" and many "are afraid to be seen entering a gay place". That is to say, the ‘tolerance’ of Maltese society has, in fact, quite narrow limits: it will ‘tolerate’ what it does not see, but stigmatize what is apparent.

"We are drowning in hypocrisy", wrote Patrick Attard on his blog shortly before the elections. He also wondered: “Why are young gays committing suicide in this country? Why are gays exiling themselves from this country? What is so bad about being gay?” Attard does not give numbers to quantify those suicides and exiles that are the product of hypocrisy, those human dramas that are the price of the peculiar ‘tolerance’ that homosexual people receive in his country... But be they as many as they may, it would still be necessary to add to them other -probably much bigger- numbers: those of inner exiles who live clandestine lives, exiled to the bottom of a gloomy closet, and those of ‘interior suicides', the frustrated lives of men and women who feel totally incapable to develop their personality in freedom and fullness, who renounce being who they really are.

Of course, it would be hypocritical of us too to pretend that such things only happen on those small and remote islands, and not in our own country. No matter how much we have advanced legally in the last parliamentary term, and socially in the last decades, there still are many gays and lesbians in Spain for whom the ‘tolerance’ of their environment is no more than a short strap tying them to a life of hipocrisy, of double morality, of concealment and shame and frustration. Here too there is a fashion for that kind of ‘tolerance’ that not only has nothing to do with respect, but is rather its opposite.

Other “Entendámonos” columns here.


The following comments have been translated with Altavista's Babelfish.

20 comments in “Tolerancia”

1. Man, Malta has been always the bastion against “el Turco”. I mean that during centuries it was the advance party of “La True Religión” in waters of Unfaithful. If we took in addition that its only referring one is Italy, because it is not strange to me.
Let us consider that is a tiny island.

by Guillermo 02-04-2008 to 09:10

2. Brilliant the article. Perhaps you would have to put in two apples a list of homófobos countries and another one of gay-friendly, and simply, to abstain us to leave too much paste to the homófobos countries while they do not change.

by yop 02-04-2008 to 11:09

3. Very good article, nemo.

In addition to interesting information, your final reflection seems to me very suitable. Any town of Spain, any outlying area of Madrid or Barcelona is, really, one more Malta.

These realities are much more near of which few, that live comodamente installed in their bubble of social modernity, are not able to see single meters of distance.

by Flick 02-04-2008 to 11:17

4. Good artículo… And your final paragraph could not more be guessed right.

by Mercedes 02-04-2008 to 11:21

5. That reason has east article, me has left astonished, and simultaneously it has let to me see that it is just like it happens in small cities, or towns of our country, more than nothing, because I am living one on those histories that the article tells, if I were to point of the suicide, now I take it on the inside, and I only think about that the university arrives to exiliar to me of and being able here to live with my true moral, and with which I do not have to live here, many me saldreis which who does not leave the closet it is because it does not want and the others are excuses, I I will say to you I am smaller of age, therefore I cannot go to me of house, like leaving the closet if in your group of friends these oyendo homofobos insults continuously, “que puto disgust gays of mierda”, “fua changes of channel (when fama)” is seen;, “a the bonfire todos”, “yo sent them in a boat in the middle of the sea and that occurs all by culo” there; and a long etc, that I then do I say to them that I am gay, I turn myself and passage of them until they notice that I am it and they realize of which they prefer if my friendship with the true reality, or they leave insultandome that way me as if outside an excrement since they do with the rest? and to that they say that it changes of people with whom I go I will say to them that this is not a great city and that is not possible, and if only there are 2 or 3 groups with whom it is possible that she can go, those 2 or 3 are homofobas, therefore only I have left to put a smile false, and to the change minim to turn the face, to do me open the social one so that if someday I do something outside común(para they) they think that she is by this, and finally to hope the dream to travel to another place to go to the university. And while to have to study, to have to leave ahead with a false identity, creedme that it is not easy, so it is not necessary to go away until Malta to see that type of things.

by tio 02-04-2008 to 16:17

6. In my opinion, to wait for a future better is not solution. I believe that the dignity does not admit delays. The worse wound than one can receive is not the one that the others try to do, but the one that one same one is inflicted with hiding the true reality that takes inside.

If something I regret in my life is the hidden salary a time, mainly in the adolescent stage, the fact of being gay. It is, with grandísima difference, the worse option, in spite of the difficulties that can have to coexist with homófobos, which are it with greater virulence by the fact of around not knowing no gay meat and bone to his.

Nothing is worth the trouble without dignity.

by Javi (ab) 02-04-2008 to 16:50

7. I congratulate you by your article, Nemo. The question is: there will be in Malta gays that considers to Patrick Attard a “sectario mariprogre” that it wants to homosexualizar the world? Because then the comparison with Spain to you would be nailed.

A kiss.

by Fer 02-04-2008 to 16:54

8. I only meant that I identify myself to the 100% with the text of “tio”, since, I am in the same situation.

by adri 02-04-2008 to 19:09

9. adri and tio: perhaps the fact that leais this pagina (and comenteis) is already a point to your favor teneis the things clarisimas, but is necessary to know how to choose the moment.
the unica doubt that always arises is stays seguros/as of which you are not already object of ridicules although not hayais left the closet? perhaps they watch to you of another form if plantais expensive and you say to them: then I am of those. and to best the that form of miraros he is not of scorn but of admiracion. each one is a world and Maltas it has in all sites, but to see if we took refuge in Malta because there is water around, she is small and we are there very to gustito. Kisses de Elena Francis

by Lady Eleanore Walpole-Wilson 02-04-2008 to 19:15

10. If the majority teneis reason in which you say, but is more complicated of which it seems, in a great city cojes it loose and if they accept to you then very well, but but always you can be gone with another group, with other friends, to look for sites where acudir… but he is very different here, and in addition when you are therefore you see all black it, for that reason I wait for the arrival to the university, because I always have left the option to look for to me friends there really that they really want to me reason why really I am, if those of you are not able here to me to accept, and if sometimes I think that so that is worth to have friends who do not want to you reason why you are really, but if not it saben… In addition it is what I think collective poor man glbt maltés the truth, because if is everything as this way and in addition you have to emigrate to estranjero…
By the way adri if you want to perhaps speak tio_aragon@hotmail.com we removed something and we can be helped.

by tio 02-04-2008 to 20:00

11. In addition to the data and reflections of Nemo, it agrees to remember that the authorities of Malta are famous to deny any humanitarian aid to pateras floods of dyings who come near to the island. A very particular way to exert its catholicism.

by Ricardo 02-04-2008 to 20:01

12. Many spirits for tio and adri. I suppose that living in Madrid it makes see the things of a easier way, but is certain that they continue existing dramatic histories in Spanish geography. Of any way if stays you are even hoping to go to the university it is that you are very young and even it is left time so that everything a world is opened in front of you. It would recommend to you that you went to estuidar to a big city (and as I am of aqui, because I recommend Madrid… to you;). The university atmosphere in many faculties is very comfortable for gays, asi that that will not suppose problem some so that hagais new friends. Be as it is, I send much force to you. Not renuncieis to being what you are really.

by Astyaro 02-04-2008 to 20:13

13. Uncle, lamentably marcharte to the University is not guarantee of which homofobia that right now surrounds to you is going to disappear. Homófobos has everywhere and of all the types. In my particular case the hirientes and degrading commentaries I had them to listen when I left my town (where the homosexulaidad was something of which simplememente it was not spoken, beyond some ridicule that another one) and I arrived at “gran ciudad” in order to study a university race.

Anyway, spirit.

by Charlie 02-04-2008 to 20:14

14. Thank you very much to all by your commentaries.

Guillermo: I had liked to make reference in my column to questions of history of Malta, but for extension reasons I have not been able. You are right when you indicate the paper of “bastión against the Turco”, this is, against the Ottoman Empire, that had Malta when, of donation of Carlos V, it was in favor into the hands of the order to religiosomilitar of San Juan of the Hospital (between centuries XVI and XVIII). In that time the maltesa had to be a fanatically catholic society, and in addition it was put under an iron control on the part of the Inquisición. But this does not move away the history of those islands of the one of Spain, all the opposite: it approaches to us. In addition, the malteses got rid decades before we of the inquisitorial monitoring: the effects of the French Revolution were let feel in Malta in 1798, when the own Napoleón Bonaparte conquered the small archipelago to the Hospitable ones from way to Egypt. Authorities French abolished Inquisición, and although two years later islands returned to change of owner, when to fall under sovereignty British (of that no longer they would escape until 1964), the Inquisición never was reintroducida.

Another thing that wanted to emphasize is that “el is not unique Italy referente” of the maltesa society, far from it. It is truth that the Italian televisions see in Malta without problems, and that 36% of the population speak the Italian with enough fluidity, but I believe that today it continues being his old metropolis, the United Kingdom (and more in general, the world anglófono) main referring the sociocultural outside of the malteses (76% of which English speech fluidly). Although of course, the influence in Malta of the Vatican microstate cannot be diminished.

In any case, Malta is a country that is changing much, opening itself to Europe (from January of this same year they use euro), and that I imagine that it makes conceive hopes of which the transformations that also arrive affect, and positively, to gais and lesbians of that country and to its relation with the society: hopefully of the hypocritical tolerance towards them it is gone to the genuine respect.

by Nemo 02-04-2008 to 20:19

15. Yop: the problem is that that to classify to the countries in “homófobos” and “gayfriendly” it implies to simplify social realities to the maximum that usually they are very complex. For example, I suppose that Spain would be considered in this list like a country gayfriendly, that stops something we have laws that are of most progressive of the world in this subject. Nevertheless, more than 10 million Spaniards they bet in the ballot boxes does not do nor a month by a party that seted out to turn the shame of the western world when suppressing the legal equality to us of citizens LGTB, being abolished our possibility of acceding to the marriage and the adoption. And as they indicate to Flick and Lady Eleanore quite rightly (and one demonstrates in the commentaries of Ti'o and Adri), the Spanish society is, in fact, flood of Maltas all over its geography.

In which yes I agree is in the importance of solidarity between the groups that fight by the rights, the equality and the dignity of people LGTB anywhere in the world, and in individual within the scope of the European Union, that is already our great common country.

by Nemo 02-04-2008 to 20:32

16. Thank you very much, Flick, Mercedes, Fer. And Fer, you do not doubt ot even for a moment that also in Malta it must of having gais that they prefer to try that the homófobos throw some caramel to them (in exchange for the services that renders to them) to support to those who their dignity and its freedom defend. In all the sites it must of having them, but in reality they are quite irrelevant people, and I believe that here in DM in general we tend to give an excessive attention to them.

by Nemo 02-04-2008 to 20:41

17. Uncle and adri: first of all, I send many spirits to you. I also grew in a small town, and she cost to me much to accept that he was gay. Soon I went it saying little by little to people of my surroundings, friends, relatives, fellow workers. I had liked braver and to be decided, not to have lost so many non-recoverable years of my vida… but good, I managed to leave there. You also will leave: I wish the greater happiness you. A greeting.

by Nemo 02-04-2008 to 20:48

18. In agreement with post but the English is spoken by most of the population of Malta and is language Co-official of the country.

by Armel 02-04-2008 to 23:42

19. Certain, Armel, but in the space of a column does not fit everything. Since I have mentioned already in my answer to Guillermo (commentary of the 20:19), 76% of malteses the English speech with certain fluidity (although reason why I have been able to observe, the majority are far from being bilingual). That yes, maltés is the language that one listens habitually in the streets, the buses, the bars and restaurantes… The English also is coofficial, and is the language in which all the labels of the malteses commerce are written almost. The truth is that the situation (and the history) sociolingüística of Malta are quite peculiar, and offers many points of interest.

by Nemo 02-04-2008 to 23:59

20. Not only in the small towns, I live in Madrid and I do not know if he will be by my edad(casi 17) or why, but nowadays is even difficult.
By the way, “tio”; I have added you to msn.