Thursday, 31 December 2009

Times: New Year greetings from AD

Wednesday, 30th December 2009 - 11:32CET

Alternattiva Demokratika has expressed its best wishes for the New Year to all residents of Malta and Gozo.

AD chairman Michael Briguglio said:

"In such times of joy let us all show our solidarity to the most underpriviledged persons in society, including those living in poverty, those who are socially excluded from civil or human rights, and those who face hardships such as physical and mental illness, loneliness and discrimination.

"Solidarity should be universal towards all, irrespective of characteristics such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation," he said.

AD also appealed for more awareness on the protection of animals.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times website.]

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Times: First gay marriage in Latin America

Argentinians José Maria Di Bello (right) and his partner Alex Freyre.
Photo: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

Two men from Argentina have become the first homosexuals to legally marry in heavily Roman Catholic Latin America, after the governor of southernmost Tierra del Fuego province let them wed.

"We got married today in Ushuaia," the windswept provincial capital, an exultant Alex Freyre told the Todos Noticias news channel in Buenos Aires by telephone yesterday.
"It is a dream come true for us. We are completely moved, and so happy for what this means for all gays and lesbians in Argentina," Mr Freyre added.

Witness Claudio Morgano, president of the national anti-discrimination institute, called the civil marriage a "historic occasion".

The wedding came a week after Mexico City lawmakers voted to allow gay marriages, in another first for Latin America. The change is not yet in effect there.

Though the Argentine civil code does not recognise same-sex marriages, a court had approved the wedding of Alex Freyre, 39, and JoséMaria Di Bello, 41, before it was challenged pending the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal.

Tierra del Fuego Governor Fabiana Rios authorised yesterday's wedding after a civil registrar had refused to officiate earlier this month.

No Latin American country recognizes gay marriages but Mexico City's legislature approved them last week - to be held starting in February - in a controversial first for the traditionally conservative region.

A group of Roman Catholic lawyers said on Monday in Mexico City that they would carry out "peaceful resistance" in the courts to gay weddings.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: Malawi police arrest gay couple after wedding

Tuesday, 29th December 2009 - 11:16CET by Reuters

Two Malawian men were arrested and charged with public indecency, police said today, after becoming the first gay couple to marry in the conservative southern African state where homosexuality is illegal.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza publicly wed in a symbolic, traditional ceremony on Saturday.

"We arrested them last night at their home and charged them with gross public indecency because
the practice is against the law," police spokesman, Dave Chingwalu, told Reuters.

Homosexuality is banned in Malawi and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Times: First gay wedding in Latin America

Tuesday, 29th December 2009 - 07:22CET

[Click here to watch the Video: Reuters]

Two Argentinian men have wed in Latin America's first gay marriage.

Tierra del Fuego provincial spokesman Eduardo Porter said the wedding between Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre took place at the civil registry in Ushuaia.

Their marriage plans in Buenos Aires earlier this month were thwarted when city officials refused to marry them because of conflicting rulings.

An official representing the federal government's antidiscrimination agency attended the wedding. Claudio Morgado called today's marriage "historic".

Argentina's Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to state and city officials.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times website.]

MaltaStar: Gay couple first to marry in South America


Two Argentine men have defied national law to wed in Latin America's first same-sex marriage.

The couple were helped by a provincial governor who ignored a court ruling earlier this month which blocked their plans for marriage.

Alex Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, were married in the southern Argentine city of Ushuaia in a small ceremony.

"We're extremely excited and happy about what this means for all gays and lesbians in Argentina," Mr Di Bello said.

"We weren't going to give up until we married," Mr Freyre added.

The men were granted a marriage licence by a judge in Buenos Aries in November which allowed the couple to wed in the capital.

It contradicts the national policy which continues to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Mr Freyre and Mr Di Bello - who are both HIV positive - had planned to marry on December 1, World Aids Day.

But a federal judge overturned the wedding decision and ordered it suspended.

The couple travelled to Ushuaia in the province of Tierra del Fuego where they were given residency by the governor, who upheld the previous decision allowing them to marry.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on MaltaStar's website.]

Monday, 28 December 2009

Times: Let Me Marry


This article was published in Style on Sunday (Issue 05 - December 2009) - a quarterly high-end magazine distributed for free with The Sunday Times of Malta.

JOANNE CASSAR, who was banned from getting married following gender reassignment surgery, speaks to MIRIAM DALLI about her ordeal and her strong determination to never give up on her right to marry....

“I had everything, but it was all taken away from me.” This is Joanne Cassar's first painful reaction when asked about the recent Civil Court (First Hall) decision that banned her from marrying, even though she is now legally recognised as female.

I met Joanne at her hair salon in Fgura. The 28-year-old, who was born a male, is today a beautiful woman with a determined character and a sparkle in her eyes that esposes the ordeal that she is going through. Joanne is currently involved in a Costitutional Court Case in which she asked to be granted the right to marry. Joanne was legally declared a female at the age of 23, following gender reassignment surgery which she describes as extremely difficult and risky. She was informed that there was no guarantee that the operation would be successful and that she was potentially risking her health, her mobility and, terrifying, even her life.

“I was ready to run that risk,” Joanne explains resolutely. “I would have rather died as a woman than lived entrapped all my life in the body of a man. I felt abnormal. I was afraid to face people. They used to insult me and pick on me and I was always unhappy with myself.”

When thinking back on her surgery, Joanne emotionally recounts the suffering she endured until she successfully managed to save the ¢10,450 required to complete the surgery in the UK. “If I had had the money beforehand I would have done the surgery earlier,” she continues. “When I opened my eyes after it was done I felt free. Now I am truly a woman, the way I have always wanted myself to be.” Thankfully, the surgery was successful and following a painful recovery period Joanne filed a court application to have her gender officially changed to "female" on her birth certificate. The court upheld the request, allowing her documents, including her Identity Card to reflect who she felt she was - a woman.

Having a long term boyfriend who was always by her side, Joanne wanted to settle down and build a future with the man she loved. “I wanted to get married because I truly loved my boyfriend, and I believed that I had a right to marry, just like any other girl. I wanted to walk out of my mother¹s house, wearing a wedding gown and marry the man I loved, fulfilling my dream. Why was I to be different?”. However the road ahead was not easy. The Director of the Public Registry (DPR) refused to issue the marriage banns and Joanne had to file an application asking the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction) to order the issuing of the banns. In Febuary 2007, the Civil Court ordered the DPR to issue the marriage banns after noting that the union between her and her boyfriend did not contravene any provision of the marriage act.

“On 12 Febuary, my lawyers told me that the court had ordered the banns to be issued. It was the happiest day of my life! I could finally marry the man I loved and my right was recognised. However, I paid a very sour price for my happiness in the following days and weeks.” A few days later the DPR asked the court to revoke the previous judgement which permitted the marriage banns to be issued. Then, in May 2008, the Civil Court (First Hall) overturned the previous ruling and upheld the requests of the DPR. The Court declared that the change in Joanne¹s birth certificate, allowing a change of name and gender, was only intended to protect her right to privacy and to avoid embarrassment, and did not give her the right to be considered a woman for marriage purposes. The Court added that Joanne¹s marriage to a man would be in breach of the Marriage Act.

“From then onwards my life changed completely. Everything that I had painstakingly built over the years collapsed before my eyes. I lost my boyfriend because of all the stress we were going through and I ended up single. I was afraid of how people would look at me and whether they would ever accept me for who I am.”

Initially devasted by what happened, Joanne is today more resolute than ever to keep up the fight for her right to marry. Her family and friends, who have supported her all along, are all by her side. “I will never give up,” she says, “Even though, today, I am no longer in a relationship, I want what is mine by right. I was given a right to marry and then it was simply taken away from me. I cannot understand why. I am a Maltese citizen and I think I have legal rights, like everyone else. If the courts recognised me as a woman, I can't see why my legal rights have to be restricted.”

Defence lawyers Dr Josè Herrera and Dr David Camilleri are stating that if Joanne has been recognised by our Courts as a female, such recognition should apply unequivocally for all her legal rights and not be limited only for protection of privacy purposes. The law states that a person can “bring an action for an annotation regarding the particulars relating to sex which have been assigned to him or her in the act of birth”. It does not specify that such annotation can be requested only for the sake of protection and privacy.

Meanwhile Gabi Calleja from the Malta Gay Rights Movement stated that MGRM strongly supports Joanne¹s right to marry. “The Malta Gay Rights Movement expressed its outrage at the decision taken by the Civil Court (First Hall) which determined that a previous decision by the Courts ordering the issuing of marriage banns should be revoked,” she said.

Illum: L-isbaħ rigal għall-Milied għal Brenda u Doris
20.12.9 minn Julia Farrugia

Imqartas sew fi ġlekk xitwi r-raġel jagħtik l-impressjoni ta’ raġel twajjeb li kull tifel jixtieq ikollu lilu bħala missier jew nannu. Għandu xi ħaġa fih li bħal donnha toffrilek wens. Forsi bla ma jaf jittrasmetti dak li ġarr miegħu għal bosta snin: il-professjoni tiegħu ta’ għalliem twajjeb.
Għandu 63 sena u għal 28 sena sħaħ ħadem ta’ għalliem f’suġġetti differenti, minn xjenza sa inġinerija u oħrajn.
“L-aktar ħaġa li tgħallimt minn dan il-każ kien li l-preġudizzji qiegħdin hemm għal xejn,” jistqarr Louis Cardona. “Il-preġudizzji ħlief inkwiet ma jaqilgħux. Brenda u Doris taw prova li jistgħu jgħixu f’armonija minkejja dak kollu li jista’ jgħid ħaddieħor.”
Brenda u Doris huma ż-żewġ persuni li din il-gazzetta laqqgħetkom magħhom fit-tieni ħarġa ta’ din il-gazzetta lura f’Novembru 2006.
Brenda, persuna transgender, wara ħafna snin taħbi l-emozzjonijiet tagħha u tgħix ta’ raġel, kixfet l-identità veru tagħha u bdiet tgħix ta’ mara. Iż-żwieġ kien b’saħħtu u f’każ deskritt minn ħafna bħala uniku, Doris, mart Brenda, għarfet tħaddan il-wegħda li għamlet fuq l-artal “sa mal-mewt tifridna”. Sal-lum twieżen lil Brenda f’kull pass li tagħmel.
Iżda l-problemi kienu ħafna. L-aktar marbuta ma’ impjieg hekk kif il-maġġoranza jew għalqulha l-bieb jew kellhom ilsien ħażin b’kummenti dispreġġattivi jew diskriminatorji.
Din is-sena fil-gazzetta Illum Brenda għamlet appell biex xi ħadd jagħtiha ċans taħdem biex tkun tista’ tgħix ħajja diċenti u taqla’ għajxien biex tkun tista’ tiekol hi u Doris u jkunu f’qagħda li jħallsu l-kontijiet dejjem jakkumulaw ta’ dawl u ilma. Illum wegħdet li titfa’ dawl fuq dik il-kumpanija li tieħu dan il-pass u l-ġest sabiħ li għamlet.
Dan hu r-rakkont …
Louis Cardona hu dak il-bniedem li għamel l-ewwel pass. Imma x’ġara eżatt u kif sar jaf bil-każ ta’ Brenda?
“Kien hemm persuna b’kariga għolja ħafna fil-politika li rrakkuntatli kif iltaqgħet mal-istorja ta’ Brenda u li baqgħet immarkata f’moħħha. Din il-persuna staqsietni jekk nistax insibilhom impjieg.
“Inzertajt kellna post għal żewġ impjiegi temporanji. Meta ltaqjt ma’ Brenda rajt quddiemi l-każ ta’ persuna li kellha bżonn l-għajnuna, kważi f’sitwazzjoni ddisprata. Għalija ma jimpurtanix is-sess ta’ persuna, jekk hux transgender jew le. Jien bniedem li dawn l-affarijiet ma jinkwetawni assolutament xejn,” jistqarr Cardona.
“Jien taf minn xiex inbati?” jistaqsini. “L-ipokrezija u nies għażżenin,” jgħidli bi tbissima minn taħt in-nuċċali.
“Meta ġew Doris u Brenda rajt quddiemi persuni intelliġenti, li għalkemm għandhom bżonn l-għajnuna, għandhom fihom il-qilla li jaħdmu u l-esperjenza għaliha. Li laqatni hu li Brenda u Doris huma żewġ persuni saqajhom mal-art u ma dehrux li jridu jieħdu vantaġġ mis-sitwazzjoni. Riedu biss jaħdmu. U x-xogħol jidhru li qed jaħdmuh bil-qalb.”
Nistaqsieh x’inhi l-aktar ħaġa li missitlu qalbu f’dan il-każ.
“Ftit wara li bdew jaħdmu magħna Brenda ġiet tgħidli grazzi. Qaltli li ġieli bilkemm kien ikollhom biex jixtru x’jieklu. Qaltli ‘illum l-ewwel darba li stajna nieklu normali u li stajna nibdew inħallsu l-kont tad-dawl’. Dak il-mument laqatni,” jgħid r-raġel.
Cardona jistqarr li l-akbar xewqa tiegħu hi li kieku jista’ joffri mpjieg dejjiemi għall-koppja.
“Nixtieq li kieku nista’ noffri mpjieg għal dejjem imma kif spjegajt lil Brenda u lil Doris dan hu xogħol li jkopri kampanja pubbliċitarja partikolari għal perjodu limitat u jista’ jispiċċa fi ftit jiem mal-kampanja. Kienet kampanja li ntroduċiet fis-suq lokali l-prodott M150, energy drink popolari ferm barra minn Malta,” jispjega r-raġel.
Qatt kien sema’ dwar każi ta’ persuni transgender?
“Qatt ma kont dħalt fid-dettal. Imma ġieli segwejt programmi u blogs fuq l-internet. Li kien idejjaqni l-mod kif ċerti persuni fis-soċjetà jkunu attakkati u jispiċċaw outcast. Bil-qdusija b’kollox ta’ dan il-pajjiż dawn l-affarijiet jeżistu. U ħażin.
“Nemmen li fid-dinja kulħadd hu ugwali. U kulħadd għandu jkollu ċ-ċans tiegħu li jiżviluppa u jimxi ’l quddiem basta ħadd ma jimponi fuq ħadd, u ħadd ma jdejjaq lil ħadd.”
U kif iħossu Cardona meta jisma’ l-kummenti sbieħ ta’ Brenda u l-mod kif hi tħares lejh?
“Tieħu gost. Sodisfazzjon li taf li stajt għamilt persuna kuntenta. Dan it-tip ta’ ferħ bl-ebda flus ma jista’ jitkejjel.”


F’dawn l-aħħar xhur seħħet xi ħaġa importanti f’ħajtek — sibt xogħol? Kemm int ferħana u xi jfisser għalik li sibt impjieg?
Iva, seħħ ħafna f’ħajti, grazzi għall-kumpanija International Merchants Ltd u t-team tal-management kollu nista’ ngħid li erġajt bdejt ngħix! Sibt impjieg li permezz tiegħu qed ngħixu ħajja normali bħal ħaddieħor.
Barra minn hekk qed jimpjegaw miegħi lill-partner tiegħi ukoll. Qed nagħmlu xogħol li jlaqqagħna ma’ ħafna nies, nagħmlu l-ħbieb u fl-istess ħin inwassal messaġġ li jien persuna bħal kulħadd, xejn differenti.

Spjegali ftit, kif ġiet din l-opportunità?
Jiena, bħal ma taf int, kont ili niltaqa’ ma’ nies u nitkellem fuq is-sitwazzjoni tiegħi, jew aħjar tagħna. Fl-aħħar iltqajt ma’ persuna prominenti li aċċertatni li se tagħmel minn kollox biex tgħinni. U hekk ġara għax wara ftit taż-żmien irċevejt telefonata biex immur għal interview. Spiċċajna li kemm jien kif ukoll Doris il-partner tiegħi sibna mpjieg għax min ħaddimna kellu bżonn żewġ impjegati għall-istess xogħol. Bdejna naħdmu u għal qalbna ħafna.

X’inhu x-xogħol ġdid tiegħek?
Ix-xogħol ġdid tiegħi hu li nippromwovi l-prodotti tal-kumpanija. Bħalissa għandna kampanja għaddejja fuq energy drink u xogħli hu li mmexxih ’l quddiem flimkien ma’ prodotti oħra tal-kumpanija.

Kif laqgħek l-imgħallem il-ġdid tiegħek? U għalik u għal Doris xi jfisser dan il-bniedem ġdid f’ħajjitkom?
Mhux imgħallem għandna, imma missier. Veru jirrispettana u jaf x’toffri l-ħajja.
Vera napprezzaw dak kollu li għamel magħna – il-familja kollha tiegħu tirrispettana. Anke jien u nikteb dawn it-tweġibiet qabiżli d-dmugħ. Qed insir aktar emozzjonali. Nibki bil-ferħ għax fl-aħħar sibt lil min jifhimni.

Ghalik il-Milied se jkun differenti issa li għandkom xi ħaġa tal-flus dieħla?
Ovvjament li se jkollna Milied differenti. Xejn speċjali, taf, imma din is-sena pereżempju, armajna ftit id-dar, ħriġna l-Bambin u Doris minn kmieni bdiet tagħmel il-logs tal-Milied.
Din is-sena kemm id-dar kif ukoll aħna personali fina l-ispirtu tal-Milied li hu vera xi ħaġa tajba u tagħmilna ferħanin.

Tiddeskrivih bħala rigal sabiħ tal-Milied?
Iva. Għalina hu l-ikbar rigal tal-Milied li qatt qlajna f’dawn l-aħħar snin.

F’dan ix-xogħol ġdid, kif laqgħuk kollegi oħra? Il-kollegi tax-xogħol? Tal-ġenn! Jirrispettawna, jiċċajtaw magħna, jgħinuna u rispett kbir naraw minnhom. Ma nista’ ngħid xejn ħażin fuqhom, anzi! Nixtieq niltaqa’ ma’ nies bħalhom kull fejn immur għax kieku qatt ma jkolli problemi.

Ġieli kien hemm klijenti li m’aċċettawx is-sitwazzjoni tiegħek?
Le. Sa issa dejjem sibt klijenti li jaħdmu miegħi, anzi. Wara kollox jien immur inbiegħ prodott li hu tajjeb u bi prezz tajjeb ukoll. Fl-aħħar mill-aħħar ma jibqax klijent anzi nsiru ħbieb u jien nagħmel min kollox biex fejn nista’ naqdieh. Wara kollox jien jinteressani l-bejgħ tal-kumpanija. Tmur tajjeb il-kumpanija mmur tajba jien.
Issa tinsiex li jien kont fil-business qabel allura naf x’jiġifieri li jkollok negozju. Kemm jien kif ukoll Doris nippruvaw nagħmlu xogħolna sew bil-limiti tagħna wkoll. M’aħniex perfetti, però dejjem titgħallem tkun aħjar fil-ħajja.

Independent UK: Victory for gay rights in Mexico's Catholic stronghold

Legalisation of same-sex marriages in capital is a first for Latin America

By David Usborne

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Gay people celebrate a law approving same-sex marriage in Mexico City this week


Gay people celebrate a law approving same-sex marriage in Mexico City this week

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The global gay rights movement was yesterday celebrating the passage of a bill in the Mexico City legislature legalising gay marriage, making the huge and overwhelmingly Catholic megalopolis the first territory anywhere in Latin America to put same-sex couples on the same standing as heterosexuals.

The law, which is likely to be signed soon by the city's increasingly high-profile leftist Mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, was passed by a vote of 39 votes to 20 in the city assembly on Monday to loud chants from supporters in the galleries of "Yes, We could. Yes, we could" – words that will become "We do" for some couples early in the new year.

It was a victory not just for gay rights activists in Mexico and across Latin America but also for the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) which has controlled government of the sprawling Mexican capital since 1997. The bill was opposed by members of President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party (PAN), which holds power nationally. Party officials have already vowed to challenge the new city law in the Supreme Court.

As in many – though not all – parts of the world, calls for marriage rights for gays and lesbians have begun to resonate more loudly in Latin America. Civil unions, which fall some way short of outright marriage, have been available to same-sex couples in Mexico City for some years as they are in all of Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia.

Debate on the issue is raging in Argentina meanwhile. Same-sex civil unions were approved in Buenos Aires a full seven years ago. Now, however, the country is awaiting a ruling from the national Supreme Court on the marriage of two men after a lower court judge declared that the government's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. The couple had planned to marry late last month before the wedding was blocked.

Video: Mexico City allows gay marriages

Mexico City, which passed its law in the face of fierce opposition not just from the top ranks of the Catholic Church, joins the seven countries and five US states that offer full marriage rights to gays.

Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium permit gay marriage as well as Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire in the US. (New Hampshire's law comes into effect in 2010).

But while gay rights advocates around the world were toasting Mexico City, none could ignore the sobering counterpoint from another continent, Africa, and specifically Uganda where parliament seems poised to pass a law not only criminalising homosexuality but threatening the death penalty in certain circumstances, for instance if one of the parties is HIV-positive or is under 18 years of age.

A law conferring same-sex marriage rights was passed this month by Washington DC. The city's Mayor, Adrian Fenty, signed it into law last week. Otherwise, however, the year 2009 has been one mostly of disappointment for the gay rights movement in the US. Lawmakers in Maine signed gay marriage into law only to see it overturned by a popular ballot in November. And efforts to push gay marriage through the New York state legislature ended in failure.

For Mayor Ebrard signing the marriage law holds some risk. Regarded as a strong steward of the capital – the population of greater Mexico City exceeds 21 million – he may be positioning himself to run for the Mexican presidency in three years' time. While recent polls showed that residents of the capital were evenly split over gay marriage, the rest of the country remains far more socially conservative and will look askance at the law.

For same-sex couples who witnessed the vote on Monday, it was a moment of pure celebration, however. "This is wonderful," commented Judith Vasquez, a gay rights activist. "Gay couples have effectively been together for years, decades, centuries. But now it is our right." The vote changed the definition of marriage in the city's civil code from being between a man and a woman to the "free uniting of two people".

"For centuries, unjust laws prohibited marriage between whites and blacks or Europeans and [indigenous] Indians," declared PRD representative Victor Romo who voted for the law. "Today all those barriers have come down."

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy Christmas to all the Readers of this blog

Hello All,

I would like to thank the regular readers of this website. has been created in February 2008 and now has now just over 900 articles and counting.

During this period over 24,000 people from 138 countries visited this website and their average stay was over 3 and a half minutes. I would like to thank you all for your loyalty and feedback.

Christmas is a time to be with our loved ones, family and closest friends, and this is what we aim for, to have our love respected by our fellow citizens and recognised by the State because there is nothing wrong in gay love and we don't harm anyone.

I want to live in a society where people of different beliefs can live side by side in harmony without one group spreading hatred against another. I don't think we're asking too much.

I hope you enjoy the video below with a nice message against homophobia.

Have a nice Christmas and a Wonderful New Year.

Dr Patrick Attard


YouTube: Voeux de Noël 2009 - Sensitif

Sensitif présente ses voeux 2010 en relayant le message de KISS-IN contre l'homophobie (voir leur site pour plus d'info) ... ce montage est rythmé sur la chanson de Thomas Anders ...

with images of the Parisian KISS-IN event (Decembre 12th 2009) Sensitif and myself are wishing you all a merry Xmas and a happy kiss full 2010 ...

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

It-Torċa: Ittra miftuħa lill-Isqfijiet...
minn Midneb, Birkirkara

Għeżież Isqfijiet,

“Jien mhux lill-ġusti ġejt insejjaħ, iżda lill-midinbin għall-indiema.” (Lq 5, 32). Kliem Ġesù fis-sejħa tiegħU lil Levi (Mattew) biex ikun wieħed mit-tnax.

Qed nikteb din l-ittra miftuħa lill-Isqfijiet tagħna wara li fl-aħħar Ħadd ta’ Novembru smajt l-ittra pastorali tal-Avvent Imqaddes. Ħawditni mhux ħażin forsi għax fil-limitazzjoni tiegħi ma fhimtx l-ittra kollha jew xi partijiet minnha. Napprezza għaldaqstant li l-Isqfijiet jiċċaraw sew x’riedu jgħidu. Għax dak li kitbu la jirrifletti ittri pastorali li nkitbu fl-passat, partikolarment dawk bi tħejjija għall-Avvent u r-Randan, u lanqas jirrifletti dak li - nerġa’ ntenni fil-limitazzjonijiet tiegħi - fhimt li għallem u wettaq fil-prattika Ġesù.

L-ittra ħassejtha weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ dawk li spiċċaw vittma taċ-ċirkostanzi li jinsabu fihom. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ dawk li għandhom għatx għal Kristu iżda jħossuhom mitlufa. Jixtiequ jerġgħu lura iżda mhux faċli jsibu min verament jgħinhom jagħmlu dan biex jersqu mill-ġdid lejn il-Mulej Ġesù. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ persuni li ż-żwieġ tagħhom sfaxxa fix-xejn u llum - għax konvinti mill-fidi tagħhom - minkejja xewqathom, mhumiex lesti li jibnu relazzjoni ġdida għax finalment iż-żwieġ tagħhom għadu fis-seħħ.

Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ bosta emarġinati li jixtiequ jerġgħu jiltaqgħu mal-Mulej iżda hu diffiċli għalihom. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ xi ħadd bħall-ambaxxatur Amerikan għal Malta li ma jħalluhx jitqarben. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ tant żgħażagħ li għax esprimew ruħhom inkwetati dwar il-multikulturaliżmu kienu ttimbrati u mgħajjrin razzisti minn xi membri tal-Kleru. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ dawk il-ġenituri fi stat ta’ koabitazzjoni imma jixtiequ jgħammdu lit-trabi tagħhhom. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ dawk is-single mothers li kien u insolentati fuq il-mezzi tax-xandir li tagħhom mhijiex familja. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ min spiċċa vittma ta’ abbużż minn saċerdoti iżda jibża’ jitkellem. Weġgħa fil-qalb ta’ persuni omosesswali.

Nemmen li l-Knisja hi konxja ta’ dawn il-persuni iżda madankollu l-Isqfijet ħarġu ittra selettiva bħal li kieku jridu joħolqu Knisja Puritana. Għaliex għażilt dan l-aġġettiv? Għax l-Isqfijiet, jew min kitbilhom l-ittra, jidher li għażlu hekk huma stess, l-aktar meta jikkwotaw lil Kristu li “ġie fid-dinja biex iġib il-firda.” Din il-kwotazzjoni saret barra mill-kuntest li fih tkellem ġesù. Skont it-tagħlim Kattoliku dan il-vers aktar kien ifisser iċ-ċaħdiet li jagħmel il-vokat biex jinfataħam mill-rabtiet familjari u l-ġid materjali ħalli jsegwi l-vokazzjoni tiegħu. żgur mela li l-iskop ta’ din l-iperbola letterarja fl-Evanġelu mhux biex issir xi selezzjoni tas-sikrana mill-qamħ. Din jagħmilha biss l-Imħallef fl-Aħħar Jum.

Ġesù lil dawn in-nies ma jwarrabhomx iżda Hu jiġri warajhom bħal meta qal lil Żakkew “isa, inżel minn hemm, għax illum jeħtieġli noqgħod għandek.” (Lq 19, 5). Anke l-fatt li jsejħilna b’isimna, kif għamel lil Żakkew, huwa sinjal ta’ ħbiberija għax Hu konvint mill-għatx li aħna għandna għaliH. Il-midneb huwa msejjaħ b’ismu biss minn dak biss li huwa konvint mill-ħniena li jista’ joffrilu. Ħadd ħlief Kristu.

Ġesù jurina li l-veru wiċċ tal-Missier hu dak li kif jara l-iben il-ħali ġej mill-bogħod jitlaq hu jiġri għalih u mhux joqgħod jistennieh jiġi. U mhux hekk biss, iżda jikkoreġi b’imħabba lill-iben il-kbir li tkaża b’aġir missieru. Dan Ġesù jagħmlu minħabba l-fariżej u s-saduċej li “igemgmu bejniethom u jgħidu li għand wieħed midneb daħal jistrieħ.” (Lq 19, 7). Ġesù, iżda, ma jagħtix kas “għax Bin il-Bnie-dem ġie jfittex u jsalva l-mit-luf.” (Lq 19, 10).

L-ittra pastorali fil-limitazzjoni tal-ħsieb tiegħi qiegħda tmur kontra dak li għallem u wettaq fil-prattika Ġesù. L-Isqfijiet bħal Ġesù jridu jsejħu lil Żakkewijiet biex jinżlu minn fuq is-siġra għax jeħtiġilhom joqogħdu għandhom, u mhux jindirizzaw biss b’mod speċjali lil dawk li jgemgmu bejniethom.

Eċċellenza, hijiex forsi din il-veru firda li jrid Ġesù? It-tkeċċija tad-dojoq li jilagħbuha ta’ qalbhom safja u mhux l-esklużjoni mill-Knisja tal-mi-dinbin u l-emarġinati. Iżda mhux hekk jidher li fehemuha dawk li kitbulkom il-pastorali. Dawn, bi skuża tal-pudur u r-rispett uman, bħallikieku jridu jkeċċu ’l barra mill-Knisja l-massa li qiegħda tħammril-hom wiċċhom. L-istess bħall-Ap-postli li stħaw mill-Im-għallem tagħhom għax qagħad ħdejn is-Sammaritana, għax kiel għand il-midinbin, għax issallab bejn żewġ kri-minali.

Kristu stess qal li għandu “nagħaġ oħra, li m’humiex minn dan il-maqjel; lilhom ukoll jeħtieġ li niġbor, u huma jisimgħu leħni, u jkun hemm merħla waħda, ragħaj wie-ħed.” (ġw 10,16).

Verament nittama li l-Isqfijiet isegwu l-parir ta’ saċerdot ieħor, Fr Joe Borg, li qal lill-Arċisqof Cremona biex il-ballun jieħdu f’saqajh. Jew inkella talanqas kunu kawti dwar min jiktbilkom l-ittri pastorali u ħallu f’idejn saċerdoti oħrajn bħal Fr Joe Borg biex jagħtuha l-aħħar titwila għax hu veru espert tal-midja u allura jaf kif għandu jitqiegħed id-diskors biex il-Knisja ma tkunx miżinterpre-tata bħalma ġralha meta ħarġet dokumenti oħrajn dan l-aħħar.

Ninsab ċert li l-iskop tagħkom, għeżież Isqfijiet, ma kienx li teskludu. Anzi bil-maqlub. Imma jiddispjaċini ngħid li hekk fehmuha ħafna nies li wara dil-pastorali ħarġu mill-knisja xxokkjati determinati li ma jersqu qatt aktar.

Times: Create bridges, not division

Sunday, 20th December 2009 by Carmen Caruana, LGBT Labour, Żurrieq

As a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) network, we would like to express our disappointment at the comments made by Imam Mohamed El Sadi, whereby he not-so-subtly compared homosexual relationships to those between animals and human beings, and blamed the LGBT community for all or most of the world's ills.

The Labour Party's LGBT network reiterates that it fully respects other people's religion, belief and opinion but it expects leaders and representatives of other religions in Malta do the same.

While discussing 'respect', we completely fail to understand how a rather vulnerable community that falls prey to discrimination in Malta should discriminate against another minority. We sincerely hope, for the good of both our country and diversity, that these comments will not be repeated in an open and democratic society such as Malta's, where the values of respect and tolerance are so important.

Consequently, we firmly believe that the Imam should issue an immediate apology to the LGBT community, their families and friends.

Although we consider these comments to be very strong, homophobic and out of place in a country such as ours, instead of creating division, we still wish to learn how to create bridges with people of good faith.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

See also:

Times: Introducing divorce: What's the hurry?

Tuesday, 22nd December 2009 by Reuben Bonello, Rabat

A section of the press asked why is the Church against divorce when Jesus Christ was in favour?

Does the writer know that St Thomas Moore, who was a lawyer and chancellor of the king, had his head chopped off because he refused to accept divorce laws for the king of England.

The Leader of the Opposition wants a Bill to introduce divorce if the Nationalist Party gives a free vote to its members in Parliament, which I hope it will not.

After divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage might follow.

Faced as we are with budget problems, why so much hurry to introduce divorce? Has the Labour Party calculated how many millions of euros it will cost the Maltese taxpayer?
I appeal to Catholics to express themselves against this continuous pro-divorce brainwashing. Divorcees should not be given a Church funeral.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said that those who leave their wife and espouse another is guilty of adultery and if a women leaves her husband and espouses another, she will be guilty of adultery (MK10.11.12).

Those who are in favour of divorce go against the teachings of Christ.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

Friday, 18 December 2009

European Greens: EU Parliament condemns proposed death penalty for homosexuality in Uganda

PRESS RELEASE - Strasbourg, 17 December 2009

The European Parliament has today adopted a resolution condemning a planned law in Uganda that would make homosexuality punishable by death and would impose prison terms of up to three years for any person who fails to report (within 24 hours) the identities of everyone they know who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

UK Green MEP Jean Lambert commented:
"I am profoundly shocked by the parliamentary bill in Uganda, which proposes to introduce the death penalty for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and imprisonment for those who do not denounce others. The proposal in the Ugandan Parliament goes against the most fundamental principles of human rights and democracy. It is indefensible to threaten people's lives on grounds of who they are.

I welcome Parliament's condemnation of the proposed law and call for the EU to take a strong stance on worrying developments elsewhere. In Rwanda, amendments have been submitted to the penal code with a view to criminalise homosexuality as well as any activity of promotion and sensitisation on the issue."
Austrian Green MEP Ulrike Lunacek, Greens/EFA foreign affairs spokesperson and Co-President of the EP's LGBT Intergroup, commented:

"I am very pleased that the European Parliament has condemned Uganda's plan to introduce the death penalty on grounds of sexual orientation. The anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda is a legal assault against human dignity. It also stands in clear contradiction to international human rights provisions to which Uganda has signed up, including in the Cotonou Agreement with the EU.

I will use all my contacts to Uganda in order to prevent the bill from becoming law. Homosexuality is not "un-African" as some African leaders claim, but has been and will be a universal feature of human life. LGBT people need protection and acceptance, not hate legislation."

Chris Coakley
Press Officer
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament
Tel: Brussels +32 2 2841667 / Strasbourg +33 3 88174375;
Mobile: +32-485-241622; Fax: 0032 2 2844944

MaltaToday: The unholy war [Gonzi vs Mintoff in the 1960's]

Published in a collection of MaltaToday editions in September 2005
by Michaela Muscat

The notorious ‘interdett’ is part of a tragic episode in Maltese history when the island was split between the competing aspirations of the Malta Labour Party and the Catholic Church for the future of the island beyond colonialism.

[You can read the collection of articles here:

Click here to read the pastoral letter issued by Mgr Gonzi against the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1972.]

Thursday, 17 December 2009

L-Orizzont: Id-diskriminazzjoni f’Malta tibqa’ ma titrażżanx

17.12.9 minn Ufficcju Informazzjoni u Media tal-GWU

Ftit ilu l-Ewrobarometru lesta studju li kien għamel bejn Mej ju u Ġunju li għaddew dwar id-diskriminazzjoni għas-sena 2009 fis-27 pajjiż tal-Unjoni Ewropea. Dan l-istudju wera, b’fomm il-Maltin stess li ġew in tervistati, li d-diskriminazzjoni għadha rampanti f’mill-inqas erba’ oqsma fejn matul iż-żmien ftit li xejn sar biex din is-sitwazzjoni tiġi rimedjata.

Skont dan ir-rapport, id-diskriminazzjoni f’pajjiżna għadha tinħass sew u taqbeż sostanzjalment il-medja tal-Unjoni Ewropea fir-rigward tal-oriġini etnika u l-orjentazzjonmi sesswali, filwaqt li d-diskriminazzjoni f’pajjiżna fir-rigward ta’ età, di żabilità u ugwaljanza bejn is-sessi, għalkemm għadha għolja xorta hija kemm kemm inqas mill-medja tal-Unjoni Ewropea.

Dak li rriżulta mill-istudju tal-Ew robarometru huwa ta’ min jixtarru għax għandu għal xiex iħasseb billi juri li l-isforzi li qegħdin isiru f’pajjiżna biex id-diskriminazzjoni f’kull forma titnaqqas għadhom mhux qegħdin jilħqu l-għanijiet tagħ hom kemm suppost.

F’pajjiżna ilna mhux ħażin nippriedkaw li l-opportunita jiet ikunu indaqs u l-istess għal kulħadd. Saħansitra għaddejna liġi u tajniha dan l-istess isem, iżda minkejja din il-liġi għadna ferm bogħod biex ngħidu li lħaqna dak li trid il-liġi. Għax għadna nisimgħu b’diversi każi fejn l-opportunitajiet mhumiex ikunu indaqs u aċċessibbli għal kulħadd l-istess.

Jekk insemmu s-sitwazzjoni tal-persuni b’diżabilità, li skont ir-rapport tal-Ewrobarometru d-dis kri minazzjoni f’dan il-qa sam tpoġġiet fir-raba’ post wara l-etniċità, l-orjentazzjoni sesswali u l-età, insibu li l-liġi dwar l-opportunitajiet indaqs qiegħda tiġi injorata kontinwament billi sidien ta’ postijiet tax-xogħol ma jħaddmux magħhom persuni b’diżabilità.

Jiġifieri anke f’dan il-qasam, mhux imbilli ngħaddu l-liġijiet u minn fuq noqogħdu niftaħru kemm qegħdin nieħdu ħsieb dawk bi bżonnijiet speċjali meta mbagħad bil-liġijiet u l-ftaħir kollu s-sitwazzjoni għal bosta persuni tibqa’ ma tinbidilx.

L-istess fis-suq tax-xogħol. Id-diskriminazzjoni mhux talli mhix tonqos iżda donnu jidher li qiegħda ssir aktar rampanti. Għax għad hawn sidien ta’ pos tijiet tax-xogħol li ma jiddejqu xejn jiddiskriminaw anke sa ħansitra dwar l-orjentazzjoni sess wali tal-individwu. Dan fih innifsu mhux biss jikkwalifika għal diskriminazzjoni imma agħar minn hekk, għat-tkasbir tad-drittijiet tal-bniedem.

Imbagħad hemm ukoll diskriminazzjoni ma taqta’ xejn ma’ ħaddiema, sew Maltin u anke barranin, li mhumiex organizzati fi trejdunjin. Dawn għad­hom imċaħħdin minn kull protezzjoni soċjali u qegħdin jiġu sfruttati fil-kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol li mhumiex denji għad-dinjità tal-bniedem fis-seklu 21.

Ħafna drabi dawn il-ħaddiema jiġu anke mheddin bl-im pjieg tagħhom biex iżommu bogħod mit-trejdunjins. U dan qed jiġri anke minkejja li l-Kos­tituzzjoni Repubblikana ta’ paj jiżna, li nhar il-Ħadd li għadda ċċelebrajna l-35 anniversarju tagħ ha, tipproteġi l-prinċipju u d-dritt tal-libertà tal-assoċjazzjoni. Diskriminazzjoni agħar minn din ftit issib meta jitqies li l-kostituzzjoni hija suprema fil-protezzjoni tad-drittijiet fundamentali tal-bniedem.

Dawn huma ftit mill-każi fejn id-diskriminazzjoni hija eviden ti f’paj jiżna llum. Nittamaw li l-istħarriġ tal-Eurobarometer iser vi biex paj jiżna jixpruna lilu nnifsu u jiġġieled bis-serjetà l-ġlieda kontra d-dis kriminazzjo ni fil-forom kollha tagħ ha.

Jekk pajjiżna ma jagħmilx hekk se jibqa’ jkollna aktar nies diskri minati u sfruttati u allura nku nu qegħdin nidħqu bina nfusna meta ngħidu li f’Malta l-opportunitajiet huma ndaqs u l-istess għal kulħadd.

Se tiddaħħal id-Direttiva dwar is-Servizzi

Il-pajjiżi kollha tal-Unjoni Ew ropea jridu jimplimentaw sat-28 ta’ dan ix-xahar id-Diret tiva dwar is-Servizzi.

Skont il-Kummissjoni Ewropea, din id-di rettiva għandha trendi l-ħajja eħfef għan-negozji li jipprovdu jew jużaw servizzi fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Dan se jsir billi jitneħħew l-ostakli legali u amministrattivi li se jieħdu ħsieb biex l-aċċess għas-suq ikun aktar facli.

Id-Direttiva dwar is-Servizzi kienet adottata f’Diċembru tal-2006 wara l-kontroversja li kienet qajmet billi kienet tinklu di li x-xogħol portwali jkun jis ta’ jsir ukoll mill-ekwipaġġi tal-vapuri merkantili u mhux biss mill-ħaddiema tax-xatt.

Din id-direttiva, li dakinhar kie net aktar magħrufa bħala l-“Bolkenstein Directive” kienet thedded l-impjiegi tal-ħaddiema tax-xatt fil-portijiet Ewro pej, inkluż ta’ pajjiżna, u alla ħares ma kinux it-trejdunjins Ewropej, fosthom il-GWU, li mmexxijin mill-ETUC kienu rre żistew l-adozzjoni tad-Diret tiva.

Wara dan l-episodju, fejn il-Parlament Ewropew ma kienx approva d-Direttiva, saru attentati oħrajn minn interessi kummercjali biex idgħajfu s-saħħa tat-trejdunjins u taħt l-is kuża tal-kummerċ ħieles, ikun faċilitat l-isfruttament tal-ħaddiema.

Għalkemm, bix-xogħol tal-ETUC u l-ħidma tal-Gruppi tax-Xellug fil-Parlament Ewro pew twaqqfu dak li riedu n-negozjanti l-kbar, xorta waħda sabu lill-Qorti Ewropea tagħtihom palata bid-deċiżjonijiet tagħha f’diversi każi, fosthom il-każ klassiku tal-kumpanija minn Latvja, Laval li ħadet kuntratt ta’ xogħol fl-Isvezja. F’dan il-każ, il-Qorti Ewropea kienet iddeċidiet favur il-kumpanija u ċaħħdet lill-ħaddiema Latvjani mill-kundizzjonijiet tax-xogħol tal-ħaddie ma Svediżi u allura wkoll mill-protezzjoni trejdunjonistika li jgawdu l-ħaddiema fl-Isvezja.

B’dik id-deċiżjoni tal-Qorti Ew ropea, kum paniji u kuntratturi ngħataw id-dritt li jagħ tu lill-ħaddiema tagħhom pagi u kundizzjonijiet tal-pajjiż minn fejn ikunu oriġinaw u mhux dawk tal-pajjiż fejn iku nu qegħdin jaħdmu.

Fi ftit kliem dan ifisser li jekk ħaddiema Maltin jintbagħ tu għal xi żmien jaħdmu f’xi pajjiż ieħor tal-Unjoni Ewropea, il-pagi u l-kundizzjonijiet li jkollhom dawn il-ħaddiema jkunu daqs li kieku baqgħu jaħdmu f’Malta u mhux il-pagi u l-kundizzjonijiet tal-ħaddiema tal-pajjiż li jkunu ntbagħtu jaħdmu fih. Dan ukoll jikkwa lifika għal sfruttament tal-ħaddiema.

Issa, bid-Direttiva tas-Ser vizzi li se tidħol fis-seħħ lejn l-aħħar ta’ din is-sena, kuntratturi barranin jieħdu kuntratti mingħajr irbit tar-regoli lokali u l-pagi u l-kundizzjonijiet iku nu determinati mill-kuntrattur.

Filwaqt li wieħed ma jistax jiċħad il-vantaġġi li d-Direttiva se toħloq biex tiffaċilita l-aċ ċess għal kumpaniji żgħar u daqs medju u għal kuntratturi biex jagħtu servizz f’pajjiż ieħor tal-Unjoni Ewropea, min-naħa l-oħra iżda d-Diretti va ma titkellem xejn dwar il-kun dizzjonijiet u l-protezzjoni tal-ħaddiema. U dan kollu f’isem it-twaqqiegħ tal-barrieri biex is-suq tas-servizzi jkun ħie les mill-irbit u x-xkiel buro kratiku.

Filwaqt li hu veru li hemm direttivi Ewropej oħrajn li jsos tnu l-protezzjoni tal-ħaddiema, b’danakollu, id-de ċiż jo ni jiet tal-Qorti Ewropea ħol qu pre­ċedenti li faċli jkunu ap pli kati minn interessi u negozji u l-vittma jibqa’ jkun dejjem il-ħaddiem.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

[Peter] Tatchell stands down as Green candidate

Brain injuries from Mugabe and Moscow bashings thwart bid to be Oxford East MP
London – 16 December 2009

“It is with great regret and reluctance that I am standing down as the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford East. My brain injuries from the Mugabe and Moscow bashings mean that I would not be able to campaign effectively in the general election or do the duties required of an MP, if I was elected,” human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell announced today.

“It would not be right for me to seek election if I could not do the job of an MP to the high standards that I want and that Oxford East voters have a right to expect.

“If I was elected, I could manage the parliamentary duties or the constituency work. But my health is not strong enough for me to do both.

“This is huge disappointment and frustration. Oxford East is a target Green seat. In the county elections in June, the Greens were neck-and-neck with the Liberal Democrats as the main challenger to Labour. The European elections saw the Greens win in Oxford East, well ahead of Labour, the Lib Dems and the Tories.

“The brain damage caused by Mugabe’s thugs in Brussels in 2001 and by neo-Nazis in Moscow in 2007 has been compounded by head injuries in an accident while I was campaigning in Devon in July. A bus on which I was travelling swerved and braked sharply. I was thrown forward, hitting my head on a metal handrail.

“The injuries don’t stop me from campaigning but I am slower, make more mistakes, get tired easily and take longer to do things. My memory, concentation, balance and coordination have been adversley affected. I can’t campaign at the pace I used to.

“I was selected as the Green Party candidate for Oxford East in April 2007. A month later, I was badly beaten around the head by neo-Nazis during an attempted Gay Pride parade in Moscow.

See here:

“This exacerbated the brain damage caused when I was bashed unconscious by President Mugabe’s bodyguards in Brussels in 2001, after attempting to make a citizen’s arrest of the Zimbabwean leader on charges of torture.

See here:

“Following the Moscow assault, I never rested and recuperated. I carried on campaigning, with a very heavy schedule of commitments in Oxford East. After several months, I was severely exhausted. This stress and exhaustion probably intensified the damage and thwarted my recovery.

“I have postponed making this announcement for several months, in the hope that I might get better and be able to carry on as the Green candidate. Unfortunately, my condition has not improved. If anything, it is worse.

“There is, however, a glimmer of hope for the future. The medical advice is that if I slow down and reduce my workload my condition may improve in a year or so. On the downside, I am unlikely to ever recover fully. Some of the damage is probably permanent.

“I don’t regret a thing. Getting a thrashing and brain injuries was not what I had expected or wanted. But I was aware of the risks. Taking risks is sometimes necessary, in order to challenge injustice. My beatings had the positive effect of helping draw international attention to the violent, repressive nature of the Russian and Zimbabwean regimes. I’m glad of that.

“My physical inconveniences are nothing by comparison to the far worse beatings inflicted on human rights defenders in countries like Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Sudan and Burma. These heroic activists often end up jailed or dead. I count myself lucky.

“The Oxford Green Party expects to select a new parliamentary candidate in January. That person will have my wholehearted support. I intend to campaign with them during the general election.

“I would like to thank members of Oxford Green Party for their immense kindness, support, and generosity during my two and a half years as their candidate. It has been a pleasure working with the Oxford Greens and I wish them future success,” said Mr Tatchell.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

YouTube: Jack & Bobby - Lost Boys

Episode clips from the highly praised "Lost Boys" episode of the critically acclaimed-but-cancelled series "Jack & Bobby". This episode won a GLAAD media award.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Saturday, 12 December 2009

DOI: 61st Anninversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ‘Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination’

Department of Information, Malta, Press Release Number 2134.

Today, the 10th of December the World is commemorating the 61st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. The Declaration adopted 61 years ago affirmed the universal validity of human rights for the very first time. The focus of this year’s anniversary is Non-discrimination.

Commemorating this declaration, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonio Borg issued the following statement:

"Human rights are one of the most precious assets of human civilization. The adoption of the Universal Declaration in 1948 was a signal of hope – hope for a world which lay in ruins following the Second World War. But even today, unfortunately human rights are an unfulfilled promise for many people. Our most difficult task is not to declare yet again how good and important human rights are. What counts are concrete endeavours to close the gap between aspiration and reality in implementing human rights.

This year’s focus on non-discrimination should help politicians and policy-makers to further question the policies adopted by their countries, and ask if these are truly helping to eradicate discrimination, not only in their respective countries but also internationally.

Politicians are obliged to act in order to stop discrimination. We should all work to build a more inclusive society. Discrimination is still rampant in many third world countries, but one should not only look to these countries and stop there. We should always be aware that although in developed countries, laws and rules do exist to combat discrimination; reality sometimes does not always prove to be a correct one. Sometimes discrimination is silent, we might not be aware of it, because those who are suffering do so in silence, and loneliness.

Here I wish to quote the message by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for this year’s anniversary: “Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different.... But these victims of discrimination are not alone. The United Nations is standing with them, committed to defending the rights of all, and particularly the most vulnerable. That is our identity and our mission.”

The Government of Malta is committed to continue combating discrimination. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is already helping out third world countries through its Overseas Development Aid. The Ministry’s commitment for this year will help 9 local NGO’s and philanthropic institutions to deliver projects in third world countries, that will help not only to combat poverty, but also help fight discrimination.”

DOI – 10.12.2009

Thursday, 10 December 2009

PinkNews: Uganda will reportedly drop plans for the execution and life imprisonment of gays.

10.12.9 by Jessica Geen

An 'anti-homosexuality' bill has been passing through the country's parliament but according to news agency Bloomberg, some of the most drastic measures will be removed.

The bill provoked worldwide outrage when it was first tabled. America, the UK and France all expressed concern, as did countless human rights and gay organisations.

Gay rights groups have urged Commonwealth leaders to throw Uganda out of the Commonwealth unless it drops the proposed law.

The minister for ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, reportedly said a more "refined" set of punishments would be favoured instead of execution.

Although it is not clear what this means, he pointed to so-called 'gay cure' therapies, saying the bill would promote counselling for gay people.

Buturo said the modified draft bill would come before parliament within two weeks.

If the provisions for execution and life imprisonment are dropped, the bill still places severe penalties on gay people, their families and those who work for gay organisations.

Other offences include promoting homosexuality, aiding and abetting homosexuality and keeping a house "for purposes of homosexuality".

Some have suggested the bill is so badly written, it could threaten two men who hug with jail terms.

The MP who tabled the bill, David Bahati, has argued his bill will protect children, youths and the "traditional family".

The reported concessions come days after a Swedish minister suggested that aid funds to Uganda could be cut if it persevered with the proposed laws.

Buturo retorted: "It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think."

PinkNews: Austria's parliament legalises civil unions

Austria's parliament has approved legalising civil unions in the country.

Out of 174 lawmakers present, 110 voted in favour and 64 voted against, Associated Press reports.

The law is due to come into force on January 1st. It will provide gay couples with some of the rights and benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

However, it reiterates the ban on gay couples adopting children or using IVF and artificial insemination.

Instead, benefits granted include rights to social security claims, inheritance and court trials.

Gay couples will not be able to hold their ceremonies at civil registry offices, as heterosexual couples do. Instead, they will have to register at the municipal office or the magistrate's office.

YouTube: Gay Education

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Daily Mail: All homosexuals should be stoned to death, says Muslim preacher of hate

Last updated at 12:34 AM on 21st March 2009

All homosexuals should face stoning to death, a Muslim preacher of hate declared yesterday.

Anjem Choudary, the firebrand cleric who wants to see Britain ruled by Sharia law, said such a regime was the only way to fix the country's ills.

Under it, adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning. Asked if that would include anybody - even a Cabinet minister such as Business Secretary Lord Mandelson - Choudary responded with an astonishing diatribe.

Enlarge Choudary

Hate, hate and more hate: Anjem Choudary (centre), flanked by two cohorts, prepares to give a press conference on Friday in which he says homosexuals should be stoned to death

He said: 'If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow. You don't stone to death unless there are four eyewitnesses. It is a very stringent procedure.

'There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.'

Choudary was speaking at a press conference in arranged by Muslim extremists to justify their protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from .

    His incendiary remarks immediately prompted calls for him to be investigated by police. Tory MP Patrick Mercer said: 'These statements show the depravity of this man's beliefs. They must incite hatred and encourage terrorism, and I would encourage the Metropolitan Police to investigate them as rigorously as possible.'

    The Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, said: 'This is appalling. The police should look very closely at what has been said to see if there is any action they should be taking.'

    Contempt: Muslim protesters at Tuesday's parade in Luton

    Contempt: Muslim protesters hurl insults at the homecoming parade of British soldiers in Luton

    Police were not at the press conference but a Scotland Yard spokesman said officers would investigate if a complaint was made.

    Only last week, Choudary, a self-styled 'judge of the Sharia Court of the UK', was defending the shameful protests against soldiers parading through Luton after a tour of duty in Iraq.

    Yet a week ago, the Daily Mail exposed fundamentalist Choudary's student days when he was pictured swigging beer, cavorting with women and puffing on a cannabis joint - offences for which he would be lashed and stoned under his version of Sharia law. Yesterday he sheepishly confessed:

    'Yes, I was not always practising Islam. Certainly in my student days I was not a practising Muslim.'

    Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Mohammedi

    Wake-up call: Omar Bakri has warned of another 7/7-style attack

    Yesterday Choudary, 42, was flanked by two fellow firebrands at the press conference at the Express by Holiday Inn Hotel in Chingford, East London.

    It started with warning from fellow hate cleric Omar Bakri, who warned that Britons should 'wake up before it is too late' or suffer another 7/7 terror attack.

    The preacher threatened that ordinary Muslims living here would rise up and retaliate for the 'evil' acts of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Bakri, banned from Britain four years ago, broadcast his threats from his Lebanon bolthole over a speakerphone.

    In London, sitting alongside Choudary was Ishtiaq Alamgir, another ringleader of the Luton protests, who accused British soldiers of torture, rape and murder. He said: 'Those British soldiers have blood on their hands.'

    A third firebrand, Abu Abdullah, 30, branded the British Government 'tyrannical' and warned: 'Do not relax, do not recline, or you will be touched by the fire of hell.'