Untying the hangman’s noose

IranNooseDecember 27, 2013 — In Iran,  homosexuality carries the death penalty and  the penalty is carried out by hanging.  (Click here for a Huffington Post 2012 report.) No surprise then that one of the most moving scenes in a new visual poem, “I,”  by Iranian author J.D. Kamran occurs when Iranian gay men and Iranian lesbian women take a hangman’s noose into their hands and untie it.  Then they play jump rope, visually asserting what we all know to be true: gender knows no boundaries of play, just as love knows no boundaries of outdated law.

(Click here for the Persian You-Tube video.  Or click here for the English version.)

Kamran writes:

I have always been here,
Not on the gallows! Not in death! I have always been here, in life.

Thanks to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for supporting the work of LGBT activists in Iran. The IGLHRC will soon be publishing manuals in Persian to be used by media, activists, and human rights attorneys. Meanwhile, LGBT folks in Iran rely on mobile devices and the Internet — not only to get their stories out but to know that they are not alone. I have to admit that when I stumble across folks like these on the new international social media available — yes, even those “who’s nearby” or not  apps — I’m stunned at their courage.


The pent-up demand for marriage

December 17,2013:  A little more than a year ago, lesbians and gays in Washington state, where I live, began to be able to marry. Now word comes that roughly one out of every six Washington marriages since that time are between men or women of the same sex.  The most recent info from the state Health Department actually only covers ten months from last December until this past September. In  that time 7,071 same-sex couples legally married.

One of the first same-sex couples married in Seattle, leaving City Hall. Wikicommons photo

Compare that to the 2010 census, in which final estimates were that 19,000 same-sex households existed in Washington state, with about 3,000 of the folks in those households already married (presumably in states where it had already been legalized, or in Canada). The figures on new Washington state marriages means that about half of same-sex couples here have now legally married.

Wow! That was fast.

A health department spokesman told local radio station KPLU that Continue reading The pent-up demand for marriage

India heads backward

India has disappointingly returned to the ranks of nations that not only criminalize gay sex, but do so using an antiquated, vague legal definition of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” imposed by the colonial British in 1861.

Flag_of_IndiaThe section of the penal code involved, Section 377, is the same that has been at recent issue in other former British colonies in Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, and Myanmar/Burma. In fact, Section 377’s wording and numbering was either adopted directly or served as the model for criminalizing homosexuality in more than 30 of the roughly 70 nations that still do so.  In India, as in Burma, the section makes sex “against the order of nature” punishable with 10 years in prison. Other nations add even more extreme punishment. Malaysia’s Section 377 specifies up to 20 years imprisonment along with whipping.

The Delhi High Court had struck Section 377 down in 2009 in the case of Naz Foundation v Govt of NCT of Delhi. The Delhi decision decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults, saying

Continue reading India heads backward