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Recent arrests in Egypt have the gay community there very worried, the Guardian reports:r
Activists interviewed by the Guardian said they had documented up to nine raids across the country since October 2013 – an unusually high rate of arrests. Most significantly, at least seven raids have seen people arrested at home rather than at parties or known meeting places, raising concerns that the community is facing the start of a targeted crackdown.
The latest and most concerning raid saw four men seized from their east Cairo apartment on 1 April within hours of signing the lease, according to activists. Within a week, the four were given jail terms of up to eight years – sentences unusual for both their length and the speed at which they were handed down.
No one seems to be sure of the reason behind the increasing arrests but there are a few hypotheses:r
Some think the raids are simply another example of the aggression aimed at all kinds of dissidents in recent months. Also, several of the raids may have been caused by complaints from neighbours, rather than instigated by the state itself.r
...Many wonder if the government wants to assure a largely homophobic Egyptian society that – despite ousting Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer – they can be as conservative as the man they replaced. April's arrests, for instance, came soon after a police chief announced a special taskforce to arrest atheists.r
or...Another explanation is that widespread coverage of the raids would help distract the public from the government's failings – much as the media storm sparked by the 2001 arrest of 52 men at the Queen Boat, a gay nightclub in Cairo, did for Hosni Mubarak's regime.
In one of the most ridiculous segments you'll see this week, Billy on the Street's Billy Eichner gets Community's Joel McHale to compete in the Mo'Lympics, a mini-game show based on the career of Mo'Nique.r
In one part of the game, McHale has to successfully transport Mo'Nique's urine sample across a finish line without spilling any (see above).r
Finally, after succeeding at knocking over a set of bowling pins representing the Oscar nominees Mo'Nique defeated for Best Supporting Actress, Eichner gets sent over the edge when McHale declares his love for Jake Gyllenhaal.r
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...r
BY MANSI CHOKSI / GlobalPostr
The Indian Supreme Court's decision to recriminalize gay sex acts has mobilized many in the LGBT community, and leading political parties are taking notice.r
MUMBAI — When the Indian Supreme Court reinstated a 153-year-old ban on gay sex, reversing a lower court’s decision that it was unconstitutional, something stirred in the stillness around equal rights activist Pallav Patankar (pictured, right).
“It occurred to me that all these years we had worked on a narrow path of judicial reform against Section 377,” he said, referring to the part of the Indian Penal Code drafted in 1850 by British lawmakers to outlaw homosexual acts. “But now, we could no longer afford to be apolitical. I had voted as a student, a professional, as someone who defended women’s rights, but I hadn’t asked what would happen if I looked at myself as a political entity through a queer lens.”
In the first Indian election where the rights of sexual minorities are a political issue, two national parties, the ruling Indian National Congress and the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have included the reading down of Section 377 in their political manifestos.
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is leading the polls, has been silent on Section 377 in its manifesto, but party president Rajnath Singh (pictured, right) has previously described homosexuality as “unnatural” and stated the party’s support for Section 377.
“Gays and lesbians are not criminals, but we are a conservative party that strongly believes in the traditional family structure, and the need to keep our social and moral fabric intact,” said Shaina NC, national executive member and Maharashtra state treasurer of the BJP.
On Tuesday, in a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court allowed the country’s marginalized transgender community to identify as a third gender and directed the government to ensure their equal treatment. It is also the first national election in which transgender people can register to vote under the category of “others.”r
“You’ve got to love India,” said Anuja Parikh, member of support group Gaysi Family. “A minority within a ‘minuscule minority’ gets recognized.” Parikh was referring to the Supreme Court judgment that recriminalized homosexuality and called LGBT people “a minuscule fraction of the population.”
In India, politicians tend to cater to vote banks, offering policies and concessions to those sections that they believe have enough numbers to catapult them to 543 parliamentary seats.
“In order for this invisible community to become invincible, we have to show numbers and politicize ourselves,” said Harish Iyer, an equal rights activist who became a member of AAP.
Sitting in the window seat of a local train, as the city tore past, Iyer, 33, talked about how there was no choice for the community but “to dirty its hands” and begin forming political alliances.
His party had excluded its opposition to Section 377 from its manifesto but later feebly added it when the LGBT community raised a stink.
“We need to fight not only for LGBT people but for all those who want to live their lives without the Indian government peeping in their bedrooms,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Humsafar Trust polled 524 queer and queer supporters and found that a majority favored the Congress Party and the AAP — with 45 percent and 41 percent, respectively — parties that have opposed criminalization of gay sex.
But the survey also showed that a 14 percent portion said they would vote for the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party that has opposed gay rights. The poll was accompanied by a qualitative analysis of the queer Indian voter, which mapped the opinions of 37 queer voters in Mumbai.
In a room scattered with political manifestos, voters were asked to write their political views in one line.
What showed up on flipcharts was a wide spectrum: from views like “Queer rights are not important, national interests should decided whom to vote” to “Regressive and bigoted parties will not get my vote.” Almost half of those who attended were undecided; Congress led with 22 percent of the vote and the rest was equally divided between AAP and BJP who each received 16 percent.
“Because the LGBT community can no longer expect others to fight on our behalf, given the spate of homophobic comments from political leaders and the Supreme Court ruling, it’s crucial that we come together, lobby, and make our voice heard,” said Parikh, the activist with Gaysi Family.
Part of channeling one clear voice for an entire community was to start a conversation. What did the queer voter want? Reading down Section 377 was top priority, followed by laws supporting marriage equality, anti-discrimination, adoption rights and a gender-neutral sexual assault mechanism.
Soon, the room was opened up for debate, and voters were allowed to attack and defend their political views, especially those who supported the BJP.
There was talk of how being Indian came before being gay and that the BJP had proved itself in its states showing better governance, growth and infrastructure.
Some felt the BJP did not defend gay rights publicly only to oppose its rival Congress party.
“At first it confused me to see gay people support a party that believes homosexuality is a crime,” said Patankar, director of the HIV Programs at Humsafar Trust. “One reason is internal homophobia: You don’t like the fact that you’re homosexual and you don’t mind voting for the BJP because you don’t consider queer rights as rights.“
As Patankar spoke in his office at the Humsafar Trust, a young man in a nearby cabin said he hated himself because of his sexual orientation, tears rolling down his face, his gaze fixed into the middle distance.
At the event, after an hour-long debate, the organizers called for a secret ballot, to see if opinions had changed. They found that the section favoring the BJP remained untouched while those who had earlier been undecided sided with the Congress now with 49 percent and AAP with 21 percent.
“We need to talk among ourselves and at some point present these findings to politicians,” Patankar said.
Outside his cabin, near a rainbow flag painted onto a pink wall, a small group had huddled around a computer to discuss how a gay man had been beaten and blackmailed by someone he met on an online dating site. Thumbs anxiously skittered over smartphones to tip off friends who could be possible targets of such hate crimes that had peaked since the Supreme Court ruling.
“The queer struggle is one of the many struggles that fight the inherent discrimination in our social system,” Patankar said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, X-Men director Bryan Singer has been accused of drugging and molesting a 17 year old boy in the late 90s:
The plaintiff is Michael F. Egan III, a Nevada resident who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Los Angeles with his family as a teen to further his acting career. Egan, who is 31 today and describes himself as heterosexual, filed the suit without a pseudonym and his name appears in a press release issued by his counsel. He alleges that Singer and others threatened to make or break his Hollywood aspirations depending on whether he kept them happy.The lawsuit reads:
Egan has contacted police authorities, his lawyer’s media director told THR. An LAPD spokesperson said he had not seen a complaint but would look further, and messages left with the Honolulu Police Dept. were not returned.
Defendant, BRYAN JAY SINGER, manipulated his power, wealth, and position in the entertainment industry to sexually abuse and exploit the underage Plaintiff through the use of drugs, alcohol, threats, and inducements which resulted in Plaintiff suffering catastrophic psychological and emotional injuries. Defendant Singer did so as part of a group of adult males similarly positioned in the entertainment industry that maintained and exploited boys in a sordid sex ring. A Hollywood mogul must not use his position to sexually exploit underage actors.Singer's lawyer Marty Singer denied the charges:
"The claims made against Bryan Singer are completely without merit. We are very confident that Bryan will be vindicated in this absurd and defamatory lawsuit...It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at a time when Bryan's new movie is about to open in a few weeks."(via Towleroad)
"So rather than the poor, the low-income, and the middle class being resentful of [the rich], they should be kissing the ground on which they walk. Who’s paying for the EBT cards? Who’s paying for food stamps? Who’s paying for the women and infant children program? Who’s paying for subsidized housing? Who’s paying for Medicaid? It is the top 1% So they ought to be given ticker tape parades once a week in all of our major cities to thank them for funding welfare for everybody."
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in a Hawaii federal court, X-Men: Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy back in 1999.
The plaintiff in the case —Michael Egan, who was named in a press release by his lawyers — claims he was 17 when Singer supplied him with drugs and alcohol and forcibly sodomized him among these other allegations: battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
It’s no real secret that Singer is fond of the twinky set — whether its getting involved with Sean Cody models or throwing notoriously fleshy Hollywood parties — but the claims in the suit paint a more predatory picture.
It also names Marc Collins-Rector, the former chairman of Digital Entertainment Network, who was convicted of luring minors across state lines for sexual acts in 2004 as being involved with Singer in luring boys to a property in Encino, CA where drugs like Ecstasy, Xanax, Rohypnol, and Vicodin were handed out liberally. And booze. Lots of booze.
Here’s one encounter detailed in the accusation:
Collins-Rector ordered Plaintiff out of the pool, and Defendant Singer hugged Plaintiff and grabbed his bare buttocks. They then went to the jacuzzi where Collins-Rector had Plaintiff sit on his lap and fondled Plaintiff’s genitals. Collins-Rector then passed Plaintiff to Defendant Singer and Plaintiff was made to sit on Defendant Singer’s lap. Defendant Singer provided an alcoholic beverage to Plaintiff and mentioned finding a role for him in an upcoming movie that he was directing. Defendant Singer told Plaintiff how “this group” controls Hollywood, and that he was sexy. Defendant Singer masturbated Plaintiff and then performed oral sex upon him. Defendant Singer solicited Plaintiff to perform oral sex upon him which Plaintiff resisted. Defendant Singer flagrantly disregarded Plaintiff’s unwillingness to submit, and forced Plaintiff’s head underwater to make Plaintiff perform oral sex upon him. When Plaintiff pulled his head out of the water in order to breathe, Defendant Singer demanded that he continue which Plaintiff refused. Defendant Singer then forced Plaintiff to continue performing oral sex upon him outside of the pool, and subsequently forcibly sodomized Plaintiff.
The suit also claims that when Egan was 17, Singer flew him to Hawaii on multiple occasions, and during the first one, forced him to inhale cocaine and engage in oral and anal sex. He also claims to be assaulted on subsequent trips.
Egan is being represented by Jeff Herman, who you may remember from a certain very high profile Elmo suit from 2012.
We’re sure to hear more about this in the coming days – Egan and Herman are scheduled to appear at a press conference in Beverly Hills on Thursday.
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