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Archived Stories
Woman Transsexual's Body Found on UK Beach
 

March 6, 2000:-  A transsexual woman's body was found last Thursday morning which had been strapped with body building weights and washed ashore on Suffolk Beach.  Police have identified it as that of Christine Chappel, formerly Bryan Hooley, who underwent a sex-change operation in 1994.  The cause of death has been established as drowning.  Ms. Chappel was divorced with one daughter and has been described by a neighbour as recently depressed.  She was last seen at her home in Roxwell on Feb. 22nd.  Police are treating her death as suspicious and asking anyone with any information to come forward.  (BBC)

HIV Carrier Protein Identified
 

March 2, 2000:-  Scientists published research results in the latest issue of the journal Cell which state that a protein found in the tissues lining the vagina, cervix and rectum has been isolated which protects HIV and transports it to the lymph nodes.  Normally these linings stop disease entry, but this protein, which they named DC-SIGN, possesses the 3-dimensional complementary attributes to embrace an HIV particle and protect the virus from deterioration while being transported to the lymph nodes.  The results reportedly suggest news ways to possibly block infection.  (Reuters)

Vermont Crafts 'Separate but Equal' Civil Union Bill
 

March 1, 2000:-  Vermont's House Judiciary Committee completed a bill yesterday outlining the extension of benefits and obligations under state law to gay and lesbian couples.  The bill proposes to allow same sex couples to enter into 'civil unions' but not get married, and would convey many of the protections and benefits of marriage to those couples.  The chair of the Committee described civil union as "distinct [and] equal."  The bill must go to the House Ways and Means Committee and then be introduced into the House itself.  (Vermont Press Bureau)

General Motors Makes First Donation to Community
 

March 1, 2000:-  In an historic move which allowed General Motors to join the ranks of Ford and DaimlerChrysler, the auto giant today gave $10,000 to Michigan state's largest community centre Affirmations.  The donation represents the largest corporate one the center has ever received and allows GM to be placed on the marquee at Affirmations' flagship fund-raiser in April.  The move is being described as a signal of a shift in attitudes.  GM donates $70M to various causes each year.  (Detroit Free Press)

Bradley to Appear at gay.com
 

March 1, 2000:-  Former Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Bradley will answer questions, address national issues and offer his opinions online with lesbian and gay American voters at gay.com on Friday March 3rd beginning at 6 PM EST.  The event is open to the general public and all internet and AOL users may attend.  Other leading presidential contenders have been invited to schedule similarly, as has Vice President Al Gore with rescheduling.

El Salvador Ordered to Supply Medications
 

March 1, 2000:-  In a rare instance of invoking medidas cautelares, which functions as a temporary restraining order, the Interamerican Human Rights Commission in Washington DC has ordered the government of El Salvador to begin supplying HIV medications to 26 persons in that country.  The Commission's decision was made subsequent to a letter written by activist Richard Stern in September 1999 with regards to 36 Salvadorans living with AIDS.  A petition filed with the Supreme Court of that country in April 1999 had failed to become addressed.  The order is legally binding due to El Salvador being a signatory to the Interamerican Human Rights Convention, and is valid for 6 months while legal proceedings continue.  The government has 15 days in which to comply.

Canadian Prison Guard -Inmate Sex Alleged, Being Investigated
 

February 28, 2000:-  The British Columbia Attorney General's Office confirmed that an investigation has ensued a female prison guard in that province allegedly having had sex with a female inmate.  Such relationships are reportedly contrary to the code of conduct and the guard in question has been reassigned pending the results of the investigation. (CP)

'Their Pink Pounds Have Already Been Spent'
 

February 24, 2000:-  A recent UK study to be presented at the Market Research Society conference in Brighton on March 16 suggests that "the opportunity exists for marketers and advertisers to recognise gay lifestyles and imagery in conjunction with [those of] all other types of consumers ... but we see no evidence that gay people represent a missed marketing opportunity."
     Twenty interviews conducted with leading advertising agents resulted in "few" campaigns strategically targeted directly at gay men and women being recollected.  Researchers stated that with few exceptions, marketing campaigns were not found to overtly target gay communities because to do so would be divisive and damaging to the brand of product marketed.  Conclusions included that although campaigns may include a "twist" reflecting 90s attitudes and values, advertising still focuses on the product itself.  (The Guardian)

London Man Admits Guilt in Pub Bombing, Killing of Three
 

February 24, 2000:-  A 23-year old man pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter in a London court on the 17th in connection with the April 30th bombing of a gay pub which killed three.  The man also admitted responsibility for two other explosions which in total injured more than a hundred people.  The manslaughter plea was not immediately accepted by prosecutors and a further hearing has been set for March.  (Associated Press)

Trees Act Against AIDS, OIs
 

February 21, 2000:-  Scientists announced on the 19th that two chemical compounds have been isolated from trees which may be developed into new treatments for AIDS patients.  Researchers from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland found a compound in the root bark of a tree in Africa - apparently to protect the tree itself from fungus - which they described as "more active than all the compounds on the market."  They told a press conference that it acts against many fungal infections of the skin, eye, mouth and lungs.  In addition, researchers at the University of Panama have extracted a compound from a tree in Argentina that shows "remarkable anti-HIV activity."  Due to the large harvest of trees which would be required for testing the chemicals, arrangements have been made with an American company to attempt the production of a synthetic version.  (Reuters)

LDS Church Pro- Prop 22 Signs Used for Bonfire
 

February 21, 2000:-  As the battle heats up in the countdown to voting on California's Proposition 22 - which proposes to outlaw recognition of any possible out-of-state same sex marriages - the Church of Latter Day Saints in that state, which is spearheading a campaign supporting the proposal, suffered vandalism after 30 signs that read "Protect Marriage" were stolen from lawns in the city of Pleasanton and set ablaze in the church parking lot.  The Church has doubled its security and police patrols in the area have increased.  (San Francisco Chronicle)

Canadians Hit Programme at Israeli Film Festival
 

February 20, 2000:-  The second Israeli Homosexual and Lesbian International Film Festival, running from March 16th to 18th, will feature two Canadian works.  Beefcake, a film about Bob Mazer and the pretty boys that graced his Laddy magazine in which gorgeous young men pose like Playboy bunnies, and Better Than Chocolate, an interesting take on La Cage au Folles, will be shown.  Also included in the festival will be Paragraph 175 (see below) and The Brandon Teena Story, about the woman who lived as a man and was then raped and killed when her male "buddies" discovered the truth.  (The Jerusalem Post)

Fiji Constitutional Protection Under Threat
 

February 18, 2000:-  One of only three countries in the world to explicitly include protection against sexual orientation discrimination in its constitution, Fiji's government introduced a bill on the 14th to remove those words from the constitution as well as criminalize sodomy and define marriage as being the union of a man and a woman only.  The bill is being fast-tracked through parliament and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has issued an action alert for letters to the Fiji government.  (IGLHRC)

Partner of 28-Years Disinherited
 

February 17, 2000:-  Washington State's Appeals Court decided 3-0 that a man who survived his partner of 28 years - including co-building a business - was entitled to nothing under existing law.  The 78-year old partner died without a will in 1995 and with an estate of $230,000.  Although the trial court had ruled that his surviving partner was entitled to all of the property, the estate appealed on behalf of the deceased's siblings.  The surviving partner's lawyer reportedly plans to appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court. (The Tacoma News Tribune)

Israel Grants Residency to Bi-National Partners
 

February 14, 2000:-  The foreign partners of two Israelis have been granted residency, the first step towards obtaining citizenship status in that country.  The two couples waited over two years for responses to their applications and credit has been given to the new government's Interior Minister for the change in policy.  The foreign partners lived in Israel on work permits while awaiting a response.  Their application was based on both the government recognizing same sex partners as common-law ones and a May 1999 Supreme Court ruling that the government must grant residency to foreign spouses.  (Ha'aretz [translated by Lee I. Walzer])

Quebec's l'Universite Laval goes 'Coconuts'
 

February 17, 2000:-  The Centre Hospitalier de l'Universite Laval in Quebec City will be among several institutions receiving new grants from the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) in order to study the possible use of microbicides - chemical agents contained in gels or creams - to prevent sexual transmission of HIV and other diseases.  A total of $875,000 is being awarded by the completely volunteer Foundation started by Elizabeth Taylor.  Compounds found in coconuts, shampoo and saliva, among other sources, have been shown in test tubes to inactivate HIV and other STDs, and these will be tested in various gels and creams as a possible condom substitute.  (Reuters)

Man Shot Dead at Mixed Toronto Bar
 

February 15, 2000:-  A 25-year old man was killed and 3 others hit by stray bullets Sunday night at a mid-town Toronto techno-dance / mixed bar called The Web.  Witnesses described an assassination style killing.  The deceased was reportedly a former bouncer at the bar, which had recently changed ownership and did not have security in force on the night of the shooting.  (National Post, sources)

New Canadian HIV Web Channel Launched
 

February 14, 2000:-  A new web site from British Columbia was launched today which gathers resources, information and acts as a portal to HIV/AIDS sites and services.  Also featured on the site, called theaidschannel.com, is a live web cam into the home of HIV-positive activist Richard Hollingsworth, his wife and children.  A chat room with physicians is in the works.  Mr. Hollingsworth's intention is to provide a real-life look at the challenges of living with HIV.  (Canadian Press)

Nazi Gay Persecution Film Well-Received
 

February 14, 2000:-  A compassionate documentary of Germany's Community from its cabaret glory days in the 1920s to the concentration camps where gays and lesbians were sent was unveiled at the Berlin Film Festival today.  The film, which won the Sundance Festival's award for documentary directing, uses archive footage and interviews with a handful of gay survivors from the Holocaust.  The American made film is entitled 'Paragraph 175' in reference to the Nazi penal code section which was used to persecute gays and lesbians.  A strong response was drawn from Berlin filmgoers including a standing ovation when one of the interviewed survivors appeared onstage following the presentation.  (Reuters)

Gay Men Have Double the Incidence of Eating Disorders
 

February 14, 2000:-   A study published today in the UK by the Eating Disorders Association claims that men with eating disorders are underdiagnosed.  Often seen in general as women's disorders, and by men as due to physical as opposed to psychological problems, anorexia and bulemia were less likely to be diagnosed in men than women, the study reported.  It also noted that 20% of men with eating disorders are gay, an incidence twice as high as in the male population as a whole.  Onsets in men are usually associated with a concern with body building and training for sports, it said.  (Reuters)

Medical Guru Calls for Rethinking HIV Treatment and Funding
 

February 14, 2000:-   Dr. Keith Henry of the US wrote an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine, to be published tomorrow, where he calls for an overhaul of the current treatment and funding approaches toward HIV.  An HIV specialist in St. Paul's since 1984, Dr. Henry argues that the strategy of eradicating HIV now often conflicts with the caregiver's goals of maintaining long-term health.  He says the key role of clinicians is not emphasized enough so that support for the need to supervise the difficult use of new drugs is often lacking.  (CNN)

US Business Students Wined & Dined by Wall Street
 

February 12, 2000:-  Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and American Express are reaching down into business schools in New York and Boston and taking gay students out on the town.  The large US financial firms have been pressured to increase gay recruitment due to a shrinking candidate pool, internal pressure to create a more gay positive workplace, and management students pressing them to look at organizational gay issues.  Gay employees in the blue chip companies have been coming out and forming groups, such as GLEAM (Gay and Lesbian Employees at Morgan).  (Wall Street Journal)

German City of Wittenberg Heralds Mardi Gras with Gay 'Royal' Couple
 

February 11, 2000:-   The pre-Lenten tradition in this former East German city of prescribing a Royal Karneval couple, customarily 'Prince This' and 'Princess That,' was altered this year as a gay couple were officially proclaimed as Michael I & Thomas I.  German television depicted the Royal Couple in elaborate male traditional Karneval costumes, including egret-plumed hats, strolling through the ancient cobbled streets hand in hand and kissing.  Described as a second reformation in this birthplace of Martin Luther, the show's narration said nobody in Wittenberg so much as batted an eye.  (Paul Moor)

Vancouver Conference on Bisexuality, Gender and Sexual Diversity Announced
 

February 10, 2000:-   The first ever North American Conference on Bisexuality, Gender and Sexual Diversity was announced today.  It will take place in Vancouver in August 2001.  A call for ideas, participants and organizers is being made.  Interested parties should visit bi.org/~binetbc/2001 for details.

Germany Introduces Equal Tax Benefits
 

February 8, 2000:-   The German Ministry of Finance announced that it will introduce a bill which would provide nearly equal tax benefits to couples through registration of partnerships.  Provision highlights include inheritance benefits and tax breaks for dependent partners and children.  Joint taxation was excluded as a benefit due to pending reform in this area in general.  The bill must be approved by both houses of the Germa n parliament.  (Gerald Pilz)

US Presidential Candidate Meets with Rights Group
 

February 7, 2000:-   Senator Bill Bradley met yesterday with representatives of the (US) National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  He pledged renewed efforts to defeat California's upcoming (anti-marriage) Proposition 22 through using the 'bully pulpit' of his campaign to encourage opposition for it in his supporters.  He also expressed his support for equality in a number of areas including adoption, passage of domestic partner benefits and implementation of non-discriminatory immigration policies.

Sticks and Stones and Suicide Artists
 

February 7, 2000:-   A Canadian filmmaker has been wreaking havoc in India since she began shooting there last week.  Her film Water is the third in a controversial trilogy and follows-up the Academy Award nominated Earth.  The first in the series, Fire, was of a love affair between two women of Indian society trapped in unhappy marriages, and has been called an affront to traditional Hindu culture.
     Deepa Mehta was given a verbal order by Indian authorities yesterday to cease filming in Varanasi after a man tied rocks to his body and flung himself into the Ganges.  Dismissing him as a "professional suicider" who has performed such a stunt 7 times previously, Ms. Mehta said that the protests, which have caused $650,000 damages, have to do with a local-central government power struggle and not religion.  She explained that permission to film had been granted by the Indian government and that the film would be made, if not in Varanasi then elsewhere in that country.  She was refusing to cease shooting without a written order.  (National Post)

Sydney Games Signs Largest Sponsor, Expects More Athletes than Olympics
 

February 6, 2000:-   The 2002 Gay Games in Sydney has attracted an Australian gay media sponsor for a deal larger than the one with Qantas Airlines.  The company Satellite Media has become the official Gay and Lesbian Media Partner for the Games and has been given exclusive Australian distribution through its print publications and upcoming web portal.  Attendance at the 2002 event is estimated to be 30,000 and have an economic impact of $A200M.

Finland Elects Pro-Gay Woman President
 

February 6, 2000:-   The first woman president of Finland was elected today by a slim margin at the poles.  Tarja Halonen has 20 years experience in public life and served as Chairwoman of the national Finnish LGBT organization in 1980-81.  She is described as sincere in her commitment to human rights as well as jovial, caring, down-to-earth and effective.  As Foreign Minister leading up to the election she did not hesitate to speak out regarding the political change in Austria and this is considered to have reduced her spread at the poles.  She lives with her long-time boyfriend, who will be joining her in the presidential residence, and has a daughter in England.

Dismissed UK Service Member Receives Compensation
 

February 3, 2000:-   A former Royal Air Force technician received a £10,000 settlement last week in the first incidence of compensation for UK service members who were dismissed for being gay.  The award preceded a scheduled employment tribunal later this month claiming discrimination against the Ministry of Defense.  The UK government is reported to be bracing itself for a flood of similar wrongful dimissal claims.  (Glasgow Sunday Record and Daily Mail)

Sexual Orientation Not Cause for Jury Dismissal, California Says
 

February 3, 2000:-   The California Court of Appeal ruled this week that gays and lesbians cannot be excluded from serving on a jury because of their sexual orientation.  The decision is reportedly the first in the US to offer gays protection from discrimination in this area.  The court compared gays to blacks and women stating that gays have a common perspective and that exclusion on the basis of group bias violates the California Constitution.  Rights advocates were quoted as heralding the decision as including some of the most powerful language yet in recognizing the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.  They said that the decision will likely have a widespread effect in being cited on (discrimination) cases in the US other than jury ones.  (San Francisco Chronicle)

JP Morgan Sponsors Dinner of UK Rights Group
 

February 2, 2000:- The American bank JP Morgan is sponsoring the annual fundraising dinner of the UK's rights group Stonewall.   Apparently the move is to help dispel the conservative reputation of London's banking community which is believed to be deterring high caliber job applicants.  Said Steve Mannix, Stonewall's fundraising director: "Because London is JP Morgan's European headquarters, it sends positive signals that financial institutions support gay[s] and lesbians and the broader fight for equality and recognition."  The dinner will be held at the Savoy Hotel on March 30th. (BBC)

'Don't Ask. Don't Tell.' Now, 'Don't Talk, Don't Look.'
 

February 1, 2000:- US Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced that he has approved the Services' training plans which include guidelines for investigating threats against, and/or harassment of, servicemembers perceived or alleged to be gay. Secretary Cohen is scheduled to receive the results of the Auditor General's assessment of the implementation of the "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" policy on March 13th. The assessment is service wide and includes the extent to which harassment may occur or disparaging speech or expression with respect to sexual orientation is tolerated. His announcement said he would judge then whether any additional actions may be needed.
     The new guidelines include obtaining secretarial-level approval prior to any substantial investigation of a service member being gay with a view to separation.

A Tale of Two Soldiers:  One Out, and One ... Out!
 

January 28, 2000:- One the same day and both in response to the UK's lifting of the ban on gays in the military, two service members made announcements coincidentally. A male sailor in his late 20s on board a destroyer docked in his hometown announced without pomp in the ship's mess that he was gay. "They were all fine about it," he said. I was surprised. I had no problems with them about it at all." Relieved that he was finally able to disclose his orientation, he added: "I was just fed up with lying to people ... I was living separate lives."
     Meanwhile, a senior navy helicopter pilot resigned his commission on the grounds that policy decisions were being made for political and not military reasons. He was quoted as saying the decision to lift the ban was "the last straw."

Navratilova Crowns Career with Hall of Fame
 

January 26, 2000:- Tennis great Martina Navratilova won another title as she was brought into that sport's Hall of Fame. Described as "the greatest all-around player to ever play our game" by fellow Hall of Famer Billie Jean King and as someone who "brought fresh new honesty to the game" by Chris Evert, Navratilova now works with gay and lesbian groups and speaks on behalf of animal rights. Not soaring high enough, she recently obtained her pilot's licence. Her most lasting accomplishment was described as having raised the level of athleticism in women's sports. Although retired since 1994, Navratilova was quoted as saying "I've not given back as much as tennis has given to me."

Malaysian Sodomy Trial Called Corruption Cover-Up
 

January 26, 2000:- Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is standing trial on sodomy charges which he is calling a political conspiracy to cover up government corruption. Dismissed in 1998 and sentenced in April to 6 years for corrpution himself, Ibrahim is currently standing trial with his adopted brother for allegedly sodomizing the Anwas family's former driver. The case has provoked political turmoil and riot police arrested 11 demonstrators shouting for reforms and condeming the current Prime Minister today as the trial resumed. It had been postponed in November when sudden elections were called. He faces up to 20 years imprisonment if convicted.