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Citizens’ rights - 18-01-2006 - 14:26
MEPs urge Member States to ensure respect for same-sex partnerships
Member States need to ensure that "same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society" urged MEPs in a resolution condemning homophobia in Europe.
Following "a series of worrying events which has recently taken place in a number of EU Member States, (...) from banning gay pride or equality marches to leading political and religious leaders' inflammatory/hate/threatening language (...)", MEPs strongly condemn discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. They also urge the Commission to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail to implement the directive on equal treatment in employment and occupation, and to consider the use of criminal penalties in cases of violation.
The Commission is also asked to put forward proposals guaranteeing the freedom of movement of "EU citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender". One of the main complaints of homosexual associations and NGOs is that registered homosexual couples from Member States where same-sex marriages or partnerships are legal loose all their rights as official partners - most importantly the right of family reunification - when they move to another Member State which does not recognize same-sex couples.
EU countries should also enact legislation to end discrimination faced by same-sex partners as regards inheritance rights, property arrangements, tenancy, pensions, tax, social security. Finally, Parliament urges Member States to step up the fight against homophobia through education and to fully recognise homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime.
REF.: 20060113IPR04270 Contact:
The European Parliament: Homophobia in Europe Vote
UK Gay News has extracted from various official sources the Joint Motion for a Resolution and the actual votes of MEPs on the Resolution so that those interested can read on one page the relevant information on this vital vote to gays and lesbian throughout the European Union.
For detailed information in all the official languages of the EU, visit the European Parliament website and select the language required.
1. RC - B6-0025/2006 - Homophobia in Europe - Resolution 18/01/2006 12:50:15
JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
The European Parliament,
– having regard to international and European human rights obligations, such as those contained in the UN conventions on human rights and in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
– having regard to European Union provisions on human rights, and notably to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as to Articles 6 and 7 of the Treaty on European Union,
– having regard to Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community which invests the European Union with the power EU to adopt measures to combat discrimination based, inter alia, on sexual orientation, and to promote the principle of equality,
– having regard to Directive 2000/43/EC and Directive 2000/78/EC prohibiting direct or indirect discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation,
– having regard to Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which prohibits 'any discrimination based on any ground 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',
– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas homophobia can be defined as an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism,
1. Strongly condemns any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation;
2. Calls on Member States to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are protected from homophobic hate speech and violence and ensure that same-sex partners enjoy the same respect, dignity and protection as the rest of society;
3. Urges Member States and the Commission to firmly condemn homophobic hate speech or incitement to hatred and violence, and to ensure that freedom of demonstration – guaranteed by all human rights treaties - is respected in practice;
4. Calls on the Commission to ensure that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in all sectors is prohibited by completing the anti-discrimination package based on Article 13 either by proposing new directives or by proposing a general framework, covering all grounds for discrimination and all sectors;
5. Urges Member States and the Commission to step up the fight against homophobia through education – such as campaigns against homophobia in schools, in universities and in the media - as well as through administrative, judicial and legislative means;
6. Reiterates its position with regard to 'Year 2007 - Equality for All' that the Commission must ensure that all forms of discrimination referred to in Article 13 of the Treaty and in Article 2 of the Decision establishing the Year are addressed and dealt with equally, as referred to in the European Parliament's report on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and the Council on the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - Towards a Just Society, and reminds the European Commission of its promise to closely monitor this matter and to report to Parliament;
7. Urges the Commission to ensure that all Member States have transposed and are correctly implementing Directive 2000/78/EC (establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation) and to start infringement proceedings against those Member States that fail to do so; in addition, calls on the Commission to ensure that the annual report on the protection of fundamental rights in the EU includes full and comprehensive information on the incidence of homophobic hate crimes and violence in Member States;
8. Calls on all Member States to take any other action they deem appropriate in the fight against homophobia and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and to promote and implement the principle of equality in their society and legal order;
9. Welcomes steps taken in several Member States recently to improve the position of LGBT people and resolves to organise a seminar for the exchange of good practice on 17 May (International Day against Homophobia);
10. Reiterates its request that the European Commission put forward proposals guaranteeing freedom of movement for Union citizens and their family members and registered partners of either gender, as referred to in Parliament's resolution of 14 October 2004 on the future of the area of freedom, security and justice;
11. Calls on the Member States concerned to finally fully recognise homosexuals as targets and victims of the Nazi regime;
12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to Commission and to the Governments of the Member States and candidate and applicant countries.
Dr. Stanley Biber performed approximately 5,000 transgender operations during his 35-year career.
Sex-change surgeon Stanley Biber dies
By MIKE GARRETT
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
TRINIDAD - Dr. Stanley Biber, a world-renowned surgeon who specialized in sex-change operations, died Monday at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo.
Biber, 82, had been hospitalized for about two weeks with pneumonia. He had been listed in critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Biber performed an estimated 5,000 transgender surgeries in Trinidad over a 35-year career, earning the city the unwelcome moniker of Sex Change Capital of the World.
Biber was a former Las Animas County commissioner, longtime Mount San Rafael Hospital board member and community activist and fundraiser.
"He was a great man. I'm not very good at talking, but he was a great man and a great boss," said Marie Pacino, his practice secretary of 28 years.
Despite his advanced age, Biber still maintained a part-time local medical practice and his cattle ranch east of the city. He retired from performing sex change operations in 2003, unable to get medical malpractice insurance due to his age.
Funeral arrangements were pending Tuesday. Comi Funeral Home in Trinidad is handling the arrangements.
Biber's legacy continues with his protege, Dr. Marci Bowers, who underwent a sex-change operation several years ago and performs an average of five transsexual operations a week at Mount San Rafael.
"I visited him twice while he was in intensive care and he looked to be himself with good color. He was just sick and on a ventilator," Bowers said Tuesday. "He was so active and vital, doing his last cattle drive in December. We all thought he would live another 10 years. From my visits with him it was so obvious how much he was loved by everyone.
"He was extra special to me because of his place in my heart," said Bowers. "He was not my surgeon but he was someone I looked up to as a father figure who taught me many of my skills. He and my mother shared a birthday and his parents and my parents had both been in the furniture business."
Another irony, Bowers said, is that she started performing her own "sex reassignment" surgeries at about the same age, 45, that Biber began the procedures in 1969.
"I feel he is still with me, with a little sadness in my heart but a bounce in my step," said Bowers. "He has left a large pair of shoes to fill and I'm not sure I'll ever get there. I don't think anyone can ever replace him.
"He was larger than life, not just so much by what he accomplished and what he did for the city and the transgender movement but it's who he was and the aura he had about him," said Bowers. "For an 80-year-old he walked with kind of a swagger, completely upright. I've never seen an 80-year-old walk so solidly and confidently."
Bowers noted that "legend has it that Biber did nearly 5,000 sex-change operations although the record keeping back then isn't what it is today." At the peak of his career, hospital records show that Biber averaged around 165 gender-change operations a year.
Bowers also didn't think it was just coincidence that "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman won a best actress Golden Globe Award Monday night playing a transgender character. "In many ways that couldn't have been possible without (Biber).
"I think he put the operation on the world map," said Bowers. "He made it safe, reproducible and functional and he brought happiness to an awful lot of people. And when you wanted a voice of reason, he was always there."
Biber is survived by his wife, Mary Lee, and has a large extended family, but no other information was available Tuesday.
カナダ、政権交代ほぼ確実 長期政権で有権者に飽きも (共同 2006/01/18)
ゲイ in Japan
ゲイ in Japan
オピニオン 「田舎のゲイに心の支えを」 21
人間関係 ゲイの友達が欲しい彼女たちの理由 22
記事入力 : 2006/01/17 21:13
MEPs call for EU action to protect homosexuals
17.01.2006 - 09:39 CET | By Lucia Kubosova EUOBSERVER /
STRASBOURG – The EU should do more to prevent discrimination against homosexuals, several MEPs pointed out at a plenary debate in Strasbourg, on Monday (16 January).
The discussion followed a statement by the European Commission on homophobia in Europe, in which vice-president Franco Frattini highlighted existing EU legislation, which rules out discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
"Homophobia is in breach of human rights and we are monitoring this issue in the member states and report on the cases where our efforts have been unsuccessful," Mr Frattini stated.
However, he received a number of critical remarks from deputies, asking for more action by the commission and more outspoken pressure on governments in countries with recent incidents pointing to homophobic trends among their citizens as well as political leaders.
The harshest criticism was levelled against Poland and Polish leaders, with MEPs condemning statements by leading politicians and blockades of pro-gay marches by local authorities in Warsaw and Poznan.
"If we do nothing, we are complicit to the crimes of violence we can see happening in many EU member states," said British labour MEP Michael Cashman, stressing that as a gay himself, he is disappointed such negative sentiments persist in Europe.
On the other hand, Polish MEP Konrad Szymanski from the group Union of Europe of the Nations argued the whole debate was a "waste of time" and suggested that MEPs should not be "hysterical" about the situation of homosexuals in the EU.
"Member states have their legal instruments to protect the rights of their citizens, and there is no need to organise some sort of union to protect homosexuals, as it would - quite on the contrary - undermine European integration," Mr Szymanski said.
A number of MEPs referred to problems of homosexual couples that have some social rights in one EU country but "lose" them when moving across borders, with Finnish conservative deputy Alexander Stubb arguing it was against the principle of equality valued by the EU.
Green deputies expressed their disappointment over recent decisions by Latvian and Lithuanian parliaments to table amendments to their constitutions prohibiting same-sex marriage.
But countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom received praise from some parliamentarians for their recognition of same-sex marriages or partnerships
私は「新しい歴史教科書をつくる会」の創設に携わり、平成１３年１０月まで同会の会長、さらにその後も 名誉会長の名で今日まで９年余り会の維持と発展のために微力を尽くして参りました。昨年私は古希を迎え、同会の新しい指導体制も確立した潮時でもあるので、このたび名誉会長の称号を返上して、名実ともに完全 に同会から離れ、書斎にもどることといたし度、同会幹部の合意をいただきました。
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THE ZEIT GIST
Finding space in gay Japan
'Rainbow Imperialism' conflicts with concept of 'don't ask, don't tell'
By THOMASINA LARKIN
The Japan Times: Jan. 17, 2006
At first glance, homosexual life in Japan can seem quite repressed. Public displays of affection are next to nil, gay Japanese men often live secret lives and it's hard to notice a gay presence at all unless by venturing into Tokyo's "gayborhood," Shinjuku Ni-Chome.
But by taking a deeper look past the surface of society and crossing the linguistic barriers that surround the word "gay," the system in Japan often provides a more relaxed environment for men who sleep with men.
To many, "gay" evokes images of homosexual men out twirling their rainbow flags and proudly expressing themselves with an "I'm here and I'm queer" attitude.
Brought up with this stereotypical understanding of gay life, some foreigners think Japanese men who live in a hushed gay culture should liberate themselves through similar actions.
"My term for that is 'Rainbow Flag Imperialism,' " says Greg Dvorak, an American PhD candidate at the Gender Relations Centre of the Australian National University (ANU) and a visiting research fellow at Tokyo University.
"It's like its own form of colonization. The word 'gay' in English carries a lot more baggage than we think it does. It includes some people but it excludes others.
"There are many men who if you ask if they're gay, they may say no. But if you ask if they've had sex with men or desire men, they may say yes."
Being "gay" in Japan has totally different parameters than what has become accepted in mainstream Western cultures.
The word itself was imported after World War II ended, when American soldiers scoured the streets in search for sexual relations with either Japanese women or men.
Shortly after, one of the first gay bars opened in Shinjuku.
Today, over 200 gay bars are crammed into a maze of streets in Shinjuku Ni-Chome, each catering to a very specific clientele such as "debu-sen" (those who seek fat men), "fuke-sen" (men who love older men) and "gai-sen" ('gaijin' chasers).
Japan has enjoyed a history of open sexuality dating back to the Heian period when samurai and Buddhist monks practiced sex with young male pages. In more recent days, saunas provide meeting places for gay men.
Straight men, as in most of Asia, touch each other affectionately as friends. And Japanese men don't have any qualms about calling another guy cute.
But as would probably be done in the West, none of this is has been stigmatized or labeled as "gay" or "queer" or "homo."
"People don't come out in Japan, they come in," says Dvorak. "The tendency is to find your own space. You don't need to come out to your parents or boss, it's not about how exposed you can be. It's about coming in, like joining a club. You find your own niche. That's what mainstream Japan is like with sexuality."
Unlike Western societies, where people are urged to talk about everything, Japan has an unwritten law of "don't ask, don't tell," where much is left unsaid as a form of respect and politeness to eliminate many embarrassing or potentially dangerous predicaments.
"At home, I've felt very threatened in some situations where if I said I was gay I might lose my life," says Jonah from America.
"Gay bashing doesn't happen here. Gay life here is much more comfortable because being in a non-gay environment is much less threatening."
Another notable disadvantage of the vibrant and open gay scene in other countries is that it can foster pretentious attitudes within queer communities.
"At bars in the States, guys sit around with these looks on their faces like they're too pretty to be approached," says Jonah. This rarely, if ever, happens in Japan, he says.
Gays abroad may feel they have to fit into a perfect pretty mold that has been created by society. As long as they are interior designers, good cooks, witty and stylish, they are accepted into the mainstream. Those are the types represented on TV and in the media. A fat gay South American making breakfast in bed for his lover isn't likely to get much airtime.
"It's a pre-packaged vision of marriage that looks like heterosexuality. That's repression. People who don't fit that model can't find themselves in that. The people who made this rainbow flag kind of world didn't make space for Asians," says Dvorak.
"This liberation idea is very important, the need to be visible and appreciated. But globalization is only taking one particular brand of gayness and selling it to the whole world."
Because many foreigners in Japan don't feel the same pressure to conform to the ideals of "perfect gayness" that they experience back home, they often feel less inhibited when approaching Japanese men.
"If I see somebody I think is cute, I'll just walk right up and tell him or say 'Hi. What's your name?' In America, everyone has so much attitude, I would never do that.
"The guys I meet here are way younger, better looking and in better shape, but I don't feel like they're out of my league. Dating has become a much easier endeavor," says Jonah. Those who want to build same-sex relationships with Japanese into something long-term usually feel it's an impossible feat.
"I can never tell my parents about my sexuality. They could never accept homosexuality," says Ko-Ko from Tokyo, who is currently involved in a long-term relationship with a foreigner.
"They see gay people on TV but they never believe it could happen to them. So I'd never tell them, to keep them happy."
And the gay people they see on TV are never regular gay Japanese men, such as a businessmen or politicians, who have come out to provide a public role model.
Since Japan has yet to pass legislation for job protection against gay discrimination, it's little wonder why Japanese "don't come out, they come in."
While it's easy to be invisible in Tokyo, where many gay men marry and have children, but lead a secret life to satisfy their sexual appetite, it can be especially lonely in the countryside where everybody is connected.
"Outside of Tokyo, foreigners or Japanese can feel very isolated," says a volunteer at a gay hotline in Japan. "I've taken many calls from foreigners entering young adulthood at the same time as they're sent to nowhere-ken, Japan to teach English and they feel very alone. That could be a disadvantage of a 'don't ask don't tell' society where when they never tell, they'll never know."
In addition to the lack of public role models who could help others feel like they're not alone, most media depicts stereotypical gay characters with the aim to entertain the straight public.
For example, TBS's personality Razor Ramon HG (Hard Gay), is a straight man pretending to be gay by wearing leather bondage and cruising around thrusting hips all over the place. And last month, toy company Tomy released "Kurohi-gei Kiki Ippatsu," a game where Razor Ramon hides in a barrel in which the player stabs plastic swords until he pops out of the top. Some believe if there is ever a hope of gaining same-sex legal rights in Japan, Razor Ramon isn't the best image to portray the gay community.
"We're correcting the false stereotypes like Razor Ramon that show a lack of respect and understanding and we are trying to educate Japanese people about the advances in gay rights around the world," says Hiroshi Mochizuki, editor in chief of Gay Japan News, an online media service established about a year ago that currently gets about 50,000 hits per day.
"The lack of knowledge is the biggest problem. At this point we're bringing people together."
Mochizuki also founded a body called Equality, which he expects will be registered by the government as a nonprofit organization within the next two months.
While Equality's first aim is to disseminate information to both the gay and straight community, its long-term goal is to achieve antidiscrimination legislation and rights for same-sex marriages.
He says to do so, he hopes to strengthen the economic muscle of the gay community by bringing together the support of local business.
So for those gays in Japan who don't feel so happy, Equality may be their pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow.
(Names in the article have been changed to protect privacy)
On the Web and in print
* Gay Japan News: www.gayjapannews.com
* Gay Japan and Japanese Gay Resources and Travel Tips by Utopia: www.utopia-asia.com/tipsjapn.htm
* Japan AIDS Prevention Awareness Network: www.japanetwork.org
* McLelland, Mark; Queer Japan from the Pacific War to the Internet Age McLelland, Mark; Male Homosexuality in Contemporary Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities
* Saikaku, Ihara (Schalow, Paul, trans.); The Great Mirror of Male Love
* Leupp, Gary; Male Colors
* Pflugfelder, Gregory; Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950
* Summerhawk, Barbara; Queer Japan: Personal Stories of Japanese Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals
Send comments to: email@example.com
The Japan Times: Jan. 17, 2006
Commentary > The Monitor's View
from the January 17, 2006 edition
Tipping points for women
The Monitor's View - Christian Science Monitor
Are women really advancing? In Africa, the HIV/AIDS pandemic has set them back, while in India, pregnant women so prefer boys they abort half a million females a year. Yet Monday, Liberia inaugurated Africa's first woman president, while on Sunday, Chile elected the first woman leader in Latin America who didn't rise to power on her husband's reputation.
In richer nations, too, the report card on women's progress is mixed.
Germany elected its first female chancellor last year, and Norway has started a bold experiment to require the top 500 private companies to have 40 percent of their governing boards be women over the next two years. This quota system, designed to break a corporate "glass ceiling," is being tried in a Nordic country where 16 percent of company directors are already women, and a third of parliamentary members and about half of the cabinet are female.
But in Britain, which saw a powerful female prime minister during the 1980s, a report by the nation's Equal Opportunities Commission says gender equality in public life is "decades away." Only about 10 percent of senior positions in large companies and law enforcement are held by women, while the pace for women in Parliament is so slow that equality may take a couple centuries. About 20 percent of MPs are women. Progress for women in US politics has been similarly slow.
In Britain, as in America, there's a recognition that discrimination plays less of a role in women's progress in public life as more women tip the balance in favor of motherhood over careers in what's called "choice feminism." These "choices," however, are often dictated by the high cost of day care or its unavailability.
In Japan, workplace discrimination against women still remains strong, despite a 1985 law against it. But now that nation, with its low birth rate, faces a labor shortage as it ages rapidly, and the government is pushing new measures to encourage mothers to return to work after childbirth (more than two-thirds don't). The new measures would grant more work flexibility for such returning workers, improve day care, and support women entrepreneurs. (Japan is also moving to allow a female monarch because no male heir to the throne has been born for 40 years.)
The Arab world has only recently begun to recognize the untapped potential of women as leaders. Iraq's new Constitution required every third candidate in the recent election to be a woman and that its parliament be 25 percent female. But the charter also gives a primary role to Islam in writing new laws and the right for religious sects to run "family courts" deciding such issues as child custody.
By many measures, from politics to poverty, women still have a long way to go toward equality and upliftment. The world last put a big spotlight on women's progress at the 1995 UN Fourth World Conference on Women in China. More than a decade later, that progress shows up in unexpected places, such as the elections in Liberia and Chile. Those elections are worth celebrating, but they should also refocus efforts in areas where women aren't breaking through traditional barriers.