Libra, a company that manufactures feminine hygiene products in Australasia, has pulled an ad after it provoked outrage in the trans community.
The company said it regretted “any offense taken” to the ad, which depicted a trans woman in a nightclub bathroom appearing to compete with a gender-normative woman in the mirror.
After each adjusts their mascara, lipstick and cleavage, the second woman produces a tampon from her handbag, causing the trans woman to leave the room with the implication that she has been beaten in the competition.
The company issued a statement earlier this week saying: “Libra regrets any offense taken to our recent tampon advertisement. It was never intended to upset or offend anyone. Independent research was undertaken and the advertisement was viewed positively during that testing. Libra takes all feedback very seriously, and in response to this, we will immediately review our future position with this campaign based on the feedback received. There are no further advertisements scheduled in New Zealand.”
The ad had been criticized by members of the trans community.
Cherise Witehira, president of Agender NZ, said: “It’s extremely offensive because it’s pretty much saying the only way you can be a woman is to get your period. That’s where a lot of the anger in the community is coming from — it’s saying you are not a woman unless you can get your period. Obviously we can’t menstruate. However, we identify as female.”
The decision to pull the ad has provoked a large number of comments on the company’s Facebook page, both criticizing and supporting the ad.
Some have said the character on the ad is “clearly a drag queen” and those who complained were “up in arms about nothing.”
Gays trafficked in Kenya
Gay and bisexual men in Kenya are being lured into sex-trafficking rings in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to a new report in the African LGBT magazine Identity.
Identity claims that the men attending Kenyatta University are particularly targeted, offered jobs as airline attendants or office workers and given visas and passports — thanks to officials who’ve been bribed to help facilitate the travel arrangements.
Some of the men have reported violent and sadistic sexual abuse at the hands of their captors. Many countries, including Qatar, have no anti-trafficking legislation and remain on the U.S. Department of State watch lists for showing no progress in identifying victims of trafficking and prosecuting the perpetrators.
While Kenya did approve anti-trafficking legislation last year, homosexuality is still illegal in both the Arab states as well as Kenya, so the men are unable to report abuse to police.
UK trans artist offers to play Pride events
Trans singer and DJ Chrisie Edkins is offering to play any Pride event in the world in 2012 for free.
If organizers can provide accommodations and transportation, she says she would like to promote the LGBT community around the world at any Pride event possible.
Having performed at Las Vegas Pride in 2009 and at Alicante Pride in Spain and Exeter in the U.K. this year, the artist said she wants to play as many Pride days as possible in the next 12 months in the name of charity.
Edkins, who works as a radio DJ in Southampton, England, and on SpirtfireFM.com, said: “I’d like it to be nonstop, to go from one to another on a daily basis. I would play a Pride event every day of the week if I could. I want to try to make a difference and show my support by doing what I love to do — performing.”
Priest fights to remove gay-panic defense
A Catholic priest in Queensland, Australia, has started an online petition to ensure the complete removal of the “homosexual-advance defense,” which has been used to attempt to have murder charges lessened to manslaughter if the victim had propositioned the killer.
Introducing the petition, the Rev. Paul Kelly said: “It is simply intolerable that anyone can rely on a defense or an excuse that an alleged homosexual advance could somehow mitigate against violence that leads to death.”
Known internationally as the “gay-panic defense,” it is invoked to attempt to show the killer acted in self-defense or under provocation.
In some cases, it is alleged the accused had latent gay feelings and, as a result, reacted in an unexpectedly violent way to even a nonviolent gay proposition.
While there is no heterosexual equivalent, the non-violent gay-panic defense is rarely employed successfully.
Father Kelly, of St. Mary’s, Maryborough, started the Australian petition after a man was murdered on church property in 2008 and his killer attempted to invoke the defense.
Same-sex marriage legal in Cancun
Cancun, Cozumèl and other resort areas in the Mexican Caribbean will soon allow same-sex couples to legally marry, thanks largely to a recently discovered quirk in the local civil code.
The area is already popular with LGBT travelers from the U.S., Europe, Canada and other parts of Mexico, and several couples have already expressed interest in marrying there.
Activist Patricia Novelo said the first same-sex group weddings will be held in the resort area this month. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is working with Colectivo Diversidad, Fusion G and Gay Tours Mexico to strike up deals with airlines and hotel chains so that same-sex weddings can be held all along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
Same-sex marriages are possible in the region of Mexico known as Quintana Roo thanks to a legal gap in the civil code, which speaks only to “people interested in getting married” without specifying their gender.
Mexico City already has legal same-sex marriage; over 1,200 same-sex couples have married there so far.
— compiled by Larry Nichols