A Danish newspaper editor said he would refuse to include any news about the country’s recently implemented marriage-equality laws.
The laws allowing gay couples in Denmark the right to marry in state churches came into force recently. But a newspaper editor in northern Jutland refused to include stories about the new law, which he says he disagrees with on principle.
Preben Eskildsen is the editor and owner of the Jutland newspaper Vesthimmerlands Folkeblad, which has a circulation of 10,000.
When he was contacted by a local priest, Roar Pedersen, who suggested he include reports on the country’s new gay-marriage laws, Eskildsen refused.
The editor replied: “I can write whatever the hell I want to about gay marriage, but it is wrong and I will not waste space on it.”
Pedersen said it was a “problem for democracy” if the editor refused to acknowledge an issue because he disagrees with it.
Eskildsen told the news outlet: “I am very much against gay marriage in the Church of Denmark and I think that the church minister is interfering in something he should not meddle in.”
Last known gay Jewish Holocaust survivor dies
The last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust has passed away in Berlin, just days before he was due to celebrate his 89th birthday.
Gad Beck was a Zionist resistance fighter during the Second World War and, in post-war Germany, a bold activist for gay rights when homosexuality was still illegal.
Under the Nazi regime, he famously dressed up as a Hitler Youth member and entered a deportation camp to free his lover, Manfred Lewin. However, Lewin refused to be separated from his family, with whom he was later deported to Auschwitz, and killed there.
Beck’s life has been documented in two films, “The Life of Gad Beck,” and “Paragraph 175,” the latter a look at Nazi persecution of homosexuals under the eponymous penal-code, which provided legal mandate for the deportation of thousands of homosexuals in occupied territories.
As the Nazi policies against Jews became progressively more brutal, Beck joined an underground Zionist resistance movement, Chug Chaluzi, and used his fellow gay acquaintances to help rescue Jews in Berlin. However, just before the end of the war in 1945, a Gestapo-appointed Jewish spy betrayed him, and he was put in a transit camp in Berlin before being liberated by the Allied forces.
He emigrated to Israel in 1947 but returned to Germany in 1979, when he was appointed as the director of the Jewish Adult Education Center in Berlin.
Beck — survived now by his partner of 35 years, Julius Laufer — once said: “Only Steven Spielberg can film my life: forgive me, forgive me.”
Man charged with murder of S. African trans gay activist
A suspect in the murder of Thapelo Makuthle reportedly has been charged. The suspect, Sizwe Tajini, resides with his father in the village of Seoding, where the victim also lived, near Kuruman, Northern Cape, South Africa.
Makuthle, a gay man, was brutally murdered on June 8 in Kuruman, Northern Cape, his head almost severed.
During a court hearing June 26 in Kuruman, Tajini was said to have admitted to carrying out the murder alone.
Shaine Griqua, director of the LGBT-rights group LEGBO Northern Cape, reported that Tajini “stayed silent most of the time and showed no remorse.”
“He also made contemptuous, arrogant facial expressions and body posturing at the LGBT activists who were in attending the court hearing,” he said.
According to Griqua, police caught Taijini June 24 in his mother’s home in Welkom, when he used the victim’s stolen laptop.
Griqua called upon community members to attend demonstrations that will be held in front of the court calling for justice and sending messages against hate crimes.
“This is the second murder reported to us by an organization in the Northern Cape, although other crimes and violence has been reportedly on the increase,” he said. “LGBT people here and throughout South Africa are living in fear, afraid of being the next victim.”
Recently traditional tribal leaders and a prominent MP from the ruling ANC party have called for the removal of LGBT rights from the South African constitution.
African LGBT refugees fleeing to South Africa also report being met with hate crimes and violence in their supposed country of refuge.
Iran stifles publisher for ‘promoting’ gay sex and immorality
Iranian authorities announced June 22 that the reason they shut down a prominent publishing house in Tehran was due to its “promotion of homosexuality, incest and sexual relations between men and women outside marriage.”
On June 8, Iranian officials decided to permanently shut Cheshmeh (“Spring” in Persian), one of Iran’s leading publishing houses, particularly respected in the country’s literary, academic and intellectual circles.
The initial explanation for the government’s withdrawal of Cheshmeh’s license was that some of their books offended religious beliefs.
However, Bahman Dorri, the deputy minister at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, told Iranian media that the charges against the Cheshmeh publishing house goes beyond offending religious beliefs and includes cases of “promoting homosexuality, incest and immoral sexual relations.”
According to Dorri, the content of some of Cheshmeh’s books were so graphic that “even the censorship officers were ashamed to review the books.”
In response, Hossein Alizadeh, from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, stated: “The decision of the Iranian government to close down Cheshmeh is a perfect example of how the sodomy law and anti-lesbian gay bisexual and transgender hysteria harms the entire society, including intellectuals and members of civil society who are simply interested in examining the issue of homosexuality.”
Gorji Marzban, Iranian LGBT activist and chair of the Oriental Queer Organization based in Austria, differed in his understanding of the significance of the ban: “In fact this ban is not an LGBT-related issue. There are eight different publication houses that have been banned by the government, of which Cheshmeh is just one.”