International News

Police deny murder was antigay

Police in Jamaica, despite press reports to the contrary, deny the recent murder of British honorary counsel John Terry was motivated by homophobia.

Terry was found dead in his home near Montego Bay, St. James, on Sept. 10, naked, strangled and beaten with a note next to his body that read, “This is what will happen to all gays,” according to The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper. The note also reportedly called Terry a “batty-man,” the Jamaican slang for a gay person. Terry was 65.

However, according to the Jamaica-Star, an officer attributed with that account in the tabloid on Sept. 11 denies he described the scene that way.

“He also said that the note found at the scene of the crime had nothing to do with homosexuality,” reported the Jamaica-Star. “As it relates to the content of that document, the officer said that would not be disclosed as it is a matter of investigation.”

Police have released an electronic sketch of a person of interest in the murder.

Indonesia OKs homosexuality ban

Aceh, a devoutly Muslim province of Indonesia, has passed new laws with heavy punishments for homosexuality, adultery and alcohol consumption.

Under the new laws, those convicted of homosexuality may face public lashings and up to eight years in prison.

For married people found guilty of adultery, the penalties are even greater, with the harshest being stoning to death.

Aceh is a semi-autonomous region and has the power to decide its own laws. The decision to allow regions semi-autonomous power was made by the central government in 2001 in an attempt to pacify separatist rebels.

Indonesian local authorities were granted the right to use Islamic law, the result being a strict conservative attitude toward homosexuality often leading to the prosecution of gays, despite a federal constitution that is supposed to protect LGBT civil rights.

Uruguay to allow gay adoptions

Uruguay is clearing the way for gay couples to adopt children.

The Senate’s final approval on Sept. 9 makes Uruguay the first country in Latin America to allow gay and lesbian couples the opportunity to adopt.

The executive branch will now decide when the law takes effect. The change is supported by socialist President Tabare Vazquez’s Broad Front coalition, while the Roman Catholic Church has voiced strong disapproval.

Under Vazquez, Uruguay already legalized gay civil unions and ended a ban on homosexuals in the military.

The law gives judges less say over adoptions and shifts decision-making to the national Institute of the Children and Adolescents.

Report claims runner is intersex

Caster Semenya, the South African runner whose gender has come under scrutiny, is intersex, an Australian newspaper has claimed.

International Association of Athletics Foundation spokesperson Nick Davies said, “The statements in the Australian press should be treated with caution as they are not official statements by the IAAF. We have received the results from Germany, but they now need to be examined by a group of experts and we will not be in a position to speak to the athlete about them for at least a few weeks.”

However, the Sydney Daily Telegraph claims a source from the IAAF confirmed Semenya has both male and female sexual organs.

The report said the 18-year-old has three times the usual level of testosterone for a woman and has internal testes rather than ovaries and a uterus.

Semenya was hailed as a heroine in her country, but since she arrived at the Berlin World Championships in Athletics contest, there have been rumors over her apparent facial hair and masculine appearance.

Gays stand up to police in China

When the police descend on People’s Park in Guangzhou, China, to shoo away the gay men gathered there, the men usually scatter to avoid trouble. But recently, about 50 or so confronted five officers who began a sweep, and finally forced a police retreat after a nonviolent standoff.

“I told them they might not like us, but they can’t stop us from coming here,” said AIDS activist Xiao Mu, who was handing out condoms and pamphlets about safe sex when the police arrived on Aug. 25. “We have a right to be in the park.”

Some in China’s gay community view the police retreat as a sign of a new sense of empowerment and a burgeoning awareness of their rights.

Gay activist Dao Dao in Shanghai also applauded those in Guangzhou for standing up for their rights. But he said he doubted it was the right long-term strategy.

Gay rights have made significant advances in China this year. In June, the first gay Pride festival was held in Shanghai, the nation’s commercial capital. Later that month, the Beijing Queer Film Festival was held after police blocked it from 2001-05.

No adoption for Sir Elton

Ukraine’s minister for family affairs said on Sept. 14 that Elton John will not be able to adopt a 14-month-old Ukrainian child because the pop star is too old and isn’t traditionally married.

The pop singer toured a hospital for HIV-infected children in eastern Ukraine on Sept. 12 as part of a charity project and said that he and his male partner, David Furnish, wanted to adopt an HIV-positive boy named Lev.

But the country’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko said adoptive parents must be married and Ukraine does not recognize homosexual unions as marriage.

John and Furnish, his longtime partner, tied the knot in 2005 in one of the first legalized civil unions in the United Kingdom.

Pavlenko also said John was too old. The singer is 62 and Ukrainian law requires a parent to be no more than 45 years older than an adopted child.

Pavlenko said Ukraine was grateful for the singer’s charity work and expressed hope that his desire to adopt Lev would spur the domestic adoption of more children with health problems, which is still rare in Ukraine.

Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].

Newsletter Sign-up