Meet our Bloggers


Weekly World News: April 12, 2012

By Torsten Højer
International Correspondent

In this week’s news headlines, Mr. Gay World is crowned; Malaysia moves to make gay men ‘invisible’; Cameroonian authorities shut down a gay rights meeting; a Venezuelan presidential candidate benefits from an anti-gay smear campaign; a multi-country study again finds homophobes probably have some same-sex attraction; and two Muslim men who marry say they face more discrimination from French law than from Islam.
South Africa: New Zealander Declared Mr. Gay World
New Zealand's Andreas Derleth has been crowned Mr. Gay World after a contest in Johannesburg that organizers said aimed to challenge homophobia throughout Africa.

Many of the contestants faced an uphill struggle even to make it to the finals—after Mr. Gay Ethiopia entered the contest, his father cut off all communication. Mr. Gay Zimbabwe withdrew, fearing the publicity was making life difficult for his mother. Namibia's representative, Wendelinus Hamutenya, said that although he was disappointed to lose to Mr. Derleth, 32, he would return home to fight for gay and human rights.

Malaysia: The Move to Make Gays ‘Invisible’
Supporters of LGBT rights have become much more active in Malaysia during the past few years. The topic has been discussed more in the media, and particularly younger Malaysians, who are part of international youth culture, have increasingly become more tolerant and accepting of LGBT people. Hence, a backlash.

The Malaysian government wants to ban any gay or ‘effeminate’ people from TV. Any shows or episodes of shows with any of these characters cannot be shown. So, no Glee for Malaysian kids then. No movies with gay characters, either.

Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz said he wants to "curb the influence of the LGBT community."

Cameroon: LGBT Rights Workshop Shut Down
Cameroonian authorities have shut down a human rights workshop that was to include discussion of the rights of LGBT people and arrested one of the workshop organizers, according to Human Rights Watch.

The action violated rights to freedom of assembly and expression under both Cameroonian and international law, Human Rights Watch said. 
The workshop, scheduled to be held at a Yaoundé hotel, had been authorized by the local sub-prefect, an administrative official, in accordance with Cameroonian law. But the sub-prefect revoked his authorization as the event was beginning, upon realizing that the “human rights” to be discussed included the rights of sexual minorities.

Police arrested Stéphane Koche, an activist working with the convening organizations, and detained him for three hours before releasing him without charge. 

“Cameroonians have the right to freedom of assembly and expression, even if their viewpoints are not popular in the eyes of the authorities,” said Boris Dittrich, LGBT advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Shutting down a workshop and detaining an activist is no way for Yaoundé authorities to treat people who have come together to talk about human rights.”

Venezuela: Presidential Candidate Rises in Polls Following Anti-Gay Smears Against Him
Henrique Capriles, the 39-year-old Venezuelan opposition candidate who was the recent victim of a homophobic smear campaign, has risen in the polls, and is now one percent below President Hugo Chavez.

In 2000, Mr Capriles was allegedly found by a policeman engaged in a sexual act with another man in his car. At the time, Capriles was mayor of Baruta, a position he then allegedly used to cover up the event, avoid charges and have the policeman in question subjected to a disciplinary process.

According to Venezuala Analysis, “Various news groups such as Reuters and the Huffington Post claim that the opposition candidate has fallen victim to ‘government-inspired hate’ and negative remarks about everything from his [unconfirmed] sexuality, to his ‘privileged’ background and Jewish roots.”

However, voters don’t seem to care—Luis Vicente Leon, head of the Caracas polling body Datanalisis, said, “Capriles’ strengths are that he’s young, healthy and represents the future.”

World: Study Again Finds Homophobes Probably Harbor Same-Sex Attraction
The claim that homophobic people are secretly attracted to members of their own sex, though they refuse to admit as much, will receive support from a series of psychological studies to be published later this month.

According to research to be published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, scientists across New York, Essex and California have found evidence that gay men and lesbians remind homophobes of themselves, causing an aversive reaction and instilling fear. The study also claims that the root of the problem lies in the homophobic attitudes in which they were brought up as a child.

The study involved four different experiments, each using 160 students in the U.S. and Germany, and measured differences between self-reports concerning sexuality compared to how the subjects reacted during a time-controlled task where they had to look at images and words associated with homo- or heterosexuality.

The second part of the experiment involved subject histories on family upbringing, after which they were invited to look at pictures of gay or straight couples. Then, levels of homophobia were measured both consciously and sub-consciously.

France: Muslim Men Marry with Blessing of Imam
Two gay Muslim men have married in France with the blessing of an imam. 
Ludovic Mohamed Zahed, a French man of Algerian origin, and his South African partner Qiyam al-Din, were reportedly married in accordance to the Sharia (Islamic law) in the presence of a Mauritian imam.

The imam, named Jamal, blessed their union on February 12, 2012, according to a report in Albawbaba. 
The two were previously able to marry in South Africa under the country’s same-sex marriage laws, which also permits gay couples to adopt, but France does not recognize same-sex unions.

After the wedding, organized by Din’s family, the couple decided to return to France and settle down in a Parisian suburb, hoping that the French government would recognize the legality of their marriage. 
But the French authorities refused.

Zahed, who has his family’s blessings for the marriage, says that he faces more obstacles with the French law than discrimination from Muslims.