Polish priest calls for LGBT deaths
KRAKOW, Poland — Father Rafal Trytek (pictured) has called for the deaths of LGBT people. “Homosexuals should be burned at the stakes, as in the Medieval Age. I hope that these beautiful days return to our great Poland.” These comments were made while the priest was surrounded by a mob of Neo-Nazi members at a Pride event in Krakow. The Neo-Nazis threw sticks, rocks and rotten eggs at parade participants while Trytek sprinkled the attackers with holy water.
“Hate Speech” is illegal in Poland if it is directed toward women, ethnic minorities, religious minorities and immigrants. Homosexuals are pointedly excluded from protections against attack and discrimination. Szymon Niemiec, an outspoken activist, has sent a proposal to Human Rights Minister Donald Tusk asking that LGBT Poles be included in hate crime protections. Tusk has proven to be more sympathetic to LGBT concerns than his predecessors.
Gay Iranian hopes to go home
MONTREAL, Canada — Arsham Parsi has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in Iran since 2001. He founded the Iranian Queer Organization when two of his close friends committed suicide after their families discovered them in a same-sex relationship.
Parsi said he attempted to purge his sexuality by praying 10 times each day, rather than 5, and by fasting three months each year, rather than one. He has since discontinued his practice of Islam but has not renounced the faith. “I miss Iran. I identify myself as a person living in exile. I was raised a Muslim, and one day I hope to return to my home country.”
Parsi was forced to flee Iran to avoid a death penalty, making his way to Canada by way of Turkey. For now, Parsi is staying in Canada where he can collect and then distribute resources and aid to activists in Turkey. “We cannot help the people in Iran directly. We can enter Turkey and help refugees there. The problem is that Turkey is not tolerant either, so many refugees jump out of the pan and into the fire.”
Shop dresses gay adults, their kids
LONDON, England — A recent survey of LGBT people in the U.K. revealed that 11 percent of gay men and 20 percent of lesbians are parents. Bearing this in mind, at least one upper-echelon gay boutique has begun including clothing for children alongside its displays for high-end fashions and haute couture designs for adults. Prowler, an LGBT store in the Brewster Street area, caters to wealthier LGBT buyers and now offers them the chance to shop for their children while they make purchases for themselves.
“We are stocking baby clothes because of the increased desire of gay men and women to start families and Prowler prides itself on providing the gay community with the very best in products and services,” said Mark Watson, marketing manager at the store.
Joseph Galliano, the editor of the premiere European LGBT lifestyle magazine GT, has hailed the choice, saying “I am delighted that Prowler stores are recognizing that there is more to a gay lifestyle than the usual stereotypes. Indeed GT is reflecting this diversity with its new FAMILY issue…” LGBT parents can select from a wide variety of fashionable and kitschy outfits for their children starting in June.
WWII LGBT activist honored
BERLIN, Germany — Seventy-five years ago Nazi soldiers stormed the offices of local physician and LGBT advocate Magnus Hirschfeld (pictured), founder of the first organization in the world dedicated to gaining protections for LGBT people. His property was raided after the Nazi party declared homosexuality illegal and most of his books were burned. (It should be noted that images and newsreels showing the Nazis burning books are nearly always documents of the burning of the manuscripts from Hirschfeld’s library.)
Hirschfeld was abroad giving lectures when the raid occurred — he heard of the violence and never returned to Germany. He went into exile in France and died there in 1935.
In an ongoing effort by the modern government to make amends and reparations, the city has renamed the portion of the Spree River that passes by Hirschfeld’s Berlin offices in his honor. A bronze monument will be erected alongside the river where the library was located.
Additionally, Berlin’s largest hospital has opened an exhibition devoted to Hirschfeld’s research and publications. The installation is called “Sex Burns” and focuses on the conflict between Hirschfeld’s research and Nazi ideology about sex.
LGBT Theatre Festival underway
DUBLIN, Ireland — The fifth annual Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, running May 5-18, will recognize the contribution of LGBT artists to the performing arts by sponsoring and staging 10 productions throughout the area. The venues were selected for embracing LGBT-friendly themes in the works they present.
Organizers say this is the only international festival of its type in the world, presenting works by playwrights from all the continents. The events will continue over the course of two weeks and the festivities will be opened by Minister Eamon Ryan, the government representative responsible for communication, energy and national resources.
Thirty-five performances are scheduled. Ticket purchases will include a program of free events ranging from academic seminars to conversations with award-winning actors.