Gay Iranian wins asylum in U.K.

International News Notes

LONDON, England — As a follow-up to a story previously reported in Q-Notes, Mehdi Kazemi, a 19-year-old Iranian exile in the U.K., has won his bid for asylum. Kazemi feared he would be executed if forced to return to Iran after hearing that his former partner had been tried for sodomy and hanged. Kazemi was out of the country for international studies when his friend was killed.
Since that time Kazemi applied to stay in Britain but his initial request was denied. Kazemi then made a case for asylum in the Netherlands but was denied because European Union law requires that asylum be given in the country where it was first requested. This led the British Parliament to consider Kazemi’s case on appeal. After Kazemi’s situation was more thoroughly analyzed, he was approved for exile status.

Alleged rape of gay man by police
LIMA, Peru — International human rights groups are bringing pressure to bear upon a case in which three police officers allegedly repeatedly raped Luis Alberto Rojas Martin because he is gay. An unusual decision by a local judge to take the officers into custody brought international attention to the case. It is thought to be the first time that a Peruvian court has ordered police officers to be held in jail for hate crimes or human rights abuses because of the victim’s sexual orientation.

The police department, rather than suspending the remanded officers, is paying for their legal defense. Supporters of the plaintiffs have led a campaign of protests and blame the defendant for the crime, saying that his sexual orientation is the cause of the problem. Currently the officers are free after being released from jail by order of a more senior court.

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The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Peru’s La Libertad GLTB Association have called on its constituents to “write letters to the Peruvian authorities, asking for a fair and thorough investigation of Luis Alberto Rojas Martin’s rape case, ensuring that those responsible for the crime are duly identified, tried and punished and that the victim gets an effective remedy and fair compensation.”

Jamaican P.M. shuns LGBT staff
LONDON, England — During a recent visit here, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding (pictured) told the BBC that he will not consider including LGBT staff in his cabinet. He said emphatically that he will not be bullied by special interest groups and lobbyists who wish to dictate the moral climate of the island. In 2006 Golding made a speech wherein he boldly stated that gays and lesbians “will find no solace” in Jamaica. Since that time several mobs have beaten and killed LGBT people in public and in their homes.

Golding said in his BBC interview, “I want to live in a Jamaica where persons are free to conduct their private relations. But I’m not talking about leading Jamaica in a direction where its own values are going to be assaulted by others.” After further questioning in an attempt to clarify his position concerning the gradual development of LGBT equality in Jamaica, the Prime Minister stated, “I do not know that that is necessarily the direction in which I want my country to go.”

Indian couple commits suicide
CHENNAI, India — A lesbian couple comprised of two married women was found dead after both were publicly abused by their relatives upon the discovery of their relationship. The women met while attending classes together at a local adult education center 10 years previously. They maintained a close relationship despite the fact that both were married.

The husbands involved had moved further apart in an attempt to separate the women; however, they still found ways to see each other. On the evening after being attacked by their families, the women doused themselves with kerosene and burned themselves alive. Their bodies were found the next day facing one another with their arms wrapped around each other.

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British LGBT market is robust
LONDON, England — A thorough survey of consumers in Britain has revealed that 3 million adults in the country identify as LGBT and that collectively they earned over £81 billion last year. The Out Now 2008 Millivres Gay Market Study tracked various habits and preferences of LGBT people with a focus placed on ways that brands can reach out to the community for advertising purposes.

It was found that a significantly higher percentage of LGBT people have a college or advanced degree and therefore earn more than their heterosexual counterparts. It was also revealed that LGBT web browsers spend 20 hours longer per week surfing for information concerning personal or entertainment interests.

Despite a tendency to be well-employed in a nation garnering a reputation for protecting individual rights, an overwhelming majority of LGBT respondents felt that coming out at work would hamper the progression of their careers. A considerable number of respondents also reported that they had been harassed for being perceived as gay or lesbian by coworkers.

Other trends reported by the survey show that LGBT Brits are more likely to travel, both domestically and abroad; that they are much more likely to respond positively toward brands aimed at them in advertising campaigns; and that they have a sizeable amount of money available to spend on personal interests, a very important detail to businesses smarting from the credit crunch.
Ian Johnson, CEO of Out Now, the leading international gay market consulting agency, was excited about the results of the survey. “One of the most striking things is the extent to which companies that reach out to gay and lesbian consumers with a targeted gay marketing program can expect to win their brand loyalty,” Johnson said. “For brands that get their communications and marketing strategy right, the rewards from the gay market are potentially very large.”

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