Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Aug 4: SF Gays Protest at 7 Consulates, 870 Market at Noon

Gay human rights activists in San Francisco will participate in the August 4 Global Gay Solidarity Day by staging a one-hour speak out and protest at seven foreign consulates, and all people concerned about international LGBT rights and our brothers and sisters across our planet are invited to join us.
WHAT: Global Gay Solidarity Day Action
WHEN: Saturday, August 4
TIME: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
WHERE: Flood Building, 870 Market Street (Near Powell Street BART and Muni stations)
WHY: Demand LGBT Equality Everywhere
The location was chosen because Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rice, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Peru all have consulates in the Flood Building.
Similar global LGBT solidarity actions will happen on August 3 in New York City and on August 4 in Caracas, Cologne, Mexico City, San Diego, Stockholm, Warsaw and Washington.
Please support queer global solidarity and show up at any action that is nearest you. Let's all pitch in to improve worldwide respect for the human rights protections of LGBT citizens in every country.

(Flood Building entrance)

Friday, July 27, 2007

UN Secretary General Zapped in SF: "Gay Rights Issue is Very Sensitive"

(Photo credit: Clinton Fein of Annoy.com. Kindly give him credit, if you re-use his photos.)

(ZombieTime.com captured the event on video and has posted it YouTube.)

July 26, 2007
Contact: Michael Petrelis at (415) 621-6267




SAN FRANCISCO (July 26) -- A group of activists staged a protest at an evening meeting at the Fairmont Hotel featuring the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, in order to protest the unconscionable, murderous silence of the United Nations concerning continued violence and executions globally which specifically target gays and lesbians. Ban was speaking before the World Affairs Council of Northern California, as San Francisco is considered the birthplace of the UN.

The nonviolent protesters twice interrupted Ban’s speech, first standing on their seats, chanting "Break the silence! Talk about about gays!” while holding up signs which read “Gay Rights Are UNiversal", capitalizing the letters UN to drive home the point that the UN has not accepted its responsibility to monitor and defend the human rights of gay and lesbian people worldwide.
UN Secretary General Ban replied, "That is most unusual welcome for me . . . As Secretary General, I'm supposed to answer all questions . . . The gay rights issue is very sensitive."

The protesters included Michael Petrelis and Hank Wilson, longtime LGBT activists, who were escorted out of the hotel and questioned by U.S. Secret Service agents.

Thirty minutes later, George Duvoisin, a gay youth advocate, wearing a large rainbow flag draped over his shoulders, rose up and asked Ban, "What about gay rights, and specific language in UN documents for gays and transgender people to protect against violence and discrimination?"

The San Francisco action heralds a series of demonstrations across the world in August to ban anti-gay violence across the world. August 3 and 4 have been cited as the Global Days of Gay Solidarity, with protests planned for cities across the globe.

“The UN has been silent for far too long, as our gay brothers and lesbian sisters are aggressively selected for human rights violations, torture and execution across the globe, simply due to their sexual orientation,” said Petrelis, who organized the protest.

“In the last year alone, our brothers and sisters have been maimed and slaughtered in too many incidents around the world,” said Hank Wilson. “This includes the violent attacks on gays in Eastern European pride marches; the killings of Jamaican gays; and the ongoing executions of gays in Iran. The United Nations never fails to speak out against injustice and human rights violations as they happen, but they are criminally silent when it comes to the murders of lesbians and gay men.”

George Duvoisin acknowledged that the UN had made a modest recent gesture towards support for gays and lesbians. On July 23, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted consultative status on Friday to two nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In addition to the alarming homophobic incidents cited by the activists, ongoing injustice against gays and lesbians continues across the world. Same-sex relationships are illegal in more than 70 countries, with consenting adults facing jail terms ranging from one year to life imprisonment, and even execution in six countries.

Examples of homophobic persecution include: Execution of gay males (or those perceived to have had same-sex relations) in the aforementioned Iran and Saudi Arabia. Nigeria, Uganda and Malaysia punish same-sex relations with maximum penalties of ten years to life imprisonment.

Queer-bashing mobs and death squads target gays for violence and murder in Jamaica, Iraq and parts of Brazil and Mexico. Even the formation of organizations to promote legal equality for gays and lesbians are illegal in certain parts of the world.

The San Francisco action heralds a series of demonstrations across the world in August to ban anti-gay violence across the world. August 3 and 4 have been cited as the Global Days of Gay Solidarity, with protests planned for cities across the globe. More info on the Aug 3 and 4 action is located here.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Video of Iran Hanging Three People, Including a Woman

Words cannot adequately sum up and describe the revulsion I felt watching this horrific video posted over the weekend, and brought to my attention today. It shows three adulterers, including a woman, hoisted to their deaths, as a crowd roars approval.
Some people will criticize me for calling attention to it and linking because it's not "gay" specific, but I'm not a single-issue human rights activist and as an opponent of the death penalty, in all its forms and in every situation, particularly in my country of America, I feel it's necessary to witness how Iran carries out some of its executions.
Click here to read Arash's blog and view the strangulation hanging video, which, I must warn you, is very graphic. From Arash's post:
Hi, this is Arash Kamangir speaking. I am an Iranian student in Canada and English is my second language. This blog is about Iran, as I see it . . . I did not upload this to Youtube because I know they’ll delete it very soon. It is very graphic. This is taken recently in Iran. Do pay attention to people who shout “Allaho-Akbar”, Allah is great. Great is obviously the last word I’ll use for any religion which supports this.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

SF Chron: Ex-NYT'er on Condi's Waning, No Paper Published Her Article

Former New York Times foreign reporter Joel Brinkley, who now teaches journalism at Stanford, has a devastatingly negative opinion piece in today's Insight section of the San Francisco Chronicle about the waning influence of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
What sticks in my mind as the most damning nugget showing her diminished role in at least shaping a debate, never mind actually accomplishing something tangible and positive, is that she peddled a lame article to important newspapers around the world, all turning her down.
Sure, pieces like Brinkley are a potent dose of schadenfreude for radical gay peaceniks like myself, but I am so worried about what further damage Rice and her White House bosses will do, as their days in power dwindle, that I really don't find true comfort in such opinion columns.
Nevertheless, thanks Joel Brinkley, for getting your column published, and kudos to the SF Chronicle for printing it today.
From the Brinkley piece:

A few months ago, she decided to write an opinion piece about Lebanon. She enlisted John Chambers, chief executive officer of Cisco Systems as a co-author, and they wrote about public/private partnerships and how they might be of use in rebuilding Lebanon after last summer's war. No one would publish it.

Think about that. Every one of the major newspapers approached refused to publish an essay by the secretary of state. Price Floyd, who was the State Department's director of media affairs until recently, recalls that it was sent to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and perhaps other papers before the department finally tried a foreign publication, the Financial Times of London, which also turned it down.

As a last-ditch strategy, the State Department briefly considered translating the article into Arabic and trying a Lebanese paper. But finally they just gave up. "I kept hearing the same thing: 'There's no news in this.' " Floyd said. The piece, he said, was littered with glowing references to President Bush's wise leadership. "It read like a campaign document."

Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

(Image courtesy of Malcontent.biz.com and Bay Windows.)

Gay City News: HRC Troops MIA, HRC PAC Files Scrutinized

One thing that has long bothered me about the Human Rights Campaign, and other mainstream advocacy groups, is their sheer disinterest in all forms of activism and unwillingness to hit the streets more often, or engage their members and donors in visible actions that other gays and lesbian organize.

I think HRC, which claims more than half a million members, many of whom live in American urban areas, should be able to turn out a few bodies for public displays of advocacy such as picket lines, candle light vigils, and even occasionally street marches to demand equality. But HRC leaders and the alleged hundreds of thousands of members never seem to be out for equality unless they're attending rubber-chicken dinner or attending a scripted news conference, and their whole approach to winning equality seems to be waged only through a Democratic Party insider approach.

An excellent example of how HRC members and all the folks on staff or the assorted boards and bodies don't deliver on their rhetoric of leading is contained in a story this week from Gay City News, written by Andy Humm, about a black lesbian's mistreatment at a restaurant in Manhattan:
The Caliente Cab Company in Greenwich Village is allegedly stonewalling negotiations in the case of Khadijah Farmer, 27, a lesbian who was thrown out of the restaurant on LGBT Pride Day. Farmer, who was dining with friends, was using the women's room when a bouncer mistook her for a male, charged into the restroom, and refused to let her show identification before making her pay her full tab and leave without being served all of her meal.
On Sunday, July 15, members of the new Queer Justice League picketed the restaurant at Seventh Avenue South and Bleecker, urging a boycott of Caliente there and at its other two Manhattan locations until the owners apologize to Farmer, compensate her for the mistreatment and humiliation she suffered, adopt a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in line with New York City law . . .

Joey Nelson, also of the League, said that they reached out to established LGBT civil rights groups including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and got encouragement but no troops for their picket.

This action was in the center of New York City's historic gay enclave, a neighborhood stuffed with HRC members and no one from America's allegedly largest gay political organization bothered to attend, leading me to wonder again, exactly where are HRC's half million donors when needed, in places like gay ghettos?
Some HRC defenders will say the group's role is not to pound the pavements, but instead to work the halls of Congress and enact federal protections for us. Well, on that front HRC and its Democratic Party friends suffered a setback this week, with a delay in voting on hate crimes enhancement legislation, which was attached to and entangled with a Defense Department bill that is now on the farthest back burner.
From Chris Crain's blog report on the disappointing developments for us in the U.S. Senate:
There's disappointing (if not surprising) news on the fate of a gay-inclusive hate crimes bill in the U.S. Senate. According to HRC's Back Story blog, the debate on Iraq has dragged down with it the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention/Local Law Enforcement Act, the bill's official title . . .
All this still begs the question of why in the first place HRC and its Democratic allies in the Senate chose to burden the hate crimes bill by linking it to easily the most controversial piece of legislation in Congress . . .
And yet once again, like so many times before, through years when Democrats controlled one or both houses of Congress and even the White House, gay rights bills wallow as low priority items. There's no talk of votes in the House and Senate for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act either, even though it has majority support in both chambers. We shouldn't be surprised. Democrats and their lackies at HRC have been hinting privately since January that "the deal" with the party's leadership is that only hate crimes would get a vote this year, so this "frustrating delay" fits the pattern.
Speaking of HRC and the Democrats, no one should be surprised to learn that HRC's political director further solidified her allegiance to the Donkey Party with yet another donation to the DNC in the current election cycle. If you look over her thirty or so federal donations, only one was to a GOP politician, former Rep. Jim Kolbe from Arizona who is gay, while the bulk of her political giving, like so many HRC executives, went to just one party.
From Federal Election Commission files for the HRC political director:
Stachelberg, Cynthia
Washington, DC 20016

HRC/Political Director

Yes, I grant you that by any measure the Democrats are miles ahead of the GOP on our issues, but questions must be raised about putting all HRC's gay community dollars into just one party's coffers, and what exactly it's produced of widespread benefit for LGBT nationwide. I believe after so many gay HRC funds have made their way to the Democrats, who now control Congress, the LGBT community should have more to show for it, other than promises from Democrats to vote later this year on bills of importance to us.
Examining the HRC political action committee files for the 2007/08 election cycle, the evidence is there showing yet again the group is bipartisan in name only. Seeing the following donations lead me to plead with HRC leadership to end the charade of being bipartisan and once and for all declaring themselves the gay wing of the DNC.
The current HRC PAC file on giving to individual candidates reveals they donated a total of $124,500, of which $120,500 went to Democrats and only $4,000 to Republicans.
In terms of HRC PAC contributions to other PACs, the amount was $12,500 and all of it went to DNC affiliated PACs.
Lastly, the HRC PAC doled out $40,000 to party PACs and very bit was funneled to the Democratic National Committee.
So adding up the HRC gay dollars given to pols, PACs and party for this cycle so far, the amount is $173,000 to Democrats and $4,000 to the GOP. Let's also bear in mind the latest HRC PAC contributions are not all that different from every other election cycle of HRC's existence.
With generous friends like HRC, no matter how many promises Democrats don't deliver on for us, it's a no-brainer to understand why Democratic Party leaders see gays as both doormats and dependable ATMs blowing cash their way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

German Vigil at Anti-Nazi Site for Gay Iran; Italian, French Bloggers Active

(Viktor Zimmerman, of Gay Homeland Foundation, third from the left in white shirt, and Jacek Marjanski, head of Baraka International, fourth from the left, about to address the crowd.)

(Jacek going over his notes, while Viktor make his remarks.)

New reports are coming in from Europe on a few actions, both large and small, on their actions for gay Iranians and against the death penalty. Let's start with comments from Viktor Zimmerman in Cologne, Germany, the key organizer of the event there today who I give much gratitude. There are also plenty of thanks I extend to Herve Lebrun in France for all of his contributions today. Danke! Merci!

From Viktor in Cologne:
"Congratulations to the vigil in San Francisco! I think it is a very good thing you staged it. Somehow even the IGLHRC has issued a last-minute statement about Iran's policy against Gays. Our own vigil was successful as well, some 40 people (mostly activists) attended the event.

"We heard from Jacek Marjanski, the leader of Baraka International, who spoke of the need to work across borders in support of gays all over the planet.

"For August 4, the Global Gay Solidarity Day, we would like to participate, too - but it will be rather a smaller action. I am thinking of visiting the local consulates of Nepal and/or Gambia to hand over a letter to their Governments in support of Gay people living there. This is a very humble action, but most certainly better that nothing at all.

"An excerpt of the rough English translation of my speech at the Cologne vigil:

On this 19 July, we would like to commemorate all those thousands of gay and lesbian victims of the Ayatollah regime. Not all of them were perfect, but all of them have in common that they did not deserve such a barbarian punishment. We want to remember that many lesbians and gays cannot lead their life freely.

In Iran of our days, gay men are entrapped over Internet, arrested by death squads, tortured and murdered. Many commit suicide or subject themselves to unnecessary gender changing surgeries. Lesbians are discriminated against as women and are not allowed to do lead a self-determined life anyway. They must count on punishments of up to 100 whip blows, or face the death penalty if repeatedly indicted.

Iran must terminate the persecution of homosexuals. Those who in the year 2007 punish human beings because of their sexuality with death, have left the family of the civilized mankind. The western countries can and must exercise economical and political pressure on Iran, in order to terminate persecution of homosexuals. Sanctions must be imposed against Iran, until the executions have ceased.

In Italy, some activists get off their butts and applied public pressure on their government's representative in Iran. This is my rough translation of an Italian news article:
A human rights organization sent a letter to Italy's ambassador in Tehran, asking him to express opposition to pending executions in Iran and to remember the two hanged gay Iranian teenagers, on this, the second international "Candle Day" of vigils.
Here is the original story:
Iran, attivisti scrivono all'Ambasciatore italiano per protestare contro le esecuzioni
19/07/2007 di AKI

In una lettera indirizzata a Roberto Toscano, ambasciatore italiano a Teheran, il Gruppo Everyone di attivisti dei diritti umani ha chiesto l'intervento del nostro governo presso quello iraniano per salvare la vita a 20 giovani arrestati di recente nell'ambito della campa di moralizzazione, e condannati a morte con l'accusa di ''atti omosessuali'' o ''molestie a donne'', lo riporta l'agenzia Adn Kronos International. Oggi 19 luglio, in alcune città del mondo si celebra altresì il ''Candle Day'' per ricordare l'impiccagione dei due giovani Mahmoud Asgari e Ayaz Marhoni impiccati dal regime iraniano due anni.

And in France, gay blogger and activist Herve Joseph Lebrun also declared today an international day to light candles for gay Iranians. From his blog:

Aujourd’hui est célébré dans queques villes du monde, le “Candle Day”, le 19 juillet, donc. En mémoire à la pendaison de Mahmoud Asgari et Ayaz Marhoni. Cette commémoration est due en partie à Michael Petrelis.

Les personnes contactées en France (Têtu News) pour diffuser cette formation afin que le communauté LGBT soit informée n’ont rien annoncé.

Pas de relais. La France n’aime pas les bougies ou bien les gays iraniens, ou bien les deux !
Alors si la paraffine vous tente !

Dernière minute : Le site français CitéGay vient de publier l’information : merci Téva, merci à vous !

BAR: Amnesty on Gay Iranians & My Pix from City Hall Vigil

(Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, left, lights candle of hope for LGBT Iranians, held by Supervisor Bevan Dufty.)

(Gay and human rights advocates at San Francisco City Hall, standing in solidarity with LGBT Iranians and gays everywhere.)

In the third year of showing San Francisco's solidarity with gay people's struggle worldwide, and especially in Iran where two gay teenagers were hanged on July 19, 2005, more than a dozen gay and human rights advocates and politicians put aside differences over local budgetary matters today and stood united for LGBT international solidarity.
We gathered in Iranian-American Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's City Hall office to light candles of hope for LGBT Iranians, oppose the death penalty and executing of children, and to remember the two hanged gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni.

Brief remarks were made by Mirkarimi, Gay-American Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Pastor Robert Goldstein of St. Francis Lutheran Church, and speaking on behalf their bosses, Alex Randolph, representing Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Maxwell Huffman from state Sen. Carole Migden's office, shared their concerns for gay Iranians.
Three candles, one red, another green and the last one white, symbolizing the colors of the Iranian flag were lit, and after photos were snapped, the activists and politicians reaffirmed to each other their commitments to international LGBT organizing, ending capital punishment and expressed strong support for the August 4 Global Gay Solidarity Day actions happening around the world. Click here for more info.
Many thanks to all who attended today's event for gay Iranians at San Francisco's seat of government.
And don't overlook an excellent story by Heather Cassell in the Bay Area Report today about different perspectives, especially from Amnesty International, and the myriad complexities when American gays grapple with Iranian politics and that country's gay population.

From the BAR:

Mirkarimi, an Iranian American, told the Bay Area Reporter that the execution of the young men was "prehistoric and unacceptable" and that they "should not go unnoticed."
The vigil follows news reports last week in the International Herald Tribune that a man was executed earlier this month and that 20 more executions were scheduled within "coming days" based on "morality violations." Morality violations include "rape, insulting religious sanctities and laws, and homosexuality," and are punishable by death, the article stated. The article further confirmed Iran's morality crackdown by reporting the arrests of about 1,000 individuals in May and public executions being carried out.
The vigil, organized by gay activist and blogger Michael Petrelis, will be in conjunction with similar events in Cologne, Germany; Moscow; and Warsaw, Poland, Petrelis said . . .

"If this were 1941 Germany ... I would not be silent, as a homosexual Jewish American," said Petrelis.

Mirkarimi added, regarding the execution of the two young men, "I don't think that we can tiptoe. It's important to be strategic ... but we can't tiptoe around something that is a blatant horrific action such as this." . . .

Moscow Gays Protest at Iranian Embassy for LGBT Rights

Our gay brothers and sisters in Moscow today staged their vigil for LGBT Iranians and have sent along this report and photos. For more info on the Gay Russian organization, click here. Thank you, LGBT Russians, for your solidarity action today!

Moscow LGBT activists protested today against persecution of Iranian gays

This is the second year that gays and lesbians rally in front of Iranian embassy in Moscow.
About two dozens of LGBT and political activists demonstrated in front of Iranian embassy in Moscow. They protested against execution and discrimination of gay people in Iran.

The rally was organized and supported by Russian leading gay rights advocacy group 'Project GayRussia.Ru' and joined by 'LGBT Rights', 'Free Radicals Libertarian Movement' and activists of 'Transnational Radical Party'.

Traditionnal Human Rights organizations ignored the protest and did not join.

Demonstrators held slogans in support of human and gay rights. They also unveiled rainbow flags.

Slogans of the rally were: “Iran! Maintain human rights!”, “Iran! Hands off gays!”, “No death penalty!”.

Last year LGBT and political activists also rallied on July 19 against execution of gay people in Iran while several extremists attempted to assault the demonstrators.

This year the situation in front of Iranian embassy was very calm. Just in the end of manifestation appeared a group of nationalists and religious believers. They were stopped by the police and dismissed.

One of Moscow Pride organizers and participant of the rally Nikolai Baev said that this year during the rally happened nothing dangerous for LGBT activists.

“It seems that even homophobic activists start to understand that gays and lesbians may rally and protest in Moscow absolutely free, and walk on streets with their flags and slogans”, said Baev. “This is also a clear result of our policy that we started with Gay Pride movement in Russia.”

However the rally was authorized by Moscow authorities only after activists did not mention about “gay rights” in their application.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

July 19: SF City Hall Remembers Hanged Gay Iranians at 12 Noon

From the moment news of Iran hanging two gay teenagers on July 19, 2005, reached San Francisco, two members of the Board of Supervisors have been in the forefront remembering the victims Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, and standing in solidarity with LGBT Iranians.

Now, on the second anniversary of the tragic hanging, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, an Iranian-American, and his colleague Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a Gay-American, are holding a vigil and will light candles of remembrance for the hanged Iranian teenagers tomorrow, July 19, at 12 noon, in San Francisco's City Hall, in Mirkarimi's office, room 282.

Please join us on Thursday at City Hall if you live in the Bay Area, and no matter where you are, remember Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni on this day, and fight for living LGBT Iranians, that they may live their lives free of fear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Spanish Gays Protest Pending Iranian Executions, Hanged Gay Teens

July 19 marks two years since Iran hanged two gay teenagers and unlike last year, in which hundreds of activists in dozens of countries and cities worldwide took the streets to stage vigils and protests, this year's commemorative events will be smaller.

It's because of the unnecessary obstacles placed before activists by the LGBT staffers at the Human Rights Watch that so few cities are involved this year.

HRW staffers have hurled unfounded accusations at organizers and volunteers, refused to engage in respectful dialogue, ignored pleas to stop their character assassinations, nor have they expressed any willingness to finally learn to work with activists also concerns about gay Iranians.

At too many times to count, the vitriol from HRW staffers over these matters of mutual concern has poisoned not only LGBT interest worldwide in gay Iranians, but also polluted international gay activism. The time for HRW to collaborate with fellow activists and stop undermining us was yesterday.

Having said all that, gay activists in Madrid on July 18, yes, the day before the executions happened two years ago, will protest at their local Iranian embassy.

Here is a rough English translation of an article that appeared last week in a Spanish magazine about the action in Madrid, followed by the announcement from the Spanish gay group Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Spain.

And don't forget about the other July 19 vigils in Cologne, Moscow and San Francisco. Click here for info on those events.

From the Spanish press:

Spanish activism LGBT requests to gays and Iranian lesbians to leave their country

The State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals of Spain (FELGTB) today made a call to the Iranian homosexual people so that they leave that country and asked the government of Iran the immediate halt of the announced executions

The spokesman of the Iranian Judicial Power, Ali Reza Yamshidi, informed the press yesterday of the pending executions of 20 people who were condemned of rape, adultery and homosexuality, and that there are 15 others in the middle of the corresponding judicial procedure facing same crimes. All within a plan that has an aim “to clean to the cities of criminals and evildoers”.

The president of FELGTB, Antonio Poveda, has made a call to the international community for “that one in the exigency of respect to the human rights” in Iran. “The scorn to the life of the people and the total absence of freedom are something more than a sporadic article in a newspaper: they have to mean in our countries the social rebellion and it repulses it, and the exigency to the governments of a forceful action in defense of the values of coexistence world-wide decided and that they take shelter in the Declaration of the Human rights”, he adds.

On the other hand, David Montero, person in charge of the FELGTB for international subjects, condemned the “strategy of criminalization of the homosexual love which they carry out all the religious fundamentalisms, that are fomenting hatred towards lesbians, gays, transsexuals and bisexuals.

The FELGTB is going to start up mobilizations against the Iranian Government before this violation of human rights is executed and on 18 July, at 12:30 local time, will make a concentration before the embassy of Iran to demand the end of the planned executions.

And this comes from the Spanish gay group:

Concentración frente a la Embajada de Irán en protesta por las ejecuciones de mujeres y de homosexuales

Ante el anuncio del portavoz del Poder Judicial iraní, Ali Reza Yamshidi, de que se va a proceder a la ejecución de 20 personas, mujeres y hombres, condenadas por adulterio y homosexualidad, y que otras 15 se encuentran en medio del correspondiente procedimiento judicial, dentro de un plan que tiene como objetivo “limpiar las ciudades de criminales y malvados” la FELGTB y Red Feminista no pueden quedarse cruzadas de brazos.

Por tanto anunciamos la puesta en marcha de movilizaciones contra el gobierno iraní ante esta vulneración total de los derechos humanos mas fundamentales. Para comenzar, el próximo miércoles 18 de julio a las 12,30h convocamos a la ciudadania a una concentración ante la embajada de Irán, c/Jerez, 5, Villa "El Altozano", Metro Pio XII, para exigir a Irán que paralice inmediatamente las ejecuciones anunciadas.

Hacemos un llamado a toda la ciudadanía para que asistan a la concentración del miércoles, puesto que consideramos de capital importancia que se haga visible la repulsa ciudadana a estas ejecuciones homófobas por que las vulneraciones de los derechos humanos, indpendientemente del genero, raza u orientacion sexual de las vicitmas, nos afectan y amenazan a todas y todos.

Palestinian Confirmation: Arafat Died of AIDS

The Israel Today news service reported last week that a Palestinian leader earlier this month confirmed in a TV interview that terrorist Yassir Arafat died of AIDS. Click the YouTube link above to watch an excerpt of the interview and here is some of the Israel Today story, which speculates on Arafat's alleged gay affairs:

A leading Palestinian “resistance” figure has confirmed what many suspected all along: Yasser Arafat died of AIDS.

In an interview with Hizballah's Al-Manar TV earlier this month, Ahmad Jibril, founder and leader of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, revealed a shocking conversation he recently had with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his staff . . .

Jibril, like many Palestinians, readily accepted the notion that Israel had assassinated Arafat, and wanted the Palestinian Authority to conduct an official investigation concluding as much . . .

“They were silent, and then one of them said to me: 'To be honest, the French gave us the medical report, that stated that the cause of [Arafat's] death was AIDS.'”

Arafat eventually died in a Paris hospital after being airlifted out of Ramallah. Many speculated that the Palestinian leader, who was said to have had numerous homosexual relationships, had in fact contracted AIDS.

A clearly angered Jibril said that Abbas and every other member of Arafat's Fatah faction “should be happy that we got rid of the plague, which had been imposed upon them and upon the Palestinian people. The Fatah movement now has an opportunity to renew itself.”

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harold Norse, Queer Beat Poet, Marks 91st Birthday Reading His Work

Legendary queer beat poet and writer Harold Norse, who's very much alive and kicking, celebrated his 91st birthday on Sunday at the funky Beat Museum in North Beach. Surrounded by many dear friends and admirers, Norse read from his work, spoke about his Beat life, ate a slice of chocolate birthday cake and signed books for fans. I had never met him so I made sure to get to his party and reading, just to shake his hand and snap some pix of him.

Loud and big thanks to Todd Swindell, Tate Swindell, Mark Vermeulen, Jerry Cimino and the entire staff at the Beat Museum for pulling the event together. Happy 91st birthday, Harold!

Here are a few of my pix:

(The legend, the poet, the queer writer, the man: Harold Norse)

(Harold signing books for a line of fans.)

(Two crotchety, opinionated, veteran queers giving each other the "Yeah, right. Who the hell do you think you are?" look. Harold on the right, yours truly on the left.)

(The super-friendly macho good-guy Jerry Cimino, proprietor of the Beat Museum, after the hordes of Harold's friends had left.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

ILGA's Freedom of Assembly Campaign Needs U.S. Help

Our good friends across the pond in the International Lesbian & Gay Association recently launched in important campaign for freedom of assembly rights for LGBT people, and it needs help from gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activists.

This campaign should be of real concern to American gays, who read news and blog accounts of our brothers and sisters across Europe and their gay pride marches, some of which are met with violence and intolerance, while a few other Eastern European pride events are taking place with police protection for gays and without mayhem.

For more info on the ILGA freedom of assembly campaign, click here:

The aim of our campaign is to mobilise support by as many mayors of European cities as possible for the right of LGBT people to freedom of assembly and expression by signing our appeal.

The appeal with signatures will be later sent to mayors of those European cities where LGBT people have been denied and restricted their constitutional right to freedom of assembly and expression or faced aggressive and violent opposition from radicals, nationalists and religious fundamentalists.

The appeal, names of the signatories as well as their possible individual messages of support will be also available on our website.

We hope that by gaining wide support of European mayors we will be able to increase the profile of the issues around bans and restrictions on LGBT Pride marches and other public events in various European cities, and gain greater media interests across Europe.

Most importantly we want to achieve a ‘climate of intolerance and disapproval’ towards those European mayors who are still prepared to or contemplating banning or restricting the rights of LGBT people to freedom of assembly and expression among their European colleagues.

We hope this campaign and wide support by European mayors will be another useful tool for local LGBT groups organising LGBT Pride marches and other public events when challenging bans and/or restrictions.

The appeal is being now distributed among the mayors of European cities. We are encouraging the mayors to sign the appeal before 17 May, the International Day against Homophobia, when ILGA-Europe will announce the signatories and will send the appeal to the mayors of ‘problematic’ cities. However the appeal will be open for signing by the European mayors throughout the entire summer of 2007.

We encourage ILGA-Europe members, friend and supporters to actively promote our campaign and to work with your city/town mayors to obtain their signature and support. The mayors are encouraged not only to provide a signature to the appeal, but also to issue their individual statement of support for the right of LGBT people for freedom of assembly and expression which will be placed at ILGA-Europe website campaign section.

While the mayors of European cities are our principal target group, the appeal is also open to prominent/famous members of society. Therefore we encourage you to help us with identifying such people (cultural, sporting, political celebrities in your countries), approaching and gaining signatures and statements of support from them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

HRW, SF, Moscow Join Cologne & Warsaw for July 19 Hanged Gay Iranians

From the moment news of Iran hanging two gay teenagers on July 19, 2005, reached San Francisco, two members of the Board of Supervisors have been in the forefront remembering the victims Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, and standing in solidarity with LGBT Iranians.

Now, on the second anniversary of the tragic hanging, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, an Iranian-American, and his colleague Supervisor Bevan Dufty, a Gay-American, today announced they will hold a vigil and light candles of remembrance for the hanged Iranian teenagers on July 19, 2007, at 12 noon, in San Francisco's City Hall.

Supervisors Mirkarimi and Dufty issued the following joint statement: "As elected officials of San Francisco, a city that's a beacon of hope and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the planet, we again will speak out for acceptance and love toward LGBT Iranians. We also reaffirm our commitment to opposing the death penalty, especially against teenagers. Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni and their barbaric executions are not forgotten."

San Francisco is now the fourth city to hold a public vigil on July 19, 2007, in collaboration with gay human rights activists in Cologne, Germany, Moscow, Russia, and Warsaw, Poland.

Longtime gay organizer Michael Petrelis said Iran's recent statement that the Islamic Republic soon will execute men convicted of homosexuality, that it has stoned a male adulterer, and intends to stone a woman convicted of adultery, give great urgency to July 19 vigils everywhere. "Our message to Iran's government is basic - honor international human rights treaties prohibiting executions and respect the lives and civil liberties of all LGBT citizens," he said.

Endorsing the lighting of candles on July 19 is Scott Long, executive director of Human Rights Watch's gay division, who issued a statement on behalf of nongovernmental organization, speaking for gay Iranians: "Lighting candles for the children, whatever their identities or the reasons for their killing, is obviously lovely and appropriate to what is known of their story as well as the political situation Arsham Parsi and the IRanian Queer Organization face."

The following information is for the four international vigils on July 19:

Cologne, Germany
Location: Memorial For Lesbian and Gay Victims of Nazism, Near the Hohenzollern Bridge
Time: 17:30
Contact: Viktor Zimmerman, Email: viktor.zimmermann@gayhomeland.org , Web Site: Gay Homeland

Comments from Mr. Zimmerman:
"The two executed teenagers will always remind us of the fate of many of our brothers and sisters in Iran who were tortured and murdered by the Ayatollah regime and its death squads. Silence is not an acceptable option when gays are hanged."

Moscow, Russia
Location: Iranian Embassy
Time: To Be Announced
Contact: Nicolas Alexeyev, Email: nicolas_alexeyev@yahoo.com, Web Site: Gay Russia

Remarks from Mr. Alexeyev:
"We've applied for the permits to stage a vigil and if the authorities forbid our action at the Iranian Embassy, we will stage it nearby. For three years now, LGBT Russians make strong solidarity with our family in Iran and plan to do so again in the future."

San Francisco, USA
Location: Supervisor Mirkarimi's Office
City Hall, Room 244
Time: 12 noon
Contact: Michael Petrelis, Ph: 415-621-6267, Email: mpetrelis@aol.com, Web Site: Petrelis Files

Warsaw, Poland
Location: Near the Iranian Embassy
Time: To Be Determined
Contact: Lukasz Palucki, luke.santi@eranet.pl

Statement from Mr. Palucki:
"This year for 19 July I will organize another (third) demonstration against killing gays in Iran. It will be opposite Iranian Embassy in Warsaw and we invite the LGBT community and our friends to stand in solidarity with us. I hope to get support from Polish politicians who want to our change Poland's diplomatic "Friendship Pact" between our country and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NY Times: Iran Preparing Executions for Homosexuality

More depressing news out of Iran for opponents of the death penalty and gay rights advocates, some of which must be treated with enormous caution. Here is an excerpt from yesterday's New York Times story about pending executions, for crimes including homosexuality.

There are also emails circulating from NGOs about the potential executions urging caution. I am posting the Times story and NGOs emails in the interest of keeping gay human rights activists and capital punishment opponents informed of these troubling developments. As more information comes my way, I'll post it to my blog.

From the International Herald Tribune:

TEHRAN: The Iranian government confirmed Tuesday that a man was executed by stoning last week for committing adultery, and said that 20 more men would be executed in the coming days on morality violations.

A judiciary spokesman, Alireza Jamshidi, told reporters on Tuesday that a death sentence by stoning had been carried out last week near the city of Takestan, west of Tehran, despite an order by the chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, not to permit such executions.

"The verdict was final, and so it was carried out for the man but not for the woman," the ISNA news agency quoted Jamshidi as saying.

He said the 20 additional executions were for such things as "rape, insulting religious sanctities and laws, and homosexuality." Most executions in Iran are hangings, often in public and at the scenes of the alleged crimes.

The police arrested about 1,000 people in May during a so-called morality crackdown. Jamshidi said 15 more men were being tried on similar charges and could receive death sentences . . .

Click here to read the full story. And these two emails were shared by the NGOs yesterday:

Subject: Urgent: Iran: More Gay Execution scheduled in Iran


A few hours ago, the Persian-speaking media quoted the spokesperson for the Iranian Justice Department as saying that 20 members of gangsters in Tehran who were arrested and tried will be hanged within the next few days. The court has found these people guilty of violating the religious law, rape, and sodomy. The Tehran's D.A.'s office has not yet decided whether the executions will be carried out public or not.

The Iranian officials this morning confirmed that a man was stoned to death for adultery. He spent 11 years in jail before being stoned on Sunday, July 1 in the city of Takistan, some 100 miles north west of Tehran.

Hossein Alizadeh
Communications Coordinator
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission


From: Jessica Stern
Subject: RE: Urgent: Iran: More Gay Execution scheduled in Iran

Dear colleagues,

We are working with Hossein at IGLHRC and using our resources here at Human Rights Watch to find out what we can about this case. As with all Iranian criminal cases that reference homosexual conduct, I'd strongly urge caution before reacting. Media reports translated by Hossein since his first posting indicate that 5 men - not the initially reporter number of 20 - were convicted of raping 44 boys and 3 girls. If true, this clearly is quite different from consensual conduct. The information we
have so far is from a combination of sources, with different levels of reliability: the Iranian government, the Iranian news agency (IRNA), and a semi-independent news agency (ISNA). It's too premature to know what really happened, but we'll post more information as we understand the case better.



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Iran Set to Stone Woman to Death for Adultery

As gay human rights activists in Cologne, San Francisco and Warsaw prepare vigils on July 19, the second occasion of Iran hanging two gay teenagers, word now comes from Amnesty International that a woman faces stoning and reports surfaced that a man was stoned to death a week ago.

Please help spread the word about the July 19 actions and this important message from Amnesty. We must stand against all forms of the death penalty, for any reason, in all countries.


Iran: Woman faces stoning for adultery

Posted: 10 July 2007

Man already reportedly stoned to death last week

Amnesty International has issued an 'urgent action' appeal on behalf of a woman in Iran who is facing imminent death by stoning for adultery. This comes days after a man, described as the woman's partner, was reportedly stoned to death last week.

The woman, Mokarrameh Ebrahimi, aged 43, was convicted along with Ja'far Kiani of adultery more than 10 years ago and both had been imprisoned for 11 years in Choubin prison, in Qazvin province, north-west Iran. Their two children, one of whom is aged 11, are believed to live in prison with their mother.

Mokarrameh Ebrahimi and Ja'far Kiani were convicted under article 83 of Iran's penal code, which prescribes execution by stoning as punishment for adultery committed by a married man or a married woman. In this case the judge's "knowledge" that the adultery had taken place was deemed to be proof of the offence.

After several dates were fixed for the public executions in June, delays had led to hopes that the executions would not proceed. However, the campaigning organisation 'Stop Stoning Forever' recently reported that Ja'far Kiani has already been stoned to death in Aghche-kand on 5 July, with local government and judiciary officials and members of the public taking part in the killing. On 8 July the newspaper E'temad-e Melli also reported that local people and a source close to a local parliamentary representative had confirmed the execution.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'To execute anyone by stoning is barbaric and disgraceful; to execute a woman for adultery in this cruel way simply beggars belief.

'It is imperative that Iran's head of the judiciary takes immediate steps to stop the shameful stoning of Mokarrameh Ebrahimi while clarifying what has happened to her co-accused Ja'far Kiani.

'Iran should abolish the sentence of stoning once and for all.'

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases as the ultimate cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. Execution by stoning is particularly cruel, being specifically designed to increase the victim's suffering since the stones are deliberately chosen to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately.

Amnesty International is also calling on the Iranian government to abolish all executions by stoning and to impose a moratorium pending the repeal or amendment of article 83 of the penal code. Amnesty International is aware of at least eight other individuals under stoning sentences in Iran: Ashraf Kalhori (f), Iran (f), Khayrieh (f), Shamameh Ghorbani (also known as Malek) (f), Kobra N. (f), Soghra Mola'i (f), Fatemeh (f), and Abdollah F. (m). The organisation calls for these, and any other stonings in Iran, to be commuted.

Amnesty International also opposes the criminalisation of consensual adult sexual relations conducted in private, and further urges the Iranian authorities to review all relevant legislation with the aim of decriminalising such acts.

In addition to executing people for adultery, Iran is the only country in the world that still officially executes child offenders - people convicted of crimes committed before they were 18. Last month Amnesty International published the names of 71 child offenders currently facing execution in Iran. Of the 24 child offenders executed in Iran since 1990, 11 were still children at the time of their execution. Others are held in prison until their 18th birthday before being hanged.


In December 2002 Ayatollah Shahroudi, Iran's head of the judiciary, reportedly sent a ruling to judges ordering a moratorium on execution by stoning, pending a decision on a permanent change in the law, which was apparently being considered by the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

However in September 2003 a law concerning the implementation of certain kinds of penalties, including stoning, was passed, which appeared to undermine this moratorium. Also despite the supposed moratorium, Amnesty International continued to record sentences of stoning being passed, though none of these were known to have been implemented until May 2006, when a woman and a man were reportedly stoned to death. The two victims - Abbas (m) and Mahboubeh (f) - were reportedly stoned to death in a cemetery in Mashhad after being convicted of murdering Mahboubeh's husband, and of adultery, a charge which carries the penalty of stoning. Part of the cemetery was cordoned off from the public and more than 100 members of the Revolutionary Guard and Bassij Forces, who had been invited to attend, reportedly participated in stoning the couple to death.

In November the late Minister of Justice, Jamal Karimi-Rad, denied that stonings were being carried out in Iran, a claim repeated on 8 December by the Head of the Prisons Organisation in Tehran. Campaigners against stoning have since said that there is irrefutable evidence that the Mashhad stoning did indeed occur.

In mid-2006, a group of Iranian human rights defenders began a campaign to abolish stoning, having initially identified 11 individuals at risk of stoning. Since the campaign began, three individuals have been saved from stoning: Hajieh Esmailvand (f), Parisa (f) and Najaf (m). Others have been granted stays of execution, and some of the cases are being reviewed or re-tried.

Friday, July 06, 2007

July 19: Cologne, Germany, Vigil for Two Gay Teens Hanged by Iran

[This news release came my way from a gay friend in Germany.]

Viktor Zimmermann:
tel. +49-221-1691810


The Gay Homeland Foundation, an organization dedicated to furtherance of a gay national movement and cultural progress of the gay-lesbian community, and baraka, an international self-organization group of gay, lesbian and bisexual immigrants in Cologne, have announced the first political demonstration commemorating all gay and lesbian victims of the Ayatollah
regime in Iran in Cologne on 19 July 2007.

A vigil is scheduled to begin at 17:30 at the "Memorial for Lesbian and Gay victims of National Socialism" near the Hohenzollern bridge on the left Rhine bank in Cologne, Germany.

RUBICON, Cologne's counseling center for gays and lesbians, is also supporting the event.

19 July 2007 is the anniversary of the 2005 execution of two homosexual teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who were believed to be lovers and were denounced to the police by a family member.

Authorities later distributed official information suggesting that the two teenagers were executed because of a rape of a 13-year old boy. In Iran, such accusations are routinely applied against homosexuals to justify a death sentence, since the regular proof by four witnesses (as prescribed by Sharia) can not be realistically supplied.

The two executed teenagers will always remind us of the fate of many of our brothers and sisters in Iran who were tortured and murdered by the Ayatollah regime and its death squads.

In today's Iran, gays and lesbians still suffer the worst oppression and live in daily fear of denunciation. The country's harsh Islamic regime has declared a downright war against homosexuals, reminiscent of ethnic cleansing in its perfidy: Specially trained agents routinely entrap gay men in internet forums. In this atmosphere of constant fear, many commit
suicide or undergo unnecessary sex-change operations.

The Gay Homeland Foundation (GHF) last year appealed to the international community to cease deporting gay and lesbian asylum-seekers to persecuting countries, and to consider instead the establishment of a self-administered territory for the gay and lesbian people.

Today, GHF and baraka urge everyone to remember that in this age of gay pride parades, pool parties and liberal lives for some, a large part of our people still lives in a state of daily fear of death, deprivation of any human dignity, and subject to the will and whim of the enemy. Let each of us consider this day whether we as a community are doing enough to protect our brethren from their tormentors.

# # #

baraka is an international self-organization group of gay, lesbian und
bisexual immigrants in Cologne. The group meets every Friday at 18:00 in
RUBICON (Rubensstr. 8-10, 50676 Cologne, Germany).
For further event information, please contact Jacek Marjanski:

Gay Homeland Foundation

The Gay Homeland Foundation is an organization dedicated to furtherance of
a gay national movement and cultural progress of the gay-lesbian
community; the administrative center is located in Cologne, Germany. The
Foundation is actively investigating the possibilities for establishment
of self-administered GLBT settlements and organizing the LGBT community in
a sovereign political entity.

PF 420489, 50898 Cologne, Germany
Tel: +49 221 1691810, Fax: +49 221 1691809
Gay Immigrant Man, Satendar Singh, Dies in Sacramento From Brutal Bashing

(RIP: Satendar Singh)

With much sadness I am sharing a note I received today from my friend writer Patricia Nell Warren regarding the death yesterday of an immigrant gay male in Sacramento.

His name was Satendar Singh and attention much be brought to bear on the circumstances leading to his death, because no one has yet been apprehended or charged in his demise. Singh's death is receiving a modicum of mainstream press coverage in the Sacramento area, and I hope my post will generate some attention in the gay press and gay blogger community.

Click here to read mainstream stories about Singh's death and the hate crime perpetrated against him.

Hi Mike,
I'm sure you'll have something to say about this, especially since there has hardly been a ripple about it in the gay news media.

Forwarded Message:

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, what the gay community has feared for some time has finally happened. After a couple years of fundamentalist and Slavic Christian virulent anti-gay protests at almost every Sacramento gay event in the region, and after years of relative safety in the Sacramento gay community, the homophobic hatred has turned deadly. Today the life support plug will be pulled on a young East Indian gay man killed in a gay bashing at Lake Natomas on Sunday by a group of Slavic Christians.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the man's friends told reporters he is not gay, but family members discussing the murder with Being Gay Today's Nathan Feldman, said they knew of Satendar Singh's sexual orientation, and that it had never interfered with their deep love for him. Singh was a recent immigrant to America, having won a lottery for a green card, earning him the nickname "The Lucky One" among his family and friends.

Apparently a group of Slavic Christian men picnicking with their families near Singh's friends at the lake on Sunday noticed that, unlike the rest of his group, Singh did not have a female date, and he danced with both women and men in his party. The Slavic men began hurling anti-gay and racist invectives. As things escalated, the Slavic men sent their families home and called for backup.

When a new group of Slavic men showed up, the East Indian party tried to leave, but were blocked by the Slavic men. One of the men punched Singh, who fell unconscious, hit his head, and began bleeding profusely. As the attackers went to their cars to get away, they hurled bottles at the members of Singh's party, one a pregnant young woman, to keep them from seeing their license plates.

Singh regained consciousness briefly, but lapsed into unconsciousness before being taken to Mercy San Juan hospital where tests indicated no brain activity. His family and friends numbered over 100 at the hospital. Singh's parents are in Fiji with no way to come to Sacramento, so the painful decision to unplug his life support fell on his aunt and uncle.

There will be a memorial service for Singh out at Lake Natomas on Saturday. The family is asking that people show up to express their support of the family and their opposition to anti-gay violence. As soon as I have details on the times and exact location, I will forward this information on. This is an opportunity for people of good will to show their outrage at this resurgence of Homophobia.

The Sacramento Sheriff’s department initially decided against investigating the murder as a hate crime, and expressed doubt that the murder was premeditated, despite the Slavic men having sent their families home and having called for back up.

Lesbian activist Marghe Covino, who has been warning the GLBT community for years about the fact that American fundamentalists have been stoking the fires of homophobia in the new immigrants from Russian and the Ukraine in order to use them as proxies against the gay community was at the hospital comforting Singh’s family. It was a task she had hoped to never again have to do in Sacramento.

Please feel free to forward this notice to any people of good will who might wish to support the family.

With tears,



PS: As I was writing this a young Black man and an older white man came to my door to share the Good News about Jesus. Bitter irony.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

July 19: Light Candles for Hanged Gay Iranians, All Living LGBT Iranians
When July 19 comes around in little more than a week from now, my boyfriend and I will be lighting candles of hope and remembrance all day and evening to mark the two-year occasion of Iran's hanging of two gay teenagers, Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari.

Last year I was part of an international gay human rights coalition that organized vigils and the like, in dozens of cities and countries, including three cities in Iran, to call for an end to the death penalty, respect for LGBT people in Iran, and global gay solidarity.
But this year, for many complex reasons, no such worldwide action will happen, which saddens me but that won't stop me from making sure at least two gay men in San Francisco remember the barbaric hangings of the gay Iranian teens.

On July 19 my partner and I will keep candles lit for a few damn good reasons, starting with in memory of Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari, personally recommitting to work against capital punishment, and acting in solidarity with gay Iranians who one day may live as same-sex loving people, free of government and religious persecution.

If you're so inclined, please do likewise on July 19 and light a candle or two.

And should you be interested in working on international gay solidarity in a much more public display of activism, then join in the actions planned in Mexico City, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Washington on August 4.
The idea for a day of coordinated global LGBT solidarity grew from gays in Stockholm who will march on foreign embassies to call attention to our brothers and sisters around the planet. As in Stockholm, activists in the other cities will hold similar actions on consulates, embassies and in gay neighborhoods.
We would welcome any new organizers and cities to join us on August 4, as we reinvigorate global gay human rights activism.

(This photo is one of three taken in Iran on July 19, 2006)