Badpuppy Gay Today

Thursday 31 July, 1997

TURKEY'S JAILED TRANSSEXUAL LEADER FREED---SUES POLICE

AUSTRALIANS PROTEST TOILET STALL DOOR REMOVALS
BRITISH COLUMBIA REDEFINES "SPOUSE"

Rex Wockner's Weekly International News

 

TURKEY'S JAILED TRANSSEXUAL LEADER FREED---SUES POLICE

Turkish transsexual gay leader Demet Demir is out of jail after yet another run-in with local police.

Demir, a winner of this year's International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission award for outstanding contributions to the movement, was taken into custody by Istanbul police July 12 as she tried to stop them from beating another transsexual. Police said they were beating the woman because she was Kurdish.

"They started to hit me and I was bruised on several parts of my body," Demir said via e-mail. "They took me to the police station and wrote a report that I was accepting that I insulted the police, and they wanted me to sign it. But I insisted that I wouldn't sign anything before my lawyer came. They were angry at me and they opened my purse. My passport was in the purse and they saw the American visa on the passport. ... They asked me why I went to U.S. and I told them for a human rights award. Then they were a little bit worried and changed their attitude into an apologetic one. They started to address me as 'Miss Demet.' I stayed in jail for the night and the day after I was taken to the court. The judge ... decided that I should be set free."

Demet then filed suit over the arrest.

"[Now] their eyes are over me all the time," she said. "[Beyoglu-area Police Chief] Suleyman Ulusoy, who is nicknamed as Suleyman- the-Hose, famous for beating the transvestites with hose pipes, comes to my door and tries to provoke me and my friends by staring in our windows. They have also sued me for insulting the police. ... They went to the shop owners around the area and wanted them to talk as witnesses to the court that I really insulted the police. [The owners] did not accept to do that but they neither accept to talk as witnesses on my side because they are afraid of the police."

AUSTRALIANS PROTEST TOILET STALL DOOR REMOVALS

More than 150 people attending the Queer Collaborations conference in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, last month traveled to nearby Pine Rivers to protest the removal of toilet- stall doors at a public park, reported Capital Q.

Pine Rivers Shire [county] Mayor Yvonne Chapman spearheaded the amputation project after learning that men were having sex in the stalls. She said eliminating the doors would send a message that homosexuals are not welcome in the shire.

Marion Woodhead, spokeswoman for the queer conference, said that if Pine Rivers were less homophobic, more people would come out of the closet and seek sexual partners in less clandestine environments.

BRITISH COLUMBIA REDEFINES "SPOUSE"

By a vote of 59-9, the British Columbia legislature July 22 changed the definition of "spouse" in the Family Relations Act to include same-sex partners.

The legislation was aimed at recognizing same-sex unions in matters of child custody, access and support. But the effect may be more wide-ranging, giving gay couples many of the same rights as common-law heterosexual couples.

That sits well with provincial Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh. He's in the midst of reviewing every British Columbia law that mentions "spouse" in hopes of modifying the laws to include same- sex couples.

British Columbia's five Anglican bishops are supporting the changes. In a letter to B.C. Premier Glen Clark, they said: "It is a matter of fundamental equality and human rights that homosexual people should have the same obligations and protection under the civil law as other citizens of British Columbia.

"By ensuring the same benefits and the same responsibilities for homosexual families as for heterosexual families, it will strengthen all families in their diversity and encourage long- term, stable relationships to the benefit of children, spouses and society as a whole."

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Rex Wockner's Weekly International News dating back to mid-1994 is fully searchable at http://www.wockner.com

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