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Zimbabwe: 12 Brave Gay Activists March

Canada: Outed Skater Insists He is 'Definitely a Man'

France: National Assembly Passes Partnership Bill

Australia: Tasmania Bans Anti-Gay Discrimination

By Rex Wockner
International News Report

12 Brave Gay Activists March in Zimbabwe

A dozen gay activists marched in Zimbabwe December 10 behind a banner declaring "Out and Proud in Zimbabwe."

They were a contingent in a procession marking the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The members of the group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe were emboldened to march by the presence of 4,000 delegates from more than 100 countries who were in Harare, the capital, to attend the World Council of Churches' eighth convention.

"I doubt walking down a few city blocks with a banner is really going to change anything," said GALZ Program Director Keith Goddard. "But people are getting braver now."

zimbab.gif - 16.16 K President Mugabe Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe loathes homosexuals and has conducted a vocal campaign against them. He has said: "[They are] repugnant to my human conscience ... immoral and repulsive. ... Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know that this is a man or a woman. ... I don't believe they have any rights at all. [Gay sex is] an abomination."

Outed Skater Insists He is 'Definitely a Man'

"Although I'm a gay person, I'm definitely a man on the ice," outed Canadian figure-skating champ Brian Orser told the Ottawa Sun December 2.

"That's as simple as it is: I'm a man on the ice and I'm a man off the ice. Because I'm 'outed' doesn't mean I'm going to be a different person."

Orser, who won two Olympic silver medals, was forced from the closet November 18 when court documents from a palimony suit became public knowledge.

Canadian skating champ Elvis Stojko seconded Orser's unusual comments.

"Brian never skated soft," Stojko told the Sun. "He was masculine in his skating. He never flaunted it on the ice. He skated male, and I respect that a lot.
borser.gif - 8.21 K Brian Orser

"I believe in that, because so many people can end up bashing the sport. We have some very colourful characters, like [gay U.S. skating champ] Rudy [Galindo] who's also a great friend, but we can't have it all like that," Stojko said
French National Assembly Passes Partnership Bill

france.gif - 26.56 K France's National Assembly passed a partnership-registration measure December 9 that grants unmarried couples -- gay and straight, romantic or not -- spousal rights in areas such as inheritance, housing, taxation, workplace benefits, social security and social-welfare programs.

The vote was 316-249. The proposal will move to the Senate next spring then return to the lower house before predicted enactment in late 1999.

The bill was controversial from its inception and consumed over 70 hours of Assembly floor time as conservatives tried every approach imaginable to derail it. They were ultimately doomed to failure, however, since the measure is supported by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's ruling Socialist Party, which holds 320 of the Assembly's 577 seats, and by the Communists and the Greens.
Tasmania Bans Anti-Gay Discrimination

The Upper House and the House of Assembly of the Australian state of Tasmania voted last week to ban discrimination, incitement of hatred and severe ridicule based on sexual orientation.

The comprehensive legislation also bans discrimination on 19 other grounds, including pregnancy and breastfeeding.

"This is one of the best pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in the country and its enactment reflects and enshrines the tolerant, inclusive and diverse society which Tasmania has become," said Rodney Croome, spokesman for the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group.

"It allows lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people to participate fully in Tasmanian society without fear of exclusion and unfair treatment."
Related Stories in GayToday's Archives:
French Senator Comes Out
Zimbabwe's Former President Banana-- Accused—Flees Country

Related Sites:
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Brian Orser Fan Page

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