Saturday, May 29, 2010

Update from Malawi

We recently blogged the story of a gay couple from Malawi, Africa who were sentenced to 14 years in prison for "gross indecency" simply because they are gay.


Well, word came today that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and his partner Steven Monjeza are being spared the 14 year sentencing!

From CNN:
The president of Malawi has pardoned two gay men who were sentenced to 14 years in prison this month for gross indecency and unnatural acts, the country's solicitor general, Anthony Kamanga, said Saturday.

The president's choice to pardon these men came after the incident sparked International outrage across the globe. In the UK, which is Malawi’s largest donor, the sentence was condemned by Alan Duncan, the International Development Minister, as “both shocking and disturbing". UN Secretary General , Ban Ki- moon had this to say:

“This outdated penal code should be reformed wherever it may exist. Any harassment or violation or discrimination against people based on sexual orientation is discriminatory. It’s against international human rights law.”

In an address to parliament, he called for changes to legislation on gay sex, which is illegal in Malawi and in another 37 out of 53 African nations.

So glad to see true justice prevail in this case. This is a big day for human rights and hopefully, this will serve as a powerful message to other countries to follow suit.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TELL Congress What YOU Think About DADT!!


It's been a big week for this issue.

On May 20th Servicemembers United uncovered a staggering 630 new DADT discharges, which had previously been discounted Department of Defense’s official “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” discharge numbers! They obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. These newly released numbers now bring the 17-year total number of discharges to at least 14,055!!! That's 14,055 capable US soldiers who won't be standing up for a country they love because of who they love!

Also this week, Nancy Pelosi made quite a powerful statement during an interview with The Hill.

"I don’t have any doubt that ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ will be a memory by the end of this year"

Well, for those of you who haven't heard, Congress is scheduled to vote THIS WEEK on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". If we're going to win this, we need as many Illinois residents as possible to speak out against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" within the next 24 hours.

Click the link below to find out what you can do to help take a stand for human rights.

REPEAL DADT NOW

This could really happen, gang!! But it's up to all of us to make this change possible. Gandhi once said "You must be the change you wish to see in the world"... let's be a part of the change we all want to see! Let's end this ridiculous policy!



-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page at www.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gross Indecency


Today in Malawi, a gay couple were sentenced to serve 14 years in prison. That is the MAXIMUM possible sentence. They have been convicted of "unnatural acts and gross indecency".

This is a "gross indecency" to human beings everywhere.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, a 20-year-old hotel janitor, and his partner Steven Monjeza, 26, were arrested in December, the day after they celebrated their engagement with a party at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked.

Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa, including Malawi. In Uganda right now as you read this, lawmakers are considering a bill that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison and sanction the death penalty for "repeat offenders."

It is archaic and disgusting that these law are even being considered.

Before the sentencing, Tiwonge released this statement:

“I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless.”

Human rights advocacy groups across the world are shocked by this conviction. And Amnesty International is doing all they can to offer some solution. According to their website, the couple have 3 weeks to file an appeal.

We will call upon the Appeals Court to overturn their conviction and release them unconditionally.
In the meantime... here's what YOU can do.

CLICK HERE to get information about how you can urge the US Congress to take action on behalf of Steven and Tiwonge.

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Monday, May 17, 2010

PLEASE HELP STOP THE DEPORTATION OF KIANA FIROUZ!


Kiana Firouz, who is an Iranian queer rights activist currently living as a refugee in Britain to escape punishment for the film she recently appeared in where she openly discussed her life as a lesbian in Iran. But the Home Office is for some reason not taking the fact that she will most likely be killed if she goes back very seriously.

Kiana recently took part in the film Cul de sac, which focuses on her life and civil rights battles in Iran. “It was important for me to take part in the film,” she stated in a recent interview.

“As an Iranian lesbian I think the film is the best way to show how difficult life is for lesbians in my country. This film contains sex scenes that would be sufficient evidence for receiving a death sentence if I were sent back to Iran. Now, my only hope is to mobilize the international LGBT community.”

Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in Iran. Generally, homosexuality is punishable by 100 lashes with the death penalty being enforced after the fourth "offense".

Kiana, just 27 years old, now faces the very real possibility of deportation form England back to Iran.

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION TO HELP KEEP KIANA SAFE
.


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Friday, May 14, 2010

The KAGAN Question


The White House denies it, feminists call it a distraction, the right wing wants to "expose" it, the left wing wants to "embrace" it.... but EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW!! Is Elena Kagan gay?
Kagan, who is a graduate of Harvard Law School, was recently nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama on May 10th of this year.
The question of her homosexuality has been the subject of much debate since her nomination and quite frankly, I think it's a tremendous waste of time. But does it matter? Does it matter to the gay community? Some people say it does. I say, since when does sexual preference have ANYTHING to do with a person's ability the hold ANY office in the United States? Home of the brave and land of the FREE indeed.

Here's why some people think it does matter...

A Cornell law professorhas said that Kagan clearly indicated she believes gay marriage is a political question, not a constitutional one, meaning there is no constitutional right to gay marriage, but Maggie Gallagher says that's not true. She cites the fact that the Human Rights Campaign agrees with her that Kagan supports marriage equality.
Furthermore, Ed Whelan notes that Kagan issues a slippery "clarification" of her stance on whether or not gay marriage is constitutionally permissible. I can see how her stance on this issue is of large concern to many Americans, gay or straight...but nevertheless, her position on this issue has no bearing, in my mind, on her own sexuality.

Naturally, the right wingers have been quick to jump into this debate. Many talk radio heads have critiqued the way she looks, stating she is masculine because she's been known to smoke cigars and play poker. It has also been brought up that while she served as Dean at Harvard, she kicked military recruiters off the campus because of the DADT policy.

Kagan was recently pictured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal playing softball. The picture is quite old, clearly from her college days. Pat Buchanan had this to say of the "suspicious" photograph:

"Women's softball has been associated with lesbians and being gay for a long time not exclusively obviously, a lot of girls teams play softball, but that's been sort of a signal, like two men sunbathing together on a beach or something like that - the immediate implication is that they're gay"

I see... well, Mr. Buchanan, I had no idea you were such an expert on gay lifestyle... let alone gay "signals".

Elena Kagan is 50 years old and unmarried... clearly... she must be gay! Do I detect a little sexism? Check out this clip from a Fox News program with Megyn Kelly that discusses the now notorious softball photograph of Kagan and issues of sexism:



I think there are so very fine points made here... but seriously people... it's one photograph!! Why is this causing so much upheaval?!

Granted, if she is gay and denying it, I could see how this would affect people in the gay community. An openly gay member of the Supreme Court would certainly be advantageous for the rights of gay people across the country. It would also send a powerful message of acceptance. But let's face it, if she is gay and denying it... it will eventually, pardon the expression, COME OUT. It always does (link to previous blog post of George Reckers)

I still believe that this is %100 nobody's business but what do y'all think?



























-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cause This Has Never Happened Before....


You may have heard by now about a recent "homosexual scandal" involving one of the co-founder's of Fundamentalist Christian organization Family First, George Alan Rekers. For those who don't know Mr. Rekers is also one of the top anti-gay activists in the country and is a Baptist minister.

Well, Mr. Rekers was recently... caught with his pants down, so to speak, when he was caught having hired a homosexual escort, whom he claimed he had hire to help him "handle" his "luggage" on a trip to Europe.

So... what did Rekers have to say for himself?

"I deliberately spend time with sinners with the loving goal to try to help them"

I have a question for Mr. Rekers... do you typically find your "sinners to save" by trolling Rentboy.com?

It is interesting to note that Rekers also serves as an advisor to the US Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services. He notably testified as a state's witness in favor of both Alabama and Florida's gay adoption ban. Oddly enough, Rekers, himself, has a long history of adopting wayward, sexually confused teenage boys. In fact, he currently has an adopted son who is the same age as his "rentboy".

I say... why does this have to be a "scandal"? So- he is a gay man and he loves God... why can't he be both homosexual and religious? I encourage Mr. Reckers to do some soul searching and stop denying who he is and who he loves. With such an influential standing, he could really open a lot of doors for the gay community. Also- does it seem to anyone else that this sort of thing happens all the time?


-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"

Words of Wisdom from A Whole Lotta Woman...


A week or two ago we had a big DVD Release party for Fish Out of Water. It was a big success! Tons of people came out to support this amazing film! It was truly inspiring to see how much this project meant to everyone who had seen it.


I found one portion of the evening particularly poignant. Taj Mahal, the fiercest female impersonator in show business, was the opening act and she performed Gospel like I have never seen it performed! If I did not know she was lip syncing, I would not have doubted in a million years that it was her true voice! Here is a clip of what she had to say about FOOW:


video


Well said.

If you'd like to see more pictures of this event, please check out the website and the facebook page!! And if you still haven't bought your copy of this incredible film, CLICK HERE!!!

-Vignette-Noelle Lammott, Fish out of Water Blog Commentator -


"To find out more information about LGBTQ rights, gay marriage, religion and homosexuality, The Bible's stance on gay relationships or the politics around gay mariage please feel free to contact us or book a screening of FISH OUT OF WATER. Please note that a study guide can be downloaded from the "Book A Screening" page atwww.fishoutofwaterfilm.com"