Freshly Doug Wednesday

Rana Sinha http://www.flickr.com/photos/56761195@N00

As the African situation for LGBTI continues to deteriorate, especially in Uganda and Nigeria, a timely reminder of what happens when such irrational hatred of us takes hold. That’s the subject of a travelling exhibition “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945,” in South Florida for a two-month run.

“About 50,000 gays were convicted in Germany and sent to prison. How many were sent to concentration camps is harder to pin down because the Nazis destroyed many camp records. Estimates run from 5,000 to 15,000.

 

“There, they were made to wear pink triangles and joined the same labor brigades as other inmates, in some cases marked for “extermination through work.”

 

“But gays were often singled out for other treatment like castration — and sometimes sheer sadism.

 

“At a granite quarry, gays from the Mauthausen camp were often chosen to plant explosive charges, and the Nazis enjoyed setting off the charges before they escaped. At the Flossenburg camp, a commandant gave gay inmates extra-large pink triangles.

 

“He liked them for target practice.”

Petitions have been having some success in making legislators in Uganda pause before finally enacting their “Hang The Gays” Bill. Latest efforts have moved from pushing governments to do something, to tackling the corporate sector. Under pressure, Barclays Bank has already issued a rather anodyne statement saying they have made their views known – without saying what those views are. The latest petition asks one of the biggest corporate presences in Uganda – Pepsico – to make a public statement opposing the bill.

Oddly enough, one of the world’s best known gay campaigners, Peter Tatchell (a Melbourne boy, though he has lived in the UK for years) is not in favour of so-called ‘hate-speech’ laws. He makes his point in debate with Canadian feminist Joyce Arthur.

Australia isn’t the only place struggling with rising HIV infections among gay men and arguments over how to tackle the situation. It’s happening in Britain too. As here, there’s an urgent need for a nationwide television campaign to fight back, but the biggest HIVB organisation, the Terence Higgins Trust, says there isn’t enough money, and in the current tough economic climate, there probably won’t be. Urban bi and gay men represent the greatest number of new infections in the US, too

The only places where we appear to be having some success in holding down gay men’s infection rates was in Queensland, where QAHC was running their ‘Rip’n’Roll’ condom ads (until QAHC was defunded), and in New Zealand, where they achieved a 33% drop by – you guessed it – a concentrated campaign pushing condom use.

More arguments pinging around online over where to make your charitable donations this Christmas. Since religious charities can’t be trusted not to have some dank little homophobic places hidden in their hearts. our giving needs to be secular. And it ought to be for the benefit our own people.

Enter The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission: our community’s representative at the UN. Why support them? Uganda and Nigeria come to mind: here’s what IGLHRC says.

“Our work is critically needed; more than 80 countries still criminalize consensual same-sex intimacy. And every day in countries around the world, from Brazil to Botswana, Bulgaria to Bangladesh, those who challenge sexual or gender norms are arrested, forced into psychiatric “treatment” or marriage, denied basic job protections, health care, and parental rights, brutally attacked, tortured, and even murdered.”

‘Nuff said? Now, having salved your conscience with a donation, fancy a holiday? The Huff Post has a list of best and worst cities for gay travellers. Top tip? Stay away from Michigan.

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About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)