Homosexuality can be cured, Salvation Army says.

The Salvation Army’s all-inclusive congregation policy does not extend to homosexuals, Swedish broadcasters TV4 claimed on Sunday evening.

During an undercover news report broadcast on one of Sweden’s biggest channels, Salvation Army leaders told a covert journalist working for news programme “Kalla Fakta” (Cold Facts) that he, being a gay man, could not join the army originally formed in London in 1865. Instead, an officer offered to “cure” him through prayer.

The programme also claimed that the Salvation Army was involved in an agreement with Africa’s Malawi Council of Churches, which comprised of voting for the imprisonment of gay men.

Despite Sweden being the first country in the world to remove homosexuality as an illness, local SA officers told the journalist that homosexuality is “fundamentally wrong”.

The Salvation Army’s basic position is that homosexual sex is a sin. The Bible says a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, one chapter leader told the TV4 reporter. Anatomically we are not shaped that way, so in that sense I do think it is wrong, another soldier said.

The Salvation Army now accuses the Swedish TV programme of infringement.

There is no revelation, there is no surprise, there is just a cheap but costly straining after sensationalism, a Salvation Army spokesperson in Sweden said. We interpret the Bible in a way that defines sex as something that should happen within marriage and as something between a man and a woman.

The top officer of The Swedish Salvation Army appeared live in the programme on Sunday, ignoring questions about whether homosexuals were included in their “all inclusive” policy. She claimed no knowledge of the MCC agreement.

The Salvation Army was founded by William and Catherine Booth in London in 1865 and are although describing themselves as “mainstream protestant” considered to be practising Biblical literalism.

I don´t know where the salvation army get their gay-sex facts, but to be fair gay men don´t have sex with men the way you have sex with women – thats kinda not possible, so if the reason gay-sex is wrong is that the bible says: a man shouldn’t sleep with a man in the way he sleeps with a woman, then I can´t see that gay-sex is forbidden.

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Death penalty part of the Ungandan anti-gay bill may be removed.

A MP behind the Ugandan anti-gay bill has said that the death penalty portion is likely to be removed.
The legislation which has caused outrage worldwide featured a mandatory death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV and life imprisonment for anyone convicted of a homosexual act.

Speaking to the Associated Press, MP David Bahati said:

The death penalty is something we have moved away from, many people have expressed concern about that provision providing for the death sentence and I’m sure when we start hearings on that bill, we will hear many more concerns

Bahati said his group would go along if the committee handling the bill wanted to remove that part of legislation.

The legislation is expected to come up for vote by mid-may and has been condemned by many, including US President Barack Obama.

Related stories:
Shame on you Uganda!

Intro: Was treatment the right way to go?

The amount of new cases of HIV have been more or less stable the last decade, but I wonder – how would it look if we didn´t treat the infected? There are about 50 million HIV positive people on the planet today, and a large part of them are people undergoing a strict antiretroviral drug regiment – costing the public billions of dollars each year. And the treatment give the infected up to 20 years longer before they develop AIDS, if they develop it at all. But the problem is this, then they have 20 or so more years with the ability to infect others.

The way to get rid of dangerous deceases like HIV/AIDS isn´t to keep it in check, but to let the infected die out or find a cure. If treatment never started, and we focused the funds given to research for these regiments on how to prevent infections, the world-wide numbers would be way down.

I´ll continue this when I´ve done a bit more research, but I actually think that treatment was the wrong way to go. Call me brutal, but the only way to eradicate deadly deceases is to cure or let the infected die – though I do get why someone infected with HIV wants to live as long as possible, but that doesn´t make it the right strategy for eradicating the illness.

Queer World: Norway

Through history…

The 20th of May 1950 Norway’s first LGBT organisation was established, called The Federal of 1948 – Norwegian Section of The Danish Federal of 1948. Rolf Løvaas was elected as chairman. The 29th of November 1952 there are demands to pull out of the Danish Federal and form an independent Norwegian organisation. The board stepped down, and a new board was formed. David Meyer – a pseudonym – was elected chairman of the board. Then on the 1st of February 1953 the name of the organisation changed to The Norwegian Federal of 1948.

The next step in LGBT history in Norway is the broadcast of the first radio show about homosexuality the 15th of June 1965. The broadcast was led by Liv Haavik and lasted for 80 minutes. Producer Torlof Elster considered it an important theme and gave her as much broadcast time she wanted.

Homosexuality was illegal until 1972 when it was removed from the Penal Code. Gay and straight age of consent was made equal. Even though it now was legal it was considered and mental disorder until the Norwegian Psychiatric Association removed it from the list of mental illnesses in 1977.

In 1978 openly gay teachers get full rights and protection from discrimination guaranteed by the Department of Church and Education. Then in 1979 equal rights was introduced to the military – no D.A.D.T in Norway 🙂

In 1982 The Department of Social Affairs removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

1992, and The Norwegian Federal of 1948 and other organisations became LLH, The National Association for lesbians and gays. In 1993 the Partnership Act is written into law. This gives gays the same rights and duties as married couples when in civil partnerships. With the exception of the right to adopt and to have the ceremony in a religious setting. In 1998 gays are included in a special anti discrimination act of the Work Environment Act – with the exception of positions in religious settings.

Marriage equality is written into law in 2008 and effective from the 1st of January 2009.

LGBT people in politics

Jon Reidar Øyan, Norwegian Labour Party
Håkon Haugli, Norwegian Labour Party
André Oktay Dahl, Conservative Party of Norway
Anette Trettebergstuen, Norwegian Labour Party
Erling Lae, Conservative Party of Norway
Bent Høie, Conservative Party of Norway
Wenche Lowzow, Conservative Party of Norway
Per-Kristian Foss, Conservative Party of Norway

Links point to their norwegian Wikipedia page.

Other famous LGBT people

Anne Holt, writer – lawyer – ex-politician
Karen-Christine “Kim” Friele, gay rights activist – writer
Sven Elvestad, writer
Trygve Hjorth-Johansen, journalist
Gudmund Vindland, writer
Anne Aasheim, journalist
Mia Hundvin, professional handballplayer
Anne Grete Preus, musician
Gro Hammerseng, professional handballplayer
Vibeke Skofterud, professional cross-country skiier
Sara Azmeh Rasmussen, writer
Frank Rossavik, news editor
Arnfinn Nordbø, writer
Sturla Berg-Johansen, comedian
Christen Sveaas, business mogul
Per Sundnes, tv-host
Arve Juritzen, tv-host – producer – publishing editor
Jan Thomas Mørch Husby, stylist
Karen Pinholt, leader LLH
Christine Koht, tv-host

Links point to their norwegian Wikipedia page.

Some statistics

Most statistics indicate that 3-5% of the norwegian population is gay. That´s somewhere between 150 – 250 000 people. That´s 1 in 20. These statistics are supported by surveys done in high schools, which shows that on average there is 1-2 – in each class –  seeing themselves as gay or bisexual.

As in most other countries some surveys tackling the issue of suicide, suspected gay or people with suppressed gay feelings are at a slight higher risk of actually committing suicide.

Homosexual relationships are widely accepted and protected by law in Norway. The last 10 years or so the coming out age have dropped dramatically. It´s now more or less normal to come out around 16, while in the 90´s it was more likely to be in the in the early 20´s while going to university.

But there are still problems surrounding the LGBT community in Norway. Homophobia is live and well, unfortunately. It´s bullying in schools, in the workplace and unprovoked acts of violence. But that’s a small ignorant part of the general public.

Russian judge: Court ruling on gay pride ban culturally insensitive.

A Russian judge has criticised an earlier ruling by the European Court of Human Rights declaring bans on three planned gay pride parades in Moscow to have been in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights. Valery Zorkin, Constitutional Court Chairman, told a news conference in Moscow that the ruling in October disregarded some aspects of Russian society.

“Such a sensitive issue, something that is allowed at such festivals in Amsterdam or Berlin with their sexual minorities. I want to point out that in Russia sexual minorities are under the protection of the constitution as well. But you just try to arrange a gay parade in Makhachkala or in Grozny or in Kazan with support from the Strasbourg court. You realise what will happen in Russia, don’t you?” he said.

Makhachkala, Grozny and Kazan are the capitals of the predominantly Muslim Russian republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Tatarstan respectively.

“What are those ladies and gentlemen thinking about when they are sitting inside that glass building and throwing stones at others?” added Zorkin.

On 21 October the European Court of Human Rights declared bans by the Moscow city government on planned gay pride parades in 2006, 2007 and 2008 to be violations of the European Convention on Human Rights, said Nikolay Alexeyev, the leader of the Russian gay movement.

The court ordered Russia to pay the parade organisers 17,000 euros (£14,000) in compensation for their judiciary costs and 12,000 euros (£10,000) as emotional damage compensation, added Alexeyev.

Way to go! The end of D.A.D.T.

The US Senate has voted to abolish the ban on gay servicemen serving openly in the military under the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, in a historic move. The vote was put before the Senate after winning favour in the House of Representatives on Thursday, with a 65-31 vote on Saturday ending the 17-year-old measure.

The bill will now be passed to US President Obama who is expected to sign for the new law this week. The President said in a statement:

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay. And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”

President Obama, who made ending the ban one of his key election pledges, added:

“It is time to close this chapter in our history. It is time to recognise that sacrifice, valour and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed. It is time to allow gay and lesbian Americans to serve their country openly. I urge the Senate to send this bill to my desk so that I can sign it into law.”

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has seen more than 13,000 gay servicemen ousted from the military, and the repeal has delighted supporters, including pop star Lady Gaga who wrote on her twitter feed:

“Can’t hold back the tears + pride. We did it! Our voice was heard + today the Senate REPEALED DADT. A triumph for equality after 17 YEARS.”

Defence Secretary Robert Gates, however, has urged for patience as the new law is put in place. He stresses the military will need time to train and educate its personnel.

“It is important that our men and women in uniform understand that while today’s historic vote means that this policy will change, the implementation and certification process will take an additional period of time,” Gates said.

Opponents of lifting the ban are concerned that the repeal will affect the morale and togetherness of troops, particularly during the current period of war. Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain warned against the repeal, stating it is too early to remove the ban.

“Don’t think that it won’t be at great cost…it will probably harm the battle effectiveness which is so vital to the survival of our young men and women in the military,” he said. “This debate is not about the broader social issues that are being discussed in our society, but what is in the best interest of our military at a time of war.”

Norwegian gay men – not safe enough.

In the norwegian gay scene, HIV is  spreading like before, despite a decrease in the the world wide spread. So far this year there been reported 200 new cases of HIV infection. And gay men dominate those statistics, around 85 of these cases are gay men.

Rubber up norwegians!

There are about 4000 living with HIV in Norway, and 50 million in the world.