Nikolay Alexandrovich Alexeyev, the face of Russian LGBT rights, retires.

In an email sent to supporters last week, the 34-year-old said he would no longer head Moscow Pride and GayRussia.ru but gave little reason for his decision.

In a Facebook post, he wrote:

Dear friends … today on 21 October 2011, one year anniversary of the European Court of Human Rights verdict in the case of illegality of Moscow Pride bans, I decided to resign from the positions of the head of Russian LGBT Human Rights Project GayRussia.ru and head of Moscow Pride Organizing Committee. From midnight 21 October 2011 in Moscow and up to the decision on the new leadership, Project GayRussia.ru will be headed by Nikolay Baev and Moscow Pride Organizing Committee by Alexander Naumchik.

Speaking to UKGayNews.org.uk, he added:

It is true that I am fed up, and that is why I decided to step down. I also decided not to give any further comments on my decision.

Mr Baev, who will take over GayRussia.ru, said:

The reason [for Alexeyev’s resignation] is totally personal. He just decided to change his activity and lifestyle, and he has a full right to this.

Alexeyev, a former journalist, turned his attention to full-time gay rights campaigning in 2005, setting up GayRussia.ru and making plans for a Pride march in Moscow.

He has appeared regularly on Russian television and has been honoured for his work by LGBT organisations worldwide.

He has been arrested on numerous occasions for holding illegal Pride marches and gay rights demonstrations and launched lawsuits against Moscow authorities for banning the events.

Last September, the campaigner was arrested at Domodedovo Airport in Moscow while boarding a plane to Geneva.

He says he was kidnapped and possibly drugged by Russian security forces who detained him for more than two days and used his phone to send fake messages claiming he was dropping his legal challenges.

Related:
Russian judge: Court ruling on gay pride ban culturally insensitive.
The Army of One – Nikolay Alexandrovich Alexeyev

Update: Nepal Constitution Aims High.

Update relevant to Nepal Constitution Aims High.

Prime minister Jhalanath Khanal resigned last Sunday due to several conflicts in the constitution writing process. So far no replacement have been announced, and the fact that it took seven months to choose prime minister Khanal – it might take some time to find a new one. There are still some political unrest in Nepal, but it´s on the right track.

Nepal Constitution Aims High.

A draft constitution for Nepal would enshrine LGBT rights advances as breathtaking as the heights of Mount Everest if lawmakers are willing to adopt the document.

Following centuries of monarchy and a decade-long civil war that ended in 2006, Nepal has emerged as a democratic republic with one of the world´s most progressive stances on LGBT rights, which could be promulgated in a new constitution this year unless the government further delays its implementation.

Extended once last year, the constitution´s deadline was put off by three months more in late May. Lawmakers disagree on broad questions of government structure, not the LGBT content – some of the most inclusive language of any nation.

The LGBT issues are pretty well formulated in the draft, and there is no opposition, so we don’t need to worry about that. Our concern is about how long it will take to have the constitution, says Sunil Pant, Nepal´s first openly gay elected official and a member of the interim constituent assembly writing the document.

Pant, who is pushing for adoption of the constitution this year, says the draft proposes citizenship rights for “third gender” individuals, who identify as neither male nor female; bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; calls for government affirmative action in support of LGBT people; and proposes gender-neutral language on the rights to work, health, education, and marriage, the latter also being drafted in a separate law directed by a supreme court ruling.

Pant, founder of the LGBT network the Blue Diamond Society and the tourism company Pink Mountain Travels and Tours, attributes the success to a receptive private sector, lack of sensational media, and the Hindu religious tradition, which has  deities that challenge binary gender norms. He also cites the movement´s organizational acumen, and he believes the pace and quality of change will allow Nepal to implement its constitution whenever it is finally adopted.

Nepal´s situation is likely to differ from that of South-Africa, which has a notably progressive constitution, but a disconnect between law and reality.

40 year old social experiment might come to an end.

The last decades disagreement between the citizens of the Freetown Christiania in Denmark’s capitol Copenhagen and the Danish government might have come to an end after a court ruling, earlier this year, decided that the government get the right to decide the future of the settlement. The citizens on the other hand says that the fight is far from over.

Today the Christianians closed all access to the town for the general public, and both the legal and illegal businesses have been closed until further notice. This is the first time in the towns 40-year-old history that the gates are closed for the general public.

The Danish government have a plan of developement for the area which will result in the demolition of some of the occupied buildings to make way to new construction. But some of the buildings are considered to have historic value and will be restored.

A spokesperson for the Freetown of Christiania is calling it the liquidation of the self-managed social experiment as we know it.

For more information, and info on how to support Christiania – www.christiania.org

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.

And then there were four.

The freshman class of the 112th Congress includes Rhode Island´s David Cicilline, the fourth openly gay sitting representative.

Repeal of “Don´t Ask, Don´t Tell”, easily the biggest legislative victory in the history of U.S. gay rights, is a though act to follow. But plenty of work on Capitol Hill remains. Federal law still fails to protect gays and lesbians from being fired from their jobs and still discriminates against government employees with same-sex spouses.

“And it´s still hard to believe,” says Rhode Island representative David Cicilline, a member of the 112th Congress´s freshmen crop and one of a record number of victors among LGBT candidates nationwide. “I´m not sure what the problem is with equality legislation, what I do know is that the more representation we have in Congress, the better to put a face on this discrimination.”

Cicilline, the 49-year-old former mayor of Providence, and before that a Rhode Island state lawmaker, is now the fourth openly gay member of the House of Representatives, joining Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and Barney Frank.

As far as representation goes, he´s right: Whether it´s Baldwin with her clinical delivery or Frank with his bombastic oratory, having gay people in a room where laws affecting gay people are decided matters.

“I think the Federal Marriage Amendment si motivated frankly by a dislike of those of us who are gay and lesbian,” Frank said on the House floor in 2006 during debate on the proposed antigay amendment. “We´re told, ‘Don´t take things personally,’ but I take this personally. I take it personally when people decide to take political batting practice with my life.”

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which supported Cicilline´s campaign, still raves about his November electoral victory.

“If there´s a need for a defensive stance of the community, having those colleagues speak with authenticity is crucial,” says the groups VP and spokesman, Denis Dison.

Though circumspect about the prospects for gay legislation with the speaker´s gavel in Republican hands, Cicilline nevertheless believes the GOP landslide in November had little to do with any rallying cry for a return to “traditional” social values. But what does this mean for civil rights bills – namely the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and an immigration bill that would allow gays to sponsor foreign partners for citizenship, both of which have been kicked around in some form or another since the 1990´s?

“There´s no question that coming into the House as a freshman and in a minority will be challenging when it comes to moving some of the items that are important,” Cicilline says.

As the first openly gay congresswoman, Baldwin remembers a similar challenge when she came to Washington in 1999. What´s changed, the Wisconsin Democrat says, “is that there have been Republicans who have become more vocal and embraced equality. I would love for them to be the dominant voices. But my sad expectation is that we will not move landmark LGBT legislation forward. I hope I´m wrong.”

Greener pastures may lie in Cicilline´s own state. Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who took office in January, has said he would sign marriage equality into law; Rhode Island advocates expect both the house and senate to introduce legislation this month.

“I´ll do whatever I can,” says Cicilline an initial composer of a state marriage bill, “to make it a reality.”

Maria Amelie – send her home, or let her stay?

Thousands of people gathered outside the office of the Justicedepartment in Oslo demonstrating the decision to send the illegal immigrant Marie Amelie from Caucasus back home. Over and over again she have got denied asylum and residence permissions.

She got arrested after she held a presentation in Lillehammer, and when she was finished eight police officers waited for her. The reason she got arrested is the fact that she is in Norway ILLEGALLY, and she told her story in a book, and after that she been the face of paperless immigrants. It is a complicated case, because she has been her all her life, speaks the language and even studied here – how she got into a school without an ID I have no idea.

So the demonstrators is of the opinion that she deserves to stay – she is more of less an norwegian girl. But the case have been through the justicesystem over and over again – with the same result. She has no right to be here.

So I wonder, is it just because she is a media favourite?

We need equality for the law, and she is here illegally, so she should be sent home. If she get to stay, we set a precedence that if you just hide long enough – you automatically get to stay. That won´t work.