Richard Branson: “Boycott Uganda Over Anti-LGBT Law”

British billionaire Richard Branson called for a boycott of Uganda. The African nation’s parliament passed a bill that proposes a life sentence for certain homosexual acts. The bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people to the police.

The bill is awaiting the signature of Ugandan president President Yoweri Museveni, it was opposed by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on the grounds that there was no quorum.

Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group (travel, telecom, entertainment) and a philanthropist who supported charities set up by South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, says he was seriously considering investing in Uganda and had been courted by officials there.

But the passing of this bill because of its

witch hunt

of LGBT people. (He declined to mention the witch hunts of alleged witches which result in the torture and death of both children and adults, and how this fear of witches and LGBT is fueled by evangelical fundamentalist missionaries, but hey…)

Branson went on to say:

I would urge other companies worldwide to follow suit. Uganda must reconsider or find it being ostracised by companies and tourists worldwide.Governments must realise that people should be able to love whoever they want.

Yes, governments should realize this. Will a boycott help Uganda figure things out more quickly? Or will progressives stranding the country in poverty make Uganda more vulnerable to more repressive investors? Will the government not pass this bill to get investment funds, and then turn a blind eye to the treatment of LGBT and other human rights abuses? (more…)

Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are being freed under the amnesty bill being submitted by Vladimir Putin to the Duma, the Russian parliament, on Monday December 9, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. Nadya’s husband Pyotr Verzilov confirmed the rumors to The Voice Project:

It’s from the Kremlin and official already, they will be freed. We do not know yet when this will happen, because it is unclear when the bill will be voted by the Duma and how fast it will be applied to prisons – could be from 2 weeks to 2 months until they are freed.

The Voice Project also reports that Nadya’s father Andrei has also been able to confirm this from “reliable sources.” Nadya was moved to Siberia in November after protesting conditions and going on a hunger strike at her previous penal colony in Morodovia. She is now hospitalized in a Siberian prison facility, Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1.

The BBC reports that Putin may also free the Greenpeace Arctic 30 campaigners currently on bail and facing trial on (reduced) charges of hooliganism, as well as some of the opposition activists involved in unrest in May 2012.

This all feels like a Putin move to make Russia seem less yucky-looking in the buildup to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game, documenting charges of threats, corruption, and environmental damage is screening throughout Europe. Pussy Riot jailed, Greenpeace activists facing trial, “gay propaganda” banned and LGBTQ beaten, Elton John (finally) speaking out about anti-gay discrimination in Russia. From the stage. While performing a concert in Moscow. Add in a boycott of Smirnoff vodka and Putin had to do something.

In a surprising move, NBC has named the New Yorker’s editor and a former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post, David Remnick as a guest correspondent:

Remnick said NBC had guaranteed him editorial independence with his commentary, including such politically charged issues as gay rights and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. “There is nothing in the world — and I know they don’t intend to hinder me in this way — where I would not be honest in my analysis,” Remnick said. “It would be a waste of everyone’s integrity and time if otherwise.”

Meanwhile, it could be a very happy new year for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, and other jailed Russian activists. (more…)

First Thing to Do November 1: Skip “Ender’s Game”

There are many reasons why I’m not going to see Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card’s homophobia; I don’t care for science-fiction; Orson Scott Card advocates government overthrow; no actors I care about; Orson Scott Card plays the victim; there are way better movies opening and in theaters already; Orson Scott Card, as a producer stands to make money from Ender’s Game, and if the film does well, from subsequent sequels and merchandising.

KSL anchor and reporter Carole Mikita on the “Deseret News Sunday Edition” interviewed Card this past weekend, and the author went for the victim move with a neener-neenr combo:

The only reason I’m being attacked for it is because ‘Ender’s Game’ is coming out as a movie, so that was something that was going to get a lot of publicity for the people attacking. I’ve had no criticism…

I’ve had savage, lying, deceptive personal attacks, but no actual criticism because they’ve never addressed any of my actual ideas. Character assassination seems to be the only political method that is in use today, and I don’t play that game, and you can’t defend against it. All you can do is try to offer ideas, and for those who want to listen to ideas, great. For those who simply want to punish you for not falling in line with their dogmas, there’s really not much you can do about it…

Actually Card, who was on the National Organization for Marriage’s board of directors, wanted to punish people who didn’t fall in line with his dogma, and he has been personal in his attacks. Via The Daily Dot:

1990: Card argued that states should keep sodomy laws on the books in order to punish unruly gays–presumably implying that the fear of breaking the law ought to keep most gay men in the closet where they belonged.

2004:  He claimed that most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse, who became gay “through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.”

2008: Card published his most controversial anti-gay screed yet, in the Mormon Times, where he argued that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mixup,” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as “mentally ill.”

2009: He joined the board for anti-gay lobby The National Organization for Marriage, which was created to pass California’s notorious Proposition 8, banning gay marriage.

2012: He supported his home state North Carolina’s constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage by arguing that gay marriage “will be the bludgeon [The Left] use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools.

And let’s not forget Card’s call to arms against the US Government:

Because when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary… Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.

But they key, in his interview, excerpted in the Deseret Times is this:

[The criticism] won’t affect my work. Will it affect the reception of my work? Of course, but not in ways that they expect. My sales go up with such attacks.

So let’s join in solidarity and be the allies we would want to have, supporting the LGBT community, especially those in states still working for marriage equality, by boycotting Ender’s Game, and prove Orson Scott Card wrong, as the sales figures for Ender’s Game tickets go down.

Elton John to Play Moscow: “I’m Doing It for Gay Russians”

Oh Elton, Elton.  I am so confused, but I just can’t quit you. Remember when his remark about being very happy with civil unions became a rallying cry for Prop 8 and anti-equality forces? Once there was a hue and cry about his naivety ignorance of basic facts, he came around and ended up playing an amazing concert as a fundraiser for AFER and becoming a spokesperson for marriage equality. Then he played Rush Limbaugh’s wedding for  huge fee. (I’d like to hope that he donated that fee to pro-equality groups as a puckish fuck you to the forces at the EIB, but I guess I’ll never know).

Elton John played Sun City  in South Africa during apartheid, and yes that was 30 years ago. He played Tel Aviv just three years ago saying:

Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That’s what we do. We don’t cherry-pick our conscience.

Oh?

Then Sir Elton thumbed his nose at China’s cultural politics by publicly dedicating his 2012 concert in Beijing to  to “the spirit and talent” of dissident artist Ai Weiwei,  prompting the Chinese culture minister, Cai Wu, to demand that only stars with university degrees be allowed to play in China. Sir Elton told the Guardian:

“Ten thousand people went ‘Eugh!’, but how could you not?. He’s become a friend, and what he’s suffered as an artist is unbelievable. During and after the show, my tour manager was interrogated for three hours, and what he said to them was true: I bought a beautiful Ai Weiwei piece, I was grateful and we’ve become friends. I didn’t feel in any danger.

Sir Elton adds a new item to his wish list: He’d like to go back to China and talk to the government about AIDS. According to the performer:

the country’s leading AIDS activist has claimed that the government’s estimate of 650,000 HIV cases is barely a 10th of the real figure.

Elton John wanted to play in front of the Pyramids of Giza, but claims be was banned because he is gay. And his very public gayness has ruffled feathers in other locales, the Guardian reports:

a church in Tobago organised a protest against his appearance there, while he received threats from an Islamic group when he played in Morocco.

So what about his proposed December concert date in Moscow?

Listen, I went to Russia in 1979 and I knew we were being watched all the time: I had an interpreter that they’d clearly set up. Actually, I ended up having sex with him on the roof of my hotel.  I’m supposed to be going to Moscow in December. I’ve got to go. And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought: do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation. As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.

Elton John certainly flies in the face of Putin’s  ban on homosexual propaganda. He and longtime partner David Furnish united in a civil union ceremony in 2005, one of the first in Britain, and are planning weddings in Britain and in California now that it is legal to do so– and the couple has two children Zachary  and Elijah. In 2009 the Ukrainian government block Sir Elton’s adoption of an HIV+ baby, citing his age and single status; the Ukraine does not recognize same-sex unions.  Adoption officials had another point of view:

Albert Pavlov, head of the Happy Child foundation for orphaned and sick children in Zaporizhia, said he opposed adoption by gays, but called for removing age and marriage restrictions for adopters.

How will Putin and Russian government deal with Elton John, a venerable and flamboyant, visibly gay figure in pop music who refers to himself as the Queen Mother? Madonna and Lady Gaga  played St Petersburg and spoke out from the stage, violating, according to the Russian government, the terms of their visas.  Lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to ban fans under 18 years old from Gaga’s concerts. Madonna and Gaga are post-modern hetero-normative, basically straight ladies who like teh gheys, have a platform to speak out, and do. Elton John is waaay more risky–he’s clearly queer and the very act of playing in Russia is pretty subversive/transgressive, especially given his outspokeness on  stage and off.

In July, 2103 Elton John was scheduled to play a concert in Krasnodar, Russia which caused great consternation.

Local party leader Mikhail Abramyan recommended that Elton don a knee-length kaftan, knee-high leather boots, and a fur hat for the July 14th gig.

He said: ‘It would be more respectable.  We have suggested it to the promoters and we hope he’ll wear it.’, according to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Despite calls from Krasnodar clergy to ban Sir Elton’s July 14th concert because the singer represents homosexual propaganda, no ban was issued. Rather the concert was postponed, then cancelled due to the singer’s illness.

Somehow I think, and maybe I am just an optimist, that Elton John playing Moscow is his attempt at activism, and is motivated by the desire to make a positive change, rather than to line his pockets. It will be interesting to see what bombshells, like that in China, he drops from the stage–maybe playing “All the Young Girls Love Alice”? And I wonder if Edward Snowden will be backstage! Now that would be a Facebook photo op!

HT: Back2Stonewall

Ender’s Game: Orson Scott Card Gets Even Crazier, More Hateful

Orson Scott Card is the homo-hatin’ author of Ender’s Game who is also a producer of and presumably profit-taker from the eponymous film due out in November from Lions Gate.  He has proven himself to be an equal opportunist disliker of non-white people and a loony-toon nutter in this May 9, 2013 essay, originally published in something called The Rhinoceros Times. Card spins a paranoid (admitted) fantasy about Obama becoming a dictator, and at one point gets all sandy-pantied about

young out-of-work urban men

who he speculates will be recruited as Obama’s jackbooted personal militia:

Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama’s enemies.

Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people “trying to escape” — people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.

Card cloaks his racism and paranoia in speculation

 as a science fiction writer and a student of history

(because since he, like, studied history, he knows stuff) as he proceeds to spin what he calls a

a little thought experiment

involving Obama running Michelle Obama for President (one of his earlier columns in The Rhinoceros Times claimed that the First Lady’s appearance on the Oscars was a warm up for her 2016 run, so this is a recurring fear/theme for Card) so Barack Obama can stay in power forever as a Hitler-esque dictator who will put his young urban male troops in armored vehicles as they ride the streets enforcing Obama-laws against Obama-enemies.  Part of Obama’s power plan, according to Card:

Barack Obama needs to have a source of military power that is under his direct control. Like Hitler, he needs a powerful domestic army to terrify any opposition that might arise.

Obama called for a “national police force” in 2008, though he never gave a clue about why such a thing would be necessary. We have the National Guard. We have the armed forces. The FBI. The Secret Service. And all the local and state police forces.

Actually Obama called for a

civilian national security force that is just as strong and well funded…

and Salon points out the excerpt Card quotes was used by Obama

to describe how he’d “expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots,” “double the size of the Peace Corps,” and “grow our foreign service.” That was five years ago, and he actually failed to do it.

Orson Scott Card is a card-carrying, tin-foil-wearing wacko whose “speculation,” while unpleasantly crazy, is his to spew as he wishes. And his loathing of gays, anger over marriage equality, funding of NOM, and urgings to overthrow the United States government over marriage equality and liberal thought will be underwritten by any profits made from the film Ender’s Game, its merchandizing, and sequels. Card has written this following not as speculation:

Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Skip Ender’s Game.

H/T Back2Stonewall

Archie and Pals Nix Russia Trip Over Anti-LGBT Laws

Archie, the  beloved red-headed comic book character first introduced in 1941, and his pals have put an ixnay to their comic book trip to Russia. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and Kevin were slated to take a European tour, but when they learned about Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT laws, they made a decision to go elsewhere.

In an exclusive interview with Back2Stonewall.com, Archie Comics artist/writer Dan Parent said:

Russia should be boycotted, so much so that actually in an upcoming special four issue story arc I’m writing the Archie gang are going to take a world tour to four countries. Russia was to be one of them.  But they’re not going there now. They just can’t and  they won’t. They love and support Kevin.”

Kevin Keller is the gay character Parent introduced in Veronica #202.  In 2011 Kevin got his own series, and he continues to appear in the other Archie character stories.

Gay-Friendly Pepsi Faces Wildmon Challenge

Domald Wildmon’s conservative homo-hatin’ AFA is at it again. That dodo  is pissed at PepsiCo because the soda company gave $500,000 to PFLAG and another $500K to the Human Rights Campaign. And to add insult to injury, Dobson he got what he terms a "condescending" letter about the matter from Pepsi’s director of public policy Paul Boykas. Wildmon has worked his Bible into a bunch because the organizations are using the money to:::gasp!::::

help promote homosexuality in the workplace. Pepsi refuses to give money to any pro-family organization that opposes the homosexual agenda. Plus, every homosexual organization we know of is overwhelmingly pro-abortion. 

And Wildmon reports, in bold letters signifying super outrage,:

Pepsi forces all employees to attend sexual orientation and gender identity diversity training where they are taught to accept homosexuality.

Oh noez! Diversity training! Um, Dr Wildmon, as of May, 2008 WalMart has workforce protections in place for transgendered employees which enhances the company’s anti-discrimination guidelines. Why haven’t you started picking on them? And heck, everybody who pays attention to Wildmon better start boycotting Tim McGraw because Fritos, which is a PepsiCo brand, sponsored his tour and gave him his own flavor (Spicy Jalapeno). And y’all gonna burn in hell if you don’t lay off the Gatorade, Mountain Dew and oatmeal, not to mention, stop watching NASCAR, since Jeff Gordon drives the official Pepsi car and Pepsi sponsors NASCAR races.

Wildmon wants his angry followers to sign the boycott pledge, then call and complain about Pepsi’s lack of "neutrality" in the culture wars. So heck, I guess if you feel like it, you can call Pepsi and thank them, using this list Wildmon so kindly compiled. Or just buy some Fritos and a liter bottle of Dew to kick start your blogging. 


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