Sunday, September 02, 2007

GLBT DIGEST September 2, 2007

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Sunday September 2, 08:58 AM
Gay rugby clubs tackle shower-room cliches

PARIS (AFP) - Out with the macho locker-room jokes: as France gears up tohost the 2007 rugby World Cup, the country's half dozen gay rugby clubs areclosing ranks to tackle prejudice on the pitch.

Set up in 2004, the Paris-based "Les Gaillards" (The Lads) trains once aweek near the Bois de Vincennes, east of Paris, with 30 players and around100 regular supporters.

"We wanted a French equivalent to clubs like London's King's Cross Steelersor New York's Gotham Knights," gay and bisexual rugby clubs founded in 1995and 2001, said its founder Gilles, who asked to be identified by first nameonly.

"Most club members are gay men who were wary of joining a conventional team,but it's also open to straight men, usually rugby beginners."

Worldwide, the first gay rugby teams were the Sydney-based POOFTAs and SouthAfrica's Jamieson Raiders, both founded in 1985, although the LondonSteelers claim to be the first fully-registered gay club.


09:36, September 01, 2007
Argentina will host 1st Lesbian-Gay World Soccer Championship

Argentina's Soccer Association (AFA) has given go-ahead to the 1stLesbian-Gay World Soccer Championship which is slated for September 23-29 inBuenos Aires.

Federation of International Football Associations' (FIFA) vice president andAFA's president Julio Grondona welcomed Argenine Homosexual Community (CHA)epresentatives after they asked for "collaboration, support andbroadcasting" for the initiative.

"AFA is going to back up the World Championship. It is going to help withreferees and get them a stadium to play the final, among others. And JulioGrondona told us that he personally is going to the inauguration to supportnon-descrimination in soccer," CHA's president Cesar Cigliutti said.

Cigliutti said "the World Championship is a sports and political event witha clear message: every player has the right to calmly express his sexualorientation without any kind of prejudice."

"AFA agrees with the message and wants to help convey it. That is why itallowed T-shirt use to the participating Argentine teams," Cigliutti said.


Mbeki Attacks Critics Of South Africa's Failed AIDS Policy
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 1, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Cape Town, South Africa) Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president hailed hisembattled health minister as a heroine and blasted her critics as "wildanimals" in a remarkable display of support that dismayed AIDS activistsdemanding the dismissal of the woman who advocated beets and garlic asremedies for the disease.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel laureate often regarded as the moralconscience of the nation, weighed into the debate about South African AIDSpolicy by lambasting the health ministry. In a speech late Friday, he calledthe ministry inefficient and said it "has presided over the vastdeterioration in health standards of our land."

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been condemned at home andabroad for her unorthodox views on the AIDS virus, which has infected anestimated 5.4 million South Africans - the highest number for any country inthe world.

At news conferences, she has made plain her mistrust of antiretroviralmedicines, repeatedly espousing a diet heavy on garlic, beetroot, lemon andolive oil as more effective in treating HIV/AIDS. The comments have earnedher ridicule and the nicknames "Dr. Beetroot" and "Dr. Garlic."

South Africa's stand at the international AIDS conference in Canada lastyear included garlic and other foodstuffs, prompting internationalscientists to write an unprecedented joint letter of protest to PresidentThabo Mbeki.


The New York Times

America's Toe-Tapping Menace
Published: September 2, 2007

WHAT is shocking about Senator Larry Craig's bathroom arrest is not what hemay have been doing tapping his shoe in that stall, but that Minnesotans arestill paying policemen to tap back. For almost 40 years most policedepartments have been aware of something that still escapes the generalpublic: men who troll for sex in public places, gay or "not gay," are, forthe most part, upstanding citizens. Arresting them costs a lot andaccomplishes little.

In 1970, Laud Humphreys published the groundbreaking dissertation he wroteas a doctoral candidate at Washington University called "Tearoom Trade:Impersonal Sex in Public Places." Because of his unorthodox methods - he didnot get his subjects' consent, he tracked down names and addresses throughlicense plate numbers, he interviewed the men in their homes in disguise andunder false pretenses - "Tearoom Trade" is now taught as a primary exampleof unethical social research.

That said, what results! In minute, choreographic detail, Mr. Humphreys (whodied in 1988) illustrated that various signals - the foot tapping, the handwaving and the body positioning - are all parts of a delicate ritual of calland answer, an elaborate series of codes that require the proper responsefor the initiator to continue. Put simply, a straight man would be leftalone after that first tap or cough or look went unanswered.

Why? The initiator does not want to be beaten up or arrested or chased byteenagers, so he engages in safeguards to ensure that any physical advancewill be reciprocated. As Mr. Humphreys put it, "because of cautions builtinto the strategies of these encounters, no man need fear being molested insuch facilities."

Mr. Humphreys's aim was not just academic: he was trying to illustrate tothe public and the police that straight men would not be harassed in thesebathrooms. His findings would seem to suggest the implausibility not only ofSenator Craig's denial - that it was all a misunderstanding - but also ofthe policeman's assertion that he was a passive participant. If the code wasbeing followed, it is likely that both men would have to have been actingconsciously for the signals to continue.


The New York Times

September 2, 2007
Oh, Everyone Knows That (Except You)

IN this era of blogosphere gossip, viral e-mail and infinite YouTube videoarchives, the open secret - unacknowledged by its keeper, theoreticallyhush-hush but widely suspected or known - arguably should be a thing of thepast in public life.

But the case of Larry E. Craig, the Idaho senator arrested when anundercover police officer said he made overtures to him for sex, suggestsotherwise. Though rumors had long swirled around the conservative Republicansenator, the mainstream news media pointedly overlooked them until lastweek, when Roll Call broke the news of his arrest in June.

Most notably, The Idaho Statesman investigated reports about Mr. Craig formonths after a gay blogger published a claim last fall that the senator hadhad sex with men, but decided against running uncorroborated accusationsthat Mr. Craig denied and continues to deny. As much traffic as thespeculation generated on blogs before Mr. Craig's arrest, it gainedcurrency - that is, it became a "story" suitable for national publicationand broadcast - only when it was backed by an arrest report.

The same went for former Representative Mark Foley of Florida, who was longrumored to be gay but whose open secret was widely exposed only after hissexually explicit electronic messages to former Congressional pages surfacedlast fall and forced his resignation. And for Jim McGreevey, the married NewJersey governor whose homosexuality was suspected for years in localcircles, but was left pretty much untouched by the news media. Only afterdisclosing an affair with a man he had once appointed to a six-figure statejob did he resign.


The New York Times

September 2, 2007
Op-Ed Contributors
Idaho's Original Same-Sex Scandal
Boise, Idaho

WHEN Senator Larry Craig faced the television cameras here last week anddenied three times that he was gay, many Idahoans were reminded of a mucholder sex scandal, one that rocked the state's political capital 52 yearsago and made national headlines.

There are few in Idaho who have not heard of Boise's gay sex scandal of1955. And across the country, a generation of gay men grew up haunted by thepublicity it engendered.

Larry Craig was a 10-year-old Idaho farm boy when the scandal broke, and hewas a student at the University of Idaho in 1966 when John Gerassi's book"The Boys of Boise" revived the controversy. Decades later, the woundsinflicted by it remain raw: a lawsuit involving news reports that lookedback at some of the allegations made during the now-distant scandal went tothe Idaho Supreme Court in 2000.

On Halloween night in 1955, when the scandal broke, Boise was a sleepylittle city of fewer than 40,000 residents. It was the kind of town whereeveryone seemed to know everyone else, or at least worked with, or wasrelated to, someone who did. So when three men were arrested for having sexwith teenage boys, the story generated screaming headlines - above thenameplate - in the city's evening newspaper.

The arrested men were no strangers to Boiseans. They were the salesman atthe leading men's clothier, the shoeshine man on Main Street and awarehouseman from a local family. Boise's newspaper, The Idaho Statesman,responded to the arrests with a series of editorials demanding thatprosecutors, the police and the community take action. The newspaper printedlines like "Crush the monster" and "This mess must be removed."

"It did not seem possible that this community ever harbored homosexuals toravage our youth," the paper's editorial page declared. The newspaper helpedto ignite a witch hunt, in which many in Boise sought to rid the communityof all of its gay men.


The New York Times

September 2, 2007
When Fighting Crime Means Enticing Crime
TOE-TAPPING can be murky territory.

According to the police report on Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, it wasthe senator who tapped his toes, fidgeted with his fingers and edged hisfoot toward the man in the next stall while at a Minneapolis airportbathroom in June.

He was using a well-known signal to invite gay sex and unaware of a stingoperation that was targeting lewd behavior in the restroom, the reportsaid - a sting that has led to the arrests of dozens of others.

Prosecutions built on sting operations can raise philosophical and legalquestions, particularly cases built in areas like bathrooms and bushes andinvolving potential illegal behavior, or what the law calls a defendant's"predisposition" to commit a crime.

Suppose, for example, the undercover officer had been the one tapping histoes? What if he had been whistling, cajoling, peeping, peering, leering andbarking out an offer to rendezvous with the senator? This could qualify asentrapment, but the defense would have to prove that the government was notcatching a criminal but creating a crime.

The term entrapment has been used loosely outside the legal world todescribe, often with outrage, many sting operations, including the one thatsnared Mr. Craig. Such stings are typically intended to crack down onprostitution, drug dealing and sex in public.

The police say the goal of any vice squad is to protect the public - perhapsa young boy using that Minneapolis bathroom - and also the suspects, who areeasy prey for extortion, assault, even murder, and unlikely to report crimesagainst themselves.


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