Saturday, September 20, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - September 20, 2008

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New York Times
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-On Religion: Church Gives Sanctuary to Gay Man and His Family
On that afternoon five years ago, Randy and Jill Keel arranged to meet on familiar and neutral ground. The setting was the coffee bar in a cavernous bookstore here, a place they had used other times in the two years since they had separated. Oddly anonymous in such a public place, they could speak bluntly, and angrily if necessary, outside the earshot of their four children.

-In Conservative Nepal, a Tribune for the 'Third Gender' Speaks Out
SUNIL Babu Pant likes to take advantage of the frequent delays at Nepal's newly elected Constituent Assembly. As the only openly gay member, he takes every opportunity to work on his homophobic colleagues, trying to convince them that contrary to what they were taught growing up in this very conservative country, homosexuals are just like any other people. Mr. Pant, 35, a computer engineer by training, opens his laptop - an object of fascination to many in the assembly, who come from the rural hinterlands - and gives a PowerPoint presentation wherever he finds his audience.

Washington Post
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-Administration urged to end HIV travel ban
Experts at an early August international AIDS conference in Mexico City were full of praise for the United States for having reversed a 15-year-old law banning HIV-positive people from entering the country. But nearly two months after President Bush signed that act into law, his administration has yet to take the steps needed to put the new law into practice, and lawmakers and advocacy groups are wondering what is going on.

-McCain, Obama wary of fueling gay-marriage debate
Proposed bans on same-sex marriage are on the ballot in three important states this fall, rousing passions on both sides, yet neither John McCain nor Barack Obama seems eager to push the issue high on their campaign agendas. In California, the stakes are particularly high _ it's the first time a ban-gay-marriage amendment goes before voters in a state where same-sex couples already have the right to wed. Similar amendments are on the ballots in Florida, a battleground in the presidential race, and Arizona, McCain's home state.

Wall Street Journal
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--Mormons Boost Antigay Marriage Effort
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have contributed more than a third of the approximately $15.4 million raised since June 1 to support Proposition 8. The ballot initiative, if passed, would reverse the current right of same-sex couples to marry.

-US Conference on AIDS, Day 1
Surveillance from the opening reception cocktail party, Wednesday night.
Living in large American cities like Miami, you get the feeling that despite the doomsday statistics and culture of risk, people are aware of the dangers of HIV. That's why it's shocking to hear the stories of health professionals from other parts of the country and around the world. Judith Backof, a Red Cross volunteer trainer from Fort Pierce paints a grim reality when she talks about how AIDS is addressed in her community. She describes a social arena that is ruled by Bible-thumping evangelists. The churches, she said, are among the most vociferous forces in Indian River County to oppose AIDS education programs in the schools and throughout the community.

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-Chicago: Gay community divided on LGBT high school
A public hearing on the pros and cons of a high school for LGBT students has found divisions within Chicago's gay community on the advantages of such a school.

-Corvino: At wedding, gay PDA not OK
Like many gay people, I have a love-hate relationship with weddings. On the one hand, I enjoy any excuse for a party, and what's not to like about celebrating love and commitment with family and friends? On the other hand.

-Clergy to oppose Fla. anti-gay amendment
Moderate religious leaders from across Florida are speaking out against a proposed amendment to the state constitution which would ban same-sex marriage and could be used to deny benefits to co-habitating non-married couples - both straight and gay.

-Breakaway Episcopal bishop ousted
Episcopal Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, whose diocese is moving toward splitting from the national church, was ousted from ministry Thursday by his fellow bishops.

-African-American LGBT group honors Congressional Black Caucus
The National Black Justice Coalition will honor Congressional Black Caucus members who are founders of the LGBT Equality Caucus in Congress on Monday.

The Advocate
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-Obama to Launch Faith Tour That Includes Supporter of Prop. 8
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is reportedly launching a "Faith, Family, and Values Tour" next week that will include Catholic legal scholar Douglas Kmiec as one of the campaign's surrogates. Kmiec wrote an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle this summer in which he urged support for passing California's marriage ban, Proposition 8. The Christian Broadcasting Network is reporting that the Obama campaign next week will kick off "Barack Obama: Faith, Family, and Values Tour," designed to woo the votes of left-leaning Catholics, progressive Evangelicals, and some conservative mainline Protestants. If LGBT people find the tour eerily reminiscent of the South Carolina gospel tour the campaign arranged last year with antigay "ex-gay" gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, their instincts may not be far off.
CBN names Catholic legal scholar Douglas Kmiec as one of the religious surrogates who will hit the road stumping for Obama. Kmiec wrote a June 13 op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle supporting California's Proposition 8, the ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage, titled "On Same-Sex Marriage:
Should California Amend Its Constitution? Say 'No' to the Brave New World." Kmiec's first two sentences in the piece read, "The California ballot initiative intended to set aside the state supreme court's judicial invention of same-sex marriage deserves public support. Maybe it is enough to say, as many do in conversation, that it merely re-secures a millennia of tradition and common sense." [...] Contacted by The Advocate for comment, Obama campaign spokesperson Shin Inouye confirmed CBN's report, reiterated Obama's support for LGBT rights, and echoed the theme of diversity that Obama often trumpets himself.

-Barack Obama and Bill O'Reilly Face Off
A man of his word, as Bill O'Reilly said, Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama sat down with the conservative gab fest host to talk about the election. And while the two didn't see eye to eye on several issues, one thing is certain... the two men make for some entertaining TV. Take a look!

Palm Beach Post
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-End gay adoption ban
He's 12 years old. He lives in Key West. He likes to fish and go to the beach. As his teacher says, he doesn't like schoolwork, but he's begun "looking at the girls." Nothing unusual about that, right? No, unless you consider that this is the boy whom a gay Monroe County man wanted to adopt. A cruel, cowardly 31-year-old Florida law prevents homosexuals from adopting. But this man, who for seven years has been the boy's foster parent and guardian, challenged the law as unconstitutional. Last week, Judge David Audlin agreed. Barring an appeal by the state, the boy who asked the plaintiff, "Will you be my daddy?" will get his wish.

Marriage Equality News
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-Vigil and dance at Oregon state capitol celebrate advances
Link: Blog Out
A group of straight families, sponsored by Love Makes A Family, will lead a 24-hour vigil on the steps of the state capitol Sept. 20 to celebrate advances toward marriage equality for same-sex couples during the past year. Oregon's historic laws, the Family Fairness Act and the Non-Discrimination Act survived attempts to put them on the November ballot. In May of this year California became the second state to open legal marriage to same sex couples. Step by step we are moving toward full equality. The vigil starts at 1 p.m. and includes a dance on the capitol steps from 8 to 11:30 p.m. with DJs Weissman & Thurap, and concludes with brunch on the capitol steps Sunday morning.

-Commentary: If Democrats Control The NYS Senate, What Next For Marriage Equality?
Link: Joe. My. God.
New York Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), who is poised to take over the majority leadership role if Democrats take control of the state Senate in November, yesterday waffled when asked if he would vigorously pursue marriage equality when the day comes. Although he reiterated his personal support of gay marriage (a position that was in question back when he first became minority leader), Smith declined to say definitively how or when he might address this particular topic if he becomes majority leader - a move that will no doubt disappoint some of the big gay donors who are helping to bankroll the Democrats' effort to flip the chamber this year.

-Proposition 8: Words Matter
Link: Beyond Homophobia
by Gregory Herek
Now an experiment embedded in a new Field Poll has shown that the wording does have an impact, mainly on voters who aren't already knowledgeable about Proposition 8. The latest poll was conducted with a statewide sample of 830 likely voters drawn from the voter registration rolls. Roughly half of the respondents - selected at random - were read the official ballot description of Proposition 8: Proposition 8 is the initiative to Eliminate the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry constitutional amendment. It changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry and provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal impact: Potential revenue loss, mainly to sales taxes, totaling several tens of millions of dollars to state and local government over the next few years. If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on Proposition 8?

-"Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes"
Link: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Dale Carpenter
Ed. note: Dale Carpenter refers to an opinion piece in today's LA Times expressing support for the California amendment that would prevent gay couples from marrying. Carpenter highlights once sentence.
"Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes." That's the claim made today by Andrew Sullivan Jonathan Rauch David Blankenhorn in an op-ed in the L.A. Times. It's not a new claim, of course. Same-sex marriage advocates have been making it for years. Nor should it be a controversial one since it's very hard to see how gay marriage would have no effect on gay families and even harder to see how it would hurt them.

-Q&A with Barack Obama
Link: 365 Gay News
Excerpt: The Gay History Project's Mark Segal has been trying for months to interview both Barack Obama and John McCain. McCain has declined participation - the Obama interview follows. There were no conditions on the interview. Obama spoke to Mark Segal by phone Aug. 16; an audio version of the interview will be posted at In his first interview with gay press since he officially took the Democratic nomination, here's what Obama had to say.
MARK SEGAL: You are the most LGBT-friendly candidate running for president in history. Are you concerned that John McCain and the Republicans might use this as a divisive issue as they did in 2004?

-The Unexpected Message The Yes On 8 Campaign Sends To Jews, Mormons, And Other Non-Evangelicals
Link: Pam's House Blend
I don't always connect dots in the ways others do, so it's usually interesting to me when someone connects dots in a way I never thought about -- especially when it's a particularly interesting character who makes the connections. On September 8th, a Jewish, conservative Republican -- David Benkof -- wrote a piece entitled Right-wing nonsense, where he questioned the Yes On 8 - Protect Marriage Campaign's use of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) as their legal defense team: I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, so I supported the man-woman marriage Proposition 8 in California - until I discovered the Proposition 8 campaign tolerates discrimination against Jews.'s legal counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund, has in effect a "No Jews Need Apply" policy for legal and even secretarial positions. They say they're not a law firm, they're a "ministry" and thus have a right to discriminate against Jews and other non-Christians. But even if that's true, Proposition 8 had hundreds of law firms to choose from. The fact they chose one that refuses to hire a Jew like me is very disturbing. Interestingly, Jesus himself was a Jew, so when a group has a policy that would lead them to refuse to hire their own Messiah, you know something's seriously wrong.

Pink News - UK
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-Respect Holidays goes bust
A major UK gay holiday firm has ceased trading. Respect Holidays was one of the best known companies in the business.

-Major gay travel company assures customers it is stable
Mantrav International has issued a statement in the wake of the collapse of two of its rivals, reassuring customers the company is safe.

-Airline refuses to deport gay asylum seeker from UK
A campaign of "pester power" has convinced a national airline to decline to transport a gay man who claims his life is in danger if he is returned to his homeland.

-Fathers 4 Justice target minister with "lesbo dads" banner
Gay rights organisation Stonewall has branded the latest stunt from protesters Fathers 4 Justice as "obvious homophobia." The group's original founder Matt O'Connor disbanded the group last week but disaffected "father's campaigners" staged a protest in Bristol today calling themselves "New Fathers 4 Justice."

-Politicians increasingly turning to God at party conference
An analysis of the speeches given by party leaders at their annual conferences has revealed a marked increase in religious language since 2001. Between 1998 and 2007, Prime Minister Gordon Brown used religious references most on average, with just one speech, according to a report from church-backed theology think tank Theos.

-Man accused of murdering trans teenager in court
A judge in Colorado has ruled that a 31 year old man will stand trial for the first degree murder of an 18 year old trans woman and a "bias-motivated crime." Allen Andrade will also be charged with stealing the victim's car and debit card.

-Brazil's President backs same-sex unions
Gay couples exist and we must give them legal recognition, the President of Brazil said yesterday. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also questioned why some politicians oppose gay rights but still take gay people's taxes and votes. The President said he is in favour of civil unions.

Daily Queer News
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-CA: San Diego Log Cabin Republicans Endorse Goldsmith
by Joseph Peña | Editor | Gay & Lesbian Times
Judge Jan Goldsmith, candidate for City Attorney, delivered a nonpartisan message to a small crowd of San Diego Log Cabin Republicans on Saturday. "I had no interest whatsoever [in running for City Attorney] . finally, I said, 'If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it my way, and I'm going to operate based on the law - not politics and not partisanship,'" said Goldsmith, who is locked in a runoff election with incumbent Michael Aguirre. Goldsmith's message was warmly received at the gathering. "The very fact that Judge Goldsmith will approach this job from the standpoint of the law is greatly comforting to me," said Chad Michael Terry, president of the San Diego Log Cabin Republicans. "We have someone [Aguirre] currently in office who seemingly is using it as a springboard to something else." Read more

-Bishop Robinson: 'God Loves All God's Children'
By John Wright | News Editor | Dallas Voice
V. Gene Robinson, who became the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church in 2003, will be at Dallas' Black Tie Dinner in November to accept the 2008 Elizabeth Birch Award. Robinson sat down with Dallas Voice recently to talk in a telephone interview about his upcoming visit and other issues.
Dallas Voice: Are you looking forward to coming to Dallas? Bishop V Gene Robinson: I'm very much looking forward to it. A lot of the work that I do is on behalf of LGBT people everywhere. And it's just especially wonderful to be honored by your peers, and for that work to be recognized, so it's a great honor for me. I also think that coming to Dallas is an important thing because it's a part of the country and a diocese of the Episcopal Church where there's not a lot of affirmation of gay and lesbian people out there, and I look forward to the opportunity to present a different sort of religious voice.

-Proponent for Catholic Ex-Gay Group Defends Hypocrisy in
Firing of Gay Music Director
By Michael Airhart | Truth Wins Out
The Roman Catholic Church generally does not fire church music directors for presumed premarital sex, usury, moderate gambling, smoking, or countless other vices. But when a Verona, Wisconsin, church fired music director Charles Philyaw for being honest with the congregation about having a gay partner who was also a member of the church, the hypocrisy of antigay parishioners and an ex-gay advocate became apparent. The June termination at St. Andrew Catholic Church was reported Monday by the Wisconsin State Journal. Parishioner Jo Ellen Kilkenny said, "We are all sinners, but when you hold a leadership position, you're held to a higher standard than people in the pews." She may be right to hold leaders to a higher standard - but that's beside the point: Kilkenny tolerates sinful church leaders - she just doesn't tolerate homosexual Catholics. In particular, she could not stomach receiving the Eucharist from someone (Philyaw's partner) whom she knew to be gay.

-MA: Primary Results a Mixed Bag for LGBT Community
by Ethan Jacobs | Bay Windows | EdgeBoston
Carl Sciortino
The Sept. 16 Democratic primaries were a mixed bag for the LGBT community, yielding some major wins but also some losses, including the defeat of a pro-marriage equality incumbent state representative by an anti-gay challenger. The biggest win of the night was the re-election of Medford/Somerville Rep. Carl Sciortino, who was forced to run a sticker campaign to hold onto his 34th Middlesex District seat. Sciortino, an openly gay lawmaker who has been a strong advocate for marriage equality and transgender rights, defeated challenger Bob Trane, a Somerville Alderman, with a massive 400-person volunteer operation that made sure voters got to the polls sticker in hand. Sciortino received a hero's welcome when he arrived at his victory party at Sabur restaurant in Somerville after the polls closed, as hundreds of volunteers crowded around him. He compared the victory to his first win in 2004, when he unexpectedly defeated former state representative Vincent Ciampa, a 16-year incumbent and opponent of marriage equality. Read more

-Progressive Silence on Television
The Progress Report | Think Progress
Last week, MSNBC debuted a new prime-time political show hosted by Rachel Maddow, a progressive radio host on Air America. The debut attracted more viewers than both Larry King and Glenn Beck's programs, on CNN and CNN Headline News, respectively. After one week on air, Maddow's was MSNBC's highest-rated show on Tuesday, with Keith Olbermann's Countdown in second place. When Olbermann announced Maddow's new show last month on the progressive blog Daily Kos, he wrote to its readers, "Yes, you had something to do with it." Maddow's show is one of the few success stories of the efforts by progressives to see more progressive voices on TV. In fact, the day before Maddow's debut, MSNBC announced it was pulling Olbermann and Chris Matthews from its election coverage - a move the New York Times said was a "direct result of tensions associated with the channel's perceived shift to the political left." Despite Olbermann and Maddow's rating successes, MSNBC and the other networks still don't seem to be getting the message: Americans want to hear progressive voices on television.

-WA: Gay immigrant, detained in Tacoma, gains reprieve
By Lornet Turnbull | Seattle Times staff reporter
A gay Jamaican man - one of the longest-held detainees at the Northwest Detention Center - has won a second chance to remain in the United States after a federal appeals court in a ruling this week pointed to a "pattern and practice of persecution" of gays in his Caribbean homeland. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered an immigration judge to reconsider the case of Damion Bromfield, who is seeking something akin to political asylum 15 years after he first came to the U.S. as a legal immigrant - and more than a decade after he came out as gay. The 30-year-old, who grew up in the Portland area, says he's convinced he would be beaten and killed if ordered back to Jamaica.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-The Politics of Fear
ScienceNOW Daily News
Why do people have the attitudes they do toward social issues such as welfare, abortion, immigration, gay rights, school prayer, and capital punishment? The conventional explanations have to do with their economic circumstances, families, friends, and educations. But new research suggests that people with radically different social attitudes also differ in certain automatic fear responses. Political scientists say the work is evidence that certain attitudes are conditioned by fundamental traits of temperament, which could help explain why it's hard to get a donkey or an elephant to change its coloring.

-A growing population of lesbian and gay senior citizens seeks recognition for their unique needs and challenges.
Bob McCoy is a youthful, active 78-year-old. He sings in his church choir, takes a weekly computer class, and regularly attends social gatherings organized by a gay senior citizens group in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lives. But McCoy worries about a day when he can no longer care for himself: he has no close family, no partner, and he's outlived most of his friends. "I'm used to having friends I can call up and say, 'Let's go to [a movie],'" he says. "But now there's nobody to call."

-Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't' Tell" to be Addressed in Town Hall Forum, Workshop Preceding Presidential Debate
Retired Rear Admiral Barnett and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director to Provide Insider Briefing
Today the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) announced that Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis and Retired Rear Admiral James ("Jamie") Barnett will be speakers at the Sept. 24 Town Hall Forum and the Sept. 25 workshop at The University of Mississippi in advance of the first Presidential Debate of the 2008 Election. "I look forward to the upcoming forum and workshop as an opportunity to educate the public about the failure of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and ensure that this important issue remains part of the national debate in this year's election," Sarvis said. "Voters need to understand how this ban has undermined our military's readiness in a time of war. More than 12,500 well-qualified service members have been fired under this bad law while our military is already stretched too thin and the need for an effective fighting force grows greater by the day."

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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Uganda: Action Alert-Demand An End To Official Harassment of LGBT Activists In what appears to be an all-out effort to silence the sexual rights movement in Uganda, police have again arrested high profile members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, this time two male-to-female transgender gay men - Georgina (aka) Oundo George and Brenda (aka Kiiza). According to Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), two men who identified themselves as police officers, but were not in the customary Ugandan Police uniform arrested both men at the home of Georgina on Wednesday September 10, 2008.

-Nepal Government unveils budget inclusive of Sexual and Gender Minorities for the first Time in Nepal's history
This is such a great news that for the first time in Nepal's history the national budget have provision for sexual and gender minorities. Maoist led Government's finance minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattari just unveiled the budget today and the budget reads as follows:
237: The state will accord special priority to solve the core problems of Nepali people relating to sexual and gender minorities and a common house for 50 people will be provisioned to live together for their socialization.

-NYC Vigil for Alaei Brothers: Wed Sept 24th at noon
Dr. Kamiar Alaei should be in Albany right now, continuing his 2nd year of doctoral studies at SUNY Albany School of Public Health. Instead, he and his brother, Dr. Arash Alaei-internationally respected HIV/AIDS physicians-have been detained by the Iranian government and are being held without charge. Next week, on Wednesday September 24 at Noon, Physicians for Human Rights and a coalition of health and human rights groups are holding a vigil to call for their release during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to NYC for the UN General Assembly. Please attend this important event and call on the Iranian Government to respect the human rights of these two doctors. More information on this campaign can be found on, where you can also sign a petition in support of Kamiar and Arash.

-Uganda: Protect Sexual Rights Activists Ensure Due Process for All Citizens
Police should end investigations into the activities of two Ugandan human rights activists working in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) said today. In violation of Ugandan law, the police held the activists, George "Georgina" Oundo and "Brenda" Kiiza for seven days, without bringing them before a judge or bringing charges against them. The two organizations called on Ugandan authorities to clear their police files and respect the basic freedoms of all Ugandans regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
"Oundo and Kiiza are entitled to the same constitutional protections as all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation," said Juliana Cano Nieto, researcher for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "The Uganda police must stop trampling on the rights of the Ugandan LGBT community."
For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Uganda, please visit:

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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Part I: Overview
(Part I of this report provides an overview of attention paid to sexual orientation and gender identity issues at the 8th session of the Human Rights Council, including a summary of recommendations and State responses during the adoption of UPR reports. For full details, please refer to Part II of the attached report, which sets out all interventions made during the Council session, and Part III of the attached report, which provides full transcripts of State responses to UPR recommendations, as well as the comments of NGOs and other stakeholders.)
Contact for the full article and attachments.

-Queerbeograd and fascist attack
At this very moment we're in the middle of the 5th Queerbeograd festival in Belgrade, Serbia. The theme of the festival this year is 'Direct Action & Antifascism'. The latter appeared again important when a group of 25 people leaving the festival yesterday evening we're confronted with an organized attack by fascists. The festival has participants from Macedonia, Russia, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Slovenia.
Police that we're patrolling in a side street we're quickly there but it didn't prevent some of the QB participants getting seriously hurt. One fascist got arrested. The fascist group consisted of members of Obraz, a clerical fascist group that also organized the attack on the pride in 2001. This afternoon there is a meeting to discuss how to respond to this attack. The festival will definitely continue and last until Sunday. Besides film screenings, performances and bands also two panels this weekend on direct action and antifascism. Queerbeograd is supported by a number of autonomous groups making fund raising.


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