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Irish gays concerned about discrimination

A nationwide survey of LGBT people in Ireland found that their top concerns are equality in the workplace, antigay violence and bullying.

The National Gay and Lesbian Foundation surveyed 1,100 sexual minorities to ask their priorities.

The research, titled “Burning Issues,” found that the most important thing for respondents was being able to work somewhere where they could be open about their sexuality or sexual identity without facing discrimination.

The second-most important issue was homophobic violence. This ranked at 8.2 on a scale with one being least important and 10 being the most important.

Young gay and bisexual men rated this as their top concern.

Transgender respondents said their top priority was workplace equality, ranking access to health services as their second-most important concern.

Marriage equality was ranked at number three for gay people, while support for younger people and those coming out followed.

In a section allowing respondents to give qualitative answers, far more were concerned with equal marriage rights than civil partnerships. They also raised the issues of lesbian and gay parenting rights and support services for those living outside Dublin.

Buenos Aires grants first gay marriage

Two men were granted a marriage license in Argentina’s capital on Nov. 16, breaking ground in Latin America, where no country has previously allowed gay marriage.

Jose Maria Di Bello and his partner Alex Freyre won the right to marry when a judge recently ruled a ban on gay marriage violates Argentina’s constitution.

“On Dec. 1 we will become man and man,” said Di Bello, welling up with tears as a city clerk gave him the paperwork.

Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri said the city would not appeal, effectively inviting other same-sex couples to pursue their rights in court as well.

“We have to live with and accept this reality: The world is moving in this direction,” Macri said Nov. 13, adding it is important for officials to “safeguard the right of each person to freely choose with whom they want to form a couple and be happy.”

Freyre, 39, executive director of the Buenos Aires AIDS Foundation, and Di Bello, 41, an executive with the Argentine Red Cross, sued after being denied a license in April. Their request was granted by Judge Gabriela Seijas, who said laws limiting marriage to “a man and a woman” violate constitutional rights of equality.

Currently no country in Latin America allows gay marriage, though some jurisdictions allow gay partners to form civil unions with many of the same rights.

Seijas’ ruling sets no precedent beyond this case, but other gays and lesbians can cite it and hope for positive results in court if their requests for marriage licenses are denied.

Buenos Aires in 2002 became the first city in Latin America to allow same-sex civil unions, and Mexico City followed in 2007. Uruguay has legalized civil unions nationwide.

The men – both HIV positive – plan to marry on World AIDS Day at the same civil registry in the capital’s Palermo neighborhood. They said marriage – and not just a civil union – is important to them because they want a shared health-insurance policy and inheritance rights, among other things married couples enjoy.

Indian voters allow ‘third gender’ option

The Electoral Commission of India decided to give recognition on voter forms to those who see themselves as neither male nor female.

Some trans people, known as eunuchs or hijiras in India, had abstained from voting because they did not have a box to check.

India allows people to select “E” for eunuch on passports and some government forms, but the recent move gives them legal recognition on electoral forms. They will now be able to choose “other” as their gender when voting.

India is thought to have around 1 million hijiras. Although they were traditionally surrounded by superstition and myth from their role of guarding the emperor’s wives, modern society has been less tolerant of them. Many are shunned by their families and struggle to obtain conventional jobs, instead turning to begging and prostitution to earn a living.

Antigay artist’s concerts canceled

A string of concerts by Jamaican reggae star Beenie Man have been canceled after organizers faced a wave of protest from gay-rights groups.

The singer was due to play the Big Day Out festival, which is held in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, Australia, and in the New Zealand city of Auckland.

Gay-rights groups had petitioned festival organizers to drop him, saying his songs incited violence.

Man, whose real name is Anthony Moses Davis, has a number of songs advocating the murder of lesbians and gays.

A statement from Big Day Out confirmed his appearances had been canceled because they would “mar” the event for many participants.

“Although aware of the controversial nature of Beenie Man and his previous lyrics that have caused offense with the gay and lesbian and wider community, the producers understood that the artist had renounced these sentiments and no longer expresses those views,” the statement read. “Notwithstanding claims of a commitment to the Reggae Compassionate Act, which he signed in 2007, and a promise of adherence to peaceful and humanistic values for the dates here by Beenie Man, the depth of feeling and hurt amongst these groups has convinced us that for us to proceed with his Big Day Out appearances was, and would continue to be, divisive amongst our audience members and would mar the enjoyment of the event for many. For this reason we have decided not to proceed.”

According to gay U.K. group OutRage!, Man later denied signing the act and denounced it.

Peter Tatchell, who had urged festival organizers to drop him, said: “These concert cancellations will hit Beenie Man hard in the pocket. He has lost tens of thousands of dollars. The success of this campaign sends a warning message to all murder-music artists: Inciting homophobic violence will cost you money.”

Larry Nichols can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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