2nd Puerto Rican LGBT killing
Puerto Rican police are investigating after a trans woman was found murdered in her home last week.
Ashley Santiago Ocasio, a 31-year-old beauty salon owner, was recently found shot in the head in the central mountain town of Corozal. Her car was missing, although there was no sign of a break-in.
Last November, the body of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found burnt and dismembered by a road in the town of Cayey. The gay 19-year-old was known to cross-dress and was apparently seen getting into a man’s car while dressed as a woman before he was killed.
A suspect is facing trial on a charge of first-degree murder for Lopez’s killing. However, he will not be tried for a hate crime.
Local gay-rights activists are calling on police to investigate Ocasio’s death as a possible hate crime. If a killer were convicted, charges of hate crime would lead to a higher sentence.
As yet, there is no evidence that she was killed for being trans, and a post-mortem examination will be carried out.
Restaurant fined for refusing ‘gay’ dog
A restaurant in Australia that refused to serve a blind man because a server thought the man’s guide dog was gay has been ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and write the man an apology.
Ian Jolly, 57, was kicked out of the restaurant Thai Spice in a suburb of Adelaide because a server mistakenly heard Jolly’s partner, Chris Lawrence, say “she wanted to bring a gay dog into the restaurant.”
“The staff genuinely believed that Nudge was an ordinary pet dog which had been de-sexed to become a gay dog,” restaurant owners Hong Hoa Thi To and Anh Hoang Le said in a statement.
The restaurant displays a “guide dogs welcome” sign, but Jolly and Lawrence were denied entry even after providing staff with a guide dog fact card.
The Equal Opportunity Tribunal of Australia ordered April 23 that the restaurant provide Jolly with a written apology and attend an Equal Opportunity education course, in addition to the fine.
Man arrested for ‘sex game’ killing
A Chinese man has been arrested in connection with the deaths of six men who joined in sadomasochistic games.
Zhou Youping, a singer in bars in the central province of Hunan, is said to have advertised for men to be his “slave” on gay websites.
A report from the Shanghai Daily said that he asked the men meet him in hotels to play erotic asphyxiation games.
It is alleged he killed his first victim in October last year because he discovered he was HIV-positive. Zhou is said to have hung him as part of a sex game and then left him to die. It is believed he then did the same to five other men in the following months.
Two intended victims are said to have escaped.
Zhou is being held on murder charges.
Chicken makes you gay, bald
The president of Bolivia has claimed that eating chicken turns men gay.
Evo Morales told a conference on climate change: “The chicken we eat is loaded with female hormones. So, when men eat it, they tend to deviate from their manhood.”
He added that he only eats non-genetically modified chicken to avoid becoming gay or effeminate.
Morales’ remarks angered one of Argentina’s gay groups, which questioned his logic.
“It’s an absurdity to think that eating hormone-containing chicken can change the sexual orientation of a person,” said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Argentina Homosexual Community campaigning organization. “By following that reasoning, if we put male hormones in a chicken and we make a homosexual eat it, he will transform into a heterosexual.”
Morales also argued that eating treated chicken could turn men bald.
“Baldness, which seems normal, is a disease in Europe,” he said.
“Almost everyone is bald and it’s related to the food they eat. Among the indigenous people there are no bald men, because we eat different things.”
Iranian gays take refuge in Turkey
A two-story building in the Turkish city of Kayseri’s Fez Kichak neighborhood has become an informal halfway house for Iranian gays fleeing torment in their homeland and hoping to make it to the West.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran, and human-rights groups estimate some 4,000 gays have been executed since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
The atmosphere has only gotten more tense since the arrival five years ago of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who famously proclaimed in a 2007 speech at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in his country. An official memo sent to government departments last year called on employees to either marry or resign — a step seen as aimed at seeking to weed out homosexuals.
A trickle of gays and lesbians has made its way out of Iran, mainly through neighboring Turkey, which doesn’t require Iranians to obtain a visa. Currently, 92 Iranian gays have refugee status in the country, according to Saghi Ghahraman, director of the Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organization, which tracks homosexuals fleeing Iran.
Many are placed by the Turkish government in Kayseri and nearby towns, where they form a precarious community, overshadowed by a larger influx of thousands of Iranians fleeing the political crackdown since June’s disputed presidential election. In this conservative region of Turkey, they try to lay low, fearing harassment as they wait in hopes of resettlement.
“Police here tell us to stay indoors when we report violence against us,” said Roodabeh Parvaresh, a 32-year-old lesbian who has been in Turkey for over two years.
Still, Turkey provides an escape from their lives in Iran, where homosexuals can face threats from every direction — the state, coworkers or security officials who harass them or try to blackmail them into performing sexual favors.
Under Iran’s Islamic law, the punishment for same-sex intercourse between two men is death, and between two women is 100 lashes for the first three offenses and the death penalty for the fourth.