Serbia promises protection for gays
Serbian police promised on Sept. 9 to protect embattled gay groups who are facing threats of violence from extremists before a planned Oct. 10 Pride march.
The event will be Serbia’s first since right-wing organizations broke up the 2001 event and forced the cancellation of last year’s gathering over security concerns. The parade is seen as a test for pro-Western officials, who are seeking EU membership for the Balkan country.
Organizers said extremists have posted calls for violence on Facebook and YouTube and have demanded that police detain those responsible for the threats.
Police chief Ivica Dacic said on Sept. 9 that authorities will not tolerate violence.
Gay Saudi diplomat seeks asylum
A gay Saudi diplomat in Los Angeles is seeking political asylum in the United States because he believes his life is in danger if he returns to Saudi Arabia.
NBC has identified the diplomat as Ali Ahmad Asseri, the first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles. He reportedly told U.S. officials that the Saudi government refused to renew his diplomatic passport and terminated his job after they learned he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman.
“My life is in great danger here and, if I go back to Saudi Arabia, they will kill me openly in broad daylight,” he wrote in an e-mail.
HIV rates higher in gay Frenchmen
A study published Sept. 9 in the November edition of The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, suggests that rates of HIV in France are higher in gay and bisexual men than in heterosexuals.
The report from the French National Institute for Public Health Surveillance showed that although HIV infections are falling in the country, half of the 7,000 new cases diagnosed in 2008 were found in men who have sex with men (MSM).
Gay and bisexual men accounted for 48 percent of new cases in France in 2008. Non-French nationals — mostly from sub-Saharan Africa — accounted for 23 percent and 45 percent of new diagnoses were transmitted heterosexually.
Can. judge affirms gay blood ban
A Canadian judge has ruled that a blood donation service has the right to bar gay men.
Canadian Blood Services sued 36-year-old gay man Kyle Freeman for negligent representation after he admitted lying about his sexual orientation.
Freeman counter-sued, saying that the questionnaires, which are used to screen blood donors, are discriminatory.
On Sept. 9, Ontario Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken sided with the blood service.
Freeman argued that he wasn’t a risky donor because he had regular HIV tests.
However, tests revealed his blood was actually infected with syphilis, prompting the blood donation service to sue.
Out athlete accuses bar of racism
Gay basketball star John Amaechi claims that a gay bar in Manchester, England, racially discriminated against him recently.
The former NBA player claims that door staff at Crunch on Canal Street told him he was “too big, too black and trouble” to enter with his friends. He said a doorman allowed his friends inside but told him it was a private members’ bar.
The bar claims Amaechi’s group of friends had been flagged by a joint radio system as having been “argumentative and aggressive to another venue’s door staff.”
Amaechi, 39, who is a Manchester resident, said: “I want an explanation of what happened — a real true explanation — and an apology.”