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Gays arrested in Bahrain

An estimated 100 gay men have been arrested in Bahrain on Feb. 3 when police raided a private party alleged to be a same-sex wedding.

According to police sources, some of the men were allegedly drunk and others were described as wearing women’s clothing and makeup. The police are now said to be checking if any have a history of “debauchery or sodomy.”

The men, mostly from Bahrain and Persian Gulf countries, were arrested on the charge of “conduct against public morals” and their cases will be handled by the Bahrain General Attorney.

Some parts of Bahrain have been known, until now, as being more relaxed in matters of sexuality.

India high court hears gay sex case

India’s Supreme Court has begun to hear arguments on a 2009 lower-court ruling that decriminalized gay sex.

In 2009, the Delhi high court ruled that a Colonial-era ban on gay sex was unconstitutional.

Section 377 of the penal code punished homosexuality with life imprisonment.

Gay-rights advocates had argued that the law was not only unconstitutional, but was also hampering efforts to fight HIV.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the case immediately, opting to wait until petitioners had submitted arguments.

Religious organizations All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance have opposed the high court’s verdict.

A final hearing will be held April 19.

HIV-positive Ugandan fears deportation

A gay, HIV-positive Ugandan man facing deportation from the United Kingdom fears for his life if returned to the African country and is seeking a last-minute reprieve.

Jamal Ali Said, 40, will be forcibly returned to Uganda after repeated appeals have failed. The U.K. Border Agency has not accepted that he is gay despite his attendance of a gay support group for more than one year.

Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years in prison in Uganda, but a bill pending in parliament would impose the death penalty in instances including the transmission of HIV through sex.

Speaking from a U.K. detention center, Said said he was “very frightened” based on “how they treat you in Uganda if you have HIV, if you are a gay man.”

Marriage equality ads debut in Australia

Marriage-equality advocates plan to launch television ads on Valentine’s Day that will run through the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebration, which ends in March.

The campaign is sponsored by GetUp! and Australian Marriage Equality, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The television campaign ... has been timed partly in anticipation of an attack from the cashed-up religious right in the lead-up to the [Australian Labor Party] National Conference in December where the Labor Party plans to reassess its stance on gay marriage,” said AME spokesperson Alex Greenwich.

Greenwich said the non-confrontational ad campaign is “about family and about putting a face to this issue.”

Recently, during a review of Australia’s human-rights performance by 50 member states at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Norway, a country where same-sex couples can marry, recommended that Australia recognize marriage equality.

Survey: Soccer fans condemn homophobia

A survey released to coincide with the United Kingdom’s LGBT History Month shows that the vast majority of fans strongly opposes homophobia in football (referred to as soccer in the U.S.).

The research, conducted at the University of Staffordshire, surveyed 3,500 fans, players and game officials.

It found that 93 percent said there was no room for homophobia in the game and 30 percent of players, managers, coaches and referees said they knew of at least one gay professional player.

Clubs and agents were blamed for players staying in the closet, the survey showed, and 78 percent thought openly gay players would face hostility from fans.

Respondents suggested that things would only change once one player comes out — or is outed by a newspaper or ex-lover.

Justin Fashanu, who killed himself in 1998, remains the only pro footballer to have come out as gay.

Study co-author Prof. Ellis Cashmore said: “It is inconceivable that, out of an estimated 500,000 professional players around the world, not one is gay.”

The Professional Footballers Association says it has no gay members, but Cashmore said he knows of three closeted players.

— Larry Nichols

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