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Gay erotica writers arrested in China

Police in China have arrested 32 women for allegedly writing erotica for a gay website.

The women, including one 17-year-old, were arrested in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province. They were reportedly arrested for spreading obscene material.

Police said the website contained 80,000 erotic stories and had 600,000 registered members. The site’s owner reportedly said that his workers were young women in their 20s in cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and it was seen as a mental illness until 2001.

Dutch soldiers to march in Pride parade

The Dutch defense ministry will this year for the first time officially participate in Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Canal Parade, event organizers have announced.

Gay and lesbian members of the Dutch armed forces dressed in uniform, with the ministry’s official “blessing,” will join the Saturday-afternoon parade through some of the Dutch capital’s world-famous canals on their own special boat.

The plan is the result of an initiative by an organization that represents gays and lesbians in the armed forces. The parade will take place on Aug. 6 as part of the Amsterdam Gay Pride weekend.

The parade’s organizers and the gay military organization have both welcomed the news. They say officially sanctioned participation is a huge step forward in the social acceptance of gay and lesbian people in the armed forces. Two years ago, gay soldiers were not allowed to join the event. Last year, they were granted permission to do so but only on an individual basis.

Thailand to draft trans

Thailand’s defense ministry has altered the terms it uses when referring to transgender individuals, who would typically be exempt from military service.

When Thailand’s annual conscription begins in April, “Type 2” will refer to men who have undergone breast enhancement surgery and “Type 3” will describe those who have undergone sexual-reassignment surgery.

“Type 1” will refer to men “whose appearances are typical of men.”

Previously, the law has exempted transgender individuals from service because of a “psychological abnormality.”

“Type 1” men have previously been required to draw a conscription ballot, but this year, “if the number of Type 1 is insufficient, Type 2 will be conscripted as well, despite their female-like breasts,” said Thaksin Chiamthong, director of the academic resources division of the Army Reserve Command.

This year, the military needs to draft 97,280 men age 21 — an increase of 9,828 from 2010.

New gay Italian IKEA ad draws ire

Swedish furniture giant IKEA has unveiled an ad featuring a gay couple in Italy.

The ad — which is not the first gay-friendly campaign the company has run — shows two men holding hands under the slogan: “We are open to all families.”

Below, text says: “With us you will feel at home. What we want to do is make life easier for everyone, every family, every couple, whoever they are.”

Italian newspaper Il Giornale, which is owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, accused IKEA of “Swedish imperialism” and trying to be “provocative.”

Berslusconi said this month that his government would never allow gay couples to marry or adopt children.

In the past, IKEA has had to withdraw gay-friendly adverts. Its first gay ad, in 1994, showed a male couple shopping for dining tables. It was pulled after the retailer received a bomb threat.

In 2008, Polish Catholics called for a boycott of IKEA because its catalogue featured gay couples. The store was accused of “promoting” homosexuality.

Malaysia censors Gaga

Malaysian radio stations have garbled the lyrics to Lady Gaga’s hit single “Born This Way” to prevent listeners’ exposure to “offensive” gay content.

The decision was made by broadcasters in the Muslim-majority nation, where the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party protested a concert by Adam Lambert last year.

Malaysians who tune in to popular stations hear edited versions of “Born This Way” that use indecipherable garble to replace the lyrics: “No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby.”

Broadcasters can face a fine of up to $16,000 and other penalties for breaking the rules.

Malaysian gay-rights activists criticized the decision and suggested that Lady Gaga protest by asking Malaysian radio stations not to play her songs at all.

— compiled by Larry Nichols

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