Samoa bans ‘Milk’
The Samoa Censor Board has banned “Milk,” a film depicting the life of gay-rights activist Harvey Milk.
The decision was made by principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui, who rejected an application for the film to be rented and sold in Samoan outlets.
Faaui refused to comment on the decision, but told the New Zealand Herald that “rules and guidelines had to be followed.”
Movies4U, the island’s largest home-movie outlet, was disappointed with the decision.
“I really just want a reason why, because my customers are demanding this movie,” said general manager Eteuati Junior Esau, adding that up to 20 people ask daily to rent the film from his stores.
“I do not think it should be banned,” said human-rights activist Ken Moala. “It is basically a documentary about the human endeavor to conquer something that people tend to discriminate against. It’s really harmless, I don’t know how it would affect Samoan lifestyle. It is totally different and not applicable to here; it is pretty tame really.”
Moala is well-known for his charitable work with minority groups on many Pacific islands and questions the double standards of the censorship board.
“Some of the movies that have been here are violent and horrific,” he said. “When it comes to documentaries like this, I think it is all about the human story as opposed to the slaughter that goes on in some of these movies.”
Faaui said he would comment further on the matter pending approval from his superior, but insists the ban on the film will not be lifted.
Homosexuality is currently illegal in Samoa.
Polish pol riled over ‘gay’ elephant
A right-wing Polish politician wants to know why his local zoo spent money on an elephant he calls “gay.”
Michal Grzes, a counselor from the western city of Poznan, noted that the elephant, Ninio, prefers the company of other males, and challenged the zoo’s fiscal wisdom for acquiring him.
“We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys ($11 million) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there,” said Grzes. “We were supposed to have a herd, but as Ninio prefers male friends over females, how will he produce offspring?”
Ninio, who is 10, has changed zoos three times in the past five years because of his aggressive behavior toward females, in contrast to his affectionate treatment of males.
The head of the Poznan zoo contends that any conclusions about same-sex trunk intertwining are premature because Ninio will not reach sexual maturity until age 14.
Grzes is a member of the Law and Justice Party. Two of the party’s most high-profile members, identical twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczynski, have been outspoken in their homophobic views. Lech is the current president of Poland.
Cruising closes nudist beach
British naturists claim their rights are being stripped after the Ministry of Defense closed a nudist beach area in Cornwall for allegedly attracting gay sex near a military training camp.
The MoD decided to close the area, claiming it had no problem with homosexuality but wanted to eliminate the “bad elements.”
The complaints regarded reports of “cottaging” — British gay slang for cruising and/or anonymous sex between men in public places such as restrooms — in areas close to where children were.
“The overriding factor is the Ministry of Defense’s responsibility for the welfare of young persons in its care,” said Major Michael Pawlak, commandant of neighboring Penhale Camp. “The MoD has a duty of care for all persons at Penhale Camp, especially those on cadet and school trips. Naturists are not the problem, it is the perverts they attract that are the problem. Homosexuality is not the issue, but we have gay single men cottaging for business in dunes where there are children playing and training.”
The British Naturism group expressed opposition to the decision.
“We are replying in no uncertain terms that such a ban has no foundation in law and that, in fact, banning naturists would not solve the problem. The ‘ban’ has arisen since the MoD [began] a training camp at Penhale Sands, just behind the beach, and young cadets have recently been approached in inappropriate ways by naked people as well as observing sexual activity, and therefore nothing to do with the genuine naturist users of the beach who merely wish to relax in the sun.
“In addition, part of the training camp in which these activities have taken place is a live ammunition firing range, with disused mine shafts, and anyone straying into these areas is putting themselves in danger.”
Antigay ad couple invited to Warsaw
The New York gay couple whose wedding video footage was used last year by President Lech Kaczynski in an antigay rant has been invited back to visit Warsaw.
The conservative president used the video to stir fears about a European treaty that offers antidiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians, warning that it could open the door to gay marriage in Poland, an overwhelmingly Catholic country.
After discovering that their wedding video, in which they were kissing, was used without permission, Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton filed a complaint at New York’s Polish consulate and demanded an apology and face-to-face meeting with the Polish president.
Polish secretary of state Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka responded with a letter and an invitation to visit Warsaw. Fay said he was heartened by the tone of the letter, in which Junczyk-Ziomecka writes of reaching “over the rainbow” and of “breaking stereotypes.”
Tony Blair criticizes Vatican
Roman Catholic leaders are out of step with ordinary believers in their attitude toward homosexuals, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview published April 8.
Blair, who formally converted to Catholicism in 2007, said he believes there is a big generational difference on the issue, and that ordinary Catholics are more liberal-minded than their leaders.
“Actually, we need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith,” Blair told Attitude, a magazine aimed at gays.
Blair suggested that ordinary Catholics would disagree with the official position.
“Look, there are many good and great things the Catholic Church does, and there are many fantastic things this pope stands for,” Blair said. “But I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic church, particularly a well-attended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were.”
Last year, he launched the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which aims to fight extremism, organize faith groups against poverty and educate people worldwide about religions other than their own.