NEWSBRIEFS

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 341 | October 7 – 13, 2004

NEWS

News Briefs

Canada Stalls on Marriage

African Lesbian Activist Brutally Murdered

Fanny Ann Eddy, 30, founder of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association in 2002, was found dead in the group’s offices in Freetown on September 29, raped, repeatedly stabbed, and with her neck broken. She had been working alone late the night before.

Human Rights Watch called her “a person of extraordinary bravery and integrity, who literally put her life on the line for human rights.” The organization demanded a full investigation into her murder, saying that the Freetown government must “send a message to a frightened lesbian and gay community that violence against them will not go unpunished.”

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that Eddy “broke the silence for us all,” and with Human Rights Watch sponsored her attendance at the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva earlier this year where she testified that “homophobic attacks go unpunished by authorities” in her country, which she nevertheless called “my beloved Sierra Leone.” The Commission tabled a resolution on lesbian and gay rights proposed by Brazil.

Fanny Ann Eddy is survived by her ten-year old son. Afrol News reported that Behind the Mask, a South African LGBT rights group, is collecting donations to support her son and the survival of the association she founded.

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Viva España!

Log Cabin: G.O.P. “Disgraceful”

Tatchell Cites Anti-Gay Climate in Jamaica

Peter Tatchell, a Jamaican activist under death threats for his international campaign against murder music by reggae singers, wrote in the New Statesman about the intensely anti-gay atmosphere of the nation. “It is like living in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” Richard, 28, who survived an anti-gay attack by a machete-wielding mob while police stood by and did nothing, told Tatchell. The activist also cited the case of a gay man who fled to a church to escape vigilantes, but was cornered and riddled with bullets, as well as a man who was killed for being suspected of looking at another man.

Tatchell wrote that Prime Minister P.J. Patterson “refuses to speak out against the murder of gay people.” The penalty for engaging in homosexual sex in Jamaica is 10 years hard labor.

At last week’s MOBO (for “music of black origin”) awards in Britain, Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel were dropped as nominees in the reggae category, leaving only two others in the category. A spokesperson for MOBO said that they “do not condone music that clearly incites violence to gay and lesbian people nor do they advocate censorship of artistic expression.”

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N.J. Supremes Delay Gay Marriage Case

Lambda Legal Defense’s plea to have the New Jersey Supreme Court bypass an appeals court and take up their lawsuit on behalf of same-sex couples seeking to marry was rejected on Wednesday. The high court did direct the New Jersey appellate division to expedite its hearing of the case before a three-judge panel. Lambda’s David Buckel told the AP that “everyone agrees that this is going to end up in the highest court” and had argued that it would have been better to get there “sooner rather than later.” The case began in 2002 and is given a high chance of success given the state Supreme Court’s friendliness to gay rights issues.

Andy Humm is a co-host of “Gay USA” seen Thursdays at 11 p.m. on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107, simulcast at mnn.org channel 34, and on Directv nationwide._

Andy Humm can be contacted at AndyHumm@aol.com

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