‘Homosexual has right to life’ says DPP assistant

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Caroline Hay, addressing the jury yesterday at the trial of the man accused of murdering Ambassador Peter King, said a homosexual had a right to life.

She referred to comments defence lawyer Berry Bryan had made that King, 64, was a “disgusting sodomite” and said the words used to describe King were vile because some people believe homosexuals do not have a right to life.

Hay told the 12-member jury that if a person made a particular choice (as to sexual preference), then other people could not decide if that person should live or die.

Fatally stabbed

Sheldon Pusey, 25, a waiter and carpenter, has been on trial in the Home Circuit Court since January 19 for King’s murder. King was fatally stabbed and chopped between March 19 and 20 at his Waterloo Road, St Andrew, home.

Pusey said in his defence that he went to King’s house about a job and King was attempted to “rape” him and he stabbed him.

Hay advised that Pusey said he was not a homosexual but “if you accept the evidence that he was in under pants with another man who was in underpants or naked downstairs in a kitchen, then the jury could come to the view that Pusey was a homosexual”.

She also told the jury that if they accepted that King’s semen was on a towel on which Pusey’s blood was found, then “you can come to the view that Pusey was gay”.

She called on the jury not to have any bias because when the Crown opened its case they were told that King was a homosexual. She said Bryan in his address told them that King was a notorious homosexual.

Two knives

She asked the jury to consider what Pusey was doing in King’s bedroom watching television and why was Pusey answering questions posed to him by a doctor in relation to how he got his nails to be so shiny.

In response to Berry’s comments that the prosecution had suppressed an important piece of evidence, particularly two knives which were taken from King’s house, Hay said the knives were not relevant to the case. She said all exhibits and documents were available to Bryan and if he wanted, he could have put the knives in evidence.

Hay asked the jury to consider the evidence which the prosecution put before them and return a true verdict.

The verdict will be given next week.

by BARBARA GAYLE, Staff Reporter

Male Circumcision Is No Silver Bullet in Combating HIV

(Click here also for Original Article)

(The author’s friend was driving too quickly in Cameroun and had to do a double-take after passing the sign above, she returned to the site later to confirm that she had read the the billboard correctly.)
Three African studies in 2006 showed that male circumcision could significantly reduce a man’s risk of contracting HIV from vaginal intercourse. “Significantly” in health study-speak might not mean what you think it means though. The studies, which examined nearly 8,000 men ages 18-24 in Kisumu, Kenya and Rakai, Uganda, found that male circumcision reduced men’s risk of contracting HIV from vaginal intercourse by as much as 53 percent. These studies corroborated findings from an earlier study in South Africa, which reported reductions as high as 60 percent. A 50-60% reduction is not 100%. Not by a long shot.

But since these studies were published, sliced foreskins have replaced sliced bread as the next best thing. Bad puns and gory images aside, the avid support for male circumcision among public health professionals, funders, and the public alike has often failed to ask the simple question: What does this mean for women?

Circumcision itself does not offer a man’s current partner(s) (female or male) any protection from contracting HIV. Many men — newly or previously circumcised — assume that circumcision will fully protect them from HIV, so they feel inclined to “reap the benefits” by pushing for sex without condoms, jeopardizing their own health and that of their partner(s). Moreover, after the operation, many men do not wait the requisite six weeks to let the wound heal before having sex – again, putting their lives and that of their partner at risk. Surely, there may be some indirect benefits to women. For example, expectations of the surgery may bring men into local clinics that would not otherwise visit health services, and this can provide an opportunity to educate men on safe sex and provide access to male and female condoms.

But we all need to get our facts straight. This week, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), and Family Health International (FHI) launched a website — the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision – to do just that. Their page about the effects of adult male circumcision on women’s health includes some useful resources. Also check out Straight Talk About Male Circumcision – a post by Kate Bourne, the Vice President of International Policy & Regional Programs at IWHC, to learn more about what male circumcision means for women.

J-FLAG seeks clarification from PM on maintenance of buggery law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

J-FLAG seeks clarification from PM on maintenance of buggery law
Kingston — March 5, 2009

The Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays is calling upon Prime Minister Bruce Golding to further clarify his recent statements about the maintenance of the law against buggery. We wish to know precisely what the Prime Minister means by buggery “in circumstances similar to rape or grievous assault” and what the implications of that are for consensual sex between men. We are also concerned about the tone of Mr. Golding’s statement and note with amazement the Prime Minister’s stance that the country’s ‘Christian values’ should trump individual rights.

We wish to restate our problem with the buggery law as it applies to consenting adults. It is our belief that in a democracy, the definition of crime must relate to an act that creates a victim or victims. Consensual sex between men has no victims, which means that its criminalisation serves to protect no one. This makes men who engage in anal sex into un-apprehended criminals as well as creates a hurdle for those working in the fight against HIV. If, as Mr. Golding suggests, the maintenance of the provision is consistent with our values as a Christian society, he must explain why there are no laws to proscribe a number of other practices that Christians find offensive or sinful.

We maintain that as long as there are no laws against fornication or adultery, maintenance of a law against the sexual orientation neutral buggery is an act that targets gay men. In the absence of laws criminalising sexual and other sins, the anti-buggery prohibition is prejudicial, selective and discriminatory. We believe that Jamaica is a plural democracy and not a theocracy, and that the respect accorded to the views of a religious majority should in no way become the basis for discriminating against a minority.

It is therefore our view that the principle upon which the Prime Minister has argued for the maintenance of the provision against buggery is flawed. We believe that the primary concern of a Prime Minister should be with the protection of the innocent, not the criminalisation of sin.
~30~

Contact: Jason McFarlane
Tel: (876)754-8704
Email: admin@jflag.org

More on the Anti-Gay Seminar in Uganda

IGLHRC Update: More on the Anti-Gay Seminar in Uganda The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) have learned new details about the ongoing 3-day anti-gay conference in Uganda featuring some of the most virulent homophobes from the U.S. religious right. Here are some developments from the first day, reported by our partners who attended the event: Prior to the start of today’s workshop, Stephen Langa, leader of Family Life Network (the Ugandan organization hosting the workshop) and his American guest speakers met with several members of the Ugandan parliament.

During the morning session, Stephen Langa told the group that homosexuality is a big problem in Uganda and the existing laws that criminalize gay people are not good enough. He claimed that gay rights activists recruit young people into homosexuality. Langa told the audience that he knows 2 girls at a particular boarding school who were given a lot of money by gay activists in Uganda to recruit their colleagues into lesbianism. “By the end of the year, they had managed to recruit 13 friends, all of whom were given money to recruit others,” Langa alleged.

Don Schmierer, a member of the board of the American “ex-gay” organization Exodus International told participants that one of the biggest causes of homosexuality is the lack of “good upbringing” in families. He said that 56% of homosexuals experience abuse and violence in their families during their childhood. The abuse leads to pain, anger and hatred in the life of a child and this turns them into homosexuals.IGLHRC and SMUG will continue to monitor the situation and will post new updates on our blog as more information becomes available. The workshop will end on Saturday, March 7. To read the full account of today’s event, please visit IGLHRC’s blog: iglhrc.org/blog You can also read IGLHRC and SMUG’s joint press release about this conference on our website: http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/pressroom/pressrelease/868.html