Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Oh my, oh my.

Julian and Sandy were (gay) characters on the radio show 'round the horne' in the middle sixties. Pretty much nobody understood what they were saying, especially as they were using polari, but audiences loved them.

Argentina 1976 -1983 - the 'disappeared' (los desaparecidos)

During this period of turmoil, The Mothers Of The Plaza Mayoras they came to be calledgathered regularly in the plaza and with extreme bravery demanded the right to know the fate of their children, all 'disappeared' while the country was under the leadership of General Videla.

It is now estimated that 30,000 were 'disappeared'.

In 1983, Adolfo Sellingo, a navy captain, testified that it was a common practice for prisoners to be drugged, taken on board military planes, transported and thrown out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Mass graves continue to be found in remote locations.

Three of the founders of The Mothers Of The Plaza de Mayo were themselves 'disappeared'. What was left of them was discovered and identified in 2005.

Rest in Peace: Leonie Duquet, Esther Careaga, Maria Eugenia Blanco.

Thinking of going on holiday?

78 countries where homosexuality is illegal.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, or ILGA, lists  78 countries with criminal laws against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people.
Here is this blog’s list of 78 countries and independent political entities with anti-homosexuality laws, with links to the blog’s coverage of them:
2 Angola
6 Comoros
8 Eritrea
10 Gambia
10 Ghana
12 Guinea
13 Kenya
14 Lesotho
15 Liberia
16 Libya
17 Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
18 Mauritania
19 Mauritius
20 Morocco
21 Namibia
22 Nigeria
23 Senegal
24 Seychelles
25 Sierra Leone
26 Somalia
27 South Sudan
28 Sudan
29 Swaziland
30 Tanzania
31 Togo
32 Tunisia
33 Uganda
34 Zambia
35 Zimbabwe
Benin had been included in some editions of the ILGA report, but homosexuality is not illegal there, though the age of consent is higher for same-sex relations than for heterosexual relations. It was removed from this list in May 2014.

Asia, including the Middle East
36 Afghanistan
37 Bangladesh
38 Bhutan
39 Brunei
40 India
41 Iran
42 Kuwait
43 Lebanon
44 Malaysia
45 Maldives
46 Myanmar
47 Oman
48 Pakistan
49 Palestine and Gaza Strip
50 Qatar
51 Saudi Arabia
52 Singapore
53 Sri Lanka
54 Syria
55 Turkmenistan
56 United Arab Emirates
57 Uzbekistan
58 Yemen
One Middle Eastern country, Iraq, was listed separately by ILGA in 2014 under the heading “Legal status of homosexual acts unclear or uncertain.” In Iraq, there is no civil law against homosexual acts, but homophobic violence is unchecked. Militias and self-appointed sharia judges reportedly have imposed sentences for homosexual behavior.


In the United States, anti-sodomy laws were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003, but they are still on the books in 13 states: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,  Texas, Utah and Virginia. Conservative state legislators refuse to repeal the laws and, in some cases, police still enforce them.  Reportedly, in the past few years more than a dozen LGBT people were arrested for violating those laws, but the arrestees were freed because prosecutors won’t seek convictions based on defunct laws.

70 Cook Islands
71 Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra)
72 Kirbati
73 Nauru
74 Papua New Guinea
75 Samoa
76 Solomon Islands
77 Tonga
78 Tuvalu

No country in Europe has a law against homosexuality. The last European location with such a law was Northern Cyprus (recognized as a country only by Turkey), which repealed its law in January 2014.

Also in Europe and worth mentioning but not on that list of countries with laws against homosexuality are:
  • Russia, which enacted an anti-gay propaganda law in 2013 prohibiting any positive mention of homosexuality in the presence of minors, including online;
  • Ukraine, which has considered, but so far has not adopted a similar law against “gay propaganda.”
  • Moldova, which adopted and then repealed such a law in 2013.
In addition, in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan in October 2014 was on the verge of adopting an anti-gay “propaganda” law harsher than that in Russia. If that bill becomes law, any type of distribution of positive information on same-sex relations, not just discussions in the presence of a minor, would become a crime punishable by fines and a jail sentence.

Laws might have changed since this report, but that doesn't mean for the better.

My deepest thanks to 76crimes.com. I've abridged some of its content. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Symi, Greece, 1983. I'm 34.

One morning, a Danish girl and I set out to walk to the other end of the island, to Panormitis. It was a stiff climb. Along the way, we stopped in the shelter of a glade and I spilt the oil from a can of sardines over our map. The heat was crushing, with the cicadas whistling and not one leaf moving in the stillness. I fell asleep.

We got to the monastery in the evening. We wanted one room, because it was cheaper, but the papas wouldn't allow it because we weren't married.

In the morning, we struck out to return back to Yialos. The path was a different one, mostly uphill, and sometimes we got lost. Sweat fell from me, soaking my hair and t-shirt.

We came back to the town by way of the nearby bay of Pedi in late afternoon. We sat down in the shade of a taverna, and here you see me waiting for our food to come. We were so tired and hungry and sticky. Ida took the photograph.

But it was good, the whole thing was good. There is no more beautiful place than a Greek island with its penetrating light and sere landscape set against the vivid blue of its sea.

Saturday, 21 May 2016


I go see my doctor and he talks about my low mood. This is the term they use nowadays for depression.

Sometime during my teenage years, I began to experience bouts of huge crushing deadness. How I survived them, I don't know. Of course, in those days, you never went to your doctor, because they were barely aware of the illness, and you didn't talk to anyone, friends or family, because it was rather scorned as self-pity, as self-indulgence. That view has perhaps changed, but people are still at a loss how to respond to it.

Depression has dogged me for fifty years. It's become a part of me. It's there all the time. I can't imagine who I would be without it.

I've considered suicide many times, but it hasn't happened yet. I find the thought of it very calming. Still, something in me keeps me thinking of continuing living.

I've been prescribed Prozac for five years now. It helps, but will never change the fundamental construction of my mind.