Connect with us

News

Members of Russian HIV/AIDS group attacked

Activist alleges police said they did not see any evidence that a crime took place.

Published

on

Russia, Moscow, Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral, gay news, Washington Blade

Two masked men on Nov. 3 attacked members of a Russian HIV/AIDS group at its St. Petersburg office. (By David Crawshaw via Wikimedia Commons.)

A Russian LGBT rights advocate on Sunday said two men attacked members of an HIV/AIDS service organization in St. Petersburg.

Anastasia Smirnova of the Russian LGBT Network said in an e-mail to LGBT rights advocates that two masked men with air guns and baseball bats attacked those who were attending a social gathering at the St. Petersburg office of LaSky, a Russian HIV/AIDS group that serves men who have sex with men. The advocate noted two people were injured during the attack.

Smirnova said police arrived, but they “left right away” because “they did not see any evidence of the crime.”

Fontanka, a Russian news website, cited an official with the Russian Interior Ministry who confirmed the incident took place.

“Pograms are becoming a reality,” Smirnova said. “Now it is not migrants, but the St. Petersburg office of LaSky.”

The attack took place against the backdrop of ongoing outrage over Russia’s LGBT rights record ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia, in February.

President Vladimir Putin in June signed a broadly worded law that bans gay propaganda to minors. A second statute that bans foreign same-sex couples and any couple from a country in which gays and lesbians can legally marry from adopting Russian children took effect in July.

A 2012 law requires LGBT groups and other non-governmental organizations that receive funding from outside Russia to register as a “foreign agent.”

Activists maintain the deaths of two men in Volgograd and on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East earlier this year underscore the fact that anti-LGBT violence remains a pervasive problem in the country.

Police in St. Petersburg on Saturday arrested 40 LGBT advocates and a group of nationalists who challenged them during a gay rights rally. Authorities in May arrested 30 gay rights activists who tried to stage a Pride celebration outside Moscow City Hall.

Officials in Murmansk in July arrested Kris van der Veen and three other Dutch LGBT rights advocates for violating the country’s gay propaganda law while they were filming a documentary on Russian gay life. Authorities fined the activists 3,000 rubles or roughly $93 and banned them from entering Russia for three years.

The two men who attacked Dutch diplomat Onno Elderenbosch inside his Moscow apartment last month drew a heart with an arrow through it and the LGBT acronym in lipstick on a mirror in his home.

Putin said during an Oct. 28 press conference in Sochi that gays and lesbians will not suffer discrimination during the Winter Olympics, even though Russian authorities have previously indicated they plan to enforce the gay propaganda law during the games.

“It is hard to imagine how people can be welcomed equally regardless of sexual orientation when such a law… is in place,” Smirnova told reporters during an Oct. 29 conference call the LGBT advocacy group All Out hosted.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World

Puerto Rico activists condemn police raid on LGBTQ-friendly bar

More than 20 officers descended on Loverbar near the University of Puerto Rico

Published

on

Lovebar (Photo via Twitter)

Activists in Puerto Rico have condemned a police raid on an LGBTQ-friendly bar that took place on Thursday night.

Local media reports indicate more than 20 officers with the San Juan Municipal Police Department entered Loverbar, which is near the campus of the University of Puerto Rico, at around 11 p.m.

A video posted to social media shows that some of the officers who entered the bar were armed with what appear to be shot guns.

Video de La Police entrando.
¿Cuál es la necesidad? Cualquiera juraría que esto es un raid a un punto pic.twitter.com/MkFVHfVFsE— ✨ A d o n i s ✨ (@MrWolfheart) July 23, 2021

Media reports cite local authorities who said Loverbar did not have the necessary permits to operate as a bar, and the officers arrived there to fine them. San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero in a statement said officers fined Loverbar and seven other businesses in the city on Thursday for either not having the necessary permits or excessive noise.

Comparto mis expresiones sobre la intervención de anoche de la Policía Municipal de San Juan y la Oficina de Permisos en negocio de Río Piedras. pic.twitter.com/PxKMVNuR68— Miguel Romero (@Miguel_Romero_) July 23, 2021

“The Municipal Police of San Juan led by Miguel Romero intervened last night with a queer bar,” tweeted Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para [email protected], a Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy group. “This reminds us of a time when LGBTQI+ people were prosecuted, criminalized and villified.”

“We won’t tolerate homophobia and transphobia in San Juan,” added Serrano.

The Municipal Police of San Juan led by @Miguel_Romero_ intervened last night with a queer bar.

This reminds us of a time when LGBTQI+ people were persecuted, criminalized and vilified.

We won’t tolerate homophobia and transphobia in San Juan. pic.twitter.com/MkcE2t2Nup— Pedro Julio Serrano (@PedroJulio) July 23, 2021

Comité Amplio Para la Búsqueda de Equidad (CABE), another Puerto Rican LGBTQ advocacy group, has called for an “exhaustive and independent investigation into the excessive use of force and intimidation by the Municipal Police of San Juan last night” at Loverbar.

Continue Reading

Local

Two injured in gunfire outside crowded 14th Street restaurants

Witnesses say 20 shots fired near Blade, Whitman-Walker offices

Published

on

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with Thursday’s shooting.

D.C. police are seeking the public’s help in identifying at least three suspects involved in a shooting in which two men were wounded shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, on the 1700 block of 14th Street, N.W. where the offices of the Washington Blade and Whitman-Walker Health, the LGBTQ supportive health center, are located.

The shooting occurred while dozens of people were dining at restaurants along the bustling street in the heart of the city’s Logan Circle nightlife area.

Police released a video showing two men – one wearing a white hooded sweater or sweatshirt and the other wearing a dark colored similar hooded shirt running along the street and entering the front and rear passenger doors of a black car double parked on the street that police described as an older model Honda Civic with D.C. license plates.

The video shows the car driving away at a fast speed with a third person driving the vehicle.

“Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District seek the public’s assistance in locating suspects and a vehicle in reference to an Assault with Intent to Kill (Gun) offense,” a statement released by D.C. police says.

“At approximately 8:20 p.m., members of the Third District heard the sounds of gunshots and responded to the listed location,” the statement says. “Upon arrival, members located two adult male victims, both conscious and breathing, suffering from gunshot wounds,” according to the statement. “DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene and transported the victims to area hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.”

The shooting incident took place at a time when many city residents and police were on edge following the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old girl on July 16 in Southeast D.C. and the firing of gunshots last Saturday outside Washington Nationals Stadium during a game, which prompted people inside the stadium, who heard the gunshots, to duck for cover.

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, who was accompanied by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at a news conference at the scene of the shooting on Thursday night, said investigators believe one of the two men wounded by the gunfire was a target of the shooting. Contee said police believe the second victim was hit in the crossfire.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re doing everything we can as an entire system here in the District of Columbia to hold offenders accountable when these things happen in our community,” Contee said. “This is unacceptable. That’s the bottom line. It is totally unacceptable behavior,” he said.

“I’m asking the community to take a look at these videos,” he told reporters at the press conference. “If you know the person or the vehicle or somebody who is in that – there is one individual with a very distinctive hoody that he was wearing – please look at that very closely,” he said. “We’re asking for the community’s help.”

When asked by a reporter to comment on expressions of outrage by members of the community over the widespread outbreak of gun violence in the city, Bowser said she shares that concern.

“Well, I’m outraged. The chief is outraged. And the community should be outraged,” the mayor said. “What we saw tonight and unfortunately what we saw over the last several days is an illegal firearm brazenly used on D.C. streets,” Bowser said.

“And we know that our investigators and detectives are going to track down every lead. Our citizens have already been helpful in supplying leads and video and anything else that they saw so that we can get these individuals off the street and hold them accountable,” the mayor said.

Witnesses have said the Thursday night shooting on 14th Street reportedly occurred at the intersection of Riggs Street outside the Mexicue Restaurant, which is located at 1720 14th Street, N.W. The Blade office is located just a few doors down and Whitman-Walker’s Elizabeth Taylor building is a short distance away across the street at 14th and R Street, N.W.

Continue Reading

News

Senate confirms lesbian, trans nominees to high-profile defense roles

Skelly is second out transgender appointee to obtain confirmation

Published

on

The U.S. Senate confirmed on Tuesday two Biden nominees — one lesbian, another transgender — for high-profile positions at the Defense Department by unanimous consent.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a lesbian former Air Force pilot and Texas congressional candidate, was confirmed as under secretary of the Air Force, and Shawn Skelly, a transgender 20-year U.S. Navy veteran and a defense appointee in the Obama administration, was confirmed as assistant secretary of defense for readiness.

For the second time in U.S. history, the Senate has confirmed an openly transgender person as a presidential appointee — and did so without controversy by unanimous consent.

Just months ago, Rachel Levine was confirmed as assistant secretary of health on a party-line basis after enduring rude, invasive questioning from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) during her confirmation hearing on transgender health care.

Jones has also made an achievement through Senate approval: She’s the first out lesbian to win confirmation to serve in a high-level defense position.

The Senate confirmation of the nominees by unanimous consent is consistent with their confirmation hearing, which both Jones and Skelly breezed through without hostility.

Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, pointed out in a statement the two newly confirmed presidential appointees both served in the U.S. military under bans against LGBTQ people in the armed forces.

“Gina and Shawn served their country when living openly could result in discharge and a lost career, so their ascension to key leadership positions is a powerful moment for those servicemembers who served or continue to serve in silence,” Parker said. “Their confirmation will transform perceptions of LGBTQ people within the ranks of the U.S. military, but also among the leaders of militaries we work with around the world.”

Another out LGBTQ person nominated by Biden for a high-profile defense role is Brenda Sue Fulton, whom Biden nominated to become assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs. Her nomination, however, has not even had a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. It’s unclear why her nomination hasn’t moved forward.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular