AUSTRALIA, Victoria – A company in Australia specialising in lesbian parties has won a case allowing it to ban men from its events, PinkNews.co.uk.
The judgement comes just days after a row involving a gay bar in Torquay, where a lesbian was turned away.
The ruling has been slammed by the Australian Men's Rights Agency, whose director Sue Price said it contradicted Attorney-General Rob Hulls' move to open up elite men's venues, including the Melbourne and Athenaeum clubs, to women.
In May, Hulls attacked the private men's clubs as "a throwback to a bygone era" saying he wanted to use anti-discrimination laws to remove their exemptions.
The directors of the events company, called 'Pinkalicious', hailed the decision as a landmark. Speaking to the Herald Sun, director Julie MacKenzie said that Pinkalicious was now the sole women-only party in Australia.
MacKenzie had complained to the tribunal that she couldn't stop men attending the parties "even if I know they intend to hit on women".
She said: "The feedback I was getting from the girls was that they wanted something exclusive for women to be able to express themselves in a safe environment."
Fellow organiser Samantha Stevens argued that men should be banned from the events because they intimidate the women there.
"In my experience feminine lesbians are often the target of heterosexual male fantasy, and therefore subject to more intrusive attention from them," Stevens said.
"It is a major concern that heterosexual males will attend the Pinkalicious event," she continued, "in the hope they can achieve their desire for a sexual experience with multiple women."
Price, however, said she was "enormously angry" about the law, and the "special treatment" Pinkalicious has been given.
The Human Rights Commission in Australia has backed the ban.
Dr Helen Szoke, chief executive of the commission, said it supports the event as it is allowing "a disadvantaged group the chance to experience supportive social occasions, feel safe in public spaces" and to develop their own "sense of belonging" .
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which ruled on the ban, has also given some gay men's pubs in the country permission to ban women.
(PinkNews.co.uk 23 July 2009 – Ramsey Dehani
AUSTRALIA, South Australia — South Australia’s Equal Opportunity Bill has finally passed through parliament – minus some provisions that may have made life better for LGBT people, MCV reports.
One key provision, making it illegal to incite hatred, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or group of people, was removed.
A section that would have made it illegal for religious bodies to discriminate against LGBT employees was also dropped.
South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said in a statement he was sad the Bill had been heavily watered down.
"These laws are not as strong as we envisaged, but they are a vast improvement on the current situation," he said in a statement. "Some change is better than no change."
It is now illegal to refuse to employ someone based on who their spouse or domestic partner (gay or straight) is.
Clubs and associations may not turn away homosexual members, small partnerships may not refuse to admit new members to partnership on the ground of their sexuality, and church-run hospitals, aged-care homes and welfare agencies may not discriminate on the grounds of sexuality.
Upper House MP Ian Hunter said it was "the crucial first step in modernising South Australia’s equal opportunity legislation".
"It has literally taken years – and much back-and-forth – to get this legislation updated. I’ve said it before: this isn’t ideal legislation, but it is a huge step in the right direction to eradicating legal discrimination in our community."
(MCV 22 July 2009 – Ron Hughes
VENEZUELA — The Venezuelan National Assembly has voted to pass a bill for gender equity and equality through the first round of discussion, PinkNews.co.uk reports.
A public debate has raged within the South American country after the Venezuelan Episcopal Church publicly condemned the proposals.
If passed, the 'Organic Law for Gender Equity and Equality' would criminalise discrimination, as well recognise the rights of co-habiting same-sex couples and introduce civil unions.
The current wording states: "Every person has the right to exercise their preferred sexual orientation and identity freely and without any form of discrimination, and as a consequence, the state will recognise co-living associations [civil unions] constituted between two people of the same sex by mutual agreement."
The law would also allow gender reassignment surgery and to create framework to recognise a legal change of identity between genders.
According to Venezualanalysis.com, the implementation of the law would guarantee rights of children of same sex couples.
It would also guarantee the rights of the couple in terms of social security, inheritance, rent and taxes, although no details are explicitly detailed within the article.
One of the proponents of the Article 8 of the law proposal, which contains the amendments, is National Assembly Legislator Romelia Matute.
According to the site, Matute said that if the article passes in its present form, "every person has the right to exercise their preferred sexual orientation and identity freely and without any form of discrimination, and as a consequence, the state will recognise co-living associations [civil unions] constituted between two people of the same sex by mutual agreement."
The article also states that people who "change gender by surgical or other means have the right to be recognised by their identity and to obtain or modify the documents associated with their identification".
It places an obligation on the state to create the conditions for their integration into society "under equal conditions."
The bill would be a dramatic step forward for gay rights within the country where there is currently no legal recognition for same-sex couples and also no laws on discrimination based on sexual orientation, after a bill to propose this was blocked by fierce opposition from the Catholic church in 1999.
This bill is backed by President Hugo Chávez, who is said to be dissatisfied with current equality and discrimination laws in the country.
(PinkNews.co.uk 21 July 2009 – Ramsey Dehani
LITHUANIA — Overriding a veto by former president Valdas Adamkus, who left office last week, Lithuanian parliament members approved a bill on Tuesday to keep information about homosexuality away from children, The Advocate reports.
The so-called "Law on the Protection of Minors" bans information considered harmful to the "intellectual or moral development" of minors, including material that "agitates for homosexual, bisexual, and polygamous relations", according to the Associated Press. Public information is broadly defined under the law as television, film, video games, and print and online advertising.
Lawmakers voted 87–6 to override the presidential veto. Forty-eight of the 141 lawmakers either abstained or were absent for the vote.
New president Dalia Grybauskaite is required to sign the bill into law within three days. It is expected the law will come into force on 01 March.
Human rights and LGBT advocates condemned the law as a violation of free speech and international standards. They may challenge the law in court.
One of the bill’s cosponsors, Petras Grazulis of the right-wing populist Order and Justice Party, seeks a total ban of homosexuality in Lithuania, according to the Associated Press.
(The Advocate 15 July 2009 – Julie Bolcer