Ifti Nasim

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Ifti Nassim | Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame | 14444

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of Ifti Nasim, the Pakistani-American gay poet and gay activist. Nasim, who died Friday at the age of 64, helped many Pakistani and Indian gays and lesbians migrate to the US. Resident in the US since 1971, Nasim established Sangat, a gay and lesbian organization, and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996, and was a close friend of several lyricists and actors of Hindi cinema. Nasim’s activism transcended religious and political borders.

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The ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended on July 20 2011 and there were celebrations soldiers coming out to mark the day.

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Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times | 14445

Reporting from Washington and Raleigh, N.C.—When Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Mills woke up Tuesday, he posted a pointed message on his Facebook page about the secret he has kept since he joined the military seven years ago. “I. Am. Gay. That is all. … as you were,” he wrote. Thus did Mills, 27, mark a milestone — the day America’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military ended, reports the LA Times.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images | 14446

After years of bitter debate, repeal of the 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law went into effect at 12:01 a.m, making soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines free to declare their sexual orientation without risking being thrown out of the military. Many rushed to do so. The result was an outpouring of euphoria and relief that some compared to the end of racial segregation in the military in the 1950s or the admittance of women to the service academies in the 1970s.

Gregory Bull / Associated Press | 14447

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Randy Phillips | Youtube | 14448

Randy Phillips, 21, was one such soldier silenced by the policy. Stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, he remained closeted but kept an anonymous log of his journey on YouTube – until Monday night. Phillips, showing his face for the first time to his viewers, posted a video documenting his coming out to his father – giving a rare insight into the bravery those like him possess.

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David Kato

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David Kato | BBC | 14449

Gay Activist David Kato of Kampala, Uganda was killed on January 26, 2011. The local police said he had been killed in an attempted robbery but local gays were adamant that Kato was killed because he was gay.

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Guardian | 14450

One of the few openly gay men in Uganda, and the most vocal local critic of the proposed legislation, Kato had told close friends of increased harassment since the court victory on 3 January, and of receiving warnings that people were going to “deal with him”. Frank Mugisha, a close friend and colleague at the human rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, where Kato was the advocacy officer, said: “He mentioned increased threats – a lot more than usual. He was even directly threatened outside the court.”

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Mr Kato’s funeral | Guardian | 14451

Kato began campaigning for gay rights in Uganda in 1998 when virtually nobody was “out”. Homosexuality was illegal, and offensive to most Ugandans. The gay rights movement in Uganda grew, with Kato and his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda calling for gays to be included in national HIV-awareness and treatment programmes. The higher profile created enemies. Local religious leaders launched campaigns alleging that the gay community was seeking to “recruit” schoolchildren. Their efforts were boosted by visits from several homophobic American preachers.

Ugandan politicians then joined in. MP David Bahati introduced the anti-homosexuality bill to parliament in 2009. Besides calling for life imprisonment and the death sentence for gay people, the bill requires all Ugandans to report “homosexual activity” within 24 hours or face police action.

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Jean Harris

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Jean Harris | Public Domain | 14452

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of activist Jean Harris who helped elect openly gay candidates in California and who set up major equality organisations. She was 66.

Harris was involved in mobilizing support for the “lavender sweep of 1990” when voters elected two lesbian supervisors and a gay school board member in San Francisco; held prominent leadership posts in Democratic circles, including chief of staff to Supervisor Harry Britt, who succeeded Harvey Milk after his assassination in 1978, and deputy to Mayor Frank Jordan in 1992; was the founding director of Basic Rights Oregon, in 1996; and was executive director of the Alliance for Pride and Equality (Equality California). In 2001 she worked with then-state Assemblywoman Carole Migden to pass AB 25, a landmark bill that granted domestic partners many of the same rights as married couples.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Ms Harris’ partner Denise, family, friends and colleagues.

Updated 23 November 2014: Original source article no longer available.

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Gay bars vanish

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Slate wonders whether gay bars can survive.

“The total number of gay bars in the US dropped from 1,605 to 1,405—a 12.5 percent decrease—in the last six years”. … “In major cities, the number of gay bars has declined from peaks in the 1970s; but they haven’t dwindled down to nothing just yet. In 1973, Gayellow Pages placed 118 gay bars in San Francisco; now there are 33. Manhattan’s peak came in 1978, with 86; the current tally is 44. The decline in both gay-friendly cities may be attributable to how welcome gays are everywhere; as Gatta, who lives in the Bay Area, put it, “Every bar in San Francisco is a gay bar.”

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Slate | 14454

June Thomas decided to deal with the depressing findings by doing some field research.

“As I was doing the research for this series, I visited a few bars on my own. The experience was dispiriting. It takes an unusual degree of social confidence to take a solo strut into a bar, much less to enjoy the experience. In New York, at least, unaccompanied drinkers seem to be left alone, or at least I was. (I’m aware that the ideal gay bar customer is young and cute, descriptors that don’t apply to me.) When I persuaded a friend to come along, we usually wished we were somewhere more suited to catching up.”

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The Stonewall Inn | 1998 | Robert Giard/Jonathan G. Silin | 14453

The feature on The history of America’s gay bars and the Stonewall Riot is well worth reading and features a number of historic photographs.

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“Dishonourable discharge”

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Nearly 70 years after expelling Melvin Dwork for being gay, the US Navy is changing his discharge from “undesirable” to “honorable” — the first time the Pentagon has done so for a World War II veteran since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial. Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record. ”

I resented that word ‘undesirable,'” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York. “That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.”

For Dwork, victory came with a heartbreaking truth: Last year, when the Navy finally released his records, he learned that he had been shopped by his own boyfriend of the time.

About 100,000 US servicemen in the Navy and Army were given dishonourable discharges because they were gay.

In January 2016, Donald Hallman received his honorable discharge after once being given an ‘undesirable’ discharge and removed from the Army in 1955.

Original source article and photo are no longer available.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/gay-veteran-gets-honorable-discharge-six-decades-after-getting-kicked-n507416

https://gactupdate.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/us-veteran-gets-justice-at-last/

Updated 30 January 2016

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Arthur Evans

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Arthur Evans | Jeffrey Schwarz/Vito | 14455

Gay Activist records the passing of Arthur Evans, who helped form and lead the movement that coalesced after gay people and their supporters protested at the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Mr Evans died on Sunday of a heart attack at his home in San Francisco. He was 68. Mr. Evans was not at the Stonewall disturbances, but they fueled in him a militant fervor and inspired him to join the Gay Liberation Front, an organization started during the wave of gay assertiveness that followed. Mr Evans found the activities of the GLF too tame for his liking and in December 1969 with like minded companions split off to found the Gay Activists Alliance. The GAA quickly became known for its ‘zaps’ and protests backed up with quiet and persuasive lobbying, and established a working, effective and much copied model for gay organisations that has served well to this day.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Mr Evans’ friends, family and colleagues.

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