SIBERIA GAY OK
RUSSIA: Despite Russia’s fierce homophobic reputation, a survey of a city in Siberia has found that less than 1 percent of the population supports the reintroduction of penalties against homosexuality. Residents of Novokuznetsk, home to 500,000 people, were more interested in free medicine for citizens, assistance for young people in finding work, shorter hours, and better pay.
SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi Arabian soccer authorities have fined a foreign player and suspended him for two matches after he made homophobic comments about a Saudi player. Romanian Meril Radoi, who plays for Saudi club Alhilal, made the comments to foreign media about Hussein Abdul Ghani, who plays for rival Nasr Club. “He keeps following me and annoying me during the matches … he touches me like a girl … perhaps he does not like women but men,” Radoi said.
SOUTH AFRICA: The South African Government has refused calls from the opposition Democratic Alliance party to sack its ambassador to Uganda. President Jacob Zuma appointed John Qwelani to the position in January despite his publishing a column in 2008 called “Call me names, but gay is not okay” and pending hate speech charges.
GLBT ACTIVIST HONOURED
UGANDA: A Ugandan GLBTI activist has been named among the world’s 100 most inspiring women by the Women Deliver initiative. Kasha Jacqueline founded GLBTI group Freedom and Roam Uganda in 2003. “In a country where coming out can mean putting one’s life on the line, Jacqueline has stood up as both a proud lesbian and an advocate for LGBT rights,” Women Deliver said.