Don't be afraid

Halloween's drawing near and I'm contemplating scaring myself silly with a few choice horror films (and ignoring the trick-or-treaters at the door). But in Lithuania and Italy, its homosexuality that has paralysed some people with fear.

After an annual Baltic Pride meeting of LGBT groups in the capital Villnius was banned on safety grounds, the 200-or-so people that did meet were attacked with smoke bombs and forced to seek refuge in a bar, reports the BBC.

Looking around, I noticed that there was an anti-gay rally a fortnight before, during which ILGA reports one of the participants saying: While they are in their clubs we do not fight against them, they are not our enemies. However once they are on the streets, they are our enemies".

Declaring someone your enemy if they dare to set foot on the street sounds a little more frightening to me than a bunch of gay people getting together to call for gay rights. Of course there were no safety concerns at the anti-gay march, though - funny that.

I also noticed that the Lithuanian parliament is debating a new law banning the propagation of homosexuality to minors which reminded me that only seven years ago we still had a near-identical law here in the UK! Clause 28 stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".This fear-driven piece of legislation was in place for twelve years, and yet the only time it was ever used to bring a prosecution was to stop the terrifying prospect of Glasgow City Council funding an AIDS support charity. Seems pretty unbelievable now, doesnt it?

A picture of a gay baby has stirred things up in Italy, meanwhile. Its a new anti-discrimination poster campaign from the Tuscan local authorities, featuring a new-born wearing a wristband with homosexual written on it and the slogan homosexuality isnt a choice. You can see it here. Needless to say, some right-wing politicians have got in a stew about it.

Finally, the CIA has replaced ghosts with terrorists in their Terrorbusters logo, which reportedly appears on the counter-terrorism section of their website. The Times reports that the US blogosphere is up in arms; boingboing has attracted a few comments on this story, including my favourite from The Flying Quid:  Remember - When waterboarding, don't cross the streams.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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