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Periodical Political Post *193

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Periodical Political Post *192

Queer News

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CNN vs. Shota

Earlier this week Japan banned the possession of sexually explicit photos and videos involving any person under the age of 18. It’s worth noting that this ban only applies to real people, not drawn characters in anime, manga and video games. And this is something US news station CNN has a huge problem with apparently considering their consistent lobbying against these fictional works in Japan. They asked their audience on Twitter:

Now here are some of the answers people on Twitter had for CNN:





This subject has been a hot topic in Japan for a couple of years now and many users of forums and blogs like Hachima agree with the sentiments expressed in the tweets above.  A commenter on 2ch, a large and famous Japanese forum, made the point that these manga are neither exclusively aimed at nor mostly done by men: "There are women who draw these manga, read them, and play these games."

"These. Are. Just. Drawings," said another user in a comment. "Why don’t you guys say this after you lower your crime rate first," asked a snarky commentator looking at the Americans who have a much higher rate of crimes and rape than the Japanese. "Yanks picking fictional Lolita regulation over gun regulation." added another.

For many people involved in this discussion the argument is not necessarily about defending sexualized depiction of kids in manga and anime, but freedom of speech and art. When it comes to that freedom whether it’s sexualized comics or gory video games, where, do you draw the line?

via Karl Andersson

  

Periodical Political Post *191

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Why is a Kid who’s a first Time nonviolent Offender sent to a Death Row High Security Prison?

Last year, a group of teens in Utah entered a home and held two people at gunpoint with the intent to commit robbery. The youngest of the boys, 16-year-old Cooper Van Huizen, provided his father’s guns to his cohorts but did not use them himself. In the end, the boys left with a cell phone, a bag of marijuana, and $10 cash. The victims were were terrified but physically unharmed.

Under a plea deals, two of the older boys, are serving 210 and 180 days in jail respectively after admitting guilt to second-degree felony counts. The two other teens are awaiting sentencing. In March, after his case was removed from juvenile and sent to adult court, Van Huizen took the same plea deal as the first two teens. The defence attorney told his parents they would petition to reduce the charges to misdemeanours after he completed his probation. They were also told it was very likely he would not have to serve any jail time as he was a first time offender.

On May 7, Van Huizen appeared before the same judge that sentenced his co-defendants. In a move that surprised the defence and prosecution, District Judge Ernie Jones deemed the plea deal illegal and “too soft” for his crimes. He sentenced the first time 16-year-old offender to two 1-15 years to Utah’s maximum security prison.

Unitah 1 is the highest security building in Utah’s state prison system. It houses 93 inmates, including gang members, sex offenders and those serving on death row. Inmates spend 23 hours a day in a solitary cell, with a single window allowing natural light. Reports from prisoners in Unitah 1 have included round the clock victimization, suicide attempts, rotten food and “every kind of psychological, social, and verbal dehumanization known to man.”

The inmates now include first time, nonviolent offender, 16-year-old Cooper Van Huizen.

Cooper’s father has said that this was his son’s first mistake, albeit a big one. Nevertheless, he feels that the sentence is too harsh and unfair. “He’s 16 years old,” said his father, Marc Van Huizen. “Some 16-years-olds are more mature than others, but Cooper is really soft and tender emotionally. He’s just a nice, sweet young boy, always has been. He’s not this rough-and-tough, wannabe street-wise little kid.”

In several decisions, the Supreme Court has maintained two key points regarding youth offenders: 1) teens and children are different than adults and 2) these differences must be considered during sentencing.  In 2010, the court noted that, “As compared to adults, juveniles have a lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility. They are more vulnerable or susceptible to negative influences and outside pressures, including peer pressure and their characters are not as well formed.”

Yet kids as young as 12 are sentenced as adults regularly in the United States. The system is obviously broken when kids are sent to adult prisons, sometimes even without any charge yet the reoffending rate is more than three times as high as in countries like Norway where the legal system values rehabilitation over punishment.

Cooper admitted as much in a declaration to the court. “As I look back on what I did, I recognize that I was reckless in trying to fit in with and please new people I did not really know,” he said.

It is unclear why the judge imposed such a harsh and seemingly random sentence. In a declaration, his former attorney said that he recommended the plea deal believing there would be no prison time, though he realized there was always a chance. He also noted that the other defendants had received lighter sentences. Cooper’s parents have gotten him a new public defender, who has filed motions with the court to allow Cooper to withdraw his guilty plea.

While no one is saying that Cooper shouldn’t be punished for his participation, everyone seems to agree – including the department of Adult Probation and Parole –  that sentencing a 16-year-old with no prior criminal record to spend up to 30 years in prison with sex offenders and murderers is cruel and unusual punishment.

Cooper has now spent more than two weeks in Unitah 1. He showers once a week and has learned to keep his window flap closed so he can’t hear the cries of the mentally ill inmates. He is one of 18 juveniles who have served time there since 2009. He hasn’t seen his parents since being taken to prison. There has been no hearing scheduled yet on his motions to the court.

via care2

  

Lift the Skirt: Boys protest Sexism

Hundreds of boys in the city of Nantes in France ditched their trousers and came to school wearing skirts Friday as part of a campaign against sexism, despite opposition from conservative groups.

The “Lift the Skirt” initiative, an idea put together by students, saw pupils at 27 schools in the region around Nantes invited to attend school wearing skirts as part of efforts to raise awareness of discrimination and sexism faced by their female classmates. Though entirely optional, plenty of young men arriving for school on Friday morning appeared to have embraced the campaign.

“I borrowed my skirt from my sister,” one boys said. “My mother lent me mine,” added another.

The initiative has enraged certain conservative groups in France and on Thursday a group from the “Manif pour Tous” (Protest for All) group – which began as a movement against France’s legalisation of gay marriage last year – protested outside the Lycée Clemenceau, sparking a confrontation with students. Police stepped in on Friday to prevent clashes after a confrontation between students and a small group of protesters outside the same school.

Via France24, thanks to everyone who submitted the story

  

‘We oppose bearded men in dresses,’ say bearded men in dresses

Priests from the Russian Orthodox Church are being ridiculed for opposing Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst. Russian blogger Rustem Adagamov tweeted a picture of the priests in flowing robes with the message: ‘The ROC categorically opposes bearded men in dresses!’

Retweeted hundreds of times, the comment was sparked by the Church’s opposition against the Austrian singer. Vladimir Legoyda, the chairman of the ROC, described Wurst’s win as a ‘sign of the world’s moral decline’ and ‘part of the aggressive assertion of Western cultural norms’. He told Russian news agency Interfax: ‘The process of the legalisation of that to which the Bible refers to as nothing less than an abomination is already long not news in the contemporary world. Unfortunately, the legal and cultural spheres are moving in a parallel direction, to which the results of this competition bear witness.’

It comes as Russian lawmakers have called for the country to pull out of Eurovision to create their own version where ‘gay culture’ would be banned. ‘The results of the latest Eurovision were the last straw,’ Valerii Rishkin, a Community Party MP said. ‘We must leave this contest immediately, it is high time that we stop tolerating this madness.’

But while politicians may want to start their own version of the song contest, it has not stopped the Russian people from loving Wurst. Her winning track, Rise Like A Phoenix, hit the top of the iTunes chart in Russia earlier in the week.

(via GSN)

  

Periodical Political Post *190

Queer News

Other News

  

Periodical Political Post *189

Queer News

Other News

  

Club Kid to be released

Michael Alig, the quintessential party boy who reigned supreme over New York City’s gay party scene throughout the early ’90s, is due to be released from jail on May 5, according to a personal friend reporting for BlackBook.

Alig is credited with fueling the early days of the “club kid” scene and throwing some of the greatest and most historical gay events in a pre-Giuliani New York City. His life and conviction inspired the Fenton Bailey-directed movie Party Monster, which detailed the events leading up to March 17, 1996 — the day Alig murdered and dismembered the body of his drug dealer Angel Melendez in the apartment they shared.

Alig’s arrest was largely credited to Michael Musto’s unrelenting reporting for the Village Voice at the time. The investigation also led to the arrest of Peter Gatien, a legendary New York club owner who is now banned from entering the United States.

Alig has been up for parole several times since 2006, but was allegedly denied after his parole officers obtained and watched a copy of Party Monster. (FYI, for those interested, a more informational documentary about Alig’s life was released in 1998, called Party Monster: The Shocukmentary. It’s available to stream on YouTube.)

According to BlackBook writer Steve Lewis, Alig has been recruited for creative jobs and will stay with a friend once released from prison. “There is no chance that he will return to clubs as a way of life,” he says, “but he will paint and write, and as always, try to impact the way we think.” Alig has reportedly “never used a computer or cell phone, but has remained keenly aware of the world we live in.”

Furthermore, after several visits in the past few years, Lewis believes Alig has been rehabilitated:

I was for many years Michael’s friend. Like so many others, I left him behind when drugs and power created a “Party Monster.” We reconnected in recent years, and during my visits to him in prison I observed the Michael Alig that I loved—the Alig prior the downfall. I believe he is ready to enter the world, and that reentering will be a good thing. No one, no act, no time, no hatred will bring back Angel, but Michael has served a great deal of his adult life in a bad place. I believe he has been rehabilitated. I believe he is forever remorseful and I look forward to his redux. To those who say nay, I respect that, but hope chances are given, and that we can move on. It is a time to remember Angel and reflect on the meaning of life. For me, forgiveness is part of it.

Below, watch a trailer for Party Monster, the 2003 film inspired by Michael Alig’s life.

Party Monster Trailer

Via Queerty