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1 Nov 2006

news around the world 1-nov-06

The Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival 2006 will open on Thursday featuring over 50 screenings as well as a forum on transgenderism and a performance/lecture on FTM transgenderism by NY-based artist Tobaron Waxman. Elsewhere, the Bangkok Pride festival will culminate in a parade on Sunday; Beijing has opened its first clinic for gays providing anonymous and free STD testing and treatment.

HK Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival 2006 opens Nov 2
The Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film & Video Film Festival (HKLGFF) - the largest and longest-running lesbian & gay film festival in Asia - will run from Nov 2 till Nov 15, featuring more than 50 screenings at the Palace IFC and Broadway Cinematheque.

Above: new Taiwanese film Eternal Summer directed by Leste Chen is the opening film.
Brand new Taiwanese film Eternal Summer will open the festival on Nov 2 and theme film, Breakfast on Pluto (Ireland / UK) by acclaimed director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire) on Nov 3, followed by the Opening Gala Party at Bliss. The closing movie Nina's Heavenly Delights (UK) - an upbeat, light-hearted romantic comedy set in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow - will be followed by the Closing Gala Party at Linq.

The festival will feature six films starring Tilda Swinton, who has put audiences to test with her fluid performances as both male and female in Orlando and as an obsessively disturbed lawyer in Female Perversions, both of which will be screened at the festival.

The line-up also includes Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (USA), an informative documentary which spans six decades of cinema history frrom Kenneth Anger's 1947 short film Fireworks to Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. Produced by Lisa Ades and Lesli Klainberg, it features interviews with filmmakers including John Waters, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Rose Troche and Ang Lee.

In Face to Face + Club 64: Folks, Affections and Space, five individuals from Playback Theatre openly discuss their sexual identities, "shedding notions of Hong Kong lesbians and gays as closeted beings."

Other offerings from East Asia include "Queerly Sensitive: Two Tales from Taiwan" comprises The Way We Write - sponsored and broadcasted by the Taiwan Public Television Service - which depicts a young girl witnessing a heartrending struggle between a gay son and his father reminiscent of The Wedding Banquet; and Love, Maybe by a director from Malaysia, currently studying in Taiwan, presents an intertwining love story of two young boys and girls.

"The T Word: China and Taiwan" comprising My Two Mothers (Taiwan) about a young teacher who hates the idea of wearing a skirt, who embarks on a journey to find her biological mother while Gender Game (China) provides an honest portrait of a T (tomboy) living in Shanghai who finds living up to be a T can be quite a challenge.

The theme of the festival this year is "Invisible No More: Being Transgender In Hong Kong" and feature films include 20 Centimeters (France / Spain), Beautiful Men (China), Octopus Alarm (Austria) and Paper Dolls (Israel / Switzerland).

In a message on the festival's web site, Festival Director Vicci Ho said: "Despite our sense of community, there is one truth that a majority of the gay and lesbian population is unwilling to admit, and that is our awkwardness and dismissive attitude towards transgendered members in our society this year's film festival will (hopefully) help transform some of our prejudices into more understanding and unity amongst the Hong Kong's diverse queer communities."

The festival will also include a forum held in Cantonese on Nov 4 moderated by Eleanor Cheung, who is doing her postgraduate research study on transgendered people at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong, with a panel of transgendered people.

New York-based performance artist Tobaron Waxman will present "GenderFluXXXors UnCoded: an FTM Supornova" which takes the form of a performance/lecture. His lecture will include the works of transsexuals and "gender queer" contemporary artists, focusing on the identity constructions of female-to-male erotic subjects or "transmen." Co hosted by Women Coalition of HKSAR on Nov 3, the videotage is part of the Hong Kong Salon Sexxchange programme - a symposium where artists, curators, and scholars discuss new trends in sexuality, digital media networks.

Related websites:
Hong Kong Lesbian & Gay Film and Video Festival 2006
Hong Kong Salon Sexxchange
Bangkok Pride Parade to be held Nov 5 in Silom district
The 8-day Bangkok Pride festival, which started last weekend, will culminate in a colourful late afternoon parade this Sunday in the Silom district. It will start and end on Narathivasratchanakarin Road, passing through Silom, Rama IV and Suriwong Roads. The Women's Post Parade Party "Happy Together" will be held in the evening at Shela Womens Club in Soi Lang Suan.

Pride in the Park, a community fair day, will feature an action-packed day of exhibitions, a community fair, volleyball and badminton tournaments, on Nov 4 at Lumpini Park.

With its slogan 'Bangkok Together 2006', organisers hope to promote a sense of community amongst the GLBT population in Thailand, and to empower everyone with a stronger sense of pride.

According to the festival press release, marketing slogans "written first in Thai" rather than in English "to allow those who know and understand the language best to determine what would be most effective."

This year, in an effort to reach out to the local GLBT community, headlines include "Join Hands, Join Hearts in Pride," "United in Community for Pride," and "Experience Friendship and Creativity with Pride which have been translated from Thai."

The first gay pride parade was held in 1999 under the name of Bangkok Gay Festival and was organised by Pakorn Pimton, best known in Thailand as a dancer-choreographer and a longtime AIDS educator/activist, with the support of several Thai gay businesses.

Related website:
Pride Festival: Bangkok Together 2006
Beijing opens first clinic for gays, third in China
Beijing opened its first clinic for gays last Thursday and will provide free anonymous Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and AIDS check-ups and free treatment for STD carriers for a year.

Set up by Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group, a non-governmental AIDS prevention organization, and the Disease Prevention and Control Center of Chaoyang District of Beijing with financial support from local health authorities, the clinic will provide one-year of free check-ups for AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea and genital herpes.

Patients, who permanently reside in Beijing, will receive free treatment for all conditions excluding HIV/AIDS treatment as they will be directed to national free treatment programs and will be given free regular examinations, said Xiao Dong, chief of Chaoyang Chinese AIDS Volunteer Group.

Currently located in the disease prevention and control centre, the clinic will spread to two or three community hospitals.

Would-be patients are required to register online (www.hivolunt.net) before seeking services at the clinic. All services provided are anonymous and patients will be given a mobile phone re-charge card worth 50 yuan (US$6) as reimbursement for each trip they make to the facility for a checkup.

The clinic is the third such facility targeted at MSM after silimar clinics were set up in Shenzhen city and East China's Nanjing city in February 2004.

China's free AIDS treatments covers 25,000 patients in 623 counties in 31 provinces while special child treatment is carried out on 516 patients below the age of 15 in 14 provinces.

The country has spent nearly 288 million yuan (US$36 million) on free anti-AIDS treatment in the last three years, accounting for 14.3 percent of total anti-AIDS outlay, according to the health ministry.

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