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2005 Utopia Awards for Gay and Lesbian Pioneers in Asia Announced



Sri Lankan and Australia Academic Named




Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Dr Peter Jackson


BANGKOK, December 28, 2005  –  Rosanna Flamer-Caldera and Dr Peter Jackson have been named joint s winners of the Utopia Award, Asia’s leading gay human rights award which recognises individuals and organisations that have contributed to improving the quality of life for the gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities across the continent.

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera has made a significant impact in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer advocacy in Sri Lanka, the Asian region, and internationally.

As an open lesbian and founding member of Women’s Support Group (1999) and Equal Ground (2004), she has championed homosexual issues in the general public through TV, radio and print media, challenging the human rights community to expand their scope to include LGBT concerns. In her capacity as the International Lesbian and Gay Association representative for Asian females.

Ms. Flamer-Caldera was also instrumental in organizing the ILGA-Asia Regional Conference in Mumbai, India (2002).

The second Utopia Award for 2005 honours Dr. Peter Jackson for his landmark publications and his contributions towards the development of queer studies in the region.

A Fellow in Thai History in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University in Canberra, Dr Jackson specialises in the cultural history of modern Thailand.

As an author or co-editor, his books have included such titles as Lady Boys, Tom Boys, Rent Boys: Male and Female Homosexualities in Contemporary Thailand and Gay and Lesbian Asia: Identity, Community, Culture.

In 2001 he co-founded AsiaPacifiQueer, an Australia-based network of scholars researching homosexuality and transgenderism.  He was also instrumental in organizing the world’s first International Conference of Asian Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Studies in Bangkok in July, 2005.

Those previously honoured have included Thai Senator Jon Ungpakorn; Taiwan lesbian activist, Wang Ping; Hong Kong gay activist Chung To; Singaporean gay activist Alex Au; transgender Thai kick boxer, Parinya Jaroenphon; Nepal’s Blue Diamond Society; Malaysia’s PT Foundation; Indonesian gay activist Dede Oetomo; and ProGay of the Philippines.

Utopia Awards are presented each year to men and women whose pioneering work and lives have forwarded the cause of dignity and a better life for members of the region’s gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered communities.

Utopia was founded in 1994 with the goal of providing positive social alternatives for Asia’s gays and lesbians.  The website, the Internet's most respected resource for gay and lesbian Asia, is celebrating 10 years of community service, from its online debut on Dec 13, 1995. Utopia also publishes landmark printed guidebooks to gay life in the region, including the Utopia Guide to 45 cities in China, and major cities in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

For more information on past Utopia Award winners, please see



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December 25:
Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: It’s Time for the Religious Right to Get Some Holiday Cheer Op-Ed by Imam Daayiee Abdulla.  Once again this year, the religious right has taken offense at the so-called ‘war on Christmas.’  The American Family Association and other radical religious groups have called for a boycott of Target because of the corporation's policy of saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

December 23 :
Mother of Slain Army Private Calls on Pentagon to Immediately Implement Anti-Gay Harassment Plan.  Patricia Kutteles, mother of slain Army Private First Class Barry Winchell, issued a statement today in response to reports that Private Kyle Lawson, 19, was attacked by a fellow service member at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, after fellow soldiers learned Lawson is gay.

December 21: UK
‘Congratulations’ Says Government Minister to Gay Couples.  Labour’s Deputy Minister for Equality, Meg Munn MP, has congratulated gay couples across the country who are taking part in the UK’s first same sex civil partnership ceremonies this week.

Latvia Disappointed Latvian Gays Call on President to Press for Legal Same-Sex Partnership: Epiphany of Homophobia in Latvian Politics.  A last-ditch plea to the Latvian President from a group of European Members of Parliament failed to alter her decision to sign the constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman which was passed last week by the Latvian parliament.

Latvia President Signs Anti-Gay Constitutional Amendment.  The President of Latvia, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, has signed the constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.  Latvia becomes the first country in Europe to have an anti-gay clause in its constitution.

December 20:
Lesbian Hunger-Striker Ends 33-Day Fast in UK.  A Zimbabwean lesbian protesting against her detention without trial in a Bedfordshire asylum centre has ended her 33-day hunger strike.  Thando, an asylum applicant, aged 29, had been protesting against her six-month incarceration in the notorious Yarls Wood asylum detention centre near Bedford. 

USA:  Pentagon Labels Gay Kiss-In A ‘Credible Threat’ to Security!  According to recent press reports, Pentagon officials have been spying on what they call “suspicious” meetings by civilian groups, including student groups opposed to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel.

Latvia Latvian President’s ‘Gay Marriage’ Decision Expected Today.  Latvian Radio is reporting that President Vaira Vike-Freiberga might be announcing today her decision on the proposed constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Nepal:  Lesbian Group in Nepal Kicked Out by Landlord.  The lesbian support group Mitini has been kicked out of its rented premises in Kathmandu – and the women say they have been threatened by soldiers from the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA).

December 19:
  Military Surveillance of Gay Student Groups Recalls McCarthy Era Crackdowns
The recent revelation that the U.S. military is spying on gay rights groups, say historians, evokes the Cold War crackdowns on gays during the McCarthy era, academics say.

USA:  I’m Afraid for His Life, Gay Soldier’s Mom Says.  The mother of a gay American teenage soldier has told a newspaper that she is afraid for his life, following a homophobic assault, allegedly by another soldier, in Arizona.  “I have been crying myself to sleep,” Sheila Lawson told the Arizona Daily Star which revealed the case of 19 years-old Private Kyle Lawson.



Posted: 27 December 2005 at 19:00 (UK time)