Sports Illustrated features gay Boston officer

sportsillustratedbostonBOSTON, Mass. — Soon-to-be iconic images — taken moments after the second blast on April 15 in the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon — feature three Boston police officers coming to the aid of a fallen runner. One of these officers is Boston PD’s LGBT community liaison.

The photo, captured by Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki, shows early responder Javier Pagan (far right) and two other Boston police officers, ready to assist and protect citizens as smoke from the explosion billows in the background.

Pagan, a native of Puerto Rico who came out at age 26 not long after joining the Boston police department, was profiled by Bay Windows in 2002 when he was first named LGBT liaison.

One of the images of Pagan captured by Tlumacki was chosen as the cover photo for the April 22 edition of Sports Illustrated.

Pagan’s husband, Pedro, is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who rescued many people when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a Boston CrossFit site.

On May 17, 2004, Pagan escorted LGBT civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto to City Hall Plaza when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, according to the Dallas Voice.

In his 2002 interview, Pagan said, “I think when people see me walking through they don’t see me as a Hispanic gay man, I think they see me as a police officer. And that’s all that should matter.”

— LGBTQ Nation

Immigration bill excludes gay couples

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gay rights advocates have expressed disappointment after a bipartisan Senate group’s 844-page immigration bill omitted married gay and lesbian binational couples, leaving out the Uniting American Families Act.

While the legislation includes a path to citizenship for many undocumented people, and includes the DREAM Act — which would allow young, undocumented youth (many of whom are LGBT) a path to citizenship — the proposal does not not include a new category of visas for same-sex foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens, who are not able to apply for such visas under current laws.

The exclusion leaves an estimated 40,000 foreign nationals caught in limbo because the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) does not provide spousal benefits to same-sex couples, reported The Washington Post.

Advocates had lobbied the Senate group to include a new provision, modeled on the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow U.S. citizens to petition to bring their same-sex spouses to the country under the family visa program.

“Right now, thousands of binational same-sex couples are threatened with forced separation because they are blocked from sponsoring their partner for citizenship,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“It is cruel and unfair to force loving couples and their families to live apart — to make them choose between family and country,” Carey said, in a statement.

Binational couples now hope the question of same-sex spousal visas becomes moot in June when the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a challenge to DOMA, which could potentially declare the law unconstitutional.

In the meantime, LGBT advocacy groups say they will apply pressure to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We will not give Senators of either party a pass on the inclusion of our families in immigration reform,” said Immigration Equality. “We are watching — and we will remember — which lawmakers stand with us, and which stand to the side, when this critical vote happens.”

President Barack Obama has previously called for including married, gay couples in immigration reform, and included them in his own plan in January; their exclusion in the Senate bill is thought to have been a compromise to get GOP buy-in for the bipartisan plan.

— LGBTQ Nation

New Zealand passes marriage rights

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand will become the 13th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. A bill to amend the current marriage law was approved by the country’s Parliament in its third and final reading on April 17.

With the bill’s passage, same-sex and transgender couples will be able to marry beginning in mid-August and same-sex couples who married overseas will also be able to have their marriage officially recognized in New Zealand.

The measure, approved by a vote of 77-44, marks the most significant change to the country’s gay and transgender rights since New Zealand decriminalized homosexuality 27 years ago.

People watching from the public gallery immediately broke into song after the result was announced, singing a New Zealand anthem in the indigenous Maori language.

Prior to the vote, Green MP Kevin Hague told The New Zealand Herald it was the most important occasion in his time in Parliament.

“It is truly a historic moment in New Zealand’s social and political history. To be part of it is a fantastic opportunity,” he said.

New Zealand becomes the first Asia-Pacific country to legalize marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The bill will also have significant impact on the transgender community. Currently, married transsexual people are forced to divorce when they change their gender, but they will no longer be required to do so.

Also in April, lawmakers in Uruguay also voted to legalize same-sex marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so, and the 12th country in the world.

— LGBTQ Nation

Gay, HIV-positive son set on fire

LORETO, Peru — A Peruvian father faces allegations of setting his 22-year-old son on fire after learning he is gay and HIV positive.

Hitler Baneo Núñez, 49, allegedly tried to burn his son — identified in reports as Roberto — after becoming tired of jokes about his son’s sexual orientation, reports the Peruvian daily newspaper La Región.

La Región reported that Núñez attacked Roberto because he “could not bear being a laughing stock after they learned his son had homosexual inclinations.”

Roberto suffered burns to his face, arms and parts of his legs before neighbors fought to extinguish the fire. It was also reported that he was suffering from tuberculosis.

LGBT organization Comunidad Homosexual de la Región Loreto (CHERL), says the case needs to be treated as a human rights violation and not just an assault.

“We hope that this complaint … will be treated seriously by the authorities and that it can generate a change and call the attention of the public to the homophobia that lives inside the home and is growing in society towards gay, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans people in the Loreto region,” the group said, in a statement to BuzzFeed.

— LGBTQ Nation

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