Sunday, July 30, 2006

GLBT DIGEST July 30, 2006


The Advocate


Montreal human rights conference under way ahead of Outgames

The opening ceremonies for the World Outgames in Montreal begin on Saturday. But preliminary events, including a human rights conference, have been under way in the city since Wednesday.

From the moment you land in Montreal's airport and pick up your luggage in the rainbow -swathed baggage retrieval area, you know the Outgames have arrived. The first few days of this multicultural and multinational event featured a human rights conference run in conjunction with the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

The opening gala was headlined by a speech by United Nations high commissioner for human rights Louise Arbour. The next morning opened with a series of speeches by Canadian Olympic-medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury, Muslim-Canadian author Irshad Manji, and others. The 1,500 attendees and speakers came from over 110 countries, including far-flung locations such as Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Cameroon, South Africa, and Pakistan.

Organizers staged the event in the historic Palais de Congress, with sessions filling more than 25 rooms at a time. A final Montreal resolution on LGBT civil rights will be presented to the United Nations, the European Union, and the Canadian parliament. (Michael Luongo, Sirius/OutQ News)


No pastelitos in Connecticut

Craving the feeling of home that only Miami could provide, poet Richard Blanco finds that you (sort of) can't go home again.

By Chauncey Mabe
Books Editor

July 30, 2006

Richard Blanco grew up under the influence of two myths. The first is aboutthe paradise of Havana, as his parents remember it, before Castro ruinedeverything in 1959.

In the second, America -- the true America, the one found in books, TVshows, and civics class -- lies somewhere to the north of Latino Miami.

So when Blanco decided to leave his hometown in 1999, trading civilengineering for the creative writing faculty at Central Connecticut StateUniversity, it was with mingled apprehension and excitement.

"Going to Hartford was a dream come true," says Blanco, 38. "I was going tothe Northeast, the land of Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson. But I was scared to death."

He laid the groundwork for this dramatic career change by earning a graduate creative writing degree in the early 1990s at Florida InternationalUniversity, where he studied under MacArthur Fellowship poet Campbell McGrath.

Blanco's early promise as an English-language Latino poet was confirmed byhis first collection, City of a Hundred Fires, which won the Agnes LynchStarrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and led tothe Connecticut professorship.

"I thought, `Now I'm finally moving to America. Maybe I'll become a realAmerican,'" he recalls. "I dreamed of sledding in the snow."


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Same-Sex Marriage Wins by Losing

THERE were community meetings in Seattle on Wednesday. Some of the couples who had sued to overturn Washington's ban on same-sex marriage, a case they lost before the state's Supreme Court earlier that day, were going to appear. Gay and straight elected officials who support "marriage equality" were going to make speeches. I probably should have been there too. But I had a previous engagement.

The Seattle Mariners were playing the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field. My 8-year-old son - adopted at birth by my boyfriend and me - loves the M's almost as much as he hates the way a breaking news story can keep me late at work. He would never have forgiven me for skipping the game.

I didn't feel too bad about missing the meetings. Washington's high court rejected same-sex marriage for much the same reason the New York Court of Appeals did earlier this month. The speeches in Seattle would no doubt be similar to those made in New York, and I didn't need to hear them again.

Basically, both courts found that marriage is like a box of Trix: It's for kids.


Associated Press, July 29, 2006

Gay-marriage ruling: Now the backwash hits

The state Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage wasn't the bombshellthat both sides predicted - full marriage equality - and it did little tosettle whether gays and lesbians can marry or join in "civil unions."

Next stop: the Legislature - and possibly the ballot box.

The high court dismissed constitutional challenges to the Legislature's 1998gay-marriage ban, but invited lawmakers to reopen the debate.

It's an issue Olympia doesn't much want to deal with.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said top Democratic leaders in the Legislature told her privately that they don't have votes to move forward, backward or sideways.


R.I. Woman Ordered To Stay Away From Gay Neighbor
by Newscenter Staff
July 29, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Providence, Rhode Island) In the first charge laid by Rhode Island's newlyformed Office of Civil Rights Advocate a Providence area woman has beenconvicted of harassing a gay man with AIDS.

Kenneth Potts turned to the Advocate's office, a division of the AttorneyGeneral's Department, after enduring what he calls months of abuse from hisupstairs neighbor, Theresa Deschenes.

In court Friday Potts said that he had been subjected to homophobic slurs and a campaign of abuse.

He told Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel that he has called police morethan a dozen times to complain about Deschenes. The last time, June 12, he said, there was "excessive music and loud jumping up and down on the floor and obscene names."


A Response to Scott Long from the Editor of Gay City News


Defending Iran's Gays

As the dust settles following the worldwide July 19 vigils that marked theone-year anniversary of the killing of two young men in Iran, it is worthcontemplating why these simple events caused such a stir.

The vigils, at least 27 of them, noted that one year earlier, Ayaz Marhoni,18, and Mahmoud Asgari, who was 16 or 17, were hanged in public by theIranian government.

When Outrage!, a British gay group, circulated photos of the hanging lastyear many in the lesbian and gay community believed that the two young menhad been killed solely because they were gay. Certainly, Outrage! believedthis to be true. The vigils, organized by Outrage!, demanded an end to such atrocities. Human rights groups, however, had a different view.


Singer k.d. lang says Harper supporting intolerance by skipping Outgames
July 28, 2006 - 19:08


MONTREAL (CP) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to "supportintolerance" by refusing to attend an international gathering of gayathletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.

Lang was critical of her fellow Albertan for failing to support the WorldOutgames, which is expected to attract up to 13,000 gay, bisexual andtransgendered athletes when it begins Saturday.

"It's a sad statement that the national leader of a country that's one ofthe most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance,"she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.

But lang added that the gay community shouldn't take Harper's absence personally.

"It's our job to see that as an unfortunate ignorance, rather than as a statement against us," she said. "It's just that he hasn't got there in his heart."


Sir Ian McKellen not appointed to Ga. National Guard
Gay actor told similar story in 1997 stage show

Friday, July 28, 2006

Southern Voice

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue never appointed gay actor Sir Ian McKellen to be an honorary member of the Georgia National Guard, despite widespread reportsthis week on numerous gay websites sparked by a gossip column in the NewYork Daily News.

The actor's films include "Richard III," "The Lord of the Rings, ""The X-Men" and more recently "The Da Vinci Code." The Georgia governor actually cannot make appointments to the NationalGuard, and such a position does not exist, Perdue spokesperson Dan McLagan
said July 26.

"[McKellen] has previously claimed that this [kind of appointment] occurredin 1995, not 2006. The movie opening was 'Richard III,' not 'The Da VinciCode.' All that being said, this guy is Gandalf and Magneto rolled into one,and if he wants to join forces with Georgia when we must battle evil, we welcome him," McLagan added.


Northern Ireland: Plans to end gay discrimination

Plans to end gay discrimination

Plans to end discrimination based on sexual orientation in Northern Ireland have been published by the government.

Anti-discrimination legislation is already in place, but the goods andservices proposals up for an eight-week consultation would close a loophole.

They include measures to prevent gays or lesbians being turned away fromhotels or being denied house tenancies.

NI Secretary Peter Hain said everybody must enjoy "the same access to goods,facilities, services and education".

Mr Hain said fresh financial backing was also planned for organisations who support the gay community.

"The government's vision is for a fair society founded on equal opportunities for all, respect for the dignity and worth of each person and mutual respect between communities.


Gala Performance, Controversy Mark Opening Of Outgames
by Newscenter Staff
July 30, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Montreal, Quebec) Thousands of people attended Saturday night's Opening Ceremonies for the First Outgames in Montreal, including about 12,000 LGBT athletes. But conspicuously absent were teams from Cameroon.

The Canadian government refused to give visas to a small group from the African nation on the grounds they did not hold jobs.

Canadian law requires visa applicants be employed in their home countries.

It was the latest setback for gays in Cameroon where homosexuality is a criminal offense punishable by prison terms and where many gays are refused employment.

That it came from Canada, considered one of the world's most liberal countries, was soundly criticized by members of the New Democratic Party who accused the federal government of putting roadblocks in the way of people attending the games.


The Stranger, WA, July 29, 2006

Stay in the Fight
The Court Stumbled, but the Movement for Justice Continues

In 1790 George Washington declared, "As Mankind becomes more liberal, theywill be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthymembers of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civilgovernment. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justiceand liberality."

In its sharply divided 5-4 ruling last week, the State Supreme Court fellshort of Washington's principle of fairness, failing, for now, to end theexclusion of committed gay couples and their kids from marriage, with allits protections, security, and meaning.

What's to be said about the court's ruling?


Gay Catholics Protest 'Ex-Gay' Conference
by Newscenter Staff
July 28, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(St. Louis, Missouri) Members of gay Catholic groups are protesting a weekend conference by a national Church organization that advocates chastityto help overcome homosexuality.

The organization, called Courage, is holding the conference at St. LouisUniversity. Members of the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice andDignity are demonstrating across the street.

The are about 110 Courage chapters across the country and about 200 peopleare taking part in the conference - priests and lay people.

In material handed out to the media Courage says that gays and lesbians can"move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ."

Dignity and the Action Network call it "reparative therapy" somethingCourage leaders dispute.

"The purpose of Courage is to provide support for men and women withsame-sex attractions who want to live a chaste life," Courage spokespersonChristina Nair told the Post-Dispatch.

"We're not trying to 'cure' anyone. We provide spiritual support."


New York Times, July 30, 2006

For Some Gays, a Right They Can Forsake

WHEN Bill Dobbs sees the heartwarming photographs of gay couples cuddling,grinning and holding dogs and children, accompanied by pious remarks abouthow many years they have been a couple - "five years,""eight years," "24 years!" - in news releases and newspaper and televisionreports about the fight for gay marriage, it turns his stomach.

Mr. Dobbs's reaction is, he admits, probably not that different from the onehe imagines that the anti-gay forces feel. But Mr. Dobbs is gay, part of anintense strain of gay activists who have fought against the idea of gaymarriage from the beginning and who think that the escalating pursuit of itis a mistake, especially in light of legal setbacks like the decision onWednesday by the Washington Supreme Court that lawmakers may restrictmarriage to a man and a woman.

To these activists, the fight for gay marriage is the mirror image of theright-wing conservative Christian lobby for family values and feeds into the same drive for a homogeneous, orthodox American culture. The Stonewall confrontation and early gay rights movement, after all, was about the rightto live an unconventional life, and to Mr. Dobbs and others like him,
marriage is the epitome of convention.


Anything But Straight
by Wayne Besen

July 25, 2006

A Couple Of Disasters

A few years ago, my boyfriend (now an ex) and I walked into achain bookstore while on vacation. Only minutes before, we hadmended fences over a fight about nothing. While traversing themaze of books, my boyfriend noticed an unusually hot young manstaring at me. "Do you know him?" he irascibly inquired, threatening an end to our fragile ceasefire. Before I could answer, the mystery stud bounded in front of us and blurted out, "You're Wayne Besen, aren't you?"

I nodded and the young man lit up and in a very Kathy Bates moment gushed, "I loved your book, Anything But Straight! I'm your number one fan!"


Gang Members Charged In Calif. Gay Hate Crime
by Newscenter Staff
July 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Riverside, California) Three men Riverside men have been charged with attacks on patrons of a local gay club. Juan Anthony Mauricio, 20, Sergio Roberto Rodriguez, 18, and Gerald Abraham
Gallo, 18, have pleaded not guilty to assault and committing a hate crime in connection with the attacks.

Police say the three are believed to be members of a local street gang.

Witnesses said that the men gathered outside the door of The Menagerie lastTuesday and began harassing people as they entered the club. They yelled homophobic epithets and then threw two bricks and a rock at the club,shattering a window.

When several people confronted the trio they were subjected to more verbal abuse and a scuffle broke out.


'No Regrets' In Washington Gay Marriage Case
by The Asscociated Press
July 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Olympia, Washington) With the far-off peal of wedding bells for gay couples growing louder and local pressure mounting, Ron Sims found himself in a legal bind in early 2004.

The King County executive felt he couldn't just ignore a state ban on gaynuptials - no matter how much he wanted to issue marriage licenses. However,Sims reasoned, he could try to get the law thrown out.

That's when gay-marriage advocate Lisa Stone got a very unusual phone callfrom an intermediary, who asked: Would you please sue Ron Sims?

"I said 'Probably. We will probably do that. When was she thinking?'" Stone recalled last week. "She said: 'Oh, immediately.'"

A flurry of legal work followed, and the field of possible plaintiffs was winnowed to 16 people willing to be public examples.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for an Evangelical Pastor

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing - and the church's - to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute "voters' guides" that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at
war, please couldn't the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called "The Cross and the Sword" in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a "Christian nation" and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

"When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses," Mr. Boyd preached. "When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross."


Express Gay News

R.I. judge orders woman to stop making anti-gay comments
Defendant claims his First Amendment rights violated
PROVIDENCE, R.I. | Jul 29, 11:21 AM

A judge ordered a Warren woman to stop directing anti-gay slurs at her homosexual neighbor, saying the insults amounted to "hateful conduct" and interfered with the man's right to live in peace.

The attorney general's newly formed civil rights advocate's office sued Theresa R. Deschenes in its first case, accusing her of harassing a gay neighbor with AIDS and threatening him with violence.

Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel on Friday ruled that Deschenes, 33, had deprived Kenneth W. Potts of his right to live peacefully under the state's Fair Housing Practices Act, which protects against discrimination, and issued an injunction forcing her to stop her behavior.

Deschenes' lawyer, Christopher Millea, said his client's comments were protected by the First Amendment and were merely part of a "kindergarten name-calling contest."

But the judge rejected that argument.