Friday, August 11, 2006

GLBT DIGEST August 11, 2006


I Was Afraid To Speak Out About Iran


I have a confession to make regarding my attendance at the vigil held July 19 in front of the Iranian Embassy to the United Nations in Midtown, to protest the persecution of gay people in Iran by its totalitarian government. Because of the withdrawal of the vigil's original sponsors, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the event was smaller than it might otherwise have been. There were about 50 of us there.

The vigil and a competing forum sponsored by IGLHRC and Human Rights Watch held at the same time at the LGBT Community Center to debate the controversies regarding protests over Iran's policies were covered in stories in Gay City News (Jul. 20-26) by editor Paul Schindler and associate editor Duncan Osborne.

Poll Shows Conservative South Dakota Likely To Reject Anti-Gay Amendment
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET

(Sioux Falls, South Dakota) A survey of 800 South Dakota voters shows that a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships would likely fail.

The poll shows that 49 percent of voters oppose the amendment with 41 percent supporting it and the rest undecided.

The results startled even LGBT rights groups which noted the state supported President Bush in 2004 by a margin of 60 percent to 40.

The marriage measure, called Amendment C, is scheduled to appear on the ballot this November.
The Mason-Dixon poll was taken for the Argus Leader newspaper and KELO television.


Few Problems As Gays Hold Jerusalem WorldPride Rally
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Jerusalem) Several hundred gays and lesbians held a rally and vigil Thursday night marking WorldPride in Jerusalem despite the refusal by police to issue a permit.

Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT group that organized WorldPride, said it would hold the vigil without police cooperation.

The gays gathered at Liberty Bell Park as a large number of police looked on. Police later said that they decided to allow the vigil to go on when they realized the numbers were far fewer than originally expected.

Under banners reading "Jerusalem is for all," and "The Path to God is not always straight" speakers at the vigil denounced homophobia and called for the recognition of same-sex relationships.

The vigil was organized after a pride parade was banned by police fearing they did not have enough officers to provide security because of the war with Hezbollah.

WorldPride incurred the wrath of conservative religious groups - Jews, Christians and Moslems - but threatened protests failed to materialize. A small Orthodox sect demonstrated near the park but its American leader, Rabbi Yehuda Levin was prevented from getting close to the vigil.

Conservatives Worried About Crist

By Joe Follick
Ledger Tallahassee Bureau

TALLAHASSEE -- Republican Tom Gallagher is betting his political life on an appeal to Christian and social conservatives. And at least one of his supporters in those groups say their own future is at stake in Gallagher's quest to be governor. Gallagher has earned the endorsement of Florida Right to Life, as well as vocal support of most social conservative leaders in the state. His goal: Win the hearts of Republicans most likely to get out and vote Sept. 5.

His method: Staunch stances like increased restrictions on abortions and a strict ban on gay adoptions and gay civil unions.

Charlie Crist, Gallagher's GOP primary opponent who has led Gallagher in fundraising and in polls for most of the year, supports more moderate views, including the status quo on abortion laws and allowing gay civil unions. He has been ambivalent on reversing the state's ban on gay adoption, recently saying he supports its continuation.

Atlanta Gay Lutheran Pastor Faces Dismissal
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Atlanta, Georgia) An openly gay pastor faces a church trial after telling his bishop that he is in a same-sex relationship.

The Rev. Bradley E. Schmeling could be disciplined or removed from his church.

Schmeling, of St. John's Lutheran Church in Atlanta, says that he never kept his sexuality a secret and made it clear when he came to the diocese six years ago that he opposed a ban on non celibate gay clergy.

This week, after he informed Bishop Ronald B. Warren that he was in a committed relationship with another man, Warren began proceedings against Schmeling.

"The policy isn't working," Schmeling told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Good and qualified people are being excluded from the ministry. In a congregation likes ours, this is not a divisive ministry."

Last year the denomination voted to leave it up to individual bishops whether to maintain the ban on clergy in same-sex relationships.

Measure Plugs Gap In Calif. Equality Laws
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Sacramento, California) The California Assembly on Thursday passed legislation banning discrimination in state operated or funded programs on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Assembly voted 43-25. The bill has already passed the senate.

"This bill will close an important gap in California's nondiscrimination laws," said Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), the measure's author.

The legislation is designed to protect from discrimination, Californians who utilize public services such as police and fire protection, financial aid, social services and food stamps.
The measure would also include protections for those associated with a person receiving services who has, or is perceived to have, any characteristic covered by the bill.

"I am very pleased that my colleagues passed this measure and supported the principle that everyone should have equal access to the programs and services provided by our government,” said Kuehl.

Gays Thwarted In Third Enlistment Attempt
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(Charlottesville, Virginia) Two gay 19 year olds brought the national "Right To Serve" campaign to Charlottesville and were immediately rejected when they attempted to enlist in the military.

Wyatt Fore and Rachel Miller walked into the Recruitment Center at a local shopping center under a media spotlight. It took two attempts to get to talk with a recruiter though. At the first attempt they discovered he was at lunch.

In the second attempt Fore and Miller emerged after a few minutes to tell reporters that Sgt. Alfred Withrow refused to allow them to fill out applications.

"My sexual orientation doesn’t have anything to do with my ability to serve in the military,” Fore said, noting that he would liked to have joined the Navy because his father and grandfather had both been sailors.
"It’s very difficult for straight people to understand what life in the closet is about."

Withrow asked by the media about the rejection and his refusal to allow the pair to fill out applications said that there would be no point under "Don't Ask, Dont Tell" because "it would be the same as saying ‘Yes, I just got out of jail for five years.’ - It’s not that extreme … [but] there was no reason to probe any further."
Sex taboos hamper safety message for gay Chinese

By Ben Blanchard and Tan Ee Lyn
Friday, August 11, 2006; 8:25 AM

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Lexy Zhang laughs nervously as he talks about his first experiences picking up men for sex in a country where condoms are widely available for family planning but not always promoted to prevent AIDS.

"I was just having unsafe sex all the time," said the 26-year-old, sitting in a fashionable Beijing bar frequented by gay men.

"Lots of gay Chinese think it's great that you don't have to worry about pregnancy but have no idea about sexually transmitted diseases," said Zhang, adding he now would never consider having unsafe sex.

"There are just not enough organizations paying attention to this community. The government thinks it doesn't exist."

How to prevent the spread of AIDS in places like China will be a major focus of researchers and policymakers at the 16th International AIDS Conference, which opens on Sunday in Toronto.


Majority Rules

by Libby Post

I’m back from my two weeks of working for OutGames in Montreal.

I learned a lot and met some really good people. But what stays with me when I come away from a major LGBT event like OutGames is the comfort and pleasure of being in the majority. It is so rare for us-and there’s nothing like it.

Walking down the street or riding the Metro, we’d be all over the place-out and proud LGBT people wearing our OutGames credentials for all to see. Besides identifying ourselves as most likely a visiting athlete, it also announced us as gay men, lesbians, transgendered or bisexual.

Being in the majority, even if just for a weekend during the national marches in Washington, D.C. - or longer-as was the case in Montreal and during vacations in Provincetown or South Beach - is at once rejuvenating and relaxing.

We walk hand in hand without having to worry about a gay-bashing right winger coming up to us with a baseball bat-which happened at this year’s San Diego Pride celebration. We can be affectionate in public which our straight counterparts take for granted. We can look around and see hundreds, even thousands, of people just like us. We can be who we are.


Ga. school's students face new hurdle for gay-straight club
Permission slips required under new state law

DYANA BAGBY | Aug 11, 7:48 AM

White County High School senior Charlene Hammersen said returning to school
this week has been uneventful so far, after she and other students
successfully won a federal lawsuit allowing them to form a gay-straight
alliance on campus.

A U.S. District judge ruled July 14 that White County High School
administrators violated the federal Equal Access Act when they banned all
non-curricular clubs in 2005 as a way to keep out the GSA, named Peers
Rising in Diverse Education, or PRIDE.

White County School Superintendent Paul Shaw said that while PRIDE is now
able to meet on campus, it was not part of the school’s listing of
extracurricular activities when the 2006-2007 student handbook was created
and is considered a new club.
Today, as I was walking on the street in Manhattan, I saw a poster
announcing the forthcoming performance of Beenie Man in New York. (He has a
website - The concert is scheduled for August 29. I
wanted to tear the poster down but there were too many people around, so I
did not. :-)

Is there anything that could be done to prevent him from performing in NYC?

Rafael Trujillo,
New York
Forwarded from Ken's List <>

U.S. News & World Report
August 14, 2006 Issue

For Gays, New Math
Rethinking tactics after a series of setbacks nationwide

By Scott Michels

After the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized gay marriage in2003, and gay and lesbian couples began to wed in San Francisco andPortland, Ore., soon after, it seemed to Lisa Stone that a new era was
sweeping the country. In 2004, Stone, a Seattle gay-rights advocate, sued tooverturn Washington's 1998 gay-marriage ban. "There was a youthful optimismabout what was ahead of us," she says.

Now, though, "nobody's swept up anymore," says Stone. For advocates ofsame-sex marriage, the outlook is dark, that early enthusiasm tempered by awave of anti-gay-marriage voter initiatives and a string of courtroom
losses. And more court decisions and initiatives expected this year couldresult in devastating setbacks. "We may face a reality by the end of thisyear that is so radically different ... that we may have to completely
rethink and rework how we're going to move forward," says Ed Murray, a gayWashington State representative. Jordan Lorence of the conservative AllianceDefense Fund is more blunt: "One side is clearly prevailing, and one is
Holy hatred: Homosexuality in Muslim countries
© afrol News, August 11 2006

afrol News - The majority of Muslim countries outlaw same-sex relationships. The seven countries in the world that carry the death penalty for persons presumed guilty of homosexual acts, justify this punishment with the Shari'a. Culture is not, however, always "against us and there are positive examples of same-sex relationships to be found in different Muslim cultures," she writes.

By Anissa Helie - I was born and raised in Algiers, of a French father and an Algerian mother. Having access to both cultures made me realize early on that racism as well as sexism were all-pervasive on both sides of the Mediterranean. It took me a few more years to come to the conclusion that homophobia was just as widespread.

Amnesty International counts at least 83 countries where homosexuality is explicitly condemned in the criminal code. Twenty-six of these are Muslim. This means that the majority of Muslim countries, including supposedly 'liberal' ones like Tunisia as well as dictatorships like Sudan, outlaw same-sex relationships. The seven countries in the world that carry the death penalty for persons presumed guilty of homosexual acts, justify this punishment with the Shari'a, or standard interpretation of Muslim jurisprudence. Though not always applied, the existence of the death penalty makes sexual minorities extremely vulnerable.
Please contact us at if you would like the full article.
Forwarded from Ken's List <>

Condensed from El País.

A 36-year-old Portuguese woman, who works as a chef in Madrid, has
encountered major problems in attempting to marry her female partner in

When she applied at the Portuguese consulate for her birth certificate
(which she needs in order to marry in Spain) she mentioned that she was
getting married, etc. The clerk then presented her with a document which
said that he was prohibited from facilitating the procedure.

When contacted by El País a vice consul confirmed that the protocol was
correct. According to him same-sex marriage is "a contract which is not
considered valid in Portuguese judicial procedure."

Without her birth certificate she cannot marry, but if she changes her
citizenship to a Spanish one, she will then be able to do so. The
Portuguese have no objection to giving her a copy of her birth certificate
for this procedure.

Study Finds Decrease in Online Sexual Solicitations of Teens
By Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fewer youths are receiving sexual solicitations over the Internet as they become smarter about where they hang out and with whom they communicate online, researchers said Wednesday.

The findings, from a telephone-based survey sponsored by the government-funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, run counter to recent media reports and congressional hearings suggesting a
growing danger of online predators as more youths turn to social-networking sites like

''It may be signs people are paying (attention) to warnings they receive about online dangers,'' said Janis Wolak, one of the study's authors and a professor at the University of New Hampshire's Crimes Against Children
Research Center. ''They are being more cautious about who they are interacting with online.''

Gay Pride kicks off today

08/11/2006 | 11:39
Iceland Review Online

Iceland's Gay Pride festival officially gets underway today with openingceremonies at Reykjavík's Loftkastalinn, where the mayor of Reykjavík willaddress guests. Festivities will culminate in the Gay Pride parade tomorrow
at 2pm on Reykjavík's Laugavegur, ending in stage performances andcelebration in the downtown core.

The Gay Pride festival began four years ago in Reykjavík, and drew a crowdof some 1,500 people. Since then it has become one of the major festivals ofthe summer, with an estimated 50,000 people taking part in the festivities last year.
Forwarded from Ken's List <>

Western Australia conservatives say yes to gay marriage

Pink News

Tony Grew

In a radical demonstration of changing attitudes, the Western Australianbranch of the National Party has voted in support of same- sex civil unions.

A motion supporting gay 'marriage' won the backing of delegates at theirannual state conference.

The National Party are often portrayed as deeply rural and conservative,representing farming interests. Younger members of the party have hailed themove as indicative of their desire to question established prejudices and
begin a 'new era.'

Last week a federal Senator from the party said gay Australian Big Brother contestant David Graham would be welcome in the party.

State Nationals leader Brendon Grylls said his party would be making thesame-sex marriage policy a manifesto commitment when Western Australians goto the polls to elect the state government in three years time, but that
they would not be campaigning for partnerships before then.

Lesbian Porn Images Used To Discredit GOP Candidate
by Newscenter Staff
August 10, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Las Vegas, Nevada) Images from a lesbian adult video are being used to discredit Barbara Lee Woollen who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for lieutenant governor.

A pictures of the video box are among three adult videos - "Women: Stories of Passion," "Dead Sexy" and "Red Shoe Diaries" that her opponent, Brian Krolicki is using in a TV commercial that claims Woollen has ties to the pornography business.

Woollen owns a motion picture equipment rental business that leases cameras, lights and other equipment to moviemakers in Nevada but she denies any involvement with the making of the videos.

This week a Las Vegas judge refused to grant Woollen an injunction barring the broadcast of the commercial.
District Judge Valerie Adair said the ad's claims might be exaggerated but political speech must be protected.

"Many political ads are exaggerated and they are misleading and I myself have been a victim of one of those ads," Adair said in her ruling.

"The bottom line however, is that this is not something that is based in an absolute falsehood. Whether it is exaggerated or not, there is some truth here."