Tuesday, January 23, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - January 23, 2007

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The Japan Times



Gender identity transformed from 'freak' into rights issue

Japan looks to respect rights of those with gender disorders, but evenazxzdyzprogress carries its own set of risks

Staff writer

'When I was a child, I had a feeling I wasn't satisfied with being a humanbeing. To be a human being didn't seem like a beautiful existence to me,"says Otojiro Toriyama.

"When I realized I was a human being, it was a strange feeling. I wished Iwere an animal, a bird, or dog, horse, serpentine. But no matter how much Ithought about it, I knew I couldn't leave my body and be an animal in thisworld. I was so disappointed.

"My body was a woman's. But I thought men's bodies were better becausethey're more like animals, with muscles, hairier. Then I wished I could be aman. I was very small then, probably three or four," he says.

Toriyama, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, sharessomething common to all transgender people; a feeling that he doesn't belongin the body with which he was born.


The New York Times


January 22, 2007
Harold Ford's New Gay Marriage Problem
By Shawn Zeller

Tennessee Democrat Harold E. Ford Jr. can never quite get on the mostopportune side of the culture wars.

Last year, he gave up his Memphis congressional seat to try for the Senate,and lost after the release of perhaps the most notorious attack ad of the2006 campaign, which suggested that Ford fraternized with Playboy models andpornography producers. Now that he's on course to become chairman of theDemocratic Leadership Council, Ford is getting flak from the NationalStonewall Democrats, an advocacy group named for the Greenwich Village barwhere the modern gay rights movement was launched in 1969, for hisopposition to same-sex marriage.

Ford cast one of only 36 Democratic votes in the House in 2004, and one ofonly 34 last year, for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.The Stonewall group finds those votes all the more upsetting, spokesman JohnMarble maintains, because before the 2004 vote Ford had privately assuredgay and lesbian Democrats in Tennessee that he did not support the same-sexamendment.


The Express Gay News


Church trial of Atlanta gay pastor continues
Schmeling faces expulsion from Lutheran clergy
ZACK HUDSON | Jan 22, 7:28 PM

The church trial of an Atlanta pastor who faces expulsion from theEvangelical Lutheran Church in America for being in a gay relationshipcontinued today, and is expected to wrap up Tuesday.

Bradley Schmeling, pastor of the 350-member St. John's Lutheran Church, wasbrought up on charges that his relationship with partner Darrin Easlerviolates established ELCA pastoral guidelines, which allow openly gay clergymembers to serve congregations, but still considers gay sex sinful.

The trial, which started Friday, Jan. 19, is being held behind closed doorsinside a conference room in the Colony Square Sheraton in Midtown.

Though Schmeling faces expulsion from the ELCA if a 12-member disciplinarycommittee rules against him, the St. John's congregation is standing behindits pastor.




Prison For Man Claiming Home Torched In Homophobic Attack
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 22, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Lakeland, Florida) A Florida man who whose mobile home was destroyed byfire last year in what he claimed was a homophobic hate crime has beensentenced to 18 months in state prison.

Christopher Robertson, 24, later confessed to police that he had torched thehome and written hate messages himself.

As part of a plea agreement with the district attorney's office Robertsonwill be on six years' probation after he leaves prison.

Robertson (pictured) and his partner Paul Day returned home from shopping inJuly 2005 to find the trailer fully engulfed in flames.

When Lakeland firefighters arrived at the trailer they found the words "diefag" spray painted on front of the home and the structure nearly destroyed.(story) There was nothing they could do to save it.




Death Threats Against First Gay Couple To Marry In S. Africa
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 22, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Cape Town,. South Africa) The first same-sex couple to legally marry inSouth Africa have become the targets of death threats and hate mail.

Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls exchanged vows before a marriage officer inGeorge, in the Southern Cape, shortly after the marriage law went intoeffect last month.

But since then they have received what the couple describes as "countless"threatening phone calls and mail.

"One caller told us 'you might have been the first to get married, butyou'll be the first to die," said Vernon Gibbs-Halls.

He said that they also had received two anonymous cellphone calls. How thecallers got the cellphone numbers is not known.




Senate To Get Bill Denouncing SF Opposition to Don't Tell' Don't Tell

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 22, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Washington) A Republican senator who's angry San Francisco is eliminatingJunior R-O-T-C programs from city high schools in opposition to the ban ongays in the military said Monday he is writing legislation to try to blockthe move.

Senator James Inhofe (R-Ok.) launched a scathing attack on the decision bythe San Francisco Board of Education.

From the floor of the Senate Inhofe (pictured) called the school board"arrogant, mean-spirited and absolutely foolish", as well as an example of"gangrenous antimilitary bigotry."

Inhofe said he will introduce a bill that protects Jr. R-O-T-C TrainingCorps programs by giving them the same protections as those held by militaryrecruiters, who are allowed onto public campuses under federal law.

The Board of Education in November voted to phase out the JROTC from schoolsover the next two years.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Tue, Jan. 23, 2007

Authorities investigate ex-principal's computer for child porn

Associated Press

HACKENSACK, N.J. - The ex-principal of Teaneck High School, already facingcharges that he engaged in sexual conduct and conversation with a student,may face more charges if questionable photos on his computer are childpornography, authorities said.

Joseph White, 61, has been charged with official misconduct and endangeringthe welfare. The charges stem from accusations that he had sexually explicitconversations in May and June of 2006 with a 17-year-old boy in his office,including one incident where White is alleged to have asked the boy toexpose himself and to take his pants off in return for a recommendation.

In the course of that investigation, White's home computer, several discsand other hardware were seized, The Record of Bergen County reported inTuesday newspapers.


Eugene Register-Guard, OR, January 21, 2007

Opinion--Left Out Of The Dream
By Todd Simmons

It was about 3 a.m. when my partner and I decided to go to the hospital, hisfever hovering around 104. He had been dealing with AIDS for several yearsat that point, and we feared the possible downside of waiting until morning.

As both his spouse and his caregiver, I routinely accompanied him on medicalappointments. I was familiar with his complex situation and his extensivemedications. We had legal paperwork on file granting me decision-makingauthority for his care.

But at the hospital, staff members refused to allow me into his exam room.After 30 minutes of angry, frustrating argument, my partner gave up andasked me to take him home, where he suffered through several more difficulthours before his doctor's office opened.

He passed away a few months later. The following day, I got a phone callregarding his cremation. "We can't allow you to authorize it," the person atthe funeral home informed me. "You're not officially family." So on one ofthe worst days of my life, I drove across town to his mother, who signed thepaper that nine years of love and devotion didn't entitle me to sign.


Express Gay News


Gay bishop says divisiveness in Episcopal church is exaggerated
Robinson: 'It breaks God's heart'
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) | Jan 23, 8:33 AM

The openly gay bishop, whose election spurred a schism in the Episcopalchurch that has played out in Connecticut and elsewhere, said the scope ofthe rift has been exaggerated in the media.

Gene Robinson, bishop of New Hampshire, said there are a small minority ofparishes at odds with the national church's liberal stance on homosexuality.

The parishes are "seeking to get themselves recognized as the trueexpression of Anglicanism in this country and not inconsequentially get theEpiscopal Church - I don't know what the word is - unrecognized as thatlegitimate expression. And I think they are using more conservative churchesaround the globe to support that claim," he said.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Transgender people are born one gender but identify with other
Finding Their Way
By Angie Fenton
Gannett News Service

Monica Roberts gently circled a fingertip around the lip of her coffee cup,the perfect manicure a stark contrast to such large, strong hands.

"Gender is who you are," says Roberts, 42. "Sex is what you do and who youdo it with."

For the past 16 years, Roberts, who was born male, has been living as afemale, since finding the ability to accept herself.

Transgender people are not only caught in a gender-identity gap but alsowith psychology that has yet to fully grapple with the issue.

"I've always looked at life through a feminine prism. It's nothing I didconsciously," Roberts says. "The only thing that's wrong with us is thediscrimination that's happening to us."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Associated Press via Billings Gazette, January 20, 2007

Bill would void same-sex marriages

CHEYENNE - Gay couples who marry in Massachusetts and move to Wyoming wouldsuddenly find themselves single if some Wyoming legislators have their way:A bill has been introduced that would allow Wyoming to void same-sexmarriages granted by other states.

Massachusetts is the only state that currently grants marriage licenses tosame-sex couples; others permit civil unions but the proposed law onlypertains to gay marriages. Wyoming already has a law in place that mandatesmarriages conducted in the state must be between a man and woman.

"All the bill does is say that we don't have to honor the same-sex marriagesthat are performed in other states," the bill's sponsor, Sen. Gerald E.Geis, R-Worland, said. "If a couple came from Massachusetts, or whereverthey allow same-sex marriage, we would not have to recognize it here."

Gay rights groups say the measure is unnecessary."I don't know where the fear of a mass influx of married gay people enteringWyoming and demanding recognition comes from," said the Rev. Bob Spencer,social change coordinator for Wyoming Equality.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

GayNZ, New Zealand, January 20, 2007


Liberals 'incited same-sex hatred'

In a case that is set to test the boundaries of free speech in Australia,the Liberal Party will be investigated for allegedly inciting hatred againstsame-sex couples.

Tasmania's Anti-Discrimination Tribunal has ruled that the Liberal Partyshould be investigated over a pamphlet it authorised during last year'sstate election.

The document attacked the Greens' policy allowing same-sex marriage as"socially destructive", prompting Hobart transsexual Martine Delaney tolodge a complaint with state Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sarah Bolt.

Ms Bolt rejected the complaint on the basis that it lacked substance, butthe tribunal has overturned her decision after an appeal by Ms Delaney.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Does festival entry break child porn laws?
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated:01/21/2007 01:38:11 AM MST

The Catholic League is asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigatewhether the makers of the controversial 2007 Sundance Film Festival entry"Hounddog" - in which a character played by 12-year-old actress DakotaFanning is raped - violated federal child-pornography laws.

"It matters not a whit whether Fanning's mother, along with Fanning'steacher/child welfare worker, gave their consent," said Catholic LeaguePresident William Donohue in a statement. "What matters is whether they arean accessory to a crime."

Donohue has asked Andrew Oosterbaan, who runs the Justice Department'sChild Exploitation and Obscenity Section, to investigate.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


For the Bible told them so

Documentary shows how the Bible's verses have been used to justifydiscrimination - and how modern conservatives use the Good Book to lambastegaysBy Jessica Ravitz

The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake TribuneArticle Launched:01/20/2007 12:00:57 AM MST

"Last week I bought a gun. Yesterday I wrote the note. But last night Ihappened to turn on your show and just knowing that someday I might be ableto go back into my church, I threw the gun in the river. My mom never has toknow."
-- A boy in Iowa

The e-mail was only four sentences long, but it shaped Daniel Karslake'sfuture.

Karslake, 41, was a young television producer in 1998 when he receivedthe above note from a boy in Iowa. His segment on a lesbian theologian hadjust aired on the PBS program "In the Life." This boy's short message, onethat still brings Karslake to tears, was the first of hundreds he wouldreceive from gays and lesbians across the country - from people who feltrejected by their church families. The aspiring filmmaker had found hismission.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Reecruiting newbies
Gay sports team alliance throws a party to attract athletes and fans alike

Jan. 19, 2007

Gay men and lesbians have been accused of recruiting others into our ranks.Well, in at least one case, it's true.

The Atlanta Gay Sports Alliance throws a recruitment party Jan. 28 atAmsterdam Atlanta in hopes of attracting new members to the six teams thatcomprise the group.

Steve Doney, who recently completed his term as chairman of AGSA, estimatesthe group has about 700 members across the teams, and the objective of theupcoming event is to expand that number.

Doney hopes the party attracts as many people as one of the group's firstrecruitment events in 2005.

"I'd say there were about 350 people," he recalls.

AGSA did not track how many athletes were recruited as a result of the 2005event, but Doney says, "We were pretty successful in getting people to joinour teams."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Sun Media, Canada, January 18, 2007


Same-sex marriage drawing foreigners

Foreigners are flocking to Canada to have legal same-sex marriages,according to a new report that shows more than half of recorded gay weddingsinvolved couples from abroad.

Statistics Canada data on 2003 nuptials, which included gay couples for thefirst time in Canadian history, found 3.5% of the 22,000 marriages inBritish Columbia were between people of the same sex. And nearly 56% ofthose were non-residents of Canada.

"Gay and lesbian couples have been coming to Canada since the laws changedin 2003, especially to the big cities," said Kaj Hasselriis, executivedirector of Egale Canada. "It's a positive thing for couples who want to belegally married, and it's a positive thing for Canada because it enhancesour reputation as a country that is very open and progressive."

Tourist boon

Hasselriis said the positive trend is also a boon for Canada's economy,creating a niche tourism industry for gay marriages and honeymoons.

At the time the data was collected, Canada was the only country in the worldthat allowed same-sex marriages between people who weren't residents. Whilethe marriage is often not legally recognized in the couple's home country,Hasselriis said it is symbolically important for them.

Many have used their marriage in Canada to try to advance their legal fightin their own countries, including Israel and Ireland.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


NIGERIAN Primate Expains Scriptural Basis For Opposition To Homosexual Acts
Date 2007/1/11 14:30:00 | Topic: Exclusives

Does he really hate homosexuals?

News Analysis

By David W. Virtue

If you read the secular Western Press on Nigerian Anglican Primate PeterAkinola you would definitely come away with the notion that he is, at best,homophobic and at worst a down right hater of homosexuals.

It is not hard to find a single major newspaper that has not denounced himas such. Both secular progressive newspapers the Washington POST and morerecently the New York Times have trashed the brash often outspoken NigerianArchbishop.

He is an easy target for post Christian Episcopal leaders, becoming the newwhipping boy of pansexualists anxious to ride the wave of guilt free sexualexperimentation handed down by resolutions from several Episcopal GeneralConventions. Never mind that, according to the Center for Disease Control(CDC) 19 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year, almosthalf of them among young people aged 15 to 24. In addition there are themajor physical and psychological consequences of STDs, which exact atremendous economic toll estimated at up to $14.1 billion annually! AIDSremains the single biggest transmitter of sexually fatal diseases, and inthe vast majority of cases it is transmitted through anal sex. Put that inworldwide economic terms it's the equivalent of the combined revenues of 21of the poorest African nations.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


The New Face of Miami Beach Politics: MichaelGongora

Michael Gongora certainly doesn't look like a revolutionary. In fact, withhis closely cropped dark hair, neat suit and tie, boyishly disarming smileand a propensity to dispense cheery soundbites, the 36-year-old Gongoraresembles nothing so much as a corporate attorney on the rise-which isexactly what he is.

Yet as the victor in last November's sharply contested race for Miami Beachcity commissioner, he's also this burg's first-ever openly gay electedofficial. It's a historic step that's bound to inspire disbelief. After all,with the Beach's worldwide image as a "gay mecca" burnished by popular filmssuch as The Birdcage, late-night bacchanals such as the annual White Party,and a body-conscious social scene that has even the local straight boysobsessing over moisturizers, one would expect gays here to be running CityHall in 2007, not just taking their first seat at its seven-member dais.

Moreover, this visibility extends far beyond the cultural sphere: While therest of the nation worked itself up into a tizzy over gays in the military,and then the specter of gay marriage, gays on Miami Beach simply got on withliving their lives-as reflected by their prominent presence within thecity's biggest law firms, media outlets, banks and real-estate offices.Gongora's own ascendance reflects this mundane reality. His campaign flierssaid it all: Printed right next to his endorsements from the Miami-Dadegay-rights group SAVE Dade and the Washington, D.C.-based gay-candidates PACThe Victory Fund were endorsements from the Beach's police and firefighters'unions. His résumé adopts a similar tone, ticking off his accomplishments asjust another ambitious Cuban-American attorney who specializes in condo law.It's the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce he belongs to, not ACT UP.


The Washington Post


'Grey' Star Meets With Gay Activists

The Associated Press
Monday, January 22, 2007; 11:08 PM

LOS ANGELES -- "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington, under fire for usinga gay slur about a co-star, met Monday with gay rights activists who said heagreed to help educate the public about the cruelty of such language.

"He seemed very sincere in his interest in working with us in an ongoingbasis," Kevin Jennings, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and StraightEducation Network. "We emphasized that this is not a one-shot deal, but anongoing thing. He was very open to doing this."

The star of the hit ABC medical drama met with Jennings, who spoke after theprivate meeting, and Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay and LesbianAlliance Against Defamation. A call to Washington's publicist for commentwas not immediately returned Monday.




New Bid To Repeal Washington State LGBT Civil Rights Law
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 23, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Olympia, Washington) A conservative Christian minister has begun work on areferendum to overturn Washington state's inclusion of gays and lesbians inits human rights law.

Rev. Ken Hutcherson filed the paperwork with the state to have the measureplaced on the November ballot.

The language of the proposed referendum must be reviewed by the state codereviser's office. If it gains approval Hutcherson would be able to begincollecting the signatures of 224,800 registered voters needed to place thequestion on the ballot.

Hutcherson has until July 6 to collect the names.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Hartford Courant, CT, January 21, 2007

Editorial--Revisit Same-Sex Marriage

Mark Twain famously illustrated the difference between the right word andthe almost right word by using as an example the difference between"lightning" and "lightning bug." Although the writer chose humor to get hispoint across, his message should be taken seriously.

To same-sex couples, one word - marriage - can be life-changing. No matterhow long they have been together as a family, no matter how many childrenthey have raised, no matter how much they love each other, only in onestate, Massachusetts, do they have the choice to marry. Even then, they aredenied many of the legal rights and privileges that heterosexual couplesenjoy.

The extent of their commitment is not recognized in other states, and mostglaringly, by the federal government. Same-sex couples can't file jointfederal tax returns or qualify for Social Security benefits at the death ofa partner.


The Washington Post


Italy Bishop's Head Raps Same-Sex Rights

The Associated Press
Monday, January 22, 2007; 9:16 PM

ROME -- The head of Italy's bishops lashed out Monday at a governmentproposal to give same-sex couples rights similar to those of married peopleand criticized euthanasia in a speech that provoked an immediate politicalbacklash.

Premier Romano Prodi's center-left government has pledged to come up withlegislation to safeguard rights for all unmarried couples, includingsame-sex ones, by the end of January. The issue has been divisive in apredominantly Catholic country closely watched by the Vatican.

"It must be said that (gay unions) are at odds with basic anthropologicalfacts, in particular with the nonexistence of the blessing of generatingchildren, which is the specific reason for the social recognition ofmarriage," Cardinal Camillo Ruini said in an address to the Italian bishops'conference.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Moscow Gay Pride Documentary Gets World Premiere at Berlinale
"MOCKBA. PRIDE '06" covers turbulent events of first ever gay pride festivalin Russian capital

<http://www.gayrussia.ru/images/BerlinaleBig.jpg> The documentary filmabout the turbulent events of May 2006 at Moscow Price is included in theofficial programme of the prestigious Berlin Film Festival next month.

The world premiere of "MOCKBA. PRIDE '06" will be on February 11 (3.30pm) atthe Coliseum in Berlin as part of the 57th Berlin International FilmFestival.

The film, directed by Vladimir Ivanov, shot and produced for ProjectGayRussia.Ru during Moscow Gay Pride Festival on May 25-27 last year, isincluded in the official programme of section "Panorama Documente" ofBerlinale.

The Berlinale organizers confirmed at the weekend the programme of filmscreenings for "Panorama" section.


The Washington Post


FBI Faulted for Inaction in Foley Scandal
Justice IG Also Says Officials Misled Media About Group That ProvidedMessages

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; A04

The FBI should have acted last summer to protect underage congressionalpages after it was given "troubling" electronic messages sent by then-Rep.Mark Foley (R-Fla.), according to a report released yesterday.

The review by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine also foundthat FBI and Justice officials misled the news media last fall when theyasserted that an activist group that first provided the FBI with Foley'smessages had not been cooperative and had withheld vital information frominvestigators.

In fact, Fine's report found that the group -- Citizens for Ethics andResponsibility in Washington, or CREW -- had notified the FBI within days ofobtaining the electronic communications in July. But the FBI never asked foradditional information from the group and never sought to interview theformer page in Louisiana who received the messages from Foley, the reportsaid.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


First ever trans religion summit this weekend
by Heather Cassell

Transgender religious leaders are convening the first-ever TransgenderReligious Summit at the Pacific School of Religion this weekend in Berkeley.

Religious leaders, academics, and policymakers are meeting January 19-21 tofocus on how people of faith can respond to discrimination and hatredagainst transgender people within their congregations and communities.

"It's important to mobilize progressive people of faith who want to see morejustice for transgender people in their own communities," said Justin Tanis,a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and program director of the NationalCenter for Transgender Equality, who helped organize the summit.

The conference, while not open to the general public, is open to people ofall faith traditions. The conference is being held in part to examine thoseof the religious right who are sometimes the only people speaking inopposition to legislation that would protect transgender people.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Anti-gay Groups Target Clubs in High Schools
Despite Opposition, More Gay-Straight Alliances Start Up

Jan. 19, 2007

White County High School students fighting to start a gay-straight alliance(GSA) reached a settlement agreement with White County, Ga., schoolofficials last week, the latest chapter in what has been an ongoing nationalbattle over the legal right for such clubs to exist in public schools.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented the students in a yearlongcourt battle for the club's right to exist and for the students' right to goto school free of harassment. Terms of the settlement include policies forstudents in grades nine through 12 that specifically state anti-gayharassment is prohibited on school grounds and annual training sessions forfaculty on dealing with and preventing anti-gay harassment.

Student Charlene Hammersen, one of the founders of the school's GSA club,Peers Rising In Diverse Education (PRIDE), said she is just glad it's allover and that her school is doing the right thing.



The Detroit News
January 22, 2007

U.S. must do better for homeless, runaway gay teens

B y the time Danny was 7 years old, he was already trapped in the tragicdownward spiral that homeless gay teenagers so often describe when talkingabout how they found themselves living on the streets.Danny was shoved from one foster home to another and repeatedly molested. Hespent two years in a juvenile correctional facility. At 17, he tried livingwith his aunt, but she soon ordered him to get his "gay ass" out of herhouse.

Homeless, Danny got cash by reading people's tarot cards and a place tosleep by having "survival sex."

"I'd go to the library. I'd get on (Internet sites where men were seekingsex partners), just to find somewhere to sleep for the night, not for money.I slept with them so I could have a place to stay," he explained.

Danny's story is told in "An Epidemic of Homelessness," an alarming reportby the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Coalition forthe Homeless that collects the best research on homeless gay youth andcombines it with accounts of the few projects that are successfullyaddressing the problem. (Read it at thetaskforce.org.)

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