Wednesday, February 14, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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Lesbian couples win adoption battle

Published: 14th February 2007 12:10 CET
The Local

In December of last year two lesbian couples were denied the right to adopttheir children by Norrköping District Court in eastern Sweden. But now theCourt of Appeal has overturned the original verdict.

Two of the women, one from each couple, had initially travelled to Denmarkfor insemination. The district court however pointed out that the spermdonors were anonymous, which is not acceptable according to Swedish law.

In Sweden each child is legally entitled to find out the identity of his orher biological father.

"The district court turned us down on the grounds that we did not specify adonor, which is not permitted in Sweden," Maria Billström-Westerlund toldExpressen.


Cohen: Refusing Gay Marriage Illegal

14 February 2007

AMSTERDAM - Mayor of Amsterdam Job Cohen believes it is very sad that underthe new cabinet, municipal officials will be allowed to refuse to performmarriage ceremonies for homosexual couples, ANP reports.

The Mayor made the above statement on Wednesday morning at the unveiling ofa commemorative plaque at city hall in the memory of the first same sexmarriage in Amsterdam officially recognized there on 1 April 2001.

Cohen also said he regretted that the new cabinet was seemingly not preparedto take any steps in the further emancipation of homosexuals in theNetherlands.

"It has been six years now and we can say that same sex marriage is fullyintegrated in our society. That said, it is a shame that the new coalitionaccord allows municipal officials to refuse to marry gay couples. I thinkthe officials must follow the law'', Cohen said.


Coalition of AIDS groups launches Web site on Valentine's Day

Three leading HIV/AIDS groups will launch a cooperative Web site February 14with the aim of promoting gay health through education and is the inaugural project of the Sexual Health Xchange, anational partnership of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, AIDSFoundation of Chicago, and AIDS Project Los Angeles.

The site provides a comprehensive look at sexual health, disease prevention,and care resources. Visitors will also find candid explorations of intimacy,communication, spirituality, and other topics of interest to men who havesex with men.

In addition to the Web site, SHX will conduct several community-based thinktanks to address rates of STDs, especially among gay men of color. (TheAdvocate)


Russia says it backs gay rights

12th February 2007 15:03 writer

Despite banning Moscow Gay Pride last year, the Russian government has sentout a message of commitment to the rights of sexual minorities.

In its capacity as current Chairman of the Committee of Ministers for theCouncil of Europe, the Russian Federation has stated that sexual minoritiesdo have the right to freedom of expression and assembly, according

Admitting that Moscow Gay Pride was banned, the Federation reiterated thatpeaceful demonstrations in support of gay rights must be allowed to takeplace and can only be stopped when there is a danger of disorder whichcannot be prevented by reasonable force.



Report: Russian Soldiers Sold As Gay Sex Slaves
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 13, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Moscow) Young Russian conscripts reportedly are being routinely forced bysenior officers to work as male prostitutes and turn over the cash to theirsuperiors.

The Gazeta newspaper, quoting some of the soldiers and the human rightsgroup Union of the Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, reports thatthe soldiers were from the army base in St. Petersburg.

One client, the paper said, was a former general in the FSB, Russia'sintelligence agency.

The rights group tells the paper that clients would arrive at base late atnight and the soldiers would be forced by officers to get into the cars.They often would not return until morning.



Students Rally For Fired Transgender Teacher
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 14, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Detroit, Michigan) Dozens of students have staged a rally and march insupport of a Spring Arbor University professor who says she was fired afterdisclosing she is a transitioning transsexual.

"She was a good teacher, she was well-respected, she should be able to workhere," protestor Joel Skene told WLNS-television.

The Christian school informed Prof. Julie Nemecek that it would not renewher contract, after removing her from the classroom when she informeduniversity president President Gayle Beebe she had been diagnosed withgender identity disorder.

"Spring Arbor requires its faculty and administrators to be Christians andto follow biblical principles in all aspects of their lives," the universitysaid in a statement. A spokesperson refused to specifically addressNemecek's situation.



450 Tons Of Food For HIV/AIDS Sufferers, Starving Children Stolen
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: February 13, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Geneva) Looters in Guinea have stolen nearly 450 metric tons of food aiddestined for school children and the poorest communities in the impoverishedWest African country, which has been shaken by a month of strikes and deadlyclashes between Government forces and opponents, the United Nations WorldFood Program reported Tuesday.

“This food was for the poorest of the poor in Guinea; it has been mindlesslyplundered by people who have no respect for the property of others,” WFPCountry Director Philippe Guyon LeBuffy said, stressing that the food wasmeant for children enrolled in the agency’s school feeding program andpeople suffering from HIV/AIDS.

“At this point, it’s hard to know when we will next be able to provideschools and other institutions with the food aid they rely on for theirprograms. We understand there is widespread frustration and anger in thecountry, but actions such as these will only make the lives of the pooresteven worse,” he added.



Gov't Official Visits Detained Chinese AIDS Activist
by The Associated Press

Posted: February 13, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET

(Beijing) China has praised a prominent AIDS activist days after the womanwas confined to her home, a move fellow activists said was aimed atpreventing her from accepting an award in the United States.

In a Lunar New Year visit to Gao Yaojie's home on Monday, a Communist Partydeputy secretary extolled the doctor's “long-standing contributions to ourprovince's education, health and AIDS prevention work,” the Web site of theparty's official People's Daily newspaper reported.

The 80-year-old Gao was shown in a photo accepting a parcel from theofficial, Chen Quanguo, while other provincial leaders clapped and smiled.Last week, Gao was blocked from leaving her home by plainclothes police,apparently to prevent her from applying for a U.S. visa, her family andfellow AIDS activists said.


The New York Times

February 14, 2007

Sperm Donor Father Ends His Anonymity

There is no established ritual for how an anonymous sperm donor shouldcontact his genetic children. But for Jeffrey Harrison, Valentine’s Dayseemed as good an occasion as any.

“It’s a short life,” he said, “and these children need to have some kind ofresolution. I thought I could send a little valentine, kind of, to everyone,just saying hello.”

Mr. Harrison had been thinking about getting in touch since reading in anarticle in The New York Times 15 months ago that two teenagers whose mothershad used his sperm to conceive were looking for him. The headline, “Hello, I’mYour Sister, Our Father Is Donor 150,” made him choke on his coffee, saidMr. Harrison, who made $400 a month donating sperm under that numbertwice-weekly during the late 1980s.

But California Cryobank, the sperm bank that had promised anonymity to itscustomers and to Mr. Harrison, proved unresponsive to his repeated requestsfor assistance. Besides, he had misgivings. What if the girls weredisappointed by his humble circumstances?


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

New national Latino gay group forms

Unid@s directors to focus on human rights issues

Feb. 09, 2007

A new Washington-based, national organization for Latino gays has formed andannounced its board of directors. The group’s first meeting is tentativelyplanned for April.

Unid@s board member Pedro Julio Serrano describes the organization as agrassroots, national advocacy group that will function as a liaison betweenresource providers and local organizations.

“Unid@s means ‘everybody together,’” Serrano said. “We use the ‘at’ symbolbecause when you want it to refer to females you use ‘unidas’ and males,‘unidos.’ We use ‘unid@s’ to show our diversity, unity and inclusivity.”

He said that the organization will not offer direct programming at firstbecause the board does not want to overstep work being done by other Latinoagencies at the local level. Serrano, who is also on the communications teamfor the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, said the Task Force will workwith Unid@s to help with movement and capacity building as well as technicalassistance. The Gill Foundation has provided seed money to help theorganization get started.


Moldova’s Supreme Court: “The Refusal of Chisinau City Hall to Authorise the
Solidarity March of LGBT people is Against the Law»



The Supreme Court of the Republic of Moldova has communicated today itsdecision on the hearing held on 20.12.2006, saying that the refusal of theChisinau city hall to authorise the gay and lesbian solidarity march wasillegal. The request for authorization was filed in March of 2006 by theCentre “GenderDoc-M” with the purpose of promoting LGBT rights andanti-discrimination legislation for minorities.

The Supreme Court’s decision says: “From the case materials it is clear that
the Information Centre “GenderDoc-M works on gender issues and protection ofthe rights of sexual minorities, thus being an organization with objectives,which do not contravene national legislation and international human rightslaw. The Supreme Court considers unjustified the refusal of the Chisinaucity hall to authorize a march of solidarity by GenderDoc-M reasoning itwith possible threat to the public order, as this motive is disproportionalwith the right to freedom of assembly, guaranteed by Art.11(2) of theEuropean Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”.

Since May 2005 GenderDoc-M has filed three requests to the Chisinau cityhall for authorization of public manifestations, all of which were refusedby reason of threat these manifestations may pose to the public order andthe opinion of faith-based organizations. The latter was expressed innumerous letters the city hall has received. GenderDoc-M attacked thesedecisions in courts, the first case being lost in all national courts andnow prepared to be lodged with the European Court of Human Rights. TheChisinau authorities were criticized for their discriminatory decisions bythe Council of Europe, the EU and the United Nations, as well as someWestern European governments in the framework of bilateral relations.


Pfizer's HIV drug gets a fast-track review
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/13/07

Pfizer Inc.'s application for approval of maraviroc pills to treat HIV willget an accelerated review in the U.S. and Europe, cutting as much as sixmonths off the drug's path to market clearance.

Priority reviews are granted to drug candidates that represent significantimprovements over current therapies, the company said today in a statement.Maraviroc is the first HIV drug to block a receptor called CCR5, orchemokine receptor 5, one of the doorways used by the virus to infect humancells.

Since Pfizer, which employs about 3,300 people in New Jersey, plans to testpatients to identify those whose CCR5 receptors are active, the drug may bethe first form of personalized medicine for the disease, said Kate Robins, aPfizer spokeswoman, in an interview. Maraviroc may generate $145 million in2008 and cost users about $5,000 a year, based on prices of current drugs,said Barbara Ryan, a Deutsche Bank analyst based in Greenwich, Conn.

"There is a profound global need for new medicines to help HIV/AIDSpatients,'' said John LaMattina, president of Pfizer's Global Research andDevelopment, in the statement. "We expect that CCR5 antagonists, like


The New York Times

February 14, 2007

Anglican Conference Opens in Tanzania

Filed at 5:46 a.m. ET

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AP) -- A conference of Anglican leaders openedWednesday as the 77 million-member church struggles with a potentiallydisastrous fight over the Bible and sexuality.

''I anticipate this will be a very difficult meeting,'' said Canon JimRosenthal, a spokesman for the conference of the world's third-largestchurch body. ''The basic issue here is what to do about those who decidedthey don't want to stay in the main Anglican body.''

Splits between Anglican liberals and conservatives have been growing foryears. The struggle reached a crisis in 2003 when the Episcopal Church --the U.S. wing of the global Anglican Communion -- consecrated its firstopenly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.


Nigerian Muslim convicts in legal limbo

By KATHARINE HOURELD -- Associated Press Writer

BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) An Islamic court sentenced Mohammed Sagri to death bystoning months ago, but he doesn't expect to die any time soon.

"I'm afraid," said Sagri, a 22-year-old mason who pleaded guilty to a sodomycharge in 2005. Then, staring at the floor of a jailhouse office, he added:"But the sentence is unlikely to be carried out."

In Nigeria's Muslim north, sentences of amputation and death by stoning areroutinely imposed under Shariah, or Islamic law. But no stonings have everbeen carried out, and no amputations since 2001.

Analysts say that's because Shariah law was implemented as a Muslim show ofstrength after the presidency passed to Olusegun Obasanjo, a southernChristian.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The Episcopal Church's struggles concern us all
Barry L. Beisner

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Major changes in the Episcopal Church -- such as the selection of a woman tobe the leader of the church and election of an openly gay man as bishop inNew Hampshire -- are roiling the Protestant denomination that is as old asour democracy itself. The turmoil has, for some, called into question ourcommitment to the global Anglican Communion to which the Episcopal Churchbelongs. Congregations in some of our oldest parishes in Virginia have votedto leave the Episcopal Church.

Here in Northern California, members of the congregation of St. John's inPetaluma have voted to leave the Episcopal Church while affirming theirdesire to remain Anglican. Other churches, even in other Christiandenominations, are also engaged in much the same struggles, with many of thesame dynamics. These sisters and brothers in Christ are likely to have anempathetic interest, and maybe even an enlightened self-interest, in how ourdrama plays out.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

February 08, 2007

Jones doubts Haggard’s claim of being straight


Ex-pastor, church make contract on how to deal with scandal


Mike Jones said Wednesday that he was surprised when he read media reportsof Ted Haggard’s claims that he is “completely heterosexual.”

Jones is the former male prostitute in Denver whose allegations of athree-year sexual relationship with Haggard brought about the Novemberfiring of the founder of the 14,000-member New Life Church, based inColorado Springs.

Haggard admitted to “sexual immorality” and buying methamphetamine.

Haggard recently emerged from an intensive three-week spiritual-restorationprogram in Phoenix and said he is straight, according to comments New LifeChurch overseer the Rev. Tim Ralph made to The


13 February 2007

International Anti-Homophobia Meeting in Ankara, Turkey
May 17-20, 2007, Thursday-Sunday, Ankara, Turkey

Invitation to Anti-Homophobia 2007

The 17th of May International Anti - Homophobia day is a day for activismand resistance against all physical, ethical and symbolic violence regardinggender identity or sexual orientation. Through coordination and cooperation,the aim is to inspire and support all initiatives that struggle for

As KAOS GL, we organized the first International Anti - Homophobia Meeting17 - 21 May 2006. The 2007 Anti-Homophobia meeting will take place 17-20 May(Thursday to Sunday).

We are in the process of making preparations for Anti-Homophobia 2007, andwe would like to share the provisional headlines for the meeting with you.

We hope to hear from you regarding your suggestions, contributions or directparticipation both from LGBT organizations, academia and anyone else whowould like to contribute.


From EuroQueer

Hi Rex Wockner and All

I have also been receiving troubling emails today suggesting that theantigay Nigerian Bill is not dead, as previously thought, and is upfor discussion in the Nigerian Parliament this Wednesday.

In an email circulated by Scott Long, Scott suggests a course ofaction as follows:

"...given the limited time before the hearing, people's energies couldprobably best be concentrated on trying to get European and otherembassies to intervene with the Nigerian government and the House ofRepresentatives Judiciary Committee, rather than on a lot ofindividual letters to the Nigerian government. Therefore, ask your


The New York Times

February 11, 2007

Leather, Yes. Kinky, Not So Much.

IF nothing else, “Shortbus” proved that a movie with lots of X-ratedprocreative activity could have all the good old G-rated charm of“Moonstruck.” Its tug-at-the-heartstrings plot may have been schmaltzy butit achieved something most films strenuously avoid: it portrayed sex andaffection as real and integrated parts of life, not ones that have to playin different theaters in different parts of town.

The message — that sex is not something you peek at in the cordoned-off partof the video store or confine to the corresponding part of your mind —seemed almost revolutionary, but only because it was put so bluntly. Formany people, sex gets the heart racing even if it is not kept on a pedestalor under the mattress.

Case in point: Butt magazine, the gay quarterly published in the Netherlands(in English) by Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom. It has become anunderground success through a mix of matter-of-fact profiles and photographsof artists, writers, designers and plain (or almost plain) Joes. In itsundersize, matte-pink glory, it is the antithesis of glossy magazines andretouched porn.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Teens’ suicides draw attention to at-risk youth

Gay Md. police say no evidence to confirm students were couple

Friday, February 09, 2007

Montgomery County police said they could find no evidence to confirm thesexual orientation of the two missing teenage girls from Maryland who werefound dead in Virginia on Feb. 2 in a presumed double suicide, followingnearly three weeks of online speculation that they might have been lovers.

The discovery of the bodies of Rachel Crites, 18, of Gaithersburg, andRachel Smith, 16, of Potomac, in the front seat of the Crites family carended a three-week saga in which the families and friends of the two teensstruggled desperately to find them. Authorities in Virginia said the twoappeared to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Their car was found in a remote, wooded area near the West Virginia border,according to the Loudon County Sheriff’s office. WTOP Radio News reportedthat law enforcement sources said the key in the vehicle’s ignition was inthe “on” position, with the motor off after all the fuel had been consumed.

Police listed Crites and Smith as missing persons on Jan. 20, one day afterthey told their parents they were going to see a movie together inGeorgetown and did not return home.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

They Won’t Know What Hit Them

The software mogul Tim Gill has a mission: Stop the Rick Santorums oftomorrow before they get started. How a network of gay political donors isstealthily fighting sexual discrimination and reshaping American politics

by Joshua Green

A tough loss can be hard to swallow, and plenty of defeated politicians havebeen known to grumble about sinister conspiracies. When they are risingstars like Danny Carroll, the Republican speaker pro tempore of Iowa’s Houseof Representatives, and the loss is unexpected, the urge to blame unseenforces can be even stronger—and in Carroll’s case, it would have theadditional distinction of being justified. Carroll was among the dozens oftargets of a group of rich gay philanthropists who quietly joined forceslast year, under the leadership of a reclusive Colorado technology mogul, tocounter the tide of antigay politics in America that has generated, amongother things, a succession of state ballot initiatives banning gay marriage.Carroll had sponsored such a bill in Iowa and guided it to passage in thestate House of Representatives, the first step toward getting it on theballot.

Like many other state legislatures last year, Iowa’s was narrowly divided.

So all it would take to break the momentum toward a constitutional marriageban was to tip a few close races. If Democrats took control of the House andSenate, however narrowly, the initiative would die, and with it thelikelihood of further legislation limiting civil rights for gays andlesbians. And, fortuitously, Carroll’s own reelection race looked to be oneof the closest. He represented the liberal college town of Grinnell and hadwon the last time around by just a handful of votes.

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