Monday, March 26, 2007

GLBT DIGEST March 26, 2007

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The New York Times

March 26, 2007
Gay Media Outlets Seek Place at the Table at Awards for the Representationof Gays

On the eve of one of the highest honors awarded by the gay community, the organization that recognizes positive portrayals of gays and lesbians in themainstream media is facing growing pressure to honor its own.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which is holding its 18thannual media awards tonight in New York, considers work by gay media outletsto be ineligible. That policy has come under criticism recently by somecompanies that contend that Glaad's criteria for selecting nominees areoutdated at a time when the distinction between mainstream and alternativemedia has become increasingly blurred.

Here Networks, a premium cable channel with programming aimed at gay andlesbians, sent a letter to the organization's president last week, sayingthat Glaad's policy is "archaic, short-sighted and ghettoizing." The cablenetwork added: "In the absence of strategic change from Glaad, theorganization's largest event is on the verge of becoming irrelevant."

Some gay media executives said they saw a contradiction in that Glaad helpedpave the way for gay media outlets to exist, but now does not consider thoseoutlets eligible for its signature awards event.

"I was flabbergasted," said Stephen F. Macias, the senior vice president,corporate and marketing communications for Here Networks. "The organizationthat is supposed to be clearing the field for us is relegating us to thecorners."


The New York Times

March 25, 2007

Fla. Official Defends Firing Manager

Filed at 2:43 p.m. ET

LARGO, Fla. (AP) -- One of the five commissioners who voted to fire a citymanager who is seeking a sex-change operation said his management style, notlifestyle, led to the dismissal.

Commissioner Gay Gentry said City Manager Steve Stanton was a ''hard-nosed,my-way-or-the-highway'' boss who expected more understanding of his personal situation than he showed to some of his roughly 1,200 employees in 14 yearsas the city's top official.

''Suddenly the rules were changing and he was asking to be dealt with in adifferent way than he was dealing with people,'' Gentry said.

Commissioners voted 5-2 early Saturday to fire Stanton from his$140,000-a-year job in the city of 76,000 west of Tampa. Stanton was forcedlast month to reveal he was a transsexual and planned to live as a woman andeventually pursue a sex-change operation.

Stanton defended the employment decisions he made, including firing a publicworks employee who stayed home with his elderly mother when a hurricane wasapproaching.


The New York Times

March 25, 2007

Lesbian Argues Ga. Gays Can't Adopt Kids

Filed at 10:18 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) -- Sara Wheeler's life has become a contradiction.

Once a proud lesbian, she's now a pariah in the gay community.

Once in a committed relationship with a female partner, she's rethinking hersexuality.

And now she's doing something she once would have considered unthinkable --arguing that gays don't have the legal right to adopt children.

Wheeler is coming to grips with the fact that she's become an outcast fortaking this step in a custody fight for her child. But she says that isn'twhat her fight is about: ''It's about motherly rights.''


The New York Times

March 25, 2007
Under the Rainbow

ON New Year's Eve, about 50 guests crammed into Addison Smith's apartment, afourth-floor walk-up in a former tenement on Ninth Avenue near 51st Street.The party had been billed as a refuge for friends who were still at looseends for the holiday, and most of the merrymakers were 20- and 30-somethinggay men, many of whom lived in the neighborhood.

To increase the space available for mingling, Mr. Smith had turned hisroommate's bed on its side and propped it against the wall so he could usethe space for a sound system and a table heaped with an array of cheeses andsalmon cooked in a stove-top smoker. By 3 a.m., when the final guests left,making their way through the still-thick crowds in Times Square, all agreedit had been a pretty good evening.

That Mr. Smith and his roommate could persuade so many young, modish gayfriends to do their New Year's reveling in Hell's Kitchen might not havebeen possible a decade ago. But these days such gatherings are anincreasingly familiar sight, evidence of a gay migration that has traveledup the West Side from the West Village and then from Chelsea.

This new gay presence, however, is very different from what went before. Inthe West Village and Chelsea, gay culture was in many respects theprevailing culture. But in Hell's Kitchen, the gay community is just one ofmany subcultures that share and sometimes compete for a common turf.

"When I moved here in 2001, the neighborhood had kind of a transitionalcharacter," said Mr. Smith, a tall, lean 28-year-old with a rakish haircutwho works for a nonprofit agency that gives money to gay and lesbian causes."Chelsea is more of a rainbow flag-flying destination, like ChristopherStreet. Hell's Kitchen didn't have any one character. It just had thecheapest rents around."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,629359,print.story

Abortion, same-sex civil unions split Mexico
Plans collide with nation's Catholic roots

By Oscar Avila
Chicago Tribune
March 26, 2007

MEXICO CITY - With the bells of Mexico City's cathedral pealing above her,Judith Salgado joined protesters last week who called on God's strength todefeat an attempt to liberalize abortion laws. Salgado marched to City Hallwith a sign that read: "We are the majority."

At a city office earlier in the week, Carmen Cortes had thanked God as sheand her female partner entered into a same-sex civil union the second dayafter a new city law took effect. As they held hands, Cortes proclaimed theceremony proof of a changing Mexico.

The different world views of Salgado and Cortes reflect a deep moral dividestraining Mexico as the world's second-largest Catholic nation contemplatespublic policies at odds with the church's teaching.

Leftist lawmakers in Mexico City and in the federal Senate are pushingmeasures that would legalize abortion in the first three months ofpregnancy. Hundreds of abortion opponents, led by Mexico City's CardinalNorberto Rivera, marched Sunday to oppose the measure.

As Mexico City's same-sex civil unions landed on the front pages last week,gay activists encountered conservative opposition as they vowed to spreadthe practice nationwide.


The Express Gay News

Gay man elected chair of N.H. Democratic Party
He had been accused of possessing child porn
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) | Mar 25, 7:40 AM

Supporters of Ray Buckley, wearing "I'm writing in Ray!" stickers, did justthat Saturday, electing him by an overwhelming majority to become chairmanof the state Democratic Party after unproved accusations of childpornography possession derailed his official campaign.

Buckley, 47, a former lawmaker, is a member of the Democratic NationalCommittee and chairman of the Manchester Democrats. He succeeds Manchesterlawyer Kathy Sullivan, who was chairwoman for eight years. Buckley received109 of 132 votes, or about 83 percent.

Buckley thanked Democrats who had been "incredibly strong and supportive"during the last three months.

"My goals for the next two years are very simple," he said. "One, hold ontoevery single victory from 2006; win the state for our presidential nominee;three, send (Republican U.S. Sen.) John Sununu home - wherever the heck thatis - and four, to build a strong organization foundation and a base of newactivists and leaders for the next decade and beyond."

Later, he repeated to reporters his goal of working with state RepublicanChairman Fergus Cullen to eliminate personal attacks in New Hampshirepolitics.


The Washington Blade

A bumpy ride for SoulForce gay rights activists
Bus tour encounters harassment, vandalism

Mar. 23, 2007

Two buses carrying 50 young adults on the SoulForce Equality Ride arecontinuing undeterred - despite incidents of harassment, vandalism andarrests at nearly every stop - on their mission to visit 32 conservativeChristian colleges and universities in two months.

"When we were in the hotel in Sioux Center, Iowa, three cars circled thehotel and a guy mooned us," said Bronwen Tomb, 23. "I thought it was crazy."

Tomb, a lesbian student from the University of Connecticut, said she and theother riders awoke the morning of March 8 to find homophobic slurs scrawledacross the windows of one bus, including a crude image of male genitalia anda message, "God doesn't love gay feary [sic] fuck."

This year's ride marks the second journey in the group's crusade to bring amessage of inclusion and academic freedom to schools it says have policiesthat discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students,faculty and staff. The ride consists of two buses traveling differentroutes.

The eastbound bus started in Iowa, headed through the Midwest and willtravel through the South and loop back, ending April 26 in Minnesota. Thewestbound bus began its journey in Indiana and headed southwest toward Utah.Next week, activists will tour schools up the West Coast before heading backto meet up with the eastbound bus.


The LA Times,1,1320253,print.story?coll=la-headlines-magazine

Will the last gay bar in Laguna Beach please turn out the lights?
By Shawn Hubler

Shawn Hubler is a senior writer for West
March 25, 2007

The bungalow at Pacific Coast Highway and Cress Street used to be a happyhour beacon in Laguna Beach. Young men holding hands, Will-and-Grace types,the occasional gaggle of curious straights, the random lesbian couple-allwould gather on weekends at Woody's at the Beach, a cottage-y gay bar. Bymidnight, the party would spread down the block to the venerable Boom BoomRoom, with its dancing and drag queens, and to Bounce, a smaller jointacross the street.

Sometimes neighbors complained. Sometimes tourists gawked and hollered. Butthe scene, like the town's art galleries and surf shops, was part of thearea's character and history. Before Laguna Beach was conjuring images ofdrama-prone TV teens and oceanfront mansions, it was the city that electedAmerica's first openly gay mayor. Its incidence of AIDS was, for a time,among the highest per capita in the nation. The Boom Boom Room is where RockHudson and Paul Lynde and Bette Midler once partied. Woody's, under oneowner or another, had been gay for two generations.

The block-long promenade between them was like a miniature West Hollywood inthe heart of once-conservative Orange County, and locals insisted the townwouldn't be itself if it went away.

Then the Boom Boom Room was sold to a billionaire with plans to eventuallyturn the site into a boutique hotel. Within a year, the owners of Woody'sgot an offer to cash out. A family-owned Mexican restaurant took over thespace. Down went the fence that hid the back patio. In came the highchairs.When the new Avila's El Ranchito opened last month, leaving the Boom, as itis locally known, to boom alone into an uncertain future on its side of thehighway, the block took on the feel of both a beginning and an ending.

And now, though the margaritas at the new place are both popular anddelicious, the talk of the town is what will become of the local gay scene.Or, as a quipster at a coffeehouse put it one recent morning: "Will the lastgay man in Laguna please turn out the lights?"


Filmmaker: China Becoming More Open About HIV/AIDS
by The Associated Press
Posted: March 25, 2007 - 2:00 pm ET

(Hong Kong) A filmmaker who won an Oscar for a documentary about orphans ofChinese AIDS patients says Beijing is now more open about the disease afterbeing accused of covering up the 2003 SARS outbreak.

"Since 2003, after SARS, they're open about it. I would say they're notoing it for show," said Ruby Yang, who won an Oscar last month for her39-minute documentary, "The Blood of Yingzhou District."

China had been accused of covering up the outbreak of SARS, or severe acuterespiratory syndrome, which killed 349 people there and 774 worldwide.

Yang said at a talk at the University of Hong Kong late Friday that theChinese government "put a lot of effort" into public service announcementsabout AIDS that she helped produce. "Their attitude has changed a lot," shesaid.

Still, the Beijing-based Chinese-American filmmaker was cautious when askedwhether anyone had been punished in the blood-selling schemes that helpedspread AIDS in China in the 1990s.



"Gay fairytales" anger religious groups
By Kate Kelland

LONDON (Reuters) - Children as young as four are being taught about same-sexrelationships through fairytales and storybooks with gay and lesbiancharacters.

A pilot scheme to introduce children to gay issues is running in severalschools across England with stories such as "King and King", about a gayprince, or "And Tango Makes Three", about gay penguins who fall in love andraise an adopted child.

The 600,000-pound scheme, called the "No Outsiders" project, has the backingof the Department for Education and is designed to help schools adjust tonew rules on promoting homosexuality as a lifestyle.

But it has sparked anger among some religious groups who say it ishomosexual propaganda.

"This is tantamount to child abuse," said Stephen Green, director of thereligious campaign group Christian Voice. "The whole project is nothing morethan propaganda aimed at primary school children to make them sympathetic tohomosexuality."

According to those heading the "No Outsiders" project, children in oneparticipating school used the "King & King" fairytale -- which tells of aprince who rejects the love of three princesses before falling in love withand "marrying" another prince -- as a basis for writing "alternativeCinderella" stories.


Bible Belt Blogger

Kentucky's largest Methodist Church bars gays from membershipBy Frank Lockwood

Kentucky's largest Methodist congregation prevented an openly-gay woman fromjoining the church in 1999. The woman, former University of Kentucky women'sbasketball coach Dotti Berry, had insisted that homosexual conduct was notsinful, a position rejected by the leadership of Centenary United MethodistChurch in Lexington.

Berry appealed the decision to then-Bishop Robert C. Morgan, filing a formalcomplaint against Centenary pastor David Thomas on Feb. 24, 2000. The bishopstood by Thomas' decision.

The rejection of Berry by the state's largest Methodist congregation wasn'treported on by the media. Six years later, however, the pastor of a smallMethodist congregation also barred an openly-gay person from membership.That case, in rural Virginia, sparked a national controversy.

Shortly thereafter, the denomination's Council of Bishops unanimously issueda statement saying that "While pastors have the responsibility to discernreadiness for membership, homosexuality is not a barrier."

Rev. Thomas has declined to comment on Berry's case. Through a spokesman,Kentucky Bishop James R. King also declined to comment on Berry's exclusion.King is believed to be among the bishops who stated that "homosexuality isnot a barrier" to membership in the United Methodist Church.


Bible Belt Blogger

Defender of the Faith to confront Episcopal revolutionaries?
By Caleb Powers

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has reportedly refused to come tothe United States, saying his schedule this year is already booked. However,the Defender of the Faith and the Supreme Governor of the Church of Englandwill be crossing the pond later this spring.

Queen Elizabeth II will visit the United States in May, traveling toJamestown for the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown,Virginia. Her majesty will also attend the Kentucky Derby in Louisville andwill visit with the president in Washington.

It's unclear whether the titular head of the Church of England will worshipwhile she's in the U.S. On a past visit, she attended services at St. John'sEpiscopal Church in Versailles, Kentucky. The congregation split after theordination of openly-gay bishop Gene Robinson.

St. John's would undoubtedly welcome her majesty back -- as would the St.Andrews Anglican Church, a breakaway congregation which is aligned with theChurch of Uganda. Or, the Queen could worship with President Bush at anotherSt. John's Episcopal Church -- this one a stone's throw from the White Housenear Lafayette Square.

It's an awkward time for a visit. Earlier this week the House of Bishopsrejected changes advocated by the Church of England and other members of theAnglican Communion saying the proposal "violates our founding principles asthe Episcopal Church following our own liberation from colonialism."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Mar. 26, 2007
Did God create them -- male and female and gay?

Science is stealing up on America's religious fundamentalists, causing muchalarm. Consider the dilemma of the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president ofthe Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and a leading figurein the Southern Baptist firmament.

Writing in his blog this month, Mohler acknowledged that ''the direction ofthe research'' increasingly points to the possibility that a ''biologicalbasis for sexual orientation exists.'' Should sexuality be determined inutero, Mohler continued, that still wouldn't justify abortion or geneticengineering.

Nonetheless, as Mohler noted in a later blog post, his admission that thedata suggest that homosexuality may be as genetically determined as haircolor produced a torrent of irate e-mail from his fellow evangelicalChristians. Up to now, the preferred theory among Christian conservativeshas been that homosexuality is behaviorally induced and thus can beunlearned. That gave added moral weight to the biblical proscriptions of gayand lesbian sex and to the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality as a sin --though for those who believe in biblical inerrancy, no added moral weightwas necessary.

But once you recognize homosexuality as a genetic reality, it does create atheological dilemma for the Mohlers among us, for it means that God ismaking people who, in the midst of what may otherwise be morally exemplarylives, have a special and inherent predisposition to sin.

Mohler's response is that since Adam's fall, sin is the condition of allhumankind. That sidesteps, however, the conundrum that a gay person mayfollow the same God-given instincts as a straight person -- let's assumefidelity and the desire for church sanctification in both cases -- and endup damned while the straight person ends up saved. Indeed, it means that agay person's duty is to suppress his God-given instincts while a straightperson's duty is to fulfill his.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Who's Afraid of Naughty Words? The Idiocy of NSFW
By Susie Bright,
Posted on March 26, 2007, Printed on March 26, 2007

Who's afraid of naughty words? Not The New Yorker. After the spring-flingscandal about the use of the word "scrotum" in children's literature, theNYer published a satire by Paul Rudnick, which revealed X-rated stories like"The Pretty Little Bunny," (Melissa Rabbit ponders her vagina) and "TheClattery Caboose." (Don't even ask about his prostate!)

I laughed my a** off -- but wondered what would happen if I, a simpleblograt, ran the same darn thing. With nothing more than the inclusion ofthose naughty little words, my story would be labeled "NSFW" (Not Safe ForWork) in many quarters. Spam filters would block out my sun; millions ofreaders would be effectively hindered.

The New Yorker runs clever, sexually sophisticated stories all the timewithout such censorship. They say "fuck." They publish critically acclaimederotic and nude photography. They discuss and illustrate the lives of famousdecadent and kinky artists (who can forget the Balthus story?). They delivera steady diet of grown-up arts and politics which resonates with untoldnumbers of readers.

Nowhere, in all the internet, would you hear The New Yorker described asNSFW. Whether you brought their magazine to the office, or searched theirweb site online, the firewall/censorship/Dilbert Nightmare of NSFW wouldnever crease a NYer reader's brow.


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