Sunday, April 29, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST April 21, 2007

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The New York Times

April 28, 2007
Visit by Anglican Bishop Draws Episcopal Anger

WASHINGTON, April 27 -The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, a fierce critic ofthe Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality, is arriving nextweek to install a bishop to lead congregations around the country that wantto break from it.

Episcopal leaders say the visit threatens to strain further the alreadyfragile relations between their church and the rest of the worldwideAnglican Communion. But Episcopal traditionalists say there is a growingdesire among them to break away. A decision by the Episcopal Church in 2003to consecrate an openly gay priest, V. Gene Robinson, as the bishop of NewHampshire profoundly alienated those theological traditionalists, and mostof the Anglican Communion overseas, who contend that the Bible condemnshomosexuality.

The Nigerian archbishop, Peter J. Akinola, will preside over a ceremony inVirginia on May 5 installing Martyn Minns, former rector of an Episcopalchurch there, as the bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in NorthAmerica, an offshoot of the Nigerian church.

The convocation was created in part to oversee congregations that no longerwant to be in the Episcopal Church but would like to remain in the AnglicanCommunion.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church,said in a statement that Archbishop Akinola's acceptance of "an invitationto episcopal ministry here without any notice or prior invitation" was notin keeping with "the ancient practice in most of the church" that bishopsminister only within their own jurisdictions.


The New York Times

April 28, 2007
New Hampshire: Bishop Would Like a Civil Union

The Rev. V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop,said he and his partner want to be among the first couples in New Hampshireto unite officially under a civil unions measure soon to be signed into law.The state is set to become the nation's fourth to offer civil unions for gaycouples after legislation approved by the Senate was sent to Gov. JohnLynch, who has said he will sign it. "I think this moves us one step closerto the American promise to all its citizens of equality under the law," Mr.Robinson, 59, told The Associated Press. "My partner and I look forward totaking full advantage of the new law." Mr. Robinson and his partner, MarkAndrew, have been together for 18 years.


The New York Times

April 28, 2007
Keeping His Word, Spitzer Asks for Same-Sex-Marriage Law

ALBANY, April 27 - Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed legislation on Friday thatwould make New York the second state in the country to legally sanctionsame-sex marriage, fulfilling a longtime pledge to supporters of gay rights.

Mr. Spitzer has acknowledged that he does not expect the bill to pass theState Legislature and return to his desk anytime soon. Earlier this week, hesaid that he would submit the proposal anyway, "because it's a statement ofprinciple that I believe in, and I want to begin that dynamic."

Only Massachusetts currently allows same-sex marriages, a result of a 2004court decision. Many states have taken steps to ban such unions throughlegislation or ballot initiatives, but Mr. Spitzer is the country's onlygovernor to propose legislation to formally legalize such marriages.

Whether or not the bill passes in these final weeks of the legislativesession, Mr. Spitzer's proposal is likely to make same-sex marriage a liveissue in Albany in a way that it never was before.

Many members of the State Legislature have never taken a position on theissue, something that will be harder to avoid doing with the governor's billnow a reality. So it was no surprise that the proposal immediately reignitedwhat has been an emotional and bitter debate.


The Washington Post

The Right to Work
Congress must protect gay men and lesbians from workplace discrimination.

Saturday, April 28, 2007; A18

HOW ARE 17 states, 276 cities and towns (including the District of Columbia)and 433 companies of the Fortune 500 more advanced -- daresay, morecivilized -- than the federal government? They all prohibit employmentdiscrimination based on sexual orientation. It's about time Congress allowedthe nation to catch up -- and maybe it will, now that the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act has been reintroduced in the House.

No one should lose a job or be refused a promotion simply for being who heor she is. That's the animating principle of ENDA, which would make itillegal to fire, refuse to hire or refuse to promote an employee because ofthe person's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Thelegislation applies to the same employers covered under Title VII of the1964 Civil Rights Act: private employers with 15 or more employees; local,state and federal governments; and labor unions and employment agencies.

ENDA doesn't mandate domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples. Itdoesn't compel religious institutions to violate their beliefs. And itdoesn't do an end-run around the military's onerous "don't ask, don't tell"policy. But right now in 33 states, if a company wants not to hire you justbecause you're gay, it's free to discriminate. ENDA would change that.The bill is sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Deborah Pryce(R-Ohio). A Senate version of the bill is expected to be introduced nextmonth, with votes in both chambers expected in the fall.

Passage of these bills would put the federal government on the same side asthe American people, whose support for equal employment opportunities forgay men and lesbians jumped from 56 percent in 1977 to 89 percent in 2006,according to the Gallup Organization. This should come as no surprise. Theright to work -- to make a living and provide for one's family and one's ownwell being -- is among the most basic of American rights. It's a matter offairness, and it should no longer be off-limits to gay men and lesbians.


The Washington Post

Conservative Black Pastors Fight Bill on Hate Crimes
At Issue Are Sermons Against Homosexuality

By Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 28, 2007; B09

A coalition of conservative African American pastors is lobbying Congress tovote against a bill that would extend federal hate-crimes laws to covergays, saying they fear it would prevent them from preaching againsthomosexuality.

Several pastors last week urged House Judiciary Committee Chairman JohnConyers Jr. (D-Mich.), a sponsor of the bill, and other members of theCongressional Black Caucus to vote against the proposed Local LawEnforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

They say it would pin the hate crime label on their sermons againsthomosexuality, which they consider a sin.

"This bill will offer a status for gays, lesbians and transgender peopleunder the equal protection status that can muzzle the black church," saidBishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., pastor of Hope Christian Church in Lanham andfounder of the High Impact Leader Coalition. "This law can be applied in theway that can keep the church from preaching the Gospel."

Gay activists compare the bill to civil rights legislation of the 1960s.


The Washington Post

New York governor proposes legalizing gay marriage

By Holly McKenna
Friday, April 27, 2007; 5:01 PM

ALBANY, New York (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer proposed legalizingsame-sex marriage on Friday even though he expects the bill to be rejectedby the legislature.

The bill faces opposition from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers wholikely will prevent New York from becoming the second state afterMassachusetts to recognize marriage of gay and lesbian couples.Spitzer's bill fulfills a campaign pledge to press for equal marriage rightsfor same-sex couples, a spokeswoman said.

The governor had said on Monday he did not think it would be passed but thathe would submit the proposal as a "statement of principle."

The legislation would offer same-sex couples the same legal protectionstaken for granted by married people in areas such as property ownership,inheritance, hospital visitation and pension benefits, Spitzer, a Democrat,said in a statement.


The Washington Post

Polish PM: More Gays Bad for Society

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 26, 2007; 3:32 PM

WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's conservative prime minister rejected EuropeanUnion criticism Thursday of a proposal to fire teachers for "homosexualpropaganda," saying it was not in the interest of society to have more gaypeople.

Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said homosexuals did not facediscrimination in his country, responding to an EU parliament vote to send amission to Poland to investigate recent anti-gay comments by seniorofficials.

"Nobody is limiting gay rights in Poland," Kaczynski told reporters hoursafter the vote.

"However, if we're talking about not having homosexual propaganda in Polishschools, I fully agree with those who feel this way," he said. "Suchpropaganda should not be in schools; it definitely doesn't serve youthwell."

"It's not in the interest of any society to increase the number ofhomosexuals _ that's obvious."


ABC News

O'Donnell Leaving 'The View'
Rosie O'Donnell Announced Today Her Departure From 'The View'
April 25, 2007 -

ABC has been unable to come to a contractual agreement with Rosie O'Donnell.As a result, her hosting duties on "The View" will come to an end mid-June.

"They wanted me three years, I wanted one year, and it just didn't work,"said O'Donnell on today's show.

Despite controversy -- or maybe because of it -- O'Donnell was good businessfor ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co. Ratings for "The View" during Februarysweeps were up 15 percent in key women demographics over the same time in2006.

Those fans don't have to worry -- she will still be on the show in smallerdoses.

"I'm not going away. I'm just not going to be here every day," addedO'Donnell.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2094147,print.story

No one on TV alienated more Americans
by Bill O'Reilly

April 28, 2007

Three weeks ago, I wrapped up my column by stating: "Launching personalattacks on Donald Trump is one thing. Accusing your country of trumping up9-11 and committing war crimes is quite something else. Rosie O'Donnell hascast her fate to an ill wind. Nothing good will come of it."

That piece of prognostication was easy, and when Rosie announced her exitfrom ABC this week, it was no surprise. As Ms. O'Donnell became increasinglyunhinged on television and in public appearances, the Disney Company, whichowns ABC, found itself in an impossible position. Disney has one of the mostendearing images in corporate America, and one employee was ransacking thatimage. Anyone who knows anything about the corporate culture knew theiceberg collision was looming ever closer.

The ship really began listing after Ms. O'Donnell appeared at a chi-chiwomen's award luncheon and launched into an obscene tirade against Trump.Scores of corporate power brokers witnessed the embarrassing display, as didsome teenaged girls who were receiving college scholarships from the "Womenin Communications" group. Despite strenuous spinning by Rosie's handlers,Disney realized that not even Peter Pan could fix this one.

The amazing thing is Ms. O'Donnell lasted so long. Never in the history ofAmerican television has one performer alienated so many people. Rosiecompared "radical" Christians to Muslim terrorists. Rosie announced noAmerican Catholic should be allowed to be a judge because of the church'scondemnation of abortion. She accused President Bush of committing treason.The hits just kept on coming.

For those of us in the television industry, it was fascinating to watch.While Don Imus was figuratively burned at the stake, and Ann Coulter exiledfrom polite society for using a gay slur, Rosie kept rolling right alongwith Fortune 500 companies paying her way.


The Sun-Sentinel,1,3686377,print.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

Teacher in Paper Flap Can Still Teach
By Associated Press

April 26, 2007, 10:52 PM EDT

WOODBURN, Ind. -- A high school teacher who faced losing her job after astudent newspaper published an editorial advocating tolerance of gays cancontinue teaching at another school.

Amy Sorrell, 30, reached an agreement that allows her to be transferred toanother high school to teach English, said her attorney, Patrick Proctor.

"The school administration has said in no uncertain terms that she's notgoing to be given a journalism position," Proctor said.

Sorrell, who had been an English and journalism instructor at WoodlanJunior-Senior High School, was placed on paid leave March 19, two monthsafter an editorial advocating tolerance of homosexuals ran in Woodlan'sstudent newspaper, The Tomahawk. Sorrell had been the newspaper's adviser.

School officials in the conservative northern Indiana community about 10miles east of Fort Wayne said Sorrell did not comply with an agreement toalert the principal about controversial articles.


The Sun-Sentinel,1,4554674.story?ctrack=3&cset=true

Sports Columnist: 'I Am a Transsexual'
By Associated Press
Posted April 26 2007, 7:52 PM EDT

LOS ANGELES -- A veteran sports writer for the Los Angeles Times said in hiscolumn Thursday that he is a transsexual.

Mike Penner told readers of his struggle to embrace his gender, and saidwhen he returns from vacation in a few weeks he will be known as ChristineDaniels. He did not say whether he was having surgery or why he's changinghis last name.

The 49-year-old Penner said his brain has been "wired female" and he's triedto fight off the urge to change sexes. He called writing a story about hissexuality the "most frightening of all the towering mountains of fear Isomehow had to confront and struggle to scale."

"How do you go about sharing your most important truth, one you spent alifetime trying to keep deeply buried, to a world that has grown familiarand comfortable with your facade?" Penner asked.

Penner, who is married to another Los Angeles Times writer, said he startedcoming out about two months ago by telling his boss, his barber and a soccerteammate, and that he now feels happier and healthier.


The Sun-Sentinel,1,7491038,print.story

Boom in Christianity Reshapes Methodists
AP Religion Writer

April 24, 2007, 2:33 PM EDT

The United Methodist Church is the latest Protestant group caught in theshifting currents of world Christianity. While the American denomination isshrinking at home, its congregations in the developing world are growingexplosively.

Over the last decade, the number of United Methodists outside the U.S. morethan tripled. The denomination's largest district is now in the West Africannation of Ivory Coast. At the next national church assembly, the 2008General Conference in Texas, overseas delegates will have more say than everin the church's future -- as many as 30 percent could come from abroad.

"Trends suggest that Christianity is going to continue to grow as a globalphenomenon, and denominations that have thought of themselves as beingpredominantly North American in character are going to have to get overthat," said William Lawrence, dean of the Perkins School of Theology, aMethodist seminary in Dallas.

Nearly 8 million United Methodists are now in the U.S., with another 3.5million church members overseas. The denomination is the third-largest inthe nation behind Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists, and middle-classworshippers mostly fill the pews of its American churches.

But if current patterns continue, within decades the typical UnitedMethodist will be from Africa. While international congregations expand, thedenomination's U.S. ranks have decreased by 19 percent since the 1970s.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Apr. 28, 2007
Center for Reclaiming America for Christ is shuttered

The Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, founded more than a decade agoto propagate a largely anti-abortion, anti-gay message, has closed itsdoors.

The offshoot of Coral Ridge Ministries laid off an undisclosed number ofworkers Thursday at its headquarters here and at an office in Washington inwhat was called simply a "streamlining."

"We're getting back to our core competency, the production of media," saidBrian Fisher, executive vice president at Coral Ridge, which was founded bythe Rev. D. James Kennedy. "Our heart and soul is the teaching of Dr.Kennedy, and getting it to more people than those who come to church."

Kennedy has been absent from the public view since suffering a heart attackin December. He founded the Center for Reclaiming America in 1996. It haslaunched e-mail and petition drives for its causes and hosts an annualconference that attracted conservatives such as Ann Coulter.

Fisher wouldn't say how many people were laid off but said Coral RidgeMinistries, which produces TV and radio programs and publishes books, stillhas more than 120 employees. A spokesman said Coral Ridge had a budget of$37 million in 2005.


The Express Gay News

Judge in McGreevey divorce says being gay 'is not significant'
Temporary joint custody arrangement to continue for now
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) | Apr 27, 5:19 PM

A state judge handling the divorce of the nation's first openly gay governorand his estranged wife on Friday urged them to use "common sense" and trymediation as they dissolve their marriage.

The courtroom session with former Gov. James E. McGreevey and his wife, DinaMatos McGreevey, was their first public appearance together since he toldthe world he was "a gay American" more than two years ago.

After meeting privately with their lawyers regarding custody issues andother motions in the couple's contentious divorce case, Superior Court JudgeKaren Cassidy convened court and said that the former governor's sexualorientation is not significant.

She said the couple agreed that the current visitation arrangements wouldcontinue for now. The McGreeveys have joint custody of their only child,5-year-old Jacqueline, with Dina Matos McGreevey as the primary parent. Thechild visits her father every other weekend.

The judge also said the couple agreed to obtain a parenting coordinator, andthat the girl would not be permitted to sleep in the same bed with someoneother than her mother or father. The judge also told them to not exposetheir daughter to non-age appropriate activities.


Mail & Guardian

Life slowly gets easier for gay people in Kenya
Majority of US syphilis cases are now in gay men
Michael Carter, Friday, April 27, 2007

Almost two-thirds of syphilis cases in the United States in 2003 were in gaymen and other men who have sex with men, according to a study published inthe June edition of the American Journal of Public Health. A fall in theincidence of syphilis of over 50% amongst heterosexual men and women between2000 and 2003 was more than offset by a significant increase in theincidence of the infection amongst men who have sex with men.

Syphilis causes genital ulcers and can facilitate the transmission andacquisition of HIV infection. It can also act as a marker for risky sexualactivity, although the infection can be readily transmitted during sexualactivities, such as oral sex, which do not involve a significant risk of HIVtransmission.

During the 1980s, there was a 54% increase in the incidence of primary andsecondary syphilis in the United States, with African-Americansdisproportionately affected by the disease. It is thought that the increasein syphilis during the 1980s was tied to the increasing use of crack cocaineand prostitution by some users to fund their habit. By the mid-1990s,however, the incidence of syphilis in the US had fallen sharply, and in 1999a national syphilis elimination plan was published.

This trend has since reversed, with an increase in every year since 2001 inthe incidence of primary and secondary syphilis. The US is not alone inexperiencing a re-emergence of the infection, with outbreaks of syphilisreported across the UK and Europe, often focused on gay men, since the late1990s.

Investigators therefore used data provided from each of the US states and 63large American cities to analyse trends in syphilis from 1990 to 2003. Theypaid particular attention to the re-emergence of the infection amongst gaymen since the late 1990s.


Episcopal leader holds firm on gay rights
Says N.H. bishop's election a blessing
By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | April 25, 2007

Saying "I don't believe that there is any will in this church to movebackward," the top official of the Episcopal Church USA said yesterday thatthe election of an openly gay bishop in New Hampshire has been "a greatblessing" despite triggering intense controversy and talk of possibleschism.

In an interview during a visit to Boston, Presiding Bishop KatharineJefferts Schori compared the gay rights struggle to battles over slavery andwomen's rights, and said she believes that it has become a vocation for theEpiscopal Church "to keep questions of human sexuality in conversation, andbefore not just the rest of our own church, but the rest of the world."

Jefferts Schori said that it could take 50 years for the debate overhomosexuality to be resolved, but that she believes it will happen. She saidshe hopes that the Anglican Communion, an umbrella organization includingthe Episcopal Church and the Church of England, will stay together.

"Where the protesters are, in some parts of Africa or in other parts of theAnglican Communion today, is where this church and this society we live inwas 50 years ago, and for us to assume that people can move that distance ina year or in a relatively instantaneous manner is perhaps faithless," shesaid. "That kind of movement and development has taken us a good deal ofpain and energy over 40 or 50 years, and I think we have to make some spaceso that others can make that journey as well."

Jefferts Schori, a 53-year-old oceanographer who was ordained an Episcopalpriest just 13 years ago, has been attempting to guide the 2.4 millionmember Episcopal Church through controversy since she was elected the 26thpresiding bishop last summer, three years after the Episcopal Diocese of NewHampshire triggered the controversy by choosing the Rev. V. Gene Robinson,an openly gay man in a long-term partnered relationship, as its next bishop.


National Gay News

Thursday, 26 April 2007 13:00
Iowa Becomes 10th State to Pass Transgender-Inclusive Nondiscrimination Law

All Iowa Residents and Now Over One-Third of the U.S. Covered byTransgender-Inclusive Anti-Discrimination Protections. Iowa Becomes TenthState to Pass Trans-Inclusive Nondiscrimination Legislation; Bill ClearsLegislature, Awaits Governor's Signature.

(Washington, DC) -- Today Iowa made a historic stride forward in protectingthe civil rights of transgender people. With bipartisan support, Iowa'sHouse of Representatives voted 59-37 to approve a bill outlawingdiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. TheIowa Senate affirmed their desire to see this bill become law with aconcurrence vote of 34-16. "The National Center for Transgender Equalitycongratulates advocates in Iowa who helped the Hawkeye state become thetenth state to pass a law that explicitly protects transgender people fromdiscrimination," said Mara Keisling, executive director of NCTE.

"This legislation represents a huge civil rights victory for Iowa'stransgender communities, but we must continue to fight for explicitlytransgender-inclusive protections on the federal level so people nationwidecan access opportunities for employment, housing, and public accommodationswithout fear of discriminatory practices."

Governor Culver is expected to sign the bill into law thus making it illegalto discriminate in employment, public accommodation, credit, housing andeducation based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Recognizing the need to curb rampant discrimination against transgenderpeople, now ten states, the District of Columbia and 80+ cities and countiesacross the country have passed explicitly transgender-inclusiveanti-discrimination laws. These laws currently cover over one-third of theUS population.

About the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE): The NationalCenter for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organizationdevoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender peoplethrough education and advocacy on national issues of importance totransgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a501(c)3 organization. For more information, please visit


Gay Russia

04/26/2007 18:53:29
Russia: Gays Prepare for More Than Their Fight
Moscow will have its second gay pride festival on 26-27 May

Overseas gay leaders, mainly from the United States, Britain, theNetherlands, Germany, France and Italy, have expressed their overwhelmingsupport and solidarity for their Russian colleagues in the uphill strugglefor rights.

A British human rights campaigner declared that it's laughable for Russianauthorities to consider a peaceful and joyful association of gay members asa serious threat to national security and to be treated as an extremistgroup in a country pursuing democracy and seeking ascension untointernational institutions.

"The violent suppression of gay groups is an ugly day for all Russians whoadhere to democratic norms and who treasure liberty and justice. Democracyand human rights are the losers, and this simply signifies another case ofRussia's appalling human rights record, a British human rights campaignerfor the gay group OutRage Peter Tachell told IPS this week. "If a fewpeaceful gay protesters can be treated as enemies of the state, then thelikelihood that Russia will tolerate dissent from any other quarters lookshighly improbable."

President Putin and Luzhkov are stifling basic rights of ordinary people andtheir social groups which are highly non-political, confirming authoritarianregime in the country. Russia's christian, judaism and muslim leaders areunited in demanding the suppression of "Moscow Gay Pride." Theirencouragement of homophobic prejudice makes a mockery of their pious claimsthat their faith is about love and compassion. The Moscow Pride marcherswere the victims of state repression on May 27 last year. They were not thefirst victims of Russia's reemerging authoritarian state, and who will benext? This ought to be an issue of concern for all Russians, whatever theirsexuality.

Many shared the same views with Tachell that Moscow mayor, Yury Luhzkov, byputting restriction on "Moscow Gay Pride" violates the Russian constitutionand the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which guarantees theright to peaceful protest.

Following last year's ban, the peaceful march organiser, Nikolay Alekseyev,has filed an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Despite thefrequent clampdown on the group, still Alekseyev sees the gay rights battleas part of the wider struggle for Russian democracy and human rights.Foreign colleagues say he is a very brave and inspiring man.


National Gay News

Thousands to Converge On Miami and the Beaches
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 16:56
Thousands to Converge On Miamiand the Beaches for 7th Annual Aqua Girl

Nation's Largest Women's Fundraiser
Benefits Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women

May 10 - May 13 is expected to attract thousands of women from all over theworld, converging on Miami / Miami Beach for five fun-filled days of music,dancing, dining, comedy, kayaking and friendship - as only women can do!

Now in its seventh year, Aqua Girl has evolved to be ranked among the mostwidely attended events for women and is the nation's largest non-profitwomen's weekend. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Aqua Girl benefitsthe Aqua Foundation for Women (previously the Women's Community Fund), anot-for-profit 501(C)3 organization, which also produces the event. TheFoundation's primary mission is to promote the equality, strength, healthand visibility of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) women.

Aqua Girl '07 events take place at some of the hottest nightclubs,restaurants and venues in the Miami area, with an A-List roster ofentertainment, including DJs Shannon, Pride, Nena, Dez Rock, Kimberly S andAlyson Calagna. Culinary delights abound, with a dinner party at Pearl onMiami Beach and a Jazz Brunch at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.

Prior to the five-day whirlwind of events, the Miami Gay & Lesbian FilmFestival is co-sponsoring a special Aqua Girl screening of the campy film,Itty, Bitty, Titty Committee at the Colony Theatre on Miami Beach. Followingthe film, attendees will head over to The Space in Miami's trendy WynwoodArts District, for cocktails and an array of culinary delights fromcelebrity chefs. Celebrity hosts include actress Nicole Vicius, fameddirector Jamie Babbit (L Word, Ugly Betty, But I'm A Cheerleader) andproducer Andrea Sperling.

Laughter is universal, and Aqua Girl's "Night of Comedy" at the ColonyTheatre on Saturday, May 12 promises an evening of non-stop laughs withveteran comedian René Hicks. One of America's favorite lesbian comedians,René has performed her intelligent and universally appealing humor incountless clubs across the US and internationally, resulting in her havingbeen the first African-American woman nominated for an American Comedy Awardfor "Best Female Stand-Up." She has appeared on numerous television shows,including her own half hour special - Comedy Central Presents...René Hicks,as well as ABC's Politically Incorrect, Showtime's Full Frontal Comedy andNBC's Comedy Showcas" with Louie Anderson. She also has appeared at famedNevada hotels including Harrah's, Bally's, and MGM Grand.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Indianapolis Billboards Claim the Bible Affirms Homosexuality

Signs are sponsored by gay-affirming church.

from staff reports, Citizen Link, 4-25-2007

A pro-gay billboard campaign in Indiana attempts to use the Bible as a basisfor supporting homosexuality.

The 22 signs in Indianapolis are sponsored by Jesus Metropolitan CommunityChurch and Faith in America. Pastor Jeff Miner described one of thebillboards that proclaims, "Ruth Loved Naomi as Adam Loved Eve."

"Most people probably have no idea that the Bible does contain a number ofpowerfully affirming passages toward gay people," he told Family News inFocus.

Another billboard recasts the story of the Roman centurion who asked Jesusto heal his servant and claims "Jesus Affirmed a Gay Couple."

"The (Greek) word that the Roman centurion uses to describe this sick personis 'pais,' " Miner said, "which is precisely the word that was used inancient Greek to refer to one's same-sex partner."

Joe Dallas, author of The Gay Gospel, a book debunking such twisting ofScripture, took issue with the claims.

"You really have to do mental gymnastics to do this," he said.

Dallas explained there's nothing in the Bible that suggests the relationshipbetween Ruth and Naomi was anything other than a deep friendship. And Greeklexicons render the word "pais" as simply a servant or a child, not asame-sex partner.

"It shows a certain mindset," Dallas said, "when someone cannot read abouttwo people loving each other without assuming that the love was sexual."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

WorldNet Daily


Ban on 'mom' and 'dad' considered - again

California agenda would require K-12 'gay' indoctrination

By Bob Unruh, Friday, April 27, 2007

A plan that has been launched in the California state Assembly - again -could be used to ban references to "mom" and "dad" in public schoolsstatewide by prohibiting anything that would "reflect adversely" on thehomosexual lifestyle choice.

It's similar to a plan WND reported was approved by lawmakers last year, butfell by the wayside when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it.

"SB 777 forcibly thrusts young school children into dealing with sexualissues, requiring that homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality betaught in a favorable light," according to an alert issued by the CapitolResource Institute.

"Not only does SB 777 require that classroom instruction and materialspromote and embrace controversial sexual practices, it also bansschool-sponsored activities from 'reflecting adversely' on homosexuals,bisexuals and transsexuals," the group said.

"Pushing this radical homosexual agenda in California schools will stiflethe truth in favor of political correctness and will inevitably conflictwith the religious and moral convictions of both students and parents," saidCRI Executive Director Karen England. "The full ramifications of thissweeping legislation could affect the entire nation as most textbookcompanies tailor their material to their number one purchaser: California."

She noted that Los Angeles schools already have implemented most of theproposals now pending for districts across the state, and among the changesare:

"Mom" and "dad" and "husband" and "wife" would have to be edited from alltexts.

Cheerleading and sports teams would have to be gender-neutral.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Human Rights Activists To Defy
Eastern European Mayor's Ban On Public Assembly
Moldova's First-Ever Pride March Set for Sunday, April 29;
International Solidarity Vigils To Be Held Simultaneously

New York City--Human rights activists from the Netherlands, Sweden, Romania,the Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada and the United States willjoin local Pride organizers in the Eastern European nation of Moldova thisweekend to protest the Mayor of Chisinau's refusal to adhere to a SupremeCourt mandate granting the rights of public assembly and equal protectionunder the law to LGBT citizens.

Caught up in the lightning-like speed of social and political transformationsweeping through nations wanting to join the European Union, the MoldovanSupreme Court ruled late last year that the repeated denial of the right toassemble, the right to free speech and the right to peaceful protest forMoldova's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens was both"unconstitutional" and "unjustifiable." Legal protections for marginalizedgroups, including LGBT people, is a requirement to join the European Union.

In a face-off with the Mayor and City Council of Moldova's capital city ofChisinau, human rights activists including Boris Balanetkii, ExecutiveDirector of GenderDoc-M, Moldova's first gay rights organization, and TheRev. Diane Fisher, Bishop for the Eastern European Region of MetropolitanCommunity Churches, have called for demonstrations at government sites inthe capital city on Friday, April 27, 2007. The demonstrations will demandthe issuance of parade permits for Moldova's first-ever Gay Pride Marchscheduled for Sunday, April 29.

Demonstrators are facing the threat of arrest and imprisonment by civilauthorities at both Friday's demonstration and Sunday's scheduled PrideMarch, as well as public threats of violence.

Contact for the full article.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

All Iowa Residents and Now Over One-Third of the U.S. Covered byTransgender-Inclusive Anti-Discrimination Protections

Iowa Becomes Tenth State to Pass Trans-Inclusive NondiscriminationLegislation; Bill Clears Legislature, Awaits Governor's Signature

(Washington, DC) -- Today Iowa made a historic stride forward in protectingthe civil rights of transgender people. With bipartisan support, Iowa'sHouse of Representatives voted 59-37 to approve a bill outlawingdiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. TheIowa Senate affirmed their desire to see this bill become law with aconcurrence vote of 34-16.

"The National Center for Transgender Equality congratulates advocates inIowa who helped the Hawkeye state become the tenth state to pass a law thatexplicitly protects transgender people from discrimination," said MaraKeisling, executive director of NCTE. "This legislation represents a hugecivil rights victory for Iowa's transgender communities, but we mustcontinue to fight for explicitly transgender-inclusive protections on thefederal level so people nationwide can access opportunities for employment,housing, and public accommodations without fear of discriminatorypractices."

Governor Culver is expected to sign the bill into law thus making it illegalto discriminate in employment, public accommodation, credit, housing andeducation based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

Recognizing the need to curb rampant discrimination against transgenderpeople, now ten states, the District of Columbia and 80+ cities and countiesacross the country have passed explicitly transgender-inclusiveanti-discrimination laws. These laws currently cover over one-third of theUS population.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Russia: Gays Prepare for More Than Their Fight

04/26/2007 18:53:29

Russia: Gays Prepare for More Than Their Fight

Moscow will have its second gay pride festival on 26-27 May

Overseas gay leaders, mainly from the United States, Britain, theNetherlands, Germany, France and Italy, have expressed their overwhelmingsupport and solidarity for their Russian colleagues in the uphill strugglefor rights. A British human rights campaigner declared that it's laughablefor Russian authorities to consider a peaceful and joyful association of gaymembers as a serious threat to national security and to be treated as anextremist group in a country pursuing democracy and seeking ascension untointernational institutions.

"The violent suppression of gay groups is an ugly day for all Russians whoadhere to democratic norms and who treasure liberty and justice. Democracyand human rights are the losers, and this simply signifies another case ofRussia's appalling human rights record, a British human rights campaignerfor the gay group OutRage Peter Tachell told IPS this week. "If a fewpeaceful gay protesters can be treated as enemies of the state, then thelikelihood that Russia will tolerate dissent from any other quarters lookshighly improbable."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Book: "Criminal HIV Transmission"

A ground-breaking new medico-legal book on the criminal transmission of HIVhas been published by NAM, the HIV information charity. 'Criminal HIVTransmission' contains all the medical, clinical, social, epidemiologicaland forensic science of HIV transmission as it relates to criminal law,written in clear, layperson's language.

In recent years there have been numerous criminal investigations, and agrowing number of convictions, for "reckless" transmission of HIV, theimplications of which have created considerable anxiety amongst peopleliving with HIV, and many of the professionals who work with them.

The dramatic evolution of HIV treatments, as well as the stigma associatedwith the virus, has led to a great deal of misunderstanding about life withHIV, how and why the virus continues to be transmitted, how HIV transmissioncan be 'proven', and other important issues that relate to criminal HIVtransmission.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Two New Urgent Gay Iranian Cases Need Your Help

New from DIRELAND, April 25


A 35-year-old gay Iranian refugee is about to be deported from the U.K.back to Iran, and he is now on a hunger strike to protest thedeportation order. Meanwhile, an underground gay activist and bloggerin Iran, who managed to flee to Turkey with the police on his heels,has been repatriated to Iran, where he faces trial shortly on chargesarising out of his pro-gay activisities--and the Iranian QueerOrganization has launched an emergency appeal for funds to hirea "passer" to get this young activist smuggled out of Iran before he isjailed and tortured.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Does circumcision affect your sex life? Scientists are divided

Wed Apr 25, 2:20 PM ET

Two studies have thrown up conflicting evidence as to whether circumcisioncould harm a man's sex life, New Scientist reports in its next issue.

The question is especially important, given the World Health Organisation's(WHO's) recent endorsement of circumcision in the panoply of weapons totackle the spread of AIDS.

In a study led by Kimberley Payne of the Riverside Professional Center inOttawa, 20 circumcised and 20 uncircumcised men watched erotic movies whiletheir penises were measured for sensitivity at two points, using filamentsthat pressed down with predetermined amounts of pressure.

There was no difference in penile sensation between the two groups,according to their research.

However, a team led by Robert Van Howe of Michigan State University used asimilar method, but measuring penile sensitivity at 19 points among 163circumcised and uncircumcised men.

The five most sensitive points are all in portions of the penis removed bycircumcision, especially those in folds exposed as the penis becomes erect,Van Howe believes.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

State gives marriage benefits to households

March 9, 2007

HONOLULU (AP) - Same-sex partners and family members who live together couldreceive similar health benefits as married couples under a bill passedThursday in the state House.

The bill extends state and county health coverage to couples who aren'tlegally allowed to marry. The measure passed by a 34-6 vote, with 11representatives absent. It now advances to the state Senate.

"This will expand rights for everybody," said Rep. Joe Bertram,
The measure was proposed as a replacement for legislation that would haveallowed gay couples to enter into civil unions. After more than five hoursof testimony, that proposal didn't have enough support in a House committeeto advance last week.

In previous hearings, gay rights advocates argued against this bill becausethey said it undermined their push for civil unions.

"No one in the gay community wanted this bill," said Rep. Gene Ward,R-Kalama Valley-Hawaii Kai, who voted against it. "The gay community hassaid unequivocally they want same-sex marriage or civil unions, and not thisbill."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

FBI opening far fewer civil rights inquiries
Terrorism supersedes hate crimes, police abuse

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The FBI touts civil rights enforcement as a top priority, but the number ofinvestigations into such cases -- from hate crimes to the actions of roguepolice officers -- has fallen sharply, raising concerns that victims areleft with nowhere else to turn.

Pressed by the Bush administration to beef up counterterrorism ranks, theFBI has pulled agents off civil rights and slashed the number of criminalinvestigations conducted nationwide.

The bureau has tacitly adopted more-stringent standards governing whichcases to open. That move has contributed to two-thirds fewer investigationstargeting abusive police officers, cross-burners and other purveyors of hatefrom 2001 to 2005, according to a Seattle P-I analysis of Justice Departmentdata.

The downward trend began in 1999 and accelerated after the 9/11 terroristattacks, the analysis found.

Civil rights experts -- and even one of the Justice Department's top civilrights lawyers -- are troubled by the trend. They say hate-crime enforcementis too important to ignore, and there is a deterrent effect to federalreview of police misconduct that is being muted.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

NZ gay teens targeted by bullies
Ref: The Christchurch Press, (m)

Students who admit to being lesbian or gay during their teenage years aremore likely to be bullied and less likely to succeed in education, a MasseyUniversity study says.

The Lavender Islands survey, the most extensive survey of gays and lesbiansto be done in New Zealand, found that declaring their sexuality at a youngage is associated with bullying and lower educational achievement.

People who had gone on to higher education were more likely to come outlater in life.

The study, which questioned more than 2000 lesbian, gay and bisexual people,found that two-thirds of female respondents and three-quarters of malessurveyed had been verbally abused at school because of their sexuality.

9% of women and 18% of men had been physically assaulted.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

An Iranian Gay Blogger Activist, who fled Iran's police, captured by Turkey'sPolice and was deported back to Iran, needs your help

April 17, 2007

Dear Friends,

This is an urgent appeal on behalf of a courageous Iranian gay activist whowas deported from Turkey back to Iran two weeks ago.

For security reasons, we will call this activist Babak. He is 27-years-old,and has been working as a translator/writer for Cheraq, the Iranian QueerOrganization's (IRQO) on-line monthly magazine for the past year. He is agay writer and blogger who actively pursued queer rights through hisinsightful articles.

After receiving threats from under-cover Iranian police, Babak fled Iran andwent to Turkey, where he was arrested by police for lack of documents.Arsham Parsi, Executive Director of the IRQO, who was in Turkey presenting areport on queer Iranian asylum seekers, contacted the United Nations HighCommission on Refugees (UNHCR) and informed them of Babak's case. The UNHCRoffice called theTurkish police, and requested that Babak be released andallowed to file a claim for refugee status. Unfortunately, he was insteaddeported to Iran, where he was jailed, beaten and tortured. After beingreleased on bail, Babak was forced into hiding. He presently has contactwith only one person and has no access to internet or phone services. It iscritical that he be smuggled out of Iran before his trial.

Babak was born in Iran and sent to Bahrain as a child labourer. He returnedto Iran a young man with a cause. Fluent in both Arabic and Farsi, he is aprecious resource. He translated and wrote tirelessly for the LGBTQcommunity in Arabic and Farsi newspapers. His research in Persian and Arabclassic literature yielded strong evidence of gay men's long history in bothnations . This research endows gay Iranian men with a positive, legitimateidentity, and contradicts the government's claim that homosexuality is adisease imported from the West to attack Persian social values.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Thu 26 Apr 2007
Nigerian lesbian flees after marrying four women

LAGOS (Reuters) - A Nigerian lesbian has gone into hiding to avoid arrestdays after marrying four women in the Islamic city of Kano, local mediareported on Thursday.

An estimated 2,000 guests watched Aunty Maiduguri, 45, wed the four women in
a sumptuous ceremony that was followed by two days of feasting andmerry-making.

But neighbours tipped off the authorities, who enforce Sharia law.

"As defenders of Sharia law, we shall not allow this unhealthy developmentto take place," Rabo Abdulkarim, deputy commander of the state Islamicpolice, told ThisDay newspaper.

"We are investigating the matter with a view to find the culprits and punishthem."

Kano is one of 12 states in northern Nigeria that introduced Sharia in 2000.

Homosexuality is also illegal under secular law in Nigeria. The governmentintroduced a bill last year explicitly to outlaw gay marriage in response toits legalisation in some Western countries.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay rights grow in Colombia
Legislation pending to extend benefits to same-sex couples
Mike Ceaser, Chronicle Foreign Service

Thursday, April 26, 2007

(04-26) 04:00 PDT Bogota, Colombia -- Sebastian Romero had a nasty gashabove his lip and several fractured teeth from a pistol-whipping he receivedby an off-duty police officer who nearly ran down him and his partner,Arturo Sanjuan, in a city park last year.

Had he been heterosexual, says Romero, a then-unemployed biologist withouthealth insurance, his partner's medical plan would have taken care of hissubsequent surgery. He and Sanjuan, a university professor, have beentogether for six years -- four more than are required by Colombian law forstraight couples involved in a stable relationship to receive benefits.

Because Colombian law at the time didn't recognize such benefits forsame-sex couples, Romero went into debt to pay his hospital expenses. "It'sstructural discrimination," the 28-year-old said. "Otherwise, I would havepaid 10 percent of my medical bills."

Romero, Sanjuan and gay rights leaders expect legislation advancing throughCongress to provide same-sex couples not only health benefits but socialsecurity and pension rights -- legal changes that were unthinkable a decadeago.

A Supreme Court ruling in February has already granted same-sex couples whohave lived together for more than two years the same inheritance rights asmarried couples, pushing this traditionally conservative Roman Catholicnation into the forefront of the gay rights movement in Latin America.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Taxpayer-subsidized US House Chaplain Promotes Homo-hater Rev. Dobson

Our nation's political and legal doctrine of maintaining a strict separationof church and state should, in my opinion, mean that both the Senate and theHouse should not open every day with a prayer or sermon from a religiousfigure, but that's a somewhat naive expectation. Both chambers begin thepeople's business, when the politicians are actually working, with a fewwords from their respective chaplains.

The most recent challenge to end the Congressional chaplain offices was in2004, but US District Court for Washington, DC, rejected the lawsuit. Hence,the taxpayers continue to subsidize two religious figures, and theiragendas. Click here for a concise summary and history of these offices.

The Rev. Barry C. Black, a Navy vet and Seventh-day Adventist minister, isthe Senate's chaplain, and his annual salary is $143,000. Black is the firstAfrican American to hold this position. His web page is basic, with noarchive of his opening prayers, list of activities or names of any guestpreachers starting the Senate's day.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Daily Women's Health Policy

Opinion | Editorials, Opinion Pieces Respond to Report on Abstinence-OnlySex Education
[Apr 26, 2007]

Several newspapers recently published editorials and opinion piecesresponding to a report released earlier this month that found thatabstinence-only sex education programs are not effective in preventing ordelaying teenagers from having sexual intercourse. The report, commissionedby Congress and released earlier this month by Mathematica Policy Research,followed 2,057 U.S. teenagers in late elementary and middle school whoparticipated in four abstinence programs, as well as students in the samegrades who did not participate in such programs. About half of the studentswho received abstinence education and about half of those who did notreported that they abstained from sex. More than one-third of both groups

had two or more sexual partners; 23% of both groups reported having had sexand always using a condom; 17% of both groups reported having had sex andonly sometimes using a condom; and 4% of the students in both groupsreported having had sex and never using a condom, according to the report(Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 4/16). Summaries appear below.


a.. Christian Science Monitor: The Bush administration has the opportunityto "refute" charges that it has "ignor[ed] science" by "heeding thesefindings and retooling its efforts," a Monitor editorial says. "To confrontthe apparent failures of abstinence programs is not to give up on teenabstinence as a standard," the editorial says, adding that comprehensive sexeducation classes that include abstinence might be "more useful" thanabstinence-only programs (Christian Science Monitor, 4/24).



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Bush Blames the Troops
By Robert Scheer, Truthdig
Posted on April 25, 2007, Printed on April 29, 2007

Blame it on the military but make it look like you're supporting the troops.That's been the convenient gambit of failed emperors throughout history asthey witnessed their empires decline. Not surprisingly then, it's become thestandard rhetorical trick employed by President Bush in shirkingresponsibility for the Iraq debacle of his making.

Ignoring the fact that we have a system of civilian control over themilitary, which is why he, the elected president, is designated thecommander in chief, Bush hides behind the fiction that the officers in thefield are calling the shots when in fact he has put them in an unwinnablesituation and refuses to even consider a timetable for getting them out.

He did it again Monday, responding to the prospect that both houses ofCongress seem in agreement on setting guidelines for the "progress" that thepresident continually proclaims is at hand. "I will strongly reject anartificial timetable [for] withdrawal and/or Washington politicians tryingto tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job."

This is disingenuous in the extreme, because Bush is the Washingtonpolitician who plotted this unnecessary war from the moment the 9/11 attackprovided him with an excuse for regime change in a country that had nothingto do with the terrorist attack.

It was Bush who sent the troops to invade Iraq with the mission of riddingit of weapons of mass destruction, which he should have known Iraq did nothave, and to end ties with al-Qaida that, the record shows, he knew neverexisted. And it was the Bush administration that micro-managed every aspectof the occupation to disastrous consequences ranging from thede-Baathification that isolated the Sunnis to premature elections that putShiite theocrats in power.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

University of Kentucky Approves Partner Benefits

Domestic partners of University of Kentucky employees will receive healthcoverage July 1 as part of an $11.8 million benefits package approvedyesterday by the school's Board of Trustees.

UK is the second public university in Kentucky to extend benefits tounmarried couples, including gays. The University of Louisville's benefitstook effect Jan. 1.

A handful of private Kentucky colleges, including Centre and Berea, alsooffer domestic partner benefits.

UK's action comes a day after Gov. Ernie Fletcher's running mate, CabinetSecretary Robbie Rudolph, said in a televised debate that he and Fletcheroppose domestic partner benefits. He said the administration might asklawmakers to pass legislation banning them, possibly during an expectedspecial legislative session later this year.

But Fletcher said yesterday he is unsure if he will add such legislation tothe agenda of a special session, and would talk with legislators beforemaking a decision.


Outing anal cancer

The virus responsible for cervical cancer is also a hidden health riskfor gay men, says Peter Tatchell

28 April - May 2007

London- UK

Two decades ago, there was a big increase in the number ofsexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) infections among gayand bisexual men. At the time, I was aware of medical research showingthat HPV could be passed on during vaginal sex and cause cervicalcancer in women. It dawned on me that HPV might also be transmissiblethrough anal sex and capable of causing anal cancer.

It turned out that my hunch was correct. A search of American medicaljournals revealed that certain strains of HPV cause cervical and analcancer. But that is where the similarities end. There is a nationaleducation, screening and treatment programme for cancer of the cervix,but nothing similar for anal cancer. A disease affecting women istaken seriously, but the same disease is ignored when it affects gaymen.

I feel a sense of déjà vu. The official indifference towards analcancer echoes the neglect of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s,when it was confined to the gay community.

HPV is not as dangerous as HIV. Most strains are non-cancerous. Thereis, however, no room for complacency. HPV has a long incubationperiod. With infections rocketing, we risk an exponential rise in analcancer in 20 to 30 years' time.

Contact Ray' List for the full article.


Irish Independent, Thursday April 26th 2007

Sex change dentist's wife fearful over ruling

Ann O'Loughlin

THE separated wife of a trans-sexual dentist is "alarmed" about theimplications for her marital status if her estranged husband gets the courtruling she wants which would make her a woman from birth.

Anne Foy is judicially separated but still legally married to denist DrLydia Foy who has taken a High Court case seeking a declaration that therefusal to describe her as female on her birth certificate breaches herright.

She was registered at birth as male and and later had a sex changeoperation.


Senior counsel Mary O'Toole told the High Court if Dr Foy succeeded insecuring the court declaration sought, this would have major implicationsfor the Foys' marriage. It would also have implications for the ongoingdivorce proceedings and would mean "enormous uncertainty" for Mrs Foy andtheir two daughters.

Such a declaration could, for example, mean that Mrs Foy was never legallymarried as, under Irish law, marriage can only occur between persons of theopposite sex and two persons of the same sex were not entitled to marry,counsel said.

It would also in turn have unknown implications for the divorce proceedingsinvolving Dr Foy and Mrs Foy.

If the Foys' marriage was declared void, this could mean, for example, thatMrs Foy and her daughters were no longer members of a family as recognisedunder the Constitution, counsel suggested. Mrs Foy could not be placed in adifferent position than any other divorced spouse.


Kingdom in the Closet; Being Gay in Saudi Arabia

From the Atlantic Monthly - May 2007

The Kingdom in the Closet

Sodomy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, but gay life flourishesthere. Why it is "easier to be gay than straight" in a society whereeveryone, homosexual and otherwise, lives in the closet

by Nadya Labi

Yasser, a 26-year-old artist, was taking me on an impromptu tour of hishometown of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a sweltering September afternoon. Theair conditioner of his dusty Honda battled the heat, prayer beads dangledfrom the rearview mirror, and the smell of the cigarette he'd just smokedwafted toward me as he stopped to show me a barbershop that his friendsfrequent. Officially, men in Saudi Arabia aren't allowed to wear their hairlong or to display jewelry-such vanities are usually deemed to violate anIslamic instruction that the sexes must not be too similar in appearance.But Yasser wears a silver necklace, a silver bracelet, and a sparkly redstud in his left ear, and his hair is shaggy. Yasser is homosexual, or so wewould describe him in the West, and the barbershop we visited caters to gaymen. Business is brisk.

Leaving the barbershop, we drove onto Tahlia Street, a broad avenue framedby palm trees, then went past a succession of sleek malls and slowed infront of a glass-and-steel shopping center. Men congregated outside and innearby cafés. Whereas most such establishments have a family section, two ofthis area's cafés allow only men; not surprisingly, they are popular amongmen who prefer one another's company. Yasser gestured to a parking lotacross from the shopping center, explaining that after midnight it would be"full of men picking up men." These days, he said, "you see gay peopleeverywhere."

Yasser turned onto a side street, then braked suddenly. "Oh shit, it's acheckpoint," he said, inclining his head toward some traffic cops in brownuniforms. "Do you have your ID?" he asked me. He wasn't worried about thegay-themed nature of his tour-he didn't want to be caught alone with awoman. I rummaged through my purse, realizing that I'd left my passport inthe hotel for safekeeping.


ILGA-Europe welcomes condemnation of homophobia by European Parliament

On 25 April 2007, members of the European Parliament debated, and todayadopted a new resolution on homophobia in Europe. The resolution highlightsthe general problem of homophobia at pan-European level and makes a numberof specific references to Poland and a climate of state-sponsored homophobiain that country.

ILGA-Europe is very pleased that the European Parliament has repeatedlydemonstrated its leading role in the observation of human rights in EUmember states. This is the third resolution on homophobia adopted by theEuropean Parliament in a relatively short time. ILGA-Europe is pleased thatdespite calls from some members, the European Parliament denied a motion notto debate this resolution and voted for it.

ILGA-Europe is also pleased to hear repeated the commitment to uphold EUanti-discrimination legislation from the European Commission. Following thedebate at the parliament, Vladimir Spidla, the EU Commissioner forEmployment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, made it clear that ifadopted, the controversial proposal by the Polish minister of educationwould clearly contravene the EU anti-discrimination legislation.


Poland urged to drop new law banning 'homosexual propaganda' in schools

Fundamental rights - 26-04-2007 - 14:06
European Parliament

Following a debate on homophobia in Europe, Parliament adopted a resolutionon Thursday voicing concern at the recent announcement by the PolishEducation nister of a new draft law to outlaw 'homosexual propaganda' inschools. The esolution - adopted by 325 votes to 124, with 150 abstentions calls for a fact-finding mission to be sent to Poland, for "worldwidede-criminalisation of homosexuality" and for the Commission to take MemberStates to court if they breach their EU obligations.

Although Poland is not the only country in Europe where homophobia is anissue - MEPs also mention cases of discrimination in Italy and the UnitedKingdom - most of the resolution focuses on recent developments in Poland.MEPs not only express concern about statements by Minister Giertychregarding a new law providing for the dismissal, fining or imprisonment ofschool directors, teachers and pupils in cases of gay rights' activism, theyalso note the Polish government's stated wish to promote similar laws atEuropean level and the fact that the Polish Ombudsman for Children announcedthat she is preparing a list of jobs for which homosexuals are unfit. On thepositive side, MEPs welcome the fact that gay pride events are no longersystematically banned in Poland.


European official warns Poland over planned anti-gay legislation

25 April 2007, 19:00 CET
EU Business

(STRASBOURG) - A Polish proposal to ban discussion of homosexuality inschools would violate European law, the European commissioner for equalopportunity said Wednesday.

"Such a law, if it were to emerge, would be in contradiction with theEuropean human rights convention and the EU charter on fundamental rights,"Vladimir Spidla told the European Parliament as part of a debate onhomophobia.


EU parliament backs diversity roadshow

Wed, 25 Apr 2007

STRASBOURG: MEPs from across the political spectrum attended the launch of anew diversity roadshow in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The EU Diversity Truck will spend the next seven months touring Europeancities and raising awareness of the EU's tough anti-discrimination rules aspart of the European year of equal opportunities for all.

"We have some of the strongest anti-discrimination rules in the whole of theworld, but still many people do not know what their rights are," saidVladimir Spidla, EU employment commissioner, at the launch event.


Norway set to make buying sex illegal

Reuters in Oslo, The Guardian, Monday April 23, 2007

Norway's ruling Labour party voted yesterday for a ban on buying sex in abid to shift the focus of the law on to punters.

Prostitution is legal in Norway, but procuring it, or pimping, is not.Street prostitution in the capital, Oslo, has become increasingly visibleand aggressive in the past few years, provoking calls for a ban.

Labour has support from its coalition partners, the Socialist Left andCentre parties, which hold a combined 87 of parliament's 169 seats. It willalso be backed by the opposition Christian People's party, which proposedthe ban. "A majority of parties in parliament wants a ban on buying sexualservices," said the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg."We are going toimplement it."

The congress of the Labour party, which heads the three-party centre-leftgovernment, was sharply divided, however, with 184 of 300 delegates votingfor the ban.

The opposition Progress and Liberal parties oppose the ban. The Conservativeparty is reserving judgment.

Sweden introduced a similar ban in 1999. Proponents say banning the purchaseof sex will curb prostitution without penalising the prostitutes, many ofwhom are poor, young foreign women often forced into the trade. Opponentssay it will drive prostitution underground and make prostitutes even morevulnerable. "I don't think it will help the women," said Karita Bekkemellem,the Labour party's minister for children and equality affairs and a strongadvocate of women's rights.

= Online Edition: Home
25 April 2007 09:05

Heath was told to stop gay sex activity, Tory claims
By Andrew Grice, Political Editor

Published: 25 April 2007

Sir Edward Heath, the former prime minister, was warned by police tostop "cottaging" for gay sex in the 1950s because it could harm hispolitical career, a Tory politician has claimed.

Brian Coleman, a senior member of the London Assembly, said: "The lateTed Heath managed to obtain the highest office of state after he wassupposedly advised to cease his cottaging activities in the Fifties when hebecame a Privy Councillor."

Writing for the New Statesman magazine's online edition, Mr Coleman, whois gay, said Britain had "managed for decades with gay men holding asignificant number of public offices". He claimed that gay men had ineffect run the Conservative Party in London, whether as officials,councillors or volunteers.

Sir Edward, a bachelor who never spoke about his sexuality, was PrimeMinister from 1970 to 1974. He died in 2005. Friends had expected him tomarry Kay Raven, whom he had known since childhood, but she is said to havebecome tired of waiting for him to propose to her and married someone else.


National Gay News

Thursday, 26 April 2007 13:16
Hate Crimes Bill Passes Out of Judiciary Committee

"Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act" Now Moves to Full Housefor Consideration

WASHINGTON - Late tonight, in a vote of 20 to 14 H.R. 1592, the "Local LawEnforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act", passed out of the JudiciaryCommittee. The legislation now makes its way to the floor of the UnitedStates House of Representatives for consideration by the full chamber. "Lawenforcement is now one step closer to getting the extra tools they need tocombat hate violence," said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human RightsCampaign. "Hate crimes continue to spread fear and violence among entirecommunities of Americans and currently, law enforcement can use theseadditional tools and resources to prevent and prosecute them. We lookforward to the day when partisan politics are finally put aside and thisbill passes through Congress and is sent to the President's desk for signinginto law."

"Although there were many attempts to derail this legislation today incommittee, our allies in Congress stood strong and secured its passage. Weare a long way from declaring victory, but we are as committed as ever tocontinuing to fight back the last desperate attempts by extremists and makesure this bill is realized as the law of the land."

An identical companion bill was introduced April 12th in the U.S. Senate bySenators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR).

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act would strengthen theability of law enforcement officials to investigate and prosecute hatecrimes by:

* Protecting All Americans. Under the current federal law, enacted nearly 40years ago, the government has the authority to help investigate andprosecute bias-motivated attacks based on race, color, national origin andreligion and because the victim was attempting to exercise a federallyprotected right. For example, authorities became involved in aSalt Lake Citycase where James Herrick set fire to a Pakistani restaurant on Sept. 13,2001. Herrick was sentenced to 51 months' incarceration on Jan. 7, 2002,after pleading guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. § 245.


Third Wave Foundation

Third Wave Foundation Offers United States Social Forum Scholarships

The Third Wave Foundation's United States Social Forum Fund provides fullscholarships (registration, travel, lodging, and food) for young women andtransgender activists between the ages of 15 and 30 to attend the UnitedStates Social Forum, June 27-July 1, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The foundation is accepting applications from individuals that are currentlyworking for positive social change in their communities. The foundationseeks to support young women and transgender youth who are members, staff,board, or volunteers of youth-led and intergenerational organizations. ThirdWave Foundation prioritizes young people from organizations that aremulti-issue and multi-strategy.

A priority is placed on individuals from the following communities:low-income; people of color; differently abled (mental, physical, oremotional); immigrant; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender; and/or those inrural areas. Applications from people impacted by the sex trade or sexworkers, young parents, and formerly incarcerated are also encouraged.Deadline: May 10, 2007.

Click on link at the top of page for more information.


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