Sunday, June 24, 2007

GLBT DIGEST June 24, 2007

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Fort Lauderdale: Stonewall fest set today; parade starts at schoolJune 24, 2007

The Eighth Annual Stonewall Street Festival and Parade will kick off at 11a.m. today at Fort Lauderdale High School, 1600 NE Fourth Ave. The paradewill continue north along Wilton Drive and end at Five Points in WiltonManors.

The festival will begin immediately after the parade and will include morethan 150 vendors selling food and merchandise, and stage performances.

The event marks the 1969 riots at Stonewall, a gay bar in Greenwich Village,where hundreds fought against a police raid. The riots launched the moderngay rights movement and are commemorated as a watershed for gay rights.

Admission to the parade is free. Parking will be available at FortLauderdale High. For more information, visit or call 954-564-8707.


The New York Times

June 24, 2007
School Officials Black Out Photo of a Gay Student's Kiss
NEWARK, June 23 - It started with a kiss.

Andre Jackson, a senior at East Side High School, leaned over his boyfriend's shoulder one day several months ago and kissed him on the lips. He took apicture of the smooch with his digital camera.

Like other students, Mr. Jackson later paid $150 to have his own specialpage of photos in the school yearbook. He decided to include the picture ofthe kiss, to make not a political statement, but a personal one.

"I didn't intend to say, 'Oh hey, look at me, I'm gay,' " said Mr. Jackson,18. "It was just a picture showing my emotion, saying that I'm happy, youknow, whatever. It was to look back on as a memory."

On Thursday evening, when the seniors gathered at a restaurant here for theSenior Banquet, students received the yearbooks they had bought for around$85. But the picture of Mr. Jackson kissing his boyfriend was gone. Schoolofficials had blacked it out. Roughly 250 yearbooks were distributed, andall of them had a black-marker splotch covering every inch of the photo.

"I was upset," Mr. Jackson said. "I was hurt. I felt embarrassed and abused."


The New York Times

June 24, 2007
Doesn't Ask, Doesn't Tell
SOME mementos are more momentous than others.

In 1971, when Armistead Maupin was driving from his old post, working forThe Associated Press in Charleston, S.C., to a new post in San Francisco, hestopped in Iowa to visit a friend from the Navy. Both had recently returnedfrom Vietnam. That night a call came from the White House.

President Nixon was looking for the two men to be part of a campaign hisadministration was putting together to counter the antiwar protests of aveteran named John Kerry. The men would be part of a team of veterans whowould voluntarily go back to Vietnam and rebuild villages - and bephotographed cheerily doing so.

"Never mind that none of us could build anything," Mr. Maupin recalledearlier this month. He was in New York to promote "Michael Tolliver Lives,"the latest of his "Tales of the City" books, the first in nearly 20 years.

For his participation, Mr. Maupin met President Nixon and was photographedshaking his hand. For years after he came out as a gay man in the liberalworld of '70s San Francisco, he was proud of this souvenir. "I would bringguys back to my penthouse shack, and they would see the picture, and all theblood would rush out of their face," he said.


The New York Times

June 24, 2007
From Childhood Dreams of Priesthood to a Bishop's Chair

AS a child, the Rev. Laura J. Ahrens "played priest" and gave sermons to herstuffed animals. On Saturday, the life she imagined will go one step furtherwith her consecration as Connecticut's first female Episcopal bishop.

"When I was 10, I told my mother I wanted to be a priest, and that desire toserve the church has never changed," said Ms. Ahrens, who is athletic withan easy smile. At 44, she will also become the youngest bishop to lead thestate's 68,000 Episcopalians. "The church is my calling," she said.

Yet the Rev. Eleanor Applewhite Terry, vicar of St. Paul's Episcopal Churchin Plainfield, said she hoped that people pay more attention to Ms. Ahrens's"vibrancy, creativity and faithfulness" than her gender or her age.

She's also hopeful that Saturday's ceremony will help bring together theAnglican community, which has been threatened by schism since the 2003election of a gay bishop in New Hampshire.

"It's time for all Episcopalians to celebrate," said Ms. Terry, 37, whoserved as chairwoman of the diocesan committee that nominated Ms. Ahrens andfour others for the position. "Laura has an energy that's infectious."


The New York Times

June 24, 2007
Faith Has Role in Politics, Obama Tells Church

HARTFORD, June 23 - Addressing the 50th anniversary convention of his owndenomination, the United Church of Christ, Senator Barack Obama of Illinoissaid Saturday that the religious right had "hijacked" faith and divided thecountry by exploiting issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and schoolprayer.

But Mr. Obama said that religion has a rightful role to play in Americanpolitics, and he praised people of faith who he said are now using theirinfluence to try to unite Americans against problems like poverty, AIDS, thehealth care crisis and the violence in Darfur.

"My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won't
be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work," he said,speaking before more than 9,000 people at the Hartford Civic Center in frontof a red and black backdrop with the church's marketing slogan: "God isstill speaking."

The United Church of Christ prides itself on its inclusiveness of racialminorities, gay men and lesbians and people with disabilities, and its focuson social injustice. In 1972, it became the first mainline Protestantdenomination to ordain an openly gay minister, and two years ago it passed aresolution in support of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Church leaders said that the speaking invitation to Mr. Obama was not anendorsement, and they asked audience members not to bring any Obama campaignbuttons or signs into the convention center during his speech.


Ready for Bloomberg?
By David S. Broder
Sunday, June 24, 2007; B07

Six months ago, when I began hearing rumors of New York Mayor MichaelBloomberg's possible interest in an independent presidential campaign in2008, I went to see the mayor at his City Hall office.

He told me what he has said repeatedly ever since -- that his intention wasto finish his second term in 2009 as "the best mayor this city has ever had"and then devote himself to philanthropy and good works. He then steered theconversation to city issues and explained what he was trying to do onhousing, transportation and social services -- an impressive agenda.

I barely knew him, and I took him at his word about the presidency.

When I talked the next day to Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, the man who hadsteered the billionaire communications-company mogul to victory in citycampaigns, I got a rather different story.

Sheekey drew a picture of a country ready and willing to consider electing apresident without a party label. He cited the success of independentcandidates for governor in Maine and Minnesota, and most of all, he talkedabout what Arnold Schwarzenegger was doing in California -- governing as a"post-partisan" leader of that mega-state and winning praise for doing so.


Speech Police, Riding High In Oakland
By George F. Will
Sunday, June 24, 2007; B07

Marriage is the foundation of the natural family and sustains family values.That sentence is inflammatory, perhaps even a hate crime.

At least it is in Oakland, Calif. That city's government says those words,italicized here, constitute something akin to hate speech and can beproscribed from the government's open e-mail system and employee bulletinboard.

When the McCain-Feingold law empowered government to regulate the quantity,content and timing of political campaign speech about government, it waspredictable that the right of free speech would increasingly be sacrificedto various social objectives that free speech supposedly impedes. And it waspredictable that speech suppression would become an instrument of culturalcombat, used to settle ideological scores and advance political agendas bysilencing adversaries.

That has happened in Oakland. And, predictably, the ineffable U.S. Court ofAppeals for the 9th Circuit has ratified this abridgement of First Amendmentprotections. Fortunately, overturning the 9th Circuit is steady work for theU.S. Supreme Court.

Some African American Christian women working for Oakland's governmentorganized the Good News Employee Association (GNEA), which they announcedwith a flier describing their group as "a forum for people of Faith toexpress their views on the contemporary issues of the day. With respect forthe Natural Family, Marriage and Family Values."


Democrats Cautious on Gay Rights Issues
But Candidates Have Taken Positions Exceeding Mainstream of a Few Years Ago
By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 24, 2007; A04

After Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,publicly declared in March that homosexuality was immoral, gay supporters ofSens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York werefurious when neither presidential candidate was very critical of Pace.

They let both campaigns know it, and the next day Clinton and Obama saidthey do not consider homosexuality immoral.

The tentative reactions suggest the caution with which the two leadingDemocratic contenders approach gay rights issues when they are publiclydebated. "The antenna goes up," acknowledges Ethan Geto, an informal adviserto Clinton on gay rights issues. "It's a measure of how volatile gay rightsissues are in national politics."

Yet, however skittish they can sometimes be -- especially on same-sexmarriage -- Democratic candidates as a group have taken stances in the 2008campaign that only a few years ago would have been far out of the party'smainstream.

On two major issues, Clinton has rejected two policies of her husband,former president Bill Clinton: the "don't ask, don't tell" approach to gaypeople in the military and a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act, whichcould prevent the federal government from offering equal benefits tosame-sex couples.


Polls show public more receptive
By William Butte
June 24, 2007

There's something new in the air this year, mingling with the angst aboutIraq and the schadenfreude about Paris Hilton's jail stint. I first noticedit when now-fired Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington single-handedlychanged the word "faggot" to a forbidden word among mainstream media, afterusing it to slur gay co-star T. R. Knight, then denying using the word whileusing it again, only to admit later on that the initial incident did occur.

So now, in the midst of Gay Pride Month, I'm not surprised by this breath offresh air: Just released figures from Gallup's annual "Values and Beliefs"survey, conducted last month, reveal increasing public acceptance ofhomosexuality.

Since the 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down existing sodomy lawsas unconstitutional, Gallup's annual surveys had found lower support for gayrights than before the ruling.

However, the latest survey, conducted last month, found that 59 percent ofAmericans believe homosexual relations should be legal; that's similar tothe 60 percent who believed so a month before the Supremes' decision, and upfrom 46 percent who believed so a month after the ruling.

The figure also tracks the 57 percent who answered affirmatively when askedif they felt "that homosexuality should be considered an acceptablelifestyle," the highest percentage of affirmation Gallup has ever recordedfor this question, which showed a majority of men and women, 53 percent and61 percent, respectively, answering affirmatively, as well as a whopping 75percent of those between 18 and 34 years old.


Friday, June 22, 2007

GOP chief accused of implying two Democrats are gay
Chairman denies bipartisan charges
By Joseph Gerth
The Courier-Journal

State Republican Party Chairman Steve Robertson drew bipartisan condemnation yesterday for what critics said was a veiled effort to imply that two Democratic candidates are gay.

But Robertson said he wasn't trying to imply that anyone is gay in a column he distributed to some newspapers in the state for use on their opinion pages.

The real intent, he said, was to show how a legal opinion by Attorney General Greg Stumbo helped the University of Kentucky circumvent the state onstitution and offer health benefits to its employees' domestic partners, including gays.

But others saw something more sinister. The column, sent via e-mail Wednesday, begins as an attack on UK and calls the benefits plan a victory for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear, who, it said, has "a record of supporting policies aimed at destroying Kentucky's families."

It then draws an analogy to the fairy tale "Hansel and Gretel" and says that if Stumbo is Hansel, then attorney general candidate Jack Conway and Dan Mongiardo, Beshear's running mate for lieutenant governor, "could easily play the role of Gretel."

Conway, a Louisville attorney, reacted angrily, saying he resented the implication that he is gay.

"They start a false rumor and they peddle it," he said in an interview, referring to Robertson and Gov. Ernie Fletcher. "When they can't lead, they lie. They are hate-mongers and fear-mongers that owe my wife an apology."

It's not the first time Republicans have made such a suggestion about Mongiardo.

They were accused of gay-baiting in his 2004 campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning. State legislators campaigning for Bunning said that Mongiardo, a state senator from Hazard, was "limp-wristed," a "switch-hitter" and "not a man."


Express Gay News

300 reasons to be proud of living in South Florida
From go-go bars to octogenarians, we've got everything gay under the sun
Friday, June 22, 2007

At a recent Art Explosion event at the Broward Center, lesbian comedian Marga Gomez quipped that having two Gay Pride festivals a year in the Fort Lauderdale area is beyond proud.

"It's cocky," she said.

Rather than fight it, we decided to celebrate the cockiness of living in South Florida, knowing full well that the word "cocky," as it relates to gay people and Pride, can have more than one meaning.

But seriously, since the "mean season" is upon us and the mean-spirited anti-gay Mastodons are still stampeding through the Florida Legislature, it wouldn't hurt anyone's mental state to remind ourselves of all the things we have to take pride in here in South Florida. So we came up the 300 reasons to be proud of living in South Florida. How cocky is that? Our comprehensive Pride list - which includes some "surprising" entries - is sure to boost the most sagging self-esteem among us.

One caveat before we begin: If I accidentally leave out a person or organization, please do not feel slighted. This is not an exact science, and there was no gay bean counter or encyclopedia of gay South Florida available to guide me. In fact, counting gay organizations and people in South Florida is a little like counting votes here; a dispute seems almost inevitable. But that's why we have the Letters to the Editor section.


Express Gay News

Taking care of more than business
Miami gay chamber to honor philanthropist Patrick Ward and others
Friday, June 22, 2007

Dinner, entertainment and recognition of local philanthropists will all be on the menu at the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's Sixth Annual Gala Awards Dinner.

Sharon Gless, who starred in "Cagney and Lacey" and "Queer as Folk," will be on hand to introduce singer Jim Bailey, who will perform as "Judy Garland" at the dinner.

The chamber, which has more than 400 members, is the largest nonprofit corporation in the county for gay and lesbian businesses.

One of this year's honorees is Dr. Patrick Ward, who has only lived in South Florida for seven years, but has already made a big impact. The recipient of DGLLC's Community Service Award, Ward has been an active volunteer and philanthropist ever since he was a boy.

"The truth is, my parents always encouraged it," he says.

Ward is an active member of the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (MGLFF) committee. The festival board recently created the Dr. Patrick Ward Angel Award for Outstanding Contributions.



Celebrities Focus On AIDS Among African Americans
by The Associated Press

Posted: June 23, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(New York City) Regina King, Howard Hesseman and Jimmy Jean-Louis of NBC's "Heroes" are among a group of performers getting HIV tests next week to raise awareness of the spread of the virus in black communities.

They will be screened Monday in front of cameras at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) headquarters in Los Angeles as part of a new campaign called "1 in a Million." The goal is to motivate 1 million black Americans to get tested for HIV/AIDS by Dec. 1, 2008.

"Actors are blessed with the gift of voice, and people listen to what they have to say," SAG president Alan Rosenberg said Friday in a statement. Rosenberg hopes others will take the "message to heart" and follow their lead.

Other celebrity participants include Hill Harper ("CSI: NY"), musical stage star Sheryl Lee Ralph, Gloria Reuben of the HBO movie "Life Support" and former "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star Tatyana Ali.

According to the statement announcing the campaign, AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 and 34, and up to 46 percent of black gay men are estimated to be HIV-positive.


Ex-Gay Exodus' Tortured Chambers
by Wayne Besen

Only a day before "ex-gay" leader Alan Chambers admitted that praying away the gay doesn't work, the Southern Baptist Convention was working to expand its ex-gay ministry program.

The once slavery-loving church hired Texas pastor Bob Stith as its National Strategist for Gender Issues, with the goal of promoting ex-gay programs within the denomination.

A church spokesperson told the Baptist Press that the grandiose sounding strategist role "has been a culmination of many years of planning and praying." Well, as we are often reminded, God works in mysterious ways. The SBC press release barely cleared the media fax machines when Exodus International's President Alan Chambers told the Los Angeles Times, that he still, at times, (like when he's awake or dreams) has attractions to men and "by no means would we ever say change can be sudden or complete."

This acknowledgment mirrored his infamous quote in my book, Anything But straight: "Put me in a bathhouse," said Chambers, "Would I find people attractive or would it stir me? It probably would."

If Exodus doesn't actually turn gay people straight, then what's the point of the organization? How do they justify their million-dollar budget and staff of twelve when the church money might be better spent on helping the poor?


Canadian Gays Big Travel Spenders
by The Canadian Press
Posted: June 23, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) Canadian gay travelers spent an average of $1,166 per trip last year, almost double what straight travelers spent, said a study released Friday by the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Canadian gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender travelers spent a total of $5.4 billion in Canada last year, according to the study conducted by Bay Charles Consulting Co.

``This study confirms that there is a pent-up demand for increased travel within Canada among the gay community,'' said Laurence Bernstein, managing partner of Bay Charles.

``This business could help to compensate for the loss of (travel) business coming to Canada from the U.S.''

The study indicated that gay travelers are almost twice as likely to go on leisure trips as the general public.


National Gay News

Edwardses Make LGBT Inroads

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, who called same-sex marriage "a jump for me," has nonetheless picked up gay support, gaining a second round of LGBT endorsements and thrilling locals with wife Elizabeth's upcoming speech at the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club Pride Breakfast this weekend in San Francisco.



No apology in gay 'repulse' row

Junior Stormont minister Ian Paisley jnr has refused to retract claims he made about gay people harming society.

Speaking on Thursday night's Let's Talk programme, he said expressing regret about his words would be "the worst thing I could do."

Mr Paisley added: "What is done is done, I've said those comments why should I try and hide what I've done."

He reportedly said he was "repulsed" by homosexuals in the Dublin-based music magazine Hot Press last month.

However, he added that he did not hate gay people.

Sinn Fein accused him of "dangerous homophobia" and demanded he apologise.

However, on the BBC programme, Mr Paisley said he had broken no law and his views were not against the law.

The department in which Mr Paisley works is responsible for ensuring equality for all in Northern Ireland.

His executive colleague, Margaret Ritchie of the SDLP, who also appeared on the BBC NI programme, said she would like to see Mr Paisley jr disciplined by the first and deputy first ministers.


From Marc Adams
Founder and Volunteer Executive Director

Dear HeartStrong Friends

Well, our Spring Outreach Trip ended with a bang, literally. We werewrapping up our trip when we were hit twice by the same car while we werestopped at an intersection near Miami.

Fortunately, the injury was to the HeartStrong Scion xb. We were bothshaken and a little dazed but okay.

The Scion xb was fairly heavily damaged on the driver's side. We wereunable to open either the driver's door or the passenger door on thedriver's side. The entire left hand side of the vehicle will have to bereplaced.

Had Rod not stepped on the gas as soon as he saw the other vehicleapproaching, it would have been a direct hit and with much worseconsequences.

Without transportation, our outreach efforts for our Spring outreach tripcame to a screeching halt. Fortunately all of our educational forums hadalready been completed.

We are now back in Seattle. While sometimes coming home after a longoutreach trip seems a little like going on vacation, it is far from it.We are knee deep in planning for our Fall/Winter Outreach Trip.

We are very excited to plan this particular trip as it will be the 20thfor the HeartStrong Outreach Team!

HeartStrong first launched its outreach trips in January of 1998. It'shard to believe that this fall/winter is trip number 20.

Our 20th outreach/educational trip will begin in California in midAugust. California is still the state with the most religious schools sowe will be spending nearly five weeks in California.

According the the State of California the majority of religious schoolsand the highest attended religious schools are in San Francisco County.We will be canvassing a large amount of the state when we are there.

We will also be doing one educational forum in Las Vegas, Nevada. LasVegas is replete with religious schools and has a little known heavyMormon population and influence.

The second part of our 20th outreach/educational trip will begin in midOctober in Chicago. We will be working in IL, WI, IA, MO, PA, NJ, andNY.

We are still adding educational forums for this trip. If you areinvolved with a group and are interested in hosting a HeartStrongEducational forum for your community, please contact me

We are only about $1000.00 short of covering all of our expenses from ourspring outreach trip. We are now in the process of gathering those fundsas well as the $10,000.00 needed for our four month 20thOutreach/Educational trip.

Your help is greatly appreciated as we prepare to embark on this historictrip.

$10,000.00 is quite a bit of money to HeartStrong as we operate on a shoestring budget. Remember, HeartStrong is an all volunteer organization.93.3% of every dollar donated goes directly to program services to reachmore students.

Your gifts are tax deductible.

If you are not already a monthly donor to HeartStrong, I would encourageyou to think about what it is you can do to help HeartStrong. If you arealready a monthly donor, we appreciate your ongoing support.

Whether you want to become a one time donor or you would like to make amonthly pledge, you may do both by using the form on the reverse side ofthis letter. You may also make you donation online at

If you want to talk about your gift, please feel free to contact me viaemail or at 206-388-3894.

Thank you for your support of this important work. We are saving andchanging lives because of your support!

Marc Adams
Founder and Volunteer Executive Director


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