Friday, June 08, 2007

GLBT DIGEST June 8, 2007

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The New York Post

June 8, 2007
'Grey's' Star Said to Be Off the Show

Isaiah Washington, a star of the hit ABC television series "Grey's Anatomy,"who became embroiled in a furor after he twice used an anti-gay slur againsta co-star, will not return in the fall, an executive informed of the
decision said last night.

The executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorizedto speak for the production, said that the decision was tied to Mr.Washington's comments regarding his fellow cast member, T.R. Knight.

Mr. Washington, who played a surgeon named Preston Burke, got into analtercation last fall with another star of the series, Patrick Dempsey, inwhich he reportedly used an epithet to describe Mr. Knight.

After the details of the argument appeared, Mr. Knight publicly acknowledgedthat he was gay.

Then, in January, at the Golden Globe awards, Mr. Washington, during a newsconference backstage, was asked about the altercation with Mr. Dempsey andsaid he had never used the derogatory term to describe Mr. Knight. But hisuse of the word on camera expanded the controversy because other castmembers, including Katherine Heigl, denounced Mr. Washington.


The New York Post

June 8, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
Don't Ask, Don't Translate

IMAGINE for a moment an American soldier deep in the Iraqi desert. His unitis about to head out when he receives a cable detailing an insurgent ambushright in his convoy's path. With this information, he and his soldiers arenow prepared for the danger that lies ahead.

Reports like these are regularly sent from military translators' desks,providing critical, often life-saving intelligence to troops fighting inIraq and Afghanistan. But the military has a desperate shortage of linguiststrained to translate such invaluable information and convey it to the warzone.

The lack of qualified translators has been a pressing issue for some time -the Army had filled only half its authorized positions for Arabictranslators in 2001. Cables went untranslated on Sept. 10 that might haveprevented the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Today, the American Embassy inBaghdad has nearly 1,000 personnel, but only a handful of fluent Arabicspeakers.

I was an Arabic translator. After joining the Navy in 2003, I attended theDefense Language Institute, graduated in the top 10 percent of my class andthen spent two years giving our troops the critical translation servicesthey desperately needed. I was ready to serve in Iraq.

But I never got to. In March, I was ousted from the Navy under the "don'task, don't tell" policy, which mandates dismissal if a service member isfound to be gay.


The New York Times

June 8, 2007
Trading One Beach Retreat for Another

PROVINCETOWN was good to Mark Doty and his partner, Paul Lisicky, who sharedan 18th-century Cape-style house there for the first 10 years of their12-year relationship. Mr. Doty had gone there first, to seek solace with aformer partner who was dying of AIDS, and wound up staying on for years withMr. Lisicky. It was the ideal place for the pair of writers - rich with bothliterary and gay history, and home to an inspiring mix of dreamy landscapesand thrumming resort-town life.

Still, near the end of their time there, the magic began to wear off, mainlybecause of the influx of moneyed home buyers, which they felt was changingthe scruffy, bohemian village into a spiffed-up Cape Cod version of theHamptons. They decided to sell. "The way I could find what I needed there,in terms of metaphor, had come to an end" is how Mr. Doty put it.

So it may seem surprising, then, that they left Provincetown for yet anothermoneyed gay vacation spot: the Fire Island Pines, off the south shore ofLong Island. This time, though, there would be less room for disappointment."We really romanticized P-town," Mr. Lisicky said.

Although neither man had set foot on Fire Island until 2005, the two startedto zero in on the slim spit of sand as an alternative, in part because ofits proximity to their New York City home. They visited two of itscommunities, Cherry Grove and the Pines, and during the year that followed,Mr. Lisicky said, he began to long for the dune-swept landscape. Theypurchased, for $735,000, the first house their agent showed them: a 1960scontemporary ranch in the Pines, nestled in a grove of holly trees.

"At first we were thinking, 'Oh, this place is going to be too gay,' "recalled Mr. Lisicky, a tall, sunny-faced man with a sharp wit, laughing."But we fell in love with the landscape right away," he added. "We weresmitten."


The New York Post

June 8, 2007
For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Split on Party Lines

WASHINGTON, June 7 - The presidential candidates are dividing starkly alongparty lines on one of the signature fights of the 1990s: whether the14-year-old policy of "don't ask, don't tell" should be repealed and gay menand lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military.

In back-to-back debates in New Hampshire this week, every Democraticcandidate raised his or her hand in support of repealing that policy, whilenot a single Republican embraced the idea. Democrats argued with strikingunanimity that it was time to end the uneasy compromise that President BillClinton reached in 1993, after his attempt to lift the ban on gay men andlesbians in the military provoked one of the most wrenching fights of hisyoung administration.

Republicans countered that the policy should not be changed, certainly notin time of war.

It is a dispute that underscores the continuing power of social issues -like gay rights and abortion - in each party's nominating contest, even asthe larger debate revolves around a divisive war. And it shows the Democratsreturning to yet another issue that confounded them in the past - likeuniversal health care - with the conviction that the public is more readyfor change this time.

Democratic leaders have been moving away from "don't ask, don't tell" forsome time now; Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York renounced thepolicy in 1999, when she was first running for the Senate. In the 2000presidential primary campaign, the two leading Democrats, Vice President AlGore and Senator Bill Bradley, also called for the policy's repeal.


The New York Times

June 8, 2007
Good Form Once, but Now a Dark Horse

MANCHESTER, N.H., June 7 - How does a presidential candidate, consigned tothe "lower tier," distinguish himself in a field of 10 Republican hopefulswhose debates are a diorama of white male politicians in dark suits?

That is the problem facing Tommy G. Thompson.

Little more than two years ago, Mr. Thompson was President Bush's secretaryof health and human services, administering one of the largest budgets anddepartments in Washington. That job in turn followed his quite respectable14-year run as governor of Wisconsin, where he earned praise for welfare andhealth care reforms.

Now he is scratching for headlines from a press obsessed with the Big Three:
former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, who often gets roaringreceptions; Senator John McCain of Arizona, with his "straight talk"message; and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, with his mountains ofmoney and chiseled looks.

When Mr. Thompson does manage to get headlines these days, they have notalways been good. His remark at a Republican debate in May that employersshould be able to fire gay workers drew a torrent of criticism, and hislater explanation - that his hearing aid had not been working and that hehad urgently needed to use the bathroom - only kept the story alive. Andthen there was his comment to a Jewish group that making money "is part ofthe Jewish tradition."


The New York Post

June 8, 2007
In U.S., Faith Is Never Far From Politics
Filed at 7:13 a.m. ET

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Three former presidents honormega-preacher Billy Graham at the dedication of his library. Days later thethree top Democratic contenders for the White House openly talk about faithin a televised forum.

Church and state may be separate entities in the United States. But faithand politics have become inseparable.

"This is basically a very religious nation, people have very intensefeelings here about religion," said Carroll Doherty, associate director atthe Pew Research Center.

"It is unlikely that a nonreligious person would be elected president," hesaid.

This distinguishes the United States from most of the developed world.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5950423,print.story

Romney rejects idea of U.S. in Iraq for long term
By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press
June 8, 2007

WASHINGTON · Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursdayrejected the Bush administration's vision of a decades-long U.S. trooppresence in Iraq akin to South Korea and suggested a need for publicbenchmarks to gauge progress.

"Our objective would not be a Korea-type setting with 25-50,000 troops on anear-permanent basis remaining in bases in Iraq," the former Massachusettsgovernor said.

"I think we would hope to turn Iraq security over to their own military andtheir own security forces, and if presence in the region is important forus, then we have other options that are nearby," Romney said.

In an interview with AP reporters and editors, Romney said the Bushadministration would be wise to publicly disclose some goals for success inIraq to restore public confidence. Benchmarks that would tip offadversaries, however, should remain private.

"This is a time when it would be helpful for the American people and thepeople of Iraq to see that we are actually making progress if that's what'shappening," Romney said.


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
Romney recasts stance on "don't ask, don't tell"

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who once said he supported themilitary's "don't ask, don't tell" policy primarily because he felt it wouldhelp gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, offered a differentaccount of the policy at the Republican debates in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

"When I first heard of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, I thought itsounded awfully silly. I didn't think that would be very effective. And Iturned out to be wrong," Romney said. He added that he agreed with fellowGOP candidate Rudy Guiliani that now, during the Iraq War, "is not the timeto put in place a major change."

However, in 1994, Romney held up "don't ask, don't tell" as a step in theright direction for gays and lesbians. In a letter to the Log Cabin Club ofMassachusetts, Romney stated that President Clinton's policy on gays would"ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly andhonestly in our nation's military."

Comparing himself to his opponent at the time for a U.S. Senate seat, Sen.Edward Kennedy, Romney added, "I am more convinced than ever before that aswe seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, Iwill provide more effective leadership."

This is not the first time Romney has reconsidered his views on a hot-buttonsocial issue. In his 2002 run for governor of Massachusetts, Romney promisedhe would not change the state's abortion laws, despite his personalobjection to them. However, during an interview with Larry King in March2007, he said his views on abortion had evolved when the idea of humancloning came into the picture. He now holds a pro-life position. (TheAdvocate)


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
First openly bisexual man elected to New York State assembly

Micah Kellner became the first openly bisexual man elected to the New YorkState assembly on Monday, with 64% of the vote. Kellner, who will representManhattan's upper east side, where Democrats outnumber Republicansapproximately 3 to 1, beat a Republican who supported gun control andabortion rights. Both candidates endorsed same-sex marriage.

Kellner, 28, was endorsed by Sen. Hillary Clinton and the Gay and LesbianVictory Fund. "Micah will be a strong voice and a committed lawmaker for thepeople of New York in the state assembly," said Victory Fund president andCEO Chuck Wolfe. "His victory means that five openly gay, lesbian, orbisexual lawmakers will now serve in the assembly and the senate, and thatis excellent news for everyone who works toward full equality for all NewYorkers."

The four openly gay members Kellner will join in the New York Statelegislature are Sen. Tom Duane and assemblymembers Deborah Glick and DanielO'Donnell, all of Manhattan; and Assemblymember Matthew Titone of StatenIsland. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

June 08, 2007

Pittsburgh church leaves Presbyterians for conservative branch

In a move emblematic of mainline Protestant divisions over sexuality,members of the largest church in the Pittsburgh Presbytery voted to leavethe Presbyterian Church (USA) and join a smaller, more conservativedenomination.

At a congregational meeting, 951 members of Memorial Park Presbyterian
Church in McCandless Township voted to be affiliated with the vangelicalPresbyterian Church. Fifty-two percent, or 761 members, of the 1,450-member
congregation needed to approve the plan.

''We are saddened that Memorial Park members and leaders have elected toseparate from the Presbyterian Church,'' James Mead, pastor to PittsburghPresbytery, said in a statement. ''However, we believe that wrestling withsuch painful issues is part of God's redemptive plan for the world.''

Memorial Park church officials said last month they were concerned about thenational denomination's move away from traditional doctrines concerning theHoly Trinity and the authority of the Bible, and its increasingly liberalviews on gay ordination.

Memorial Park church officials have said their issue isn't with thepresbytery, a regional body of churches, but the national church.


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
N.H. woman challenges Romney on same-sex marriage

A New Hampshire woman, frustrated with Republican presidential hopeful MittRomney's opposition to same-sex marriage, made a point of telling him abouther personal experience.

"I am a gay woman and I have children. Your comment that you just made, itsort of invalidates my family," said Cynthia Fish, a mother of a 6-year-oldand 8-year-old. "I wish you could explain to me more why, if we are sendingour troops over to fight for liberty and justice for all throughout thiscountry, why not for me? Why not for my family?"

Romney paused, asked Fish about her children, and then praised her.

"Wonderful," Romney said. "I'm delighted that you have a family and you'rehappy with your family. That's the American way.... People can live theirlives as they choose and children can be a great source of joy, as you know.And I welcome that."

But then Romney repeated his view of marriage.


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
Openly gay sailor could again be recalled to active duty

The U.S. Navy assigned an openly gay sailor to duty in the Individual ReadyReserves, where he can still be recalled to active duty, according topaperwork obtained by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Former pettyofficer second class Jason Knight, a Hebrew linguist, had already beenrecalled once after coming out to his superiors, being discharged and placedin the IRR.

The U.S. Navy assigned an openly gay sailor to duty for the second time inthe Individual Ready Reserves, where he can still be recalled to activeduty, according to paperwork obtained by Servicemembers Legal DefenseNetwork. Former petty officer second class Jason Knight, a Hebrew linguist,has already been recalled once from IRR after coming out to his superiorsand being discharged.

Knight made headlines in May when he revealed in the military newspaperStars and Stripes that he accepted a call-back to active duty and wasserving openly in Kuwait in spite of "don't ask, don't tell," the militarypolicy that prohibits gays and lesbians from acknowledging their sexualorientation. Following the media attention given to Knight's case, the Navymoved to dismiss him from service again.

"I was expecting to be dismissed under 'don't ask, don't tell' but am ready,willing, and able to continue my service to the Navy if I am needed," Knightsaid. "I have been nothing but proud of my service in the Navy, and I'mready to serve in the Individual Ready Reserves and to return to active dutyif called."

During both of his previous tours in the Navy, Knight said he served openlywith the support of his command and colleagues. Knight had also been out tohis first in command. That command dismissed Knight for 'completion ofservice,' despite knowing about his sexual orientation, and also assignedhim to the IRR. That assignment led to his second tour in the Navy.


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
Officials absolve Kolbe in page probe

Justice Department investigators looking into former Arizona representativeJim Kolbe's relationships with House pages found no wrongdoing and haveclosed their inquiry, Kolbe says.

In a statement Wednesday, Kolbe and his Washington lawyers said theyreceived notice Tuesday that investigators had completed a preliminaryinquiry opened by federal prosecutors last fall, and saw no reason to pursueit further.

The U.S. attorney for Arizona, Daniel Knauss, had no immediate comment, saidhis spokesman, Wyn Hornbuckle.

Prosecutors began looking into Kolbe's relationships with House pages afterhearing reports that he took a Fourth of July camping trip to the GrandCanyon with two former pages and others in 1996.

The inquiry was launched amid a separate investigation into sexuallyexplicit messages sent to high school-age congressional pages by Republicanformer Florida representative Mark Foley, who resigned over the issue lastfall.


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
Family Pride to open new office in Boston

Family Pride, a national non-profit organization committed to securingfamily equality for LGBT parents and guardians, announced that it will beexpanding its base of operations and opening an office in Boston, MA, onJuly 2, the organization said in a statement.

"As the only organization that is dedicated to advocating for familyequality on a national level, we decided to make a strong statement byexpanding our base of operations to include a Boston office," said executivedirector Jennifer Chrisler. "It's in our best interest to provide thefriendliest possible environment for all of our staff and their loved ones.Massachusetts is one of the states currently setting the standard we wouldlike to see all states across the nation meet in terms of rights andprotections for LGBT-headed families."

The organization will continue its work on a national level and willcontinue to hold an office in Washington, DC. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

June 08, 2007
Former sailor tells Congress about her "don't ask" experience

Former U.S. Navy petty officer Lee Quillian's 20-year career in the militarywas stifled by the fact that she couldn't be out to colleagues, she toldmore than 100 Congress members at a briefing Tuesday. The policy, she said,forces gay service members to be quiet.

"I didn't want to lie about my life, but I didn't broadcast," Quillian toldThe Advocate Wednesday in a phone interview. "I had to be quiet about thepeople I was spending my time with back home."

Invited by Massachusetts representative Marty Meehan and Senator HillaryClinton of New York, Quillian, with three other service members, discussedwith members of both houses of Congress the implications of being a gayservice member under the military's ban on openly gay service personnel.

While in the Navy, Quillian earned two commendation medals and fourachievement medals and performed missile interception operations at thebeginning of the Iraq war.

Her longtime partner, whom she met in the Navy, was discharged under "don'task, don't tell." Quillian has spent a lot of time educating her colleagues,and now members of Congress, about the policy and its enforcement.


Supreme Court Asked To Review 'Homophobic Fliers' Ruling
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 7, 2007 - 2:00 pm ET

(Oakland, California) Lawyers for two city of Oakland workers have asked theUS Supreme Court to review a ruling that found the city had not violatedtheir civil rights when it removed homophobic fliers from the workplace.

After an e-mail was distributed in 2003 to employees at the Community andEconomic Development Agency containing information on a National Coming OutDay rally a group of Christian workers put up fliers on bulletin boardsannouncing the formation of the Good News Employee Association .

The fliers said the association "is a forum for people of faith to expresstheir views on contemporary issues of the day with respect for the naturalfamily, marriage and family values."

A lesbian CEDA worker complained to supervisors that the flier made her feeltargeted for discrimination in the workplace and after reviewing the fliersmanagement removed the fliers and told the organizers of the group, ReginaRederford and Robin Christy they could repost them if the language werechanged.

Rederford and Christy instead filed suit alleging that then-city managerRobert Bobb and Joyce Hicks, who at the time was deputy director of theCommunity and Economic Development Agency, with violating their FirstAmendment rights.


EU Drug Regulator Recalls AIDS Drug Over Contamination Fears
by The Associated Press

Posted: June 7, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Zurich, Switzerland) Europe's drug regulating body is recalling an HIVtreatment made by Roche Holding AG because of contamination.

``Contamination has been identified at the manufacturing stage...the stepstaken to recall Viracept go down to the level of the individual patient,''said Michael Harvey, a spokesman for the European Medicines Agency.

Patients taking Viracept _ an antiretroviral agent for use in HIV therapy _should return the treatment to their physician and request a replacementtherapy, Harvey said.

The recall does not affect the use of Viracept in the U.S., where PfizerInc. (PFE) sells the drug, or Canada and Japan, Roche said.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company conducted a chemical analysis on the drugafter six patients reported that their batches of Viracept emitted strangeodors.


Holzinger Does Harm

by Wayne Besen

With an approval rating hovering at Nixonian levels and Rush Limbaugh firingspitballs from the right over immigration, it didn't take a brain surgeon toguess that George W. Bush would try to appease conservatives by nominating aNeanderthal for Surgeon General.

Out from the cave ambled James W. Holsinger, the most homophonic doctorsince Isaiah Washington - the Grey's Anatomy's star - had to go to rehab fordropping F-bombs. But Washington was a make believe doctor, while Holzingeris very real and has the potential to inflict great harm on the GLBTcommunity.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Holsinger started Hope SpringsCommunity Church in Kentucky. Rev. David Calhoun, the pastor of the bigaluminum trailer church said that Hope Springs has an "ex-gay" ministry.

"We see that as an issue not of orientation but a lifestyle," Calhoun said."We have people who seek to walk out of that lifestyle."

Holsinger also served on the Judicial Council for the United MethodistChurch where he opposed a decision to allow a lesbian to be an associatepastor. He was even so extreme that he endorsed a pastor who tried toprohibit an openly gay man from joining a church.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Same-sex benefits changing
Universities look for ways to stay within the new law

June 7, 2007



Michigan public employers who have traditionally provided health care andother benefits to the same-sex partners of their workers are graduallychanging or dropping coverage after two court rulings that such benefitsviolate the state's marriage amendment.

But response has differed across the state depending on circumstances,including whether the employees are covered by a union contract and thetiming of contract expirations.

This week, the Free Press surveyed high-profile government institutions thathad offered the benefits after the City of Kalamazoo announced it would endhealth care coverage for the partners of gay and lesbian employees on June30.

The survey found:

. Michigan State University will launch a pilot program July 1 to providebenefits to domestic partners regardless of sexual orientation in anapparent effort to continue coverage for same-sex partners of someemployees.

. Wayne State University is developing a similar policy that it hopes toenact within the next year.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List <<...>>

Posted on Wed, Jun. 06, 2007

Gay group attacks Holsinger paper


By Sarah Vos


In 1991, Dr. James W. Holsinger -- a University of Kentucky professor who isPresident Bush's nominee for U.S. surgeon general -- wrote a paper arguingthat gay sex is biologically unnatural and unhealthy.

Like male and female pipe fittings, certain male and female body parts aredesigned for each other, Holsinger wrote in a paper prepared for a UnitedMethodist Church committee studying homosexuality. "When the complementarityof the sexes is breached, injuries and diseases may occur," Holsinger wrotein the paper, titled Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality.

The paper was released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign, a national groupthat advocates for gay and lesbian rights. UK spokeswoman Mary MargaretColliver confirmed that Holsinger had written the paper. Holsinger declinedto comment for this story, as he has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The paper adds to the growing controversy over Holsinger's views on gays.Last week, several groups expressed concern because of decisions dealingwith gays and lesbians that Holsinger helped make as a member of the UnitedMethodist Judicial Council, which rules on disputes involving churchdoctrine and policy.

In addition, a Lexington church that Holsinger helped found, Hope SpringsCommunity Church, has a ministry dedicated to helping gay people who want tobecome heterosexual.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

AIDS Action, HRC oppose Holsinger
by Bob Roehr

AIDS Action and the Human Rights Campaign have become the first two nationalorganizations to oppose the nomination of Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr. to besurgeon general of the United States. Other organizations have expressedconcern and are sifting through the public record in order to shape theirown position on the nomination.

It was also noted this week by Truth Wins Out, a group that debunks thereligious right, that Holsinger helped found a church in Lexington, Kentuckythat operates an "ex-gay" ministry.

Holsinger was nominated by President Bush last month. His nominationrequires Senate confirmation.

"We are extremely disappointed with this nomination and we will be writingto Senators [Ted] Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) and [Mike] Enzi (R-Wyoming), thechairman and ranking member of the committee, opposing the nomination," saidRonald Johnson, deputy director of AIDS Action, in an exclusive interview onMay 31.

"We feel this is another distressing signal and message that thisadministration, this president, does not either understand or take seriouslythe domestic epidemic. To appoint someone who has a track record of beinganti-gay is just not acceptable," Johnson added. He pointed out that the HIVepidemic in the U.S. continues to disproportionately affect gay men.

Late Tuesday, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force also came out againstHolsinger's nomination


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

Holsinger's anti-gay religious record

by Bob Roehr

Dr. James Holsinger's professional career has been as a medical provider andadministrator, but President Bush's nominee to be surgeon general also hashad a parallel volunteer career among the topmost reaches of the "ConfessingMovement," a neo-evangelical effort within the United Methodist Church toreturn it to theological orthodoxy. Opposition to a growing tolerance andeven acceptance of gays within the church has been one of the group's mainfixations.

Holsinger also helped found a church in Kentucky that operates an "ex-gay"ministry.

Truth Wins Out, a group that counters right-wing propaganda, announcedMonday its strong opposition to Holsinger, after it was revealed that hestarted a church in Lexington, Kentucky that has a ministry to "cure" gaypeople.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

From The Economist print edition

It is getting harder for gay Palestinians to seek refuge in Israel or abroad

ONE time, high heels and a wig saved Imad from prison. The 22-year-old fromthe West Bank capital, Ramallah, had been caught in Jerusalem without apermit. On the way to the jail, the police asked him and his friend why theyhad sneaked into town. As his friend shrivelled up with shame, Imad (not hisreal name) proudly told them he had come to perform at the Shushan,Jerusalem's only gay bar. He opened his bag and flourished his outfit with abristle of sequins. The police, realising that they had caught a couple ofdrag queens instead of a couple of terrorists, let them go with a warningnever to return. "And two days later," recounts Imad with a gleam in hiseye, "I was back, even in the same café where they arrested me."

But getting back is becoming harder. Israel is rapidly filling in theremaining gaps in its West Bank wall-cum-fence. Recently it took Imad someseven hours to make the usual one-hour journey from Ramallah to Tel Aviv.Soon his drag career, which has rocketed at gay clubs all over Israel (seepicture), will be cut short.

Gay Palestinians have long been sneaking into Israel to enjoy a freedomunknown in their own, much more conservative, society. And despitepersistent rows such as whether to allow gay-pride marches inJerusalem-legislators this week voted, on a first reading, to let the cityban them to avoid offending ultra-Orthodox Jews-Israel likes to promote itsreputation for tolerance.


Pride parade deemed a success

Jun 06, 2007
By Talis Saule Archdeacon

RIGA - Riga pulled off its first ever successful gay pride parade andfestival on June 3 despite attempts by angry hecklers to intervene. Amassive police presence, personally orchestrated by Interior Minister IvarsGodmanis from the balcony of a nearby office building, prevented any majordisruption of the parade, which was the culmination of the four-day RigaFriendship Days 2007. About 400 people took part in the march around thepark, including several European lawmakers and two members of the EuropeanParliament. Nearly a hundred journalists and photographers were also inattendance.

The success was a feather in Riga's cap given that the gatherings of gayrights advocates the previous two years were marred by physicalconfrontations. Last year a crowd of irate protesters even threw excrementon the activists.

"It was fabulous - I'm very pleased. Everything worked out. We had a lot ofvisitors and there were no disturbances," said Linda Freimane, director ofthe sexual minority rights group Mozaika.


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