Friday, August 10, 2007

GLBT DIGEST August 10, 2007

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Pakistanis Increasingly Reject Terrorism... and the U.S.
by Richard Wike
August 8, 2007

As American leaders from George W. Bush to Barack Obama talk tough withPakistani President Pervez Musharraf about getting tough with al Qaeda,Pakistanis may feel torn between sympathy and outrage. On one hand, theyincreasingly reject terrorist tactics and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.But on the other, they continue to express both fear and loathing of theUnited States. Most Pakistanis fear the U.S. could become a military threatto their country, and despite their opposition to terrorism, few support theU.S.-led war on terror.

Support for Terror Drops

According to the recently released National Intelligence Estimate (NIE),Pakistan remains a safe haven and base of operations for al Qaeda.Nonetheless, public opinion in Pakistan has actually grown considerably lesssupportive of terrorism in recent years. In 2004, 41% of Pakistani Muslimssaid that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilians were"often" or "sometimes justified" in order to defend Islam from its enemies,while only 35% felt that such attacks were never justified.1 Today, only 9%say suicide attacks are often or sometimes justified, while 72% say thiskind of violence is never defensible (another 9% say they are "rarely"

Similarly, support for Osama bin Laden has waned. In 2005, 51% of Pakistanissaid they had a lot or some confidence in bin Laden to do the right thing inworld affairs. Now, confidence in the al Qaeda leader has fallen to 38% -still disturbingly high, but nonetheless a substantial decline in just twoyears.

Over the last few years, Pakistan has suffered a number of deadly terroristattacks, including a series of suicide bombings in July, following agovernment raid on the Red Mosque, a militant Islamist stronghold in thecapital city, Islamabad. More than three-in-four Pakistanis (76%) callterrorism a "very big problem" for the country. Among the 47 countriesincluded in the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey, only Bangladeshis (77%)and Moroccans (81%) are more worried about terrorism. And in a 2006 Pewsurvey, 74% of Pakistanis said they were very or somewhat concerned aboutthe rise of Islamic extremism in their country - a higher level of concernthan found in the other predominantly Muslim countries included in thesurvey: Jordan (69%), Egypt (68%), Turkey (46%), and Indonesia (43%).

Negative Attitudes toward the U.S.

But rising resistance to terrorism has not translated into support for theUnited States or its war on terror. Fewer than one-in-five Pakistanis (15%)have a positive view of the U.S. - only Palestinians (13%) and Turks (9%)are less favorably disposed. Attitudes toward the U.S. have beenconsistently negative for years in Pakistan, although America's unfavorablerating peaked in 2003, shortly after the launch of the Iraq war. And viewsactually grew a bit more positive in 2006, following U.S. aid to victims ofPakistan's devastating October 2005 earthquake. This year, however, opinionsof the U.S. have again grown more negative.


UNITE Fort Lauderdale Inaugural Meeting

You are invited to attend the Inaugural Meeting of Unite Fort Lauderdale onTuesday, August 14th at 7:00 pm at the GLCC at 1717 North Andrews Avenue,Fort Lauderdale. (UNITE Fort Lauderdale was the organization that recentlyorganized the demonstration against Mayor Naugle's inflammatory remarksabout gays along with some of the other remarks that he has made over recentyears about African-Americans, the working class, and environmentalists.)

The meeting on Tuesday will be an opportunity to learn about theorganization's vision and mission and how YOU can get involved inbuilding a stronger community. Please bring at least one friend and anon-perishable food item benefit the Cooperative Feeding Program.

Please forward this to your email lists to get the word out about thismeeting.

Many thanks


09/08/2007 - Aug 9 (AFP)

18 face death sentence for homosexual activities in Nigeria

Eighteen men have been arrested in northern Nigeria for alleged sodomy,which carries the death sentence under Bauchi state's Islamic sharia law,the official NAN news agency reported Thursday.

Judge Malam Tanimu ordered the 18 remanded in prison until a further hearingon August 21 following their arrest on Sunday in a hotel in Bauchi city.

The court on Wednesday heard that the men, who were wearing female clothing,had come to the city from five neighbouring states to celebrate a gay"marriage".

Prosecuting police officer Tadius Boboi said the men's actions hadcontravened the sharia penal code adopted in Bauchi and other states inMuslim northern Nigeria eight years ago following the end of military rule.

In June an agency tasked with implementing sharia law in Bauchi called onthe new state governor to approve three sentences of death by stoning and 40of amputation passed since 2002 which his predecessor had refused to ratify.

The death sentences were passed for sexual offences, including one forsodomy.

In a Nigerian sharia state the governor must give his approval beforepunishments like death and amputation passed by sharia courts are actuallycarried out.


03 August 2007

AI Index: ASA 28/002/2007
UA 200/07

Fear for safety/ torture or ill-treatment

Ayu (f), aged 44

Other transsexual individuals in Malaysia

Ayu, a male-to-female transsexual, was seriously beaten by state religiousofficials who detained her while she was talking to friends at the OldMelaka bus station in Kota Melaka, Melaka (Malacca) state, southwestMalaysia at around 11.30pm on 30 July. Ayu may be at risk of further abuse,and other transsexual people may also be in danger.

Ayu was reportedly approached by three enforcement officers from the MelakaIslamic Religious Affairs Department (Jabatan Agama Islam Melaka, JAIM), alocal government body tasked with enforcing social norms based on Sharialaw. The officials, all dressed in civilian clothes, reportedly punched andkicked Ayu when they detained her. One of them reportedly kicked her hardin the genital area. They only identified themselves as JAIM officials whenbystanders intervened to try to prevent the assault. When she said she wasin serious pain, they took her briefly to the local JAIM office, beforetransferring her to Melaka General Hospital. She had to undergo surgery on31 July for a pre-existing abdominal hernia condition, which had beenaggravated by the assault.

JAIM ordered the hospital authorities to report the names of othertranssexuals who came to visit Ayu in hospital. It is unclear whether anywere reported, but Amnesty International fears that other transsexualpeople in Melaka, and in Malaysia generally, may face similar abuses.

According to media reports, a JAIM official later clarified the reasons forAyu's detention, namely that she had committed the 'offence' of 'mendressing up as women in a public space' which is punishable with a fine ofRM1,000 (approx. US$288), a six-month prison sentence or both under Section72 of the Melaka Sharia Offences Enactment. However, a social worker withthe Malaysian non-governmental organization, Pink Triangle, claimed thatthe officials had contravened procedures by failing to take Ayu to a policestation after they detained her.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

How Bush Gained the Power to Spy on You without Security Justifications
By Aziz Huq,
Posted on August 9, 2007, Printed on August 10, 2007

After enduring weeks of blistering criticism for Attorney General AlbertoGonzales's inartful elisions about the National Security Agency (NSA) spyingactivities, the Bush Administration has successfully forced on Congress alaw that largely authorizes open-ended surveillance of Americans' overseasphone calls and e-mails. How did they do it?

The Protect America Act of 2007 -- the title alone ought to be warning thatunsavory motives are at work -- is the most recent example of the nationalsecurity waltz, a three-step Administration maneuver for taking defeat andturning it into victory.

The waltz starts with a defeat in the courts for Administration actions --for example, the Supreme Court's extension of the rule of law to the USmilitary prison at Guantánamo in the 2004 case of Rasul v. Bush, or itsstriking down of the military commissions in 2006 in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. Thesecond step does not follow immediately. Rather, some months later, theAdministration suddenly announces that the ruling has created a securitycrisis and cries out for urgent remedial legislation. Then (and here's thecoup de grâce) the Administration rams legislation through Congress -- theDetainee Treatment Act of 2005, or the Military Commissions Act of 2006 --that not only undoes the good court decision but also inflicts substantialdamage to the infrastructure of accountability.

This time, the sordid dance began with a bad ruling for the government, aruling that demands some context to be understood.

In January the Administration suddenly announced that it was submitting thesecretive NSA "terrorist surveillance program" to the Foreign IntelligenceSurveillance Court, or FISC, a closed judicial process established by the1978 FISA law to handle search warrants for foreign intelligence purposes.The move came as federal appellate courts in Ohio and California seemed onthe cusp of ruling the NSA's domestic surveillance efforts illegal asviolations of FISA and possibly the Fourth Amendment. It seemed a way toforestall defeat in those cases.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Published: 08.08.2007

My Tucson: The church should define marriage
State could legislate certain standards for civil unions
Tucson Citizen

As a Presbyterian pastor, I gave up on the customary practice of premaritalcounseling decades ago.

It was the biggest waste of time in my practice of ministry. Couples eithertold me what they thought the preacher wanted to hear, or they didn't payany attention at all. (We are in perfect and abiding love and will livehappily ever after.)

Instead, I reached agreement with couples that they would invite me to adinner a year after the marriage ceremony.

By then, the issues were surfacing and we could talk about the serious workof building a loving and committed relationship.

I don't have any academic study to determine whether premarital orpostmarital counseling is more effective, but my hunch is that none of us inthe marrying-Sam (or Samantha) trade are having great success rates withenduring marriages these days.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

"Chosen By God", New Army Chaplain Head Expects Apocalyptic Religious War
By Bruce Wilson Thu Aug 09, 2007 at 11:18:07 AM EST
topic: All Topics section:Dominionism in the military print this story

Douglas L. Carver seems to believe he's been he's been chosen by God to leadin an Apocalyptic end-time war between good and evil that will last decadesand began, as foreshadowed in prophecy, with the US invasion and occupationof Iraq. Meet the US Army's new (apocalyptic) Head of Chaplains.

Douglas L. Carver, on a mission from God ?

As president George W. Bush said via satellite, on June 13, 2007 to SouthernBaptist Convention members gathered for the Southern Baptist Convention's2007 annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, "Just like our troops, you havethe gratitude of the Commander-in-Chief as we do the hard work necessary todefend our country, and at the same time, lay the foundation of peace.".

The SBC's new Army Head Of Chaplains, Douglas L. Carver, no doubt believeshe is laying the foundation of peace too, but Carver may feel thatfoundation will be laid via the Apocalypse and Armageddon.

On July 13, 2006 Carver told a Gadsden Alabama SBC church congregation "I'mnot an end-times preacher, but I think something is up", cited theapocalyptic scripture of Daniel 12:1-3, then told the congregation, asreported by Alabama Baptist, " "This is our time, our destiny," just asEsther was placed in a certain position at a specific moment "for such atime as this"". Some of Carver's statements can be seen as suggesting the USinvasion and occupation of Iraq amounts to the playing out of Biblicalprophecy.

As reporter Leigh Pritchard, described Carver's Gadsden speech, the Army'snew Head Of Chaplains appears to feel American is riding a fast track ofburgeoning immorality morality, straight to hell:


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Feminine guys are better!

LONDON: Women see masculine-looking men as more unsuitable long-termpartners but men with more feminine features are seen as more committed andless likely to stray, British researchers said Wednesday.

Scientists at the universities of Durham and St Andrews came to theconclusion by asking more than 400 British men and women to make judgmentson character after looking at digitally-altered pictures of men's faces.

The web-based test asked participants to rate the face for traits such asdominance, ambition, wealth, faithfulness, commitment, parenting skills, andwarmth.

Men with square jaws, larger noses and smaller eyes were classed assignificantly more dominant, less faithful, worse parents and as having lesswarm personalities.

Those with finer facial features, fuller lips, wide eyes and thinner, morecurved eyebrows on the other hand were viewed as a better bet for long-termrelationships.


Get support at school
August 10, 2007

Dear Harlan: I've been keeping a secret from my family for years. The samesecret was also withheld from most of my friends until my junior year ofhigh school. Some of my friends already know my secret, but were told tokeep their mouths shut, please. I didn't want anyone to know. I was almostashamed. I came to terms with it, mostly, when I told my friends. I've knownsince the third quarter of eighth grade. Now, as I head off to college, I'mready to tell my family. I'm gay but I don't know how to tell my family. Mymom constantly makes remarks about gay people (just poking fun at my choralteacher, which is often followed by a comment like "I have no problem withgay people ... as long as they don't force it on me"). Is there any way totell my mom (who's raised me single-handedly) without freaking her out? -Concerned and Confused

Dear Concerned: My initial thought is that the college transition is a hugechange for everyone - especially a single mom - and new information (likefinding out your child is gay) is hard to process in the midst of dramaticchange. At the same time, you need to be completely supported during thistransition. My suggestion is to make sure you have a support system atschool when you arrive. Once you root yourself in a community that cansupport you, you can then share this secret with your mom. The morecomfortable you feel, the easier it will be to handle her reaction. In termsof support, there are campus advocates, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendergroups, counseling and support groups on campus and in the community, andthen there's online help ( When the time is right, you canconnect your mom with Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians andGays -( and get support so that she can get comfortable with theuncomfortable.

Write Harlan at harlan@helpme or visit online: All letters submittedbecome property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan! 2506 N. ClarkSt., Ste. 223, Chicago, IL 60614.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6389610,print.story

Taking positive steps
Prisoners in the Philippines are finding precision dance brings fitness, asense of pride and now, YouTube fame
August 10, 2007

CEBU, Philippines Behind thick stone walls topped by electrified razorwire, one of cyberspace's most unlikely hits is already warming up as therest of Cebu stirs from sleep.

Pockets of inmates stretch and practice their latest moves. Then the morningworkout gets under way in earnest in the exercise yard of the CebuProvincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.

In their identical orange prison uniforms, up to 1,500 march and clap inunison as they perform precision dance routines with the Village People's Inthe Navy and YMCA pounding from six well-worn black speakers.

And why not? Their version of Michael Jackson's Thriller had been watchedalmost 4.4 million times on YouTube as of Thursday, uploaded by ByronGarcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea ofadding structure to poorly attended exercise sessions.

Inmates with arms covered in tattoos and baby-faced guys who may have beengang members on the outside gyrate next to one another. They all seem to beenjoying themselves, or at least taking pride, as their sandals and tennisshoes slap in unison on the gray concrete. They laugh when they screw up,applaud when they get a new sequence right.


Court says gay couples can't file taxes jointly in NJ _ yet
The Associated Press

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - New Jersey now grants gay couples the same statebenefits that married heterosexual couples receive, but that does not meanthey can file their tax returns jointly for the 2006 tax year, a court ruledThursday.

In a unanimous ruling, a three-judge appeals panel affirmed the state'sposition that the benefits , at least regarding tax returns , did not startuntil Feb. 19, when gay couples were allowed to join in civil unions.

Roslyn Quarto and Judith Prichason went to Canada, where gay marriage islegal, to wed in 2003. The next year, they registered as domestic partnersin New Jersey so they could receive the limited benefits the state was
allowing then.

Last October, the state Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey had to extend tosame-sex couples all the rights that married couples are granted. But thecourt left it up to lawmakers to work out the mechanism for doing that.

The Legislature decided to enact civil unions, which are essentiallymarriages in all but name and which previously in place in only Vermont andConnecticut.


Thursday, 09 August 2007 15:37
Important Federal Decision
Same Sex Couples Protected by Courts. ACLU Legal Director Victorious.

Last week, we got what I think is the best decision yet to follow up onLawrence v. Texas, the 2003 decision in which the Supreme Court struck downthe Texas "sodomy" law.

In the new case, United States v. Roberts and Mangini, a federal districtcourt ruled that same-sex relationships are protected by the federalConstitution. It then struck down a federal agency's refusal to treat asame-sex couple as family. It is a great decision, both because of what theCourt did and why the Court did it. It is also a good reminder of how to uselitigation to make change.

The new decision came out of what looks at first glance like an unpromisingsituation. In 2004, Steven Roberts and Daniel Mangini pled guilty to sellingmethamphetamines. Both were sentenced to federal prison. Before theirarrest, Roberts and Mangini had been partners for 18 years. They livedtogether, supported each other, and were treated as a couple by both oftheir families. They raised Roberts's niece, who was placed with them by thePhiladelphia Department of Human Services. As the District Court Judge putit, they ".were in every way a family."

That is not, however, the way the federal Probation Office saw it. Manginiwas released in April 2005, and went to live with Roberts' uncle. But whenRoberts was released in June 2006, the Probation Office refused to let himjoin Mangini. The Office relied on "standard condition number 9," which saysthat while on probation, a convicted felon may not associate in any way withanother convicted felon without permission.

The Probation Office frankly admitted that it generally does give permissionto associate to people who are "blood relatives and spouses." But the officesaid, it would refuse permission to Mangini and Roberts since they wereneither. The two men, the Office said, could have no contact with each otherwhatsoever until 2011. To make matters worse, Mangini developed AIDS, so theProbation Office's refusal meant Mangini had to face the disease without thesupport of his partner. For Roberts, of course, it meant he might never seehis partner again.


Thursday, 09 August 2007 15:47

LGBT People Murdered in Hate Crimes to Be Honored by "Gay American Heroes"
Memorial and Exhibition to Serve as Tool for Remembrance, Education andCompassion

August 9, 2007 -- A "Who's Who" of gay and straight culture have cometogether to create a national memorial to honor LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexualand transgender) people who have been murdered because of their sexualorientation or gender identity.

Led by Scott Hall, Frank Kameny, US. Representative Barney Frank and ChipArndt, the idea for Gay American Heroes was born on March 13, 2007, whenFounder and President Scott Hall learned about the brutal murder of RyanKeith Skipper. Ryan was a 25 year-old Floridian who lived in Polk County,not far from Hall. Ryan was viciously stabbed more than 20 times and wasleft to die; for one reason --- Ryan Keith Skipper was gay.

Hall had twice been the victim of hate crimes and was quickly spurred intoaction. Within days he contacted longtime friend Frank Kameny, pioneeringgay rights activist, who immediately recognized the importance of Hall'sproject. James T. Sears, noted writer and historian, also voiced his earlystrong support of the project. The group then assembled a team to create theGay American Heroes Foundation, a not-for-profit organization.

With Founding Board Members Chip Arndt, Jack Rutland and William J.Iannarelli leading the way, Gay American Heroes' mission was established: 1)to honor and remember LGBT people who have been murdered because of theresexual orientation and/or gender identity; 2) to engage and inform thepublic about hate crimes against LGBT persons; and 3) to inspire compassionand greater appreciation for, and acceptance of, diversity.

Hall traveled to New York City where he met with Cyndi Lauper to discuss theproject. Ms. Lauper immediately offered to help in any way that she could.Hall also met with "Grey's Anatomy" T. R. Knight, who expressed hisheartfelt support for the project.


August 10, 2007
Baptist seminary instills strict gender roles with curricula

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers coursework in Greek andHebrew, in archaeology, in the philosophy of religion, and, starting thisfall, in how to cook and sew.

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptistseminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part ofan effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and genderroles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hourconcentration in homemaking. The program is open only to women.

Coursework will include seven hours of nutrition and meal preparation, sevenhours of textile design and ''clothing construction,'' three hours ofgeneral homemaking, three hours on ''the value of a child,'' and three hourson the ''biblical model for the home and family.''

Seminary officials say the main focus of the courses is on hospitality inthe home-teaching women interior design as well as how to sew and cook.Women also study children's spiritual, physical, and emotional development.

Yet the program is raising eyebrows among some Southern Baptists, who say adegree concentration in how to be a Christian housewife is not useful, and awaste of seminary resources.


The Advocate

August 10, 2007
Analysis: GOP rivals target Romney

Rivals have hit Mitt Romney on a range of issues including hisabortion-rights reversal and his equivocations on gays and guns, and he'sstill standing-and standing tall. At least for now.

In the long run, months of GOP competitors chipping away at his conservativecredentials could undermine his effort to be seen as the most conservativeand most electable Republican.

''Mitt Romney is telling Iowans that he is firmly pro-life. Nothing could befurther from the truth,'' an automated phone call by Sam Brownback'scampaign tells Iowans. ''Stand up for life and say 'no' to Romney.'' TheKansas senator has stepped up his criticism of Romney, seeking an edgeleading up to a Saturday test vote in Iowa.

Romney insists, ''I am pro-life.''

Brownback, and to some degree other Republicans, are going after Romneybecause the former Massachusetts governor leads in early primary statepolling, including the leadoff Iowa caucuses, and most GOP candidates arefighting for the support of the same voters-conservatives who make up asignificant part of the electorate.


August 10, 2007
Young GOP leader accused in gay sex crime

On July 7, after a six-month campaign, 33-year-old Glenn Murphy Jr. waselected chairman of the venerable Young Republican National Foundation.

Last week, however, Murphy sent out a strange e-mail announcing hisresignation, explaining that a "life-altering" business deal had arisen and,after praying with his family, he had decided to pursue this newopportunity. For some reason, Murphy could no longer represent a politicalparty due to a "gut-wrenching dilemma" that forced him to step down from hisnew office.

In fact, as bloggers soon made public, Murphy had been accused of what iscalled in Indiana "criminal deviate conduct," a class B felony, afterattempting to have sex with a sleeping man July 29.

According to a police report from Clark County, Ind., the man, his sister,and Murphy had been drinking at a Young Republican party the previous night.The revelers wound up at the sister's home, where Murphy got into a top bunkbed and the victim took the bottom bunk.

Sometime that morning the victim awoke to find Murphy, in his words,"holding my dick with one hand and sucking my dick with his mouth," policerecords state. The man kicked Murphy off and left the house.


August 10, 2007
Activists outraged over axing of South African health minister

South Africa's deputy health minister, one of its most respected womenpoliticians, lost her job on the eve of the nation's Women's Day.

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was credited with revamping a beleaguered campaignagainst AIDS, earning the respect of AIDS activists who had blasted herboss, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, for her promotion of garlicand lemons as a remedy for AIDS and her open mistrust of antiretroviralmedicines. President Thabo Mbeki fired Madlala-Routledge late Wednesdayfollowing reports that she had gone to Spain to attend an AIDS conferencewithout his permission.

Madlala-Routledge's aides told a newspaper earlier this week that there hadbeen a mix-up in dates and she had already arrived in Spain by the time shereceived word from the president that she should not go. Since then she hasmade no comment, but AIDS activists said Thursday she would address a pressconference Friday.

A two-paragraph statement from the presidency, released just beforemidnight, gave no reason for the dismissal.

Opposition parties and AIDS activists reacted to the dismissal with shockand outrage Thursday.


August 10, 2007
Methodist court to consider case of transgender minister

The highest court for the United Methodist Church is taking up the case of aminister who changed sex from female to male.

The Reverend Ann Gordon had spent five years as minister at St. John'sUnited Methodist Church in Baltimore before undergoing surgery and hormonetherapy to become the Reverend Drew Phoenix.

Bishop John Schol of the Methodists' Baltimore-Washington Annual Conferencereappointed Phoenix this spring as pastor of the church, noting that thedenomination's Book of Discipline said nothing about transgender clergy.

The church's judicial council, scheduled to meet October 24-27 in SanFrancisco, will look at whether the Board of Ordained Ministry shouldconduct a review if a pastor changes gender, and whether the denominationallows transgender people to be appointed as Methodist ministers at all.


The Advocate

August 10, 2007
Pelosi to celebrate 20 years in Congress at National AIDS Memorial

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trading the pen and paper for the rake andtrowel this Saturday, celebrating her 20th year in Congress with a day ofmanual labor at the National AIDS Memorial in her native San Francisco.

Pelosi has been a longtime supporter of the Memorial, nicknamed the "Grove,"and was instrumental in passing the 1996 legislation that designated thesite as a national monument.

"The National AIDS Memorial Grove stands as a monument to all that we havelost, but also all that we have held onto-our hope, our optimism, oursteadfastness and determination to fight against this disease and for thepeople who have it," said Pelosi in a press release. "In this beautifulcity, we turned heartache into hope by creating the Grove, by continuing totend to this garden, and by treasuring the memory of those we have lost."

The National AIDS Memorial began as a grassroots project in 1989 by localresidents who wished to create a living tribute to those affected by AIDS.(The Advocate)


August 10, 2007
S.F. officials cancel Castro Halloween

San Francisco city officials are hoping for a quiet night in the Castro thisOctober 31, announcing that there will be no official Halloween celebration,reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"There will be no party," said Audrey Joseph, president of the city'sentertainment commission, according to the newspaper.

Officials had planned to host a large outdoor concert near AT&T Park as analternative to the Castro celebration, where a shooting last year injurednine people. But the concert promoter has decided the event is too much tohandle and that there is not enough time to find another venue, Joseph said,according to the Chronicle.

Although the alternate celebration has been canceled, officials are stilltrying to keep the Castro empty come Halloween. According to the Chronicle,supervisor Bevan Dufty sent a letter to 110 local business owners askingthem to keep their doors closed during the holiday.

Halloween has been a major community event-nicknamed the "gay Christmas," itdraws several hundred thousand people to the Castro-but Dufty says thecelebration has lived past its prime.


Church Ready To Replace Disgraced Pastor Haggard
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 9, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Colorado Springs, Colorado) A search committee at New Life Church isrecommending a Texas megachurch leader replace disgraced senior pastor TedHaggard.

The committee has nominated the Rev. Brady Boyd for the job, afterconducting what it said were "dozens of hours of interviews" over eightmonths.

As part of the hiring process, Boyd, associate senior pastor at GatewayChurch in Southlake, Texas, will preach at New Life Sunday services leadingup to Aug. 27, when church members will vote whether to accept him. Boydmust win a two-thirds majority to get the job.

Haggard was fired last year after a former male prostitute alleged athree-year cash-for-sex relationship with him. (story)

The man also said he saw Haggard use methamphetamine. Haggard confessed tounspecified "sexual immorality" and said he bought meth but never used it.


Real Life Prison Video Features 'YMCA', Other Gay Hits
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 9, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Cebu, Philippines) Behind thick stone walls topped by electrified razorwire, one of cyberspace's most unlikely hits is already warming up as therest of Cebu stirs from sleep.

Pockets of inmates stretch and practice their latest moves. Then the morningworkout gets under way in earnest in the exercise yard of the CebuProvincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.

In their identical orange prison uniforms, up to 1,500 march and clap inunison as they perform precision dance routines with the Village People's"In the Navy" and "YMCA" pounding from six well-worn black speakers.

And why not? Their version of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" had been watchednearly 4.4 million times on YouTube as of Thursday, uploaded by ByronGarcia, the Cebu provincial security consultant who came up with the idea ofadding structure to poorly attended exercise sessions.

Inmates with arms covered in tattoos and baby-faced guys who might have beengang members on the outside gyrate next to one another. They all seem to beenjoying themselves or at least taking pride as their sandals and tennisshoes slap in unison on the gray concrete. They laugh when they screw up,applaud when they get a new sequence right.


RI Gov. Blasted For Hiring Conservative Lawyer To Fight Gay Marriage
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 9, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Providence, Rhode Island) Rhode Island Democrats have blasted Gov. DonCarcieri (R) for hiring a conservative attorney to write a brief in a caseinvolving same-sex marriage.

The state Supreme Court is considering a case involving a lesbian coupleseeking a divorce.

Margaret R. Chambers and Cassandra B. Ormiston were married in Massachusettsin 2004.

The marriage was never recognized in their home state of Rhode Island andlast year the women filed for divorce in Providence, citing "irreconcilabledifferences".

The Chief Family Court Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah Jr. said he did knot knowif he could rule without taking up the issue of marriage and asked theSupreme Court justices to determine if he has the authority to hear thecase. (story)


Gay Former Top Cop Eyed For London Mayor
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 9, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(London) The highest ranking out gay police officer in the world isreportedly being considered for mayor of London.

Brian Paddick, 49, is being courted by the Liberal Democrats. He recentlyheld meetings with the party, but is said not to have made a decision.

If he runs he would be pitted against Labor's Ken Livingstone, currently themayor of London, and the Tories' Boris Johnson.

Paddick left his job as Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner of London'sMetropolitan Police in the spring after a 30-year career with the force.

Paddick had become disenchanted with the force following a disagreement withthe way Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair had handled the shooting of aninnocent man police had mistaken for a terror suspect at in 2005.


Jewish Guide Has Transgender Blessing
by The Associated Press
Posted: August 10, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(New York City) Halfway through a newly revised manual promoting inclusionfor gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in Judaism's Reformmovement are two short blessings written by a rabbi who was raised Eliza andis now Elliot.

The prayers for Jews undergoing sex changes are included in the 500-pagesecond edition of a guide called Kulanu - Hebrew for "all of us" - publishedthis week by the New York-based Union for Reform Judaism.

"Here you have a Jewish person who is undergoing a very momentous aspect oftheir personal journey, and they will reach into their tradition to havethis affirmed in the way we do it, through a blessing," said Rabbi RichardAddress, an editor of the volume and director of the union's Department ofJewish Family Concerns. The union represents 900 Reform synagogues in NorthAmerica.

The inclusion of the transgendered blessings alongside a liturgy forsame-sex union ceremonies and a divorce document for same-sex couples is inkeeping with the Reform movement's tradition of liberal positions on humansexuality.

The largest branch of Judaism in North America, Reform Judaism allows gayand lesbian rabbis and cantors.


The Washington Post

Jailing Juveniles
Children should not be held in adult jails.
Friday, August 10, 2007; A12

MORE CHILDREN are going to jail -- too often even before they have beenconvicted.

In the District, the average daily count of juveniles being held in adultjail before trial has nearly tripled in the past year, according to a recentreport from the Campaign for Youth Justice. It's unclear whether this riseis attributable to an increase in serious crimes by juveniles, a surge inpolice patrols or tougher decisions by prosecutors who choose when to tryteenagers as adults. Whatever the cause, the increase in children held inadult jails should be reversed as a matter of public safety and decency.

Studies have shown that children incarcerated in adult jails are more likelyto be arrested again and to commit graver new offenses. In the D.C. Jail,which holds inmates awaiting trial or serving short sentences, juveniles arekept apart from adults, but they benefit from little of the rehabilitativeprogramming and structure required at juvenile detention centers. Currently,only those needing special education, for example, can go to class. DevonBrown, director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, said the agency hasnegotiated with the D.C. public school system to begin providing classes forall juveniles at the D.C Jail starting on Oct. 1. These efforts arelaudable, but, as Mr. Brown agrees, an adult jail does not have theresources, staffing or training to treat these youths.


The Washington Post

Gaddafi's Son: Bulgarians Were Tortured
Statement Confirms in Part Allegations Made by Six Released Medical Workers
By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, August 10, 2007; A08

PARIS, Aug. 9 -- Six Bulgarian medical workers imprisoned on charges ofinfecting children with the HIV virus were tortured by electric shock duringtheir captivity, the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi told al-Jazeeratelevision.

The doctor and five nurses were released last month after eight years inprison, and several have described ordeals of electric shock, rape, attacksby dogs and other torture during their incarceration.

"Yes, they were tortured by electricity, and they were threatened that theirfamily members would be targeted," Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was quoted assaying on the Arab broadcaster's Web site Thursday.

Although the younger Gaddafi confirmed the electric shocks, he disputedother allegations of torture, some made by Ashraf al-Hazouz, a 38-year-oldPalestinian-born doctor who was among the imprisoned medical workers.Hazouz, who was recently granted Bulgarian citizenship, has said ininterviews, "We were treated like animals."

Hazouz told Dutch television that Libyans attached electrodes to hisgenitals and feet, sent dogs to attack him and tied his hands and legs to ametal bar, spinning him "like a chicken on a rotisserie."


The Washington Post

Why the Democrats Caved
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, August 10, 2007; A13

Shortly before noon last Saturday, about 20 House Democrats huddled inSpeaker Nancy Pelosi's office to decide what to do about a surveillance billthat had been dumped on them by the Senate before it left town.

Many of the Democrats were furious. They believed they had negotiated ingood faith with Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence. Theysought to give the Bush administration the authority it needed to interceptcommunications involving foreign nationals in terrorism investigations whilepreserving some oversight.

But the administration held out for granting McConnell and Attorney GeneralAlberto R. Gonzales more power while seriously circumscribing the role ofthe Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Senate's Democraticleadership, lacking the votes to pass a measure more to the House's liking,gave the administration what it wanted.


Express Gay News

New Log Cabin pres is straight woman
Former Wilton Manors mayor Sandy Steen pushes for repeal of military andadoption bans
Thursday, August 09, 2007

Saying you are a Log Cabin Republican usually raises some eyebrows, but astraight woman leading a local gay Republican organization is even moreunusual. Former Wilton Manors Mayor Sandy Steen recently became thepresident of the Gold Coast Log Cabin Republicans, and she thinks it's aperfect fit.

Steen and her husband, both active in the local Republican Party, invitedthe Log Cabin Republicans to their home to have their meeting.

"I happen to be a pretty good cook, and I always serve appetizers and herbaliced teas and wine," Steen explains. "So, they've been having their meetingshere."

During a recent meeting, the group had an election of officers and electedher as president.

"I asked, 'Are you sure you want a straight woman as president? And theysaid, 'You are such a leader, we would want you,'" she says.

Steen was raised in a Republican household. She switched her politicalaffiliation in college briefly to independent, but not long after, went backto Republican.

"I married a Republican," she says and laughs. "I used to tell people, 'Idon't care what my husband's religion is, as long as he's a republican. Ican't go to bed with a Democrat.'"

The two met through a mutual friend at a political function and have beentogether ever since.

Steen has lived in Broward County for 50 years. Her parents moved here in1957 when she was 17 and had just graduated from high school. She attendedthe University of Miami.

"Years ago, especially when I was first starting to get active in theRepublican Party, in Broward, if you weren't a Republican, you couldn't winin Florida," she reminisces. "Now it just flip-flopped. Broward County isnow Democratic, and the rest of the state votes Republican."

She says that it's not healthy when just one party is in control.

"I think there's room for Democrats, Republicans and independents," shesays. "I think it's very important for Republicans to take an active part inBroward County and to be heard."

Steen served two terms as mayor of Wilton Manors and worked 34 years forlate property appraiser Bill Marcom. She thinks many people havemisconceptions about gay Republicans.

"People think it's an oxymoron," she says. "It's not true at all. Quitefrankly, a lot of gay people are closeted Republicans."

Steen says that she and her husband are the only heterosexuals in the group,so far.

"But we are a very inclusive group," she says.


Express Gay News

Trans rights fight takes center stage
Forum at GLCC in Fort Lauderdale highlights issue
Thursday, August 09, 2007

Susan Stanton, the transgendered former city manager of Largo, Fla.,recalled an incident at a public hearing earlier this year when she wasstill Steve Stanton, in the eyes of the public at least, and fighting tokeep her job. A man approached her with his hand extended. Thinking the manwas going to wish her luck, she shook his hand. Suddenly a hateful lookflashed on the man's face.

"Where is your fucking dress, you faggot?" the man said.

Stanton was fired from her job as city manager after her plans to transitionfrom a man to a woman became public. Her story was one of the highlights ofa town hall meeting held at the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of SouthFlorida on Aug. 3. Presented by the Human Rights Campaign, "Equality forAll: A Town Hall Dialogue on Transgender Issues" featured severaltransgendered individuals, who told their stories and answered questionsfrom the audience.

"This is what I am, and this is what God has made," Stanton said. "It is nota lifestyle. It is not what people choose to do. I've joked, 'Gee, I wish Iwere gay. It would be so much easier.'"

It has not been easy for Blue, a transgendered high school student who spokeat the HRC forum. "My dad was angry and blamed himself," Blue said. "My momthought it was a phase, and my sister said I needed spiritual help."


Express Gay News

Right-wing coalition forms to back Naugle
Group launches website to respond to 'public health crisis'
Thursday, August 09, 2007

A new coalition has formed to support Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle'scampaign against public sex and to respond to what the group describes as"Broward's public health crisis."

The group has launched a website, Visitors tothe site are greeted by a large American flag and the statement: "MayorNaugle is Right. is coming soon."

The group posted a press release on the site Aug. 3.
", a newly formed coalition of local and nationalgroups, announced its support today for Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle andfor measures to stem Broward's public health crisis," the press releasestates.

The press release then quotes Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the WorldwideChristian Center in Pompano Beach. "We have an epidemic on our hands,"Dozier says in the press statement. "More than 8,000 people have died fromAIDS in Broward County since the early 1980s. Everyone, regardless of hisplace on the political spectrum, should agree that public sex - whether itbe in parks, restrooms, department stores or bathhouses - endangers livesand fuels the public health crisis we face in Broward."

Dozier then cites statistics showing that Broward County leads the nation inthe number of new AIDS cases. "A staggering one in five men who have sexwith other men is HIV positive," he says.

Dozier made headlines last summer when he referred to Islam as a "cult" andthe Koran as "evil." His comments led to his removal from a state panel thatrecommends judicial appointments. Dozier has also been a key figure inefforts to pass a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Florida.



Express Gay News

National conservative group to fight sex ed plan in Md.
Thomas More Law Center calls gay-inclusive lessons 'hedonistic'?
Thursday, August 09, 2007

A national law firm is backing new attempts to stop Montgomery County fromteaching its gay-inclusive sex education lessons.

Thomas More Law Center, which focuses on religious freedom and "familyvalues" cases, has joined three local groups to challenge the curriculumanew in court. The case, filed July 26, has no scheduled trial date.

"I'm impressed with the principled and steadfast opposition by thesepro-family groups to this outrageously hedonistic and life-threateningsexuality curriculum," said Richard Thompson, the Law Center's president andchief counsel. "The Law Center will do everything we can to assist them intheir fight."

Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, Parents & Friends of Ex-Gays & Gaysand Family Leader Network are challenging the Maryland State Board ofEducation's decision last month to approve the lessons.

State officials said July 3 that legal challenges to the curriculum, raisedby the three conservative groups, were unfounded and the curriculum islegal.

The lessons, titled "Respect for Differences in Human Sexuality," explainconcepts like sexual identity and orientation using what supporters say isnonjudgmental language.



Largest Lesbian Social Networking Site Celebrates its 10th Anniversary

Press release from: SHOE International Network GmbH
08-09-2007 01:58 PM CET

(openPR) - Zurich, Switzerland --, the largest online socialnetworking site devoted exclusively to women who love women announced todaythat they are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. To mark theoccasion, SHOE has just launched new exciting video and playlist features.

Created in 1997, the site has evolved into the largest lesbian onlinecommunity, boasting nearly 140'000 members spanning across 140 countriesworldwide.

SHOE is a one stop lesbian portal for women of all ages; in or out of thecloset; in relationships or single and looking. Women can create their ownprofile; share photos; blog; browse through the classifieds; play in thechatrooms; or participate in forum discussions - all for free. As of todaymembers can also add their own videos and playlists to their profiles.

SHOE Founders Sunci Nikolic and Fab Syz are pioneers in their own right,whose efforts have forever changed the virtual face of the lesbian world.Their cheeky approach "We no longer burn our bras but wear wonder bras withpride" got them into a spot of trouble. "Clubs were boycotting our Flyers,saying they were sexist" explains Fab. "We also were under attack byfeminists for our slogan "Totally Girl Powered" - demanding to have itchanged to "Totally Woman Powered." Those days were wild but thankfully theworld has moved forward."

Since then, SHOE has gained International acclaim. Awards include "BestOnline Portal 2006," "Lesbian Personality of the Year 2005," "Faces of theYear 2001," and an important nomination for the "Pride/Stonewall Award" in2004 for outstanding contributions to the lesbian and gay community.

"It's our mission to provide a safe haven for our members, in a concertedeffort to insulate them from online perils," says Fab. Their newlyintroduced "User Verification System" is just one small measure implementedtowards preserving a safe place in the virtual world. "It's an ongoingeffort which takes up most of our time but we're only too happy to take onthis challenge for another 10 years," adds Sunci.


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