Tuesday, September 25, 2007

GLBT DIGEST September 25, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT rays.list@comcast.net and we'll be happy to send the full article.



Do your part to fight the right-wing state-wide anti-gay initiativeto amend the Florida constitution.

Friday, September 28, at the GLCC, Ft. Lauderdale - 11:45am to 1:30pm.

Michael and I promised to get a minimum of 10 people to attend thislow dollar boxed lunch - only $25 - to learn about Florida Red And Blue andthe multiple efforts to overcome this hateful amendment. Florida Red andBlue has already raised over $1 million, but our work is only beginning.

Will you support us with this? Every GLBT person in Florida needs to be apart of this effort.

Boxed Lunch Series
Friday, September 28
Noon - 1:30pm
Networking 11:45am
GLCC - Ft. Lauderdale

Send us an e-mail and let us know if you'll join us on the 28th.

And...... If you can't attend, we'll be glad to accept your check made out
to "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


The New York Times


Episcopalians Try to Prevent Split

September 25, 2007
Filed at 3:03 a.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- With the Anglican world anxiously waiting, Episcopalleaders weighed their response to demands that they bar any more gays frombecoming bishops.

A bishops' committee took a break late Monday after working on a statementthat could determine whether the global Anglican fellowship splits apart.

The Episcopal Church, the Anglican body in the U.S., caused an uproar in2003 by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of NewHampshire.

Anglican leaders set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledgeunequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an officialprayer service for same-gender couples.

A vote by the full House of Bishops was set for Tuesday, the final day ofthe Episcopal meeting.

''We are working very closely with one another whether we are on theconservative end of the church, the liberal or the moderate middle,'' saidliberal Los Angeles Bishop Jon Bruno. ''We're looking to make as full, clearand complete a response as we can.''

Bishop Ed Little, a theological conservative from of northern Indiana whowants to stay in the Episcopal Church, said that lay and clergy leaders fromthe Anglican Communion who have been attending the six-day meeting arepushing bishops to make concessions.

''They've all said in essence, for the good of the church, for the good ofthe communion, you have to take a step back,'' Little said.



New York Times


September 25, 2007
A Campus Buzzes With Protest and Political Debate


Fatemeh Farsh, a slender woman with long dark hair, stood outside LowLibrary at Columbia University yesterday afternoon, holding a huge green,white and red Iranian flag, and talking earnestly to two students from Koreaabout homosexuality in Iran.

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had just finished speaking in thecampus center, where he asserted, among other things, that Iran had nohomosexuals. Speakers in a student-organized forum were still parading tothe microphone in front of Low Library. And gaggles of students were deep inconversation across campus.

"Look at all the dialogue," said Ms. Farsh, a graduate student in film whowas born in Iran and came to the United States at age 4. "On a regular day,I wouldn't be talking to them," she said, gesturing at the two Koreanstudents. "And they wouldn't be talking to me."

It was hardly a regular day. Columbia, which faced harsh criticism over itsinvitation to a political figure despised by many, closed its grounds toanyone without university identification for the speech. All day, the campuswas percolating with political debate as students turned out to protest,listen to and dissect the talk, and argue about the sharp remarks by Lee C.Bollinger, Columbia's president, in introducing the Iranian leader. Manystudents expressed distaste for Mr. Ahmadinejad, although opinions were moredivided on whether he should have been invited.



The Washington Post


What Do Aliens, Talking Fish and LGBT Characters Share?

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, September 25, 2007; C07

Your chances of seeing a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender character onthe broadcast networks in prime time this new TV season are about the sameas your chances of seeing a talking fish or caveman.

The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) characters onbroadcast TV is plunging in prime time, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance AgainstDefamation states in its most recent "Where We Are on TV" report.

Seven regular LGBT characters, out of 650 regular lead or supportingcharacters, are featured in just five scripted programs, the group reports.

That's down from nine characters on eight scripted series in the '06-'07season; and two seasons back, GLAAD clocked 10 LGBT roles on nine scriptedshows.

In fact, this season's only new non-heterosexual regular character is BonnieSomerville's bisexual character on ABC's chick ensemble series, "CashmereMafia."

On the new prime-time schedules, LGBT characters represent just 1.1 percentof those 650 characters. In real life, based on U.S. Census projections,LGBT marketing companies estimate 15.3 million adults identify themselves aslesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, which would be about 6.8 percent ofthe population.

In contrast, non-human-race (NHR) regular characters are enjoying somethingof a renaissance on broadcast TV.

Six have prominent roles in prime time, including a talking fish, a talkingdog and an alien of the outer-space sort, all on Fox, and three cavemen onABC. All told, they represent 1 percent of those 650 characters (comparedwith LGBT characters' 1.1 percent). In real life, based on Censusprojections, talking fish, talking dogs, aliens and cavemen make up 0percent of the population. It appears they are the only group besides whitemen who are overrepresented on broadcast prime-time TV.



The Washington Post


Police Investigate as a Hate Crime Attack on Man Leaving Nightclub

By Delphine Schrank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2007; Page B04

D.C. police said yesterday that they have launched a hate-crimeinvestigation into an assault that took place early Saturday outside aNorthwest Washington nightclub.

At least three assailants riding bicycles followed the victim as he walkedaway from a nightclub at Ninth and O streets NW in the Shaw neighborhood,police said. They taunted him with anti-gay remarks and then hit him with anunidentified object, police said.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


The New York Times

September 23, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Pardon Poor Larry Craig

I DID nothing wrong," said Larry Craig at the start of his long nationalnightmare as America's favorite running, or perhaps sitting, gag. That's thetruth. Justice lovers of all sexual persuasions must rally to save the Idahosenator before he is forced to prematurely evacuate his seat.

Time's running out. The final reckoning may arrive this week. On Wednesday,a Minnesota court will hear Mr. Craig's argument to throw out the guiltyplea he submitted by mail after being caught in a June sex sting in theMinneapolis airport. If he succeeds, there's a chance he might rescind hisdecision to resign from the Senate on Sept. 30. Either way, he should holdtight.

Not only did the senator do nothing wrong, but in scandal he has proved thenational treasure that he never was in his salad days as a pork-seekingparty hack. In the past month he has served as an invaluable human Geigercounter for hypocrisy on the left and right alike. He has been an unexpectedboon not just to the nation's double-entendre comedy industry but to theimploding Republican Party. Gays, not all of them closeted, may be among thelast minority groups with some representation in the increasinglymonochromatic G.O.P. If it is to muster even a rainbow-lite coalition for2008, it could use Larry Craig in the trenches.

more.... [must read]


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


"The Telegraph" (London): "Homosexuality not a 'disease', saysArchbishop" of Canterbury

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones in New Orleans
Last Updated: 1:00am BST 23/09/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has said thathomosexuality is not a "disease" on the eve of a crucial decision that couldsplit the Anglican Church worldwide.

Dr Williams's support for gays will fuel anger among conservative Churchmembers who will see his message of support as direct challenge to theirdeeply held view that homosexuality is a sin.

In his address to a key -gathering of 159 American bishops in NewOrleans, the Archbishop insisted: "I do not assume that homosexualinclination is a disease."

Warning that "violence against gay and lesbian people is inexcusable,"he added: "Gay and lesbian people have a place in the Church as do all thebaptised."

Dr Williams flew to America in a last-minute round of shuttle diplomacyto reconcile the warring camps.

But his message of support for homosexual rights will be seen byreligious conservatives as confirmation that he has taken sides against themand that they are viewed as the rebels in the Anglican Church.

American bishops seem certain this week to endorse a greater role forhomosexuals in the Church, in a move that could cause the biggest worldwidesplit in the Anglican congregation, headed by the departure of conservativeAfrican and Asian bishops.

Evangelical Christians around the world believe that homosexuality is asin that can be cured, a view emphatically rejected by Dr Williams. Hecondemned homophobia and said that the roles gays could take within theChurch were being considered.

Dr Williams also said that the American Church faces "no ultimatum" toend its stance on gays, which includes the ordination of the openlyhomosexual Bishop of New Hampshire three years ago.

His words will force the African church leaders to decide whether toleave the Anglican Church or accept that the American Church cannot beforced to stop appointing gay bishops.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


O'Malley betrays gays

The Washington Blade
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is the new Mitt Romney.

Just when you thought a politician could sink no lower in the duplicitousart of flip-flopping comes the hidden tale of how O'Malley assured gayrights activists and plaintiffs in the Maryland marriage case that hesupported same-sex marriage, only to reverse course and ultimately invokehis Catholic religious beliefs to justify his support of discrimination.

It's an all-too-familiar story of a Democratic candidate promising to standup for an all-too-loyal gay constituency, then kicking us when we're down.

That's an apt description of O'Malley's actions this week. As gayMarylanders were reeling from the high court decision upholding the state'smarriage ban - shedding tears and canceling wedding plans - the governorreleased a statement that didn't offer sympathy or condolences. Instead, hesaid he respected the court's decision - an opinion unparalleled in itsgratuitously offensive language - and that lawmakers shouldn't tellreligions how to define the sacraments.

With that statement, O'Malley kicked us all at a time when we were down andwe should not forget it. No more gay money. No more gay votes. No moredoor-to-door gay support or green bumper stickers or yard signs. Afterdistinguishing himself as a brash young politician of a new generation, hehas revealed himself to be a typical climber, so blinded by nationalambition that he would break any promise to pad his resume and preserve hispower.

For someone whose own marriage has been the subject of endless rumors ofinfidelity (how many couples have had to call a press conference to announcethey don't cheat?), O'Malley sure has a lot of nerve denigrating gayfamilies.

But back to that flip-flop. After repeatedly telling Maryland's gay rightsleaders that he backed gay marriage in 2004 and as late as August 2005,O'Malley abruptly rediscovered his Catholic roots, no doubt after his gubernatorialcampaign manager told him to. In a 2004 meeting and in multiple e-mails toplaintiff Lisa Polyak, O'Malley expressed his support for same-sex marriage.He even reiterated that support in a televised interview, which lives on atwww.wjz.com. (Search for "Maryland lawmaker marriage.")



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


New Survey Points to Disparity of Access to Information About Sexual Healthon College Campuses Nationwide

Yale Tops List as Most Sexually Healthy on Trojan(R) Sexual Health Report

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Many college students may beleft ill-informed about safer sex and more at risk for sexually transmittedinfections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies because of a lack of access toinformation about sexual health and availability of condoms at someschools, according to the Trojan Sexual Health Report Card -- releasedtoday from the makers of Trojan brand condoms and Sperling's Best Places --which is the first survey that grades the sexual health of colleges anduniversities across the country and ranks them. Despite this, many schoolswere found to do a good job of providing essential information about sexualhealth to students, which put them at the top of the list.

Yale University, for example, received the only perfect score and wasfound to have excellent resources for students. Yale also holds the annualSex Week at Yale (SWAY), which promotes open on-campus discussion of sexand relationships, and makes information about sexual health easilyaccessible online and through the student health center.

Other schools in the top 10 that were also shown to provide easily-accessible sexual health resources to students were the University of Iowa(#2), University of Michigan -- Ann Arbor (#3), Stanford University (#4),Oregon State University (#5), Princeton University (#6), University of NewHampshire (#7), Duke University (#8), Ohio State University(#9) andUniversity of Illinois (#10).

Schools at the bottom of the list were the University of Nevada (#91),followed by University of Wyoming (#92), University of Louisville (#93),Texas Tech University (#94), Clemson University (#95), University ofMemphis (#96), Oklahoma State University (#97), University of Utah (#98),University of Notre Dame (#99), and Brigham Young University (#100).

The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card looked at 100 public and privateschools, at least one from every state.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Human Rights Campaign Commends San Diego Mayor for Resolution in Favor ofMarriage Equality

Mayor Jerry Sanders, Once an Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage, Now Supports It

WASHINGTON-The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender advocacy group, today commended San Diego,California, Mayor Jerry Sanders for his support of a resolution calling formarriage equality. Mayor Sanders announced yesterday that he will sign themeasure, which was passed by San Diego's City Council earlier this week. Hisdecision marks a change of heart for the mayor, who once opposed same-sexmarriage.

"I would like to thank Mayor Sanders for his decision to stand up formarriage equality," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Hisemotional plea for equal protection under the law transcends politics andshows that he is someone who leads with his heart. We at HRC thank him forhis support and for serving as an example of a public official who trulyvalues all his constituents."

If you are interested in getting involved with HRC in the San Diego area,please contact David Paul at david.paul@hrc.org .





[GaysWithoutBorders] Ugandan Embassy: We protect gay citizens

by Michael Petrelis

After more than a week of calling and emailing Mr. Charles Ssentongo,second in command at the Ugandan embassy in Washington, I finally gothim on the phone this morning for a ten-minute conversation.

I asked what his government is doing to protect the human rights andsafety of gays and he assured me Uganda doesn't discriminate intreating all citizens equally. When I replied that reports from gaysin Uganda reveal deep concerns over their personal safety, Mr.Ssentongo said his government enforces civil liberties for all people.

He mentioned recent public news conferences by SMUG, Sexual Minoritiesof Uganda, as proof of tolerance for gays. The press conferences werecertainly a step forward, I said, but grounded in fear by the gays,some of whom wore masks to protect their identities.

The hateful articles in the Red Pepper newspaper came up as Iexplained that many Americans see the outing campaigns as directlycontributing to stigma for gay Uganda. I impressed upon him that DougIreland's coverage in Gay City News about the problems for ourbrothers and sisters was widely read, and that we stand in solidarityin our family members.

In his opinion, the Red Pepper likes to inflame lots of situations andpeople, including people in the government and it's a sign of maturepolitical democracy in action, after the hell Uganda has been through,that a tabloid can publish without government interference.

I requested a written summary affirming Uganda's commitment to its gaycitizens, and he promised to email it to me, but stressed it may takea while because his computer was hit by a virus last week.



Gay Republic Daily


Anglican Split And Consequences For Gays (Editorial)

By Viktor Zimmermann

Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola is visiting the US congregations, andGay rights activists do good to let him know he is not welcome. Some 30protesters expressed their anger outside the Wheaton College chapel, whereAkinola was spreading his hateful insights to a willing auditory ofseveral hundred Christian believers. The protesters, who were mostlyChristians themselves, accused Akinola of attempts to lure singularAnglican churches away from the official US congregation.

Akinola is a known enemy of the Gay people and has been waging a war againsthomosexuality in Africa for many years. Akinola's visit appears to be a boldprovocation to the US Anglican churches, considering the fact that onTuesday, the US bishops will meet to decide on how to deal with theultimatum issued to them by African and Asian congregations.

Christian commentators write that the majourity of the US bishops areconsidered liberals, and they are expected to vote for inclusion ofreligious Gays in the Church, both with regard to the blessing of Gaycouples and ordaining more Gay bishops.

The split the Anglican Church seems inevitable, establishing an alternativealliance between Africa and conservatives in the US.



[GaysWithoutBorders] ACT UP/Paris makes US media for immigration reform

Check out the fabulous photos here:


by Michael lPetrelis

From opposite ends of the political spectrum two American newspaperstoday, the liberal San Francisco Chronicle and the ultra-conservativeWashington Times, are running the same story about immigration reformbattles in France.

The article by freelancer Elizabeth Bryant examines deportation andimmigration matters under the conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy'sgovernment, but doesn't mention the gay and AIDS protest group ACT UPand their demonstration this week in Paris, calling for liberal policies.

But both the SF Chronicle and Washington Times use photos from ACTUP's protest, and it does my old activist heart good to see my Frenchbrothers and sisters hitting the streets and making news in theclassic inverted pink triangle t-shirts, only the wording has slightlychanged. The t-shirts read "Silence = Mort."

Yes, silence still equals death for far too many gays and people withAIDS/HIV on our precious planet and I salute ACT UP/Paris forremaining active and extremely visible, still calling for necessarychanges to improve lives everywhere.

Merci, mes amis pour votre vigilance et solidarite!





[al-fatiha-news] Ex-Muslim 'Apostates' Organize in Europe

By Patrick Goodenough

(CNSNews.com) - An Iranian-born Dutch politician under fire from Muslims forhis dissenting views on Islam on Tuesday officially launched an organizationto support people who have renounced the religion.

Ehsan Jami, a 22-year old Labor Party member elected to the council of acity near The Hague last year, announced at a press conference theestablishment of an organization called the Committee for Ex-Muslims.

Similar groups have begun in recent months in Britain, Germany andScandinavian countries.

According to leading Islamic schools of thought, apostasy is a crime,punishable by death in the case of a sane male who renounces his faith. Jamialso is controversial for his strong public comments on Islam, including theview expressed last June that Mohammed, the Islamic prophet, was a"criminal."

At Tuesday's press conference, timed for the sixth anniversary of 9/11 andattended by leaders from the British and German organizations, Jami declaredthat Islam was not a religion of peace.

"It's a religion of submission ... of its followers, submission ofChristians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists, infidels, the whole world," he wasquoted as saying.



[al-fatiha-news] Breaking News: Iran's President Claims No Homosexuals inIran; Defends Women's Human Rights

Video of President's statement on homosexuality and women's rights at


Ahmadinejad: Iran doesn't have gay issue

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 Iran respects women and does not have the "phenomenon" ofhomosexuality, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday at NewYork's Columbia University.

During a question-and-answer following his provocative remarks to students,teachers and others, Ahmadinejad said, "Freedoms in Iran are genuine, truefreedoms. Women in Iran enjoy the highest level of freedom."

He said executions, some of which are carried out in public, are carried outagainst "people who violate public rights," such as drug traffickers.

People who "cause deterioration" to others "are sentenced to executions inIran. Some of these punishments ... are carried out in the public eye."

Concerning whether Iran arms terrorists, Ahmadinejad said Iran has been a"victim of terrorists" and said "we need to address the root causes ofterrorism and eradicate them."

When asked about hostile treatment against homosexuals, Ahmadinejad said,"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country.

"We don't have that in our country," he said through an interpreter. "InIran, we do not have this phenomenon."

In closing, he extended an invitation for Columbia teachers and students tovisit universities in Iran. Columbia President Lee Bollinger, in hisblistering opening remarks, asked for a visit.




Anything But Straight

by Wayne Besen
Sept. 24, 2007

An Extraordinary Month

Inside the trenches of culture war combat, it is often difficult to see whois winning the conflict. The recurring recriminations, stale rhetoric andfinger pointing proclamations often leave one feeling as if we are in aperpetual stalemate. But in the past couple of weeks, dare I say, strongevidence has emerged that suggests the gay and lesbian community has won thewar. Not winning, but won. There have been victories, dramatic and mundane,that show the world has changed and will never be the same.

The most extraordinary development happened in San Diego, where RepublicanMayor Jerry Sanders switched his position on same-sex marriage, whilerevealing that his daughter is a lesbian. In a tearful address, he signed aCity Council resolution adding San Diego to a friend-of-the-court brief thaturges the California Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage. I am notsure what was more remarkable, watching this cultural touchstone orwitnessing a politician do what is in his heart.

"Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative,"Sanders said. "Those beliefs, in my case, have changed. The concept of a'separate but equal' institution is not something I can support...In theend, I couldn't look any of them [family and friends] in the face and tellthem that their relationship -- their very lives -- were any less meaningfulthan the marriage I share with my wife Rana."

Sanders displayed the moral courage to do precisely what former Rep. DickGephardt (D-MO) and Vice President Dick Cheney failed to do for theirdaughters. This dramatically changes the political equation, in that theright wing no longer monopolizes the language of values. Finally, we have amodel of morality, where a politician argues for GLBT equality in terms ofheartfelt beliefs and convictions. While the floodgates will not opentomorrow, this is the crack in the dam that will lead to the deluge. Mostliberals, and even many conservatives, believe in the freedom to marry.However, fear has kept them from doing what is right. Mayor Sanders hasshown them the way.

Less theatrical, yet also an important mark of change, NBC commentator ChrisMatthews congratulated gay pundit Andrew Sullivan for his recent marriage onMatthews' Sunday morning political talk show. A photograph of Sullivanembracing Aaron, his new husband, accompanied the celebratory note. Thenonchalance of this announcement - to an audience that is split betweenliberals and conservatives - shows how irrational fear of gay marriage isquickly receding.

Of course, there was also the recent court ruling in Iowa that led to thestate's one and only gay marriage, before the judge who issued the edict puta stay on further ceremonies. Still, this event highlights how no region isimmune from grappling with this issue.

Meanwhile, the California legislature has again passed a marriage bill thatwould become law if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would not terminate it withhis veto pen. Sure, the issue remains contentious, but the thought of gaypeople marrying in California is hardly a novel idea anymore. (On a downnote, the Maryland Court of Appeals rejected same-sex marriage by a 4-3vote)

As the cultural winds have shifted in favor of equality, the religious rightsuffered twin setbacks in Florida, a key swing state. The first disaster wasthe "Values Voter Presidential Debate," where none of the major candidatesappeared, treating the Religious Right as if it were just another minoritygroup to ignore with "scheduling conflicts." The truth is, the "schedulingconflicts" had to do with the fact the debate questioners, a who's who offringe ideologues, looked like they were all on Schedule 1 medications.

Later in the week, major right wing leaders descended upon Tampa for the"Family Impact Summit." I was down in the Sunshine State, taking part in acounter press conference hosted by the GLBT group Equality Florida. Insidethe event, right wing leaders were openly whining about how attendance hasfallen at right wing conferences in recent years. While much of the rightstill loves its red meat issues, gratuitous gay baiting is a harder sellthan it used to be.

There are simply too many serious issues - from Iraq to healthcare to thehousing bust to global warming - for today's mainstream conservatives toobsess about homosexuality. And, while many on the right would still prefergay people to retreat into the closet, they now know that there is littleroom inside, as it is packed like a gay bar at midnight with Republicanssuch as Mark Foley and Larry Craig.

Sure, the ugliness of the culture war will rage for fifteen to twenty moreyears, as our opponents get more desperate and shrill. But, like the "FamilyImpact Summit," each year it will be embraced by less families and have adiminishing impact.

© 2007 Wayne Besen. All rights reserved.




Transgender community works to gain protections in South Florida

Policies would seek to protect civil rights
By Patty Pensa South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 24, 2007

Transgender is quietly becoming a protected class in South Florida as citiesvote to prohibit discrimination against a group that faces tremendouschallenges fitting in.

Palm Beach and Broward counties may extend the protection next, which couldleave the broadest imprint by affording civil rights to people for theirgender identity or expression. The movement accelerated with the Marchfiring of Largo City Manager Susan Stanton, who transitioned from male tofemale this year.

"It shined a light on what this discrimination is," said Shannon Minter,legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Stanton'sattorney. "It really underscored how important it is to have theseordinances."

Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Tequesta and Oakland Parkhave approved nondiscrimination clauses this year either covering cityemployees or all residents. Oakland Park was the latest last week and WiltonManors may consider adding transgender as well.



Forwarded from Michael Rajner

Please visit the link below to vote in Sun-Sentinel's Transgender Poll:


Transgender poll

Many local governments in South Florida are adding protection fortransgender people to laws that already ban discrimination on the basis ofrace, sex, religion etc. Good move or bad move?

As of Tuesday am - 47 Good, 39% Bad, 14% No opinion.

more . . . . .


IGLHRC Deplores Denial of Iranian Homosexuals by President Ahmadinejad

September 24, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator, 212-430- 6016

(New York, Monday September 24, 2007) - Today, during a controversial talkat Columbia University's World Leaders Forum, Iranian President Dr. MahmoodAhmadinejad categorically denied the existence of homosexuality in Iran: "InIran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country.... We don't have thatin our country," he said in response to a question about the rights ofhomosexuals.

Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director at The International Gay and LesbianHuman Rights Commission (IGLHRC) expressed dismay at this response. "It isextremely unfortunate that the President of Iran, who used a prestigiousacademic forum to speak the "truth" about his country, nevertheless spoke sodisingenuously about the human rights situation in Iran," said Ettelbrick."The Iranian President's stark denial of our reality reflects hisgovernment's ongoing refusal to recognize the basic human rights of LGBTpeople. IGLHRC and other human rights organizations have documentedwidespread and systematic violations of the rights of members of thelesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran."

In preparation for today's forum, IGLHRC sent questions to the moderator,hoping that he would raise the issue of LGBT rights in Iran. IGLHRCexpresses its gratitude to Columbia University President Lee Bollinger andto the moderator, Professor Coatsworth, for addressing these issues. Thiswas the first time that a sitting Iranian president had been confronted witha question about the mistreatment of the LGBT community in a public forum.



Forwarded from Iranian Queer Organization - IRQO
Formerly Persian Gay & Lesbian Organization - PGLO


tel: 001-416-548-4171

Iran's president: 'We don't have homosexuals'


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Columbia University President Lee Bollinger excoriatedIranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday, going through a long listofdocumented actions and remarks by the firebrand Iranian leader and hisgovernment.

Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator,"Bollinger said to applause from many of the 600 people in the room for aspeech from the Iranian leader.

Bollinger cited the Iranian government's "brutal crackdown" on dissidents,public executions, executions of minors and other actions.

And he assailed Ahmadinejad's "denying" of the Holocaust as "ridiculous" and"dangerous propaganda." He called the Iranian leader either brazenlyprovocative "or astonishingly uneducated."

"The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in humanhistory," he said.

He said he doubted Ahmadinejad would show the intellectual courage to answerthe questions before him.

Ahmadinejad responded quickly. Ahmadinejad responded quickly.

"We don't think it's necessary before the speech is given to come in withsomeseries of claims," the Iranian leader said.

He said Bollinger's comments included "insults" and false claims, and flewinthe face of an environment that's supposed to let people speak their minds.

On the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad asked why history can't be questioned andfurther researched.

"If the Holocaust is a reality of our time, a history that occurred, why isthere not sufficient research that can approach the topic from differentperspectives?" he asked.

The Iranian leader has made statements in the past suggesting that Israel bepolitically "wiped off the map," though he insists that can be accomplishedwithout violence.

While he would not respond with a "yes" or "no" when asked Monday if hesoughtthe destruction of Israel, he said the status of Israel should be determinedby a free election.



Fairness for All Families



Daytona Beach News-Journal
September 6, 2007
by Jim Saunders

Tallahassee -- As an Iowa court decision refuels a national debate about theissue, Floridians appear headed toward voting next year on a constitutionalamendment that would ban same-sex marriages.

Backers of the proposed amendment are getting close to having enoughpetition signatures to put the issue on the November 2008 ballot,potentially setting up a major political fight.

Florida already has a law that prevents gay and lesbian couples frommarrying, but it's not part of the constitution.

Orlando lawyer John Stemberger, who is leading efforts to pass theamendment, said Florida needs to put the ban in the constitution because ajudge could overturn the current law.

An Iowa judge last week struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage,briefly allowing gay couples to wed. The decision was later stayed, pendingan appeal.

"Iowa is Exhibit A for why the marriage amendment needs to be codified inthe constitution," said Stemberger, president of the conservative FloridaFamily Policy Council. "Massachusetts (the only state that allows same-sexmarriages) is exhibit B."

But many opponents argue such bans discriminate against same-sex couples,preventing them from having the same rights as heterosexual couples.

more . . . . .


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The Detroit News


Straight moms go public for gay equality

by Deb Price

Meet lawyer Anne Wynne of Texas, a straight married mother of three. She's astrong supporter of gay equality.

And say hello to Wisconsin first lady Jessica Doyle, also a straight marriedmom and strong supporter of gay rights.

Then here's writer Amy Buttery of Lansing, a straight married mom of two,and staff developer Susan Craine of South Carolina, a straight single mom ofthree. And, yep, they're both strong supporters of gay rights.

This foursome share something else: They're standing straight up for gayfriends and neighbors -- taking the all-important step of going fromprivately opposing discrimination to actively speaking out against it.

They'll be part of a week-long, first-ever series of events starting Oct. 7known as "Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights."

At church potlucks and candlelight vigils from California to Maine,thousands of such straight men and women will get acquainted withlike-minded folks. And those of us who are gay will get a rare glimpse ofhow our allies' ranks are growing. (Learn more at: sevenstraightnights.org.)

"Many gay people will tell you that they have never asked a straight personto do anything for them, to ever stand up for them," says Wynne, a StraightNights organizer. "We're at a point of time where not only have the straightpeople not volunteered, but the gay people haven't asked either."



Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County - chances1@bellsouth.net

Analysis: Anglicans already breaking up

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion WriterSun Sep 23, 6:30 PM ET

As Episcopal leaders consider barring more gays from becoming bishops toprevent an Anglican schism, the world Anglican family is already dying by athousand cuts.

Theological conflict over the 2003 consecration of the first openly gayEpiscopal bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, is draining theAnglican Communion of its global influence.

Episcopal and Anglican conservatives who have been trying to maneuvercollectively have instead been scattering in different directions, adding toa sense of chaos.

And while the number of Episcopal parishes that have broken with thenational church is relatively small, observers say there's another threatthat's harder to measure: that some parishioners upset by how leaders havehandled the crisis are falling away from the church.

"It's turning people off," said David Hein, a religion professor at HoodCollege in Maryland who specializes in Episcopal and Anglican history. "Theynever endorsed gay marriage. They never said ordaining gay bishops was allright. They just did this as an ad hoc thing."

The 77-million-member Anglican Communion is a fellowship of churches thattrace their roots to the Church of England. It is the third-largestChristian body in the world, behind the Roman Catholic and Orthodoxchurches, and is represented in the U.S. by the Episcopal Church.



Forwarded from Joseph Van Eron
Dania Beach Tourism Council


Broward's First City supports GFLCVB Tourism Marketing Efforts

DANIA BEACH, Florida - September 24, 2007 - The Dania Beach City Commissionwill reaffirm its support and respect for "diversity" with a resolution tobe presented at the City Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 25, 2007.Additionally, the City continues to support the tourism marketing efforts ofthe Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau in welcomingdiverse groups to the City of Dania Beach, and Broward County.

"This action by our city commission coincides with the second anniversaryof the Dania Beach Tourism Council", according to Joseph Van Eron, itsPresident, and; "supports the efforts of the Council in establishing DaniaBeach as a unique tourist destination". "Our City has long been home to amulti-cultural and diverse population, and stands committed in joiningBroward County and its cities in welcoming diversity". Van Eron continues;"The citizens, businesses and employees of Dania Beach are very proud of ourcommission, and stand united behind their efforts to maintain the City'sreputation as a safe and unbiased place to live and visit".

Dania Beach commissioners modeled their resolution after recent similaractions by Broward County and the cities of Fort Lauderdale and WiltonManors. Commissioner Anne Castro, a lifelong champion of diversity andsupporter for tourism development in Dania Beach, is the sponsor of theresolution.

The just launched website "Celebrating Diversity in Broward County" onwww.Broward.org states that experts generally agree that the broaddefinition of "diversity" refers to visible individual differences, such asrace, gender, age, as well as differences that are not apparent at firstglance, including religion, ability status, sexual orientation, educationand socio-economic diversity. The City of Dania Beach and the TourismCouncil are clearly helping to recognize these differences in order to drivethe economic success and enhance the quality of life in their community.

Van Eron says, "It i my hope that all 31 cities in Broward County willreaffirm their commitment to diversity, and that the action of our communityspeaks far louder than the words of any one group or individual".


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County - chances1@bellsouth.net

Analysis: Bush unwelcome on the trail

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 3 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidates can't be any more clear: President Bushisn't welcome on the campaign trail.

Competing to succeed him, top GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney,Fred Thompson and John McCain barely utter Bush's name. They essentiallyignore the lame-duck president, or give him only passing credit, as theyrail against the status quo and promise to fix problems he hasn't solved.

"We all know Americans want change," said McCain, an Arizona senator,explaining the aversion to aligning with Bush. "I give him credit for anumber of things but I think the fact is Americans are turning the page,including our Republican primary voters."

The candidates are walking a fine line. They are trying to tap into the deepdiscontent those voters feel about the state of the country withoutalienating any who hold Bush in high regard. At the same time, they have tocounter the Democrats' powerful arguments for a new direction.

How candidates handle the 800-pound elephant in the room now could haveimplications beyond the primary. Privately, Republican strategists agreetheir nominee will lose next fall if the general election is a referendum onBush. They say GOP candidates are wise to distance themselves from thepresident now, given his unpopularity among the public at large.



Mark LaFontaine

for Florida State House District 92

You are invited to a fundraising reception at
St. Lawrence Gallery
Friday, September 28
5:30-8:30 PM

Refreshments Served
Please RSVP to 954-651-3147

Suggested Contribution: $20.00 o Maximum Contribution: $500.00

There will be an auction for a model boat and more!

St. Lawrence Gallery
3556 N. Ocean Blvd (A1A), Fort Lauderdale
(954) 566-8011
Parking available: East on 36th St. to Galt Ocean Dr Mark LaFontaine at

The purchase of a ticket for, or a contribution to, the campaign fund raiseris a contribution to the campaign of Mark LaFontaine.




Drama teacher accused of sex with student is jailed indefinitely

By Missy Diaz
September 25, 2007

An 18-year-old who said she began a sexual relationship with Santaluces HighSchool drama teacher Andrew Foster when she was 16 testified Monday that sheloved him deeply.

The tall and slim teenager, now a college student, spoke during a pretrialdetention hearing for Foster, who stared blankly at the floor from a seatingarea for prisoners. He's being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on chargesthat he engaged in sexual activity with two students. Authorities areinvestigating the possibility of a third student with whom he had sex.

The teen said she fell in love with Foster, now 27, and dated him for morethan a year. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is not identifying her becauseof the nature of the charges. She said she waited for some time to begin asexual relationship with Foster and when it did become intimate, it was "outof love and being convinced we'd be together forever."

She said the two had sex on a regular basis at the school, located west ofLantana. Had their relationship ever been revealed, they planned to flee toNew York, England or Puerto Rico, she said.

After hearing from the state and the defense, which asked for a $25,000bond, Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown announced that Foster would be heldwithout bail because he's a flight risk and a danger to the community.

more . . . . .




Scientists discover germs get stronger when they go into space

The associated press
September 25, 2007


It sounds like the plot for a scary B-movie: Germs go into space on a rocketand come back stronger and deadlier than ever.

Except, it really happened.

The germ: Salmonella, best known as a culprit of food poisoning.

The trip: Space Shuttle STS-115, September 2006.

The reason: Scientists wanted to see how space travel affects germs, so theytook some along - carefully wrapped - for the ride.

more . . . . .




'Who Are We?' Iranian Gays Ask President

BY GRACE RAUH - Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 25, 2007

President Ahmadinejad's contention during a speech at Columbia Universitythat there are no homosexuals in Iran drew a swift rebuke from human rightsorganizations, with one activist challenging the president to explain howhe, a gay Iranian, exists.

Taking questions from Columbia faculty and students who attended his addressyesterday, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a query about the treatment of gays inIran by saying: "We don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don'thave that in our country. We don't have this phenomenon; I don't know who'stold you we have it."

The executive director of the Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organization,Arsham Parsi, had a question for the president yesterday."Who am I? Who am I, if we don't have any queers in Iran?" Mr. Parsi said,noting that in 2005 he had had to flee Iran to escape arrest.A spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission,Hossein Alizadeh, said that, in Iran, there is a "constant fear of executionand persecution and also social stigma associated with homosexuality."

Mr. Alizadeh, who said he is gay and moved to America from Tehran in 2000,added that the commission, which is based in New York, has documentednumerous cases of gay persecution, including executions, in Iran. It isdifficult to know for certain the number of Iranians executed because theyare gay, as the government refuses to disclose the real reasons that lead toarrests, he said. The director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, andTransgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, Scott Long, said Iraniansarrested on suspicion of being gay are routinely tortured.

Mr. Alizadeh, who said he was not openly gay in Iran, said there are manycases of Iranians in America and other countries who are seeking asylumbecause of their sexual orientation, noting that he himself was grantedasylum on that basis.




Transgender community works to gain protections in South Florida

Policies would seek to protect civil rights
By Patty Pensa
September 24, 2007

Transgender is quietly becoming a protected class in South Florida as citiesvote to prohibit discrimination against a group that faces tremendouschallenges fitting in.

Palm Beach and Broward counties may extend the protection next, which couldleave the broadest imprint by affording civil rights to people for theirgender identity or expression. The movement accelerated with the Marchfiring of Largo City Manager Susan Stanton, who transitioned from male tofemale this year.

"It shined a light on what this discrimination is," said Shannon Minter,legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Stanton'sattorney. "It really underscored how important it is to have theseordinances."

Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Tequesta and Oakland Parkhave approved nondiscrimination clauses this year either covering cityemployees or all residents. Oakland Park was the latest last week and WiltonManors may consider adding transgender as well.

County ordinances would go further by outlawing discrimination in theworkplace and housing in all cities and unincorporated areas. Thirteenstates and more than 90 cities and counties already have such laws, with thefirst passed more than 30 years ago. Advocates hope local ordinances willlead to a statewide law, health insurance coverage for sexual reassignmentsurgery and greater acceptance.

more . . . . .




Archbishop prays for miracle in gay rights row

Jonathan Wynne Jones in New Orleans
Last Updated: 1:00am BST 23/09/2007

Tense times on the steamy streets of New Orleans. On the TV screens, theevening weather reports bring news of a gathering tropical storm in the Gulfof New Orleans and the population shivers at the thought of a repeat of thedevastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Behind closed doors in the private suites and meeting rooms of the city'sInterContinental hotel, a very different storm is gathering.

Just a short walk from the muddy waters of the Mississippi, the Anglicanbishops of the United States have gathered to decide whether they willprovoke the biggest schism in the Church of England since its foundation byHenry VIII.

At issue is the role of gays in the Anglican Communion and the status ofGene Robinson, a homosexual father of two daughters who was elevated threeyears ago to become the Bishop of New Hampshire.

The appointment of Bishop Robinson, who lives openly with another man, hispartner, Mark Andrews, is viewed as a slap in the face by conservativemembers of the American church and by the increasingly vocal and powerfulAsian and African Anglican congregations, who see homosexuality as anaffront to the will of God.

more . . . . .




Edwards Unveils $50B HIV Plan

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: September 25, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has unveiled a$50 billion five year HIV/AIDS strategy that also would dismantle many ofthe initiatives of the Bush administration which have been seen as limitingthe effectiveness of earlier plans.

Edwards announced his proposal in Washington at a health care forumorganized by Families USA and the Federation of American Hospitals andhosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It would end federal funding for abstinence only education programs inschools and would provide for age-appropriate sex education. The Edwardsplan also would expand Medicaid to cover HIV-positive people before theyreach later stage disabilities and AIDS. In addition it would encourageneedle exchange programs for drug addicts.

The scheme would use World Health Organization standards, rather thancurrent U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards.

"The loss from HIV/AIDS is almost beyond understanding," Edwards told theforum.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Dear LGBT, athletics community and allies,

For the last 4 years, I have been working on a photography project aboutLGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer) identified highschool and collegiate athletes who are also open about their sexuality,while still playing on their school's sports team. The project is calledFearless, and can be seen at thewebsite: www.FearlessCampusTour.org

The purpose of this e-mail is that this is hopefully the last year of theproject and I am heavily recruiting participants, particularly from Division1 schools and sports and regions that aren't well represented so far, beforepublishing the project into a book in mid-2008. A large reason that thishas taken me 4 years so far is that finding participants has been adifficult task, but has gotten easier more recently, so I am hoping to spendonly one more year on it. I have about 40 athletes photographed so far andmy goal is twice that at 80.

So basically, if you or anyone you know might be an "out" LGBTQ high schoolor college athlete on their school's team and would be interested, pleasecontact me for more information aboutparticipating: jeffsheng@jeffsheng.com ... I don't screen anyoneby sport, looks, or location, etc -- in fact, everyone who has volunteeredand where I have been able to travel to where they are located for a shoothas wound up in the project. I am more than happy to answer any questionsyou may have about it.

Also, on a related note, a friend and colleague of mine is working on a phDin education about Division 1 male athletics, and is looking to interviewanyone who is a Division 1 male athlete who is either out or closeted (moreinfo on his study is here: https://

Our projects are not formally related or linked in any way, but hopefully inthe end they will provide valuable support for the LGBT and athleticcommunities.

All my best,

Jeff Sheng

Lecturer in Studio Art (Photography)and Asian American Queer Studies,University of California, Santa Barbara


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Pornography and the End of Masculinity

By Don Hazen, AlterNet
Posted on September 22, 2007, Printed on September 22, 2007

In his new book, Robert Jensen forces the reader to face the music about theeffects of a porn industry gone gonzo, and the need to reassess thetrappings of masculinity as the source of increased violence against anddegradation of women.

I have always been part of the collective liberal progressive libertarianvalue system that accepts pornography as a legitimate expression of thefirst amendment. Part of that thinking is that women participate in pornfilms of their own free will, and the porn often represents fantasies --though sometimes quasi-violent or degrading -- that people actually have. Soas long as people are merely acting in porn films, and there is no coercion,or law-breaking, it is acceptable.

But I've changed my mind. No, I'm not a prude, or anti-sex. Nor do I thinkthere should be a national campaign to snuff out all porn. In fact, Isometimes watch certain kinds of porn. But what has become clear to me isthat, under the guise of the first amendment, a huge and powerful pornindustrial complex has grown out of control. And a big part of its growth isfueled, not just by the Internet, but by continually upping the ante,increasing the extremes of degradation for the women in tens of thousands offilms made every year. I am convinced, although it is, of course, difficultto document, that the huge audiences for porn and the pervasiveness of thethemes and behaviors of degradation are having a negative impact on the waymen behave and the way society treats women.

Sexism and attitudes toward women were supposed to have gotten better afterthe 1960s and the feminist movement. The sons of boomers were going to bedifferent. And while perhaps that is true in some cases, what we haveinstead is more violence against women and more social acceptance ofdemeaning male attitudes and behaviors that would have been consideredout-of-bounds 20 or 30 years ago. As a society, we've gone backwards.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


ABC News

The Toughest Call: Conversion Therapy

Jennifer Lee Had a Tough Choice to Make When She Found Out Her Husband IsGay
Sept. 22, 2007 -

Jennifer Lee thought she'd found the man of her dreams when she met SteveLee. He was handsome, sensitive and most of all funny.

They quickly fell in love and after Jennifer converted to Mormonism, theymarried. After a few years, they welcomed a son. Despite their seeminglyhappy, secure relationship, Steve was hiding a secret, one he'd had since hewas 19 years old.

Jennifer was devastated when her husband told her he is gay.

She was suddenly faced with the toughest call she could imagine: should shestay with her husband who has just come out to her or should she leave him?Although the news shocked and upset her, Jennifer decided something could bedone.

"I started to convince myself it didn't have to be," Jennifer said, "and Istarted to convince him it didn't have to be and he agreed."

Steve, a devout Mormon, feared God would not accept him if he were gay. Thecouple met with their bishop who urged Steve to rid himself of hishomosexuality by going through conversion therapy, a controversial programintended to eliminate homosexual feelings. Steve felt he had no choice.

"I wanted to be accepted by God," he said. "I wanted to be loved. That waseverything to me. And so I saw no other route."



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Information, news, and discussion about the legal recognition of same-sexcouples and their families, including marriages, domestic partnerships,civil unions, adoptions, foster children and similar issues.


Go to the website, above, for the following articles:

An Englewood couple was arrested Monday when they challenged the state banon same-sex marriage in Denver.
Sheila Schroeder, 43, and Kate Burns, 44, were led away in handcuffs bypolice when they refused to leave the Denver clerk and recorder's officeafter being refused a marriage certificate.

"We're sorry for the disturbance, but we won't leave until we're providedwith the same rights as everyone else," Burns told clerk and recorderStephanie O'Malley.

Denver Police Lt. James Henning said Burns and Schroeder would be issued asummons for trespassing and released.

When misguided religious and political groups attempt to deny gays legalrights under the guise of protecting marriage, you better watch out for yourown rights.
That's what is happening in Florida, as supporters of a proposedconstitutional amendment to ban gay marriage try to get the issue on theNovember 2008 ballot.

Because the amendment "makes no distinction between heterosexual andhomosexual, the only people conceivably not left stripped (of protections)are certain married couples," says Merritt Island civil rights attorney MarkTietig, who opposes the amendment.

Religious leaders in Maryland are sharply divided on the question ofsame-sex marriage, a fact that is likely to weigh heavily in an anticipateddebate on the issue this winter in the General Assembly.Religious leaders bring podiums, votes and organizations to a hot-buttonissue that is both religious and political.

When the Maryland Court of Appeals rejected same-sex marriage in a 4-3ruling last week, "friend of the court" legal briefs from religious groupswere among the stacks of material urging support for each side.

Anyone who fears gay marriage will undermine traditional marriage probablywon't want to read the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau.The report shows that those Americans who are allowed to get hitched aren'ttreating the institution so kindly themselves.

For the first time at least since World War II, there were more failedmarriages than lasting ones at the 25-year mark: Slightly more than half ofthe men and women who got married in the late 1970s were separated ordivorced -- or widowed -- before they reached their 25th anniversary. Bycomparison, about 30 percent of the marriages from the late 1950s failed tomake it to their silver anniversary.

LOS ANGELES - Several organizations and community leaders are holding publicmeetings and lobbying for the signing of bill AB43 to be signed into law.AB43, also known as the marriage equality bill, is a legislation that wouldgrant same-sex couples the ability to marry. If Governor ArnoldSchwarzenegger signs the bill, California stands poised to be the firstState to enact marriage equality through legislative action.

Among the lobbyists are some Asian American community leaders who haveexpressed hope that Governor Schwarzenegger will sign and not veto the billas he did to a similar bill in 2005. AB 43 was passed by the State Assemblyand Senate, and requires the Governor to make his decision by October 14. In2005, the Governor vetoed the bill immediately. This time, he has yet totake action.


Forwarded by Joe Van Eron


Dear Editor, Re: Ft. Lauderdale's Homophobic Mayor

From: Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Travel Columnists, Kansas City, MO

We have been getting dozens of emails from all around the country regardingthe Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale and his homophobia, asking if they shouldboycott Ft. Lauderdale.

We have one simple answer to that question. NO ! A boycott is not theanswer. In fact, just the opposite should happen.

You should intentionally make a point of visiting Ft. Lauderdale NOW! toshow the citizens and Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale that just because of hisactions that the gays will not be intimidated!

Ft. Lauderdale has been the gay Mecca of the East coast of the country foryears and it is a fabulous place. We will be there long after the Mayorleaves office.

Gays have had to endure many things over the years from Anita Bryant, theKansas preacher, Fred Phelps, Mr. Bush and many other hateful persons. Weshould never back down nor walk away from anything like this. We need tostand up and show Ft. Lauderdale that we do care.



National Gay News


Teacher Resigns Over Porn Appearances

Monday, 24 September 2007 08:57

Most schoolteachers have to take part-time and summer jobs to helpsupplement their income, but this week a Texas teacher's moonlighting mayhave cost him his job.

The school board is investigating into allegations that one of theirfaculty members has appeared in over 50 sexually explicit, gay wrestlingvideos.



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Massive surveillance net keeps track of Americans' travel -- down to thesize of your hotel bed

09/22/2007 @ 8:53 am
Filed by RAW STORY

The Bush Administration has been collecting detailed records on the travelhabits of Americans headed overseas, whether you fly, drive or take cruisesabroad -- not simply your method of transit but the personal items you carrywith you and the people you stay with, according to documents and statementsobtained by the Washington Post.

They even keep sometimes keep track of what books you read. For as long as15 years.

In a terrifying front-page article Saturday, the Post outlines the latest inUS government surveillance.

According to officials, the records are intended "to assess the securitythreat posed by all travelers entering the country. Officials say therecords, which are analyzed by the department's Automated Targeting System,help border officials distinguish potential terrorists from innocent peopleentering the country."

The new details suggest a much broader net than that. The details of theprogram were revealed when a group of activists requested copies of recordson their travel and found someone had written a note about their flashlightcarrying the symbol of a marijuana leaf.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Hillary Clinton tackles lesbian rumours

24th September 2007 10:35

Next week's issue of US gay magazine The Advocate includes a juicy interviewwith presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Although much of the discussion surrounding the article has centred on theNew York Democrat's assertion that she isn't gay, more interesting to theGLBT community may be the confirmation that she's not a closet supporter ofgay marriage.

According to those who have seen the article, Clinton tells Sean Kennedy,news editor at The Advocate, she would admit if she were quietly a supporterof marriage equality.

"This is an issue that I've had very few years of my life to think aboutwhen you really look at it, when you compare it to a whole life span,"Clinton is quoted as saying.

"I am where I am right now," she added, "and it is a position that I come toauthentically."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Bush's False Claims About Children's Health Insurance

September 21, 2007
The president mischaracterizes congressional efforts to expand the SCHIPprogram.

President Bush gave a false description of proposed legislation to expandthe 10-year-old federal program to provide health insurance for children inlow-income working families.

He said it "would result" in covering children in families with incomes upto $83,000 per year, which isn't true. The Urban Institute estimated that 70percent of children who would gain coverage are in families earning halfthat amount, and the bill contains no requirement for setting incomeeligibility caps any higher than what's in the current law.

He also said the program was "meant to help poor children," when in factCongress stated that it was meant to expand insurance coverage beyond thepoor and to cover millions of "low-income" children who were well above thepoverty line. Under current law most states cover children at twice or eventhree times the official poverty level.

The president also says Congress' expansion is a step toward government-runhealth care for all. It's true that some children and families with privateinsurance are expected to shift to the government program. But theCongressional Budget Office estimates that such a shift is relatively lowconsidering the number of uninsured these bills would reach.

In President Bush's Sept. 20 news conference, he expressed his displeasurewith Congress' bill to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program(SCHIP). Bush said he supported the program and had called for an increasein funding for SCHIP of $5 billion over five years. But both the House andthe Senate have called for a much larger expansion, one that would cost anadditional $35 or $50 billion, with the House calling for the largerupgrade. Bush has a threatened a veto. In explaining his opposition toCongress' plans, however, he falsely characterized the bill in one instanceand was misleading in others. (Today, congressional leaders agreed oncompromise legislation that would call for the $35 billion increase. Thefull legislation will be available Monday.)

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Lesbian mom appeals contempt order

Ga. judge ordered lesbian jailed after denying adoption petition
Sep. 21, 2007

As the final moments of his 15 minutes before a Georgia Court of Appealspanel ticked away, ACLU attorney Ken Choe made one last argument about why asouth Georgia judge was wrong to prevent a lesbian applicant from adopting achild and threaten to send her to jail.

"It was a clear error for the trial court to accommodate societal prejudiceagainst gay and lesbian people," Choe said in a hearing in Atlanta onWednesday.

"As a matter of constitutional law, a governmental actor may not accommodatesocietal prejudice, and that's what happened here where the court made itsfinding about the best interest of the child based on the social stigma thechild would suffer on account of bias against gay and lesbian people in thecommunity," he said.

Choe and the ACLU of Georgia were seeking to get a criminal contempt orderagainst Elizabeth Hadaway dismissed by the three-judge panel of the GeorgiaCourt of Appeals - Chief Judge Anne Barnes, Presiding Judge J.D. Smith andJudge Yvette Miller.

In February, Wilkinson County Superior Court Judge John Lee Parrott foundHadaway and her attorney in contempt of his Jan. 8 order to return6-year-old Emma to her biological mother or surrender the young girl to theGeorgia Division of Family & Children Services. Parrott sentenced Hadawayand her attorney to 10 days in jail, or five days in jail and a $500 fine,but that order is on hold pending the outcome of the Sept. 19 appealhearing.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Straight Americans to "Come Out" for Gay Rights in october

Monday Sep 24, 2007

From October 7 thru 13, straight people across the nation will "come out" assupporters of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.

From Santa Rosa, California, to Montgomery, Alabama, to Augusta, Maine,overnight vigils will light up American cities over the course of sevennights, providing unprecedented visibility to heterosexual men and womenwith the conviction to stand up for their gay and lesbian friends andneighbors.

We are at our very best as a state when we are open, inclusive, and activelydedicated to equal rights for all.

This grassroots groundswell, dubbed Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights,
was initiated by Soulforce and Atticus Circle, two Texas-based organizationswith members across the nation. With their support, straight communityleaders are organizing vigils in towns like Greenville, South Carolina,Shreveport, Louisiana, Duluth, Minnesota, and Salem, Oregon.

To date, straight equality advocates in thirty cities have stepped forwardto hold vigils over the course of the week. The October 7 kick-off willfeature an opening night vigil at The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Anti-gay Ballot Measures Create New Breed of Equality Activists

Many Seven Straight Nights vigil organizers were motivated to become moreinvolved after divisive marriage discrimination amendments made it to theballot in their states.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Deadline looms to overturn gay rights laws on Oregon ballot

Associated Press
Monday Sep 24, 2007

The effort by some social conservative and church groups to overturn two gayrights laws passed by the 2007 Oregon Legislature may be struggling.

This is the final weekend for those groups to gather signatures to derail adomestic partnership law giving same-sex couples most of the state benefitsof marriage along with another new law banning discrimination based onsexual orientation.

One of the organizers of the petition drive says interest in the issue hasbeen "exploding" in recent days. But a former state senator who is acting asspokeswoman for the loosely organized coalition of petitioners is lessoptimistic.

Marylin Shannon says petitioners have gathered about 40,000 signatures foreach of the two referrals. At least 25,000 additional signatures will needto be collected in the coming days in case some are not invalid.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Bullied student tickled pink by schoolmates' T-shirt campaign

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 | 11:25 PM ET
CBC News

Two Nova Scotia students are being praised across North America for the waythey turned the tide against the bullies who picked on a fellow student forwearing pink.

The victim - a Grade 9 boy at Central Kings Rural High School in the smallcommunity of Cambridge - wore a pink polo shirt on his first day of school.

Bullies harassed the boy, called him a homosexual for wearing pink andthreatened to beat him up, students said.

Two Grade 12 students - David Shepherd and Travis Price - heard the news anddecided to take action.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Published September 23, 2007

Not all Christians abhor gay marriage

Rick Olson's Sept. 12 letter predicts that Christians will never yield tothe notion of gay marriage, and that the debate cannot end "as long as thereare Bible-believing Christians in America."

I am a lifelong Christian who has no problem with gay marriage, and whobelieves that gay people should receive all the rights and privileges ofevery other American. The Bible's condemnation of homosexuality has alwaysbeen tenuous at best, and emulating the teachings of Christ means we mustshow homosexuals love and compassion, not condemnation.

Olson is entitled to his opinion, but he doesn't get to claim authority overthe tenets of my Christianity. Indeed, for all that some ChristianRepublicans claim Christ as one of their own, it's far more likely that hewould vote Libertarian. Treat people with fairness and love; otherwise leavethem alone.

- Lars Pearson,
Des Moines.


National Gay News

Sting Nets 3 More Men

Sunday, 23 September 2007 14:09

11 accused of public indecency at Springwood park this week

Three more men were arrested at Springwood Lake Park on Friday in theRichmond Police's ongoing operation to rid the park of men meeting there forpublic sex.

The arrests bring to 11 the number of men arrested at Springwood thisweek.

Police say they believe the men represent no threat to the public, butsay the sting operation will continue until they have stopped the practice.



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Taser nation

Bravo to Chris Matthews for speaking out against the Bush administration'spolicies of stifling free speech.
By Joe Conason

Sep. 21, 2007 | Defending Chris Matthews is not exactly a preoccupation ofmine -- in fact, we've had our sharp disagreements from time to time -- buton Tuesday evening he spoke an important truth for which he is now underattack. Appalled by the Tasering of student Andrew Meyer during anappearance by Sen. John Kerry at the University of Florida, Matthews said on"Hardball" that he regards that incident as "an iconic moment" in thedegradation of free speech during the Bush years.

As a guest on that segment, along with Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, who isregularly arrested for protesting at public events, I had to agree.

The predictable reaction of the right wing, which had largely treated theFlorida incident as an excuse to bash the wholly innocent Kerry, was todenounce us for daring to broaden the discussion. "Matthews, Conason BlameBush, Rove, Iraq, Fox for the Moonbat Taser Incident," blared Hot Air, aconservative blog. "Matthews Blames Iraq War for Tasered Student Incident,"barked the Media Research Center. Rush Limbaugh fumingly described me as aderanged member of the "drive-by media" and went on to complain bitterly:"You have a liberal kid at a liberal college campus, listening to a liberalDemocrat former presidential candidate and current senator. He raises hell,will not shut up. They Taser the guy, and liberals say, 'See what Bush haswrought?'"

Of course that is an exaggeration and distortion of the point made byMatthews, but then it is much easier to lampoon his argument than to answerit. Rather than blaming Bush for the overzealous cruelty of the Floridacampus cops, he was addressing a subtler and more disturbing problem: thegradual diminishment of constitutional freedoms and, specifically, thefreedom to assemble peaceably, to speak and to protest in a politicalenvironment dominated by war, terror and "security."

Even before 9/11 provided the pretext for a wide variety of incursions onliberty, the Bush White House pushed back as hard as possible againstprotest and abused the authority of the Secret Service. Corrallingdemonstrators into "First Amendment zones" that were often thousands ofyards or even miles from the site of presidential visits began almost assoon as Bush was inaugurated. So did the ideological vetting of citizens whowanted to come hear the president speak, as a means to ensure that nobodycould display or voice a dissenting message that might be viewed or heard bythe president or his equally sensitive vice president. Anyone who tried toresist these obnoxious practices was threatened, detained or even arrested.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


George W. Bush's Thug Nation

By Robert Parry
September 21, 2007

It's said that over time Presidents - especially two-termers - imbue thenation with their personalities and priorities, for good or ill. If that'strue, it could help explain the small-minded mean-spiritedness that seems tobe pervading the behavior of the United States these days, both at home andabroad.

On a global level, the world reads about trigger-happy Blackwater "securitycontractors" mowing down civilians in Baghdad, the U.S. military killingunarmed people under loose "rules of engagement" in both Afghanistan andIraq, and the CIA "rendering" suspected Islamists to secret prisons or tothird-country dungeons where torture is practiced.

Inside the United States, too, a police-state mentality is taking hold.After more than six years of having dissent against President George W. Bushequated with disloyalty, police from Capitol Hill to college campuses aretreating vocal disagreement as grounds for violently "taking down" citizens,while bouncers at campaign rallies hustle away prospective hecklers andpolice preemptively detain protesters or stick them in faraway "free-speechzones."

On Sept. 17 at a University of Florida public forum with Sen. John Kerry,D-Massachusetts, journalism student Andrew Meyer asked an animated questionabout Kerry's hasty concession after Election 2004.

Meyer then was accosted by several campus police officers who dragged himaway and wrestled him to the ground. Despite pleading with police "don'ttase me, bro," Meyer was "tasered" with powerful electric shocks as hescreamed in pain. [Watch the YouTube video by clicking here.]

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Straight Families, Gay Sex, Double Standards

by Paul Varnell
First published in the Chicago Free Press on Sept. 19, 2007

The Evesham Township School District in New Jersey has been embroiled in adispute over whether to show Debra Chasnoff's video "That's a Family" aboutnon-traditional families. The video includes families with adopted children,mixed-race families and same-sex couples with children.

According to the New York Times (Sept. 14) several parents objected afterthe video was shown to third grade students. The objections eventually ledto the video being dropped.

Divorce, adoption, even mixed-race parents, those are just facts about themodern world. But same-sex couples with children? That's not a fact. That'sa controversy.

Parents who objected to the video claimed that they were not motivated byprejudice against gays but by concern that the video was not suitable forsuch young children.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Eight Ga. companies earn top grades for gay, trans policies

Newell Rubbermaid most improved in annual Equality Index
Sep. 21, 2007

After seeing Newell Rubbermaid score so low compared to other Georgiaemployers on the Human Rights Campaign's last Corporate Equality Index, thecompany's leadership decided it needed to take action - and fast.

Last year, the Atlanta-based global marketer of such brands as Rubbermaid,Sharpie and Rolodex, scored a 15 out of a possible 100 on the index. In lessthan 12 months, the company implemented gay- and transgender-inclusivepolicies that earned Newell Rubbermaid a perfect score this year.

"We were at the bottom of the list. When you get a scorecard that says yousuck - you really are determined to move up from the bottom of the pack,"said Jackie Parker, vice president of global inclusion and diversity atNewell Rubbermaid.

"We did a lot of work in 12 months with most of the effort around awareness," she added.

Last year, Newell Rubbermaid only had in place a non-discrimination policythat included sexual orientation. The company now provides domestic partnerbenefits, transgender sensitivity training and some health benefits fortrans employees as well as a gay and lesbian employee group.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Transitioning into new jobs and genders

At the first transgender career expo, men and women meet companies thataccept them for who they are becoming.
By Jenny Jarvie
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

September 16, 2007

ATLANTA - -- The woman pulled her resume from a pink file folder and handedit to a recruiter.

Across the top of the page, in bold type, she had printed her name twice:first as "Mark," then as "(Meghan)." She was not quite sure if this wasappropriate.

At the nation's first transgender Career Expo, job seekers were encouragedto use their new gender names on resumes.

But Meghan, 42, a transsexual who declined to give her last name because hercurrent employer knows her as Mark, wanted to make sure prospectiveemployers could find her -- or him -- if they ran a background check.

The etiquette of transgender resumes was just one of the myriad challengesfacing job seekers who packed the Atlanta convention hall. For transgenderpeople -- at Friday's expo, they ranged from cross-dressers to those who hadchanged their gender through hormone therapy or surgery -- the workplace canbe a minefield.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Equality act delayed until next year

September 21, 2007
by Eric Resnick

Columbus--An Ohio LGBT anti-discrimination bill that was set to beintroduced this month will now be delayed until next March at the earliest.

The measure, dubbed the Equal Housing and Employment Act, would add sexualorientation and gender identity wherever other protected classes are nowlisted in the Ohio Revised Code, such as race, religion, and nationalorigin.

It will be similar to bills introduced in 2003 and 2005 by then-State Rep.Dale Miller, a Cleveland Democrat who is now in the Ohio Senate.

Initially, the measure was to have been introduced when the House returnedfrom summer recess on September 11. But that timetable has changed, saysState Rep. Dan Stewart of Columbus, who is expected to be its sponsor, andthe bill's main advocacy group Equality Ohio.

The delay will allow proponents to find sponsors for the measure in bothparties.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Student drug testing grows in popularity

By Jessica Bock
Sunday, Sep. 23 2007

Senior Stephanee Hughes stood in the weight room at Marquette Catholic HighSchool, untied her ponytail and waited for the snip.

Wearing latex gloves, teacher Carrie Lieberman pushed back the top ofHughes'curly mop, searched for a section just about the width of a shoelace andused ashiny metal scissors to clip the hair off to the scalp.

"Hair grows. A little hair loss doesn't bother me," said Hughes as sheretiedher ponytail and got ready to head back to pre-calculus last week at thehighschool in Alton.

Stephanee is one of the 235 girls and boys losing strands of their hair fordrug tests, required for the first time this year for all students.Throughoutthe year, nearly 60 more, or 25 percent of the students, will be randomlytested.

Marquette is joining a small but growing number of schools in the St. Louisarea - and more than 1,000 nationwide - that test students for drugs.ChristianBrothers College high school in Town and Country, one of St. Louis' largestCatholic high schools, also began mandatory drug testing for its students aswell as faculty and staff members when school started in August.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Christian right looks to rebound
By Eric Gorski, AP Religion Writer | September 22, 2007

BRANDON, Fla. --Headed into the 2008 election season, Christianconservatives are weary. Their movement has lost iconic leaders and theRepublican presidential field is uninspiring. But they may have found hopein a trailer on the campus of Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

There, in Annex Room No. 3, Ruth Klingman nods as a leader in Florida'spro-family movement describes how gay marriage would open the door to other"aberrant forms of marriage." He holds up a printout of "polygamy pot lucks"as evidence.

Yes, Klingman says afterward, she will do her part to pass a constitutionalamendment cementing marriage as a union between one man and one woman inthis presidential swing state.

The first Family Impact Summit had minted a new activist -- tangible resultsfrom three days of talks and workshops meant to replenish the roots of theChristian right.

"I just feel the opposition is growing so strong, I need to grow stronger,"said Klingman, 34, who drove two hours from the one-stoplight town ofHawthorne to join activists in this Tampa suburb.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


TX High School Teacher Resigns After Gay Wrestling Video Allegations

by Dylan Vox
Monday Sep 24, 2007

Most schoolteachers have to take part-time and summer jobs to helpsupplement their income, but this week a Texas teacher's moonlighting mayhave cost him his job. The school board is investigating into allegationsthat one of their faculty members has appeared in over 50 sexually explicit,gay wrestling videos.

The tip off came from an email sent to the board and local televisionstations that apparently accused a teacher at Sugar Land Clements HighSchool in Ft. Bend of starring in the sexually explicit, gay-themed videosfor sale on an a wrestling web site.

The teacher, who vehemently denied the allegations, has not been namedbecause although he looks similar to the video star, there is noconfirmation that he is in fact the performer.

The school board, however, did not take any chances and told the HoustonChronicle the teacher had been put on administrative leave until furtherinvestigation had been conducted.

Jason Whitely of Fox 11 News, who uncovered the story, stated that althoughthe images may not be ethically appropriate for a high school teacher,"[t]he pictures and videos do not appear to be illegal and we did not findanything in department policy that specifically forbids the teacher'sactions..."

more . . . . .


National Gay News


In The Works: Homosexuals Nix Church Tax Exemptions

Monday, 24 September 2007 08:49

Liberals are going to wipe out church tax exemptions due largely topressure from homosexuals.

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family Action,said: "'The state, local and federal governments all grant various taxexemptions to those organizations, because historically they serve a vitalpublic function in the community that benefits all in the community, notjust the members of a particular church. Since the government giveth, thegovernment can taketh away those exemptions.'



National Gay News


Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamberof Commerce (AGLCC) Selected asNational Chamber of the Year

The Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC) was selected as the2007 National Chamber of the Year by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber ofCommerce (NGLCC). The Atlanta organization was chosen from among nearlyfifty throughout the nation, and the selection team cited the valuedelivered to membership as the chief reason for honoring the Southern group.



UPDATE: Oakland Park, Florida votes to cover transgender individualsin the city's non-discrimination policy

September 24, 2007
Chris Johnson
HRC Back Story - DC,USA


UPDATE t.html> :

Members of the transgender community in Oakland Park, Florida willnow be protected from workplace discrimination after citycommissioners voted last Wednesday to addgender identity and gender expression to the city'santi-discrimination ordinance. In a strong show of support for thecity's entire GLBT community, the city commissioners votedunanimously to include transgender individuals in Oakland Park'santi-discrimination policy, a needed change that will go into effectwith the next 60 days. The city's policy already banneddiscrimination based on sexual orientation.

One of HRC's members, Stephan Lampasso, spoke on behalf of addingtransgender protections to Oakland Park's anti-discriminationpolicy. We're working to get pictures from the city commissionmeeting uploaded as soon as possible...





Oprah - Friday, September 28

Born In The Wrong Body

What would you do if your 7-year-old daughter said, "Mom, I should be aboy." Meet guests who say they were born in the wrong body. Theirstories on facing the world transgendered.


New York Sun


'Who Are We?' Iranian Gays Ask President

Staff Reporter of the Sun
September 25, 2007

President Ahmadinejad's contention during a speech at Columbia Universitythatthere are no homosexuals in Iran drew a swift rebuke from human rightsorganizations, with one activist challenging the president to explain howhe,a gay Iranian, exists.

Taking questions from Columbia faculty and students who attended his addressyesterday, Mr. Ahmadinejad answered a query about the treatment of gays inIran by saying: "We don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don'thavethat in our country. We don't have this phenomenon; I don't know who's toldyou we have it."

The executive director of the Toronto-based Iranian Queer Organization,ArshamParsi, had a question for the president yesterday."Who am I? Who am I, if we don't have any queers in Iran?" Mr. Parsi said,noting that in 2005 he had had to flee Iran to escape arrest.A spokesman for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission,Hossein Alizadeh, said that, in Iran, there is a "constant fear of executionand persecution and also social stigma associated with homosexuality."

Mr. Alizadeh, who said he is gay and moved to America from Tehran in 2000,added that the commission, which is based in New York, has documentednumerouscases of gay persecution, including executions, in Iran. It is difficult toknow for certain the number of Iranians executed because they are gay, asthegovernment refuses to disclose the real reasons that lead to arrests, hesaid.

The director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights ProgramatHuman Rights Watch, Scott Long, said Iranians arrested on suspicion of beinggay are routinely tortured.



The Miami Herald


Little Rock to Jena -- racial progress slow

Posted on Sun, Sep. 23, 2007

This week, it is 50 years since the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Armytook nine children to school.

American soldiers sworn to defend American soil and American interests hadto descend upon an American city with bayonets fixed to protect Americanchildren from a mob of American adults screaming blood and murder at theirattempt to attend an American school. Because, you see, the adults had paleskin, and the children's skin was dark.

From the vantage point of half a century, it seems an absurd drama. Youshake your head at the fatuity of the adults in the old news footage, theirmouths twisted, fists clenched, eyes alight, and you marvel that they weredriven to such a fury, such a madness, by so innocuous an event. You wonderwhat in the world they could have been thinking.

But of course, that's an easy one. They were thinking they were right.

We always expect evil to look different, obvious. We are always anticipatingthe pointed ears and the pitchfork, the black stovepipe hat and the SnidelyWhiplash mustache. The truth, however, is that evil is rather banal. Youmight pass it five times a day and never recognize it for what it is.

The pale men and women who took to the streets of Little Rock, Ark., in 1957would have been, in the overwhelming majority, Christian people. They paidtheir taxes. They helped the poor. They visited the sick. They held handsover hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance. They were decent folks, exceptthey had this evil belief that people with dark skin were of a savage, yetsimultaneously child-like, lower order and that if anyone sought to mix paleand dark, pale must resist by any means necessary.

If you had suggested to them that this was wrong, they would looked at youaskance, maybe even laughed, and wondered what was wrong with you. Becausethey knew they were right, knew it in their bones, knew it in their Bibles,knew it with certitude, knew it beyond all question.

Five decades later, there is a starkness, a black and white purity, to theissues argued those tense days in Little Rock streets: inclusion versusexclusion. It is enough to make one nostalgic. After all, after affirmativeaction, after busing, after O.J., after Cosby, after Imus, there is littlestarkness, much less purity, to the conflict between pale and dark. All iscomplexity, all is gray.

Or maybe that's just the self-deluding conceit of a generation that ispleased to think of itself as enlightened beyond history, pleased to lookback on past events and tsk tsk the behavior of the poor, benighted soulswho lived through them.

Yet in Jena, La., six American children with dark skin were charged withattempted murder after jumping a pale child whose injuries amounted to ablack eye and a concussion.

In Tulia, Tex., 38 mostly dark-skinned people were convicted of drug dealingon the perjured testimony of a pale cop known to describe dark people with aracial slur.

In Paris, Tex., a dark-skinned girl who shoved a teacher's aide was givenseven years by a judge who had earlier given probation to a pale-skinnedarsonist.

All this not in 1957, but now.

Yet, it has become common for some pale Americans to deny that these andother inequities have anything to do with skin tone. That's an absurdity weleft in the '50s, they say. We are beyond that. There are no pale Americansand dark Americans. There are only Americans. They wish dark Americans wouldunderstand this and get over it already.

And it's the darnedest thing. If you suggest that they are wrong, they willlook at you askance, maybe even laugh, and wonder what is wrong with you.Because they know they're right, know it in their bones, know it in theirBibles, know it with a certitude.

Know it beyond all question.


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