Saturday, September 29, 2007

GLBT DIGEST September 29, 2007

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Senate OKs hate-crimes bill protecting gays, lesbians

But House Democrats weaken employment legislation for transgender people
Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau
Friday, September 28, 2007

(09-28) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Even as the Senate passed a hate crimes billsought for a decade by gays and lesbians, House Democratic leaders decidedThursday to strip transgender people from another long-languishing civilrights bill, generating dismay in the gay community and furious butfruitless lobbying for more time.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Reps. George Miller,
D-Martinez, Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., believe that
they lack the votes in the Democrat-controlled House to pass the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act if it includes gender identity along with sexualorientation as a prohibited ground for firing an employee.

Frank and Baldwin are the only openly gay members of Congress.

"People now accept the fact that we just don't have the votes for thetransgender," Frank said.

Nervous Democrats had been hearing about Republican amendments to theemployment bill, Frank said, "that would talk about schoolteachers, and whathappens when the kid comes back from summer vacation and teachers changegender. We just lost enough Democrats and we couldn't be sure of theRepublicans."

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Three months in prison for homophobic abuse

28th September 2007 17:21
Joe Roberts

An Essex businessman has been sentenced to three months in prison afterdrunkenly threatening and shouting homophobic abuse at his neighbours.

43-year-old asbestos contractor Stuart Makemson of Twelve Acres, Braintree,brandished a snooker cue at Andrew Morrison saying: "I'm going to take thatnose off your face with this."

Mr Morrison and his wife had been woken earlier by Mr Makemson verballyabusing their gay son and his boyfriend, reported the Essex Chronicle.

Jonathan Longman, prosecuting, described how during the incident on April7th, an intoxicated Makemson stood by his front door shouting homophobicabuse and spitting.

He went on to push Mr Morrison across the chest with the cue.

Mr Makemson has shown no remorse or insight into the effect his homophobicremarks had on his victims and is not willing to address his attitude saidmagistrates.

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Iris sees more than stereotypes Sep 28 2007

by Karen Price, Western Mail

After winning over audiences as a gay lawyer in American drama Brothers andSisters, Matthew Rhys is now patron of a Welsh festival celebrating gay andlesbian film. He tells Karen Price he's proud his character goes againststereotypes

WHILE Brokeback Mountain helped introduce mainstream audiences to films witha gay theme, many movie fans are still unfamiliar with big-screen featureson the subject.

Now a wealth of lesbian and gay movies from across the world will be shownin Wales next week as part of the inaugural Iris Prize Festival.

A total of 30 short films will compete for the award and there will bescreenings at two venues in Cardiff.

The festival is promoted by photographs - like that on our cover - of afictional young woman, Iris, who is meant to have travelled the world touncover the film-making talent.

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Chicago cop accused of anti-gay fracas

CHICAGO (AP) - Three women claimed Thursday in a federal lawsuit that anoff-duty Chicago police officer roughed them up and called them namesbecause of their sexual orientation after this year's gay pride parade.The lawsuit could become the latest black eye for the Chicago PoliceDepartment, which has faced tough questions lately about the actions ofoff-duty officers, among other problems.

"This case is another example of the corruption, cover-up and brutality thatis festering inside the Chicago Police Department," said attorney DanaKurtz, who filed the suit for damages on behalf of the three women.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit filed on behalf of Kelly Fuery, 36, DebraSciortino, 32, and Nicole Tomaskovic, 25, were the police department,officer William Szura and two state troopers.

According to the lawsuit, a vehicle driven by Fuery came upon a car movingat 30 mph on Interstate 55 after the June 24 parade. Fuery beeped her horn,and Szura responded by slamming on his brakes, speeding up and switchinglanes, making it impossible for Fuery to pass, the lawsuit said.

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Best story EVAR: Judge goes after Jack Thompson for GAY PORN!!!

ATTENTION: This is NOT real Jack Thompson porn. To our knowledge, JackThompson has never posed naked. To our knowledge, Jack Thompson has neverBEEN naked.

Yes, pro-censorship lawyer and media personality Jack Thompson, aself-described fundamentalist Christian, is in danger of being reprimandedfor distributing gay porn. has been covering Wacky Jacky's recent legal troubles,involving charges of professional misconduct filed by the Florida BarAssociation. As reported previously, Thompson is counter-suing both the Barand the judge in his own case.

That judge, Adalberto Jordan, is now pissed because Thompson attachedunredacted images from gay porn sites in an electronically-filed motion.Thompson was bizarrely trying to prove a connection between the Florida Barand Norm Kent, a criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale, who publishesNational Gay News. Kent's website does not contain pornography - but ads dolink to gay porn sites. Thompson is accusing Kent of distributing gay pornto children (via the ads); and therefore the Bar Association distributes gayporn (through some unclear process).

However, it seems that the only person being exposed to gay porn, who didnot want to see gay porn, was Judge Jordan. Apparently, you're supposed toget permission before submitting pornographic images to the court. Thompsondid not.

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Courts a tough road to gay marriage
Activists strive to highlight gay rights gains
BOSTON (AP) | Sep 28, 4:44 PM

When bells rang in 2004 to celebrate the nation's first gay marriages inMassachusetts, opponents warned that liberal courts were moving to permitgay marriage around the nation.

Three years later, despite attempts in many states, the nation's highestcourts haven't followed Massachusetts' lead. Last week, Maryland's highcourt became the latest after New York, Washington and New Jersey to refuseto grant marriage rights to gay residents.

"We were very disappointed to lose," said David Buckel of Lamdba Legal,which led the court fights in New York, New Jersey and Washington. "But youhave to expect it in a civil rights movement because what you're doing iscreating enormous change and there are enormous forces lined up against us."

Gay marriage opponents said the losses, coming in the states thought to bemost open to gay marriage, show how far advocates overreached after theruling in Massachusetts. Gay activists point to gains, such as court-orderedcivil unions in New Jersey, and say they are prepared for a long fight. Twogay marriage cases are pending before high courts in Connecticut andCalifornia.

One reason for the court struggle could be that an anti-gay marriagedecision in a liberal state such as New York creates cover for other highcourts who face the issue, said Yale law professor William Eskridge, aconstitutional scholar who supports gay rights. For example, the Marylandcourt cited the New York decision.

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Frank introduces two versions of ENDA

Sexual orientation version headed for vote; 'gender identity' measure slatedfor early hearing
By LOU CHIBBARO, JR. | Sep 28, 4:49 PM

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) late Thursday introduced two new versions of theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, with one covering gays andbisexuals and the other covering transgender persons.

Frank, one of two openly gay members of Congress, dropped the two bills intothe legislative hopper following a heated meeting on Capitol Hill that sameday with gay and transgender activists, who expressed strong objections tothe dual bill approach.

He said he informed the activists about the results of an officialDemocratic "whip" count showing that a transgender inclusive ENDA would bedefeated in the House.

The rapidly changing events surrounding ENDA over the past few days havestunned gay activists and could lead to a divisive fight within the gayrights movement over whether or not to support an ENDA that excludestransgender protections.

Frank released a four-page statement late Friday explaining his rationalefor supporting the two-bill approach, saying he and gay rights allies mustmake the tough decision on whether "we should pass up the chance to adopt avery good bill because it has one major gap." [See text of statement]

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Senate adds hate-crime measure to war bill

The legislation would expand federal law to protect gays. Supporters hopepairing it with defense spending will prevent a Bush veto.

By Richard Simon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 28, 2007

WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday approved a long-debated measure thatwould expand the federal hate-crime law to cover violence against gays and,in an unusual gambit to make it difficult for President Bush to carry outhis veto threat, attached it to a defense bill.

Supporters of the hate-crime legislation mustered the minimum 60 votes theyneeded to overcome a threatened filibuster. The House approved the billearlier this year as a stand-alone measure, but neither chamber appears tohave the votes to override a veto.

"We have never had this bill with the potential to go as far as it is," saidSen. Gordon H. Smith (R-Ore.), one of the chief sponsors, who pleaded forthe president to sign it as a "legacy that he can claim on an importantcivil rights issue."

Smith stood on the Senate floor next to a photo of Matthew Shepard, a gaycollege student who was brutally beaten in Wyoming in 1998 and left to dietied to a fence. The bill is named for Shepard. "What happened to Matthewshould happen to no one," Smith said.

In the first major expansion of the hate-crime statute passed in 1968, thelegislation would cover acts of violence motivated by a victim's sexualorientation, gender, disability or gender identity. Existing federal lawdefines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on religion, race,national origin or color.

The measure, which was also drawn up in response to the 1999 shooting attackby white supremacist Buford O. Furrow on a Jewish community center in theSan Fernando Valley, gives federal authorities more leeway to assist stateand local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

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Carolyn Lochhead:

Pelosi deadline is HRC gala Oct. 6

The decision by House Democratic leaders yesterday to dump transgenderpeople from a civil rights law protecting gays and lesbians from workplacediscrimination has put the Human Rights Campaign in a terribly awkwardposition.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco is to be the guest of honor atthe HRC's big national dinner Oct. 6, where she is to be feted for heraccomplishments on behalf of gay people.

The HRC gala could help explain the sudden rush to push the long-languishingEmployment Non-Discrimination Act, known as ENDA, through the House nextweek -- even if it means throwing transgender people off the bus.

The move has generated outrage in the gay rights community -- with thenotable exception of HRC, which so far remains silent, refusing to returnrepeated phone calls. Sources say HRC has scheduled and cancelled at leasttwo emergency board meetings over threats by some board members to quit ifHRC endorses the new ENDA bill, sans gender identity protections.

Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay Massachusetts Democrat who takes the leadon gay issues, said Thursday that Democrats lacked the votes to pass ENDAwith gender identity provisions, presentng Democratic leaders with thechoice of either pulling the bill or having it fail on the floor.

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Interview: On Being Gay in Iran

A gay Iranian discusses Ahmadinejad's 'no gays' comment and what it's liketo live in a country that refuses to accept homosexuality.

By Patrick Falby
Updated: 1:56 p.m. ET Sept 28, 2007

Sept. 28, 2007 - To be gay in Iran means a life of fear. Shortly beforeMahmoud Ahmadinejad won his country's presidential election in 2005, Iranianauthorities hanged two teenagers officially charged with raping a13-year-old boy-but whom gay activists say were executed for their sexualorientation. Life for Iranian gays has not improved since then. Even thoughIran's senior religious figures have made statements calling for thewhipping or killing of homosexuals, the country's authorities continue todeny that they prosecute gays. Against this backdrop it's hardly surprisingthat the community is outraged over Ahmadinejad's glib comment to hisColumbia audience this week that "in Iran we don't have homosexuals like inyour country."

Indeed, so great is the insecurity of Iranian gays that even the few whohave found a safe haven in the United States are still afraid of speakingout about their old lives. NEWSWEEK's Patrick Falby spoke with Reza, a gayIranian man who would identify himself only by his nickname. Reza, whoreceived asylum four years ago, talked about his life in his home country inthe pre-Ahmadinejad era-and what it's like for those still living there.

NEWSWEEK: What was your reaction when you heard Ahmadinejad's statement?Reza: It was embarrassing, the ignorance that he had. He could have said ita different way; he could have said we have no concept of being gay in ourculture. He could have meant we have no gay phenomenon in our culture. ManyIranians don't understand homosexuality. If today I went to my mother andtold her I'm gay, she wouldn't understand what I mean, because there'snothing in the media. They don't talk about it. It might sound strange, butthat's the way it is over there. There are basically places for gay peopleto go in Iran; they're public places, like parks. Places to meet people; youcould also call them cruising parks. When I was watching Ahmadinejad'sspeech, I wanted to tell him if you don't think there are gay people in Iranyou should go to [one of these parks] and you will see many of them. It's amatter of the government not wanting to acknowledge that these people exist.

What's it like being gay in Iran?
You would be the unluckiest person in the world, I guess, to be gay in Iran.No one can relate to you. You always have to hide your beliefs. You have tolive a lie. You either have to get married and live a double life or youjust have to commit suicide. If you're single for a long time you can be[asked] why you're not getting married and get forced to do that.

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Craig scandal brings issue of sexual identity to light

Gay, straight, bi, MSM are all valid terms, researchers say
Sep. 27, 2007

Sen. Larry Craig's (R-Idaho) arrest last June for allegedly soliciting sexfrom another man in an airport restroom and his insistence that he isstraight has reawakened the debate over sexual behavior, identity andorientation.

"I am not gay. I have never been gay," Craig said at an oft-quoted Aug. 28news conference. "I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis Airport."

Craig made a surprise visit to Capitol Hill last week, where he apologizedto his colleagues for "any embarrassment" at a Republican Senate luncheon,according to media reports. He said it is still uncertain whether or not hewill return to political office. Another hearing is set for Wednesday oncharges filed against him in the bathroom sting charges. He pleaded guiltyon Aug. 8 to a disorderly conduct charge and said he planned to resign fromthe Senate Sept. 30. He filed papers Sept. 10 to withdraw his guilty plea.

Craig's arrest has sparked debate about what it means to be straight, gay,lesbian or bisexual, or more specifically, how a selfidentified straight mancan have feelings of attraction for another man. One of the first people toscientifically study sexual orientation and identity was sex researcherAlfred Kinsey.

In his 1948 book, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," Kinsey introduced hisHeterosexual-Homosexual Rating Scale, which ranged from zero, meaning aperson was exclusively heterosexual, to seven, meaning a person wasexclusively homosexual.

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Elizabeth Taylor Appears At AIDS Benefit

by The Associated Press
Posted: September 28, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Santa Monica, California) Elizabeth Taylor, wearing a coffee-colored,gold-sequined Naeem Khan gown accented with diamond jewelry, put somesuperstar sparkle into an HIV/AIDS fundraiser.

Taylor, 75 and in a wheelchair, is a founding chairwoman of the annualMacy's Passport event, a charity auction and showcase for food and fashion.

Since 1988, Passport has raised $25 million for HIV/AIDS services,prevention and research. The actress was honored Thursday night with its
first Humanitarian Award for AIDS Activism.

"I have done this every year for years," Taylor told The Associated Press inan interview. "It's tradition and it's part of my existence."

As her longtime friend Rock Hudson battled AIDS, which killed him in 1985,Taylor began work to raise funds and increase awareness of the disease.

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Concert By Anti-Gay Reggae Artist Cancelled

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: September 28, 2007 - 11:00 am ET
Updated 5:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) Hours before a Jamaican reggae artist was to perform at aToronto club Friday night the owners of the venue pulled the plug citing hismusic that has advocated violence against gays and lesbians.

A day earlier Kool Haus CEO Charles Khabouth has said he was unable tocancel the contract with Elephant Man because of "a contractual agreementthat was signed before the matter was brought to my attention."

Friday afternoon, as opposition from LGBT groups mounted Khaouth, notifiedElephant Man's management that it was pulling the plug. Late in theafternoon the management company was attempting to find another venue.

Thursday Toronto police said they would be in the audience for the concertand if the singer performed any of the music that has been deemed by civilrights groups as homophobic the reggae artist could be charged underCanada's promotion of hate law.

Under Canadian hate law it is illegal to promote hate toward any minorityincluding the LGBT community in speech or print.

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Craig's Downfall May Benefit Environmentalists

by The Associated Press
Posted: September 29, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Washington) The fall of Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, removes a longtimeobstacle to efforts by Democrats and environmentalists to promote salmonrecovery on Northwest rivers.

Craig, who was removed from leadership posts on the Senate Appropriationsand Energy committees after a sex scandal, is known as one the most powerfulvoices in Congress on behalf of the timber and power industries.Environmentalists have fought him for years on issues from endangered salmonto public land grazing.

Now Senate Democrats, exercising their slim majority, have waded into twocontentious issues - both related to Snake River salmon.

First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada asked federal regulatorsto require passage for salmon and steelhead for relicensing of the HellsCanyon Complex, a series of dams on the Snake River between Oregon andIdaho.

Reid says the passage would allow salmon to return to their historicalspawning grounds in northern Nevada, where the shimmering fish used to runthick nearly a century ago.

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Is Clinton Fatigue Setting In?

Forty percent of Americans have never lived when there wasn't a Bush or aClinton in the White House. Anyone got a problem with that?

With Hillary Rodham Clinton hoping to tack another four or eight Clintonyears on to the Bush-Clinton-Bush presidential pattern that already has heldsway for two decades, talk of Bush-Clinton fatigue is increasingly croppingup in the national political debate.

The dominance of the two families in U.S. presidential politics isunprecedented. (The closest comparisons are the father-son presidencies ofJohn Adams and John Quincy Adams, whose single terms were separated by eightyears, and the presidencies of fifth cousins Theodore Roosevelt and FranklinRoosevelt, whose collective 20 years as president were separated by aquarter century.)

''We now have a younger generation and middle-age generation who are goingto think about national politics through the Bush-Clinton prism,'' saidPrinceton University political historian Julian Zelizer, 37, whose firstchance to vote for president was 1988, the year the first President Bush waselected. And as for the question of fatigue, Zelizer added: ''It's not justthat we've heard their names a lot, but we've had a lot of problems withtheir names.''

And now, if Hillary Clinton were to be elected and reelected, the nationcould go 28 years in a row with the same two families governing the country.Add the elder Bush's terms as vice president, and that would be 36 yearsstraight with a Bush or Clinton in the White House.

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Romney Criticizes Democrats on Gay Sex Ed

Republican Mitt Romney criticized his Democratic rivals Thursday for notrejecting the inclusion of gay-related issues in sex education for second-graders.

''Last night's debate was just the latest example of how out of touch theDemocratic presidential candidates are with the American people,'' Romneysaid in a statement released by his campaign. ''Not one candidate wasuncomfortable with young children learning about same-sex marriage in thesecond grade.''

''This is a subject that should be left to parents, not public schoolteachers,'' he said.

The Democrats were asked during a debate Wednesday night whether they wouldbe comfortable with having a story about same-sex marriage read to theirchildren as part of their school curriculum, as a second-grade teacher didlast year in Lexington, Mass.

The top-tier Democratic candidates -- senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of NewYork and Barack Obama of Illinois and former senator John Edwards of NorthCarolina -- generally said they favor teaching children tolerance forothers, including gays and lesbians. They did not expressly embrace orreject including same-sex marriage as part of a second-grade curriculum.


ENDA to Be Separated Into Two Bills: Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityRep. Barney Frank will be introducing two separate versions of theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act: one that prohibits discrimination on thebasis of sexual orientation and another one that does the same regardinggender identity. The latter would protect transgender people, includingthose who have had sexual reassignment surgery and those who are living asthe opposite sex from which they were born.

The ENDA bill without trans inclusion will be marked up by the chamber'sEducation and Labor Committee next Tuesday so that it can be sent it to theHouse floor for a vote, Steven Adamske, a spokesperson for Frank, told TheAdvocate.

"The other one, GENDA if you will, will move on a separate track and willgive the ability for the committee and other lawmakers to hold hearings onit and better educate other lawmakers," Adamske added.

The original bill that was cosponsored by Frank included protections forsexual orientation and gender identity. Frank and House leadership decidedto split the measure in two after they said a preliminary "whip" voterevealed the original bill didn't have enough votes to pass due to thetrans-inclusive language.

Advancing two separate bills has, at least temporarily, set House leadersand LGBT activists on opposite sides of the fence.

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Robbery Plot Unfolds in Hate-Crime Murder Trial

Gays are "easy to get." That was what the three men on trial for the murderof Michael Sandy allegedly thought when they planned to lure him for moneyand marijuana on Oct. 8, 2006.

In a videotaped confession at the Brooklyn supreme court on Sept. 25, one ofSandy's accused murderers, 19-year-old John Fox, told of the planned robberythat got out of hand. The holdup was said to be devised at the house ofcodefendant Anthony Fortunato along with Ilya Shurov, both age 20.

"I signed on my screen name and...then [Fortunato] proceeded from my screenname to go into the gay chat room and pick out a guy," Fox said in the tape,according to the New York Daily News. "And [Fortunato] was telling us howlike it's easy to get [a gay man] once you talk to them. They'll come andmeet you, and we were gonna do it for the money."

That night at Plumb Beach on Brooklyn's southern shore, four men werewaiting for 28-year-old Sandy, an interior designer for Ikea, who lived inthe Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

Plumb Beach, which runs parallel to the Belt Parkway, is a well-knownlocation for cruising and trysts.

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The New York Times

Claiming Constant Harassment, Gay Police Officer in City Files Suit

September 29, 2007

A gay police officer has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the New YorkPolice Department, claiming he has been constantly harassed since telling aco-worker of his sexual orientation more than four years ago.

The officer, Michael Harrington, 30, said in the suit that a supervisor toldhim in October 2005 that he was being transferred to the Sixth Precinct inthe West Village so he could "be with his people."

Officer Harrington, who is now assigned to the Manhattan South Task Force,claims that he was ostracized, stigmatized and discriminated against becausehe is gay, and that his career is stalled. The lawsuit, filed this week inState Supreme Court in Manhattan, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Officer Harrington said he had been subjected to a stream of antigay slurs,has been brow-beaten for minor infractions like not wearing his hat, and hasbeen assigned to posts, like foot patrol, usually given to rookie officers.



The New York Times

Breakaway Episcopalians Form Partnership

September 28, 2007
Filed at 5:17 p.m. ET

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A leading Episcopal conservative announced plans for apartnership Friday that aims to create an alternative to the liberal-leaningEpiscopal Church.

Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, whose diocese is considering breakingaway from the national denomination, said the group will be called theCommon Cause Partnership.

The founders are a mix of groups with varying ties to the Episcopal Churchand the world Anglican Communion. Among the members will be Episcopaldioceses and parishes that have broken away or plan to split from thenational church, congregations that have never been part of the EpiscopalChurch and fellowships that are considered schismatic by the AnglicanCommunion.

Duncan said that forming a separate North American church structure forconservatives is ''necessary because of the drift of the church in theWest.''



The New York Times

Controversial Gay Film "Cruising" Revived

September 28, 2007
Filed at 8:36 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - America in 1980 was a culture confronting itself.Conservative Ronald Reagan was elected president strongly supporting familyvalues, while at the box office "Cruising" hoped to lure mainstreamaudiences into seeing a movie featuring graphic gay sex.

Twenty-seven years later, the Reagan administration has come and gone,leaving a mixed legacy, and porn films of almost every stripe are easilyavailable.

But "Cruising," about a serial killer haunting New York gay bars and S&Mjoints, seems to have vanished in the intervening years.

It was a box office flop but drew protests from gay groups, instead of theexpected support, and its star, Al Pacino, who plays a straight copinvestigating the murders by posing as a gay man, seldom talks about it.



The New York Times

T.R. Knight: `I've Learned So Much'

September 28, 2007
Filed at 1:08 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- T.R. Knight says he's evolved as a person since announcinglast October that he's gay.

''I feel I've learned so much this past year, so I'm grateful for that --so, yeah, that changes you,'' the 34-year-old actor said Thursday on ''TheEllen DeGeneres Show.''

Knight, who plays Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's hit medical drama, ''Grey'sAnatomy,'' announced that he's gay after it surfaced that Isaiah Washingtonhad used an anti-gay slur against him during an on-set clash with a co-star.

Washington, 44, was booted from his role as a surgeon on the show after heused an anti-gay epithet backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in Januarywhile denying he'd used it previously on the set against Knight.

He publicly apologized and tried to make amends by meeting with gay-rightsorganizations and filming a public-service announcement calling fortolerance.

Knight said telling the world you're gay isn't an easy thing to do.



The Washington Post

I'm Here, President Ahmadinejad

By Amir
Sunday, September 30, 2007; B02


I'm one of those people Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says don'texist. I'm a 25-year-old Iranian, and I'm gay.

I live in Tehran with my parents and younger brother and am studying to be acomputer software engineer. I've known that I was different from my brotherand other boys for as long as I can remember.

I was born in 1982, two years after the start of the Iran-Iraq War, and whenI was growing up, most boys loved to play with toy guns, pretending to besoldiers in the war. I liked painting, and playing with dolls. My brotherpreferred to play with the other boys, so most of the time I was lonely.

I was 16 when I first realized that I was sexually attracted to some of theboys in my high school classes. I had no idea what I could do with thatfeeling. All I knew about homosexuals were the jokes and negative storiesthat people told about them. I thought a homosexual was someone who sexuallyabused children -- until I saw the word "homosexual" for the first time inan English encyclopedia, and found a definition of myself.

After that, I started searching the Internet for information abouthomosexuality. Eventually I came across two Iranian Web sites where I couldcommunicate with other gays. I was 17. At first, I didn't want to giveanyone my e-mail address because I was afraid that I could be abused or thatmy parents might find out, or that people on the site could be governmentspies. But I finally decided to exchange e-mails with one person, and aftersome correspondence, we spoke on the phone. I'll never forget the first timeI heard the voice of another gay man. We arranged to meet at the home of afriend of his, and the three of us talked for hours. I felt so comfortablewith them. The next day I learned that the friend was interested in me. Hisname was Omid, and we became boyfriends.



Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrief

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


Europride Takes On Polish Anti-Gays

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: September 28, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Stockholm) The European Pride Committee has voted to hold Europride 2010 inWarsaw where Polish gays have been battling for several years with thefederal government.

The committee made its decision at its annual meeting in Stockholm thisweek,

Each year Europride is held in a different city. Next summer it will be inStockholm. In 2009 it moves to Zurich.

The selection of Warsaw comes only months after Europe's watchdog for humanrights hammered the Polish government for what he called an abysmal recordin the treatment of gays and lesbians.

"I think we should remember that one of the groups that were targeted by theNazis were homosexuals, and we should really avoid to fall into that trapnow," Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg toldPolish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski as he presented him with a failinggrade on human rights. (story )

Earlier in the year the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Warsaw'sformer Mayor Lech Kaczynski - the prime minister's twin brother and nowPoland's President - acted illegally and discriminatory in banning previousgay pride marches.

When he was mayor Kaczynski rejected parade applications from 2004 to 2006.

In 2005 dozens of militant youths were waiting as the marchers arrived atthe Parliament buildings and pelted the crowd with eggs. Police struggled totry to regain order, but were vastly outnumbered.

Last year, the State Prosecutor's office issued a letter to prosecutors inthe municipalities of Legnica, Wroclaw, Walbryzch, Opole and Jelenia Goraordering in sweeping terms investigations into the conduct of "homosexuals"on unspecified allegations of "pedophilia."

The government also has been considering legislation that would make it acriminal offence to "promote homosexual propaganda" in schools. (story)

Following the European court ruling, month more than five-thousand peoplemarched through the streets of Warsaw in the first legally sanctioned LGBTpride parade in the Polish capital. Many of the marchers carried bannersreading "Stop homophobia". (story )

The decision to hold Europride in Warsaw makes the Polish capital the firsttime the event will be held in an Eastern European city. The European PrideCommittee said it wanted to send a strong message to other former Communistcountries now part of the European Union.

"Other cities such as Moscow and Riga have to learn that it is unacceptablein Europe to prohibit gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenderedindividuals from appearing in public," said committee president RobertKastl.


Broward County: Bookfest to explore issues in gay, lesbian literature
September 29, 2007

National and local authors will discuss issues and sign their books at theGay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Bookfest Expo from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday atthe Main Library, 100 S Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

The free event, Over the Rainbow, recognizes contributions made by GLBTauthors and features the Flamingo Freedom Band. A panel will discusscontemporary issues in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender literature. Go to for more information.

Ft. Lauderdale - Tomorrow - 2pm - Sunday


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


"Being in the legislative minority is easy - pulling together to block badthings does not require a lot of agonizing over tough decisions. Being inthe majority is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we have the ability tomove forward in a positive way on important public policy goals. Detractingfrom that is the fact that it is never possible for us at any given time toget everything that we would like, and so we have to make difficult choices.But it is important to remember that the good part of this greatly outweighsthe bad. Going from a situation in which all we can do is to prevent badthings from happening to one in which we have to decide exactly how muchgood is achievable and what strategic choices we must make to get there is a
great advance.

"The current manifestation of this is the difficult set of decisions we face
regarding the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. We are on the verge of an
historic victory that supporters of civil rights have been working on for
more than thirty years: the passage for the first time in American history
by either house of Congress of legislation declaring it illegal to
discriminate against people in employment based on their sexual orientation.
Detracting from the sense of celebration many of us feel about that is
regret that under the current political situation, we do not have sufficient
support in the House to include in that bill explicit protection for people
who are transgender. The question facing us - the LGBT community and the
tens of millions of others who are active supporters of our fight against
prejudice - is whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good
bill because it has one major gap. I believe that it would be a grave error
to let this opportunity to pass a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill
go forward, not simply because it is one of the most important advances
we'll have made in securing civil rights for Americans in decades, but
because moving forward on this bill now will also better serve the ultimategoal of including people who are transgender than simply accepting totaldefeat today.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

National Center for Transgender Equality
September 28, 2007

NCTE Statement on the

Employment Non-Discrimination Act

(Washington, DC) - Yesterday our Congressional allies apparently abandonedthe Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015), the centerpiece of theLGBT legislative agenda, and introduced two new pieces of legislation whichseparate the protected classes of gender identity and sexual orientation.NCTE firmly rejects this strategy and joins most other national and manystate LGBT organizations in actively opposing these two new bills.

Until last week, the majority of our congressional allies and organizationalpartners were confident that our years of diligent work were ready to bearfruit. We believe that the original version ENDA, which was fully inclusiveof both gender identity and sexual orientation, was prematurely abandonedand should still be called to a vote.

NCTE thanks our friends in Congress for the important work that has alreadybeen done, but calls on them to return to their efforts to pass thishistoric piece of legislation.

It is disheartening to see that a bill, drafted over several years through acollaborative effort of LGBT advocates and allies, would be rejected withouta vote and without the counsel or assent of a single one of theseorganizations.

There has been increasing support over the last decade to includetransgender people in all local, state and federal legislation designed toend the injustice and inequality which has been perpetrated against LGBTAmericans for generations. In fact there are currently 13 states, the DCand over 100 municipalities which already have passed similar antidiscrimination laws to protect people on the basis of both gender identityand sexual orientation.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

What Would Jesus Say About the Folsom Street Poster?

A Statement from Ricci Levy, Executive Director, The Woodhull FreedomFoundation

This weekend the annual Folsom Street Fair will be held in San Francisco.This year's poster, a Folsom Street version of The Last Supper, has gainedquite a bit of attention - - some appreciative, some hostile. The ConcernedWomen for America, in their annual attempt to shut down the fair, haveseized on the poster as the reason for this year's effort to squelch whatthey describe as the "Debauched Folsom Street Fair."

I would never presume to speak for Jesus and it troubles me that others,like the CWA (Concerned Women for America), do. But I wouldn't try tosilence them, no matter how harmful I thought their statements were.Woodhull believes in freedom of speech and sexual expression, and this iscertainly a case where both would apply to all involved parties!

I can, though, offer you a quote from the Bible, Luke 6:22, "Blessed are youwhen men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name asevil, for the sake of the Son of Man." [New American Standard Bible]

But let's face it. This isn't about THIS poster. After all, there have beenmany previous pop culture takes on The Last Supper, such as by The Simpsons,The Sopranos, Star Wars, Sesame Street and many others, and the CWA didn'trise up in horror to decry the "open ridicule of Christianity" as they didhere.

No - this isn't about the poster. This is about discrimination. This isabout hate. And this is about fear. This is about restrictions on freedom ofspeech. This is about suppression of sexual freedom - of sexual expression.This is about marginalization of a group of people trying to exercise thesame choices Matt Barber, CWA Policy Director, makes for himself; the rightto live one's life as one pleases and with whom one pleases in consensualadult relationships.

Petitioning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senators Barbara Boxer and DianeFeinstein, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to "publicly condemn thisunprovoked attack against Christ and His followers" is a smoke-screen, it'sa ruse to try, once again, to close down the Folsom Street Fair. If itwasn't, the other cultural takes on The Last Supper would have caused thesame comments. After all - what's reverent about The Simpsons? And does theblood and guts violence of The Sopranos honor the concept of The LastSupper?

Here's the crux of the issue: it's freedom of speech and sexual expressionand it's about hatred of the "homosexual" population. The CWA proves itthemselves when they describe "half-naked homosexual sadomasochists...sinitself."

That's what this is about - hatred and unabashed bigotry against a group ofhuman beings with the same fundamental human right every member of the CWAclaims for themselves, - indeed the same fundamental right to which we'reallentitled - sexual freedom that includes freedom of speech and sexualexpression!

Ricci J. Levy
Executive Director
The Woodhull Freedom Foundation


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

Murder may be anti-gay hate crime

Victims' friends 'driven to despair' over alleged police, media cover-upBy LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Sept 27, 10:55 AM

A close friend of three college students who were shot to death executionstyle in a Newark, N.J., schoolyard in August said the students planned tojoin him in attending a black Gay Pride event in Queens, N.Y., the dayfollowing their deaths.

News of the students' plans to attend the Aug. 5 event at New York City'sRiis Park Beach surfaced after a New Jersey gay group released a letter lastweek calling on Newark authorities to investigate the murders as possibleanti-gay hate crimes.

The murder of the three students and the shooting of a fourth student, whois recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, shocked Newark's citizensand became the subject of international news coverage.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

My name is Kathleen Fortune and I'm a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Psychologybased out of the Stigma and Social Neuroscience Lab at the University ofToronto. My current line of research examines the unique experiences ofindividuals with concealable stigmatized identities, such as those withnon-heterosexual sexual orientations.

I'm currently looking for participants who identify as gay, lesbian,bisexual, or queer to take a short online survey about identity management.Completing the survey should take approximately 25 minutes and participantsare automatically entered into a draw to win a 2GB iPod Nano. The projecthas been approved by my University research ethics board.

I would appreciate any assistance you could provide in passing along thislink and the information about the study to friends and colleagues.


The Washington Post

Tireless Shuttle Diplomacy
Archbishop of Canterbury, on Trip to U.S., Wins Compromise in Bid to Avoid Anglican Church Split

By Bruce Nolan
Religion News Service
Saturday, September 29, 2007; B09


H is admirers describe him as a brilliant theologian with the soul of a poet, but it's the work of a diplomat -- a church diplomat -- that brought the archbishop of Canterbury here last week.

Archbishop Rowan Williams's 77 million-member Anglican Communion is in full-body spasm, seemingly on the verge of tearing itself apart over issues of homosexuality and the church.

For years, the 2.4 million-member Episcopal Church -- the U.S. branch of the Worldwide Anglican Communion -- has steadily marched toward consensus that omosexual relationships are not necessarily sinful; that gay men and lesbians may become bishops; and that the unions of gay couples may be sanctified.

Some leaders of other Anglican churches, especially in Asia and Africa, are furious. Increasingly, they demand that Episcopalians be partly or fully ejected from the Anglican Communion of 38 autonomous churches and that beleaguered traditionalist Episcopalians be given their own orthodox shepherds.

Since assuming office in 2003, Williams has tried to moderate the conflict, shuttling around the world and deploying all his powers of persuasion. Allowing a split, he said last week, would be "an admission of defeat. . . . I have to say, God forbid."


The Washington Post

Courts a Tough Road to Gay Marriage

The Associated Press
Friday, September 28, 2007; 3:52 PM

BOSTON -- When bells rang in 2004 to celebrate the nation's first gay marriages in Massachusetts, opponents warned that liberal courts were moving to permit gay marriage around the nation.

Three years later, despite attempts in many states, the nation's highest courts haven't followed Massachusetts' lead. Last week, Maryland's high court became the latest after New York, Washington and New Jersey to refuse to grant marriage rights to gay residents.

"We were very disappointed to lose," said David Buckel of Lamdba Legal, which led the court fights in New York, New Jersey and Washington. "But you have to expect it in a civil rights movement because what you're doing is creating enormous change and there are enormous forces lined up against us."

Gay marriage opponents said the losses, coming in the states thought to be most open to gay marriage, show how far advocates overreached after the ruling in Massachusetts. Gay activists point to gains, such as court-ordered civil unions in New Jersey, and say they are prepared for a long fight. Two gay marriage cases are pending before high courts in Connecticut and California.



The Washington Post

Sandler Hopes to Help Gay-Rights Groups

The Associated Press
Friday, September 28, 2007; 11:19 AM

MEXICO CITY -- Adam Sandler says he would like to work alongside gay-rights groups after starring in "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry."

Sandler, who was in Mexico with co-star Kevin James to promote the film's opening in theaters here, told a news conference: "If I can help anybody in any way, I certainly would."

But the 41-year-old actor-comedian stopped short of calling himself a potential gay icon.

"I don't think that's gonna happen, dude, certainly not," Sandler said. "If I was a gay man, I wouldn't want me to represent" the gay community.

"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," scheduled to be released on DVD in the U.S. in November, tells the story of two straight firefighters who pretend to be gay domestic partners for pension benefits. The movie raked in about $35 million in U.S. box-office sales on its opening weekend despite weak reviews and some complaints of homophobia.


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