Thursday, October 11, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 11, 2007

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Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: 917-691-5118


Groups That Encourage Marriage As A Cure For Homosexuality Destroy Families
And Treat Spouses and Children As Collateral Damage

NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out released an exclusive National Coming Out Dayvideo today, "Ex-Gay = Ex-Wife," that features the stories of fourcourageous women whose families fell apart after their closeted husbandscame out. This video is the latest in TWO's "Talking Truth" campaign andhighlights the harm of ex-gay programs from a unique perspective - that ofthe spouse who gets left behind when the promised "cure" does not endure.

"Ex-gay programs love to show the wedding photos, but they never show youthe divorce papers that result from such ill-conceived marriages," saidTruth Wins Out's Executive Director, Wayne Besen. "These programs holdmarriage up as the Holy Grail to heterosexuality, but the truth is, thesemarriages wholly fail, leaving shattered lives and broken families."

Bonnie Kaye, an author and director of the organization,has dedicated her life to counseling women after the demise of her ownmarriage. She blames anti-gay activists, such as Alan Chambers of ExodusInternational and James Dobson of Focus on the Family, for creating suchmiserable and doomed marriages.

"Alan Chambers and James Dobson are destroying the lives of families, nothelping them...It's not a choice, people are who they are. Learn to lovethem and learn to embrace them and help them love themselves so they don'thave to go and get married to be somebody they're not," said Kaye.

In the video, Nancy Davis shares how her former father-in law, apsychologist, recommended that his son meet a woman, get married and lead astraight life. "I feel like I was used, I was like an innocent lamb lead toslaughter," Davis said.

The pain of such marriages can linger, long after the divorce is final."Many of us are severely damaged...the spouses and children end up being thecollateral damage," said Carol Silverman of the Straight Spouse Network, whowas divorced after being married for nearly three decades.

Ignoring the failure and destruction all around them, ex-gay groupsarrogantly and selfishly continue to use such families as pawns in theirdivisive culture war. "These organizations that try to convince people thatthey can be cured need to be stopped," asserted Tracy Rosenberg, whodivorced her husband after almost 20 years.

"This video is a powerful reality check and a warning for those who wouldmarry thinking that it will help them go from gay to straight," said Besen."We are now looking to tell the stories of husbands whose marriages endedwhen their ex-gay wives came out as lesbians."

Truth Wins OUT is a non-profit organization that counters right wingpropaganda, exposes the "ex-gay" myth and educates America about gay life.For more information, visit


News Max

Monday, October 8, 2007 4:09 PM

By: Edward I. Koch

I'm backing Hillary Clinton for president.

I predict the Democratic ticket will ultimately be headed by Hillary, withBarack Obama as her vice presidential nominee. Some political commentatorssay that America is not ready to elect a ticket headed by a woman with ablack running mate. Many say that one or the other would be acceptable, butnot both.

I disagree.

Those people do not appreciate how far America has come in race and genderrelations. This is the Golden Age of America, an age of opportunity for all.We had an intimation of this new age in the 2000 presidential race, when JoeLieberman was more popular running as vice president on the Democraticticket then Al Gore at the top of the ticket.

Having said that, and still of the same mind, I am troubled by a recentcomment by Sen. Obama. On Oct. 3, according to The New York Times, "SenatorBarack Obama said Thursday that he stopped wearing an American flag pin inhis lapel years ago, saying the symbol has become an empty substitute fortrue patriotism."

Obama's statement was "My attitude is that I'm less concerned about what you'rewearing on your lapel than what's in your heart." The Times reported, "hetold a television reporter one day earlier that he stopped wearing anAmerican flag pin shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks." In a televisioninterview, he said such symbols "become a substitute for, I think, truepatriotism," adding, "I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest."



Larry Craig's New Music Video [humorous]

As seen on


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Profiles in Patriotism
By Denny Meyer

Erin Russ, a transgender American, was a US Army Infantry Captain who servedhonorably for 9 years from 1981 to 1990. The Russ family in which Erin wasraised was archetypal, normal Americana. The family was involved in BoyScouts, Girl Scouts, and church; her father had served as a sergeant in theKorean War, a brother was in the Air Force, a nephew is a Marine, and fourcousins, both grandfathers and all three uncles served their countryproudly. Her father, a mechanical engineer, taught his children to think forthemselves, to find out for themselves why things are the way they are andhow to achieve results. That proved to be the sort of cognitive qualitydesired by the Army for a modern military officer.

Growing up, Erin was always aware of being different from the expectationsof others. As a boy, she knew that she was supposed to 'belong' to onegroup, and that there was no choice in the matter, and yet, she knew thatexpectation was wrong as it applied to her; she knew she was the wronggender. As any LGBT American child growing up in the 1950s and 60sinstinctively realized, Erin simply knew that a boy does not tell anyonethat "he" is a girl. As Erin put it, "I had a lot of fun as a kid in the BoyScouts; its just that I wanted to be a girl." She occasionally cross dressedin high school and college, when it was possible to do so. At the same time,she dreamed of being a fighter pilot; not an unreasonable possibility as inthe 1970s America's first female U2 jet pilots and astronauts wereheroically deflating gender role stereotypes. Erin later opted for the Armyon discovering that the planes did not come in size XL

Yet, despite the Sturm und Drang of dealing with that alone while growingup, without any advice nor solace from anyone, the strength of her familyand rearing allowed Erin to become a self-confident self-sufficientintelligent young adult who had all the qualifications and qualities to beamong the best, an US Army Infantry officer.

In 1978, Erin Russ was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US ArmyNational Guard. You might ask, "What was she thinking? How could atransgender person imagine serving as a leader in our military?" It was notas simple as the fact that in reality, to be a leader, it simply does notmatter if one is male or female, nor does it matter what one chooses to wearwhen out of uniform. There was also the societal pressure to conform, tomeet the expectations of others, to try to force oneself into the "right"role. Erin was already militarily inclined; in fulfilling that dream role,she'd hoped it might resolve the gender disparity within by "making a man"out of her. It would have been most ideal to be able to serve as a woman;but at the time that option was not available, nor is it quite yet today inthis country.

As an Army Infantry officer, Erin served ably as a paratrooper, an infantryplatoon leader, scout platoon leader, company commander, logistics officer,assistant brigade ops officer, and as an infantry division air ops officer(in Alaska responsible for all army aircraft flying below 500 feet --workingwith a multi-million-dollar budget). She served at Ft. Hood, Ft. Benning,Ft. Wainright in Alaska, and traveled to Europe and Japan in support ofjoint military exercises. She was respected as a thorough trainer and leaderof troops in the field, and as a student of military history, wrote paperson international terrorism, accurately predicting current trends and foroversight detail analysis that averted munitions supply errors that couldhave resulted in the Army's European mission's failure. Captain Russ alsocollaborated on the production of one of the Army's counter insurgencymanuals in the mid 1980's, lending one of her college papers to the project.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Tucson Arizona enacts DADT repeal resolution

By Denny Meyer

Last month the City of Tucson Arizona joined the growing list of cities,counties, and the State of California, that have sent a resolution toCongress advocating the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. In thespring of 2005, the New York City Council, by an overwhelming vote, sent thefirst such resolution. West Hollywood and San Francisco followed. Over thenext two years, resolutions were enacted in Cathedral City, CA, Chicago, St.Louis, Atlanta, Portland, OR, and Dekalb County, GA. Similar resolutionswere also enacted by the California legislature, Stonewall Democrats, andJewish War Veterans.

As the sixth largest GLBT community in the nation, Tucson has a highlyactive GLBT Commission that brings issues to the attention of theseven-member City Council and the Mayor who jointly vote on issues, as theydid unanimously to urge their congressional delegation to repeal DADT.According to John-Peter Wilhite, a GLBT Commission Member, the nearlyyear-long process that led to the vote was a joint effort by commissionersAmanda Simpson, Pam Liberty, Brenda Kazen, himself, and out Council MemberKarin Uhlich. Speaking at a press conference after the vote was transgenderveteran Erin Russ, whose presence, at the invitation of CommissionerWilhite, symbolized the City's commitment to full inclusion of the rights ofall its citizens and a municipal intolerance of discrimination.

Tucson GLBT Commission Member Wilheite, originally from Indianapolis, withdegrees in Human Communications and fashion (well, he is gay, after all),began being a gay activist in college by helping to establish the first gayand lesbian student association at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Helater was a member of ACTUP in San Francisco and has served on numerousboards, advisory councils, and sub-commissions as well as politicalcampaigns on behalf of gay candidates.

Erin Russ, a former Army Infantry Captain, who spoke at the Tucson pressconference regarding Don't Ask Don't Tell, is featured in a Gay MilitaryTimes profile of her life and service.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

GOP officials religiously avoid nomination issue

By Bob Kemper, Jim Galloway
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/08/07

Saturday night was proof positive that while national punditry may foreseethe declining influence of a splintered Religious Right in politicalaffairs, few Republicans in Georgia are willing to test the theory.

The 50-plus tables at a Cobb County dinner for the Georgia ChristianAlliance were snapped up by GOP officials at every level, even if a certainnumber didn't feel the need to show up in person.

They sent substitutes who were willing, even eager, to escape theafternoon's Georgia-Tennessee game. Despite the lack of any alcoholicanesthesia.

This was Sadie Fields' opportunity to show she didn't need the name of theChristian Coalition to preserve the clout of her group. She severed therelationship with the fading national organization last year, and adopted anew moniker.

To remind elected officials why they respect her -- and perhaps fear her,too -- Fields thoughtfully included on every seat in the house a brochurescoring the 2007 votes of 236 state lawmakers.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The War on Pot: America's $42 Billion Annual Boondoggle

By Rob Kampia, AlterNet
Posted on October 9, 2007, Printed on October 11, 2007

What would you buy if you had an extra $42 billion to spend every year? Whatmight our government buy if it suddenly had that much money dropped onto itslap every year?

For one thing, it might pay for the entire $7 billion annual increase in theState Children's Health Insurance Program that President Bush is threateningto veto because of its cost -- and there'd still be $35 billion left over.

Or perhaps you'd hire 880,000 schoolteachers at the average U.S. teachersalary of $47,602 per year.

Or give every one of our current teachers a 30 percent raise (at a cost of$15 billion, according to the American Federation of Teachers) and usewhat's left to take a $27 billion whack out of the federal deficit.

Or use all $42 billion for a massive tax cut that would put an extra $140 inthe pockets of every person in the country -- $560 for a family of four.

more . . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Inheritance tax allowance raised for civil partners

9th October 2007 17:50
Tony Grew

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has doubled the inheritance tax thresholdfor civil partners and married people.

Presenting his pre-Budget report to the House of Commons, Alastair Darlingannounced that from today the threshold will rise to £600,000. By 2010-11the threshold will rise to £700,000.

Until now all estates worth more than £300,000 were taxed at 40%, althoughassets left to a civil partner or spouse are exempt from taxation.

Civil partners and married couples can combine their allowances after theirone of them dies, allowing the remaining partner's estate to be tax-free upto £600,000.

The new threshold will be backdated for three million widows or widowers,meaning that those whose spouse or civil partner predeceased them will stillsee their estate be tax-free upon their death up to the £600,000 limit.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Muslims join Christian condemnation of gay protection law

9th October 2007 12:31
Tony Grew

The Islamic Human Rights Commission has condemned a proposed new offence ofincitement to hatred on the basis of sexual orientation, adding its voice toa chorus of complaints from evangelical Christians.

The IHRC, an "independent, not-for-profit, campaign, research and advocacyorganisation based in London," attacked the concept of a gay incitement law.

"If someone is reading the Bible and calls homosexuality an abomination, isthat going to be incitement?

"There are similar passages in the Koran and the Talmud," Massoud Shadjarehof the IHRC told the Daily Express.

"I was against the incitement to religious hatred legislation. Either youwater it down until it becomes pointless or you have a situation where youdeprive people the right to have access to freedom of speech."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay papers weigh in on ENDA

October 08, 2007

Gay newspaper editorials this past week reflect the divide among GLBsgenerally on whether to adopt a "trans or bust" strategy for the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act. The vigorous debate on LGBT editorial pages furtherputs the lie to Matt Foreman's claims of "unity" on the subject, and alsooffers a convenient way to drill down to the core issues here.

The Bay Area Reporter published a harshly worded editorial taking to task"two stalwarts of our community" -- Barney Frank and the Human Rightscampaign -- for their ENDA positions. The editorial chastised HRC for its"inexplicable and inexcusable" silence during much of the debate over ENDA,which HRC has defended as necessary to "staying in the game" with BarneyFrank and other Congressional leaders. (As if Barney Frank would refuseHRC's phone calls if they publicly opposed him.)

HRC has managed to alienate many on both sides of the ENDA issue, while nodoubt remaining popular with those who want to ride the fence on ENDA untilthey can see how it all comes out in the end. After "heartbreaking" and"wrenching" internal debate -- one can imagine the hand-wringing -- JoeSolmonese has described HRC's position as "unequivocally" in support oftrans-inclusive ENDA and opposed to gay-specific ENDA.

That said, Solmonese does equivocate on what HRC do if Barney and NancyPelosi go forward with a gay-specific version. When push comes to shove, HRCwill apparently abandon its "unequivocal" position and will not activelyoppose a gay-specific version.

The BAR editorial closes by noting:

What's amazing to us is that Frank and HRC are blind to the fact that thegutted ENDA bill weakens workplace protections for all members of the LGBTcommunity, not just those who are transgender. By removing genderexpression, the bill leaves out a key element to protect any employee,including lesbians and gay men, who may not conform to their employer's ideaof how a man or a woman should look and act, according to a preliminaryanalysis by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The Evolution of Lynne Cheney
Filed by: Steve Ralls
October 8, 2007 5:29 PM
Lynne Cheney wants you to know that she's evolved. Or at least evolving.

America's "second lady" is on a media blitz promoting her new book, BlueSkies, No Fences, and appeared yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning to talk abouteverything from criticisms about her husband (which she finds "surreal"), toher future in politics (she doesn't seem inclined to run for anything), and,yes, her views on gays. Cheney, mother to America's "second lesbian" (isEllen the first?) told CBS that, "I think the society has evolved. I'veevolved in my way of thinking, but I think the whole society has evolved.You know, my mother had a rule which was people are just people."

CBS says that the issue of LGBT Americans "is sensitive to her as the motherof a gay daughter."

Thinking back to her own school-yard days, Cheney remembers that, the "worldof prom dates and being homecoming queen was not open to everyone - AfricanAmericans, for example. And she writes that the times 'were hard on kids whowere gay,'" according to CBS.

So there you have it: Lynne knew a few gay people long before Mary camealong, thank you very much.

Mrs. Cheney, who has served as chairwoman of the National Endowment for theHumanities, also has more of a history with the gay community (inliterature, as well as family) than most people might know. She was theauthor of the cult classic Sisters, a pulp fiction tale of love, lust andlonging . . . among lesbians. Cheney's ode to Sapphism has become such acollectors' item, in fact, that it regularly fetches hundreds of dollars onwebsites like eBay.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Black Pastors Step Up in HIV/AIDS Fight

Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Black ministers called on the federal government Tuesday todeclare HIV/AIDS among blacks a public health emergency and proposedlegislation to address the disease in their community.

Almost half of all new HIV diagnoses are among blacks. Black men werediagnosed with the disease at a rate eight times that of white men, whileblack women were diagnosed at a rate almost 23 times that of white women,according to 2005 figures, the most recent available, from the U.S. Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention.

The church leaders also pledged to promote HIV/AIDS testing and awarenessamong their congregations.

"Just as African-American clergy fervently came together 50 years ago tofight for civil rights, we are banding together today to bring an end toHIV/AIDS and its potential to obliterate our community," said Bishop T.D.Jakes, leader of the Dallas megachurch, The Potter's House.

Jakes spoke at a two-day conference of black clergy organized by theNational Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. The event drew more than 150members of the clergy, politicians and medical professionals.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Scientist: Greenhouse Gas Levels Grave

From: Meraiah Foley -Associated Press
Published October 9, 2007 08:45 AM

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Strong worldwide economic growth has acceleratedthe level of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere to a dangerousthreshold scientists had not expected for another decade, according to aleading Australian climate change expert.

Scientist Tim Flannery told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that an upcomingreport by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will containnew data showing that the level of climate-changing gases in the atmospherehas already reached critical levels.

Flannery is not a member of the IPCC, but said he based his comments on athorough review of the technical data included in the panel's three workinggroup reports published earlier this year. The IPCC is due to release itsfinal report synthesizing the data in November.

"What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in theatmosphere is already above the threshold that can potentially causedangerous climate change," Flannery told the broadcaster late Monday. "Weare already at great risk of dangerous climate change, that's what thesefigures say. It's not next year or next decade, it's now."

Flannery, whose recent book "The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing theClimate and What It Means for Life on Earth," made best-seller listsworldwide, said the data showed that the amount of carbon dioxide and othergreenhouse gas emissions had reached about 455 parts per million bymid-2005, well ahead of scientists' previous calculations.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Bisexuals Get Their 15 Minutes

October 08, 2007
MySpace celeb Tila Tequila discusses her new MTV dating show which posessixteen straight men against sixteen lesbians. One giant step for bi-kind?
By Job Brother

An exclusive posted October 8, 2007

We're living in the age of the cyber-celebrity. People like Perez Hilton,Jessica Lee Rose, and Markos ZĂșniga have circumvented the standard avenuesto stardom in lieu of the Information Superhighway. Tila Tequila (born TilaNguyen) is one of the latest self-made celebrities poised on the brink ofcrossing over into mainstream stardom. She is best known as the "mostpopular person on MySpace," having more "friends" in the online communitythan anyone, save its president, the ubiquitous Tom Anderson.

Tequila's new "reality" TV show, A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila willpremiere October 9 on MTV. In it 16 straight men and 16 lesbians will livein Tila's house and compete for her affection, the twist being that thecontestants will not be aware of her bisexuality until later in the series.

Before her dating romp hits the nation, Tequila took a break to sit down andflirt with The Advocate.

So what's your new show all about?

My quest to find someone I love, male [or] female.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay Prince to appear on Oprah show

9th October 2007 13:15 writer

One of the most prominent openly gay people in India is to appear on theworld-famous Oprah Winfrey talkshow.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, from the Royal family of Gujarat in north westIndia, made headlines around the world last year when he publicly came outof the closet.

He was initially disowned by his family, but has continued to work withHIV-awareness programmes and he will discuss his work with Oprah.

The Prince has never really sought to hide his sexual orientation, producingand staring in the gay film Emotionally Yours and setting up anHIV-awareness charity to educate gay men about the dangers of the disease.

This charity, Lakshya, has solemnised gay "marriages" and is conductingresearch into acceptance for homosexuality in Holy Scriptures.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

York to host lesbian festival

9th October 2007 11:35 writer

The biggest Lesbian Arts Festival in the country will be taking place in thecity of York later this month. There are a range of events, some open toeveryone, others women-only.

On Saturday 27th October a Book Festival will be held at York Racecourse.

The event and be packed with talented and inspiring authors and artists fromthe UK and USA.

Authors in attendance include Val McDermid, Stella Duffy, Rhona Cameron,Manda Scott and Sarah Waters.

The Book Festival is open to all women and men as guests of women.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Tennis coach denies she is a lesbian

9th October 2007 12:53
Gemma Pritchard

A top female tennis coach accused of having an affair with a 13-year-oldgirl denied she is a lesbian, a Liverpool court heard yesterday.

Ex-tennis pro Claire Lyte, 29, told police "I like men," when asked abouther sexuality.

Transcripts of the police interview with the former Lawn Tennis Associationcoach of the year were read to a jury yesterday.

Lyte, from Solihull, is accused of five counts of unlawful sexual activitywith a pupil, which she denies.

Liverpool Crown Court court has already been told by the girl's mother shefound Lyte naked with her daughter at the family home in 2005.

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School board bans clubs based on sexual orientation


The Okeechobee County School Board decided Tuesday that clubs based onsexual orientation are not allowed.

Schools Superintendent Patricia Cooper recommended the change to strengthenthe district's existing policy. Cooper wrote in a memo that the change would"assure that student clubs and organizations do not interfere with theSchool Board's abstinence only sex education policy."

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the district lastyear over whether the student Gay-Straight Alliance should be allowed tomeet at Okeechobee High School. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of YasminGonzalez, who graduated last year.

A judge ruled earlier this year the club should be allowed to meet until thelawsuit is settled. The case is expected to be heard in March.

Because of the judge's ruling, the Gay-Straight Alliance still will beallowed to meet at the school, assistant superintendent Ken Kenworthy said.But the rule change will prevent future clubs from meeting at the school.

A message left for the ACLU after hours Tuesday was not immediatelyreturned.


Work Fails to Block Ore. Gay Rights Law

By BRAD CAIN - 2 days ago

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Opponents of Oregon's new same-sex domestic partnershiplaw failed to turn in enough valid signatures to block the measure, clearingthe way for it to take effect next year, state elections officials saidMonday.

Oregon will join eight other states that have approved spousal rights insome form for gay couples - Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey,Maine, California, Washington and Hawaii. Massachusetts is the only statethat allows gay couples to marry.

The Oregon measure covers benefits related to inheritance rights,child-rearing and custody, joint state tax filings, joint health, auto andhomeowners insurance policies, visitation rights at hospitals and others. Itdoes not affect federal benefits for married couples, including SocialSecurity and joint filing of federal tax returns.

Former state Sen. Marylin Shannon, a spokeswoman for the opponents' petitiondrive, and other social conservatives believe the domestic partners billviolates the intent of voters who in 2004 adopted a constitutional ban ongay marriage.

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Probe continues in deaths of two gay D.C. visitors

N.Y. men reportedly had worked as escorts; witness says both took pills
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Oct 10, 12:47 PM

D.C. police are awaiting results of toxicology tests conducted by the city'sMedical Examiner's office in their investigation into the unexplained deathsof two gay men whose bodies were found four days apart in an apartment inWashington.

The men, who did not know each other, had traveled separately last monthfrom New York City to stay with Steven Saleh, who resides in a one-bedroomapartment at the upscale Envoy Towers at 2400 16th St., N.W., according to apolice affidavit in support of a search warrant for the apartment.

Friends said the two victims were acquaintances of Saleh's, with one of thetwo, Dean Johnson, 46, having met Saleh in the past in Johnson's role as anescort, according to one friend. The other victim, Jeremy Conklin, 26, mayalso have met Saleh through Conklin's occasional work as an escort, peoplewho knew Conklin said.

The friends have said they are stunned that two men, who appeared healthy atthe time of their departure from New York, could turn up dead in the sameapartment due to unknown causes.

"Isn't it a little ridiculous that two people died the same way in the sameplace within four days?" said John Allen, Conklin's boyfriend.

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'Abby' to Be Honored Saturday for Her Support of the Gay Community

By E&P Staff

Published: October 10, 2007 3:45 PM ET

NEW YORK "Dear Abby" writer Jeanne Phillips will be recognized this Saturdayin Washington, D.C., for her support of the gay community by Parents andFriends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), according to Universal PressSyndicate.

PFLAG's convention runs from Oct. 11-14 -- during which time openly-gayEpiscopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson will also be honored.

The "Straight for Equality" award -- part of PFLAG's new campaign to engagemore heterosexuals as allies -- is being given to Phillips for "viewsespousing tolerance, understanding, and acceptance" in the "Dear Abby"column distributed by Universal to about 1,400 newspapers.

Jeanne's mother Pauline, who founded "Dear Abby," helped promote PFLAG as aresource in 1984 when she first referred a distraught parent to theorganization. Jeanne has continued to recommend the group, its affiliate forparents with children who identify as transgender, and a suicide hotlineaimed at gay teenagers.

"I'm trying to tell kids if they are gay, it's OK to be gay. I've tried totell families if they have a gay family member to accept them and love themas they always have," Phillips said in an Associated Press interview.

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Gays Banned But Military Recruits Increased Number Of Convicted Criminals
by The Associated Press
Posted: October 10, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Washington) The Army last year again increased the number of its recruitswho have prior criminal records by granting them special exceptions.

The Pentagon's top personnel official defended the policy, saying it's sostringent that many in Congress would have difficulty getting into themilitary today, too, because of things they did in their youth.

The military routinely grants waivers to recruits with past criminalbehavior, medical problems or low aptitude scores that would otherwisedisqualify them from service.

In the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 18 percent of recruits needed waivers forproblems with the law - up from 15 percent the previous year, Maj. Gen.Thomas Bostick, commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told aPentagon news conference. He said 87 percent of those were for misdemeanorssuch as joy riding or violating curfew.

Appearing with him, defense personnel head David S.C. Chu said the waiverpolicy, taken as a whole, is a tough one and takes into consideration thewhole person and his or her future abilities, not just mistakes the personmay have made in the past.

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Support For Civil Unions Grows Among Maryland Dems
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: October 10, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Annapolis, Maryland) Top state Democrats say they are warming to the ideaof civil unions for same-sex couples in Maryland but the idea is being metwith opposition from both LGBT rights groups and Republicans.

The latest to sign on to civil unions is Democratic House Speaker MichaelBusch.

"I believe in civil unions," Busch told Baltimore radio station WYPR-FM.

"I think people should have the same rights as far as probate is concerned,as far as health care is considered, as far as visitation and all thosethings."

The remarks followed a statement by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) that he wouldsupport civil unions.

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Pediatricians Told To Be On Lookout For Suicide Signs In Gay Teens

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 10, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(New York City) The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued new guidelinesfor helping doctors identify potential signs of suicide among teenagers.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for adolescents 15 to 19 yearsolds the Academy says in its updated guidelines, published in the journalPediatrics.

"Pediatricians can take steps to help reduce the incidence of adolescentsuicide by screening for depression and suicidal ideation and behavior," thereport by Benjamin N. Shain, MD, PhD, and colleagues from the Committee onAdolescence says.

"Throughout adolescence, routine history taking should include questionsabout mood disorders, suicidal thoughts, sexual orientation, and other riskfactors for suicide. Ideally, this should occur during acute care as well asroutine care visits."

Among the risk factors listed in the report is gay or bisexual orientation.Other factors include a family history of suicide, parental history ofmental health problems, history of physical or sexual abuse, and thepresence of firearms in the home.

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Low Iowa Finish To End Brownback Presidential Bid
by The Associated Press
Posted: October 11, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Washington) Republican Sam Brownback says he will drop out of the race forpresident if he finishes lower than fourth place in the Iowa caucuses.

The Kansas senator had previously said he would consider ending his campaignfor the GOP nomination if he could not finish in the top four.

Brownback made the comments Wednesday while fielding questions in a liveInternet discussion on

In response to a questioner who asked whether Brownback planned to end hisbid if he places outside the top four contenders, Brownback said, "That iscorrect. I need to finish in that group to move on forward."

A poll conducted for The Des Moines Register earlier this month showsBrownback in seventh place and drawing support from just 2 percent ofRepublicans surveyed.

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Iowa Political Glass Ceiling Presents New Challenge To Clinton
by The Associated Press

Posted: October 11, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Des Moines, Iowa) For Hillary Rodham Clinton to win Iowa, she'll have toget past the men challenging her for the Democratic presidential nominationand the state's tradition of turning a cold shoulder to female candidates.

Iowa is one of only two states - Mississippi is the other - that have neversent a woman to Congress or the governor's mansion. None have been tested inIowa's presidential caucuses; any who campaigned here dropped out before thevote.

But Clinton is campaigning in large part on her gender; she noted during aswing through the state this week that she couldn't run as anything else.She is making appeals to women and the voters who support them in subtle anddirect ways.

She says she's not running because she's a woman, but because she is themost qualified and experienced person for the job. But at every stop, sheused her potential to break through the ultimate glass ceiling as part ofher closing argument for voters to elect her.

"I was so touched the first time I shook the hand of a woman and she reachedout and grabbed my hand and said to me, `I'm 95 years old. I was born beforewomen could vote and I'm going to live long enough to see a woman in theWhite House!'" Clinton said in Dakota City.

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Alabama Elects First Openly Gay Male Official

October 11, 2007

Alabama voters selected the state's first openly gay male official for aseat on the Birmingham board of education, according to the Victory Fund, agroup that helps LGBT politicians win elected office.

Howard Bayless, 42, is a former board chairman of Equality Alabama and iscurrently the cochair of the Equality Federation. He is also the corporatedirector of development for Bradford Health Services, according to theBirmingham News.

Bayless, who won with 4,059 votes, defeated his opponent, Earnest Lumpkin, amanager of the Woodlawn branch of Regions Bank, who took 1,154 votes,according to the newspaper. Neither candidate had political experience.

"Howard Bayless is a hero to gay people in Alabama, but his election provesthat all kinds of voters respond to real leadership," said Chuck Wolfe,president and CEO of the Victory Fund. "There will come a time when gay andlesbian candidates will be able to win across the state, and people likeHoward will be remembered as the trailblazers."

His election follows that of Alabama representative Patricia Todd, who lastyear became the first gay or lesbian candidate elected to any office in thestate.

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Law Firms Rated on LGBT Partners, Associates, Other Diversity Criteria

October 11, 2007

About one fifth of large New York law firms do not have gay, lesbian,bisexual, or transgender partners or associates, according to new data byBuilding a Better Legal Profession, a grassroots organization composed oflaw students. The findings, released Wednesday in Washington, D.C., are partof a larger report rating law firms in six markets -- New York, Washington,Boston, Chicago, Northern California, and Southern California -- on thediversity of their partners and associates.

In New York, 14 of the 69 New York firms included had no openly LGBTpartners, while 16 had no LGBT associates. Women, another category rated,made up less than 25% of partners at every Manhattan firm surveyed,according to the report.

Sullivan & Cromwell, which faced allegations of sexual harassment from a gayassociate earlier this year, topped the list in the partner category, with10 partners (8.8%) identifying as LGBT.

In D.C., 17 out of the 42 firms included in the survey had no openly LGBTpartners, while nine of them had no out associates. (The Advocate)


Craig's "Wide Stance" Excuse Finds Way Into Lexicon

October 11, 2007

Among the most famous excuses ever given for questionable behavior, ''I have
a wide stance'' must fall somewhere between the schoolchild's favorite,
''The dog ate my homework,'' and President Clinton's ''I didn't inhale.''

But Sen. Larry Craig's contention -- made just after his arrest in a
restroom sex sting -- has permeated the public consciousness, showing up as
more than just the punch line to late-night talk show jokes.

The online Urban Dictionary defines ''wide stance'' as a euphemism for a
closeted homosexual. David Kurtz of the blog Talking Points Memo called
Craig's wide stance claim ''The Best Legal Defense of 2007.'' And Beau
Jarvis, who writes about wine, travel, and food on the blogBasic Juice,
notes that the phrase has become less than innocent and proposes
''cleansing'' it by using it to describe a well-balanced wine.

Craig uttered the now-famous phrase after an undercover police officer at
the Minneapolis airport arrested him on June 11, according to police

Sgt. Dave Karsnia claimed Craig entered a neighboring stall after peering at
him through a crack in the door, then slid his foot underneath the stall
divider, tapping it several times before moving it so it touched the
officer's foot. Then, Karsnia said, Craig waved his hand underneath the
divider. Karsnia said he recognized the gestures as a coded invitation for
gay sex.

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Study: Most States Don't Enforce Mandatory HIV Testing

October 11, 2007

More than 30 states have laws barring doctors from heeding a call by officials to routinely test Americans for the AIDS virus, researchersreport. And states don't seem to be in any rush to change that.

None have chosen to remove all barriers since the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention announced new testing guidelines last year, theresearchers said in a new study Tuesday.

''I think if they were going to change, they would have done so by now,''said Lawrence Gostin, a public-health law expert at Georgetown University.He was not involved in the research but agreed with its findings.

But CDC officials disagreed. They cited more than a half dozen states thathave made some kind of law change to simplify HIV testing. Other changesappear to be pending in California and other states, they said.

''I don't think it's a done deal,'' said Bernard Branson of CDC's HIV andAIDS prevention division.

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Mahoney of Florida). Under theSpeaker's announced policy of January 18, 2007, the gentleman fromMassachusetts (Mr. Frank) is recognized for 60 minutes as thedesignee of the majority leader.

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, let me do what I thinkyou cannot do under the rules and reassure your constituents inFlorida that you have not become a Tennesseean when they weren'tlooking. I believe the gentleman from Tennessee left the chair, andwe do now have the gentleman from Florida in the chair.

Mr. Speaker, I want to address today a very important issue thatis generating an intense discussion among a fairly small segment ofpeople who follow things, and it seems to us it's not healthy andthat we ought to have a broader discussion, both of the specificissue, which is a question of how to protect people againstdiscrimination based on their sexual orientation and at some pointI would hope their gender and their gender identity, and also howdo political parties relate to those in the population who are themost passionate, the most committed and the most legitimatelyzealous about their feelings, often on one particular issue to theexclusion of a broader set.

Before I came to Congress in 1981, former Members, thegentlewoman from New York (Ms. Abzug), gentleman from Massachusetts(Mr. Tsongas) and others, in the House filed legislation to make itillegal to discriminate against people in employment based on theirsexual orientation; that is, they would have made it illegal in thesame way that the 1964 Civil Rights Act made it illegal based onrace, but in a different statute for a variety of reasons, forpeople to be fired, for people to refuse to hire people, for peopleto be denied promotions or in other ways discriminated against inthe job based on their being gay or lesbian or bisexual. That was,and has been, the number one legislative goal of gay and lesbian,bisexual people for more than 30 years.

much more.....


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Rep. Frank to Hold Press Conference on ENDA

WASHINGTON, DC - Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) willhold a press conference tomorrow, Thursday,October 11, at 11:30 a.m. The subject will bethe obligation of the Democratic Party to governresponsibly when confronted by a demand to reactemotionally by a deeply committed, single-issuefaction insisting on putting ideological purityover achievable advancement of our values.

The specific example discussed will be thecurrent demand that the Democratic leadershipkill the Employment Non-Discrimination Act(ENDA), which has been the prime legislativegoal for gay and lesbian people for over 30years, because we do not have the votes to include people who are transgender.

WHO: Rep. Barney Frank
WHAT: Press Conference to discuss the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act
WHEN: Thursday, October 11, 2007 11:30am
WHERE: Room 2219, Rayburn House Office Building


Congressman Frank's Extraordinary Call to Action
by Mara Keisling
Executive Director
National Center for Transgender Equality

Tuesday, October 9

It is clear that it is time to step it up another notch. Our collectiveefforts are obviously working spectacularly. Congress is hearing us.Tonight our amazing ally the Equality Federation told us that they havedocumented over 14,000 individual contacts to members of Congress. That'sjust the contacts we know of. Tens of thousands of transgender people andour allies have reached into their hearts and mobilized to make the case fortransgender rights and LGBT unity. Almost 300 organizations have chosen tostand with us and attach their names to our joint effort.

Another significant thing happened tonight. Up to this point, no member ofCongress has done more to advance transgender rights in Washington, DC thanCongressman Barney Frank. I am truly distressed when transgender or alliedpeople misunderstand the great work and tremendous heart he thus far has putinto this lifesaving work-lifesaving work for transgender and all LBGTpeople. But tonight we respectfully cannot disagree more with his proposedstrategy, nor agree more that there is additional work to do.

This evening Congressman Frank took to the House floor to discusstransgender rights-this time with a message he correctly noted we would beless happy to hear. He reminded us that we have not yet finished theimportant education of Congress and the public that we diligently set aboutdoing a decade or more ago. Mr. Frank's words are a call to action, and wemust step up our educational efforts with new found focus and intensity.

There are, no doubt, others who are disheartened by the Congressman's words,but just that he spoke them, tells a story of our success and of the needfor us to finish the education we have done so well together.

People do not ask for their civil rights when Congress is ready to givethose rights happily and wrapped neatly. They ask for, they demand, theirrights when they need them. And LGBT people need job protections rightsnow. Transgender people need job protection rights now. My friend Angelareminded me this weekend that ENDA is a matter of life and death.

Transgender people around the country are still having their lives destroyedby the ignorance and discrimination that Congress can help us end. Sometransgender people are losing our jobs, our homes, our families, and evenour very lives to the despair, to the hopelessness that discrimination canlead to.

We will continue doing this education and we agree with Congressman Frankthat we must continue stronger and with greater purpose.


International Human Rights Group Demands Accountability from U.S. HIV/AIDS Fund

Is the U.S. Financing Homophobia in Africa?

October 10, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator, 212-430- 6016

(New York, October 10, 2007) - The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has uncovered evidence that the U.S. government has funded groups in Uganda that actively promote discrimination against lesbians and gay men. In a letter to U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul, IGLHRC has criticized funding the groups and has asked for assurances that U.S. government funds are not being used to support homophobic organizations anywhere in the world.

IGLHRC's investigation followed a series of distressing events in Uganda. At an August 16 press conference, Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG), a coalition of LGBT groups, launched Let us Live in Peace Campaign, calling for understanding and respect of sexual minorities. SMUG's campaign was met with an increase in hate speech by religious groups. The primary instigator of the backlash was Pastor Martin Ssempa, leader of the Makerere University Community Church and spokesman for the Interfaith Family Culture Coalition Against omosexuality in Uganda. Ssempa organized an August 21 rally in Kampala, the country's largest city, at which more than one hundred demonstrators, including several government officials, demanded official action against LGBT people. Ssempa has called homosexual conduct, "a criminal act against the laws of nature," and has said that, "there should be no rights granted to homosexuals in this country."

According to the U.S. Embassy in Uganda's website, Makerere University Community Church received a grant under a program designed to provide funds for AIDS prevention, treatment and care programs in Africa. Mr. Ssempa and his coalition, which includes Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, and Evangelicals, have threatened the safety of Ugandan LGBT rights activists by posting their names, photos and addresses on a website With support from conservative organizations such as Family Watch International in the United States, Ssempa has launched attacks not only on homosexuals but on Uganda's women's rights and HIV activists as well.

"The U.S. government's funding is meant to alleviate suffering and support effective AIDS initiatives in Africa, not to further blame and stigmatize already marginalized groups," said IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick. IGLHRC provided Ambassador Dybul with evidence of grants made by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the Makerere University Community Church.

Furthermore, IGLHRC found that the Uganda Muslim Tabliqh Women's Desk has also received a grant under the President's Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to implement HIV programs in Masaka District. Recently, Muslim Tabliqh youth announced a plan to form an 'Anti-Gay Squad' to fight homosexuality in Uganda. On 28 August 2007, Sheikh Multah Bukenya, a senior cleric in the Tabliqh Organization, was quoted during prayers at Noor Mosque in Kampala as saying that his followers are "ready to act swiftly and form this squad that will wipe out all abnormal practices like homosexuality in our society."

PEPFAR is a $15 billion Bush administration fund to fight AIDS in Africa. According to IGLHRC's 2007 report, "Off the Map: How HIV/AIDS Programming is Failing Same-Sex Practicing People in Africa," less than U.S. $1 million targets HIV programs for men who have sex with men in Africa, despite strong vidence that HIV has a disproportionate impact on LGBT communities throughout the continent. According to IGLHRC, the complicated PEPFAR sub-granting process lacks transparency and makes it difficult to track the funding.



President misquoted over gays in Iran: aide
Wed Oct 10, 11:38 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president was misrepresented by Western media when he was quoted saying there were no gays in Iran, and actually meant there were not so many as in the United States, a presidential aide said on Wednesday.

Addressing New York's Columbia University last month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad replied to a question about gays in the Islamic Republic saying: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."

Speaking through a translator, he also said: "In Iran we don't have this phenomenon."

The remarks drew widespread criticism in the West.Homosexuality is punishable by death in the Islamic Republic."What Ahmadinejad said was not a political answer. He said that, compared to merican society, we don't have many homosexuals," presidential media adviser Mohammad Kalhor said.

Kalhor told Reuters that because of historical, religious and cultural differences homosexuality was less common in Iran and the Islamic world than in the West.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said in May the last person known "with reasonable certainty" to have been sentenced to execution in Iran for consensual homosexual conduct was in 2005. But it did not know if the sentence had been carried out.

Scott Long
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY USA 10118
Tel. +01 (212) 216-1297
Fax +01 (212) 216-1876



Christians warn against Incitement to Hatred laws based on sexuality

Any new incitement to hatred law should be written with care to avoidintolerance of free speech, the Evangelical Alliance has said followingGovernment proposals this week.

by Daniel Blake
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 15:00 (BST)

Christian Today

Any new incitement to hatred law should be written with care to avoidintolerance of free speech, the Evangelical Alliance has said followingGovernment proposals this week.Christians warn against Incitement to Hatred laws based on sexuality

The Alliance, which represents more than a million evangelical Christians inthe UK, has reiterated its opposition to any incitement of homophobic orother forms of hatred.

However, it has added that it is hopeful the Government will consultcarefully if it decides to go ahead with banning incitement on grounds ofsexuality in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

Evangelical Alliance head of public affairs Dr Don Horrocks said: "Wesupport legislation that seeks effectively to prevent the stirring up ofhatred, but our view remains that the existing law was adequate to deal withoffences relating both to religion and sexuality.

"The obvious difficulty in attempting to legislate in this area is thatthere is a real risk of free speech being severely curtailed and peopleconsequently feeling afraid to engage in legitimate debate, unless the lawis clearly defined."

In Monday's debate of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill the LordChancellor, Jack Straw, announced that the Government intended to table anamendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to coverhatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.

The homosexual rights lobbyists Stonewall has been pushing for just such anamendment.




Incitement law won't protect gay people

Brett Lock
Index of Censorship

The government's proposed law against homophobic hate speech is unworkableand disingenuous, says Brett Lock

Unless the government has it in mind to ban the Bible, the new law announcedby the government this week proposing to outlaw homophobic hate speech willbe ineffective.

The major source of homophobic hatred in our society is from religiousgroups. Almost every single anti-gay group in Britain is religious. Thesegroups hide behind their 'holy' texts, and unless the law has the backboneand resolve to ban these texts and to prosecute the priests, imams andrabbis who quote them, it is wasting its time trying to clamp down onanti-gay hate-speech.

The proposed law will bring itself into disrepute and serve only totrivialise homophobic violence if it were only ever used against dim-wittedBig Brother contestants and drunk Oxford students, while ignoring religiousleaders - the most guilty.

Leviticus 18:22 says: 'If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with awoman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be putto death; their blood shall be upon them.'



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