Tuesday, October 02, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 2, 2007

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Gay channel Here! boosts programming efforts

Mon Oct 1, 2007 12:12pm EDT
By Kimberly Nordyke

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Here! -- the premium network aimed atgay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender audiences -- has ramped up itsoriginal programming efforts with several series renewals.

The network approved more seasons of several original series, includingsecond installments of "The Lair" and "The DL Chronicles" and a third seasonof "Paradise Falls." In addition, Chad Allen will star as a privateinvestigator in two fresh cases of its "Donald Strachey Mystery" moviefranchise.

The vampire drama "Lair," which stars Peter Stickles and David Moretti, willreturn in March or April with 12 half-hour episodes, and the primetime soap"Paradise Falls" returns in January with 26 half-hour episodes. It isproducing five new half-hour episodes of the anthology series "DLChronicles" for the current season.

The two fresh two-hour installments of the "Strachey Mystery" projects --"Ice Blues" and "On the Other Hand Death" -- are shooting back-to-back inVancouver and will make their debut in spring and summer 2008.

Meanwhile, the network has in the works a movie titled "Solar Flare," thefirst of 12 eco-disaster films that will be released in theaters by sistercompany Regent a week before debuting on Here! The movie centers on ascientist (Tracey Gold) who works with a mother (Michelle Clunie) and herprodigy son, who has worked out a formula for predicting solar flares.

more . . . . .




Students explore gay Chicago

By: Corinne Lestch
Posted: 10/1/07

While walking to the Davis Street El station, a student with tie-dye glassesand curly hair loosely pinned up around her head gushes about her AmericanGay and Lesbian History class. Her outgoing, spunky girlfriend isn't farahead, giving students a mock tour on the way to the train stop.

The students were participating in Discover Queer Chicago, an annual eventhosted by Northwestern's Rainbow Alliance. The tour took students throughBoystown, Chicago's most well-known lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderneighborhood.

About 16 students took the tour, which included a stop at the newlyrenovated Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., a LGBT community center.

Rainbow Alliance co-President Kelsey Pacha said she has participated in theevent since she came to NU but is still learning about the community.

"This is the first time I'm running the tour," the SESP senior said beforeleaving campus. "I'm not an expert, I just know what I know."

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Top lesbian tennis coach 'found in bed with girl of 13'


A top woman tennis coach was caught in bed with a 13-year-old girl afterstarting a lesbian affair with the child star, a court heard yesterday.

Claire Lyte, 29, allegedly took advantage of the youngster while coachingher at one of the Lawn Tennis Association's academies for talented children.

The relationship was revealed when the girl's mother found her daughter andLyte naked in bed together, a jury was told.

Lyte, who is accused of sexual activity with a child, denies any sexualcontact with the girl, who was described as one of the leading tennistalents of her age.

Instead, she claims the girl's 'ambitious and pushy' mother concocted theallegations to spite her when her daughter failed to reach her potential andleft the Loughborough academy.

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Jack Thompson Publishes Another Obscene Pleading

Thompson Also Gives Ultimatum to US Attorney
Monday, 01 October 2007 17:24
By Bill Meyer

Related Story: Decency Advocate Thompson Charged with Indecency
Related Link: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/28/thompson_gay_porn/

Last week, United States Judge Adalberto Jordan issued an Order threateningto sanction Coral Gables lawyer John (Jack) Thompson with misconduct.Specifically, Thompson was charged with unnecessarily and needlesslyattaching purported gay pornography and obscene pictures to federal courtpleadings.

Thompson is in court trying to stop Florida Bar proceedings moving rapidlyagainst him, with a November trial date set. Thompson has argued that theBar is selectively prosecuting him unfairly, for being a Christian.

Today, in one of what is now fourteen responses to the order, Thompson triedto prove his point again, by publishing obscene words in the body of hispleadings in order to prove a point. The words Thompson posted related tohis chance encounter last weekend with a student at the University of MiamiLibrary, who was carrying a canvas bag reading "My Big Fucking Totebag."

Thompson argued in his pleading that "society has come to this, your honor.we have a judicial system that has lost its way," referring to the studentand her totebag. But Thompson did not just print the offending wordsroutinely as a matter of course. He did so in a drop dead way, in large boldblack print, all caps and three times the size of customary fonts. The fourletter word jumps off the page, and is directly accessible to the publicthrough the Pacer system.

Thompson is attempting to argue that Norm Kent, NGN Publisher and a lawyer,"gets away with trafficking in obscenity while he is protecting children."Thompson added an exhibit which presented itself as an ultimatum to USAttorney Alex Acosta, threatening the Senior South Florida Prosecutor with awarning.

more . . . . .




Vote On ENDA Delayed As LGBT Pressure Mounts

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 1, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(Washington) A vote to mark up a revised version of the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act that had been expected on Tuesday has been put off aspressure by LGBT groups mounts on Democrats to reinstate the measure'soriginal language.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office confirmed late Monday that the bill will notbe considered until later in the month.

"In this defining and morally transformative moment, our community has cometogether in an unprecedented way and said once and for all that we willleave no part of our community behind," said Matt Foreman the executivedirector of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"We appreciate that a decision has been made to slow down this process, andwe look forward to working with Congress over the upcoming weeks to educatethem as to why this substitute bill strategy is seriously flawed, convincethem to abandon this strategy, and instead advance a fully inclusive ENDAlater this month."

The act, referred to as ENDA, was reworked late last week, stripping outprotections for the transgendered. But the changes also reduced theprotections afforded gay and lesbian workers too, Lambda Legal said earlieron Monday. (story)

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Frustrated With GOP Religious Conservatives Eye 3rd Party

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 2, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(New York City) Some of the nation's most politically influentialconservative Christians, alarmed by the prospect of a Republicanpresidential nominee who supports abortion rights, are considering backing athird-party candidate.

More than 40 Christian conservatives attended a meeting Saturday in SaltLake City to discuss the possibility, and planned more gatherings on howthey should move forward, according to Richard A. Viguerie, the direct-mailexpert and longtime conservative activist.

Rudy Giuliani, who supports abortion rights and some gay rights, leads innational polls of the Republican presidential candidates. Campaigning in NewJersey on Monday, Giuliani brushed aside talk of an upstart effort byreligious conservatives.

"I'm working on one party right now - the Republican Party," Giuliani said."I believe we are reaching out very, very well to Republicans. The emphasisis on fiscal conservatism, which brings Republicans together."

Other participants in the meeting included James Dobson, founder of theFocus on the Family evangelical ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo., and,according to Viguerie, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, aconservative policy group in Washington.

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Supreme Court Lets Sex Toy Ban Stand

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 2, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge toAlabama's ban on the sale of sex toys, ending a nine-year legal battle andsending a warning to store owners to clean off their shelves.

An adult-store owner had asked the justices to throw out the law as anunconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom. But the SupremeCourt declined to hear the appeal, leaving intact a lower court ruling thatupheld the law.

Sherri Williams, owner of Pleasures stores in Huntsville and Decatur, saidshe was disappointed, but plans to sue again on First Amendment free speechgrounds.

"My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold,dead hand. I refuse to give up," she said.

Alabama's anti-obscenity law, enacted in 1998, bans the distribution of "anydevice designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of humangenital organs for anything of pecuniary value."

more . . . . .




Accused In Gay Slaying Testifies

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 2, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(New York City) One of three men charged with murder as a hate crime in thedeath of Michael Sandy told a Brooklyn jury Monday that he also was gay andonly wanted to score some pot the night Sandy ran into the path of a car anddied.

Anthony Fortunato, 21, said he was living a double life and wanted to comeout to his friends, John Fox, 20, and Ilya Shurov, 21, who also are chargedwith the killing.

Fortunato testified that he though if he hooked up with a gay man, got somemarijuana and got high with his friends he could better judge theirreactions to getting high "with a homosexual."

Asked by his attorney if he were gay, Fortunato said: "I could be homosexualor bisexual. ... I was leading two complete double lives."

Fortunato's sexuality is key to his defense.

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Episcopal Conservative Groups Planning North American Partnership

October 02, 2007
A leading Episcopal conservative Fridayannounced plans for a partnershipthat aims to create an alternative to the liberal-leaning Episcopal 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.''

''We're in a time of reformation,'' Duncan said.

more . . . . .


The New York Times


Murder Defendant Speaks of His Hidden Double Life

October 2, 2007

By the time Anthony Fortunato took the witness stand yesterday, facingcharges of murder as a hate crime in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, hiswhole life was at stake. The rest of it could be spent in prison. To savehimself, he offered his last, deepest secrets.

Through two weeks of trial, jurors heard from the police, from forensicscientists and from his own friends. They had sifted through his electronicmail. They had even heard from Mr. Fortunato's lawyer, Gerald J. Di Chiara,who during opening arguments on Sept. 17 said that his client would not havemade a gay man a target because he himself was gay.

Yesterday, dressed in a dark blazer and khaki slacks, Mr. Fortunato took thestand in his own defense. When Mr. Di Chiara asked him his sexualorientation, he responded, "I don't know." Asked what he meant, he said: "Icould be homosexual. A homosexual. Bisexual."

By the account of prosecutors, Mr. Fortunato used online messages to lure agay man to a secluded lot in Sheepshead Bay for a robbery on Oct. 8, 2006.The victim, Michael J. Sandy, 29, was chased into traffic on the BeltParkway. He was struck by a car and later died of his injuries.


The Washington Post


Giuliani Tests GOP on Social Issues

Tuesday, October 2, 2007; A04

The growing anguish on the right over Rudy Giuliani's presidential candidacysignals a coming test of strength inside the Republican coalition, a testthat will help answer whether the power of religious and socialconservatives has crested.

Eight months ago, all the smart money said Giuliani had no chance to win theRepublican nomination because of his positions on abortion and gay rights.

Now, the strength of his candidacy has brought rare agreement between formerpresident Bill Clinton and James Dobson of Focus on the Family, thoughexpressed with different emotion.

Over the weekend, Clinton admitted with some sense of admiration that thecandidacy of the former New York mayor has surprised him. "I think thatGiuliani proved quite durable, and we don't know whether this will endurewhen [his opponents] start to advertise," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Giuliani's durability so alarms Dobson and other Christian conservativesthat a small group of them meeting over the weekend let it be known thatthey would consider bolting from the Republican Party to back a third-partycandidate who opposes abortion rights if Giuliani is the GOP nominee.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Pro-family group quits gay marriage fight

Norma Greenaway, CanWest News Service

OTTAWA - The head of a national pro-family organization says it's time toditch the fight against gay marriage and push instead for tax breaks andother incentives to make marriage and child rearing more attractive options.

Dave Quist, executive director of the Institute of Marriage and FamilyCanada, said Thursday he has become less concerned about same-sex marriagesince census figures released earlier this month demonstrated how rare gaymarriage is.

The census, which counted same-sex marriages for the first time, reported7,465 such unions, accounting for about 0.1 per cent of the 6.1 millionmarried couples in Canada.

Quist said the "incredibly low" number of same-sex marriages, combined witha lack of "political will" to restore the traditional definition ofmarriage, has persuaded him to move on. A possible federal election in thecoming months will not change the picture, he predicted.

"No political party is likely to put that (restoring traditional marriage)as part of their platform, their agenda right now. I'm not even asking forthat as an institute," he said in an interview. "We have to pick our battlesand where we are going to spend our time and energy."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Deb Price

Detroit gay activist transforms Michigan

Looking back, Jeffrey Montgomery says he used to be a "mind your ownbusiness" kind of gay guy.

But that was before his boyfriend, Michael, was fatally shot outside a gaybar in Detroit.

The murder was horrifying. But what fundamentally changed Montgomery's wayof thinking was the attitude of the cops.

The police just didn't care. They had no intention of investigating what, tothem, was just another gay homicide, he says.

Shocked and appalled, Montgomery began transforming himself into a "mind ourown business" kind of gay guy.

That transformation led him in 1991 to help found the Detroit-based TriangleFoundation, named after the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wearin Nazi concentration camps.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


To be published in the Chicago Free Press, Oct. 3, 2007

Fighting Book Banning
Paul Varnell

This past week the American Library Association--"celebrated" isn't quite
the right word--observed Banned Books Week. The event is designed to raise
public awareness of efforts by some individuals and groups to have certainbooks removed from library shelves.

In 2006 the ALA received reports of 546 challenges to books in school andpublic libraries, objecting to depictions of violence, drugs, homosexuality,satanic content and offensive language. Usually the challenges are to booksfor young people, although there are occasional objections to adult books onschool reading lists.

If that seems like a large number of challenges, the situation is actuallyworse than it appears. According to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Directorof the ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom, her office estimates thatreported challenges are only 20-25 percent of the total number of challengesmade.

Of course, not all of these challenges are successful. In most caseslibrarians mount a vigorous defense and most challenges are resolved infavor of the book's staying on the shelves. The concern is more that ifcertain types of book are frequently challenged, librarians, particularly insmall towns, may be reluctant to purchase more books of that type--just toavoid the trouble.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


We need your help TODAY.

Last week, leaders in the House of Representatives abandoned a fullyinclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by creating a far weakerbill with no protections for transgender people. They split the existingbill into pieces: one for sexual orientation discrimination only, the otherfor gender identity, with no real plans to enact the gender identity bill.This is unacceptable.

The LGBT civil rights movement is once again at a crossroads and we mustchoose the right path. Lambda Legal is joining with leaders across thecountry calling on Congress to pass a fully inclusive employmentnondiscrimination law that has real protections for lesbians, gay men,bisexuals and transgender people.

Call your member of Congress TODAY and tell him/her to fight for ENDA as itwas - a fully inclusive law - and to reject any nondiscrimination bill thatdoes not protect transgender people. The first vote is likely tomorrow -Tuesday - and a full House vote may come by Friday.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List



(Indianapolis, IN) --- From 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 12th, IndianapolisAND Indiana citizens will rally at the state capitol to deliver a simple butpowerful message: both straight and gay people are in support of equalrights for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans, and theirfamilies.

This landmark event is part of a nation-wide action called "Seven StraightNights for Equal Rights." All across the country, between October 8-14,straight Americans will stand up beside their LGBT sisters and brothers andproudly assert their respect and support for their LGBT communities.

In Indianapolis, the effort is being led by Rev. Andy Burnette, a ministerwho was motivated to action by his belief that all persons should have equalrights and protection under the law. Over the last several months, Andy andothers have organized an impressive coalition of Hoosiers who will gather atthe state capitol to discuss equal rights for all.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Today the New York State Democratic Committee unanimously passed aresolution in support of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act(GENDA), which would make it illegal to fire someone from their job, kicksomeone out of their apartment or deny credit to someone simply because oftheir gender identity or expression.

In the words of Joann Prinzivalli from Westchester County, "I am glad theDemocratic Party is taking this unequivocally supportive position on myright to be judged at work based on my performance, abilities andexperience, and not because I don't fit into the employer's preconceivednotions about who I am. People like me are not junk."

This is a huge step in ensuring that transgender New Yorkers are treatedequally under the law-it officially puts the State Democratic Party onrecord as supporting passage of this vitally important bill. But it's farfrom the end of the battle: we need you to help us make sure that Democratsin the New York State Assembly now take the next step and pass the GENDAbill in the upcoming 2008 legislative session.

Click on the button below to let your Assemblymember know that their partyis calling for the passage of this bill and now it's their turn to act!



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Congress Slows Down ENDA


With less than 24 hours to go before a House committee was due to take upthe amended version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),stripped of transgender protections, Democratic leaders in the House haveput off the hearing in the face of a storm of criticism from LGBT leadersnationwide.

In a statement released late on October 1, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and theHouse's two out LGBT members, Democrats Barney Frank of Massachusetts andTammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, wrote, "After discussions with congressionalleaders and organizations supporting passage of ENDA, we have agreed toschedule mark-up of the bill in the Committee on Education and Labor laterthis month, followed by a vote in the full House. This schedule will allowproponents of the legislation to continue their discussions with Members inthe interest of passing the broadest possible bill."

Earlier in the day, both the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF),along with 89 other state and national LGBT groups, and the Human RightsCampaign (HRC), joined by 16 other civil rights groups, including NGLTF, hadurged Congress to slow down.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

House Democratic Leaders Back Off -On Plan to Cut Gender Identity Out ofENDA Pride at Work Holds Off on Demonstration

House Democratic leaders decided on Monday, October 1st, to delay ascheduled committee meeting on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)where a new version of the bill that would eliminate protections fortransgender people was going to be substituted for the original, fullyinclusive bill. The House leaders said they were postponing the meeting inorder to give the LGBT community more time to line up support for theoriginal bill, HR 2015.

Pride at Work welcomed the postponement, and called off plans to picket theSpeaker of the House, Representative Nancy Pelosi, at the Human RightsCampaign's national dinner in Washington, DC on Saturday, Oct. 6. SpeakerPelosi, who along with Representative Barney Frank, the prime sponsor ofENDA, had announced plans last week to cut gender identity from the bill,was to be the keynote speaker at the HRC gala.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Lane Hudson

Gay Dems 'Come out of the closet'
Posted October 1, 2007 | 04:46 PM (EST)

Read More: democrats, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, gay,Stonewall Democrats, Breaking Politics News

The National Stonewall Democrats is the national organizationrepresenting LGBT Democratic activists throughout the nation. Everheard of 'em?

They're making a splash with their new NoSubstitutes.org website. It'sa direct challenge to the Democratic Leadership in Congress, who hassubstituted a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act billwith one who leaves an entire class of people behind.

Historically, Stonewall has worked within the Party structure toachieve education, inclusiveness, and progress on behalf of equalrights. That is another way of saying that they've never been willingto rock the boat or oppose the Party.

Now, under a new generation of leadership, New executive Director JonHoadley is taking the reins armed with passion and knowledge of thenew media and online organizing. Perhaps we should call it StonewallDems 2.0!

NoSubstitutes.org is a creative way to highlight the issue. It reallydoes fly in the face of the Leadership, who is used to StonewallDemocrats backing them up as any other loyal constituency might.However, some things are more important than loyalty to PartyLeadership -- things like equal justice under the law.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News


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

On Sunday - the deadline set by church leaders for the Episcopal Church toroll back support for same-sex unions - the U.S. church's presiding bishopsaid unequivocally at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral that there would be noretreat.

"All people - including gay and lesbian Christians and non-Christians - aredeserving of the fullest regard of the church," the Most Rev. KatherineJefferts Schori declared during an hourlong discussion before services."We're not going backward."

An important milestone has been reached with the registration of the 1000thcivil union by Births, Deaths and Marriages, says Tim Barnett, Labour MP andinstigator of the Civil Union legislation.

South Auckland couple Alburta Gibson and Tina Pitman's civil union tookplace last weekend. Their relationship started 6 years ago.

1000 New Zealand couples have become civil union partners since April 2005.One in five of the 1000 civil unions have been between a man and a woman,and more lesbian than gay couples have had a civil union. Around 45, 000marriages have been registered in the same period.


September 24, 2007
by Rex Wockner

President Chávez: I'm not gay
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez says he isn't gay.

"I've been accused of everything," Chávez said Sept. 15 at a rally inBarquisimeto. "The only thing they haven't accused me of is beinghomosexual. Well, now they've started to accuse me of being homosexual.I don't have anything against homosexuals because I respect whicheverhuman condition, but the thing is: I consider myself sufficiently machoto pulverize any accusation along those lines.

"It doesn't matter to me," Chávez continued. "Let them say about mewhatever they have the urge to. ... I couldn't care less that they saywhat they say about me, and that they threaten me with what theythreaten me with."

Protests target Nicaraguan gay sex ban

Amnesty International activists staged various protests and embassy andconsulate visits targeting Nicaragua's ban on gay sex Sept. 13 -- inBerlin, Stockholm, Montreal, Mexico City, Santiago, Asunción and Taipei.

Nicaragua is one of only two nations in North, Central or South Americathat ban gay sex (the other is Guyana). Nicaraguan Penal Code Article204 states, "Anyone who induces, promotes, propagandizes or practices inscandalous form sexual intercourse between persons of the same sexcommits the crime of sodomy and shall incur one to three years'imprisonment."

"This article potentially criminalizes not only gay men, lesbians andbisexual people in same-sex relationships, but is vague enough to permitthe prosecution of individuals for activities such as campaigning forLGBT rights or anyone providing sexual health information or services,"said AI LGBT coordinator Tony Pitman. "Anyone imprisoned under this lawwould be considered by Amnesty International to be a prisoner ofconscience."

Pitman urged activists around the world to "flood the Nicaraguanauthorities" -- in Nicaragua and at diplomatic outposts -- with protestletters calling for repeal of Article 204.

Elsewhere in the region, several Caribbean islands still ban gay sex,including Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, SaintLucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Iraqi gay group needs money for safe houses

The London-based group Iraqi LGBT says it has run out of money to fundits five "safe houses" in Iraq.

Targeted gays flee to the houses to hide out from the Mahdi Army, thepolice and other "militant death squads" that have executed "hundreds"of gay people solely for being gay, the group said.

"Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, gay people in Iraq have sufferedparticularly intense persecution," Iraqi LGBT said in its plea. "TheUnited Nations and the U.S. State Department have issued reportsdocumenting some of the more recent killings."

The group said each safe house costs about $1,800 a month to operate --$800 for rent, $400 to pay two armed guards and $600 "for gas, fuel forelectricity generators, food, clean drinking water, hygienic suppliesand the like."

Each house has between 10 and 12 residents, the group said.

Air New Zealand goes way gay

Air New Zealand will offer a gay flight Feb. 26 from San Francisco toGay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia.

The flight will feature drag queens, flight attendants performing acabaret show, pink cocktails, pink feather boas, gay movies (not thatkind), gay music, gay goodie bags and contests, among other gimmicks theairline thinks appeal to gay men.

The affair reportedly also includes a "Get Onboard, Girlfriend" partybefore departure.

The roundtrip fare for the 14-hour flight is around $1,000.

Portugal expands gay equality

Portugal's new penal code, which took effect Sept. 15, includes severalnew laws concerning sexual orientation, PortugalGay.PT reported.

Same-sex couples are now treated the same as opposite-sex couples inareas such as domestic violence, murder (the penalty is higher if thevictim is one's partner) and obstruction of justice (the penalty islower when one is protecting a partner).

The code also enhances the penalty for murders committed because of avictim's sexual orientation, and criminalizes the organizing, assistingor promoting of group actions that "foment discrimination" based onsexual orientation, under penalty of one to eight years in prison.


Forwarded from Joe Van Eron

In this issue...

GLBT History Month begins today!

Celebrate GLBT History Month 2007

Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest American composers who wrote thescores to classic shows like "West Side Story" and "Candide," is the firstof 31 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Icons featured throughoutOctober.

Each day, a new Icon's video, biography and bibliography becomes availableat www.glbtHistoryMonth.com. This week's Icons are:

October 1st
Leonard Bernstein

October 2nd
Annie Leibovitz

October 3rd
Angela Davis
Civil Rights Activist

October 4th
Alexander the Great
Military Commander

October 5th
Billie Jean King

October 6th
Pedro Almodóvar

October 7th
Bessie Smith



Inside Higher Education


Supreme Court Potpourri: Free Speech and Sex Harassment

On the first day of its new term each year, the U.S. Supreme Court typicallyagrees to hear a handful of cases but declines to consider hundreds more.Monday, the justices turned aside several cases with implications for highereducation, letting stand appeals court rulings that, among other thingsupheld the right of a public university to limit an uninvited preacher'sability to speak on its campus, and required a high-profile women's soccercoach to stand trial in a lawsuit that accuses him of harassing (oftenlewdly) former players - and blames his employer, the University of NorthCarolina at Chapel Hill, for doing too little to halt the allegedharassment. The court also largely rejected a challenge to the U.S.Education Department's method of enforcing federal sex discrimination law incollege athletics.

The cases were among scores on which the Supreme Court acted on thetraditional first Monday in October, the opening day of its annual term. Byrefusing to hear a case, the high court lets stand the result of the lastdecision by a federal appeals court or, less typically, a state supremecourt. Petitions to the Supreme Court are rarely granted, so those filingthem tend to view them as a last-ditch effort, with relatively little chanceof success.

But lawyers for James G. Gilles - often known as Brother Jim - had more thanthe usual reason to hope that the justices might agree to hear theirchallenge to Vincennes University's policies on campus speech.



Jesse's Journal

by Jesse Monteagudo

Children of the Black Cat

One of the highlights of the 1984 documentary film "Before Stonewall" was afilmed reunion of the staff members and patrons of the Black Cat Café, a"bohemian" bar that flourished on Montgomery Street in San Francisco. Todaythe Black Cat, which finally closed in 1963 after 30 years of service, isbest-remembered as the place where drag entertainer José Sarría becamefamous. Sarría, who was an activist as well as a performer -- in 1961 hewas the first openly gay person to run for the San Francisco Board ofSupervisors -- often spiced his routines with gay rights messages and alwaysended his shows by leading his audiences in vivid renditions of "God Save UsNelly Queens." At the reunion, Sarría and other Black Cat veteransreminisced about how the Café served them as a home away from home, asupport group, and a family of choice. Whether they be women or men;blacks, whites or Latinos; middle-class or working-class, the Black Catbrought them together and made them a community.

Though the Black Cat Café was the best known LesBiGay bar of the 1950's, itwas by no means the only one of its kind. At a time when community groupswere few and far between, bars often served as community centers. "For gaymen and lesbians, the centrality of bars to community life has probably beentruer than it has for any other group," wrote Matthew D. Johnson and ClaudeJ. Summers in glbtq.com.



MONTREAL, CANADA October 2, 2007- Girlports (www.girlports.com), the firsttravel information website exclusively for lesbians and bisexual women,launched today. The site provides lesbian-centric listings for destinationsaround the world with everything from bars and nightclubs to social andsporting groups, restaurants and more.

Girlports was launched by Tanya Churchmuch, a longtime broadcast and printjournalist and public relations veteran, as a result of her own frustrationwith the lack of resources available to lesbian travelers. "It's soannoying for lesbians looking for easily accessible, up-to-date travelinformation written just for them, especially free travel information," saidChurchmuch. "Many websites sell themselves as providing resources for theLGBT traveler, but unfortunately, the "G" always seems to win out. Ifigured if nobody else was going to create the resource I wanted, I'd haveto do it myself."

Beyond general listings, Girlports also offers a number of interactive toolsto assist women in their travels, including a unique travel planner calledthe Girlports Passport. This Passport helps you keep track of listings you'reinterested in and has a mapping feature. The Passport can be printed, sentvia email, and as of December 1, 2007, accessed via mobile phone.


Forwarded from Wayne Besen

A Drag On ENDA?

Weekly Column: Anything But Straight
Sept. 30, 2007

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and openly gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)have declared transgender people a drag on the Employment Non-DiscriminationAct (ENDA). To ensure its passage, they have introduced a non-inclusive billthat would offer job protection only on the basis of sexual orientation -not gender identity. There is a separate employment bill for transgenderpeople, but it has about as much chance of passing as Sen. Larry Craigbecoming the ad pitchman for Charmin.

If we could ensure that transgender Americans would be included in a coupleof years, the "pragmatic" approach would make sense. However, let's drop allpretenses and admit that when we talk of an "incremental" approach it iscode for at least a fifteen-year increment of time. Furthermore, withcampaign seasons getting excruciatingly long, it is always an ElectionYear - thus a permanent excuse to perpetually exclude transgender people.

It is also clear that a minority as small as the trans community will neverhave the political clout to go at it alone, nor will they have the funds towage a credible fight in Congress unless Bill Gates wakes up tomorrow anddecides to have a sex change. To put it bluntly, their only chance at legalprotection is under the gay and lesbian banner. So, dropping an inclusivebill means under no uncertain terms that we have abandoned transgenderpeople and told them to fend for themselves.

The real question the larger gay and lesbian population must answer iswhether it is worth it to sacrifice our rights in the immediate future tosupport transgender equality? This is not an easy call to make, as somepurists would suggest. By opposing ENDA in its current incarnation, we willleave thousands of families vulnerable, particularly in "red states."

To me, this is a deeply personal issue because I was fired from a televisionnews-reporting job in Bangor, Maine in 1994. There is nothing more I wouldlike to see than the passage of ENDA, to help people who are now in thesituation I once faced. I understand better than most the social andeconomic consequences of having a career short-circuited because of sexualorientation, with no legal recourse.

But, I also have the memory of working at the Human Rights Campaign's Pridebooths each summer at a time when transgender people were excluded fromENDA. Inevitably they would confront us and I would dutifully defend ourpolicy. The more I thought about it, however, the less I could justify mywords and I could barely look them in the eyes. We were essentially saying,"stop piggybacking" on the gay rights movement. That is the sameself-centered argument that right wing African Americans use today tojustify exclusion of gay people from civil rights protections.

The HRC staff and leadership came to the identical conclusion and thussupported a new trans-inclusive version of ENDA. How bittersweet it must befor HRC to finally get an opportunity to pass its signature piece oflegislation, yet have the occasion marred. Contrary to what critics are nowsaying, HRC cares deeply about transgender people and does want themincluded.

Personally, I would not support the current ENDA bill because we simply owetoo much to the trans community. Unable to hide, they have been in theforefront of the movement, often at great personal risk. They havesacrificed much for those of us who could "pass," so now it is time toreturn the favor, even if it means biting the bullet on ENDA.

Some people think transgender people are a hindrance to greater acceptance.My years in the movement have taught me that thugs believe we are all"faggots" and religious fanatics think we are all "sinners," regardless ofwhether we wear suits or skirts.

Furthermore, the right will portray any bill - gender inclusive or not - asallowing men with beards in dresses to demand jobs as elementary schoolteachers. Remember, lying is what the far right does best and any member ofCongress who votes for equality in any form will be smeared. So, why not dowhat is right and defend transgender inclusion?

What our community must do is tell Congress that it is morally unacceptableto dole out rights to only groups that poll well. Either a legislatorbelieves in the principle of equal justice for all or they don't. As painfulas it might be, we must reject a compromise that compromises our corevalues. The next time I come face-to-face with a transgender person, I wantto be able to look them in the eyes and know I did the right thing.


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