Monday, October 29, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 29, 2007

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The New York Times

Is Dumbledore Gay? Depends on Definitions of 'Is' and 'Gay'

October 29, 2007

In some circles the "Harry Potter" news that erupted a little over a weekago still inspires as much amazement as Hagrid's pet, the half-horse,half-eagle hippogriff. And the Web chatter has been as deafening as thenoise in Hogwarts dining hall before the sorting ceremony determines thefates of entering students. Dumbledore, it turns out, the wise and wizenedwizard of "Harry Potter" fame, is taking his place alongside other mediafigures, like Bert and Ernie and Tinky Winky of the Teletubbies. For all,sexuality has become an issue. Dumbledore is, as his creator, J. K. Rowling,asserted at Carnegie Hall, gay.

Dumbledore? The master wizard of the age, whose guidance of Hogwarts putthat British boarding school for young wizards in the vanguard of the waragainst evil? Who watched over Harry from his infancy, schooling him for thelast and greatest battle? Who knew? But the real shock in Ms. Rowling'sdeclaration is not that Dumbledore thought about sexual encounters with men,it's that he thought about sex at all, given the need to thwart Voldemort'splot for world domination.

In her outing of Dumbledore, Ms. Rowling seemed to be confirming the smarmykiss-and-tell insinuations of her gossip-mongering character Rita Skeeter,whose lurid biography of the apparently saintly headmaster - titled "TheLife and Lies of Albus Dumbledore" - is described in "Harry Potter and theDeathly Hallows."

"Coming next week," a newspaper article on Skeeter promises, "the shockingstory of the flawed genius considered by many to be the greatest wizard ofhis generation." Skeeter drops teasing hints about Dumbledore's "murky past," about his not being "exactly broad-minded" and suggests that in hismentoring of Harry there is an "unnatural interest," something "unhealthy,even sinister." As for the idea that Ms. Rowling suggested - that as ateenage prodigy, Dumbledore had a homoerotic infatuation with anotherprodigious young wizard, Grindelwald (who later went over to what in "StarWars" is called the Dark Side) - Skeeter hints at this in coded allusions.

She proposes that when the two friends had a falling out in a dramatic duel,Grindelwald did not fight but "conjured a white handkerchief from the end ofhis wand and" - the passage then gives way to an obvious (in retrospect)sexual double entendre.

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The New York Times

In Students' Eyes, Look-Alike Lawyers Don't Make the Grade

October 29, 2007

A bunch of law students at Stanford have started assigning letter grades totheir prospective employers, which pretty much tells you who holds the powerin the market for new associates. It's not easy to persuade new lawyers fromthe top schools to accept starting salaries of only $160,000.

The students are handing out "diversity report cards" to the big law firms,ranking them by how many female, minority and gay lawyers they have.

"Many of the firms have atrocious, appalling records on diversity," saidMichele Landis Dauber, a law professor at Stanford and the adviser for theproject, called Building a Better Legal Profession. The rankings are

In New York, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton got the top grade, an A-minus.At Cleary, the project says, 48.8 percent of the associates are women, 8.7percent are black, 8.3 percent are Hispanic and 4.5 percent are openly gay.

Herrick, Feinstein, by contrast, got an F. Its numbers: 37.7 percent women,4.9 percent black, 1.6 percent Hispanics, and no openly gay people.

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The Washington Post

Obama Singer Wins Cheers Despite Protest

The Associated Press
Sunday, October 28, 2007; 8:46 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- A Grammy-winning singer whose role in a Barack Obamacampaign event riled gay activists served as master of ceremonies of agospel concert promoting the Democratic presidential hopeful Sunday night.

"We're here," Donnie McClurkin told a cheering crowd. "We're here and we'reglad we're here."

McClurkin, who has angered gay rights groups by saying homosexuality is achoice, told the crowd the musical acts were there "in the name of unity"and "in the name of change."

An hour earlier, outside the concert venue, about two dozen gay and lesbiangroup supporters marched and carried a rainbow flag.

McClurkin was headlining an "Embrace the Change" concert that capped aweekend of gospel music that Obama, an Illinois senator, is hoping to use torecruit churchgoers _ and music lovers _ in this early voting state.

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The Washington Post,0,1236299.story

Vatican beatifies 498 victims of Spain's civil war
Critics say the timing of the ceremony is politically motivated

The Associated Press
October 29, 2007


The Vatican staged its largest mass beatification ceremony Sunday, putting498 victims of religious persecution before and during Spain's civil war onthe path to possible sainthood.

The ceremony has drawn criticism from some in Spain who see it as implicitcriticism of the current Socialist government as it takes a critical look atthe country's civil war past and the fascist dictatorship of Gen. FranciscoFranco, which was supported by the Roman Catholic Church.

Seventy-one bishops from Spain, a host of Spanish politicians and Spanishpilgrims massed in St. Peter's Square for the ceremony, waving Spanish flagsand breaking into applause after Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect ofthe Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints, declared the 498beatified.

Spain's 1936-69 civil war pitted an elected, leftist government againstright wing forces that rose up under Franco, who went on to win and presidedover a nearly 40-year dictatorship staunchly supported by the CatholicChurch.

Violence against clergy had been simmering since 1931, with leftist forcestargeting the institution they saw as a symbol of wealth, repression andinequality. Their attacks against the clergy gave Franco a pretext for hisrebellion.

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Sean Hannity seems to miss the joke about Ahmadinejad

October 29, 2007

Fox News is still a laugh riot. Sean Hannity, referring to MahmoudAhmadinejad's appearance at Columbia University and contrasting it to SetonHall's refusal to host Tom DeLay, recently asked why conservatives are notgiven the same respect as the vile president of Iran at "liberal"universities.

The joke on Hannity, of course, is that Ahmadinejad is the ultimateconservative. He despises homosexuals, oppresses women and ishyper-religious. One wouldn't call him a liberal or secular progressive.

To go further, he is who Hannity and his ilk would love to be if only thatdarn Constitution didn't get in their way.

But, be of brave heart, Hannity. Just one more judge on the Supreme Courtand you will be home-free. No gay rights, no reproductive freedom for women,and erosion of the Jeffersonian wall between church and state. Just like theIslamic Republic of Iran, your kind of place.

Richard R. Golden

Boca Raton


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

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

Yorkville, Illinois: Half the city's aldermen have reservations aboutspending taxpayer funds on a YMCA pool because local YMCA policy denieslower-cost family memberships to same-sex couples. "I don't think that wouldbe a proper way to spend city money," Alderman Arden "Joe" Plocher said. "Wehave to accept everybody as a whole as who they are, not pick and choose."The Fox Valley Family YMCA hopes to begin construction next year on aYorkville branch and is asking the City Council to spend up to $6 million toadd a pool to the facility. Two aldermen and Mayor Valerie Burd, who calledthe YMCA "a good service to the community," said they did not believemembership policies at the Christian non-profit agency should hold up theplan, though they mentioned other concerns about cost and operation.

Madison's gay community say it's not giving up the fight and will moveforward despite the state's ban on gay marriage. Wednesday Madison's gaycommunity packed the Cardinal bar to celebrate.It was 25 years ago thatWisconsin became the first state in the country to recognize gay rights. Butwhen state lawmakers voted to change the definition of marriage, they feelas though their campaign for equal rights took two steps back. "The marriageamendment last year, we didn't have the ability to marry in Wisconsin beforethe amendment, now this sets in stone that we weren't going to," saysOutreach Executive Director Steve Starkey.


National Gay News

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

American adults remain divided on finding a way to acknowledge gay andlesbian partnerships, according to a poll by Bloomberg and the Los AngelesTimes. 30 per cent of respondents would allow same-sex couples to legallymarry, 26 per cent would allow them to form civil unions, and 38 per centwould grant no legal recognition to these partnerships.


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