Sunday, November 11, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 11, 2007

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The New York Times

November 11, 2007
The Homintern


An Imagined Conspiracy.
By Michael S. Sherry.
Illustrated. 292 pp. The University of North Carolina Press. $29.95.

Last September in Washington, Larry Craig's risible self-defense was stillquaintly competing with his colleagues' apparent consensus that if any meremisdemeanor could get you kicked out of the United States Senate, it wouldbe the one he had committed in a Minneapolis airport men's room. Goinglargely unobserved amid the din was a small ceremony a mile or so away, atwhich the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Historyunveiled the glass-encased display of two picket signs that had been carriedby homosexual-rights protestors outside the White House in 1965, four yearsbefore the Stonewall riot. That these signs are now considered nationaltreasures, worthy of exhibition a few feet from the hat that Lincoln wore toFord's Theater, may tell us more about the long run of historical progressthan the Craig mess says about enduring denial and hypocrisy.

In his new study, "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An ImaginedConspiracy," Michael S. Sherry, a professor of history at NorthwesternUniversity, provides fresh thinking about the aesthetic portions of thehomosexual world from which those picket signs sprang. What Sherry calls a"queer moment" of midcentury creative ferment saw gay artists like TennesseeWilliams and Aaron Copland producing an "accessible" modernism, whoseachievements sometimes seemed to portray American ways and ideals moreattractively than the work of their heterosexual colleagues. This lookedparticularly true in the higher echelons of popular culture: "Who betteredLeonard Bernstein in his musical 'On the Town' (1944) at expressing wartimeexuberance and urban energy, or Cole Porter at teasing urban sophisticatesin musicals and George Cukor in film comedies?"



The New York Times

November 11, 2007
Gay Paree
Skip to next paragraph

By Willy. Translated by Lawrence R. Schehr.

138 pp. University of Illinois Press. $35.

What a charming and peculiar bulletin from the past is this little book from1927, supposedly written by a man famous in his day as a cultural impresarioand libertine but now remembered as the husband of Colette. Ostensibly aquasi-scientific tour of the male homosexual world in France, Italy andGermany in the 1920s, "The Third Sex" is by turns leering, sympathetic,philosophical, patronizing, exuberant, impenetrable, tender and hilarious,often all on the same page. As the translator, Lawrence R. Schehr, pointsout, Henri Gauthier-

Villars, who used the pseudonym Willy, did not "write" this book any morethan he "wrote" Colette's Claudine novels, to which he cheerfully attachedhis name as well. No one knows who actually put the words on these pages.Willy's interest, avarice and curiosity, however, caused the book to comeinto being; we might say he produced "The Third Sex," which Schehr, aprofessor of French at the University of Illinois, has translated for thefirst time into English. Until recently, there was only one publiclyavailable copy of it, in French, in the rare-book room of the BibliothèqueNationale de France.

Whoever wrote it, this slender volume offers a fascinating glimpse not somuch of exotic homosexual practices but of something much more delicate andtransitory: the moment just before homosexuality became an identity, beforesexual acts had been organized into the solid categories we recognize andtraffic in today. A collision of conflicting impulses and wildly incongruousdiscourses, "The Third Sex" does not know what it is - "gay Baedeker,"cautionary tale, scientific treatise, pornographic handbook, literary essay,opportunity to slander the Italians and the Germans - and that is what makesit so elightful. It's not about the love that dared not speak its name; it'sabout the love that didn't quite know what its name was yet and was tryingon many different ones, all at the same time. Reading "The Third Sex" feelsa bit like flying in a veering helicopter over a rain forest that isdisappearing before one's eyes. There are life forms here - not only people,but ideas - that are now extinct. "The Third Sex" maps a lost world not onlyof sex, but of the myriad things we modern folk once thought sex could be,and mean.



The New York Times

November 11, 2007
The Nation

Hey, Candidate, I'm All Yours, Your Very Own Pied Piper

SO the most unlikely pairing of the presidential campaign is unveiled, withthe Rev. Pat Robertson flashing a television-practiced smile at Rudolph W.Giuliani, the thrice-married, pro-abortion-rights former mayor of New York.

This same preacher once said that the terror attacks of Sept. 11 proved thatGod was lifting his protection from an abortion-giving, gay-loving nation.But whatever ...

The Reverend Robertson's endorsement led broadcasts, topped front pages and,in a counterintuitive televangelist-hugs-secularist fashion, registered asgenuine news - suggesting, as it did, that evangelicals sensed Mr. Giuliani's
front-running power.

Now candidates scour the horizon for the next Great White Whale of theendorsement season.

Has The Arnold shared canapés with John McCain? Will Al Gore hop a flight toChappaqua? Will Newt, having shelved his sizable presidential ambitions,clear his throat for an endorsement? Whither the Cubans? The Teamsters?Dialing Jesse Jackson?

Is President Bush wisely keeping his preferences to himself?

Alas, a dirty terrible ugly truth attends to this hunt. A majority ofendorsements are political popcorn, signifying little. The big hugs and kindwords please candidates, their parents, flacks and reporters, who tend totype breathlessly about which candidate has taken the lead in "theendorsements race."



The New York Times

To the Editor: Your gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered readers (andthose who support their rights) may want to know that in one of your chosenislands (Barbados), those travelers may be sentenced to life in prison(though the law is pending review) and in another (St. Lucia) they aresubject to 10 years in prison. These laws may seldom be applied, but theycould be.

Susan Kay Miller
Mancos, Colo.


The New York Times

November 11, 2007
Urban Studies | Styling

Plenty of Hair, Nary a Mustache


LUPE'S PLACE is a shoebox-size beauty parlor and barbershop, wedged betweena fried chicken shop and a party goods store, underneath the elevated No. 6train on Westchester Avenue in the Soundview section of the South Bronx.

Thirteen miles from the city's gay epicenters of Chelsea and the WestVillage, it seems an unlikely location for a popular salon where four of theeight hairstylists are transgender. Yet the salon is beloved among the menand women in the neighborhood, most of them Latino immigrants.

The salon was opened in 1993 by Lupe Gonzalez, the ninth of 13 children froma family in Puebla, Mexico. Ms. Gonzalez, who is 38, had arrived in New Yorksix years earlier, at first doing deliveries for a Midtown restaurant andliving with eight others in a cramped apartment in Soundview.

"I came as a boy, but I was very feminine," said Ms. Gonzalez, smiling coylyand pushing back a lock of her long dark hair. "I used to have my mustacheand short hair. I started changing in 1991 when one of my boyfriends said,'Grow your hair and shave your legs.'" She pursued her transition withelectrolysis, hormones and makeup.

As Ms. Gonzalez's business grew, she hired other Spanish-speakingtransgender stylists.

On that afternoon, the salon was permeated with bouncy salsa music and aheavy fog of hairspray. One of the transgender stylists, a 45-year-old namedEmily Quiñones who was wearing thick mascara and Farrah Fawcett bangs,worked furiously on a customer's hair with a blow dryer and a circularbrush. Nearby, Lily Saldana bopped around in a leather miniskirt and highboots while molding a customer's updo into heavily shellacked curls.



The New York Times

November 11, 2007

A One-Woman Vanguard

THE conductor Marin Alsop has strong artistic convictions that she puts intopractice and expounds on readily. But there is one aspect of her career thatshe has been ambivalent about discussing: Ms. Alsop is a notable woman in afield that for whatever reasons continues to be dominated by men.

In September Ms. Alsop, 51, began her tenure as music director of theBaltimore Symphony Orchestra, making her the first woman to assume theleadership of a major American orchestra. When I, along with other reportersand critics, made this point in covering her appointment and, more recently,the concerts that commenced her directorship, there were howls of protestfrom loyal supporters of JoAnn Falletta, the music director of the BuffaloPhilharmonic Orchestra since 1999. But with all due respect to Ms. Fallettaand her adventurous orchestra, from an industry perspective - in terms ofbudget, location, schedule, touring, recording and other factors - theBaltimore Symphony is generally viewed as a major American orchestra whilethe Buffalo Philharmonic, however fine, is not quite.

Whatever the case, Ms. Alsop's appointment is a landmark. It is certainlybeing treated that way by the international news media, not to mention themarketing department of the Baltimore Symphony, which has mounted apromotional campaign inviting music lovers to join the "maestra" as shemakes history.

The New York-born Ms. Alsop has been reluctant to make an issue of hergender for fear of seeming self-serving. "I don't want to be too much of aflag bearer or become a pariah," she said in a recent telephone interview.On the other hand, if she didn't talk about it, the reasons for theunderrepresentation of women in significant conducting posts might not beconfronted.

"I don't think it's about overt prejudice," Ms. Alsop said, but rather "thisinsidious comfort zone" that musicians and audiences become stuck in. Peopleare "not conditioned to see a woman as the ultimate authority figure," sheadded, though "things are changing," however slowly.

Americans like to think that racial and gender discrimination does not existhere, she said. "Consequently everyone develops a fear of talking about it."



To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

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

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

Pennsylvania legislators are considering a "Marriage Protection" amendmentto the state constitution. As proposed, this amendment would not only definemarriage as one man, one woman but would also prohibit same-sex pairingssimilar to marriage (e.g. civil unions). This is a highly-charged issue andchances are you have an opinion on the matter. But how many of you, beforevoicing that opinion, sat down to read detailed background information,contemplated well-thought-out arguments on both sides, and discussed theissue with your peers (and not just those who share your opinion)? ThisWednesday, November 14th from 5 to 8:30 PM in Doherty 2315, a randomlyselected group of Carnegie Mellon students, staff, faculty, and alums willdo just that. The event is part of a series of Campus Conversations, whichin the past have covered topics such as public art policy and a student billof rights. This initiative's goal is to discover what the community'sopinion is on a given topic, in this case, Marriage in America, through amethod called Deliberative Polling.

Officials who issue marriage licenses in Pennsylvania have been busy thisyear defending Pennsylvania's marriage law, or at least each county'sinterpretation of it. In recent months, judges have been called upon toanswer these questions: Must a county issue marriage licenses for coupleswho want to self-unite in nonreligious ceremonies, that is, get marriedwithout anybody officiating? ANSWER: They must. May counties refuse alicense to an undocumented alien who wants to marry a citizen if the alienfails to provide proof of legal residence? ANSWER: They may not, accordingto a federal judge who ruled on such a case in Luzerne County. Are marriagesvalid if performed by people who were "ordained'' by online churches in amatter of minutes and have no congregation? ANSWER: Not according to a judgein York County.

Sao Leopoldo, Brazil - - A wolf pup and a tiger cub fall in loveand have to face the opposition of parents and society. As they struggle toget back together, they shed a new light on issues of same sexrelationships, freedom, life and happiness through their simple and pureways of considering life.Mayke Kranenbarg, a cultural anthropologist,comments: "Kindred Love deals with a subject that is not easy and is stillcontroversial in contemporary society, and does this in an engaging andrevelatory way. This is a book about the implications of loving someone fromthe same sex, but more so it is about being true to one's nature. (.) [It]invites to introspection and discussion, exploring issues of gender,friendship and harmonious living."

Although still stinging from a 2005 tangle with American conservatives, FordMotor Company is airing a commercial that includes two same-sex couples -- apair of men and their dogs, and a female couple with one pregnant -- butonly in Australia. The campaign, by JWT for Ford Focus and Fiesta,highlights diversity. Titled "Everyone's Journey Is Different," the spotfirst shows the car quickly changing colors. Then the colors are paired withpeople of various ages and looks, including young slackers, an Indian woman,a white male couple in sweaters with matching pugs on leashes, and two youngwomen, one of whom is pregnant. The spot began running over the summer inAustralia.

A Swiss right-wing political party will not face charges over advertisingposters which called gay couples infertile.The Swiss People's Party (UDC)was campaigning earlier this year against a proposal to extend tax benefitsto same-sex partners in Geneva. The party's general secretary added to thecontroversy by saying that gay people contribute nothing to society becausethey do not have children. An overwhelming majority of voters in Genevaeventually voted in favour of granting gay and lesbian couples equalinheritance rights and other benefits.

The District of Columbia, if counted among the states, is the gayest. AmongU.S. cities, it's the eighth gayest. And the number of same-sex couplesidentifying their relationship in U.S. Census surveys is five times largernow than it was when the information was first collected on a national scalein 1990. Those are just some of the conclusions found in "Geographic TrendsAmong Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey," a study released Nov. 2. The study was prepared by Gary Gates, asenior research fellow at the Williams Institute, a research center at UCLAfor sexual orientation, law and policy studies. Gates examined data from the1990 and 2000 decennial surveys of every household in the United States anddata from the annual "American Community Surveys" for the years 2002 through2006. His report shows that the 2006 Census Bureau data estimates there are779,867 same-sex couples in the United States - up from 145,130 whoself-identified in the 1990 decennial census.

Top 10 states: The data, from the 2006 American Community Survey, reflectsthe number of same-sex couple households per 1,000 households by state.
Vermont 9.71
New Mexico 9.03
Massachusetts 8.99
Washington [State] 8.94
Oregon 8.83
New Hampshire 8.73
Maine 8.57
California 8.50
Colorado 7.79
Rhode Island 7.63

Top 10 cities
The data, from the 2006 American Community Survey, reflects the number ofsame-sex couple households per 1,000 households in the top 50 most populouscities.
San Francisco 28.72
Seattle 21.27
Minneapolis 18.68
Portland 16.94
Sacramento 16.36
Oakland 15.62
Boston 14.72
Washington [D.C.] 13.49
Atlanta 13.32
Long Beach 12.80
National change
Same-sex couples per 1,000 households:
1990 1.56
2000 5.61
2006 6.79


Florida Republican Guilty In Washroom Sex Case
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 10, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(Tampa, Florida) State Rep. Bob Allen (R) has been convicted of offering anundercover male police officer cash for sex.

Allen, a longtime foe of LGBT rights in Florida, will be sentenced nextThursday. He could be facing 60 days in the county jail and a $500. fine.Republicans in the legislature said the conviction will allow them to moveforward with plans to remove Allen from office.

Following the verdict his attorney accused the prosecution of misconduct andsaid he will seek a new trial.

Allen was busted in July during a sting at a men's washroom at Veteran'sMemorial Park in Titusville, Florida.

In taped statements made by Allen to police following his arrest andreleased by the force Allen admits to soliciting the male officer but claimsthat it was the result of being nervous by the high number of black men inthe park.

"I certainly wasn't there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn'tthere to exchange money for it," Allen told officers.

Of the arresting officer Allen said in the tape, "This was a pretty stockyblack guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park."

He claimed he feared he "was about to be a statistic" would have saidanything just to get away.

But on the tape Allen also admits warning the undercover cop that"undercover cops" were in the area and the man should be careful.



Caribbean can be chilly when it comes to welcoming gays
Underground strong but some islands still sending mixed messages

November 10, 2007
Julia Steinecke
Special to the Star

NETHERLANDS ANTILLES-In St. Maarten, we criss-cross the island, searching invain for a lesbian who will talk to me - though later I hear the cafés inMarigot are full of them.

In Jamaica, some dance hall performers sing about shooting gay men in thehead, pouring acid over them and raping lesbians.

So far this year, 100 LGBT folk have reportedly been attacked in 43 mobincidents. Yet there's a huge, lively underground scene.

In Cuba, gays and lesbians can't get permission to start their own advocacyorganization.

Meanwhile, the government is working on same-sex partnership recognition aswell as free sex-change surgery and hormones on demand.

This is the Caribbean, with some of the most complex and least understoodgay and lesbian destinations in the world.

more . . . . .


Former Goodyear employee awarded $4.4 million in harassment suit

By Christine Clarridge
Seattle Times staff reporter

A Seattle woman who claimed she was antagonized and harassed because of hersexual orientation at the Goodyear store where she worked and then wasdemoted after she complained about it has been awarded $4.4 million by aKing County jury.

Daniel F. Johnson, the attorney for Melissa Sheffield, 47, said Thursday'sjury award "sends a message to employers in Washington that discriminationand retaliation will not be tolerated." Sheffield, 47, began working forGoodyear in Seattle in 1994 as a sales representative and receivedpromotions until she was made store manager of a Goodyear store nearNorthgate in 1999, according to the suit filed last year.

According to the suit, Sheffield neither hid nor flaunted her sexualorientation until her former manager encouraged her to bring her partner toan annual company dinner, where she received an "adverse reaction" fromanother store manager,

In 2003, her former boss was replaced by a new district manager, defendantRandy Reich, and a new service manager, David Johnson, was assigned to thestore, the suit claims.

Johnson "immediately let it be known ... that he knew Sheffield was gay anddid not like gays," the suit claims.

more . . . . .


Proposed anti-discrimination law gains support

Ari Cohn, Tribune
November 10, 2007 - 2:10AM

A raft of activist groups, including a Phoenix church and the NAACP, arebacking a proposed law that would prohibit Scottsdale businesses fromdiscriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered.

Some Scottsdale City Council members, however, said they'd have to see thefinal draft of the ordinance before deciding whether to support it.

Sam Holdren, a field organizer with gay rights group Equality Arizona, saidactivists have met with each member of the City Council and with Mayor MaryManross in recent weeks as part of continued discussions about how to makegays feel safe in the city.

"We're really excited about the response we're getting," Holdren said.

In September, the city's Human Relations Commission voted to recommend thecouncil adopt three proposals: to prohibit the city from contracting withgroups that violate city anti-discrimination policies, to add protectionsfor GLBT city employees, and to pass a law banning businesses in Scottsdalefrom discriminating against GLBTs.

more . . . . .


Born To Be Gay

By: Rick Nauert, Ph.D.
Senior News Editor

Reviewed by: John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
on November 8, 2007

Thursday, Nov. 8 (Psych Central) -- For years scientists have debated ifsexual orientation is determined by nature or nurture. New evidence suggestsgenetics is a significant factor for whether an individual is homosexual orheterosexual.

The findings emanate from a Canadian study of the brains of healthy,right-handed, 18- to 35-year-old homosexual and heterosexual men usingstructural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The research, conducted by Dr. Sandra Witelson, a neuroscientist at McMasterUniversity was a follow-up of a ten-year old study that demonstrated thereis a higher proportion of left-handers in the homosexual population than inthe general population - a result replicated in subsequent studies which isnow accepted as fact.

Handedness is a sign of how the brain is organized to represent differentaspects of intelligence. Language, for example, is usually on the left -music on the right.

In other research, Witelson and research associate Debra Kigar, had foundthat left-handers have a larger region of the posterior corpus callosum -the thick band of nerve fibres connecting the two hemispheres of the brain -than right handers.

more . . . . .


Show Tunes Fall Silent As B'Way Hit By Strike

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 10, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(New York City) Broadway stagehands went on strike Saturday, shutting downmore than two dozen plays and musicals on what is the most populartheatergoing day of the week.

Picket lines went up at theaters throughout the Times Square area. The firstshow to be affected was "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! TheMusical," a holiday attraction for families that had an early 11 a.m.matinee.

Rudy Ross, who portrays Max the dog in the show, greeted disappointedticket-holders outside the St. James Theatre, urging them to come back whenperformances resume. "This is the stage door," he said and pointed. "Knockhere and come and say hi to me."

The Leo Deonarine family of Valley Stream, N.Y., had spent about $400 fortheir five tickets. Five-year-old Alyssa beamed as she clutched cotton candyand other sweets handed out by ushers who also distributed flyers aboutgetting refunds.

"Maybe we'll go to a different movie," Alyssa said.

more . . . . .


Lesbian Passed Over For Chicago Bishop

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 11, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(Wheeling, Illinois) A moderate church leader, the Rev. Jeffrey Lee, waselected the 12th Bishop of Chicago at the diocese convention on Saturdayover seven other candidates, one of them an openly lesbian priest.

In a statement distributed to the more than 500 delegates before the vote,Lee said he wanted to keep a conversation going with conservatives on theissue of gay clergy. But he also said he has stood for "the full inclusionof gay and lesbian people in the church."

"He would be perceived as someone who is qualified for the job, but notpolarizing as other candidates might have been," said the Rev. Canon MikeStephenson of the Diocese of Chicago.

If the Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, had beenelected, she would have become the second bishop living with a same-sexpartner in the Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican body in the UnitedStates. The 2003 consecration of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whohas a male partner, pushed the world Anglican Communion to the brink ofschism.

Lee, rector of St. Thomas Church in Medina, Wash., was elected on the secondballot, after winning the most votes on an earlier ballot without achievingthe needed majority.

more . . . . .


More Details Obtained About HRC's ENDA Poll


As The Advocate reported earlier this week, a strong majority of gays andlesbians supported passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act even thoughit did not include protections for transgender people, according to a pollcommissioned by the Human Rights Campaign. Since then, The Advocate hasobtained the full results of the poll questions about ENDA, which passed theHouse of Representatives Wednesday in a 235-184 vote.

The poll, a random survey of 514 LGBT Americans conducted by KnowledgeNetworks Inc., of Menlo Park, Calif., asked participants two questionsconcerning ENDA. The first asked which of the following three statements wasclosest to reflecting their views:

A. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rightsorganizations should oppose this proposal because it excludes transgenderpeople.

B. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rightsorganizations should support this proposal because it helps gay, lesbian,and bisexual workers and is a step toward transgender employment rights.

C. National gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rightsorganizations should adopt a neutral stance for this proposal because whileit helps gay, lesbians, and bisexual workers, it also excludes transgenderpeople.

more . . . . .


From Peter Tatchell - UK

Below is the programme summary, and the web link, to the TV interview I didwith UK-based Stop Murder Music campaigners, Dennis Carney and Brett Lock.

I interviewed them in my weekly TV programme slot, Talking With Tatchell.

The interview will remain permanently archived on the 18 Doughty Street TVwebsite. It is viewable on demand, worldwide and in perpetuity.

Please circulate.

Solidarity! Peter

Jamaica - homophobia, murder music and free speech

Is Jamaica is the most homophobic country in the world? Does Jamaican reggae/ dancehall murder music contribute to anti-gay violence? Should concerts bymurder music singers be cancelled? Stop Murder Music campaigners, DennisCarney of the Black Gay Men's Advisory Group, and Brett Lock of the gayhuman rights group OutRage!, discuss with Peter Tatchell.

Watch here:

Peter Tatchell writes:

Eight leading Jamaican reggae /dancehall stars, including Buju Banton,Bounty Killa and Beenie Man, have released songs openly advocating,encouraging and glorifying the murder of queers. They have never apologisedor expressed a word of regret. On the contrary, they have defended theirexhortations to "kill queers."
See their homophobic "murder music" lyrics here:

Are these artists merely reflecting homophobic violence or helping createit?

This issue is not about mere homophobia. It concerns incitement to murder.

Many gay and straight Jamaicans argue that lyrics urging the killing ofqueers may not create homophobia and queer-bashing attacks, but that theselyrics do help legitimate and encourage them. When homophobic violence isextolled by big-name reggae super stars it fuels and reinforces anti-gayhatred. This hatred is the precondition of, and the gateway to, homophobicdiscrimination, harassment and violence.

The murder music of these reggae icons leads some young men to believe thatit is cool and acceptable to bash lesbian and gay people. It gives themlicence. It feeds their homophobic machismo.

LGBT Jamaicans argue that murder music lyrics stir up homophobic hatred andviolence, in the same way that racist incitements stir up racial hatred andviolence.

Can it ever be acceptable or legitimate to subject other people to violentthreats and intimidation? Are homophobic incitements any less worthy ofcondemnation and opposition than racist ones?

Critics of the Stop Murder Music campaign claim it is an attack on freedomof expression. They protest: What about free speech? But since when has freespeech included the right to incite the murder of other human beings?

Do the defenders of homophobic murder music also defend the right of whiteracists to incite the murder of black people? No, of course, they don't.They rightly condemn even the slightest prejudice against the blackcommunity. So why the double standards when it comes to homophobic bigotryand incitements to murder?

The murder music singers are not the only culprits. The Jamaican governmentand police are notorious for their inaction against homophobic violence.According to Jamaican law, inciting violence and murder is a criminaloffence. Why aren't these artists being prosecuted?

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report that homophobic violenceis a major problem in Jamaica. This is corroborated by Jamaican human rightsgroups such as Jamaicans for Justice, Families Against State Terrorism,Jamaica AIDS Support, and the Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights.

All these respected bodies accuse the Jamaican government and police ofcolluding with queer-bashing attacks, and of failing to protect the gayvictims of mob violence.

Ending murder music will not, of itself, end anti-gay violence. But it cancontribute to deescalating the culture of homophobic threats and violencethat is terrorising lesbian and gay Jamaicans and wrecking their lives.

To view the programme, click on this link:


Talking With Tatchell is broadcast every Friday night at 8.30pm on theinternet TV channel,

Previous programmes are permanently archived. Type "Tatchell" into theSearch facility to access all past editions of Talking With Tatchell.


NY Times

November 7, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO - About 15 people marched alongside the Muslim float inthis city's notoriously fleshy Gay Pride Parade earlier this year,with various men carrying the flags of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine andTurkey and even Iran's old imperial banner.

While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or womenwith scant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguisedbehind big sunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.

Even as they reveled in newfound freedom compared with the Muslimworld, they remained closeted, worried about being ostracized at themosque or at their local falafel stand.

"They're afraid of the rest of the community here," said Ayman, astocky 31-year-old from Jordan, who won asylum in the United Stateslast year on the basis of his sexuality. "It's such a big wrong in theKoran that it is impossible to be accepted."

For gay Muslims, change may come via a nascent body of scholarship inminority Muslim communities where the reassessment of sacred textsused to damn homosexuality is gaining momentum.

In traditional seats of Islamic learning, like Egypt and Iran,punishment against blatant homosexual activity, not to mention againsttrying to establish a gay rights movement, can be severe. Thesegovernments are prone to label homosexuality a Western phenomenon, ashappened in September when Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,spoke at Columbia University. But far more leeway to dissect the topicexists in places where gay rights are more protected.

As a rule, gay Muslim activists lacked the scholarly grounding neededto scrutinize time-honored teachings. But that is changing, activistssay, partly because no rigid clerical hierarchy exists in the West tobar such research.

Nonetheless, gaining acceptance remains such a hurdle that Muslims inthe United States hesitate. Imam Daayiee Abdullah, 53, a black convertto Islam, was expelled from a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginiaafter the school found out he is gay. His effort to organize a gaymasjid, or mosque, in Washington failed largely out of fear, he said.



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