Saturday, November 17, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 17, 2007

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Marriage is about love, not gender

By William Butte
November 16, 2007

Like most politicians, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sayswhat he thinks people will buy.

When Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he toldMassachusetts' gay Republicans he'd be a stronger advocate for gay rightsthan the senator, and a voice in the Republican Party to fosteranti-discrimination efforts.

Now that he's running to become president, Romney is saying what he thinkswill attract his party's core Christian conservative "values voters."Cultivating his conservative bona fides to distract from his previouslygay-friendly position, the candidate who once said he'd be a voice for gaysto foster anti-discrimination efforts now says he favors amending the U.S.Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

To that end, while at Nova Southeastern University during a recent campaignstop in Fort Lauderdale, Romney reiterated his support for such aconstitutional amendment by claiming same-sex marriages threaten "thefamily."

But is that true?

An anti-gay organization is seeking enough valid signatures in Florida toplace a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages - alreadyforbidden by state law - on Florida's ballots next November. So Romney'sreason for his disapproval of gays marrying prompts two relevant questions:Do same-sex marriages threaten "the family"? Or, would same-sex marriagesand equal rights for gays actually strengthen all families, gay and straightalike?

To answer the first question, one need only look at Romney's home state ofMassachusetts, where the number of married same-sex couples continues togrow while the state continues to have the lowest divorce rate in thenation.

Yet with nearly 10,000 married same-sex couples as neighbors, Romney stillhasn't explained exactly how his own marriage is threatened.

Instead, those opposed to gays marrying have said that marriage is importantto the welfare of children.

This reply disregards more than 415,000 children under the age of 18 wholive with same-sex couples, as estimated from 2000 Census figures (thoughthe figure could be much higher, as data from the American Community Surveyof 2005 found 30 percent more same-sex couples than identified in 2000).

So, if the main opposition to gays marrying centers on the welfare ofchildren, what about the welfare of several hundred thousand children livingwith gay parents who are denied the right to marry?

About half of all marriages end up in divorce court for myriad reasons, suchas money, infidelity, poor communication, lack of commitment, sexualproblems, and emotional, physical or sexual abuse. But has anyone heard of astraight couple ending their marriage because the gay couple next door ismarried?

There is something else, though, that helps to destabilize marriage andfamilies: the "I am not gay" spouse.

Though not limited to Republicans and social conservatives, "I am not gay"spouses include those who've preached and/or voted against gay rights, suchas ex-minister Ted Haggard, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, and Rep. Bob Allen ofFlorida.

Perhaps desiring to escape what these men and others have helped perpetuate,from employment discrimination to social bias against gays, an estimated 20percent of gay men and 40 percent of lesbians marry a straight spouse,according to the Family Equality Council, a national advocacy group.Meanwhile, The Straight Spouse Network, an organization for straight spousesin mixed orientation marriages, estimates there are more than 2 million (andpossibly as many as 4 million) mixed orientation marriages, and only 7percent of such marriages survive long-term once the gay spouse has comeout.

Undoubtedly far fewer gays would feel the need to appear straight bymarrying a straight spouse if they didn't fear job loss and other forms ofdiscrimination. So, equal rights for gays including the right to marry wouldalso benefit millions of heterosexuals in their effort to find suitablespouses and have stable families.

Marriage should be about love. Yet Romney and Florida's social conservativesopposed to gays marrying are instead selling fear. Don't buy it.

William Butte is a commentator on issues affecting the GLBT community. Hiscolumn appears the third Friday of each month. E-mail him


GLAAD's "The Best and Worst of National News" November 2007

The Best

1) San Francisco Chronicle Emphasizes the Diverse Backgrounds of Gay andLesbian Families

The media often neglects to showcase the different backgrounds of same-sexfamilies. But San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tyche Hendricks educatedreaders about the economic and racial diversity of these families in theOct. 31 article "Same-Sex Couples Raising Children Less Likely to be White,Wealthy." Hendricks' article challenged the misconception that most gay andlesbian parents are affluent and white. Referencing new findings by Bay AreaLGBT organizations, Hendricks revealed that in California couples of colorare more likely to be raising children than white couples and that same-sexparents' median household income is 17 percent lower than that ofheterosexual married couples with children. Beyond providing thisthought-provoking information, Hendricks included the moving stories ofAfrican-American and Palestinian parents struggling against anti-gayattitudes and public policies while overall finding increasing acceptance inthe Bay Area.

Same-sex couples raising children less likely to be white, wealthy

GLAAD strongly encourages you to contact Tyche Hendricks and the SanFrancisco Chronicle to thank them for spotlighting the rich diversity ofLGBT families.


2) Good Morning America Highlights Transgender Actress Candis Cayne

Media coverage of the transgender community can often be marred bysensationalism and misunderstanding. Refreshingly, ABC's Good MorningAmerica presented an exceptionally rich and sensitive story abouttransgender actress Candis Cayne on Nov. 13. Cayne, who plays a transgendercharacter on the ABC series Dirty Sexy Money, spoke with anchor RobinRoberts and explained the unconditional love of her family and the struggleto succeed as an actress. Additionally, the story featured touchinginterviews with Cayne's supportive twin brother and with her fiancé. "I amliving breathing testament to the fact that nothing, and I mean nothing, isimpossible," said Cayne.


GLAAD strongly encourages you to contact Good Morning America and thank itsstaff for their moving story about Candis Cayne.


3) The New York Times Sheds Needed Light on Lives of Gay Muslims in America

Because it is all too rare to learn about the lives of gay MuslimsAmericans, it is essential to read the instructive and troubling Nov. 7 NewYork Times story "Gay Muslims Find Freedom, Of a Sort, in the U.S."Engagingly written by Neil MacFarquhar, the article discussed the problem ofentrenched homophobia in the Muslim faith as well as the efforts of gayMuslim Americans to reread Koranic verses in a more accepting light.MacFarquhar educated readers about the history of the Koran's text regardingsexual orientation and about the ongoing violent repression of LGBT peoplein many Muslim nations. The article closes with the ambivalent story of aMuslim American man still trying to reconcile his faith and his sexualorientation. "...I don't want to live in a double standard, I don't want togo through life unhappy," the man said.

Gay Muslims Find Freedom, of a Sort, in the U.S.

GLAAD encourages you to contact The New York Times and thank NeilMacFarquhar for shedding light on the struggles faced by gay Muslims inAmerica.


The Worst:

1) Bill O'Reilly Supports Inequality for LGBT Youth

Many young gay people struggle with themselves and with their loved ones asthey come to accept their sexual orientation. Their struggles are only mademore difficult by media messages that tell them to accept a double standardin which the relationships of heterosexual couples are celebrated andhighlighted while those of same-sex couples are frowned on and hidden. BillO'Reilly voiced this harmful sentiment on the Nov. 7 edition of Fox News'The O'Reilly Factor. During the show, O'Reilly criticized the decision of anIllinois high school to allow a lesbian couple to be named the "cutestcouple" in their yearbook. Debating with Dr. Laura Berman about theappropriateness of the couple's inclusion, O'Reilly supported this doublestandard. When Dr. Berman asked O'Reilly if he would be okay with aheterosexual couple being named "cutest couple," he replied, "I would be,because that is the norm of society." While O'Reilly later said that hedoesn't support the bullying of gay students, his support for inequality inschools contributes to the climate of intolerance that LGBT youth continueto face.

READ TRANSCRIPT:,2933,309578,00.html

GLAAD strongly encourages you to let Bill O'Reilly know your views about hissupport of prejudice against LGBT youth.


2) The New York Post Continues to Defame the Transgender Community

On Oct. 5, New York Post Page Six editor Richard Johnson apologized in printafter GLAAD condemned his column for cruelly referring to transgenderreality show star Miriam of There's Something About Miriam as a "she-male."Despite Johnson's recognition of the harm caused by his words, Page Sixagain used degrading language to describe the transgender community. On Oct.29, the Post published a Page Six item about the legal troubles facingbillionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The item offensively referred to a transgenderwoman who is suing Epstein as a "he/she." The Post's unabashed ongoingdefamation reveals that dehumanizing slurs against the LGBT community remaina deeply ingrained part of the tabloid's culture.


GLAAD strongly encourages you to write the New York Post with your viewsabout its defamatory coverage of the LGBT community.


The Guardian - UK

'Try not to act gay'

Sally Howard
November 16, 2007 8:00 AM

In an asylum system based on institutionalised stonewalling, there's littlehope for human rights - regardless of what the law says.

Eight years ago, a landmark ruling by the House of Lords in two appeal cases(Regina v Shah and Islam v Secretary of State for the Home Department)signalled an important change in Britain's interpretation of asylum law.

Not that you'd have been aware of it. Even those members of the press whonormally swoop on any apparent softening of the asylum system failed toscent its import. The ruling allowed that women fleeing domestic violence inPakistan could be granted asylum on the basis of belonging to a "particularsocial group" for the purposes of asylum law. By extension, members of otherpersecuted "social groups" could theoretically now pursue asylum in the UK.

In practice, ignorance of the implications of this ruling amongst asylumseekers (and the solicitors representing them) conspired to deaden theruling's impact ... with one notable exception. The UK's gay human rightsmovement picked up on its potential to help gay men and lesbians fleeingpersecution in Africa, Jamaica, the Middle East and elsewhere.

In the course of an investigation for GT magazine (my report is in theDecember issue), I spent an afternoon in London with a group of gay andlesbian asylum seekers. The forum was hosted by the UK Gay and LesbianImmigration Group (UKLGIG), a small organisation that works for access togay and lesbian asylum seekers in detention centres and - for the few itsucceeds in reaching before the two-week fast-track processing system spitsthem out undigested - tries to secure effective legal representation.

more . . . . .


From Gays Without Borders

Milan, November 16, 2007

President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian judges have granted a pardon tothe young homosexual Makvan Mouloodzadeh

The petition for the life of Makvan and the "Flowers for Life inIran Campaign" - promoted by Gruppo EveryOne and backed by Irqo, theInternational Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and AmnestyInternational - have obtained a memorable result. "A sensationalvictory for human rights", say Malini Pegoraro, Picciau (GruppoEveryOne) and Paula Ettelbrick of the International Gay and LesbianHuman Rights Commission. The Iranian judge who annulled the deathsentence defined the previous sentence "a violation of Islamicprecepts and human ethics".

On November 2nd, 2007, Gruppo EveryOne promoted throughout the world,through websites, networks and the printed press the "Flowers forLife in Iran" campaign": . .It entailed a petition for the life of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old gay Iranian boy accused of the crime known as "Lavat" (sodomy) byIslamic criminal law and sentenced to death. The boy is alleged tohave committed the "crime" when he was only 13 years old.With the collaboration of Arsham Parsi - a member both of GruppoEveryOne and the IRQO association for GLBT rights in Iran - theactivists of Gruppo EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, DarioPicciau, Glenys Robinson and Ahmad Rafat prepared a dossier on thecase of the young man condemned to death. A campaign was initiated tosave Makvan's life and protest against the executions in Iran. A newform of protest already experimented successfully in the campaignagainst the deportation to Iran of the lesbian woman Pegah Emambakhsh.

The campaign, in fact, invited people from all over the world to signthe petition, and at the same time send President Ahmadinejad, a redrose and a white rose through international floral delivery serviceswith a message attached to them: "The white rose symbolises therespect for the human rights of the young homosexual Makvan, and allthe dissidents, women, free thinkers and homosexuals sentenced todeath as "enemies of Allah"; the red rose is to say no to the bloodof innocent victims shed on the scaffolds prepared for capitalpunishment". The Flowers Campaign has obtained considerable favour inall the countries of the free world.



From Gays Without Borders


Hi everyone!

Great news from Nicaragua - the Legislative Assembly just passed anew version of the penal code without the sodomy prohibition; in otherwords, they've just decriminalized sodomy in Nicaragua!! The newpenal code should come into effect in March next year. Here's onereport in English about the reform:

So well-done to everyone who organized protests, visited theNicaraguan ambassadors and sent letters over these last two years.We'll never know how much effect all these campaigns actually had, butat least the final result is what we wanted; another domino down inthe long campaign to decriminalize sodomy around the world.

This also means that Latin America is now pretty much free of sodomylaws, although it seems there are still some dormant sodomy laws onthe books in a couple of Latin American countries as far as we cantell.

The one disappointing element in all this is that, despite the victoryfor LGBT rights, the new Nicaraguan Penal Code maintains a total banon abortion.

Well, it's a great joy to deliver good news for once! Congratulationsagain to everyone for a sustained, timely and ultimately effectivecampaign. I think champagne could be in order!

Tony Pitman
Amnesty International Mexico


The New York Times

Army Desertion Rate Up 80 Pct. Since '03

November 17, 2007
Filed at 5:33 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting theirposts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters thisyear showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in2003.

While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War,when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past fouryears and a 42 percent jump since last year.

''We're asking a lot of soldiers these days,'' said Roy Wallace, director ofplans and resources for Army personnel. ''They're humans. They have allsorts of issues back home and other places like that. So, I'm sure it has todo with the stress of being a soldier.''

The Army defines a deserter as someone who has been absent without leave forlonger than 30 days. The soldier is then discharged as a deserter.

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscalyear 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a yearearlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 lastyear.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Atty: Woman Wasn't Told Donor Was a Risk

November 16, 2007
Filed at 7:55 p.m. ET

CHICAGO (AP) -- A woman in her 30s who is one of the four organ transplantpatients infected with HIV and hepatitis was not told that the infecteddonor was high risk, and had previously rejected another donor ''because ofhis lifestyle,'' her attorney said.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio filed a petition Thursday in Cook County CircuitCourt on behalf of the woman, asking officials to keep a hospital and anorgan procurement center from destroying or altering any records involvingthe donation.

''She's really a mess right now,'' Demetrio said of the Chicago-area woman.''She's still in shock.''

The patient, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, received a kidneytransplant at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Jan. 9, Demetriosaid.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network in Elmhurst and the University ofChicago both knew the kidney donor was high-risk and did not inform thepatient, Demetrio said.

more . . . . .


Federal Gay Hate Crime Bill Reportedly In Trouble

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) How to proceed with the Matthew Shepard Act, which would addsexuality to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law, isroiling Democrats and could end up dying at the end of the session inJanuary.

The legislation passed the House in May and the White House threatened toveto it. (story)

In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version tied the measure to the2008 defense authorization bill. It passed in September (story) and thenwent to conference where the two versions of the bill needed to beharmonized for a final vote.

Since then the bill has been tied up with House fears that Democrats couldnot muster enough votes to pass the military bill with the Shepard Actattached to it.

The Congressional newspaper The Hill reported Friday that the negotiationswill likely drag on into December.

One of the possibilities would be to separate the Shepard Act from theDefense bill, leaving it as a standalone measure.

"This is a strategic question, not a tactical question," Rep. NeilAbercrombie (D-Hawaii) one of the conferees tells The Hill.



Pennsylvania Court Tosses Gay Hate Law

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has urged thelegislature to immediately approve "appropriate legislation" reinstating thestate's hate crime protections for gays after the Commonwealth Court in asplit decision ruled the measure illegal on a technicality.

In a 4-1 ruling the court said that the law, passed in 2002, was invalidbecause it had been tacked onto another nonrelated bill.

"It's important to note that the Commonwealth Court's decision was based ona procedural issue and not on the substance of the amendment," Rendell said."It's also important to note that this legal challenge was mounted byindividuals who themselves may benefit from the law's protections forreligious minorities."

The challenge to the law had come from a conservative Christian group,Repent America.

In 2004, 11 members of the organization where arrested during a protest atthe city's gay pride celebration.

more . . . . .


Singapore Lifts Ban On Xbox Game With Lesbian Scene

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Singapore) Singapore's Censor Board on Friday reversed itself and said itwould allow the sale of a new Xbox video game that contains a scene showinga woman and a female alien kissing.

Thursday the board issued a ban on the sale of Microsoft's "Mass Effect", afuturistic space adventure due for worldwide release later this month,calling the scene "immoral." (story)

Late Friday The Straits Times newspaper reported that the board had decidedto allow the sale while it completes work on a new rating system for videogames. The new system is to be unveiled in January.

In one scene in the game the two female characters kiss and caress. Thesequence ends with the alien character saying, "By the gods, that wasincredible, commander."

The reversal of the ban has done little to allay the concerns of the citystate's LGBT community. Spokespersons say they are waiting to see detailsof the new rating system.

The community is wary of board and the government in general following aseries of incidents this year.

Last month Parliament maintained the criminalization of sodomy between twopeople of the same-sex while repealing a similar law for opposite-sex sexualcontact. (story)

Under the law anyone engaging in same-sex sodomy could face two years inprison, although police say no one has been charged in recent times.

In August Singapore banned gay events held in public parks. The move came asgays were attempting to celebrate LGBT pride. (story)

Police lifted a permit to hold a picnic and fun run at a park sayingpolitics were not welcome in green spaces.



No Jail Time For Fla. Republican Caught In Bathroom Gay Sex Sting

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Tampa, Florida) State Rep. Bob Allen (R) convicted of offering anundercover male police officer cash for sex was spared a jail sentenceFriday but must pay a fine, fees take an HIV-safe sex course, and stay outof the park where he was busted.

Allen was convicted last week of lewd conduct and soliciting. (story)

He could have been sentenced to 60 days in the county jail and a $500. fine.

In court Friday Allen pleaded for clemency.

"Over the last 120 days, you have been aware of the degree of publichumiliation this charge has brought ... As I stand before you, I can saythe totality of it all has been tremendous," Allen told Brevard County CourtJudge Oscar Hotusing.

Hotusing sentenced Allen to serve six months of probation. He must pay a$250 fine, court costs and $245 restitution to Titusville Police Department.

Allen also was ordered to undergo testing for HIV and other STDs, complete aclass in HIV awareness class and to stay away from the park where he wasarrested.

By avoiding jail time Allen, if he completes the requirements laid down byHotusing, could have his criminal record expunged.

Allen's troubles are not over yet though. Republicans in the statelegislature said they move forward with plans to remove Allen from office.

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.

"I said they're around here, you ought to know about that."

He only realized he was talking to an officer when he flashed his badge.

The arresting officer's handwritten report on the arrest also was releasedby the force.

Titusville Officer Danny Kavanaugh who was on plainclothes duty says heobserved Allen entering the washroom twice. Kavanaugh said he was drying hishands in a stall when Allen peered over the stall door.

The officer's report said that after peering over the stall a second time,Allen pushed open the door and joined Kavanaugh inside. Allen muttered"'hi,'v" and then said, "'this is kind of a public place, isn't it,'" thereport said.

Kavanaugh wrote that he asked Allen about going somewhere else and Allensuggested going "across the bridge, it's quieter over there."

"Well look, man, I'm trying to make some money; you think you can hook me upwith 20 bucks?" Kavanaugh wrote in the report that he had asked Allen.

The Republican lawmaker, the report said, replied, "Sure, I can do that, butthis place is too public."

According to Kavanaugh's statement, the officer said, "do you want just(oral sex)?" and Allen replied, "I was thinking you would want one."

It was at that point Allen was arrested.

Ironically, Allen was the Police Union's 2007 Lawmaker of the Year.

In the last session of the Florida legislature he sponsored a failed billthat would have tightened the state's prohibition on public sex. He also hasbeen a supporter of amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriageand has opposed a bill to curb bullying of gay students.

Allen's arrest came only weeks before news came out of US Sen. Larry Craig'sarrest in a gay sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. Craig has insisted heis not gay, entered a guilty plea under duress and is attempting to get hisplea quashed.


Federal Suit Accuses Police Of Brutality Against Gay Chicago Area Man

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) A 47-year old gay man has filed a federal civil rightslawsuit against the Markham, Illinois Police Force alleging officers burstinto his home, physically abused him and made repeated gay slurs againsthim.

Armed with a search warrant for drugs police smashed through the door ofFrankie Brown's home in suburban Markham on May 31, handcuffed Brown tochair in the front doorway and in full view of neighbors, and continuallyberated him for being gay, the lawsuit claims.

Police also told neighbors that Brown is HIV-positive, something that Brownhad wanted to keep quiet.

"All my neighbors were standing around," Brown told CBS News in Chicago."They kept asking, 'why you all doin' him like this?"

The lawsuit alleges that police told neighbors that they needed to know whothey were living next to.

As the search warrant was being executed police called Brown a number ofhomophobic names. When a teenage male nephew who lives with Brown and isBrown's legal ward, arrived at the home police accused Brown of having sexwith the youth.

Brown sat handcuffed to the chair for more than two hours as policeransacked his home looking for drugs. No drugs were ever found and Brownhas no prior record for drugs.

Still, according to the lawsuit, he was taken to jail and held for 17 hourseven though no charges were ever laid.

"I'll sleep better tonight knowing there is one less fag on the street," onepolice officer allegedly said as Brown was led away.

Neighbor Jeffrey Nowden who went to the front of Brown's home when he heardthe commotion backs up Brown's allegations against the police.

"They was making all kinds of homosexual innuendoes and jokes about him,"Nowden told CBS.

"They had a picture of his family up there and they were making all kind ofremarks. It was just sad."


Groups: Proposed Rule Changes Would Restrict Travel For PWAs

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(Washington) New regulations that the Department of Homeland Security sayswill make it easier for people with HIV/AIDS to enter the country wouldactually make it more difficult two groups that advocate for PWAs say.

Under current immigration law, any foreign national who tests positive forHIV is "inadmissible," meaning he is barred from permanent residence andeven short term travel in the United States. There are waivers available tothis rule, but obtaining them has always been difficult.

On World AIDS Day last year, President Bush announced his intention tocreate a streamlined process for foreign travelers with HIV to enter theUnited States more easily.

Currently the United States is one of only 13 countries in the world,including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, which ban travel for individualswho are HIV-positive.

Now, almost a year later, DHS has proposed "streamlined" regulations whichwould make it even harder to get a short-term waiver, Immigration Equalityand the Gay Men's Health Crisis say in a joint statement.

"Unfortunately, despite using the terms 'streamlined' and 'categorical,' inreality these regulations are neither," said Victoria Neilson, LegalDirector of Immigration Equality.

Under the new rules, a visitor would need to travel with all the medicationhe would need during his stay in the U.S., prove that he has medicalinsurance that is accepted in the U.S. and would cover any medicalcontingency, and prove that he won't engage in behavior that might put theAmerican public at risk. The maximum term of the waiver would be 30 days.

"More than two decades into this epidemic, the United States continues tostigmatize people with HIV and treat this illness unlike any other virus,"said Neilson.

"Creating insurmountable hurdles to travel does nothing to protect theAmerican public from HIV."

The new regulations purport to speed up the waiver application processbecause consular officers would be empowered to make decisions on waiverapplications without seeking DHS sign off.

But the two advocacy groups say that by using this "streamlined" applicationprocess, waiver applicants would have to agree to give up the ability toapply for any change in status while in the U.S., including applying forlegal permanent residence.

"As written, the rule could leave individuals with HIV who obtain asylum inthe U.S. in a permanent limbo; forever barred from obtaining legal permanentresidence, and therefore cut-off from services, benefits, and employmentopportunities," said Nancy Ordover, Assistant Director of Research andFederal Affairs for Gay Men's Health Crisis.

"It seems very disingenuous that the government is claiming to make thingseasier for people with HIV, but it's really compelling them to forfeit theirrights."

The proposed regulations are subject to a 30 day comment period endingDecember 6, 2007 before DHS will issue a final rule.


Feds Enter HIV Transplant Probe

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) Federal officials are investigating what three hospitalsknew and told four organ transplant patients about a high-risk donor whoinfected them with HIV and hepatitis.

The investigation's new phase involves the federal Centers for Medicare andMedicaid Services, which oversees organ procurement programs and hospitalsnationwide.

The stakes are high: If the agency finds any mishandling and the hospitalsdon't comply with any demands for corrective action, the hospitals couldface penalties. The worst would be being ousted from Medicare participation,meaning a loss of crucial federal revenue.

The case disclosed this week is the first known instance of HIV transmissionthrough organ transplants since 1986, and the first time HIV and hepatitishave been spread simultaneously from one donor to transplant recipients,public health officials say.



Another Actor, Another Gay Slur, Another Apology

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) Ocean's Eleven star Scott Caan has issued anapology after video of him lashing out at paparazzi with a gay slur wasposted on a celebrity gossip site.

A bevy of photographers had converged on the actor as he ate at a LosAngeles restaurant. On leaving the restaurant, Caan was video tapedexchanging words with the photographers, saying he would give them money tofight him. As Caan got into his car to leave he shouted, "Get a real job,you faggot."

The tape was posted to the celebrity website The remarks wereimmediately denounced by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

"While Caan's anger at being harassed is understandable, responding withthat kind of vulgar, anti-gay slur is simply unacceptable," said GLAADPresident Neil G. Giuliano.

"I am sorry for using such a derogatory word. I was being harassed by apaparazzi and, unfortunately, the word slipped out. I don't ever condone theuse of that word and I deeply apologize to anyone whom I may have offended,"Caan said in a statement from his publicist to TMZ.



Dems Reportedly May Use Tactic To Thwart Bush Recess Appointment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Senate Democrats are reportedly considering a proceduralmaneuver to prevent President Bush from using using Congress's recess toskirt a vote on James Holsinger to be Surgeon General.

Bush has used recesses appointments in the past to put nominees in placewhen they faced opposition in the Senate. Most notable was that of JudgeWilliam H. Pryor to the eleventh Circuit in 2005.

Democrats who were in the minority at the time balked at Pryor overhomophobic and racist rulings and had tied up a vote on his nomination.

Holsinger's nomination also has been tied up also over homophobic writings.Now in the majority Democrats fear the President could use the Thanksgivingrecess to bypass the Senate and appoint Holsigner.

Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isconsidering technically cancelling the recess.

According to the report Reid is mulling a "pro forma" session.

In essence it would mean several members of the Senate would show up on thefloor every three days keeping the Senate session alive.

With no recess Bush would not be able to make a recess appointment.

During Senate health committee hearings on Holsinger's nomination committeechair Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), said he was worried that if confirmed,Holsinger would let his own ideological beliefs cloud his scientificjudgment. He referred to the paper that Holsinger wrote on homosexuality fora study committee of the United Methodist Church. (story)

Holsinger, an MD and professor at the University of Kentucky, is a formerhead of Health and Family Services in Kentucky. In addition to his medicaldegree he holds an MA in biblical studies from Asbury Theological Seminaryand is one of nine members of the United Methodist Church Judicial Council.

As a member of the council he opposed a decision to allow a lesbian to be anassociate pastor, and supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gayman to join the church.

In a document titled "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality," Holsingerstated that in his capacity as a physician biology and anatomy precludedconsidering LGBT equality in the United Methodist Church. In the document hetook lengths to say that his opinion was his scientific view and that histheological views are separate.

Holsinger and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church, inLexington, which operates a so-called "ex-gay" ministry.

Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American PsychologicalAssociation have condemned so-called conversion therapy.

Holsinger this week resigned from the board of the Asbury TheologicalSeminary.

His appointment is opposed by the Human Rights Campaign, Truth Wins Out andother LGBT rights groups.

Bush also is said to be considering a number of other recess appointments.I

Reid has declined to comment on the Roll Call report.


College Students Rally After Homophobic Attack

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Amherst, Massachusetts) Amherst College students are rallying in support ofa group of students from nearby Hampshire College who were verbally andphysically assaulted as they tried to leave a party at Amherst last weekend.

The two schools are part of a consortium of five area schools that allowstudents to use each other's facilities.

Carrying signs proclaiming "We're Sorry Hampshire" the students collectedsignatures on a banner that said "Please Come Back".

The demonstration of support was organized by Amherst Pride Alliance.

Among those joining the students was Amherst College Dean of StudentsBenjamin Lieber.

Lieber said he was "expressing my own personal anger at what's said to havehappened."



Dems Reportedly May Use Tactic To Thwart Bush Recess Appointment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Senate Democrats are reportedly considering a proceduralmaneuver to prevent President Bush from using using Congress's recess toskirt a vote on James Holsinger to be Surgeon General.

Bush has used recesses appointments in the past to put nominees in placewhen they faced opposition in the Senate. Most notable was that of JudgeWilliam H. Pryor to the eleventh Circuit in 2005.

Democrats who were in the minority at the time balked at Pryor overhomophobic and racist rulings and had tied up a vote on his nomination.

Holsinger's nomination also has been tied up also over homophobic writings.Now in the majority Democrats fear the President could use the Thanksgivingrecess to bypass the Senate and appoint Holsigner.

Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isconsidering technically cancelling the recess.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Iowa Poll: Tight Democratic Race, Huckabee Gains Among GOP


The latest Iowa poll for Democrats shows a continued three-way race for thestate's January 3 precinct caucuses. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have beenbunched together at the top of most Iowa polls for the past six months.Richardson was the only other Democratic candidate to receive more than 5%support.

The Republican race indicates Romney remains in the lead, ahead of Huckabeeand Giuliani. Huckabee's standing is far stronger than in polls from thesummer, which showed him with about 2% support.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 27%
Barack Obama, 25%
John Edwards, 21%
Bill Richardson, 10%

Mitt Romney, 27%
Mike Huckabee, 18%
Rudy Giuliani, 16%
Fred Thompson, 10%
John McCain, 6%
Ron Paul, 5%

The Research 2000 Iowa Poll was conducted for KCCI-TV in Des Moines November12-14. The telephone poll of 400 Democrats and 400 Republicans who willlikely participate in the caucuses has a margin of sampling error of plus orminus five percentage points. (AP)


The Advocate

Going the Distance

The Advocate's new resident marathoner shares the intricacies and the joysof training for the Los Angeles Marathon (his fourth!) as an HIV positiveman.

By Shawnn Slaughter
An exclusive posted November 16, 2007
November 16, 2007

People ask me why I train for and run in marathons. My reply is, "Because Ican."

I'm Shawnn Slaughter, a 43-year-old single man and native Las Vegasresident. I am a 22 year survivor of HIV. This marathon is a testament to mysurvival and ability to bring awareness of and assistance to people livingwith HIV. That's why I do it. Because I can.

I'm a substitute teacher working mostly with emotionally challenged andautistic children -- it's a great challenge but I love my job. I am also aversatile artist. Among other talents, I have produced and recorded a soloalbum, appeared in numerous community theater and professional productions,and appeared in two long-running Las Vegas comedy reviews. Most recently Idabbled in narrative stand-up comedy in the Un-Cab Lab Show at the M-Bar inHollywood.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Boy, Interrupted

It can happen wordlessly, as in a women's restroom, where I sometimes catcha fellow patron's gaze tracking from my face to my breasts and back again,her attitude one of idle curiosity or confusion, occasionally disgust orhostility.

By Teresa Morrison
November 06, 2007
An exclusive posted November 6, 2007

For days, sometimes weeks at a time, I bask in a cozy headspace where I don't think about my gender and, more important, no one points it out to me. Whenthe reverie is broken, it is almost invariably by a stranger. It can happenwordlessly, as in a women's restroom, where I sometimes catch a fellowpatron's gaze tracking from my face to my breasts and back again, herattitude one of idle curiosity or confusion, occasionally disgust orhostility.

It can happen indirectly, as when I was once within earshot of a (gay) manwho, indicating me, hissed, "What is that supposed to be?" He happened to bespeaking to a friend of mine, who heroically replied, "She's whatever youneed her to be."

It can happen more directly, as when a clerk quite innocently calls me sir,then, noting his gaffe, showers me in pardons and sorrys, not realizing thathis apologies make me far more uncomfortable than any mistaken appellation.Confusion I can take, even hostility, but I resent this notion that howothers perceive my gender should -- or does -- matter to me.

Why are we so hysterical about this social construct called gender anyway?

more . . . . .


National Gay News

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

Gov. Spitzer said at a private fund-raiser that he wants aDemocratic-controlled state Senate to legalize gay marriage - a highlydivisive and controversial issue - as one of its first priorities in 2009, awitness to the remarks told The Post.

North Carolina: After receiving a disciplinary referral for kissing a female classmate at a football game, SouthWest Edgecombe High School student FaithSchwebel said she was singled out because of her sexual orientation.Anopenly bisexual sophomore, Schwebel acknowledged she violated EdgecombeCounty Public Schools' peer relations policy, which prohibits behavior thatis immoral, indecent, overly affectionate or of a sexual nature.

For the past seven years Thom Hubert, a.ka. Glamazonia, has served as thedrag hostess of Gay Bingo, a fundraiser for Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Seattle's Gay Bingo-the first gay bingo event in the world-has always had a draghostess.But at a meeting at Lifelong's offices today, Dave Richart, Lifelong's new ED, fired Hubert. Considering the reasons for Hubert's firing, it seemsthat drag isn't welcome at Gay Bingo anymore.

A fingerprint and DNA on two wads of chewing gum helped capture a mansuspected of murdering two gay men shot dead in 1998, six days and sixblocks apart, Miami police said Wednesday. Guillermo Valencia, 32, pictured,is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.


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