Sunday, November 25, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 25, 2007

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GOP Race Fluid As Voting Nears

Associated Press Writers
12:41 PM EST, November 23, 2007


The Republican presidential race is still remarkably fluid less than six weeks before voting begins.

Two candidates appear to have the most plausible paths to victory, but others could grab the nomination, too.

Mitt Romney, the wealthy former Massachusetts governor, leads in several early voting states and is counting on momentum from Iowa and New Hampshire to propel him in contests beyond. Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, has a commanding advantage in national polls and has mapped out a strategy of winning big, later-voting states to rack up the most delegates.

Lagging them in money, other contenders are cherrypicking states in hopes of rallying late-deciding voters.

Fred Thompson, the TV celebrity and former Tennessee senator, seeks a South Carolina victory to reverse his drop in support since September. John McCain, the Arizona senator and one-time front-runner, hopes New Hampshire will be the start of his comeback. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, wants an Iowa victory to prove he's credible.

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Norway's Lutherans ease ban on allowing those in gay partnerships to serve in clergy

OSLO, Norway (AP) - Norway's state Lutheran church lifted an outright ban on clergy in same-sex relationships but will allow each bishop to decide whether to employ them.

After an anguished week of debate at its annual meeting, the church's 86-member governing synod voted 50-34 to make the change. Two members abstained. The meeting, which ended Nov. 16, was held in the town of Lillehammer.

Six of Norway's 11 bishops are expected to open their local pulpits to noncelibate gay and lesbian clergy.

"This will create peace in the church, and security for homosexual clergy," Marit Tingelstad, head of the Bishop's Council for southeastern Norway's Hamar district, said on state radio network NRK.

But Bishop Ole D. Hagesaeter, of the Bjoergvin district, said, "This is a sad day or the church. It will be a splitting factor and lead to many feeling homeless in he church."

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By Doug Ireland
Gay City News, 11/20/2007

The Bush administration is trying to pull a fast one - rushing throughdraconian proposed new regulations that will restrict even further the entryof HIV-positive people into to the US, just one year after having promisedto ease them.

On November 6, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued stringentproposed new regulations for HIV-positive travelers coming here which are"pretty regressive" and "extremely troubling," according to Nancy Oldover,assistant director for federal affairs and research at the Gay Men's HealthCrisis (GMHC).

But the 30-day deadline for public comment imposed by DHS means a cut-offdate of December 6 for reactions to the new regs, leaving little time forthe AIDS advocacy community to mobilize.

That, Oldover told Gay City News, is a departure from standard practice forproposed new federal regulations; the time frame for public reaction is"usually much longer," she said.

The US is one of only 13 countries that completely ban incoming travelacross their borders by the HIV-positive. The others, according to a listestablished by the leading German AIDS service organization, Deutsche AIDSHillfe, for the most part have undemocratic regimes. They are Iraq, China,Saudi Arabia, Libya, Sudan, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Moldova, Russia, Armenia,and South Korea.

A waiver to the ban is required for HIV-positive travelers to or through theUS. Even when a traveler's US stay merely involves changing planes, a waiveris needed.

Last year on World AIDS Day, President George W. Bush pledged to issue"streamlined" new regulations with a "categorical waiver" that would make iteasier for the HIV-positive to receive exemptions.

"Unfortunately, despite using the terms 'streamlined' and 'categorical,' inreality these regulations are neither," said Victoria Neilson, legaldirector of Immigration Equality, which works on behalf of LGBT andHIV-positive asylum seekers and immigrants.

Neilson told Gay City News, "This is a big disappointment, given therhetoric of the Bush administration that the US was making it easier -because the new regs simply add more heavy burdens for the HIV-positivetraveler."



Gay health insurance launched in the Netherlands

by Louise Dunne
Radioa Netherlands Worldwide

A Dutch insurance firm plans to offer special healthcare policies for gayand lesbian clients. A spokesperson for the Agis company said the policy hadbeen worked out in co-operation with the COC Dutch gay rights group, andwill be available from the beginning of 2008.

gay health insurance The Schorer Foundation offers advice and information togays lesbians and transsexuals here in the Netherlands. Its Social Servicesdirector, Dawn Betteridge, is very much in favour of the policies.

"Options are always a good idea, different people, different needs. Andhowever we can highlight whatever specifically plays a role for gay andlesbian people the better."

"We also need to start thinking about health a little bit more broadly thanjust in terms of medical health. For gays and lesbians in particular thatalso stretches into mental health, and we may be able to say then thatthere's more of a need for certain groups of people than for others, basedon the level of discrimination that they face."

Heterosexuality assumed
One of the problems that gay and lesbian patients often face in thehealthcare system is the assumption that they are heterosexual. In thisrespect, says Betteridge, the new policy will have an important educationaleffect.



SPIEGEL ONLINE,1518,518492,00.html


German Invents 'Spray-On' Condom to Fit All Sizes
November 20, 2007, 05:04 PM

Good news for men whose penises are either so large or so small that theycan't find a condom to fit them: A German inventor has come up with asprayed-to-measure system that should ensure a snug fit for even the mostunusual sizes.

Jan Vinzenz Krause of the Institute for Condom Consultancy conductingmeasurements for his spray-on condom. A German condom expert hasdeveloped a "spray-on condom" system in the form of a pump that squirts outliquid latex through a multitude of nozzles that cover the erect member witha latex sheath in a matter of seconds.

"If you go into a drug store to buy condoms, the ones they sell aremainly suited to men with the average penis length of 14.5 centimetres (5.51inches), but a lot of people have penises that are smaller or larger thanthat," Jan Vinzenz Krause, director of the Institute for Condom Consultancy,told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

"We thought why not come up with a condom that fits the man rather thanvice versa? This would represent a revolution in the condom market," saidKrause, whose institute gives sex education as well as providing advice onAIDS prevention and contraception.

He has filed for a patent for the latex spraying system he invented. "Asfar as I know our idea is unique," said Krause.

He admits he will have to overcome some legal hurdles and technicalniggles before he can bring the product to market, but he already has aworking prototype and says the system can cater for most sizes.

"With our technology we could spray a condom on an erect elephant," hedeclared, not without a hint of pride.

The system works a bit like a car wash. The man put his penis in achamber and presses a button to start the jets of liquid latex, sucked froma detachable cartridge. The rubber dries in seconds and is later rolled offand discarded like a conventional condom.

The aim is for the process to take just 10 seconds but at present thelatex drying time is around 20 to 25 seconds. "We're working to shortenthat time," said Krause.



Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/11/23 12:52:38 GMT

Rise in HIV/Aids cases in Europé

The rate of new cases of HIV/Aids in the European Union has almost doubledsince 1999, a report shows.

Estonia has by far the highest rate of diagnosis, followed by Portugal andthe UK, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The ECDC says that the proportion of new cases reported per millioninhabitants went up across the EU from 28.8 to 57.5 in 2006.

In Estonia, the rate last year reached 504 per million people.

Estonia epidemic

The Estonian government says that, six years ago, 90% of new HIV casesdiagnosed by Aids consultation clinics involved drug users who wereinjecting, but that proportion fell to below half by the end of last year.

It suggests that the virus has started to spread from drug users to theirsexual partners.

The EU report says it has been impressed by Estonia's efforts to tackle itsepidemic, which include a nine-year plan involving surveillance, preventionand treatment.

In non-EU areas of Europe the number of cases is also continuing to rise,with particularly high rates in Ukraine (288 per million) and Russia (275per million).

The report says that more than half of infections are through heterosexualcontact, although homosexual men remain at greater risk.

The figures come as the Health Protection Agency estimated that 73,000adults in the UK now have HIV.

Estonia - 504.2 per million
Portugal - 205 per million
UK - 148.8 per million
Latvia - 130.3 per million
Luxembourg - 118.9 per million

A recent report from UNAids revealed much lower estimates of HIV infectionworldwide than had been previously used - from nearly 40 million to 33million.



Peter Tatchell - 40 years of human rights campaigning


Celebration, 10 December, Human Rights Day

London - 22 November 2007

Peter Tatchell will celebrate 40 years of human rights campaigning on10 December 2007, Human Rights Day.

He first began his campaigns in 1967.

Peter will mark his 40th anniversary of campaigning on 10 December bystaging a protest (to be revealed).

In the evening he will attend the Human Rights Awards 2007, which isjointly organised by Liberty and Justice.

"It is a great honour and privilege to have been part of theinternational human rights movement," said Mr Tatchell.

"Over the last four decades, I have been involved in campaigns thathave contributed to many spectacular human rights achievements: thefall of the dictatorships in Spain and Chile, independence for EastTimor, an end to apartheid in South Africa, peace in Vietnam and thenorth of Ireland, and the transition to democracy in the former Sovietbloc states of Eastern Europe and the Baltics.




The Guardian - Comment Is Free - 19 November 2007

Asylum system is criminal

Home Office ministers should be put on trial for allowing the abuse ofrefugees
By Peter Tatchell

Britain's asylum system is a regime that includes government-toleratedcriminality. Illegal acts and the abuse of asylum applicants areallowed to happen and are not punished. Many of these violations ofthe rule of law are perpetrated by the private companies that arecontracted by the Home Office to run asylum detention camps and thedeportation of would-be refugees.

This outsourcing of asylum abuses echoes the US policy ofextraordinary rendition and torture of terror suspects in thirdcountries. It does not, however, relieve the government of ultimateresponsibility for criminal acts committed by others on its behalf andin pursuit of its objectives. The buck stops with the Home Office.

Home Office ministers and officials should be sacked. They should alsoface criminal charges of failing in their duty of care.

The latest evidence against them comes in a shocking new report
by the government's own watchdog, the Border and Immigration AgencyComplaints Audit Committee.

The report is one of the most damning condemnations ever madeconcerning the Home Office and its private agents. It reveals "glaringfailures" and widespread abuses of people facing deportation,including allegations of racism, discrimination and physical assaultby contractors hired by the Home Office's Border and ImmigrationAgency.



Forwarded from EuroQueer

Today our new government showed its conservative face.

Today The new Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk who leads thecoalition of Civic Platform (PO) and Polish Peasants Party (PSL) said in hisexposé at the Polish Parliament that his government is not going to signThe Charter of Fundamental Rights in Lisbon on December 13th 2007. Poland isnot going to protect its citizens on equal level as other 25 EU memberstates.

In Poland there's no anti-hate speech, anti-hate crime, antidiscriminatorylaws which mention sexual oriantation and now there won't be The Charter ofFundamental Rights.

If you want to express your opinion to the Polish Prime Minister pleasewrite:

Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland
Mr Donald Tusk
Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów
00-583 Warszawa, Al. Ujazdowskie 1/3, Poland
fax +48 22 625 26 37

Take care

Tomasz Szypula
Secretary General of Campaign Against Homophobia
Member of the Executive Board of ILGA-Europe


International Conference

Aids in Culture IV:
Explorations in the Cultural History of AIDS

Final Program - Programa Final

Ciudad de Mexico City & Puebla
8 - 13 Diciembre/December, 2007

Enkidu Magazine, the International Society for Cultural History and CulturalStudies (CHICS), and the National Commmission for Human Rights (CNDH) inMexico invites the global community to 6 days of vibrant and exciting,multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual and multi-cultural academic activitiesdedicated to Aids in Culture in the Cities of Mexico (8 and 9. December) andPuebla (10-13 December).

Conference venue in Puebla / Sede de la Conferencia en Puebla.
Av. Juan de Palafox
y Mendoza 205
Puebla, Puebla


Stop the Removal of "Hassan" from the United States to Iran
November 23, 2007

IRQO has received an urgent letter regarding an Iranian asylum seeker in theUnited State and we are asking you to support his case:

"On behalf of an Iranian client I am contacting you to request yourorganization's assistance in obtaining your support and/or an affidavit fromyour organization with regard to the treatment of homosexual men who are HIVpositive in Iran. On behalf of our client, we are seeking to have stop theremoval of our client from the United States to Iran and unfortunately he iscurrently detained pending departure plans. Unfortunately he has never hadan opportunity to have his asylum claim heard by the asylum office or by animmigration judge in the U.S. as his former counsel(not really an attorney)never informed him of any of the hearing dates. Thus he was ordered removedin absentia in 1999. Two motions to have his case reopened have been deniedonly for procedural reasons. We are working to stop his removal anddeportation to Iran and have requested deferred action based on hishomosexuality and being HIV positive. He is however in imminent danger ofbeing removed."

Law Office Of Zahedi PLLC
Parastoo G. Zahedi
Attorney At Law
8133 Leesburg Pike Suite 770
Vienna, VA 22182
Phone: 703-448-0111
Fax: 703-448-5552


The New York Times

Gay Pastor in the Bronx Could Lose Her Collar

November 25, 2007

In 1994, when the Rev. Katrina D. Foster became pastor of Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, she threw herself into ministering to her small, mostly Caribbean-born congregation. She not only preached to them on Sundays but lived in the neighborhood and showed up to support them in everything from surgeries to legal matters.

But Pastor Foster was keeping a secret from her congregation. She held onto it even after a woman came to live with her in the parsonage, then joined the church choir.

"Some people would say, 'It's so nice you have someone to live with you in that 11-room house,' " said Pastor Foster, 39.

But in 2002, when the woman, Pamela Kallimanis, became pregnant, they knew the time had come. So Pastor Foster sat her congregants down one by one and told them that she and Ms. Kallimanis were partners and were expecting a child.

Not one person openly criticized her, she said. Instead, "they threw us the most wonderfully outrageous baby shower in the side yard next to the church," she said. "The woman I was most anxious about telling" - the church president - "I thought she was going to leap across the table and hug me."

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The New York Times

The World: A Time to Rethink AIDS's Grip

November 25, 2007

IGNORE the fuss over the news last week - the United Nations' AIDS-fighting agency admits to overestimating the global epidemic by six million people. That was a sampling error, an epidemiologist's Dewey Defeats Truman.

Look instead at the fact that glares out from the Orwellian but necessary revision of the figures for earlier years. There it is, starkly: AIDS has peaked.

New infections reached a high point in the late 1990's - by the best estimate, in 1998.

There must have been such moments in the past - perhaps A.D. 543, when Constantinople realized it would survive the Plague of Justinian, or 1351 in medieval Europe, when hope dawned that the Black Death would not claw down everyone.

Eleven years ago, there was a milestone moment in AIDS history when Andrew Sullivan wrote an article in The New York Times Magazine titled "When Plagues End." It argued that a new treatment, the triple therapy cocktail, meant it was finally possible to envision AIDS as a chronic illness, not an inevitable death sentence.

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The New York Times

Evangelicals Everywhere

November 25, 2007

How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite.
By D. Michael Lindsay.
332 pp. Oxford University Press. $24.95.

In August, Washington watchers were titillated by a particularly fascinating insider account of the Bush White House: Matthew Scully, one former speechwriter, accused another, Michael Gerson, of egocentric careerism. It is not usually considered sinful in Washington to advance yourself; that is pretty much what the place is about. But Gerson, an evangelical Christian, had developed a reputation among the Washington press corps just this side of sainthood. One need not accept every word Scully wrote to conclude that Gerson had expended considerable energy on his own deification.

Should we expect evangelicals, because they are so upfront about their faith, to act differently than the less devout? Evangelicals, as D. Michael Lindsay demonstrates with impressive research and inexhaustible energy in "Faith in the Halls of Power," have made great strides in entering mainstream institutions like academia, government, the media and business. Unless we are interested in religion for reasons of pride - the way young Jewish baseball fans would single out Sandy Koufax, or, in my Philadelphia childhood, Saul Rogovin, for special notice - Lindsay's subject matter should pique everyone's curiosity. Evangelicals are best known for their determination to witness their faith to others. This makes others inevitably interested in them.

Lindsay conducted 360 interviews in all, including one with Michael Gerson in 2005. "Christianity is not just a statement about personal piety," Gerson told him; "it's a statement about social justice." It is, I guess, a worthwhile sentiment, not so much for what it says - don't we all profess to believe in social justice? - but because the person who said it worked for a resident singularly intent on cutting taxes to redistribute income to America's wealthiest. It would be interesting to know how Gerson reconciled his faith with the priorities of his party. But don't look to Lindsay's book for an answer. For all his research, he views himself as a sociological dictation machine; they talk, he writes it down.

And so you will find an interview with Ted Haggard in this book with no reference to gay sex, Ralph Reed described without mention of his work for Jack Abramoff and a disquisition on the importance of religion in the Bush White House without any substantive discussion of the cynicism found there by David Kuo, an evangelical who soured on President Bush. (Kuo is relegated to a footnote.) To its credit, "Faith in the Halls of Power" allows the new evangelical leaders of America to speak. But it also represents a lost opportunity to pose important questions to them. Here was a scholar with access to a potential treasure chest of information, and he only rarely opened it.

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The New York Times

Parenting: Talking About Sex. Then Again, Maybe Not.

November 25, 2007

I DON'T have a great track record for talking to my four kids about sex. I've tried. Not as much as I could have, but I've tried. When my oldest son was in eighth grade, I decided it was time for The Talk. The family was vacationing on Cape Cod, and we were heading home in two cars. The three little ones rode with Mom, and Ben got to ride with Dad because we had something special to talk about.

It was a five-hour trip, and I'd planned to wait a bit, but Ben was eager to find out what his special treat was. So at Exit 6 of the Mid-Cape Highway I started, and we were done well before Exit 5. I've never seen him so uncomfortable and disappointed. "Dad, come on, it's fine, Dad, honest, Dad."

Maybe he was a little young. I would come back to it. But we never really did have The Talk that I'd long envisioned I would handle so much better than my own dad.

Oh, we talked here and there. I've made it clear to my three teenage sons that it's an extremely bad idea to get a girl pregnant, particularly if you don't plan to marry her. I've given them condoms: one year for Christmas discreetly wrapped in their stockings, another time under their pillows on their birthdays.

As for my daughter, who's still in middle school, if I get the tiniest bit close to the most innocuous hygiene issue like leg shaving, she yells, "Dad!" and rolls her eyes to high heaven, and all matters are immediately referred to Mom.

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The New York Times

Under New Management: The Office Party, as a Tightrope Walk

November 25, 2007

IMAGINE trying to plan a dinner party for 20 people with different dietary needs. Or think about organizing a wedding reception where both bride and groom have their share of fractious family members, and the new in-laws don't get along.

You're getting a taste of the challenges that employers face as they plan holiday festivities for a diverse group of workers.

These employees may have work skills in common, but when it comes to social styles, religions and personal schedules, all bets are off - and many employees are increasingly comfortable making their priorities known.

Employees may criticize company celebrations as being too overtly Christian - or not Christian enough. Managers may have to contend with sexual harassment complaints or liability problems after overly lively events. The calendar itself may also create conflicts if employees cannot take time off to observe their holidays.

It's enough to make some managers wish that the Grinch had succeeded after all.

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The Washington Post

The HIV Superhighway

By Helen Epstein
Sunday, November 25, 2007; B01

Earlier this month, the pharmaceutical company Merck announced that its prototype AIDS vaccine, which cost millions of dollars to develop, actually makes people more susceptible to HIV infection. The frustrating search for a vaccine makes it easy to despair over the global AIDS crisis, especially in Africa, where more than two-thirds of people with HIV now live.

Ideally, science would provide a magic bullet that would knock out HIV. Failing that, most AIDS researchers would settle for another type of magic that would generate political will and spur people to have fewer sexual partners and to use condoms more consistently. We haven't found any such magic, but we may have found the next best thing. It isn't perfect, but it costs nothing and, unlike the Merck vaccine, it does no harm. This semi-bullet consists of information -- about the sexual networks that seem to let the virus spread so rapidly in Africa, and about what people there need to do to protect themselves.

Health officials increasingly recognize how important this information is, because they are running out of ideas about how to fight the AIDS epidemic. Although the U.N. AIDS program recently announced a steep downward revision of the number of infected people, especially in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, this means only that the epidemic is even more concentrated in east and especially southern Africa than previously thought.

In Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland, about a quarter of adults are HIV-positive -- a number 10 times higher than anywhere else in the world. HIV testing and treatment are more widely available in Africa than ever before, and while this has extended many lives, it has had little effect on the incidence of HIV. Last year, three important studies showed that male circumcision can reduce HIV transmission by about 60 percent, but the practice is still rare on much of the continent. Condom use remains dangerously inconsistent, and strict abstinence-until-marriage-and-fidelity- thereafter is rare everywhere. Even under the new U.N. figures, 1.7 million Africans became infected last year.

Which brings us to our desperately needed, not-quite-magic bullet. It consists of an idea that first occurred to a small number of researchers working independently in the early 1990s. One of them, a young doctor named Christopher Hudson, was practicing at a London clinic for sexually transmitted diseases when he noticed something peculiar: Some diseases, such as genital warts, seemed to be more common in his white patients, whereas others, including gonorrhea, were more common in his black patients, many of them recent immigrants from the Caribbean.

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The Washington Post

Two churches shun Canada Anglicans over gay unions

By Janet Guttsman
Friday, November 23, 2007; 11:25 PM

TORONTO (Reuters) - Two congregations with roots in the Anglican Church of Canada have joined a bishop who abandoned the church because of its position on homosexuality, deepening divisions within the worldwide Anglican movement.

The two churches, both in British Columbia, oppose the blessing of gay marriages and will serve under a more orthodox archbishop in Argentina.

"We are sending these churches out to minister ... and help rebuild an orthodox Anglican witness in Canada," Bishop Donald Harvey said in a statement on Friday.

Harvey said last week he would come out of retirement to lead the conservative Canadian Anglicans, who will serve under the authority of Gregory Venables, Argentina-based archbishop of the Anglican Church of theSouthern Cone of the Americas.

Harvey has said 18 to 20 congregations might pull out of the Canadian Anglican movement and put themselves under Venables. Another 12 churches have already put themselves under the authority of conservative African archbishops.

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The Washington Post

Leggett Signs Bill For Protection of Transgender People

By Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 22, 2007; B01

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) signed off yesterday on legislation to protect transgender individuals from discrimination, over the bjections of religious and community groups that say the measure would give male cross-dressers access to women's restrooms and locker rooms.

Opponents said they plan to gather signatures for a referendum to overturn the protections, and they have enlisted a California lawyer to consider filing a lawsuit.

"Leggett has broken the biological barriers that separate male and female facilities," said Michelle Turner, spokeswoman for a coalition of opponentswho have created a Web site,, for their campaign.

With Leggett's signature, Montgomery follows the lead of 13 states, the District, Baltimore and 90 other local jurisdictions that have banned discrimination against transgender people, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Leggett studied the fine print of the legislation and was convinced that the County Council had addressed the concerns of opponents, county spokesman Patrick Lacefield said.

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The Washington Post

Exclusive: Jerry Falwell's FBI File

By The Editors
November 21, 2007; 10:00 AM ET Documents

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, stirred up passions with his attacks on abortion and homosexuality. Now, the FBI's confidential file on Falwell, who died in May at age 73, reveals that he also stirred up death threats -- including one that sent agents scrambling to figure out how many gay bars there were in Cincinnati. The bureau released 112 pages of the file to Post reporter Joe Stephens under the federal Freedom of Information Act. Read excerpts here. The file, it turns out, is comprised almost entirely of details about threats aimed at the Lynchburg, Va., fundamentalist. (There's no evidence anyone actually tried to harm Falwell.)

Falwell's FBI file contains a 1983 letter sent to his television ministry that concluded with the words, "Hoping you will die soon." It was accompanied by a small plastic box containing a live scorpion. Then there were the calls to Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg that same year, warning that a $10,000 reward had been offered for Falwell's "assassination" and that it was to be carried out by "gays in Cincinnati." One caller advised, "I know this is true, because my brother is one of them." Said another, "I intend to be the one to collect that money."

That sent FBI agents to a confidential informant they believed knowledgeable about the Midwestern gay community. They debriefed him in a session that generated this memorable passage, typos and all:

"Source furnished a current copy of the Yellow Page, June, 1983, which is Cincinnati's gay newspaper. Circulation in the Cincinnati area is shown to be 2000 copies which is not believed exaggerated. Source stated that the Downtown vicinity of Cincinnati supports eight (8) gay bars and one (Q) lesbian bar. Source restated the general dislike for Jerry Falwell within the Cincinnati area."

The informant led the agents through the history of New York City's Stonewall riots -- a watershed in the early gay rights movement -- and explained that the uprising was where a local political committee got its apparently enigmatic name: Stonewall Cincinnati. The informant offered to gather intelligence on the "content" of club meetings, including a recent gathering that featured a speaker from the American Civil Liberties Union.

There is no evidence in the file that anyone actually tried to carry out any of the threats, or that the people responsible were ever identified.


The Washington Post

Blasphemy hearing vs BBC winds up

Wednesday, November 21, 2007; 11:23 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - A court hearing about whether a Christian activist can prosecute British state broadcaster BBC under blasphemy laws wound up on Wednesday, and judges will deliver a written verdict at a later date.

Stephen Green of Christian Voice was at London's High Court this week to try to overturn a decision by a district judge not to allow him to pursue his case against BBC director-general Mark Thompson and Jon Thoday.

Thoday is the producer of musical "Jerry Springer-The Opera," which the BBC aired in 2005. Green argues that the show is blasphemous, likening Jesus to "the perv in a nappy."

Based on U.S. television host Jerry Springer's brash talk show, the musical depicts Jesus being referred to as "a little bit gay" and features Eve attempting to fondle his genitals.

Green's lawyer Michael Gledhill, speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the two-day hearing, argued that "Jerry Springer-The Opera" would never have been staged or aired in Britain had it been a satire about Islam, not Christianity.

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Whether newsy or trendy, gay publications are prospering

By Elizabeth Baier
November 25, 2007

Some chronicle the news: the presidential race, sexual abuse scandals, gay marriage, adoption.

Others cover the flashier, more frivolous side of being gay in South Florida: entertainment, fashion, travel, circuit parties, and lots of pictures.

From the weekly newspaper to the monthly glossy magazines, niche publications targeting South Florida's gay and lesbian community fill stands inside shops and restaurants, pile high near coffeehouse doors from South Beach to Vero Beach, and welcome tourists at guesthouses around Fort Lauderdale. In all, at least a dozen gay and lesbian print media are published and distributed around South Florida.

In the case of HotSpots Magazine, the longest-running gay and lesbian publication in South Florida, publisher and owner Jason Bell has tailored his magazine to be a weekly entertainment guide for South Florida gay and lesbian readers.

"We are not looking to write a Pulitzer Prize story. . We are not trying to be a church newsletter," Bell said. "We are a weekly entertainment guide that the community uses to determine what they are going to do on the weekend. You're not going to find in-depth investigations here."

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Palm Beach Community College plan for pet insurance angers gay rights groups
College puts puppies ahead of people, it says

By Scott Travis
November 24, 2007

A gay rights group is accusing Palm Beach Community College of putting puppies ahead of people when it comes to health care coverage.

The college sent an e-mail to employees this month saying they can enroll in pet insurance, a new voluntary benefit that will take effect Jan. 8. That rankled leaders of the nonprofit Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, who have unsuccessfully lobbied PBCC to offer health benefits to domestic partners of gay and unmarried employees.

"While many pet owners consider their dogs and cats part of their families, there is a basic disconnect when an employer will insure an employee's pet but not an employee's partner," said Deidre Newton, a PBCC alumna who serves as vice president of the council.

The Human Rights Council's beef with PBCC began Aug. 14, when the college's Board of Trustees split 2-2 over whether to offer domestic partner benefits, killing the proposal. The benefits would not have cost PBCC anything, because the college pays only employees' premiums, not those of spouses or children, officials said. But some trustees expressed concerns about whether employees would have to pay more for health insurance in the future if domestic partners were added onto the group plan.

PBCC officials said they would provide more data to the trustees, so they could decide whether to add the benefits during the 2009 calendar year.

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Miami Herald

Cyndi Lauper urges `straight' support

Posted on Thu, Nov. 22, 2007

For once, Cyndi Lauper wishes she weren't so unusual.

The singing star, with hits including "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "Time After Time," wants heterosexuals to become "straight allies" to gay people.

"I'd like people to understand their humanity and how we all have this humanity in us," said Lauper, who will sing at Care Resource's 23rd White Party at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami. The event, on Saturday this year, is considered the first major AIDS fund-raising party and draws a worldwide crowd. Other White Party activities run Wednesday through Monday.

"Cyndi has been a very heavy advocate for LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and ransgender] rights and a very good friend to the gay and lesbian community for many, many years," said Terry DeCarlo, public relations/marketing manager for Care Resource, Florida's largest AIDS service agency. "Being such an advocate for the [gay] community and for people with AIDS, she's just the perfect person."

Lauper became a gay-rights activist years ago to support her sister, Ellen, a lesbian.

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Miami Herald

Man to woman to man journey reaches unhappy ending at a church

Posted on Thu, Nov. 22, 2007

High on prescription drugs and four days without sleep, Michael Berke raced his Harley to the megachurch where he'd found a home.

He barged into the church office, wearing a mesh shirt printed with profanity. In his hands he held a picture of a curvy woman with long, red hair and pouty lips.

"This is who I used to be," he said.

"And this" - he gestured to his flat chest, bald head and red goatee - "is who I've become."

He was born a man. After a lifetime as a social misfit, he had transformed himself into Michelle, a saucy redhead. Then, three months ago, he had become Michael again - with the financial aid and spiritual encouragement of Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale.

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

Dayton passes anti-discrimination law to protect gay community
Mayor Rhine McLin supports decision

Nov 22, 3:50 PM

Dayton has passed an anti-discrimination law for the city's gay and lesbian ommunity.

The City Commission voted 3-1 last night to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of protected groups. The change becomes effective in 30 days.

Mayor Rhine McLin supported the decision, saying it was time to do the right thing for the city.

Dayton is the 15th Ohio municipality to protect sexual orientation.

Local ministers asked for the vote be delayed to allow for more public discussion, but commissioner Nan Whaley and other supporters said there was time enough.

Stonewall Dems, a group of Ohio gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender democrats, met with each commissioner over the spring and summer and turned in a draft of the proposed law change last month.


Express Gay News

Huckabee: Gay marriage = slavery?

On "Fox News Sunday," GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made thefollowing statement in response to a question from host Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: Now, Thompson and McCain both talk about leaving abortion and gaymarriage to the states, the way, in the case of abortion, it was before Roevs. Wade ever became the law of the land in the first place.

Why isn't that good enough, basically making this a federal issue andleaving it up to each state?

HUCKABEE: Well, it's the logic of the Civil War. If morality is the pointhere, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then youcan't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong.

Again, that's what the whole Civil War was about. Can you have states sayingslavery is OK, other states saying it's not?

If abortion is a moral issue - and for many of us it is, and I know forothers it's not. So if you decide that it's just a political issue, thenthat's a perfectly acceptable, logical conclusion.

But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have50 different versions of what's right.

So, when asked about gay marriage and abortion, Huckabee makes a comparisonto the Civil War. Huckabee indirectly says that if we were to leavedecisions about gay marriage up to the states, it would be as if we left thedecision about keeping slaves up to the states during the 1800s.

He specifically refers to abortion in his attempt at clarification, but thequestion was about gay marriage and abortion. Was Huckabee lumping the twoof them together? He says "this is a moral question" and not "these aremoral questions." While he's not exactly a champion for gay rights, is itlogical for us to believe that he was comparing the right to keep slaves tothe right for gays to marry? I'm unsure.

I have submitted a request for clarification to the Huckabee campaign'spress secretary and am awaiting response. In the meantime, how do you readhis statements?


Express Gay News


A hungry holiday season for people with AIDS?
Budget cuts force Poverello Food Bank to turn away clients

Nov. 22, 2007

While volunteer efforts at churches, shelters and soup kitchens might assure that the poorest residents in Broward get a warm Thanksgiving meal, this year the holidays may look grimmer than ever for poor people living with HIV/AIDS people who live below the poverty line.

Poverello, Broward County's only food bank for people with HIV/AIDS, is facing a $100,000 budget cut through the end of the fiscal year 2008 that prevents the nonprofit from accepting any new clients, said Thomas M. Smith, Poverello's chief financial officer.

"We cannot afford the cut," Smith said. "With the cost of everything going up, we can't continue to take new clients."

Each month, Poverello is responsible for buying edible fresh goods. Last month, Thomas said, the organization spent more than $100,000 to provide its nearly 2,000 clients enough food for a week. Large grocers like Publix and Winn Dixie can only donate baked goods or perishables that have longer shelf lives.

In the 21 years since it began serving the community, Poverello has never turned away eligible clients, Smith said, or had a waiting list. With the budget cut and a steady increase in clients to serve, Smith said he sees no other way to deal with the situation.

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

'Worker bees' of the GLBT community
From political campaigns to Stonewall Library, lesbian couple are tirelessvolunteers

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Julia Davis welcomes guests to her house in Wilton Manors wearing shorts, acrew shirt and white, unshod crew socks.

"Welcome to my mess," she says in a warm North Carolina drawl.

The mess Davis, an indefatigable volunteer for several communityorganizations, refers to is a sprawling project that seems to have takenover the living room of the mid-20th century suburban ranch home Davisshares with her longtime partner Edie Hambright.

On top of virtually every surface of the living room lie stacks of GLBTcommunity publications. Davis is spending a good portion of her afternoonorganizing and binding copies of the GLCC Voice, the Express and otherpublications into folios for the Stonewall Library.

It's just one of the many projects and assignments that the silver-hairedpair take on to contribute to the community and to remain active.

At 71, Davis is retired from nursing, but she remains busy running thecouple's company, Angelworks, which focuses on various wellness programs andefforts to improve the environment. One of their programs involves marketingpellets that reduce automotive carbon emissions and increase gas mileage.

Hambright works as a drug court treatment counselor for the Broward Sheriff'sOffice, a job that keeps her out in the community.

"She's 58 and I'm 71," Davis explains. "We're older, but we're not ready tosit down and do nothing - primarily because there are so many things outthere that need to be done."

Wearing signature matching khakis and polo shirts, Hambright and Davis canbe spotted at most events that concern Fort Lauderdale's gay community.

They took home the Dolphin Democrats' Community Service Award at theorganization's annual dinner Oct. 6. As board members for the politicalclub, they attend planning meetings, help set up refreshments and sign inmembers at monthly meetings.

They also sit on the special events committee at the Gay & Lesbian CommunityCenter of South Florida, and each was named to voluntary positions forBroward County Commissioner Ken Keechl.

Davis and Hambright logged in untold hours stuffing envelopes, planting yardsigns and driving around Broward County Commissioner Ken Keechl during his2005 campaign.

"They are absolutely wonderful," Keechl says. "I know I can call on them dayor night."

Keechl was so impressed with their community concern that he appointed Davisto represent his office on the Broward Regional Emergency Medical ServicesCouncil. He appointed Hambright to the county's Alcohol and Drug AbuseAdvisory Board.

Davis prefers to keep a low profile. "We don't head anything," she says. "We'rejust little worker bees."

The dynamic duo get involved in social and political events - both gay andstraight - because, they say, they are committed to the community.

"As I got older and wiser, I had the opportunity to be active in thecommunity," Hambright says. "We really want to make sure that folks comingafter us will have [equal] rights."

Both Hambright and Davis grew up in small towns in North Carolina, wherethey could not live openly as lesbians.

For years before they met and during the first five years of their 11-yearrelationship, they could not express their affection in public or liveopenly together.

"We had to live in a straight jacket," Hambright recalls.

Both women cared for their ailing mothers. Once each settled theirrespective families' estates, they sprung out to live openly. They moved toKey West, where they quickly became a part of a progressive gay community.They were active members of Lambda Democrats, Key West's gay Democraticorganization.

The couple moved to Wilton Manors in 2005. They sought an active gaycommunity where they could contribute their time and talents to helpingdevelop the community.

"We are not in it to go out and raise hell and cause trouble," Davis says."We are active to cause positive change in the community."


Express Gay News

Spreading the news: 'CBS News on Logo' expands to weekly, half-hour format

Nov. 22, 2007

Jason Bellini's grooming routine is about to get a lot simpler.

"I don't have to put on makeup every day, now I only have to do it once a week," he says. Bellini has to put on the pancake for his job as the host of Logo's new weekly news broadcast "CBS News on Logo."

The show, which aired its first installment Monday, Nov. 12, and will air each Monday at 7 p.m., is a change in format from how Logo previously delivered its news. Bellini, a former CNN correspondent, started hosting three-minute news segments that played between programs when the channel launched in 2005. The segments changed daily, which is why Bellini logged so much time in the makeup chair.

He says he's thrilled about the change.

"[The 30-minute program is] what I've wanted from the beginning," he says. "One of the frustrations we've had was we had so much material, more than we imagined, and [we were] cutting out things that should have been on the air."

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

by Phil LaPadula

S. Fla.'s deadly car culture puts gay club patrons at risk
It's time to build a community for people instead of cars
Thursday, November 22, 2007

S­teven Klein, 29, was struck and killed by a car Nov. 10 as he crossed thestreet at the Five-Points intersection in Wilton Manors. Klein is at leastthe fourth gay pedestrian to be hit by a car in the Wilton Manors-FortLauderdale area in the past two and a half years.

The death of "Little Stevie," as he was affectionately known, is a tragicloss to his family and friends, the Wilton Manors' gay community and thelarger South Florida mainstream community. But it is also much more thanthat. Steven Klein is the latest victim of Florida's dysfunctional carculture, which is literally killing us.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration'sstatistics, Florida ranked second in the nation in pedestrian fatalities in2006. With 546 pedestrians killed, Florida ranked far ahead of Texas, whichhas 5 million more people. The state was not too far behind California (717fatalities), which has more than twice as many people as Florida. Inaddition, Florida ranked third in total traffic fatalities with 3,374.Broward County has ranked among the state's top four counties for pedestriandeaths since 2002, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety andMotor Vehicles.

Klein was the second gay pedestrian killed in Wilton Manors in the past twoand a half years. Greg Rose was killed in May 2005 while crossing WiltonDrive in front of what was then Circuit bar. Tom Davis was seriously injuredin a hit-and-run incident in front of Ramrod bar in September. And anotherpedestrian was struck by a car while crossing in front of Ramrod in July.Alcohol was involved in the July accident, according to police, and appearedto have been involved in the Rose fatality. The crash that killed Klein isstill under investigation, but it doesn't appear that alcohol was a factor.




SF Chamber Of Commerce Supports Gay Marriage Suit

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 24, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is the latest to call for the legalization of same-sex marriage in California.

The chamber has endorsed a legal brief by San Francisco-based Levi Strauss and LGBT advocacy group Out and Equal Workplace supporting a lawsuit by same-sex couples in the state.

The California Supreme Court is expected to hear legal arguments in the case early in 2008.

The chamber said that legalized same-sex marriage would improve the business climate in the city.

Supporting same-sex marriage is "consistent with our organization's advocacy of policies that are inclusive and contribute to business' ability to attract and retain a diverse, talented workforce," the chamber said in a statement.

more . . . . .



Gay Foes Protest Queen At Commonwealth Summit In Uganda

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 24, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Kampala) Dozens of anti-gay activists from churches and mosques throughout Uganda staged a noisy demonstration as the Queen opened the summit of the commonwealth heads of government in Kampala.

The protestors accused Western countries of spreading homosexuality throughout Africa.

"Developed countries in the Commonwealth legalized homosexuality and influenced the poor states," the Interfaith Rainbow Coalition Against Homosexuality in Uganda said in a statement.

"We are telling the Queen that by embracing homosexuality, we shall not have kings and queens."

It is doubtful the Queen or the heads of government from the 48 former British colonies that make up the Commonwealth saw the demonstration.

more . . . . .



Boy George Ordered To Stand Trial For False Imprisonment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 23, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(London) A British judge has ruled there is sufficient evidence against openly gay performer Boy George for a trial on charges of falsely imprisoning a 28-year-old man.

The trial against the 47-year old singer and DJ, whose real name is George O'Dowd, will begin February 25.

The charge stems from an incident last April where a male escort claimed tohave been chained to a wall in George's London apartment.

Auden Carlsen, 28, claims to have met the singer on a popular British gay dating site. He said that he agreed to go to George's apartment to pose for photographs for a fee of about $750 and on the stipulation there would be no sex.

But after he arrived at the apartment Carlsen claims to have been attacked by George and another man.

more . . . . .



Expert: China lower AIDS Estimate Likely Accurate

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 23, 2007 - 2:00 pm ET

(Hong Kong) China's recently lowered AIDS estimates are probably accurate since they are in line with other countries which have scaled back their numbers because of a change in the way data are collated, a leading AIDS researcher says.

China's leaders had denied AIDS was a problem in the past, leading some to doubt the country's most recent figures, which sharply lowered the estimated number of people living with the disease.

But David Ho, a well-known AIDS researcher who also runs a public awareness and prevention program in mainland China, said the new figures reflected a change in methodology used by the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

In 2004, China scaled back the estimated number of people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from nearly 1 million people to 840,000, and then further lowered the estimate to 650,000 in 2005.

"I have no basis to say whether the official AIDS estimates are right or not, but I feel that it is consistent with what the calculations are showing for the world," Ho said in a speech at the University of Hong Kong.

more . . . . .



Transgender Politician Michelle Bruce Fights Back

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 23, 2007 - 6:00 am ET

(Riverside, Georgia) Four years after she won a City Council seat, making her what is believed to be Georgia's first transgender politician, Michelle Bruce is battling a lawsuit launched by an unsuccessful opponent who claims she misled voters by running as a female.

Bruce, a tall woman with shoulder-length graying hair, said she has always identified herself as transgender.

"I've always been Michelle," she said. "If someone has a problem with that, I can't help them. It's a personal issue."

Bruce, 46, who runs an auto repossession business, launched her political campaign in 2003. Running unopposed, she landed one of four council seats and pledged to attract more jobs and residents to Riverdale, a gritty town of 12,000 about 12 miles south of Atlanta, lined with rundown strip malls and used car shops.

Three rivals ran against her in the Nov. 6 election. She captured 312 votes, not enough to avoid a Dec. 4 runoff against second-place finisher Wayne Hall, who earned 202 votes.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Three Men Sentenced in Hate-Related Death of NYC Gay Man

November 22, 2007

Three men convicted of beating a New York City gay man and then chasing him onto a highway where he was struck by a car and killed were sentenced to prison on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

All three had been part of what prosecutors called a hate-inspired robbery scheme.

On October 8, 2006, they found Michael Sandy in an Internet chat room frequented by gay men, lured him out to Brooklyn's remote Plum Beach with a promise of a date, and then attacked him. When Sandy tried to escape, he was hit by a car on the Belt Parkway.

Anthony Fortunato, 21, who had told jurors they shouldn't convict him of a hate crime because he's gay, was sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison for second-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and attempted petit larceny.

John Fox, 20, was sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison for second-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and attempted robbery as a hate crime.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

The Bishop and the Bible

The Advocate sits down with Bishop V. Gene Robinson to discuss his latest accomplishment -- starring on the silver screen in the documentary For the Bible Tells Me So .

By Kerry Eleveld
An exclusive posted November 20, 2007

As the first openly gay person elected to the order of bishop in the Episcopal Church, V. Gene Robinson isn't your typical film star. But he and his parents, along with four other families, provide the framework for a spiritual journey toward acceptance and love in For the Bible Tells Me So , a documentary currently screening across the country (

Though the role is a little out of the ordinary, Robinson says he is "devoted to the film" for the healing he thinks it can provide to LGBT people and their loved ones in smaller cities and rural areas of America.

"This is a story about five families and their children who come out and have had the audacity to proclaim, 'Jesus loves me, this I know,' " Robinson says, referring to the famed children's song. "And while most people would maintain, and have maintained for 2,000 years, that the Bible tells us just the opposite, we proclaim that the Bible does love me just the way I am -- loves my relationships, loves my being gay, and calls on me to use God's love to help the world."

The Advocate sat down with Bishop Robinson to ask him about his involvement with the film, what he likes most about it, and why he thinks it could shake up the heartland.

What do you like most about this film?
It describes change the way it always happens, which is, we think we have the world summed up into neat and tidy categories, and then along comes this xperience that doesn't fit. And so one's world view has to change in order to accommodate that new experience.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Internet hoax victim's family seeks legislative reform

Imagine that parents suspect that one of their children is LGBT...

Internet hoax victim's family seeks legislative reform

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - The story of a girl who killed herself afterreceiving cruel messages on the Internet is prompting calls from her familyfor legal reforms to better protect against online harassment.

Megan Meier, 13, of Dardenne Prairie, hanged herself Oct. 16, 2006, justminutes after receiving mean messages on the social networking Web siteMySpace. The child died the next day and was buried in the polka-dot dressshe had picked out to wear on her 14th birthday.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Jerusalem Post - November 15, 2007

Gay 'community' bar closes

By Gil Zohar

In a case of winning the battle but losing the war, Jerusalem'sbeleaguered homosexual community won a series of high profile courtvictories in recent years permitting its controversial gay pridecelebrations - but this week the capital's only alternativegender-orientation bar closed, apparently due to financial problems.

Shushan Pub, located on a gritty street of the same name tucked awaybehind Kikar Safra and the Jaffa Road post office, was as much apolitical statement as it was a business. But co-owner Saar Netanelnotes, "Ideology does not pay the rent."

Operating the bar six nights a week was physically exhausting, he adds.

"It was a kind of home for many people," he says, a unique locale where where haredim, Palestinians, and religious and secular Jews mixed. "When they left Shushan, each returned to his own ghetto," he laments. "Even straight people came. I could see the fear on their faces the first time they entered."

Netanel, 36, opened the nightclub in 2003, the same year he was electedto the Jerusalem City Council as the No. 2 candidate on the Meretzlist. He became the first openly gay man to serve as a city councillorin Israel. (In 1998 Michal Eden became the first lesbian elected to theTel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.)

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Afghan boy dancers sexually abused by former warlords

Nov 18, 2007

PUL-E KHUMRI, Afghanistan (Reuters) - They are known as "bacha bereesh", boys without beards, teenage boys who dress up as girls and dance for male patrons at parties in northern Afghanistan.

It's an age old practice that has led to some of the boy dancers being turned into sex slaves by wealthy and powerful patrons, often former warlords, who dress the boys up as girls, shower them with gifts and keep them as "mistresses".

Afghan police are battling to crackdown on the practice which has angered Islamic clerics who say those involved should be stoned for sodomy, forbidden under Islamic law.

In a society where the sexes are strictly segregated, it is common for men to dance for other men at weddings in Afghanistan.

But in northern Afghanistan, former warlords and mujahideen commanders have taken that a step further with competitions for their dancing boys.

"Every boy tries to be the first. They are dressed in women's clothes, have bells on their feet and have artificial breasts," said Mohammad Yawar, a former mujahideen fighter against the Taliban and resident of the northern town of Pul-e Khumri.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

More than 53,000 ONE members have signed the On the Record campaignpetition, which asks the presidential candidates to do just that-go on therecord on camera and in writing to talk about their plans to end extremepoverty and global disease.

This weekend, ONE volunteers in places like Dover, New Hampshire, DesMoines, Iowa, Columbia, South Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada braved the latefall chill-well, maybe not in Las Vegas-to deliver your petitions directlyto the candidates and their campaigns.

Read their stories, watch video and see pictures of the delivery here:


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

FBI Releases Hate Crimes Statistics Report for 2006

Each year, the FBI publishes data concerning the bias-motivated offensesreported by law enforcement to gauge the scope and nature of hate crime inthe United States. This report chronicles crimes that were motivated bybias against race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity / nationalorigin, or disability. Data include information about the types of offensescommitted, some traits of the victims and the offenders, and aggregate hatecrime offense counts by state and agency type. The agency has just releasedstatistics compiled from 2006 and initial estimates show that hate crimesacross the U.S. have risen 8%. To view the report, visit


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

AIDS remains Leading Cause of Death in Africa, Says UN


AIDS Remains Leading Cause of Death in Africa, according to UN6800 New Infections Each Day, says New Report

Contact: David Bryden, +1-202-789-0432 x 211 or mobile +1-202-549-3664

Washington, Nov 20 -- Today the UN issued an updated estimate of the extentof HIV infection around the globe, based mainly on improved methods ofdetermining the scope of the disease.

New figures released today by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization haverevised the estimated number of people living with HIV to 33.2 million.This is about 16% less than what was previously thought. Each day there areabout 6800 new infections and 5700 deaths due to AIDS, according to thereport, less than what was previously estimated.

"It is good news that the extent of infection is somewhat less than wethought, especially in India and some parts of Africa," said Dr. Paul Zeitz,Executive Director of the Global AIDS Alliance.

"However, we must not be complacent about the AIDS crisis," he noted."There is still a huge unmet need for basic HIV/AIDS services, including fororphaned children. Today's report does not change the fact that only a tinyfraction of HIV positive pregnant women are getting the treatment they needto avoid passing the virus to their newborns and to stay alive to raisethem," he noted.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

A new (gay) reason to boycott Wal*Mart

USA Today

Gay rights group raises red flag on Wal-Mart policies

By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY
20 Nov 07

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group, is givingWal-Mart (WMT) a red "do not buy" rating in its new consumer guide,bestowing a lump of coal on the retail giant just in time for the holidayshopping season.

Read on:


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Windy City Times [Chicago, IL]

WEEK OF 'T' RIGHTS: Trans protest, confront HRC in Chicago

by Amy Wooten
November 21, 2007

Last week there was a wide range of events calling attention to transgenderissues, from a protest held at an HRC-Chicago event, to a vigil for victimsof anti-trans violence, to a rousing trans celebration, and a forumfollowing the screening of the film The Gendercator at the Reeling festival.

Following the controversy over Human Right Campaign's ( HRC ) support of atrans-less Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA ) , an emotionaldialogue took place during a recent Chicago Gender Society ( CGS ) businessmeeting in which local HRC representatives were guests.

On Nov. 13, CGS chose to have HRC Chicago's steering committee speak attheir regular business meeting. Former CGS president and Illinois GenderAdvocate ( IGA ) Chair Stevie Conlon, as well as active members of CGS, IGA,Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) and others protested outside the venue. Thepeaceful protesters were invited inside to attend the meeting, where aheated and emotional forum took place. The protest was condoned by CGS in anattempt to begin a much-needed dialogue.

An ENDA that excluded gender-identity protections passed the U.S. House of Representatives 235-184 Nov. 7. While 360 state and national organizationsjoined United ENDA, a coalition calling for an inclusive bill, HRC backedout on its previous promises and supported Rep. Barney Frank's new,trans-less version of ENDA.

"We are so disappointed," Conlon told Windy City Times. "I don't know if HRCis redeemable."



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Transgender candidate misled voters, suit alleges
City clerk is also accused of tampering with vote machines

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 11/19/07

Two unsuccessful Riverdale City Council candidates have asked a judge tohalt an upcoming runoff election, alleging fraud by a candidate who ran as awoman and tampering with voting machines by the city clerk.

Georgia Fuller and Stanley Harris, who lost bids for council seats in Ward 2and 4, filed petitions in Clayton County Superior Court last week contestingthe Nov. 6 election. The suit names City Manager Iris Jessie, City ClerkStephanie Thomas, incumbent Ward 2 Council member Michelle Bruce, Ward 4incumbent Council member Kenny Ruffin and Ward 2 candidate Wayne Hall.



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17:49 Fri 23 Nov 2007 - Rene Beekman

The State should pay attention to real problems of youth in Bulgaria,like poverty, lack of education and violence, and not gay advertisement. That was the message that Bulgarian gay organisation Gemini sent out ina statement in reaction to the taking down of billboards picturing Azis andKitaetsa in the centre of Sofia, said. The take-down had been ordered by Sofia municipality. The billboardswere part of an advertisement campaign for a new television station, whichwas said to be owned by Krasimir Gergov. Azis would be hosting a late-night program on the new televisionstation. Azis was shown on the billboards, naked to the waist, biting the beardof his partner Kitaetsa. For three days local media have been commenting the case, which hasturned out to be good PR for the new television station, mediapool.bgcommented. "Does society really believe that a picture of two half-naked men, shotclose to one another, is immoral? Yes! Because that same society elevatesto cult status big-breasted folk-singers," the Gemini statement said. "Howwould that society have reacted to the billboards, if, instead of Kitaetsa,the picture would include a silicone-star, of the pop-folk variety forexample?," quoted the Gemini statement as saying. Gemini accused Bulgarian society of having different standards for men,women and homosexuals and said society still does not accept diversity.more....


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

A Time to Rethink AIDS?s Grip

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.November 25, 2007

IGNORE the fuss over the news last week ? the United Nations? AIDS-fightingagency admits to overestimating the global epidemic by six million people.That was a sampling error, an epidemiologist?s Dewey Defeats Truman.Look instead at the fact that glares out from the Orwellian but necessaryrevision of the figures for earlier years. There it is, starkly: AIDS haspeaked.New infections reached a high point in the late 1990's by the bestestimate, in 1998.There must have been such moments in the past ? perhaps A.D. 543, whenConstantinople realized it would survive the Plague of Justinian, or 1351 inmedieval Europe, when hope dawned that the Black Death would not claw downeveryone.Eleven years ago, there was a milestone moment in AIDS history when AndrewSullivan wrote an article in The New York Times Magazine titled ?WhenPlagues End.Ó It argued that a new treatment, the triple therapy cocktail,meant it was finally possible to envision AIDS as a chronic illness, not aninevitable death sentence.Naturally, he was, in his words, ?flayed aliveÓ by the AIDS establishment.An end in sight implied that vigilance could relax ? although he hadn?tactually argued that.Mr. Sullivan?s view was solipsistic. It celebrated hope for gay American menstill reveling in their sexual freedom and barely mentioned the widerreality of newborn babies and faithful wives in Africa who were never toenjoy any freedoms and still were doomed to die miserably in numbers thatwould blast the exit doors off every gay bar in North America.



Palm Beach County bans transgender discrimination
By Josh Hafenbrack

November 21, 2007

Transsexual and transgender employees are now part of protected classes inPalm Beach County, meaning employees cannot be fired or denied promotionsbased on gender identity.County commissioners voted Tuesday to add gender identity to a list ofprotected classes that include race, sex, color, religion, national origin,handicap, familial status, sexual orientation and marital status.The protections apply when transgender individuals are buying a house,renting an apartment or when they're at a place of "public accommodation,"such as a movie theater or a restaurant.

"This is the lipstick and high heels" ordinance, said Commissioner MaryMcCarty, referring to the fact that the ordinance would protect a man whocame into work dressed as a woman or vice versa.In March, Largo City Manager Susan Stanton was fired after revealing plansto have a sex change, helping spark the movement to make transgender aprotected class.The Palm Beach County ordinance that protects transgender employees reads:"Gender identity or expression means a gender-related identity, appearance,expression or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual'sassigned sex at birth."

"No one should be fired, harassed or denied promotion simply because theydon't fit the stereotypes for masculinity or femininity," said Rand Hoch,president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, a gay rightsadvocacy group that sought the changes.There are 5,000 to 10,000 people in Palm Beach County who fit thetransgender category, Hoch said.

Josh Hafenbrack can be reached at or561-228-5508.

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is dedicated to endingdiscrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and genderexpression.The Council promotes equality through education, advocacy, direct action,impact litigation and community outreach.Palm Beach County Human Rights CouncilPost Office Box 267West Palm Beach, Florida 33402(561) 845-6545


Davie, Florida

Forwarded from Anthony Niedwiecki
Associate Prof. of Law, Director of LSV Program
Shepard Broad Law Center , Nova Southeastern Univ.
Phone: (954) 262-6206

NOVA SOUTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY TO HOST BISHOP GENE ROBINSON FOR LECTURE SERIESFirst openly gay Episcopalian Bishop to speak on LGBT issues30 Years After Anita Bryant's Crusade: The Continuing Role of Morality inthe Development of Legal Rights for Sexual Minorities.Our final Goodwin Speaker, Bishop Gene Robinson, will speak to the public onTuesday, November 27 from 6-7, with a reception to follow. The lecture willtake place in the Large Lecture hall at the law center. Bishop Robinson isthe first openly gay Episcopalian Bishop, which has caused a great deal ofdiscussion and fracturing within the church. He will be speaking to us onhow religion influences the determination of LGBT rights, and how hereconciled his religion with his own identity.A reception with drinks and food will follow the public presentation whereyou can meet Bishop Robinson. The speaking event and reception are open tothe public and free, and they will both take place at the law center.



Safe Schools South Florida (Formerly GLSEN South Florida) Is Awarded a$75,000 Three-Year Grant from John C. Graves Charitable Fund

Some of the students whose lives will be affected by the grant from theCommunity Foundation of Broward, John C. Graves Charitable Fund.

"I saw the work this organization is doing," said Carl Trough, atrustee of the John C. Graves Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation ofBroward.

"I attended a youth workshop at ArtServe and it was an inspiringprogram. There was nothing like that when I was growing up. These types ofprograms deserve our support."

The Graves Fund awarded Safe Schools South Florida a $75,000 grant tobe disbursed in increments of $25,000 over three years. What Trough had experienced was the Second Annual Broward CountyStudent Empowerment Conference sponsored by Safe Schools South Florida(formerly GLSEN South Florida) and attended by members of the gay-straightalliances (GSAs) organized by students in BrowardCounty schools.

Theconferences include representatives from local lesbian, gay, bisexual, andtransgender (LGBT) organizations and agencies, successful gay professionals,a motivational speaker and activities for the students to get to know oneanother and share their stories.

"The issues faced by LGBT students are many," said Loupo. "Isolation,loneliness, and fear of physical and mental abuse are just a few of thefactors that make LGBT teens 4 times more likely to skip school, 3 timesmore likely to drop out and 3 times more likely to commit suicide. Ourconferences help them see that they are not alone, that there is a futurefor them and that there is a community of concerned adults who are eager tohelp them. We are truly grateful for this generous gift from the John C.Graves Fund."

In addition to annual student conferences, the organization sponsors aleadership program to train students to tell their stories and participateon youth panels at workshops conducted by Safe Schools South Florida. Theworkshops are provided to both students and educators and address bullyingand sexual minority issues.

"I knew John [Graves] well and we often talked about the work SafeSchools South Florida was doing when we were GLSEN South Florida. I'm surehe would approve of this generous contribution to making schools safer forall students, said Bruce Presley, president of the Safe Schools SouthFlorida board of directors.more....


Forwarded from GLCC - Ft. Lauderdale

I am sending out this friendly reminder and asking for your help. We are oneof 5 agencies participating in this fundraiser on November 29.

Tickets are$40 ahead of time or $50 at the door and the evening is going to be not onlyfun but a fundraiser for the GLCC. 100% of advance ticket sales will go tothe GLCC. Also, the agency that sells the most tickets will also receive anadditional $2,500!!!!Please buy your tickets in advance by calling Janet Vargas or myself RobertBoo (954-463-9005), stopping by the GLCC or using the paypal button below.Volunteers willing to sell tickets please call me.The ticket will give you access to the food, drink and music during theevent but also there over 30 stores that are offering discounts you can takeadvantage of not only on the evening of November 29 but good throughout theweekend. So start your Holiday Shopping on November 29.more....


Forwarded from Victoria LavinDaily Queer,0,7413639.story

Conservative family group seeks to expand into South FloridaBy Anthony ManPolitical WriterNovember 16, 2007 One of the state's leading conservative political organizations isspreading from its northern and central Florida base to make its first forayinto South Florida.The Florida Family Policy Council is coming to Broward County, arguably themost gay-friendly area of the state, to raise money for a proposed amendmentthat would add a gay-marriage ban to the state Constitution.Tonight's fundraising event in Hollywoodproduces several winners:.It helps the family policy group gain exposure and recruit members in themost densely populated region of the state, an area its leader says couldbenefit from a conservative agenda..It helps tonight's keynote speaker, presidential candidate Fred Thompson,who has been trying to strengthen his candidacy with the Republican Party'sconservative base.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria LavinDaily Queer,0,6862145.story

Philly Mayor to Officiate at Gay Union
By Associated Press1:04 PM EST, November 19, 2007


Mayor John Street, once regarded as an enemy of the gay community foropposing same-sex partner benefits, is to preside over his first same-sexcommitment ceremony this weekend.Street said he was asked to officiate at the ceremony for Ryan Bunch andMicah Mahjoubian, a longtime colleague, on Saturday at City Hall."Micah is my friend. He has been in my campaign and has been in myadministration for eight years," Street said. "I've come to respect him as aperson, and if this is something he would like for me to do, then I'd liketo do it for him."About 125 guests are expected at the ceremony, which will have no legalweight since Pennsylvania prohibits gay marriage."It's not marriage. It's not real marriage. They can't be married," saidStreet, a Seventh-day Adventist. "It's not a religious ceremony. I mean,it's not really marriage."more . . . . .

=Forwarded from Victoria LavinDaily Queer


Barack Obama Talks Gay Marriage With CBN

What Would Jesus Do?

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama sat down the Pat "Rudy Lover"Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network last week to talk about twocontroversial political issues" abortion and gay marriage.

Obama says that he understands abortion is a moral issue, but trusts womento be responsible, a responsibility learned through all-encompassing sexeducation. With regard to gay marriage, Obama says, "My belief is that apublic official, my role is to make sure everybody is treated fairly andeverybody has equal rights. I know that sometimes in this debate there istalk about,Well, we don't meaning gays and lesbians equal rights, but not specialrights.

"Well, the fact is that right now many gay couples, for example, can't visit each other in the hospital. And when I sit down and read scripture,I think, "How would Jesus feel about somebody not being able to visitsomebody they love when they're sick?"

I conclude that that is somethingthat is important. Certainly as a public official, it's important for me tomake sure that those basic rights, that basic equality is available. Onthese issues, I think we can disagree respectfully.My hope is - I understandthere are gonna be some people who can't vote for me because of a couple ofthese positions. I just want them to know that there are not issues that Itake lightly.And, of course, he must know that many of CBN's viewers don't take himlightly, if you know what we mean.Obama also told a San Fransisco rally that when he's president he willprotect America's gay "brothers and sisters". [Queer comments start around9:16 mark.]


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer

The Harvard Crimson

Massachusetts Gay Marriage Law Still Contested
Monday, November 19, 2007

Posted on 11/19/2007 8:51:40 AM PST by rface

While yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of the ruling legalizingsame-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the future of marriage in theCommonwealth remains somewhat murky.In July 2006, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court validated proposedconstitutional amendments that would outlaw same-sex marriage, opening thedoor to a possible referendum that could overturn the 2003 ruling byre-defining marriage in the Commonwealth.A similar amendment to the state constitution­-which would have limitedmarriage rights to heterosexual couples-was defeated last June in theMassachusetts legislature, falling five votes short of the 50 required tohave the amendment put to a public vote in November 2008.

"I was really, really anxious when gay marriage came up-whether it would beon the popular vote ballot" said Michelle C. Kellaway '10, Community Chairof the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance."After that battle was won, I breathed a sigh of relief, and I'm not worriedabout it anymore."According to Harvard Republican Club President Jeffrey Kwong '09, theorganization officially supports the 2006 ruling, believing that thelegality of same-sex marriage should be determined through referendum orstate legislative action.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer's top political and sports analyst comes out20th November 2007 11.50Imagine what would happen if Katie Couric came out of the closet. This week,Germany got a taste of a surprise like that when top political news andsports analysts Anne Will, announced her five-year relationship withUniversity of St. Gallen Professor Miriam Meckel.Born in Cologne Germany, Will began working as a reporter at KölnischeRundschau (the Cologne Review) while still attending college.She became a well-respected journalist during the 1990's and began writingfor a variety of news magazines before landing a job hosting the popularGerman sports show Sportschau.During the 2000 Summer Olympics, she became more high profile presentingathlete segments and sports commentary and was eventually brought on toanchor Germany's top evening news show Tagesthemen.Early last month Will began her own political talk show, Anne Will, whichhelped catapult her career as a successful political liaison.

more . . . . .

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Robb: Flake will get flak over vote to extend employment discriminationprotection to homosexuals

ROBERT ROBBPublished: 11.19.2007

Politically, Arizona Republican Congressman Jeff Flake will undoubtedly get pummeled over his vote to extend employment discrimination protection tohomosexuals.Intellectually, however, the vote illustrates how difficult the publicpolicy issues regarding homosexuality are, particularly for those withlibertarian instincts.The public policy terrain begins for the libertarian-minded on safe,comfortable ground: Whether consenting adults engage in homosexual sex isnone of the government's business. Hence libertarians opposed sodomy lawsand other efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior long before the U.S.Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional.After that, however, the terrain becomes rocky and slippery, and perhapsnowhere more so than on employment discrimination. As a general proposition,the United States has an employment-at-will doctrine.That means businesses can make employment decisions on whatever basis theywant and government won't second-guess them.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Three ways to lose the fight

The prospects for winning gay equality are good - as long as we learn to stay out of our way

Nov. 16, 2007

SEVERAL EPISODES OVER the past few weeks proved that fickleness remains oneof the most unfortunate character flaws of the gay rights movement - amovement that endlessly asks others to stand with it, while constantlyabandoning those it calls friends.Our embarrassing treatment of our allies is but one of several tendenciesgay and lesbian Americans regularly exhibit that slows our journey towardacceptance and equality. We use people to bolster our claims ofdiscrimination, or recruit them to speak on our behalf to less tolerantpopulations, or even watch them start our own revolution, and then wediscard them as soon as it fits our interests.I'm actually quite optimistic about the prospects for gay equality in thenear future - as long as we can stay out of our way. Here are three ways wecontinue to sabotage our social justice movement:Abandoning our allies, part oneU.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is a gay American hero, whose politicalbrainpower and good intentions I would never doubt. His decision tointroduce a federal bill that protects gay people from job discriminationwhile excluding transgender individuals is unfortunate and wrong, but I don't begrudge his heart or his strategy of taking what he can get for gaypeople and coming back to fight another day for trans rights.But too many members of our marginalized group - particularly gay men - havegleefully taken advantage of an opportunity to assert their superiority overa "more" marginalized group.

more . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Baltimore archbishop's homily offends gays
Nov. 16, 2007

Some gay Catholics said they were frustrated by a local archbishop's homilylast month that railed against gay marriage.The homily, delivered Oct. 25 by Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O'Brien during aspecial Mass for judges and attorneys, asserted that straight marriage is"radically threatened" by courts and lawmakers intent on legalizing gaymarriage.According to the Catholic Review, O'Brien called on congregants to make thedefense of heterosexual marriage "an urgent necessity to ensure theflourishing of persons, the well-being of children and the common good ofsociety."The homily did not sit well with gay Catholics like Francis DeBernardo,executive director of New Ways Ministries, a Maryland organization thatadvocates for the inclusion of gays in the Catholic Church."It's frustrating that someone like him, in a position of power andauthority in the church, has such a misinformed view about sexuality,relationships and marriage," he said. "The church really would do better ifhe would enter into a dialogue with gay and lesbian people and theirfamilies and those who are ministering with them."more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay Club, Okeechobee High trial starts in June

Palm Beach Post Staff WriterMonday, November 19, 2007

A judge has agreed to push back the start of a trial involving theGay-Straight Alliance of Okeechobee High School.The trial, pitting the club against the keechobee County School Board, willstart in June, according to an order today by U.S. District Judge K. MichaelMoore. The trial originally was slated to begin in March.The ACLU, which represents the club and its founder, had requested the trialbe pushed back until September, arguing that lawyers for the school boardhad only recently revealed they would be relying heavily on expertwitnesses, though they've refused to share their names.A case involving expert testimony takes much more time to prepare, accordingto Robert Rosenwald, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.Attorneys for the school board countered that the ACLU had plenty of time toprepare its case. The school board has refrained from "premature disclosure"of its experts "to avoid unnecessary media exposure and harassment," schoolboard attorney David Gibbs said in a court filing.

more . . . . .

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News,0,7576285.story

Condoms for Inmates: a Tough Sell
National Writer3:40 PM EST, November 19, 2007

NEW YORKTo activists concerned about AIDS and prisoners' rights, it's an urgent,commonsense step that should already be nationwide policy -- letting inmateshave condoms to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases behindbars.Yet their efforts have run headlong into a stronger political force:Authorities' desire not to encourage inmates who flout prison rules againstsex. Only one state, Vermont, and five cities regularly hand out condoms toinmates.

Mississippi does so only for inmates receiving conjugal visits fromtheir spouses.Left out are the vast majority of America's 2.2 million prisoners -- manyheld in facilities where sex between men is common and the risk of STDs isfar higher than in the general population."I realize this is not a comfortable topic for many people, but it's one wesimply cannot afford to ignore," said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. "When morethan 90 percent of incarcerated people return to our communities, taking ahead-in-the-sand approach to the fact that our prisons have become abreeding ground for HIV/AIDS poses a serious public health risk."Despite such warnings, recent efforts to expand behind-bars condom accesshave gone almost nowhere. Prison officials contend that condoms can be usedto conceal drugs, and law-and-order politicians scoff at what they depict asa step that would encourage both consensual and coercive sex.more . . . . .


Gay & Lesbian LeadershipSmartBrier

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

Senate Dems: No recess appointment for surgeon-general nominee: SenateMajority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., intends to briefly reconvene the Senatetwice during its traditional Thanksgiving break to head off the possibilityof President George W. Bush making a so-called "recess appointment" to nameDr. James W. Holsinger Jr. as surgeon general. Holsinger's nomination isopposed by LGBT groups over a paper he wrote 16 years ago criticizing gaysex as unhealthy and unnatural; he has denied being anti-gay. Los AngelesTimes (free registration) (11/18)

U.N. issues revised estimate of global HIV cases: The number of HIVinfections worldwide is nearly 20% lower than previously reported andreached its peak in the late 1990s, according to revised statistics from theUnited Nations' AIDS-fighting agency. The New York Times (11/20)

Analysis: Ohio governor taking cautious approach to LGBT issues: DemocraticOhio Gov. Ted Strickland reportedly is toeing a careful line with LGBTissues, to avoid having a repeat of the 2004 presidential election, when amarriage-ban proposal on the ballot helped galvanize President George W.Bush's supporters. For example, Strickland banned workplace discriminationbased on sexual orientation or gender identity in the executive branch, asit applies to "rate of compensation," but did not extend the order toinclude domestic-partner benefits. The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)/AssociatedPress (11/19)

Philly mayor's marriage role shows change of heart on LGBT issues: ThePhiladelphia Inquirer (11/19)Fla. lawmaker who was convicted in bathroom-sex sting will leave officeWashington Blade/Associated Press (11/19)

Help us. Help you! Three terrific trips are waiting for you to get lucky.The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is raffling one trip for two to theDominican Republic, courtesy of our friends at OutWest Global Adventures,and two trips for two on a fabulous Olivia Cruise, the premier travelcompany for women. For more information or to purchase your 1 in 500 chanceof winning one of these trips, go to

Out Michigan mayor shows power of working from within: Craig Covey,reportedly the first out candidate to be elected mayor in a Michigan city ortown, exemplifies how gays and lesbians can effect change by integratingthemselves into the fabric of their communities before seeking office,according to columnist Deb Price. The Detroit News (11/19)

Blogger goes to video with sampling of questions for Republican debate:Blogger Michael Crawford offers a sampling of potential LGBT-themedquestions on marriage, the military and religion submitted to the CNN/YouTube Republican Presidential Debate on Nov. 28. Read more at The BilericoProject.

Bloggers lament sudden end of AOL's QueerSighted: Bloggers write about thealleged sudden demise of AOL's much ballyhooed QueerSighted blog. Read moreat and Proceed at your own risk.


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:

Bothell, WA - Domestic partners of city of Edmonds employees will be offeredhealth coverage through the city's employee benefits plan, the City Councildecided this week.The council voted 6-0 to extend benefits to employees'senior or same-sex significant others - a right previously given only tomarried couples. Councilwoman Deanna Dawson was absent from the Tuesdaynight council meeting. Couples must be registered with the state as domesticpartners in order to receive benefits.The city did not extend benefits toheterosexual domestic partners because they have the option of gettingmarried and receiving coverage. The move protects the city from lawsuits,city officials said.

(Sydney, Australia) Prime Minister John Howard's Liberal government suffereda crushing defeat to the opposition Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd (pictured)on Saturday. Howard's ouster ended 11 years leading Australia with mostAustralian's seeing him as "yesterday's man". Howard even lost his own seatin Parliament. The vote ends longstanding disagreements between Howard'sLiberals and Australia's gay community over recognizing same-sexrelationships. In 2004 Howard's government passed legislation limitingmarriage to opposite-sex couples.In February for the second time Howard'sgovernment quashed an attempt by the Australian Capital Territory to enactcivil union legislation. The government said that it violated the gaymarriage ban.Commissioners heard from dozens of gay couples in hearingsacross the country of how partners have been cut out of wills because theyhave not legal status, how children in same-sex relationships are harmed,and how federal pension law hurts one partner when the other dies.

SAN FRANCISCO - A court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Californiawould improve the business climate, says the San Francisco Chamber ofCommerce. The organization endorsed arguments filed in the state SupremeCourt by Levi Strauss & Co. of San Francisco and a group called Out andEqual Workplace Advocates. Out of more than 40 briefs submitted in the caseby civil rights and religious groups, legislators, law professors, localgovernments and others, the Levi Strauss brief is the only one from abusiness.Support of marriage rights for gays and lesbians is "consistentwith our organization's advocacy of policies that are inclusive andcontribute to business' ability to attract and retain a diverse, talentedworkforce," Steve Falk, the chamber's chief executive, said in a statementthis week.

Talk about skewed and bigoted priorities. This just landed in my inbox fromFlorida's Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.Last August, two members ofthe Board of Trustees of Palm Beach Community College killed a proposalwhich would have granted the college's full-time employees the ability topurchase health insurance for their domestic partners.But soon, thecollege's employees will be able to purchase health insurance for theirpets.On November 16, Dr. Ellen Grace, PBCC's Director of Human Relationsnotified the college's full-time employees that "the college has added petinsurance as an available option to employees through payroll deduction." [Acopy of Dr. Grace's e-mail is below the fold.]"When it comes to providinghealth PBCHRC Logoinsurance, Palm Beach Community College prefers puppies topartners," said Rand Hoch, President of the Palm Beach County Human RightsCouncil.

OTTAWA (AFP) - A theological split in the Anglican Church over homosexualityis now a "full-blown schism," a Canadian bishop said Wednesday, ahead of theexpected formation of a breakaway body.Right Reverend Michael Ingham, whoseGreater Vancouver diocese became the first Anglican jurisdiction to formallyauthorize the blessing of same-sex unions in 2002, accused the AnglicanChurch of the Southern Cone of the Americas of tearing at the rip bypoaching congregations in Canada.He also blasted the South American factionfor planning to ordain two deacons in his diocese in westernmost Canada nextmonth, despite his objections. "Setting up two rival bodies is not healthyfor the Anglican Church.""Historically, the Anglican Church came from asplit from the Roman Catholic Church in the 1400s," Adams conceded. "Butafterwards it became a big tent church ... open to a wide variety oftheologies, and we think that's good and we'd like it to remain that way."

EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. - It's long been known as a gay-friendly liberaloutpost in a conservative frontier, but now this quaint village is gaining areputation as a romantic getaway for same-sex couples who want to registeras domestic partners.Since the Eureka Springs City Council approved thecreation of a domestic partner registry in May, gay and lesbian couples fromacross Arkansas and from several other states started flocking to town toregister as domestic partners. The ordinance became effective on June 22after the council voted unanimously to approve it.City Clerk Mary Jean Sellsaid she has registered 132 couples in the domestic partner registry, whichis open to gay and straight couples. Only a half dozen of the registeredcouples have been straight, she said.Couples do not have to be residents ofEureka Springs to take advantage of the registry, Sell said."The ordinancesays you must be 18 years of age and have 35 bucks," Sell said. "They get acertificate of registration. If they want to do some sort of ceremony, theyhave to make their own arrangements for that."

Lawrence Johnson thought the 30 years he spent teaching English to studentsat Needham High School was hard work. But he learned otherwise when hispartner of 37 years, Alexandre Rheume, began to suffer the ravages ofParkinson's disease, including dementia. In 2001, Johnson retired from hisjob so that he could provide his partner with the around-the-clock care herequired. "Being a caregiver is by far the hardest thing I've ever done inmy life," Johnson told a crowd of elder service providers, family caregiversand lawmakers at the State House Nov. 15. "And there is no preparation. It'sall on-the-job experience." Johnson, who lives in Sharon, made his remarksas he received a Governor's Citation from Secretary of Elder Affairs MikeFesta in recognition of his efforts as a family caregiver. Johnson was among17 caregivers honored at the ceremony. In an unfortunate testament to theall-consuming nature of caring for an aging or seriously ill loved one athome, many of the caregivers were unable to attend the ceremony to accepttheir awards in person. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray joined the ceremony to proclaimNovember Family Caregivers Month in Massachusetts.

Toledo, OH - Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said today he has signed the domesticpartnership legislation that will allow unmarried couples to have theirrelationships recognized by the city government.The law, which would takeeffect in 30 days, passed Toledo City Council last week 10-2. It requiresthe clerk of council to set up a registry for unmarried couples, whethersame or opposite sexes.Mr. Finkbeiner said he received a lot of calls,e-mails, and letters, but said they were split evenly on what heacknowledged was controversial legislation.He said that while he is a"strong Christian believer" who does not endorse alternative lifestyles, hebelieves in protecting individual rights.

Papa and Daddy sit on the couch while their toddler, Jack, jumps up and downnext to them saying the word "monkey." His two dads laugh adoringly, andgive their son a squeeze. You are sure hamming it up," says Drew Ryan,rubbing his adoptive son's head. "He's so outgoing."Ryan's husband, Randy Simpson, nods. "I'm just so proud of our family, Drew,and the baby, and where we are lucky enough to live," said Simpson, to whomJack refers as Daddy. Drew is Papa. They like to spend their days off as afamily going for brunch or playing at Kitsilano Beach. They live in a tidybungalow near South Granville, with a tricycle parked on the lawn. Most oftheir friends are straight couples who have children. The Vancouver coupleare part of an emerging gang of gay dads who -- despite physiological,economic and social obstacles -- are raising kids.

"How do you thank a whole movement?" asks MassEquality Development DirectorScott Gortikov during a recent interview. From intrepid canvassers tophone-banking PFLAG moms, from persuasive people of faith to well-heeleddonors who opened their hearts and their wallets, Gortikov notes that duringthe past four years, "tens and tens of thousands of people" have acted topreserve marriage equality in Massachusetts. "Think about any one of thesegroups," says Gortikov. "If they didn't put their shoulders to the wheel,would we have gotten here?"

New Hampshire: City and town clerks won't begin issuing civil union licenses to gay andlesbian couples until three weeks before the new law goes into effect, whichis not soon enough for some same-sex partners eager to start planning NewYear's Day ceremonies. "It's causing anxiety," said Mo Baxley, director forthe New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition. "People usually have morethan three weeks to plan a wedding, and this is cutting it pretty close."But the state is still working on software that will allow clerks to accessthe state's online system and print and issue the new documents. "Thesoftware is what's holding this up," said Scanlan, adding he did not knowwhen the state's Office of Information Technology began working on the vitalrecords database.

On NBC News last night, Brian Williams declared that we're "in an era whenmarriage is under attack" That's a bizarre claim to make in a news broadcastlike that. What does Williams mean? In what way is "marriage under attack,"and who is doing the attacking?UPDATE II: Brian Williams responds and explains himself. Whatever one's viewof his response, it is a positive development that a network news anchor,within less than 24 hours, feels compelled to explain something he said onhis news broadcast.

Williams' response: I was the recipient today of several emails fromwell-intentioned people, telling me I was being attacked in parts of theblogosphere for something I wrote and said on the air in last night'sbroadcast. It was a closing piece about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillipcelebrating their 60th anniversary. I noted this accomplishment, especiallyin this era when, as I put it, marriage seems "under attack" as aninstitution. My meaning? Our national divorce rate, which is currentlysomewhere between 40 and 50 percent. Others took it upon themselves todecide that I was somehow attacking gay marriage.

The simple fact is thatnothing could have been further from my mind, as many others easilyunderstood. In fact, one comment shared with me today came from a respectedmember of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, who said,"It seemed to me he was talking about the sky-high heterosexual divorcerates. Marriage IS under attack -- by straight people. It had nothing to dowith the gay marriage movement."

Members of a Presbyterian denomination in Baltimore are asking the national organization to redefine marriage to permit same-sex couples. The vote infavor of the change was 76-71. The Baltimore Presbytery includes 74 churchesand has almost 20,000 members. The full General Assembly of the church willconsider the proposal in June.


National Gay News

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Scottsdale, AZ - Council to Consider Discrimination Policy - Ifanti-discrimination measures meant to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgendered city employees go into effect in Scottsdale, officials don'texpect it will necessitate any sweeping changes in city facilities. TheCity Council is slated Dec. 4 to consider adding sexual orientation andgender identity - a term often meant to refer to the transgendered - to thelist of protected classes in city's equal employment and anti-discriminationpolicies. They will join protections for employees on the basis of race,color, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability.

AIDS Quilt Coming to West Palm Beach - Compass Inc., the county's gay andlesbian community center, will mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 by hosting thelargest section of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Florida. Twenty separatesections of the quilt, representing 160 coffin-sized panels, will be ondisplay from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the organization's headquarters, 7600 S.Dixie Highway. Each hand-sewn panel memorializes a man, woman or child whohas died of AIDS.

Palm Springs had one of the highest numbers of reported hate crimes based onsexual orientation in California in 2006, according to a new FBI reportreleased Monday. With eight reported incidents based on sexual bias, PalmSprings ranked fifth in the state, followed by Riverside, which had six.Ahead of Palm Springs were Los Angeles, which reported 42; San Franciscowith 38; San Diego with 18; and Sacramento with 13 incidents.

Atlanta Police Target Gay Leather Party - Atlanta police recently raided alocal gathering of gay leather enthusiasts for the second time in 12 months,even though organizers of the second event took specific steps to avoidattracting the police attention that shut down a leather party at the samelocation in 2006. Organizers of last month's "Blackout" party hosted byOnyx Southeast, a black gay leather group, said they are considering filinga complaint against the Atlanta Police Department officers who"threateningly" broke-up the private party without providing a sufficientreason. No one was arrested and there is no police report from the Oct. 7incident.

Michigan Bars Transgender Discrimination - Gov. Jennifer Granholm has issuedan order that bars discrimination against state workers based on their"gender identity or expression," which protects the rights of those whobehave, dress or identify as members of the opposite sex.The order, whichGranholm signed Wednesday, adds gender identity to a list of otherprohibited grounds for discrimination that includes religion, race, color,national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, maritalstatus, politics, disability or genetic information.

Poppers usage could increase a gay mans susceptibility to HIV transmissionduring unprotected sex, a new UK study has found. The use of the drugfacilitates longer and rougher sex, as well as increasing the body's uptakeof fluids.

Singapore OKs Concert by US Gay Couple - In a rare move, Singapore hasgiven approval for an American gay couple to perform next month as part of aconcert to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS.The Los Angeles-based Christian gaycouple Jason and deMarco were barred in 2005 from performing in thecity-state.

Marriage is About Love, Not Gender - By William Butte - Like most politicians, epublican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says what hethinks people will buy.When Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S.Senate in 1994, he told assachusetts' gay Republicans he'd be a strongeradvocate for gay rights than the enator, and a voice in the RepublicanParty to foster anti-discrimination fforts.Now that he's running to becomepresident, Romney is saying what he thinks will attract his party's coreChristian conservative "values voters." Cultivating hisconservative bonafides to distract from his previously gay-friendly position, the andidatewho once said he'd be a voice for gays to foster anti-discrimination ffortsnow says he favors amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Sports Out Loud - Announces Gay Athlete of the Year Award - Owner of SportsOut Loud magazine, announced today its plans to recognize achievement inamateur gay ports."We are currently seeking sponsors to be part of gaysports history," company CEO Eric arlyle said. "Ten years ago it would havebeen unheard of to have such an ward and we are so happy to be pioneers ingay sports coverage and we want to open p this opportunity to sponsors. Weanticipate a broad range of applicants from aturday golfers to serioussoccer players."


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