Sunday, November 04, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 4, 2007

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The New York Times

Comings and Goings

Canada a Favorite Among Gays
November 4, 2007

Canadian cities dominated a recent list of the top 10 internationaldestinations for gay and lesbian travelers, according to a recent surveypublished by Community Marketing Inc. (, a SanFrancisco-based gay and lesbian market research company. The 12th annualtourism survey queried 7,561 consumers, who answered 42 questions in anonline survey in September. Canada, where same sex marriage is legal, wasthe overall country favorite with three cities in the top 10 - Montreal,Toronto and Vancouver, the latter known for its gay-themed Among individual cities, London took the No. 1 spot.Other popular destinations included Paris, Rome, and Puerto Vallarta andCancún in Mexico. New York took top honors in the domestic Top 10 list,which also included Las Vegas, San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale.


The New York Times

Blackboard | Admissions
Tufts Asks for 250 Words of Wisdom

November 4, 2007

Tufts has a problem shared by most competitive universities: After itrejects the weak and admits the geniuses, too many decent applicantsremain - about three for every spot. Recommendations and polished essays"all pretty much say the same things," says Lee Coffin, dean ofundergraduate admissions.

So for the second year, Tufts is inviting applicants to write an optionalessay to help admissions officers pinpoint qualities the university values -ractical intelligence, analytical ability, creativity and wisdom. Theseattributes make students intellectual leaders, according to Tufts's dean ofarts and sciences, Robert J. Sternberg, a psychologist whose work onmeasuring intelligence inspired the experiment. Applicants choose one ofeight unlabeled questions, each designed to home in on a differentattribute. Questions will change every year.

In the last admissions cycle, Mr. Coffin says, only a third of the essayistsdemonstrated one of the four qualities. They were twice as likely to beadmitted as other applicants. Below are examples of each quality, asillustrated by members of this fall's freshman class.


Tufts's Definition Can implement an idea - gather the necessary resources,attract others to the cause and lead them to a solution.

Question Describe a moment in which you took a risk and achieved anunexpected goal. How did you persuade others to follow your lead? Whatlessons do you draw from this experience?



The New York Times

Lives: Son of the South

November 4, 2007

When I was 16, my father left my mother and me for his pregnant mistress,who happened to be a jockey at the racetrack and didn't ride sidesaddle, ifyou know what I mean. Well, we're from Houston; off-color divorce is ourmunicipal hobby. Mother's first words after reading Daddy's Dear Janeletter - "All that goes back tomorrow!" - referred to a cluster of shoppingbags we collected earlier that day at Neiman's and addressed the realproblem for both of us: with my father gone, the gravy train was over.

What can I say about a gay boy's love for his mother? Especially my mother,who's outrageous, even by the standards of over-the-hill Southern belles.From the fitting room to the Costa Brava, our life was one long looping of"Suddenly, Last Summer."

After Daddy left, Mother spent weeks in bed drinking Smirnoff out of Evianbottles before starting a campaign to win a new, rich husband - cruisingBible-study groups at the better-off Baptist churches, along with someRepublican luncheon clubs. "But Mother," I said, "you're a registeredDemocrat." "From now on, Robert," Mother replied, "I vote with theDemocrats, but I lunch with the Republicans." Mother's husband hunt wasreally the first thing we'd ever not done together. It wasn't long before Ifigured out that a man doesn't propose to a middle-aged jeune fille withanother fellow's son around. And it wasn't long before Mother'sshoot-where-the-ducks-are strategy proved winning; she was soon off toCalifornia with a right-wing fiancé.



The New York Times

A Year Still to Go, and Presidential Politics Have Shifted Already

November 4, 2007

DES MOINES, Nov. 3 - With a year to go until Election Day, the Republicanand Democratic Parties are going through internal battles over their veryidentity, even as the races for their presidential nominations intensify. Inmany ways, the battles over how the parties will define themselves in thepost-Bush era are nearly as significant a political fight as thepresidential contest itself.

The continued strength of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor whosupports abortion rights and gay rights, is testing the question of whethersocial issues still drive Republican primary voters. Mr. Giuliani is talkingabout terrorism, cutting taxes, his record in managing New York Citygovernment - but he has made no serious effort to shade his positions toappeal to the social conservatives who helped reshape the party over thepast three decades and helped President Bush win the White House twice.

Should Mr. Giuliani win the nomination, he would give the party a verydifferent definition and face than the Southerners and evangelicals who havebeen ascendant until now.

The challenge to orthodoxy is slightly less marked on the Democratic side,where the party has tilted from the left to the center over the past 20years. Tough talk about Iran by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New Yorkhas put her at odds with much of her party, and her nomination would suggestthe party is willing to embrace a relatively hawkish foreign policy even asit promises to end the war in Iraq.

It typically falls to the nominee to provide the ideological framework forhis or her party. That appears to be especially so this time, reflecting howboth parties are somewhat adrift after eight years under Mr. Bush.

"The Republican Party is waiting for a nominee to voice a post-Bush visionfor the party," said Richard N. Bond, a former Republican National Committeechairman.

Of the two, the Republican Party seems to be at more of a turning point.Even if Mr. Giuliani fails to win the nomination, the fact that so manyRepublicans were willing to consider a candidate who was openly for abortionrights and gay rights - something that would have been unthinkable fouryears ago - suggests just how much the definition of what it means to be aRepublican is changing.

On the Democratic side, the thirst to retake the White House is easing someof the party's traditional internal divisions. "Ideological battles tend notto happen when parties believe they are going to win," said Joe Andrews, aformer chairman of the Democratic National Committee.



The Washington Post

A Vehicle for Self-Expression? Not on These Roads.

By Marc Fisher
Sunday, November 4, 2007; C01

For 11 years, over nearly 200,000 miles, with the blessing of the state ofVirginia, David Phillips has driven his Tracker with the "POOFTER" licenseplate, and nobody has complained -- not even when he parked at the BritishEmbassy, where everybody knows "poofter" is British slang for a gay man.

"It's always a rolling good laugh for them," says Phillips, who is gay andchose his tags' message because "it's just an amusing word that Iself-identify with."

The commonwealth of Virginia is not amused. It gave Phillips his vanityplates in error, Carolyn Easley, coordinator of the special license platesoffice, wrote in a recent letter. "You may have grown fond of yourpersonalized plates," but they are "socially, racially or ethnicallyoffensive or disparaging" and "you must return them." There was noexplanation for why it took Virginia 11 years to figure out what "poofter"means.

They'll have to pry those plates from Phillips's cold dead hands, orsomething like that. The 42-year-old Arlington County resident, who works asa computer consultant, says he's not sending back the tags, even if thestate has generously provided a prepaid envelope for that purpose.

The next step: a hearing in Richmond. But Phillips's chances are not good,because his case has been to the Word Committee, a panel of a dozenDepartment of Motor Vehicles employees who review vanity plate applicationsthat have either drawn a citizen complaint or been flagged by a computerprogram that searches proposed plate messages -- forward and backward -- forobscene, explicit, excretory, violent or offensive content.




Can't Rowling just be quiet?

November 4, 2007

With apologies to Raymond Carver, the late great short-story writer, wouldsomeone tell J.K. Rowling to please be quiet, please?

Rowling has incited much chatter since Oct. 19, when she made the deplorableannouncement that Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts boarding school,was, in fact, a homosexual.

This is wrong. Just wrong.

Oh, wait - you thought I meant it's wrong she made Dumbledore gay?

No, what I find objectionable is Rowling's decision to deliver thisbombshell not within her books, but by casually announcing it in a publicgathering.

I'm aware this may seem trivial to those focused on the political and socialimport of Dumbledore's outing, but to those of us foolish enough to stillrevere the integrity of the implicit compact between author and reader, it'sno small matter.

It all started at a reading Rowling gave to 1,000 fans at Carnegie Hall. Ayoungster asked if Dumbledore, "who believed in the prevailing power oflove, ever fell in love himself?"

"I always thought of Dumbledore as gay," Rowling replied.

The audience first gasped at the revelation, then gave the author a standingovation. "If I'd known this would make you this happy," Rowling said, "Iwould have announced it years ago."



Los Angeles Times,1,1442204.story?track=rss

Award over funeral protest may not stand
Constitutional scholars say the 1st Amendment will probably protect anti-gaychurch members who picket military services.

By Matthew Dolan
Baltimore Sun
November 2, 2007

BALTIMORE - Leading constitutional scholars say the multimillion-dollaraward this week to the father of a Marine killed in Iraq is likely to beoverturned because the church members who protested his son's funeral enjoybroad protection under the 1st Amendment.

Wednesday, a jury in U.S. District Court in Baltimore found in favor ofAlbert Snyder, the Marine's father, after deliberating for about nine hoursover two days.

Jurors unanimously agreed that the Snyders' privacy had been breached by theWestboro Baptist Church, a family-based conservative religious group thatassembled on public property near the funeral motorcade. As mourners forLance Cpl. Matthew Snyder drove by March 10, 2006, members of thefundamentalist Christian church based in Topeka, Kan., held up signs readingsuch things as "Thank God for dead soldiers."

The $10.9-million verdict marked the first successful civil claim againstWestboro, whose congregants have picketed with anti-gay placards at militaryfunerals across the United States.

Experts on the 1st Amendment expressed doubt that the verdict and sizabledamage award against Westboro would survive appellate review before the U.S.4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

"I have spoken to a number of 1st Amendment attorneys today, and every oneof them believe the case will be reversed and should be reversed," saidRonald K.L. Collins, a scholar at the First Amendment Center in Washington.



Clinton Shrugs Off Criticism

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 3, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Concord, New Hampshire) Hillary Rodham Clinton says her status as theDemocratic presidential front-runner - not her gender - has led her maleprimary rivals to intensify their criticism of her.

"I don't think they're piling on because I'm a woman. I think they're pilingon because I'm winning," Clinton told reporters after filing paperwork toappear on the New Hampshire primary ballot.

"I anticipate it's going to get even hotter, and if you can't stand the heatget out of the kitchen. I'm very much at home in the kitchen," she said.

The New York senator's comments came three days after a televised debate inwhich her six male opponents challenged her character, electability andapparent unwillingness to answer tough questions.

The Clinton campaign reacted strongly to what it called "piling on." Onefundraising e-mail it sent out called her "one tough woman" and decried the"six on one" nature of the debate criticism. Clinton herself referred to the"all boys club of presidential politics" in a speech at Wellesley CollegeThursday.

The complaints haven't deterred her rivals. On Friday, John Edwards told acampaign audience in South Carolina that Clinton hasn't been candid withvoters.



Giuliani On Ropes Over Cancer Claims

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 3, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Washington) Rudy Giuliani is defending the survival rates he quotes whentalking about his prostate cancer, amid criticism he understates the figuresand makes unfair comparisons.

In a radio ad running this week in New Hampshire, Giuliani says: "My chanceof surviving prostate cancer, and thank God I was cured of it, in the UnitedStates: 82 percent. My chances of surviving prostate cancer in England: only44 percent under socialized medicine."

The American Cancer Society says the survival rates are actually higher andit's misleading to compare the two countries.

Regardless, Giuliani said Friday, his point is clear.

"Even if you want to quibble about the statistics, you find me the personwho leaves the United States and goes to England for prostate cancertreatment, and I'd like to meet that person," he told reporters inWashington.

The American Cancer Society says five-year survival rates were 95 percent inthe U.S. and 60 percent in the United Kingdom, which includes Britain, in1993-1995, the most recent time period with data to compare.

Rates are even higher today - 99 percent in the U.S. and an estimated 74percent in the U.K.

Moreover, experts from the American Cancer Society say it's misleading tocompare the countries at all.



LAPD Settlement Will Improve Lot Gay Officers

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 2, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Los Angeles, California) With less than two weeks before a trial isscheduled to begin, the Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously toapprove settlement of the non-damages portion of a lawsuit brought by theLos Angeles Police Department's first openly gay officer.

Throughout his career on the LAPD Sgt. Mitchell Grobeson found himselfbattling discrimination on the force.

In 1988 Grobeson filed a civil rights suit against the force. It wassettled in 1993 with a court settlement that the city provide gay andlesbian officers a discrimination-free workplace.

Grobeson returned to the force, but found little was done to implement theagreement.

Two years later, in 1995, he was accused of discrediting the force bywearing his uniform and attempting to encourage gays in West Hollywood tojoin the force.

He went on disability and decided to go back to court.

The settlement agreed to be city council this week provides an array ofprotections for LGBT employees and job applicants in Los Angeles, as well asthose living with HIV.

It mandates recruitment from the LGBT community, and strengthens the city'santi-discrimination policies by writing them into the city's administrativecode.



Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (November 2, 2007)

by scribegrrrl, Sr. Editor
November 2, 2007

FROM DR. LECTER TO DR. YANG: NOW THAT'S TRADING UP!'s Michael Ausiello recently talked to Brooke Smith about heronce guest-starring, now regular role on Grey's Anatomy.

Smith plays Seattle Grace's new chief heart surgeon, Erica Hahn. Now thatshe's going to be around more often, Smith is pondering some possibleromantic entanglements for her character. "The other day I joked, 'I knowwhoI'm hooking up with!'" she told Ausiello. "There's this surgical nursewho's always there. When she's there I'm thrilled, because she always makesme feel very real - 'cause she's a real [surgical nurse]. I turned to her atone point and said, 'Are you single on the show?' She doesn't even have aname on the show and I'm already trying to hook up with her."

You make me feel mighty real, too, Brooke. But it gets even better:

Ausiello: I can see Dr. Hahn hitting it off with Cristina.

Smith: Secretly, we pushed for that. You know, Sandra [Oh] and I playedlovers in [the off-Broadway play] Stop Kiss.

Ausiello: You know, there were rumors a while back that Cristina might bebisexual..

Smith: I know. I heard those rumors.

Ausiello: Then it's destined to happen!

Smith: That's what I think. But I don't know..

Ausiello: I think Dr. Hahn would make an awesome lesbian.

Smith: I think so, too.

Ausiello: Could it happen?

Smith: I honestly don't know. I've certainly let [the producers] know I'mopen to it.

Wow! Before you ask, Brooke herself isn't gay, despite that impressiveopenness. But with a friend like her, who needs a girlfriend? Other than Dr.Yang, I mean.



To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

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

[Ex- state representative Richard] Curtis, 48, resigned his staterepresentative position Wednesday afternoon, only slightly more than 48hours after becoming embroiled in a sex scandal that includes allegationsthat he wore women's lingerie at a Spokane Valley porn shop and offered topay a 26-year-old male gay porn model he met there $1,000 for unprotectedsex. Curtis, a married Republican who lives in La Center, had epresentedportions of Clark and Cowlitz counties in the Legislature for three years.Since news of the rapidly unfolding scandal first broke Monday morning,Brancaccio is the only journalist to speak with the former lawmaker.

Major properties on the Las Vegas Strip are now offering lavish commitmentceremonies to same-sex couples (though same-sex marriage is illegal inNevada), as well as special hotel and entertainment packages gearedspecifically toward gay and lesbian travelers. Some resorts have mandatedsensitivity programs to teach employees how to make gay and lesbiantravelers feel welcome. Las Vegas began courting the gay community a fewyears ago as part of a broader effort to target a range of minorityaudiences. But the gay-targeted campaign intensified as casino-commissionedmarket studies showed the gay and lesbian travel market to be among the mostlucrative. According to research from Community Marketing Inc., a gay andlesbian market-research company, gay and lesbian travel accounts for $55billion of the overall U.S. travel market.

BUENOS AIRES, November 2, 2007 -- A civil appeals court in Argentina hasruled against a homosexual couple asserting a "right" to marry each other,stating that "the standard that establishes that matrimony should becelebrated between people of different sexes has an absolutely objective andreasonable justification, which consists in the interest of the governmentin granting a privilege to unions that tend to continue the species." Theyare the first such cases in Argentine history. The plaintiffs argue thatArgentina's civil code, in particular articles 172 and 188, is"unconstitutional" because it is "discriminatory" and violates "equalityunder the law". Article 172 states that "The full and free consent expressedpersonally by a man and woman before the competent authority to celebrateit, is indispensable for the existence of marriage. The act that lacks anyof these requirements will not produce civil effects..." Article 188requires the couple to register as "husband and wife".


National Gay News

Go to the website above for the following articles:

Union City, NJ: Two former employees of a Burger King on Bergenline Avenuehave been indicted on hate crime charges in connection with the viciousbeating of a same-sex couple outside the restaurant earlier this year,officials said yesterday. Angel Caraballo, 28, of Duncan Avenue, andChristopher Soto of Prospect Street, both of Jersey City, were charged withaggravated assault and a first-degree hate crime in connection with the July22 beating, officials said. The hate crime offense carries a possiblesentence of 10 to 20 years in prison.

The bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States says church membersunhappy with the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire should worryabout more pressing world problems.

A West Michigan teenager recently took his own life, a death that is part ofa startling statistic among individuals who literally feel they were bornwith the wrong bodies. Ian, a 16-year-old transgender, died Monday. Familyand friends held a vigil for him in Holland Friday night. Ian's mom and KimPearson started TransYouth Family Advocates, a group that organized theevent.

Logo, the MTV Networks network that targets lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender viewers, has beefed up its animation slate. The network saidThursday that it has renewed "Rick & Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in Allthe World" for a second season and given the green light to a pilot from theJim Henson Co. as well as a shortform series.


Forwarded by David Sterling

Daytona Beach News-Journal

Ex Daytona commissioner, teacher charged in sex sting

Staff Writer
November 02, 2007

DAYTONA BEACH -- A former Daytona Beach city commissioner and a local highschool teacher arrested Thursday during a sex sting at a Volusia mallbathroom were released from the Volusia County Brach Jail today, authoritiessaid.

Former commissioner and mayoral candidate Mike Shallow and David Behringer,an athletic trainer and teacher at Seabreeze High School, posted $1,000 bailtoday after midnight, a jail spokesman said.

Behringer resigned today, according to officials with the Volusia CountySchool District.

Shallow and Behringer were among nine men charged with lewd and lasciviousconduct and exposure of a sexual organ, both misdemeanors, police said.


Miami Herald

World Cup rugby ref's gay award


Top rugby referee Nigel Owens has been named sportsperson of the year at agay awards ceremony in London.

Owens, from Carmarthenshire, made his Rugby World Cup debut last month, andis regarded as the first openly gay man to referee at the highest level.

The 36-year-old said winning the award was "up there with being elected toreferee the Rugby Word Cup".

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain said Owens was a great role model for all youngsportsmen and women across Wales.

Organised by gay rights group Stonewall, the awards recognised those who hadraised the profile of gay people in the world of sport, acted as rolemodels, and challenged homophobia.

Owens said he was honoured to win the award, and praised the work ofStonewall and other similar organisations.

He said although he had come out for his own piece of mind, he was glad ifit had helped others.

"Just by coming out in the public eye it obviously made news, and obviouslyif it helps people in that way, than that's great," he said.

"It was no intention of mine to raise my profile as a person for being gay.

"I'm just a normal person living a normal life."



Jesse's Journal
by Jesse Monteagudo

Gay Heroes

What is a hero? According to the "Illustrated Oxford Dictionary" (revisedand updated), a hero is "1. A person noted or admired for nobility, courage,outstanding achievements, etc." In Greek antiquity, a hero was a "man ofsuperhuman qualities, favored by the gods; a demigod" such as Herakles orAchilles. Modern culture is full of men and women who have unique powersthat they use for the common goods, whether in comic books or movies or thetelevision series "Heroes." Not as powerful but equally as memorable arethose real-life individuals who became heroes by leading a worthy cause, asdid Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa orAung San Suu Kyi.

Like everyone else, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community isalways searching for heroes who would lead us in the fight for freedom andequality. Recently the Advocate celebrated its 40th anniversary bycompiling a list of 40 GLBT heroes. It asked its readers to go online( and vote from a prepared list, along with a line for write-incandidates. Not surprisingly, the resulting "top 40" list, as published inthe September 25th issue, favored celebrities over activists. Though I haveno problem with Ellen Degeneres being # 1 -- she did, after all, put her jobon the line by coming out on TV - the absence of Virginia Apuzzo, SamuelDelany, Barbara Grier, Marsha Johnson, Jim Kepner, Franklin Kameny, MorrisKight, Paul Monette, Joan Nestle, Jack Nichols, Jean O'Leary, John Preston,Sylvia Rivera, Marty Robinson, Craig Rodwell, Eric Rofes, Vito Russo, JoséSarria, Nadine Smith or others like them is appalling. (Barbara Gittingsmade it, but barely, at # 40.) On the other hand, celebs Billie Jean Kingand Elton John, who had to be dragged out of their closets kicking andscreaming, scored high in the Advocate's list (at # 6 and # 8,respectively).



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