Thursday, November 08, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 7, 2007

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The New York Times

House Approves Ban on Anti-Gay Discrimination

November 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 - The House approved a bill this evening granting broadprotections against discrimination in the workplace for gay men, lesbiansand bisexuals, a measure that supporters praised as the most important civilrights legislation since the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Actin 1990 but that opponents said would result in unnecessary lawsuits.

The bill, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, is the latest version oflegislation that Democrats have pursued since 1974 when RepresentativesEdward I. Koch and Bella Abzug of New York first sought to protect gay menand lesbians with a measure that they introduced on the fifth anniversary ofthe Stonewall Rebellion, the confrontation between gay men and policeofficers at a bar in Greenwich Village that is widely viewed as the start ofthe American gay rights movement.

"On this proud day of the 110th Congress, we will chart a new direction forcivil rights," said Representative Kathy Castor, a Florida Democrat andleading gay rights advocate, in a speech ahead of the vote. "On this proudday, the Congress will act to ensure that all Americans are granted equalrights in the work place."

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and a long-timesupporter of gay rights legislation, said he would move swiftly to introducea similar measure in the Senate, and some Senate Republicans said that, ifworded carefully, it would have a good chance of passage, perhaps early nextyear.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has said that she would serve asthe lead co-sponsor of the Senate bill. Ms. Collins said in a statement thatthe House vote "provides important momentum" and that "there is growingsupport in the Senate for strengthening federal laws to protect Americanworkers from discrimination based on sexual orientation."

President Bush threatened to veto an earlier version of the bill, but aWhite House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said the administration would need toreview recent changes before making a final decision. Few Democrats expectMr. Bush to change his mind.

The House bill would amend the federal Civil Rights Act and make it illegalfor an employer "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual,or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to thecompensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment of theindividual, because of such individual's actual or perceived sexualorientation."

While 19 states and Washington, D.C., have laws barring discrimination basedon sexual orientation, and many municipalities offer similar protections,federal law offers no such shield, although it does bar discrimination basedon race, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, disability and pregnancy.

In the House today, 35 Republicans joined 200 Democrats voting for the bill,which was approved 235 to 184, a reflection perhaps of polls showing that aplurality of Americans now believe homosexuality should be consideredacceptable, although a majority still oppose gay marriage. Voting againstthe bill were 25 Democrats and 159 Republicans

For more than 30 years, outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientationhas been a crusade for liberal Democrats who fought numerous partisanbattles with Republicans but always came up short. In 1996, the Senate camewithin one vote of passing a bill; the House did not vote on the bill thatyear.

The twist this year is that the measure has emerged as an example of SpeakerNancy Pelosi's recent pragmatism in trying to make headway on key issues bygranting concessions, even at the risk of angering her party's base.

To ensure passage of the bill, Ms. Pelosi of California and other Democrats, including Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, who is openly gay,removed language granting protections to transsexual and transgenderindividuals by barring discrimination based on sexual identity, a move thatinfuriated a number of gay rights groups.

The Democrats also carved out a blanket exemption for religious groups,drawing the ire of civil liberties advocates who argued that church-runhospitals, for instance, should not be permitted to discriminate against gaydoctors or lesbian nurses. The civil liberties groups wanted a narrowexemption for religious employers.

In comments on the House floor, Ms. Pelosi acknowledged the challenges."History teaches us that progress on civil rights is never easy," she said."It is often marked by small and difficult steps."

Ms. Pelosi did succeed in maintaining the support of the Human RightsCampaign, the largest gay rights group in the country, even though it asdisappointed not to include gender identity protections in the bill.

"Today's vote in the House sends a powerful message about equality to thecountry and it's a significant step forward for our community," said JoeSolomonese, the group's president.

Others were not so upbeat. "What should have been one of the most triumphantdays in our movement's history is not," said Matt Foreman, the executivedirection of the National Gay and Lesbian task Force. "It's one of verymixed reactions. And that in and of itself is extremely disappointing."

But many longtime supporters of the legislation cheered its passage. "It'swonderful," said Mr. Koch, the former congressman and mayor of New YorkCity. "Even though it is a vote that was delayed too long."

Much of the debate on the floor today was taken up by Republicanscomplaining, somewhat oddly, that they could not hold a vote on a Democraticamendment to restore the gender identity language to the bill.

Democrats suggested that these Republicans were not hoping to protecttranssexuals from discrimination but to restore provisions to the bill thatwould have made it easier to rally opposition.

Representative Doc Hastings of Washington, who led the Republican effort toget a vote on the amendment, said he opposed the overall bill in partbecause many states had already approved similar laws, and also because heviewed it as intrusive. "I do not think it is the place of the federalgovernment to legislate how each and every place of business operates," hesaid.

Other opponents said they did not like the idea of outlawing discriminationbased on perceptions of a person's sexual orientation.

"It would be impossible for employers to operate a business without havingto worry about being accused of discriminating against someone based ontheir 'perceived' sexual orientation," said Representative GinnyBrown-Waite, Republican of Florida, who raised two fingers on each hand toflash quotation marks over her head as she said "perceived."

Senator Kennedy, who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor andPensions Committee, issued a statement praising the House vote. Aides to Mr.Kennedy said he had not decided whether to introduce a measure identical tothe one passed by the House or to introduce his own version, which wouldlikely restore language barring discrimination based on gender identity.


Anything But Straight

By Wayne Besen
Nov. 7, 2007

HRC's Broken Promises

This was originally going to be a column defending the Human RightsCampaign. I had grown tired of people taking cheap potshots at them overinclusion (or not) of transgender Americans in the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The gratuitous, invective-laced attacksappeared vicious, personal, counterproductive and designed to damage theorganization - and hence the overall interests of GLBT people.

Further aggravating me were churlish remarks on Internet chat rooms wheresupposedly professional activists would say things like, "HRC has no rightto speak for me and does not represent the gay community." Well, the truthis, they do speak for you, by virtue of the fact they are the largestmembership organization and have a $30 million dollar budget. This affordsthem a unique platform and by claiming their voice is irrelevant, it onlyhurts the status of the entire GLBT cause on Capitol Hill.

Whether you like it or not, HRC has built the best - or at least mostfinancially viable - mousetrap. America is a free country, and if HRCdetractors think they can do better - there is nothing stopping them frommarching up to Capitol Hill and making it happen.

Now that I have taken a swipe at the irrational HRC haters, the organizationhas earned some legitimate criticism on their handling of the ENDA debate.They have made an absolute mess of the situation and damaged theirreputation and credibility as an honest powerbroker.

For starters, Executive Director Joe Solmonese told a packed room oftransgender people at the Southern Comfort Conference in September that HRCwould oppose any version of ENDA that doesn't include protection fortransgender people. This was followed by an Oct. 2, 2007 press release -posted on the blog Pam's House Blend:

"Since 2004, HRC has had in place a policy that supports only a fullyinclusive version of ENDA and the Board of Directors voted to reaffirm thatposition," wrote Solmonese. "Therefore, we are not able to support, norwill we encourage Members of Congress to vote against, the newly introducedsexual orientation only bill."

Yet - today we come to find that HRC circulated a letter on Capitol Hill -along with other civil rights groups - asking members of Congress to supporta non-trans inclusive bill. The letter said, "we urge you to support theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act, and to oppose any floor amendments ormotions that would undermine its protections."

Reasonable people can disagree on whether HRC should take this incrementalapproach or wait for a more inclusive bill. I sided with a more inclusivebill for three reasons:

1. We owe transgender Americans much for their activism and it is theright thing to do
2. The transgender community is too small and does not have the money orvotes to gain protections on their own.
3. Bush is going to veto ENDA anyway, so we should use this as anopportunity to educate America on transgender Americans.

The other side, led by Rep. Barney Frank, believes that we should seize themoment and pass a bill that has been stymied for thirty years. This, ofcourse, is a difficult debate, and Frank's position is not without merit.

What is unacceptable, is for HRC to tell a packed house of transgenderpeople that they will stand up for them - and then pull the rug out when thegoing gets tough. The promise of inclusion should never have been madeunless HRC intended to keep its word.

In full spin mode, HRC is claiming that they are simply adjusting theirposition to new facts on the ground - meaning they polled Congress and theywon't pass a trans-inclusive bill. This explanation is alarming, in that onewould think HRC would have taken a "whip" count on their signature piece oflegislation before they ended up getting whipped. Had they no idea of whereCongress stood before making such flowery promises at the Southern Comfortconference? And, if they were aware of the vote count, why did they offerpromises they did not intend on delivering?

It was sad to listen to Solmonese dissemble on Mike Signorile's Siriussatellite radio show about how he was for a trans-inclusive bill before hewas against it - and unable to answer the simple question: "Why should webelieve any of your future grandiose statements about equality?"

HRC needs to learn to take a position and stick to it - or they can expectchronic detractors to stick it to HRC. A little honesty will go a long wayin defusing battles that damage the entire community and divide ourcollective energies. There are those - like myself - who appreciate HRC asour voice in Washington. However, the organization is at its best when thisvoice is not coming from both sides of its mouth.


Malaysian police say they broke up gay sex party, arrested 37 men

The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 6, 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Police in Malaysia, where sodomy is a crime, brokeup a gay sex party and arrested 37 men, including a Briton and a Chinesenational, a senior official said Tuesday.

Police, acting on a public tip-off, raided a fitness center in northernPenang island Sunday while a sex party was in progress and arrested the 37men, aged between 20 and 45, said local police chief Azam Abdul Hamid.

Apart from the two foreigners, all of the men are ethnic Chinese Malaysiansincluding three who work at the center, he said.

Police found used condoms strewn all over the floor, seven tubes oflubrication jelly, 20 gay magazines, four pornographic VCDs and six boxes ofnew condoms, he said.

"Based on our information, the center was regularly used for these gayactivities," Azam told The Associated Press. "This is against our culture,our way of life."

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TV station secretly filming gay kisses

6th November 2007 12:10
Gemma Pritchard

American TV network ABC has been found to be secretly taping gays kissing inpublic.

According to MyFox Birmingham, ABC news is conducting a social experimentwhich aims to gauge the reactions of the public to displays of affectionbetween members of the same sex.

An actor inside an RV parked in Birmingham, Alabama confirmed a witnessaccount of ABC's week-long project.

A police officer told Fox6 that "three or four" people had complained aboutmen kissing in public, but nothing illegal is going on.

The actor told Fox 6: "Yes, we are working for ABC News."

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Suburban sex club for boys detailed
Vernon Hills man accused of assaulting at least 9 boys over years

By Tony Gordon | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 11/6/2007 1:25 AM | Updated: 11/6/200 9:06 AM

Michael Rebecca is "one of the most narcissistic, manipulative and pervertedindividuals we have ever seen," Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran said Monday.

Rebecca, 50, of 750 Court of Birch, Apt. 1, Vernon Hills, faces four chargesof predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, State's Attorney MichaelWaller said, and will likely face many more.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Because twovictims were 11 years old, Waller said, Rebecca is eligible for life inprison.

Authorities say Rebecca told police he met his initial victim, a boy who wasthen 11 years old, in 2003 while working with a relative of the child.

That boy introduced him to others, police said Rebecca told them, and soonthere were at least nine members of Rebecca's sex club.

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Ferndale elects first gay mayor

Catherine Jun / The Detroit News
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

FERNDALE -- City residents Tuesday seated the first openly gay mayor in thecity and the first elected in the state of Michigan.

With all precincts tallied, Craig Covey, an openly gay city council memberfor eight years, garnered 1,918 votes; his challenger, Thomas Gagne, had1,602.

"We are showing the region a new way," said Covey, 50, in an e-mailedstatement claiming victory. "This city embraces diversity, smart growth,efficiency, bi-partisan compromise, and eco-friendly policies."

Leaders in the gay and lesbian community viewed the win as a resoundingmessage of acceptance.

"Wow, we've come a long way, baby," said Susan Horowitz, founder of PrideSource and co-publisher of Between the Lines, a weekly statewide gay andlesbian newspaper.

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

November 7, 2007

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

While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or women withscant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguised behind bigsunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.

Even as they reveled in newfound freedom compared with the Muslim world,they remained closeted, worried about being ostracized at the mosque or attheir local falafel stand.

"They're afraid of the rest of the community here," said Ayman, a stocky31-year-old from Jordan, who won asylum in the United States last year onthe basis of his sexuality. "It's such a big wrong in the Koran that it isimpossible to be accepted."

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

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On Protecting Gay Americans from Workplace Discrimination
Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) vote tests our values
An unneeded law - a preference is not a right

Daniel Gilbert
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Congress will be voting today on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,legislation meant to force employers to consider sexual behavior the sameway as race. It makes as much sense for our elected representatives to passa bill that forces employers to hire born-again Christians and make everychange necessary to accommodate those beliefs. If someone knows they havespecial rights because of a belief or proclivity that is not visible, thenthey can easily abuse this privilege and pretend that they are special inthe eyes of the law.

During the height of segregation, African Americans could not exercise sucha privilege because they could not hide the fact that they were black inorder to compete openly in the market place. It was not until the CivilRights Bill of 1964 was passed that those color barriers began to fall, andrightfully so. There is, however, no visible distinction between people whohave different sexual preferences in the bedroom.

If a prospective employee did not identify himself as heterosexual,homosexual or bisexual, and relied solely on his resume and personality, thejob would be awarded on merit. Under EDNA, sexual orientation becomes aprotected class. A disgruntled employee could claim a different sexualorientation than the person who received the job or the promotion.

Beyond all the incredibly discriminatory consequences of equating a sex actwith skin color, and the rights that flow from that distinction, who wouldknow what anyone's sexual behavior was unless they announced it? Why wouldany employer want to know the private matters of a job candidate's sexualbehavior as a factor of employment?

The assumption that gays are helpless victims and automaticallydiscriminated against is certainly not based on fact. Homosexuality has beenaround since the beginning of time, and the movement is quick to parade itslist of accomplished individuals.

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Election 2007 | Kentucky governor
Steve Beshear unseats Fletcher in a landslide

By Joseph Gerth
The Courier-Journal
Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Democrat Steve Beshear, in a smashing return to Kentucky politics after morethan a decade on the sidelines, won a landslide victory last night over Gov.Ernie Fletcher.

Beshear won nearly 60 percent of the vote in defeating Fletcher, aRepublican seeking to become the first member of his party to serve twoterms as governor, by a margin of 18 percentage points.

The election was clearly a repudiation of Fletcher, who was seriouslydamaged by a scandal over his administration's hiring abuses in the statemerit system. Fletcher refused to testify before a grand jury, was indictedon three misdemeanor counts -- later dismissed -- and pardoned those aroundhim who had been charged.

Beshear, 63, who appeared to have abandoned politics to practice law inLexington after losing a 1996 race for the U.S. Senate, will becomeKentucky's 61st governor. His running mate, and the state's new lieutenantgovernor, is state Sen. Dan Mongiardo of Hazard.

"The people of Kentucky have spoken, and they turned the reins of thegovernment over to us," Beshear -- surrounded by his wife, Jane, and therest of his family -- told a roaring crowd at the Farnham Dudgeon CivicCenter in Frankfort last night.

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GOP Forced To Take Notice Of Ron Paul

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 6, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, aided by anextraordinary outpouring of Internet support, has hauled in more than $3.5million in 20 hours.

Paul, the Texas congressman with a Libertarian tilt and an out-of-Iraqpitch, entered heady fundraising territory with a surge of Web-based givingtied to the commemoration of Guy Fawkes Day.

Fawkes was a British mercenary who failed in his attempt to kill King JamesI on Nov. 5, 1605. He also was the model for the protagonist in the movie "Vfor Vendetta." Paul backers motivated donors on the Internet with mashed-upclips of the film on the online video site YouTube as well as the Guy FawkesDay refrain: "Remember, remember the 5th of November."

Paul's total deposed Mitt Romney as the single-day fundraising record holderin the Republican presidential field. When it comes to sums amassed in oneday, Paul now ranks only behind Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, who raisednearly $6.2 million on June 30, and Barack Obama.

Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said the effort began independently about twomonths ago at the hands of Paul's backers. He said Paul picked up on themovement, mentioning in it speeches and interviews.

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Major TB, HIV Conference Gets Underway In South Africa

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 7, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Cape Town, South Africa) Old drugs. Outdated tests. Empty promises. Newthreats. Such is the bleak reality surrounding an international tuberculosisconference opening Thursday in a city scarred by a killer combination of TBand AIDS: an already nightmarish scenario worsened by the spread ofuntreatable strains.

The 3,000 delegates will spend four days discussing the challenges posed bythe dual epidemics of TB and HIV - which are still often treated separatelyalthough they feed off each other. About one-third of the world's 40 millionpeople infected with the AIDS virus have TB, the vast majority of them inAfrica. TB kills more than 1.6 million people every year.

"Unlike bird flu, the global threat of HIV/TB is not hypothetical. It ishere now. But the science and coordination needed to stop it are utterlyinsufficient," said Veronica Miller, director of The Forum for CollaborativeHIV Research, in a report released ahead of the Cape Town conference.

The only available vaccine was invented more than 85 years ago and fails toprotect most people beyond childhood. Antibiotics used to fight TB are morethan 40 years old. Test methods used in most developing countries weredeveloped 120 years ago, are notoriously slow and often fail to spot TB inAIDS patients.

Health activists charge that rich countries and their pharmaceuticalindustries have shown little interest in developing more effective drugsbecause TB primarily affects poor people in poor countries. There are somenew drug development and diagnostics initiatives but the activists say it'stoo little too late.

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LGBT Candidates, Allies Fare Well At Polls

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 7 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) A record number of LGBT candidates sought office in Tuesday'soff-year election.

Of the record 71 candidates endorsed by the gay and lesbian Victory Fund in2007, at least 31 won their races on Tuesday, while 10 were elected earlierthis year. At least three more endorsed candidates received enough votes toadvance to runoff elections.

"Our community increasingly understands that politics is a path to equality," said Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe.

Among the most notable winners were Craig Covey who was elected mayor ofFerndale, Michigan and became the first openly gay mayor in the state; TimEustace who was elected mayor of Maywood, New Jersey; Jeffery Anderson whojoins the Duluth Minnesota city council; and Reed Gusciora who wasre-elected to the New Jersey legislature. Cusciora came out during hisfirst term.

Joel Burns, a candidate for the Fort Worth, Texas City Council advanced to aDecember runoff election as the top vote-getter after being subject toanti-gay smears from an opponent.

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Boy, Interrupted

By Teresa Morrison
An exclusive posted November 6, 2007

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

For days, sometimes weeks at a time, I bask in a cozy headspace where I
think about my gender and, more important, no one points it out to me. Whenthe reverie is broken, it is almost invariably by a stranger. It can happenwordlessly, as in a women's restroom, where I sometimes catch a fellowpatron's gaze tracking from my face to my breasts and back again, herattitude one of idle curiosity or confusion, occasionally disgust orhostility.

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

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

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

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Poll: 70% of LGBT Respondents Support Noninclusive ENDA

November 07, 2007

According to a new poll, 70% of LGBT Americans prefer passing an EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act that does not cover transgender people over notpassing the bill at all. The poll, commissioned by the Human Rights Campaignand conducted on October 26, surveyed 500 members of the LGBT communityacross the country.

The version of ENDA sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank, which does not includejob protections for transgender Americans, was voted out of the House ofRepresentatives rules committee Monday night and is very likely to be votedon Wednesday. Rep. Tammy Baldwin may offer her amendment to add transgenderprotections to H.R. 3685. If she does, it will be debated but will likelypulled from the floor without a vote as soon as the debate ends.

HRC president Joe Solmonese said the poll numbers weren't immediatelyobvious to him or the organization before they conducted the polling.

"There were so many people out there speaking so emphatically about wherethe entire community was that I thought maybe we should get a sense of it,and that's why we did the poll," he said. "So it was surprising to me, but Ithink it really speaks to the fact that there's a big diverse community ofGLBT Americans all across the country."

The poll specifically asked: "This proposal would make it illegal to firegay, lesbian, and bisexual workers because of their sexual orientation. Thisproposal does not include people who are transgender. Would you favor oroppose this proposal moving forward?" Seventy percent favored moving forwardwith the legislation.

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Fourth Sandy Attacker Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Attempted Robbery

November 07, 2007

The last of four men charged with plotting to rob a gay Brooklyn man andcausing his traffic-related death pleaded guilty on Monday to manslaughterand attempted robbery as hate crimes, according to The New York Times.

Ilya Shurov, 21, agreed to serve 17-1/2 years in prison. Prosecutors, inreturn, dropped charges of felony murder as a hate crime, an offense thatcan be punished with a life sentence.

"If there were no life sentence, we would have rolled the dice," defenseattorney Hermann P. Walz told the Times.

Shurov and three other young men -- Gary Timmins, John Fox, and AnthonyFortunato -- were accused of luring 29-year-old Michael J. Sandy into anisolated lot on October 8, 2006. After he was beaten, Sandy fled intoparkway traffic. A car struck him, and he later died of his injuries.

Of the four men, only Shurov was charged with an act of physical violence.In an earlier trial, witnesses said Shurov hid behind a sand dune, jumpedout at Sandy, and proceeded to punch him.

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Rosie O'Donnell May Get MSNBC Talk Show

November 07, 2007

Rosie O'Donnell, who famously clashed with a cohost on The View, is close tobeing her own boss again.

The acid-tongued talk-show host whose dispute with Elizabeth Hasselbeckhastened her departure from ABC's daytime gabfest is reportedly innegotiations to host a prime-time talk show on MSNBC five days a week.

An NBC executive familiar with the discussions confirmed the two sides hadtalked but cautioned that ''we're far from a done deal.'' The executivespoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were ongoing.

The cable news channel owned by NBC Universal would not officially commenton the discussions. A spokesman for O'Donnell could not be reached forcomment.

The reports, which first surfaced in The New York Times, suggested O'Donnellwould take over the 9 p.m. slot currently occupied by Live With Dan Abrams.That would put her show in competition with CNN's Larry King Live and FoxNews Channel's Hannity & Colmes.

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NY politician wants gays at St Patrick's Day parade

7th November 2007 13:01
Tony Grew

New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, has saidthat the city's St. Patrick's Day parade next year should include gay peopleand representatives from Northern Ireland.

The New York City parade is organised by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, anIrish-Catholic fraternal organisation.

They have refused to allow gay and lesbian groups to march in the paradesince 1991.

After becoming council speaker Ms Quinn tried to make a deal with theorganisers of the event last year. The discussions were unsuccessful.

This year she snubbed New York and marched in the Dublin parade on March17th after being personally invited by officials.

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Homophobic Prime Minister of Poland leaves office

6th November 2007 19:01
Gemma Pritchard

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has handed in the resignation of his cabinet, officiallybringing an end to the Law and Justice-led government who had been in powerin Poland since autumn 2005.

Prime Minister Mr Kaczynski handed his resignation documents to his twinbrother President Lech Kaczynski, during a ceremony at the PresidentialPalace in Warsaw yesterday.

His resignation follows Justice and Law's defeat in elections held lastmonth.

According to AP, the outgoing prime minister said he was resigning with hisCabinet after what was an "exceptionally difficult" tenure.

He summed up what he said were his government's achievements in economics,domestic and foreign affairs, but insisted the public had failed to fullyunderstand what had been accomplished.

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Election Victory in St. Petersburg!

Anti-LGBT candidate defeated in close election for City Council

In a major upset, Equality Florida Action PAC's endorsed candidate for theSt. Petersburg City Council, Wengay Newton, beat Gersham Faulkner, thepresumed frontrunner, by 600 votes in a race closely followed by the LGBTcommunity. Newton scored 100% on Equality Florida's candidate questionnaireand will be a strong ally for LGBT equality.

Faulkner entered the race with the strong endorsements of a number of keyDemocrats and the St. Petersburg Times. He then saw his fortunes reverseafter making public pronouncements on extremely anti-gay attitudes,including his support for the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" andhis defense of Florida's infamous ban on adoption by gay or lesbianpotential parents.

The revelations not only shocked some of Faulkner's strongest supporters butalso resulted in two prominent lawmakers pulling their endorsements. Rep.Richard Krisemen and Bill Heller withdrew their endorsements and publiclychastised Faulkner for taking positions that refused to respect LGBTresidents.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Uganda - Historic LGBT Conference

Kampala, October 2007

The Ugandan Chapter of the International Day Against Homophobia(IDAHO) was launched this month at a conference in the Ugandan capitalof Kampala.

It was attended by 100 LGBT activists from half a dozen Ugandan LGBTand human rights groups, in an impressive show of unity andsolidarity.

Among the organisations represented were Open Door CounsellingMinistries, Spectrum-Uganda, Queer Youth Uganda, Ice Breakers, UgandaYouth Health, Breaking the Silence and MUSLA.

The highlight of the conference was a landmark debate organised withQueer Youth Uganda, concerning the way forward for LGBT rights in thecountry.

Pastor Kiyimba Yusuf Brown, who is the coordinator for Uganda IDAHO,commented: "Never before has there been such a far reaching, wellorganised and professional gay public debate in this country".

Speakers at the conference included the East Africa Representative ofthe International Lesbian & Gay Association, Sam Ganafa, who wascommended by Pastor Brown as "a pillar of equality," and Sam Opio,Chair of Queer Youth Uganda, a vibrant organisation concerned withyouth health and welfare rights.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


PGN Breaking news! City sets final deadline for Boy Scouts

PGN has obtained a copy of the official letter from the City ofPhiladelphia which gives notification and a deadline of Dec. 3, 2007,for The Boy Scouts to notify the City that it either wishes to rentthe city-owned property it occupies at fair market value, ($200,000/year) or that the Boy Scouts will vacate the building.

The letter states, "For nearly four years, the City has endeavored ingood faith to reach an agreement with the council (Boy Scouts) bywhich the Council would renounce its discriminatory policy againstopenly gay youth and adults and consequently. could legally remain atenant of the City. Regretfully, the Council has repeatedly statedthat it cannot change its policy ... The City has satisfied all legalconditions for giving notice to the Council to vacate the property."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

NBC: Romney Focuses on Gay Marriage as Wedge Issue

From NBC/NJ's Erin McPike:
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Romney has focused on his opposition to same-sexmarriage as the wedge issue to catapult him ahead of his top rivals in theeyes of social conservatives recently, but he discreetly shifted his focusto abortion via the adoption alternative at an adoption agency here thismorning.

After touring the Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency -- becauseNovember is National Adoption Awareness Month in the United States -- Romneyoutlined for reporters three things he'd like to do to promote adoption, thesecond of which is to "require all of these family planning clinics [thatreceive Title X funds from the federal government] to provide to respectivemothers information about adoption in the normal course of theirresponsibilities."

His other two points included making permanent the adoption tax credit that"President Bush doubled. a few years ago" and encouraging states to be moreinvolved in the follow-through of funding on foster care. He also said itwas suggested to him that there should be a greater focus on statisticsconcerning adoption -- including both foreign and domestic -- and he vowedto look into making that a part of his agenda.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Research Participant Opportunity

*** Please forward to anyone who may be interested ****

Dear Colleagues,

My name is Kathleen Fortune and I'm a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Psychologybased out of the Stigma and Social Neuroscience Lab at the University ofToronto. My current line of research examines the unique experiences ofindividuals with concealable stigmatized identities, such as those withnon-heterosexual sexual orientations.

I'm currently looking for participants who identify as gay, lesbian,bisexual, or queer to take a short online survey about identitymanagement. Completing the survey should take approximately 25 minutes andparticipants are automatically entered into a draw to win a 2GB iPod Nano.

This study has received ethical approval through full board review by theSocial Sciences and Humanities Research Ethics Board at theUniversity of Toronto. The contact information for the ethics review officeis: 416-946-3273 or email at

I would appreciate any assistance you could provide in passing along thislink and the information about the study to friends and colleagues.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Kathleen Fortune
PhD Student
University of Toronto Scarborough


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List,,2206166,00.html

Government extends laws against inciting hatred

Peter Walker / Tuesday November 6, 2007 / Guardian Unlimited

The government is to make it a crime to incite hatred against gay, lesbian,transgender and disabled people, it announced today in a surprise additionto the Queen's speech.

The monarch herself made no mention of the specific measure in outliningGordon Brown's legislative programme to parliament, saying only that the newCriminal Justice and immigration Bill aimed at "protecting the public andreducing re-offending".

It had previously been announced that it would become an offence to incitehatred against gay and lesbians, but min[i]sters today extended the laws tocover transgender and disabled people.

However, a justice ministry briefing paper on the bill outlined the newoffence, as well as a other planned measures.

Among these are so-called Violent Offender Orders, which will allow courtsto impose restrictions on those convicted of violent offences- where they can live or travel, for example - even after their release fromprison.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

One of Zimbabwe's leading junior athletes, who has won several gold medalsin women's events, is really a man, police say.

Zimbabwe female athlete 'was man'

Zimbabwe's 4X400 relay team

Ms Sithole may be asked to compete in men's events in future One ofZimbabwe's leading junior athletes, who has won several gold medals inwomen's events, is really a man, police say.

Samukeliso Sithole, 17, has been charged with impersonation.

At her court appearance, she insisted that she was a woman, despite adoctor's report to the contrary.

Ms Sithole said she was born with both male and female sexual organs and atraditional healer had made the penis disappear but it had since regrown.

She told the court that the penis had returned because the healer had notbeen fully paid for his services.

She said that she had already arranged to pay the healer on 3 March, the dayher trial is set to start, and so she expected her penis to disappear oncemore, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


Iran: Stop the Execution of Child Offender Convicted of Sodomy


The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) haslearned that Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year old Iranian citizen of Kurdishorigin from the city of Paveh, in the Western province of Kermanshah, hasbeen sentenced by the government to execution. Makvan has been convicted ofmultiple counts of anal rape and sentenced to execution for crimes allegedlycommitted when he was 13 years old. IGLHRC calls for an internationalresponse to stop this scheduled execution.

Imposing the death penalty for crimes committed by juveniles is prohibitedunder international law as well as by the Iranian legal system. In addition,IGLHRC calls on the international community to condemn the use of the deathpenalty as a punishment for any sex or morality-related crime, whetherconsensual or non-consensual, as unnecessarily extreme. In this case, sincenone of the alleged victims ever claimed to have been raped, and all of themadmitted to the court that their initial accounts of sexual intercourse withMakvan were false and had been acquired under coercion, the imposition ofthe death penalty is especially objectionable.

As an organization dedicated to defending the rights of sexual minoritiesworldwide, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission(IGLHRC) objects to any law, policy or ruling that penalizes consensualhomosexual relationships among adults.



Today I will make my first calls to the consulate and request ameeting to explain that SF gays stand in solidarity with Polish gaysand we want full protection for the human rights of gay marchers, andallies, in Poznan next week.

And I will contact friends and other activists to get them on boardfor a demonstration on Friday, Nov 16 at the consulate.

Be sure to send me any news accounts about gays in Poznan, or messagesfrom bloggers or activists in Poland about marching in Poznan,especially if the messages/stories are in English.

San Francisco will do her part for global gay solidarity with Polishgays in Poznan.

Warm regards,
Michael Petrelis


Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association
PO Box 130,
London W5 1DQ

6 November 2007 - for immediate release

News Release

Evangelical leader's appointment to Human Rights body "a disaster"

The appointment of Joel Edwards, leader of the Evangelical Alliance,as a commissioner on the Equality and Human Rights Commission willdistort the concept of Human Rights and put gay rights in danger, saysthe Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association.

Jim Herrick, chairman of GALHA, said: "Joel Edwards leads one of themost homophobic organisations in Britain. The Evangelical Alliance isan umbrella group that shelters some of the most extreme anti-gaygroups and churches in the country. How does the Government imaginethat this man can participate in decisions about the rights of gaypeople in a fair and balanced way when he believes that we are allsinners who should live without sexual expression? It must be one ofthe most dizzyingly daft and dangerous public appointments ever."

Mr Herrick said the gay community should be "afraid, very afraid" bythis development.

"Joel Edwards likes to present himself as Mr Moderate. He likes toportray those who oppose him as extremists. Yet he is a classicevangelical, one who will not accept that gay people are entitled tosexual expression under any circumstances. He is front man for a bodythat shelters a section of the population that is so illiberal onewonders where on earth this can lead in the context of Human Rights.



What Does Victory Mean?

Gay City News, 11/07/2007

The United States House of Representatives, in a 235 -184 vote in the earlyevening of November 7, passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),which provides federal protection barring workplace bias against gays andlesbians.

The vote marked the first time that either house of Congress has approved agay rights measure, and came 32 years after the first gay civil rightsmeasure, more comprehensive than ENDA, was introduced by the late BellaAbzug, then a congresswoman from Manhattan's West Side.

Despite the historic nature of Wednesday's vote, the victory is likely notto calm the deep divisions that emerged within the LGBT community in thepreceding six weeks. Many will judge the win Pyrrhic, at best, perhaps evena setback in the longer term.

The measure approved this week did not include the provisions barringdiscrimination based on gender identity and expression that were in the billas originally introduced in February by Democrats Barney Frank ofMassachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the House's only two openlyLGBT members.

In fact, although an amendment to restore the transgender protectionsintroduced by Baldwin - who broke with Frank over his recommendation tostrip those provisions out of the bill in late September - was introducedand debated on the floor for 10 minutes, it was withdrawn without a vote.During that debate, Baldwin acknowledged that she had been unable to mustera majority for her amendment. Advocates for transgender rights had earliervoiced concerns that if the amendment were defeated resoundingly it wouldonly complicate their efforts to widen ENDA's scope in the future.

The course of Senate action on the bill is unclear; Massachusetts DemocratTed Kennedy, the lead sponsor, has not yet formally introduced it. And in awritten statement several weeks ago outlining both policy and constitutionalobjections to ENDA, including the assertion that it would threaten the 1996federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Bush administration made clear thepresident will veto the measure if it makes its way to his desk.



Forwarded from EuroQueer

The Guardian

Briton charged over gay sex in Ghana

Alexandra Topping
Wednesday November 7, 2007

A Briton has been remanded in custody in Ghana for having sex withanother man, the Foreign Office confirmed yesterday. John Ross Macleodappeared at Accra circuit court on Monday charged with "unnatural carnalknowledge" and possession of obscene pictures. Gay sex is outlawed in thewest African country but prosecution is not common.

The photographer was arrested at an airport when police searching himfor drugs found a CD with images of him having sexual intercourse with a19-year-old Ghanaian.

Mr Macleod, 63, has pleaded guilty to "unnatural carnal knowledge". Hehas been given the option of a six-month jail term or a fine of about £320,according to a Foreign Office spokesman. He was remanded in custody after hewas unable to pay a £2,500 bail surety for the charge of possessing obsceneimages, which he denies.

It is thought Mr Macleod first met his partner, Emmanuel Adda, on theInternet.

A police spokesman said: "During his [Mr Macleod's] stay in Ghana, Addatravelled round the country with Macleod, who took the opportunity tosodomise him and took pictures as well," he said.

The Foreign Office said the high commission in Accra was giving MrMacleod consular support.

Court officials said it was the first sodomy case in Accra's courts thisyear.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007


Dutch Call on Aid Recipients to Improve Gay Rights

November 7, 2007
Filed at 8:06 a.m. ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Netherlands, a major donor of international aid,will lobby developing countries to legalize homosexuality and fightdiscrimination, the government said on Wednesday.

A government survey showed homosexuality is illegal in 18 out of the 36countries the Netherlands gives regular aid to, Development Minister BertKoenders said in a statement, with punishment ranging from prison sentencesto the death penalty.

"The Netherlands will promote as much equal treatment of homosexuals aspossible. We will not avoid awkward discussions about this," he said in aletter to parliament.

Koenders has asked Dutch ambassadors in developing countries to push for gayrights unless local human rights organizations object on grounds it would becounter-productive.

Koenders said he is aware that the subject is sensitive in many places.

The Netherlands, which gives 4 billion euros ($5.85 billion) in aid eachyear to countries mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, became the firstcountry in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt childrenin 2001.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Golnar Motevalli)


Brownback to Endorse McCain

November 7, 2007
Filed at 7:31 a.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Sam Brownback, a Kansas conservative and favoriteof evangelical Christians, will endorse his former Republican presidentialrival John McCain, GOP officials said Wednesday.

The nod could provide a much-needed boost, particularly in Iowa, for theArizona senator and one-time presumed GOP front-runner whose bid falteredand who now is looking for a comeback.

Republican officials said Brownback will announce his support for McCainlater Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa, and then travel with the candidate tocampaign in two other cities in the state. The officials spoke on thecondition of anonymity to avoid publicly pre-empting the announcement.

It's uncertain how much weight the Brownback's backing will carry; theKansas senator dropped out of the race last month with little money andlittle support. While he is a favorite of religious conservatives, he failedto persuade them to embrace him as the GOP's consensus conservativecandidate. He spent months emphasizing his rock-solid opposition toabortion, gay marriage and other issues important to the party's rightflank, but left the race ranking low in national polls and state surveys.

Still, Brownback's backing could signal to evangelical Christians that theycan trust McCain and could help solidify McCain's credentials on socialissues. The endorsement could be especially important in Iowa, where McCaintrails in polls.

more . . . . .


Web Surprise Hits '08 Race

November 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 - Visitors to can sign up to find the perfectdating partner, advice on sex and how-to articles on same-sex marriage andparenting.

Over the course of at least two days in August, they may well also have seenbanner advertisements about the Republican presidential candidacy of MittRomney, the former Massachusetts governor, according to an analysis ofcampaign Web advertising provided by the Nielsen Online, AdRelevance,monitoring service.

At least 32,000 times over those two days, users clicking on the site got aRomney ad like one saying "Mitt Romney for President - Join Team Mitt!" anda link to the candidate's Web site.

A regular site for advertisers like Jeep and Toyota, was not exactlywhat Mr. Romney's campaign had in mind when it set out this summer toblanket the Web with messages about the candidate.

Mr. Romney has courted religious conservatives by highlighting hisopposition to same-sex marriage, and he has come under attack from gayactivists for reversing his previous support of a major gay rights bill andopen service by homosexuals in the military. He advertised on Gay.comunintentionally through a commonly used system that randomly places ads on avast network of sites.

That jarring juxtaposition of candidate, message and audience highlights howpolitical campaigns are still trying to get a handle on the power of theInternet to communicate with and motivate voters.

more . . . . .


Robertson to Back Giuliani

November 7, 2007
Filed at 9:23 a.m. ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Pat Robertson, a prominent Christian leader andsocial conservative, will endorse Republican presidential candidate RudyGiuliani, GOP officials confirmed Wednesday.

The former New York mayor backs abortion rights and gay rights, positionsthat put him in conflict with GOP orthodoxy, and has been trying to convincecultural conservatives to overlook their differences with him on thoseissues. That makes the support of a high-profile religious conservative likeRobertson a particular boon.

Giuliani, the front-runner in national popularity polls, and Robertson willmake the endorsement official later Wednesday at a news conference inWashington. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoidpublicly pre-empting the announcement.

The endorsement is a blow to rival Mitt Romney, who has been making inroadswith the powerful network of social conservative leaders. Romney recentlyannounced that Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III were on board with hiscandidacy, and he had been seeking Robertson's support.

Robertson, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, founded theChristian Broadcasting Network, the Christian Coalition and RegentUniversity in Virginia Beach.

more . . . . .


Some say saggin' pants sign of 'down low'

By Mark Anthony Neal
November 7, 2007

Given the number of crises facing municipalities across the United Statestoday, it seems unfathomable that "saggin'" - young men wearing theirtrousers well below their waistline - would become such a hot politicalissue. Yet politicians in several cities have taken time from dealing withtaxes and road repairs to pass ordinances that allow saggers - primarilyyoung black men - to be cited. One Louisiana town issues a $500 fine.

In the city of Dallas, local business leaders, politicians and an aspiringrapper named Dewayne Brown, aka Dooney Da' Priest, got creative in theirefforts to discourage saggin' by producing a public service announcementcalled "Pull Your Pants Up." The PSA uses homophobic slurs in a blatantattempt to embarrass saggers into literally pulling up their jeans.

The slurs are intentional, probably well-intended - and unfortunate. Here'swhy.

The hip-hop generation has shown there are few things that can shame it.However, some within the hip-hop generation, particularly mainstreamcommercial rappers, have been quite sensitive to suspicions they might begay.

Within gay subcultures, saggin' can be read as a sign of availability. Thisis perhaps the link Brown was trying to make with lyrics like, "You walkaround with your pants way down low/I dunno, looks to me you're on the downlow." The term "down low" is a reference to men who publicly liveheterosexual lives, but engage in homosexual relations in private.

Throughout Pull Your Pants Up, Brown regularly contrasts saggers with "realmen" who wear belts. When Brown also describes saggers as "degenerate" and a"disgrace to your race" and explicitly links such behavior to homosexuality,he makes clear that homosexuality is as offensive as saggin'.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from GLCC

Wilton Manors - Halloween Street Party! [Pictures]

Even a little tropical storm named Noel couldn't keep faithful GLCCsupporters away from South Florida's biggest Halloween street party ever!Over 7,000 are estimated to have attended. GLCC volunteers and staff workedfor months helping to plan the event. We are grateful to the 40+ GLCCvolunteers and staff that worked tirelessly to make sure everything wentsmoothly.

Integral to the event's success was the committee from: Wilton ManorsBusiness Association and Wilton Manors Main Street; the wonderful staff andelected officials of the City of Wilton Manors and of course event chairs:Bobby Kyser and Doug Cureton. Misty Eyez was the Hostess with the Mostest,supporting the community and the GLCC, by donating her time and talent.Special thanks to G.I.R.L. ( for keeping thingsrocking and to the businesses that sponsored "Wicked Manors".

The GLCC thanks everyone involved in the event and everyone who attended!

Enjoy this slideshow of pictures (taken by Steve Shires of ShiresPhotography):

Photos by the Mad Paparazzi at 07_1.htm

Here are a few press articles about the event:

We are even on YouTube:


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