Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 12, 2007

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On West Village Streets, Tears for a Gay Activist

December 10, 2007

Friends and colleagues of Bob Kohler, a veteran gay rights activist who diedat 81 on Wednesday, took to the streets of the West Village last evening,celebrating the life of the man they called a hero, a griot and a legend ofthe gay community.

With candles and signs held high, and with pill bottles and ceramic potsfilled with some of Mr. Kohler’s cremated remains, dozens of his friends andadmirers marched through the streets, chanting to the beat of a drummer,stories of Mr. Kohler’s courage in more than six decades of activismspilling from their lips.

Some cried as they stepped down West 13th Street, Seventh Avenue andChristopher Street to Sheridan Square, ending up at the Hudson River piers,a refuge for many gay youths in the area.

“Till the very end he struggled for us, all of us,” said Jennifer Flynn, 36,a friend and member of a group of mostly lesbian activists who helped tocare for Mr. Kohler as he battled cancer in his final days. “He could havelived a comfortable life somewhere. He could have ignored everyone.”

Mr. Kohler was on the front lines of the Stonewall rebellion of 1969, thebrawl between gay men and police officers at a bar in the Village that iswidely viewed as the start of the American gay rights movement.

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Showtime's Fall From Grace offers a disturbing look at hate as religion

By Dave Shiflett
Bloomberg News
December 12, 2007

What kind of person pickets military funerals with signs proclaiming "ThankGod for Dead Soldiers" and "God Is Your Enemy"?

Meet the Rev. Fred Phelps, whose Westboro Baptist Church congregation takesto the streets and cemeteries to celebrate American combat deaths. Phelpsand his flock are the subjects of Fall From Grace, airing this month onShowtime.

Phelps and his followers, mostly members of his family, believe militarydeaths are divine payback for tolerating homosexuality. Indeed, any calamitythat befalls America, including Hurricane Katrina, is seen as a sign of theAlmighty's anti-gay wrath.

The 70-minute documentary marks the filmmaking debut of K. Ryan Jones, astudent at the University of Kansas who interviewed Phelps and several ofhis 13 children. Most appear to have inherited the loony gene, along withtheir father's talent for spewing hatred.

The church, based in Topeka, Kansas, was recently ordered to pay a Baltimorefamily $11 million in damages for picketing their soldier son's funeral. Thefilm makes it clear that the protests are designed to inflict maximum painto survivors.

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`Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Poses Clintonian Catch-22 for GOP Hopefuls

by: T.M. Lindsey
Monday (12/10) at 10:30 AM

(Commentary) Imagine a stage full of Republican presidential candidatesstanding underneath the national spotlight and agreeing with one another.Better yet, try imagining all of them agreeing with former President BillClinton.

CNN and YouTube helped make this scenario a reality Nov. 28 when the twohooked up and hosted a Republican presidential debate. Just two days beforethe 14th anniversary of the enactment of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT)law that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military,the candidates were asked to tell what they thought about the law.

During the debate, retired Brigadier Gen. Keith Kerr asked: "I want to knowwhy you think that American men and women in uniform are not professionalenough to serve with gays and lesbians." Kerr, a Santa Rosa, Calif., native,served in the armed forces for 43 years, and, without being asked, told theaudience that he's an openly gay man.

Now the catch. The candidates could either agree with President Clinton'sinitiative, or disagree with DADT, which implicitly supports Sen. HillaryClinton's stance. Sen. Clinton says the "outdated and outmoded" approachshould be repealed. Either way, the GOP hopefuls still end up agreeing witha Clinton, a major political faux pas in the Republican Party.

The plot thickens. It turns out Kerr had been named a co-chairman of HillaryClinton's National Military Veterans group. After the debate, Kerr told CNNthat he had not done work for the Clinton campaign. CNN claimed that Kerrtold them he is a member of the Log Cabin Republicans and was representingno one other than himself. The day after the debate, Clinton campaignspokesman Phil Singer said the retired general "is not a campaign employeeand was not acting on behalf of the campaign."

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Gay Bashings In Ontario City

by The Canadian Press
Posted: December 11, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Hamilton, Ontario) Hamilton police are looking for three suspects followingtwo street assaults officers say were motivated by hate.

Both attacks occurred Saturday evening.

In the first, a 23-year-old man out walking with three female friends wasattacked by three men who were shouting anti-gay slurs.

The victim was punched and kicked in the head and upper body area but hisinjuries were not life-threatening.

Police say a second man was assaulted under similar circumstances within anhour by the same suspects.

Two suspects are white males and the third has a darker complexion.

Hamilton, with about 400,000 people, is about 40 miles west of Toronto.


Cardinal Wants Gays Banned From Public Office

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 11, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Riga) The leader of Latvia's Roman Catholics has called on politicalparties to ban gays from seeking public office.

As the country prepares to go to the polls to elect a new ParliamentCardinal Janis Pujats issued a letter demanding the three major partiespledge not to endorse the candidacy of anyone who is gay and not to appointanyone gay to non-elected office.

The letter tells party leaders they must be "ready to defend the Latviannation against the invasion of homosexuality in public life," the BalticNews Service reported on Tuesday.

Pujats later said that European laws barring discrimination against gays"irrelevant" if they run counter to the morals of Latvia.

"As a cardinal, I say this in the name of Latvia's half-million Catholicbelievers. They are citizens of their country and have rights to expresstheir opinions on all issues of national importance, he said.

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Lawsuit Begins Against Public Funding Of Homophobic School

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 11, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Frankfort, Kentucky) A lawsuit challenging a $11 million dollar state grantto a private Baptist university argues that giving the money violates theKentucky state constitution.

The state says that the money, to be used to create a pharmacy school at theUniversity of the Cumberlands, was for the betterment of the state's healthand welfare and therefore constitutional.

The LGBT rights group Kentucky Fairness Alliance filed a lawsuit along withadvocates for the separation of church and state and the Jefferson CountyTeachers Association.

Named as defendants are the university, Gov. Ernie Fletcher and a dozenRepublican lawmakers.

The $11 million grant was approved by the GOP controlled legislature anddespite pressure to veto the measure Gov. Ernie Fletcher refused but said hewould hold the funds until after the legal question is resolved.

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Calif. Gay Marriage Not On January Docket

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 12, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(San Francisco, California) A lawsuit challenging California's refusal toallow same-sex marriage will not be heard in January by the state SupremeCourt as had been widely expected.

The reason: justices have been buried in paper over the case. In addition tobriefs from lawyers representing same-sex couples who want to marry and thestate which wants to maintain the status quo, there have been 45 amicus or"friend of the court" briefs from about 140 groups groups on both sides ofthe issue.

That is the largest number of amicus briefs in the court's recent history,possibly ever, and justices have to weed through the written argumentsbefore hearing oral arguments.

The court has said it will hear the case in 2008, but has not indicatedwhen. After hearing oral arguments the justices will have 90 days to issuea ruling.

The case involves six separate lawsuits which will be heard by the SupremeCourt at one time.

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

From: Jay Blotcher []
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 10:54 PM
Subject: The death of author-historian Allan Berube

It has been a very tough week for the LGBT community. Veteranactivist Bob Kohler of NYC died last week, followed by longtimeactivist, disco producer and Paradise Garage partner Mel Cheren.

And this morning we lost Allan Berube, an award-winning gay author andhistorian, best known for the book "Coming Out Under Fire"about gays and lesbians who fought during WWII.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List



By Wayne Hoffman

Gay historian Allan Berube, award-winning author of Coming Out Under Fire,died on December 11, 2007. He was 61.

His death was due to sudden complications following the discovery of twostomach ulcers, according to his close friend Jonathan Ned Katz, a fellowgay historian.

Berube was, for decades, an independent historian and community activist.He first came to progressive political activism in opposition to the Vietnamwar, working with the American Friends Service Committee in Boston in thelate 1960s, after dropping out of the University of Chicago. After comingout in 1969, he joined a "gay liberation collective household," and latermoved to San Francisco to join a gay commune for craftspeople. He remainedin San Francisco for many years, and was one of the founders of the SanFrancisco Lesbian and Gay History Project in 1978. His slide shows aboutwomen who dressed and passed as men -- and married other women -- werewelcomed by enthusiastic audiences around the country.

Berube is best remembered for his groundbreaking work of gay history,published in 1990: Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Womenin World War II. The Lambda Literary Award-winning book, which was lateradapted by Arthur Dong into a Peabody Award-winning documentary, was oftencited in Senate hearings on the military's anti-gay policies in 1993.

Martin Duberman, distinguished professor of history emeritus at the CityUniversity of New York, called Berube's book "superb ... not only in termsof his prose style, which was absolutely lucid and even elegant, but also interms of the very fine-spun analysis. Allan was not one to create shallowgeneralizations about either a given individual or a series of events. Hewas utterly meticulous and utterly careful. No one will ever, I think, haveto redo the book on World War II, and you can almost never say that about ahistorian or a given piece of historical research."

In 1996, Berube received a "genius grant" from the John D. and Catherine T.MacArthur Foundation for his work.

For the past decade, while living in New York City and the Catskills, Berubehad been working on a history of queer working-class men in the Marine Cooksand Stewards Union in the 1930s and '40s, a project for which he received aRockefeller Residency Fellowship in the Humanities from the Center forLesbian and Gay Studies at CUNY.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Winter 2008 issue of "mental health AIDS" now available

Dear HIV Educators, Clinicians, Researchers, Colleagues, and Friends:

The Winter 2008 issue of "mental health AIDS," a quarterly biopsychosocialresearch update on HIV and mental health, is available online at

This issue's "tool box":

"For Whom the Tell Tolls: Curbing the Cost of Giving & Getting Distressing,HIV-Related News (Part 1)"

It is not only when clinicians must convey distressing news (e.g., deliveran HIV-positive test result) that their own coping mechanisms come intoplay. In the HIV-related clinical encounter, a clinician's coping mechanismsare also called upon when the client reveals distressing, if not traumatic,life experiences that precede and/or follow from the detection of thatindividual's positive serostatus.

This is the first of a two-part series. Part 1 tackles the terminology usedto describe how clinicians are thought to be affected by their work withtrauma survivors. This section also summarizes literature on approaches torecognizing and alleviating the dangers facing clinicians practicingtrauma-related psychotherapy.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Albania’s Gay Flight
By Ben Andoni in Tirana

Homosexuals face little choice but to leave Albania or put up withdeep-rooted homophobia.

“Could I tell my mother that I am gay? She is nearly eighty-years-old now. Iwould never want to cause her such trauma at this stage in her life. Myfather - when he was alive - asked me, but I could not admit it to himeither,” recalls the man in his forties, too afraid to give his name, tooself-conscious, constantly looking over his shoulder.

Getting in touch with Gjerji, as he wants to be called, was not an easytask. A form of underground credibility must be established through anetwork of intermediaries. Repeated cases in the past have taught thehomosexual community that, in a traditional society like Albania, goingpublic with their sexual orientation means losing their jobs, riskingthreats and possible rejection by their families.

“From what we know, the data that we have, there is a community of nearly3,500 in Tirana alone,” says Genci Terpo, a lawyer with the Albanian HumanRights Group, AHRG.

Though the Albanian Parliament legalized homosexual relationships in 1995,more than a decade later, gays and lesbians are still heavily stigmatized,and a majority of them are choosing to leave, amidst fears that if theirsexual orientation is discovered, their safety will be endangered.

“The attitudes toward homosexuality have not changed much, and they have toprotect themselves,” says Terpo. “It’s not that now, in 2007, there is anyreal difference to what we have seen before. They continue to be subjectedto discrimination in all walks of life, and that includes stateinstitutions,” he adds.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

NEW from DIRELAND, December 11, 2007

"WAITING FOR PASOLINI" -- FROM MOROCCO, A NEW FILM It's just won the prizefor Best Arab Feature at the 31st Cairo Film Festival. For a description ofMoroccan filmmaker Daoud Aoula-Syad's new film "Waiting for Pasolini," clickon:


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay Episcopal Bishop Prepares for June Wedding

by Priscilla Greear
U/Miami News Service
Tuesday Dec 4, 2007

The nation’s first openly gay Episcopal bishop told a crowd of about 200that come June he’s marching down the aisle with his longtime male partnerMark Andrew.

"I always wanted to be a June bride," said Bishop Gene Robinson at a talk onNov. 27 at Nova Southeastern University.

"It may take many years for religious institutions to add their blessing forsame-sex marriages and no church, mosque or synagogue should be forced to doso. But that should not slow down progress for the full civil right tomarry," Robinson said. "Because New Hampshire will have legal unionsbeginning in January, my partner of 20 years and I will enter into such alegal union next June."

Robinson’s address concluded the 2007 Goodwin Symposium on Sex, Morality andthe Law sponsored by Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad LawCenter. The four-part lecture series began Oct. 11 with Suzanne Goldberg, aleading attorney on lesbian and gay rights issues, who discussed how theU.S. Supreme Court addresses sexual orientation issues.

Wearing a raspberry clergy shirt with a cleric collar and pectoral cross,Robinson characterized the "religious right" as close-minded, taking aliteral interpretation of Bible condemnation of homosexuality.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Recount ousts Vallejo’s first gay mayor, appoints first black

Associated Press
Friday Dec 7, 2007

VALLEJO, Calif - For a while there, it appeared that the city of Vallejo hadelected its first openly gay mayor.

After a vote recount, it turns out the city actually has its first blackmayor.

Osby Davis has emerged victorious in the recount, pulling ahead of GaryCloutier by just three votes.

The first results of the Nov. 6 election had Cloutier ahead by five votes.

Now the Solano County elections office confirms that Davis, a former SolanoCounty supervisor, is the winner.

Cloutier had come under scrutiny around election time after he was arrestedbehind the wheel of a Cadillac on suspicion of public intoxication outside aPalm Springs bar.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Giuliani Parses Shades of ’Gay’

by Kilian Melloy
EDGE New York City Contributor
Monday Dec 10, 2007

Rudy Giuliani seems poised to hate the "sin" of homosexuality... as long asit’s understood that the "sin" lies with the sex and not the attraction.

In the wake of media attention on Republican presidential contender MikeHuckabee’s 1992 declaration that people with HIV / AIDS should be keptcontained and separated from the general population, Tim Russert askedGiuliani, during the former NYC mayor’s appearance in Meet the Press,whether he agreed with Huckabee’s declaration that being gay is an"aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle."

Giuliani parsed his reply carefully, reports an article in the New YorkObserver published today ( said that being gay is not sinful, but that what gays, or straights, dowith one another sexually might well be.

The article pointed out that Giuliani, during his time as New York Citymayor, sought to see the partners of the city’s gay and lesbian workersreceive family benefits; moreover, Giuliani had, at age 56, a gay couple asa pair of roommates.

Giuliani told Russert, "My moral views on this come from the CatholicChurch."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay chamber hires transgender ED

by Matthew S. Bajiko
Associated Press
Tuesday Dec 11, 2007

With the country’s LGBT community embroiled in a debate over protectingtransgender people in the workplace, the nation’s oldest gay chamber ofcommerce announced this week it has hired a post-op transsexual woman as itsnew executive director.

Katherine Dean, 53, took over leadership of the San Francisco-based GoldenGate Business Association Tuesday, November 27, but the chamber waited untilthis week to officially announce its decision. Dean replaces John D’Alessandro,who had managed the organization for the past two years and moved to Miami,Florida this week where his partner was relocated for work.

The business group did not disclose Dean’s salary, but it reported on its2006 tax returns it spent close to $60,000 on employee compensation lastyear.

In an interview with the Bay Area Reporter Monday, December 3, Dean said shedecided to come out publicly about her transgender status due to the fightover the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the decision bycongressional leaders to drop gender identity protections from the bill.Known as ENDA, the bill passed the House in November and is now awaitingapproval in the Senate.

"I personally felt it was time to make a stand and come out," Dean said. "I’vespent over a decade trying to hide my history of being transgendered, butafter what happened last month with ENDA, I chose to come help make adifference."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Living gay in Victoria
Discrimination exists here, homosexual rights group says

December 06, 2007

Leaders of a gay-advocacy group in Victoria fear they would be discriminatedagainst if residents learn their identities.

GLBTvictoria, which advocates for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendercommunity, officially formed in October. But the cloud of discrimination inVictoria keeps them from too publicly speaking out.

The group is starting to gain a foothold in Victoria, having walked in theHoliday Parade to increase AIDS awareness, collecting food for the hungry,and campaigning for legislation to stop discrimination based on sexualorientation.

Even still, the group’s founder and press officer declined to have theirnames in the newspaper.

One member, Karen Leach, was willing to speak out. A 24-year-old customerservice manager, she said she knows firsthand discrimination and thinks itshouldn’t be hidden.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Czech Gay Exhibit Traces Evolution of GLBT Rights

by Kilian Melloy
EDGE Philadelphia Contributor
Wednesday Dec 12, 2007

The Czech Republic has made great strides in GLBT equality since thecollapse of Communism. Now a touring exhibition showcases some highlights.

The exhibit was presented to the public in the Hrzansky Palace to make the
day of human rights, reported the Prague Daily Monitor

A leader in the Czech Republic’s early GLBT equality movement, Jiri Hromada,spoke with the press about the exhibit, telling news outlets that theexhibit will be on display in Prague in Jan., 2008.

Hromada said that the exhibit will be housed in the Prague House of EthnicMinorities from Jan. 5--25, The Daily Monitor reported.

Explained Hromada, "We want to show to the public that gays and lesbians didnot fall from the Mars."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Huge rise in Scots with racist prejudices

Scots are becoming increasingly prejudiced against Muslims, according to awide-ranging survey carried out after the terror attacks of July 2005 butbefore the strike on Glasgow Airport this summer.

Half of those questioned in the government study said Scotland would loseits identity if more Muslims come to the country - up on the 38% who saidthe same in 2003 when a similar survey was taken.

The number of Scots who would be unhappy if a relative formed a closerelationship with a Muslim was also up over the three years, from 20% to24%, but while almost one-third of Scots believe there is sometimes a goodreason to be prejudiced - an attitude which is on the rise - the number ofpeople who are prejudiced against gays and lesbians is decreasing.

The findings of the Scottish Government's 2006 Scottish Social AttitudesSurvey were gathered from interviews with 1594 adults.

Last night, Communities Minister Stewart Maxwell described the change inattitudes towards Muslims as worrying and promised the government would"provide leadership" to fight prejudice.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Whatever the biological basis of same gender attraction, (0.00 / 0)once it is iscovered, someone will try to develop a predictive / diagnostictest to fix or liminate people who are same-gender-attracted or aregender-identity-variant.

Al Mohler of the Southern Baptist Convention's family policy arm (ie, one ofthe main spokesmen of the SBC) has stated that testing and prenatal therapyto reverse homosexual tendencies would be Biblically OK, and research shouldbe encouraged. Of course, abortion is out of the question for the SBC.

The Nazi doctors did some endocrine experiments on male homosexualprisoners, some of whom died as a result of said experiments. Homosexualitywas perceived as "spoiling" otherwise adequate Aryan officer-qualityrecruits, and was seen as "infectious", thus the decision to experiment onthe lumpen to find a "cure" for the elite. To some degree, homosexuality wasalso seen as heritable, keeping in mind that the typical elite Aryan gay manwas married and thus a potential contributer of Aryan children.Sterilizations were done as a negative eugenic measure (the same attitudecould be found in the US, where sterilization was used on lower-class racialminority prisoners).

There is no question in my mind that LGBT rights needs to be addressed asrights of self-determination, association, and privacy. The "choice" v."biology" arguments should be bypassed as irrelevant to civil rights issues.While it may be useful to explain basic orientation or identity to thegeneral public as in large part biologically determined and thus "natural"to the individual LGBT and to the human species as a whole, I would leavebiology, and especially genetics, out of arguments on the legal basis ofcivil rights.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

One Small Step for Gay Science, One Giant Step Back for Gay Rights?

Scientists recently determined how to make gay fruit flies straight, andvice versa. The findings published in Nature Neuroscience this week conjureup disturbing images of big pharma manufacturing drugs that erase homosexualdesire while the religious right markets them.

This discovery makes Gary Greenberg's "Gay By Choice?" published in MotherJones in September/October 2007 all the more relevant. The gay rightsmovement has been hoping science would vindicate it for far too long. Butwhat if science proves that gayness is not an immutable trait, or worse,finds a way to "cure" it? Isn't it time, as Greenberg argues, "to findreasons other than medical science to insist that people ought to be able tolove whom they love"?

—Celia Perry


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Court rejects gay student’s appeal in clergy secrecy case

by Bill Kaczor
Associated Press
Friday Dec 7, 2007

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A divided Florida Supreme Court refused to take anappeal Thursday from a student who alleged he had been expelled because hisschool’s chaplain broke a promise of confidentiality by tellingadministrators the teen is gay.

Groups representing trial lawyers and child-advocate attorneys had urged thejustices to use the Palm Beach County case as a vehicle to clarify a legalrule the Supreme Court had established years ago to limit claims foremotional distress.

The high court, though, voted 5-2 against revisiting the rule.

Justice Barbara Pariente wrote in dissent that the majority, which did notexplain its decision, continued to "muddy the waters" surrounding what isknown as the "impact rule." Justice Harry Lee Anstead concurred withPariente.

The rule allows emotional distress claims only if victims also have suffereda physical effect with some exceptions that include breaches ofconfidentially by psychotherapists.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Hundreds support gay, lesbian Catholics at vigil

St. Paul, Minn.

At least 300 Catholics and supporters braved cold temperatures and gustywinds to gather outside the Cathedral of St. Paul Dec. 2 in a vigil ofsolidarity with gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.

The event included a “die-in” on cathedral steps and brief remarks byspeakers including Mary Lynn Murphy, president of Catholic Rainbow Parents,and Mel White of SoulForce, a nonprofit activist organization that confrontshomophobia by addressing religious bigotry.

White told the group they were the latest in a long line of dissenters suchas Galileo and Franz Jägerstätter, “who loved the church enough to stand upand say, ‘You’re wrong.’ ”

The group also delivered an open letter to Coadjutor Archbishop JohnNienstedt, who is to succeed Archbishop Harry Flynn as head of thearchdiocese in the spring. The letter responded to Nienstedt’s Nov. 15column in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit. Nienstedt hadwritten that people who support homosexual activity, such as parents whosupport their adult children’s gay or lesbian partnerships or familyrelationships, may be considered to “formally cooperate in a grave evil” orbe “guilty of mortal sin.” He also distanced himself from the U.S. bishops’pastoral letter to parents of gay children, “Always Our Children.” Nienstedtsaid that document “is not a normative teaching statement of the bishops’conference.”

The open letter characterizes Nienstedt’s column as hurtful and unacceptableand derived from flawed research on human sexuality.

Michael Bayly of the Progressive Catholic Voice, a grass-roots group thatorganized the event, said they hoped to “show there are Catholics whodisagree not only with what Nienstedt has said but how he arrived at histeachings. We want a voice in the formulation of church teachings especiallywith regard to human sexuality. In Catholic tradition, the laity should havea role in developing teachings.”

Mary Turbak, a parishioner at St. Pascal Baylon, said she doesn’t have a gayor lesbian child but she was there to support friends. “We’re here becausewe’re against what Nienstedt said, that you’re living in sin if you’resupporting your children. Isn’t it the people in the church that matter, oris it a bunch of rules?”


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Marketing the Perfect Gay Vacay

by Ty Trapps
EDGE Miami Contributor
Tuesday Dec 11, 2007

Fort Lauderdale may be considered the gay North American paradise by some,but exhibitors attending the 8th Annual Gay Travel Expo at the War MemorialAuditorium in Fort Lauderdale wanted to educate attendees on other vacationvenues that offer more options than sunning on the beach all day and hittingthe clubs at night.

That’s not to say that South Florida doesn’t have a lot to offer. Accordingto the 12th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Survey recently conducted byCommunity Marketing, Fort Lauderdale is the fifth most visited U.S.destination by gay and lesbian travelers, following New York, Las Vegas, SanFrancisco and Los Angeles.

Last year, gay visitors contributed nearly $1.2 billion to Greater FortLauderdale’s economy.

Fort Lauderdale was just named "Favorite Gay Resort Town" in the 2007OutTraveler Readers’ Choice Awards in the November 2007 issue.

In addition, one of Fort Lauderdale’s 30-plus gay guesthouses, Royal PalmsResort, took individual gold honors as the "Favorite Gay Resort/Guesthouse."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Lexington parents get their day in court

by Ethan Jacobs
Bay Windows
Sunday Dec 9, 2007

A three-judge panel heard arguments Dec. 5 in the appeal of Parker v.Lexington, a federal lawsuit brought by four Lexington parents who object tothe use of pro-gay materials in the classroom without prior parental notice.U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf dismissed the lawsuit in Februarybecause he said that parents do not have the right to dictate public schoolcurriculum.

Robert Sinsheimer, who is representing the parents, David and Tonia Parkerand Rob and Robin Wirthlin, argued before the court that the schoolsinfringed the parents’ right to the free exercise of religion by reading thebook King and King to their children. The picture book tells the story of aprince who marries another prince.

"The school system ... has chosen to teach children that there are otherforms of marriage that ought to be considered moral and acceptable," saidSinsheimer, who noted that the Parkers and the Wirthlins have strongreligious convictions that only heterosexual couples should be allowed tomarry. He also accused Lexington Public Schools of attempting to"indoctrinate" the couples’ children by using King and King and other bookstalking about same-sex couples.

Sinsheimer emphasized that the Parkers and the Wirthlins were not asking forthe removal of books like King and King from the school’s curriculum.
Instead they wanted to be notified when such books would be used and giventhe option to opt their children out of the classroom during those lessons.

Judge Sandra Lynch asked Sinsheimer how reading King and King to theWirthlin’s first grade son infringed on the couple’s right to freelyexercise their religion. Sinsheimer answered that the free exercise ofreligion "includes the teaching of their faith to their children."

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Gay & Lesbian Leadership

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

Couples' rights, but not marriage, on agenda in Wash.
Washington state activists in 2008 hope to expand on this year's limiteddomestic-partnership law -- which gave same-sex couples hospital-visitationand inheritance rights -- by passing legislation granting partner-property,retirement and pension-benefit rights. Equal marriage rights, however,probably is not on the agenda until after the 2008 elections, according tothis article. Seattle Post-Intelligencer (12/9)

Group says feds mistreating illegal immigrants with HIV/AIDS
Illegal immigrants with HIV/AIDS being held by the U.S. Department ofHomeland Security are not receiving proper care and treatment, according toa new survey from Human Rights Watch. The report had not been fully reviewedby the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, but a spokeswomanstood by the quality of care given to detainees. Los Angeles Times (freeregistration) (12/8)

Are you ready to lead?
The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI) doesn't just bring you thisSmartBrief twice a week. It's the training and professional developmentorganization for openly LGBT public leaders in government, politics andadvocacy. From training candidates to run for office to building the skillsof LGBT movement leaders, GLLI is making sure those on the front lines inthe fight for equality are equipped for success. Learn more about how we canhelp you get ready to lead.

Lawmakers disappoint again with hate-crimes retreat
The federal hate-crimes bill is in limbo once again after House leaderspulled back from their plan to attach the measure to a defense authorizationbill. That the plan is off, due to the reluctance of liberals to vote forthe defense-spending measure and of conservatives to support the hate-crimeslegislation, is yet another disappointment from the current leadership,according to this New York Times editorial. "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasto do more than just express her support for the bill; she must find a wayto make it the law," the Times writes. The New York Times (12/10)

Editorial: Has Huckabee really learned HIV lesson?
This Washington Post editorial questions whether Republican presidentialcandidate Mike Huckabee, who now claims to support full federal funding forAIDS research, really has changed since he backed quarantining people withAIDS during his 1992 run for the U.S. Senate. "In refusing to 'recant,' ashe put it to Fox News, his 1992 views on AIDS and on homosexuality as a'lifestyle,' he fails to lay to rest legitimate doubts about his objectivityand fairmindedness when it comes to the rights and interests of gays andlesbians, and the public health concerns of everyone," the Post writes. TheWashington Post (12/11)

Blogger: LGBT Asians not part of rainbow media mix
Blogger Laura Nguyen offers her suggestion on ways LGBT Asians can raisetheir media profile, both within the LGBT community and the larger world."It is up to us to ensure that the LGBT voice is as global and collaborativeas possible, because when we do so, we are paving the way for the nextgeneration of our LGBT sisters and brothers to experience greateracceptance, respect and compassion by the community at large," Nguyenwrites. Read more at Out Front Blog.


New Transgender Veterans Survey

Immediate release. Please post this everywhere.

Transgender American Veterans Association
Contact: Monica F. Helms, President

A new survey has been created to achieve a more accurate picture ofthe state of the transgender American veteran population. Many of theissues facing transgender veterans are no different than those facingthe rest of the transgender community. However negotiating healthcarethru the Veterans Administration and dealing with the Department ofDefense poses its own unique set of challenges. This survey is alsofor those transgender people who are still serving in the military andthose veterans who identify and are diagnosed as intersex.

The detailed survey of 117 short questions only takes between ten andtwenty minutes of your time and it is the first of its kind to beundertaken. Many of the questions have several choices to them, butjust a few will take multiple answers. A large percentage of thequestions are a simple “Yes/No.” Some require a written response.While transgender veterans who do not, or have not ever used the VAfor their medical needs, can skip that entire section.

The survey can be accessed at:



Dear HeartStrong Friends,

I come to you with an urgent request for your help.

HeartStrong has been serving GLBT students persecuted in religiouseducational institutions since 1996. During that time, HeartStrong hasprovided outreach and support to GLBT students suffering in religiousschools around the world. In addition to 14 outreach/educationalprograms, Heartstrong has established exceptional internet outreachprojects such as HeartStrong has also provided direct supportto more than 1000 current and former students. The outreach team hasself-driven more than 350,000 miles criss-crossing the US in efforts toreach students.

HeartStrong has assisted groups in developing (unauthorized) GLBT alumniorganizations as well as made dozens and dozens of school visits, pavingthe road to self acceptance for our students.

More than 35,000 pieces of HeartStrong literature have been distributedaround the globe in efforts to make it simple for students to find outabout our life-saving work.

Today, we face unparalleled challenges in this important work. As ouroutreach and educational efforts continue to grow, so, too, does thecircle of people we need to help. Every day, our outreach team isconfronted with a growing number of needs - a sign that HeartStrong isreaching more and more people who know they can turn to HeartStrong whenthey are subjected to faith based anti-GLBT bullying.

Since 1996, enrollment at religious educational institutions has explodedby the millions. And yet, our resources at HeartStrong have not grownenough to meet the needs of the students in need. In the past ten yearsof work, HeartStrong has never raised a year's budget within that year.That's why I'm writing to you today. HeartStrong urgently needs yourhelp. Without an increase in funding, we will not be able to meet our2008 budget. Without the help of generous donors like you, we will haveto begin saying "no," to those who come to us seeking help - for soonthere will be nothing left to give. We will be forced to stop ourefforts to expand our outreach efforts as religious schools both grow innumber and popularity and continue their persecution of GLBT students.The situation of students in these schools around the world is desperate,and our resources are few.

In addition to searching your heart about how you can contribute with amonetary gift, I ask that you also consider how you can help bring newmembers to our family of donors. Many of your friends and associates maynot be aware of this expansive and revolutionary outreach/educationaleffort taking place in the United States and around the world.

Your employer may also have a Matching Gift program that could prove aninvaluable resource to HeartStrong. Please take this into considerationand think creatively about how we can work together to provide hope andhelp to our students. Many employers allow donations to HeartStrong tobe made directly from your paycheck via The United Way. (In most cases,you simply have to write in HeartStrong as your choice.)

I ask that you join with HeartStrong in responding to the current budgetdeficit. Please consider a special year-end gift to help us meet theneeds of our GLBT brothers and sisters. One-time gifts and monthlypledges are equally helpful.

You may make your donation online at byusing our secure online donation process or you can mail your giftto HeartStrong, PO 2051, Seattle WA 98111.

On behalf of our students, our outreach team and the board of directors,I thank you for considering how you can help support our life-savingwork.

Shelley Craig, Ph.D.
President, HeartStrong, Inc.


Sweden - Federley assaulted in homophobic attack

Published: 11 Dec 07 08:03 CET
The Local

Centre Party member of parliament Fredrick Federley was the victim of ahomophobic attack in central Stockholm on Saturday night.

The assault took place at the Klara Grillen hot dog stand on Drottninggatan,where Federley went with two acquaintances after leaving the Pigallenightclub.

But as they approached their destination, six or seven men in their twentiesbegan shouting "here come the fags".

"Then they screamed that we were disgusting and a threat to Sweden and thatthey were going to beat us up," said Federley.

Just as he tried to convince his assailants that fighting was a bad idea, hewas struck with a punch to the left jaw.

"I calmly told them that I wasn't going to fight, as that would make me nobetter than them," said Federley.

He then received three more blows before one of the gang managed to controlthe most aggressive member.

Federley was sore and shaken on Monday. It was the first time he had beenassaulted because of his sexuality, he said, although several friends hadbeen the victims of similar attacks.

"I'm more shaken now than I was then. It could have ended really badly," hesaid.

After the attack, Federley elected to sleep over at a friend's house ratherthan take the bus home alone. But he was determined not to let the weekend'sevents prevent him from going out in future.

"I plan to live my life," he said.

On Monday, Federley was on parliamentary duty in Ängelholm but said heintended reporting the attack to the police on his return to Stockholm.


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:

After speaking before a crowd 8,500 people, Barack Obama privately met with25 people from the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry group. The group haspreviously met with Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards.
According to the notes of someone who was there, "He believed that couplesin civil unions should have the same rights that heterosexual marriedcouples have. He would not push for same-sex marriage because the countrywas not ready for it and that the issue would be the lightning rod (source'swords) that Republicans would use to rally opposition to his campaign.
Martin Luther King was attacked by some black people because he was notpushing for an end to miscegenation first. King felt that equal votingrights was more important and that he did not want an end to miscegenationto cause the defeat of the rest of the civil rights agenda." Obama alsotold the group, "you guys have been supplanted by the Hispanics," by theRepublicans as the new evil group.

The town of Kensington passed a resolution Monday supporting the expansionof civil marriage to include same-sex couples, according to EqualityMaryland, an LGBT civil rights organization. The council passed theresolution unanimously. Takoma Park has passed a similar resolution.

The Religious Right looks to Maggie Gallagher and Robert George forintellectual cover when arguing that same-sex couples shouldn’t be allowedto marry, but whatever credibility they have as independent scholars will beput to the test by their new venture, the National Organization forMarriage. Gallagher, president of the low-key Institute for Marriage andPublic Policy (and perhaps most famous for taking money from the BushAdministration while promoting its marriage policy), and George, a Princetonprofessor, started NOM in order to lobby against marriage equality forsame-sex couples and to campaign against legislators connected to the issue.

Anything that threatens the traditional family threatens peace, because thefamily "is the first and indispensable teacher of peace," Pope Benedict XVIsaid. In his annual message for the Jan. 1 celebration of the World Day ofPeace, the pope also said the responsibilities learned and the joys andstruggles shared within individual families must be mirrored on a globallevel because everyone is part of one human family. The pope chose "TheHuman Family, A Community of Peace" as the theme for 2008, the 40thanniversary of the Catholic Church's celebration of World Peace Day. "Thefirst form of communion between persons is that born of the love of a manand a woman who decide to enter a stable union in order to build together anew family," the pope wrote. "But the peoples of the earth, too, are calledto build relationships of solidarity and cooperation among themselves, asbefits members of the one human family," he said.

One reason why the California Supreme Court is taking so long to decidewhether gay marriage is legal is that the issue has attracted more "friendof the court" briefs than any other case in recent memory, Chief JusticeRonald George said Tuesday. George said the court has received 45 suchbriefs from 145 different organizations lobbying the state's high court todecide the case in a variety of ways. An array of civil rights groups andseveral cities have filed court documents in favor of gay marriage, whilepolitically conservative and religious organizations filed papers supportingGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's position opposing gay marriage. AttorneyGeneral Jerry Brown also has filed opposition papers.

Ireland: At a symposium organised by the National Lesbian and GayFederation (NLGF) on November 30, it was agreed that a new platform would becreated to promote solidarity between lesbian and gay rights groups inIreland in the lead up to legislation for same sex partnership. Thesymposium was attended by representatives of gay rights organisationsincluding the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the KALInitiative, which supports the High Court appeal taken by Drs KatherineZappone and Anne Louise Gilligan seeking to have their Canadian marriagerecognised by the State. Entitled 'Full and Equal Rights: Lesbian and GayMarriage & Partnership Rights in Ireland', the symposium was supported by'Burning Issues' grant funding from Equality Authority to mark the EuropeanYear of Equal Opportunities for All.

New Hampshire: Nearly two dozen same-sex couples throughout the statepicked up paperwork Monday that will allow them to join in civilunions.First made available in the Granite State Monday morning, thedocuments are tantamount to a marriage license and will allow couples tojoin in civil union as of Jan. 1.
The 22 couples who state Rep. Jim Splaine says picked up the paperworkMonday were the first to do so in Granite State.Splaine, D-Portsmouth, wasthe primary sponsor of the bill, and along with fellow state Rep. andco-sponsor Dana Hilliard, D-Somersworth. With the help of several others,the duo pushed the legislation that helped turn what was once considered adream into a reality. But Splaine said Monday that there is still more workto do."I'm still not satisfied," said Splaine. "A lot of us who've beenfighting for gay equality for years believe strongly in marriage equality."

The folks at Focus on the Family are once again working that tired line thatone can measure the need and desire for marriage equality by examining howmany gay couples have signed up for civil unions in the locales where suchare available. After quoting some short-sighted numbers regarding who in VT,CT, and NJ have entered into such a union, FOF CitizenLink says thefollowing: “There are actually only a very small percentage of homosexualcouples that desire that type of legal union, so once that demand is met, itdrops off significantly," said Jenny Tyree, associate marriage analyst forFocus on the Family Action Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at theFamily Research Council, said he questions the argument that gay couplesdesperately need such legal benefits. “This puts the lie to all of that," hesaid, "because if it really was such a hardship to live as a partneredcouple without the benefits of marriage, then you would think they would allrush out to sign up as soon as those legal benefits were available to them.”


National Gay News

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

Dumbfounded and Dumb - Anything But Straight
Wayne Besen

Perhaps, if the largest newspaper in Little Rock were called the ArkansasRepublican-Gazette instead of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Mike"Huck-a-Bible" might have bothered to read the news. America was shocked tolearn that the rising GOP political star was blissfully unaware of theNational Intelligence Estimate that found Iran abandoned its nuclear weaponsprogram in 2003.

North Miami City Council Adopts Domestic Partner Health Benefit Policy
With a recent, unanimous 5-0 vote, the North Miami City Council adopted anew Procurement Ordinance which requires certain contractors wishing to dobusiness with the City to provide equal health benefits to domestic partnersof their own employees. The ordinance mirrors one passed in 2006 by the Cityof Miami Beach, though it actually extends a bit further. The new NorthMiami ordinance requires companies with 40-or-more employees bidding oncontracts over $75,000.00 to provide Domestic Partner Benefits. Businessesthat do not offer such benefits are precluded from being awarded a contract.

HRC Launches Program to Find Families for Children in Foster Care
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation will formally launch its latestinitiative, "All Children – All Families," aimed at finding permanentfamilies for foster children by promoting fairness for gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender families. The event, which will take place onTuesday, December 11, 2007 at 6:30 p.m. at the W Hotel in New Orleans, La.,will also mark the release of the "Promising Practices"guide, which willoffer examples of effective practices for working with GLBT foster andadoptive parents.

“It is Hard to Survive When You Are Gay in Jamaica”
Janice has been beaten up for being a lesbian. Sitting in the smallwindowless room in an anonymous house in uptown Kingston, the 31-year oldJamaican shows a scar above her left eye. She says she never leaves herhouse without her knife nowadays.


From Carole Benowitz
PFLAG Florida State Coordinator

THREE @ $5,000
THREE @ $2,500
TEN @ $1,000

Eligibility criteria

You are a graduating senior entering higher education for the first time in2008 (if you graduated in 2007 and took a year off you are still eligible toapply.

Self identify as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) or ally.
Demonstrate an interest in service to the GLBT community.
Have applied to an accredited higher education institution.

Submission requirements
Completed application form
One page essay
High School transcript
One reference
Completed release form


Additional information and application forms are available at PFLAGScholarships --

Application forms may be completed and submitted on line (see link) or inhardcopy to:

Suzanne Greenfield
PFLAG National Scholarships Program
1726 M Street, NW, #400
Washington, DC 20036


Safe Schools South Florida (formerly GLSEN South Florida) is a 501c3non-profit agency committed to making schools safe for all studentsregardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We traineducators to recognize and address anti-gay bullying. We empower youth bysupporting GSAs and holding annual GSA conferences. We educate the publicthrough a speakers bureau and we monitor the success of our efforts throughresearch and surveys. We rely on grants and donations from people who areconcerned about children and education. For information about Safe SchoolsSouth Florida, our events, or to make a tax-deductible contribution pleasevisit or email us or call 954-771-4799.


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