Wednesday, December 19, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 19, 2007

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Larry Craig Wins $1.6 Million Earmark For Dude Ranch

December 18, 2007 10:44 AM

From Roll Call's Heard on the Hill:

Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig insists he isn't gay and that he wasn'tsoliciting sex before his arrest last summer. But he's still willing to payfor dudes. Well, for a dude ranch, anyway.

Craig, the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on theInterior, Environment and Related Agencies before being forced to step downthis fall after his sex scandal, still got an earmark in the omnibusspending bill allocating $1.6 million to Idaho's Gold Creek Ranch.

The money, which would be used as part of the USDA Forest Service's ForestLegacy program, is for a 640-acre parcel of land in northern Idaho that'sfeeling the pressure of development. The project was requested by PresidentBush, Craig spokesman Dan Whiting tells HOH.

Helping the dude (ranch) is just one of the things Craig's been doing sincegetting back in the saddle on Capitol Hill. Last week, Craig assumed ahigher profile than he has since his scandal broke, taking to the floor infavor of an amendment limiting eminent domain.

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PlanetOut Inc. Closes Sale of RSVP Vacations

December 17, 2007: 04:30 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- PlanetOut Inc. , theleading media and entertainment company exclusively focused on the gay andlesbian market, today announced that, in accordance with the previouslyannounced agreement with Atlantis Events, Inc., the sale of RSVP Vacationsto Atlantis has been completed.


D.C.-area gay couples earn less than married counterparts
New statistics 'defy stereotypes' about same-sex partners

By JOSHUA LYNSEN | Dec 18, 3:43 PM

New analyses show that local same-sex couples often earn less than marriedmen and women.

According to data recently released by the University of California'sWilliams Institute on Sexual Orientation, married couples trump same-sexcouples in nine of 16 categorical salary comparisons.

Gary Gates, a Williams Institute senior research fellow, said the analyses"break down some very common stereotypes" of gays.

"Same-sex couples are much more diverse than I think our media presentationswould indicate," he said.

The most significant differences emerged among Maryland couples withchildren. Analyses show those same-sex couples there earn $32,811 less onaverage than married couples, who make $91,383.

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Gay-Straight Alliance seeks school tolerance

By Julia Scott, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 12/18/2007 06:37:34 AM PST

Click photo to enlargeA student walks into a Gay-Lesbian Alliance meeting.
(RON LEWIS Staff photos)«1»FOR MANY of the student members of Half Moon BayHigh School's Gay-Straight Alliance, life inside the club is a lot easierthan life outside it.

Whether they are gay or straight, club members often find themselves mockedby the student body for possessing the very quality that helps them makefriends with other club members: being different.

"I think people are put down if they're gay, especially in high school. I'mnot gay, but I want to stop the criticism. If we were all gay, we would makefun of straight people. That doesn't make any sense, so why should we makefun of gay people?" asked club member Russell Crispin, 15, who says he hasseveral gay and lesbian family members. Since founding the Gay-StraightAlliance in September, the club's 30-odd members have developed other traitsin common: They are opinionated, and they are determined to defend andsupport students' rights to a harassment-free high school experience. Theyalso love to have fun.

A recent after-school meeting saw both laughter and moments of sadness asclub members shared their accounts of what it is like to be gay or to be afriend to someone who is gay. They kept themselves busy makingrose-a-grams - roses with little notes attached that students purchased togive their friends, in honor of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. The effort raised$125 toward AIDS research.

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Study: Lesbians More Stressed At Holidays Than Straight Women

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 18, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) Lesbians tend to be more stressed out and depressed during theholiday season than heterosexual women a new study suggests.

The survey, by Harris Interactive, found that 80 percent of lesbian adultssaid they tend to feel more stressed around the holidays while 64 percent ofthe heterosexual women questioned said they tend to feel more stressed.

In addition, 51 percent of the lesbian respondents said they tend to feeldepressed around the holidays. Only 36 percent of heterosexual women saidthey did.

The survey of 2,625 U.S. adults aged 18 or older was conducted onlinebetween November 7 and 13, 2007 by Harris Interactive, in conjunction withWiteck-Combs Communications.

"Estrangement from family, marginalization within and isolation fromsociety, separation from children - sometimes due to custody battles, andinadequate access to culturally sensitive health care practitioners are allfactors that can adversely affect mood during a season so identified withfamily activities and 'belonging,'" said Dr. Linda Spooner, Chair of TheMautner Project Board of Directors and a practicing physician in Washington,D.C.

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Rome Nixes Gay Partner Registry

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 18, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Rome) Rome's city council has rejected a proposal for a domestic partnerregistry for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples who cannot or chosenot to marry.

The plan was introduced by Rome's left-of-center coalition government.

It would have allowed couples to sign a register at the city clerk's officeand be recognized in the limited areas over which the city has control -such as hospital visitation rights and reduced family rates at municipalrecreation centers.

The right-of-center opposition opposed the measure saying the city did nothave the power to "redefine the family".

The register was vehemently opposed by the Vatican.

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2nd Trans Student Claims Discrimination

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 18, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Cedar City, Utah) For the second time in two days a transgendered collegestudent is alleging discrimination. The most recent case involves SouthernUtah University.

Kourt Osborn, 22, says he was told he cannot live in a male dormitorybecause he is still biologically female.

Osborn tells the Deseret Morning News he is transitioning, undergoinghormone therapy, but has not yet had sex reassignment surgery.

The university denies it is discriminating. A school spokesperson tells thepaper that it recognizes trans students but that they must undergo surgerybefore being allowed to live in dorms reflecting their corrected sex.

"They are really asking too much of people," Osborn tells the Deseret News."Sexual-reassignment surgery is so expensive and so ineffective that manytransgender people, like myself, don't get it."

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Battle For LGBT Rights Spreads To Countryside

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 18, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(San Francisco, California) A group that provides legal help for ruralCalifornians has teamed up with one of the nation's largest LGBT legalrights groups to combat what is seen as a growing problem of discriminationin areas outside major cities.

The partnership between California Rural Legal Assistance and the NationalCenter for Lesbian Rights will educate rural communities about LGBT rightsand litigate cases on behalf of low-income LGBT residents of ruralCalifornia the two groups said in a statement.

The joint project, called Proyecto Poderoso or Powerful Project wasdeveloped by Lisa Cisneros, a recent graduate from University of California,Berkeley, Boalt School of Law.

After CRLA noticed an emerging trend of harassment and discriminationagainst LGBT agricultural workers, CRLA reached out to Cisneros and NCLR todesign the project.

CRLA's community workers are already providing information and resourcesregarding other legal issues, including workers' rights and healthcare, andhave been working extensively with schools, clinics, and in private homesthroughout rural California.

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Hillary's Magic Trick

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 19, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Davenport, Iowa) Magic Johnson doesn't trust rookies to win a basketballgame, much less lead the nation.

"You don't want somebody in there that is young or a rookie at politics,"Johnson said Tuesday at a raucous rally in support of presidential candidateHillary Rodham Clinton. "We want somebody in there that knows what they'redoing because this job is so huge."

Johnson, a former star with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, joined with formerPresident Bill Clinton to promote the New York senator's campaign. Implicitin Johnson's comments was the suggestion that Hillary Clinton had moreexperience than her rivals Barack Obama, who has served in the U.S. Senatesince January 2005 and John Edwards, who spent one term as a senator.

Speaking in a packed high school gymnasium, Johnson kept up the comparisonsbetween basketball and politics.

"The more I practiced the better I became," said Johnson, who won five NBAchampionships with the Lakers. "That's why I support Senator Clinton,because she is the only one with 30 years of experience."

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Huck In Damage Control Over Christmas Ad

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 19, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Houston, Texas) Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee isdefending his Christmas ad amid suggestions that the ordained Baptistminister had gone too far mixing religion and politics.

The ad, which is airing in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, showsHuckabee in front of a Christmas tree as he says, "Are you about worn out byall the television commercials you've been seeing, mostly about politics?Well, I don't blame you. At this time of year sometimes it's nice to pullaside from all of that and just remember that what really matters is thecelebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and friends."

Huckabee is courting evangelical voters and other religious conservatives inhis bid to win the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3. In Texas for a fundraiser, he saidthe ad was a harmless holiday greeting even though it excludes otherreligions.

"If we are so politically correct in this country that a person can't sayenough of the nonsense with the political attack ads could we pause for afew days and say Merry Christmas to each other then we're really, really introuble as a country," Huckabee said.

Catholic League president Bill Donahue said Huckabee went beyond wishingpeople a joyous holiday. Donahue said he was especially disturbed by thecross-like image created by a white bookcase in the background of the ad,saying he believed it was a subliminal message.

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Fred Wants To Be Saddled And Mounted

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 19, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Manchester, Iowa) Republican Fred Thompson says if he can be a presidentialhorse for conservatives to ride in the campaign, "All I've got to say issaddle me up."

Thompson was touring Iowa by bus rather than on horseback Tuesday, sayinghe's got the potential to come on fast in the final days before the state'sJan. 3 caucuses.

Thompson, who has occasionally been labeled a less-than-energeticcampaigner, spoke with enthusiasm to about 30 people at a town hall inManchester while his blue campaign bus, emblazoned with a huge picture ofhis head and shoulders, waited outside.

"We're taking it now to where it needs to be," Thompson told his audience."This is where it starts. This is where we are. this is where we're going tobe. ... We're going to make sure we meet everybody we can possibly meet."

Thompson is spending the final two weeks of the campaign in Iowa travelingthe state with his wife, Jeri.

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New California Law Protecting Gay, Transgender Students Meets Resistance

December 19, 2007

A recent amendment to California's education code has outraged manyconservatives, who say the new laws push a gay agenda in public schools,according to a story in The Washington Times.

The law, SB 777, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in October to takeeffect in January, forbids any activity in school that "promotes adiscriminatory bias" on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.

In recent weeks, preachers, parents, conservative lawyers, and advocacygroups have launched protest campaigns, which have included pulling childrenout of school, circulating a petition, and even filing a lawsuit.

The law's opponents argue that the amendment would allow students to decidetheir own gender, creating potential "havoc" in school locker rooms andbathrooms.

"If this is not repealed, the next step is to get out of Californiaitself -- it's like Sodom and Gomorrah," minister Vincent Xavier told theTimes.

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Anything But Straight

A Feckless Leader
by Wayne Besen
December 17, 2007

Has there ever been a more feckless, less respected religious figure thanthe "Arch-Baby" of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams? Liberals ignorehim, conservatives walk over him and through his stunning lack of leadershiphe has lost control of the Anglican Church.

The wheels came off the car in 2003 when openly gay V. Gene Robinson wasselected as Bishop of New Hampshire. Since then, conservative Episcopalfactions in America - egged on by anti-gay peers in developing countries -have threatened to bolt and take every bit of property that isn't bolteddown to the church floor.

In the face of such insubordination, Williams had a clear-cut decision tomake. He could side with liberals and crush the cabal of right wingturncoats. Or, he could stand on the wrong side of history and defrockRobinson and those who approved his consecration. Instead, he has taken aseries of wishy-washy positions that have pleased no one and revealedweakness - which has encouraged further conservative mutinies.

After the unassuming Robinson assumed his new position, some conservativeparishes warned they would opt out of the Episcopal Church and placethemselves under the authority of theologically like-minded African Bishops.

It was at this point where Williams should have flexed his muscle. Acommanding leader would have threatened to fire any pastor who defied theEpiscopal leadership. He would have told troublemakers, such as NigerianArchbishop Peter J Akinola, to can his rhetoric or get canned.

As a result of Williams' habitual indecision, on December 8, delegates tothe Episcopal Church's Diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave thedenomination and align themselves with a South American province in theAnglican Communion. This was followed a day later by the Church of Nigeriaplacing four new North American bishops under its banner.

The spineless Williams responded with a wordy letter that incoherentlychastised both sides. He blamed the liberals for departing from the Orthodoxinterpretation of Scripture and told Bishop Robinson he wasn't invited tothe splashy Lambeth Conference next summer.



Inside Higher Education

Tracking Bias or Guilt by Association?

Dec. 19

If a professor is a member of a church that holds anti-gay views, and isn'tforthright about those views, does that make the professor's vote againstthe tenure bid of a gay professor suspect?

That is one of the questions explored in an unusual lawsuit against theUniversity of Michigan - filed nearly three years ago but thus far boggeddown in preliminary motions. State courts have twice rejected requests byMichigan to have the case dismissed and a third request was scheduled to beheard this week, but postponed. The professor, Peter Hammer, won a majorityof votes of the faculty of the law school in his case. But the 18-12 marginwas two shy of the two-thirds requirement to win tenure, so he lost his job,and now is a professor of law at Wayne State University. He says he was thefirst male faculty member rejected by the faculty for tenure in 40 years.

Like lots of tenure disputes, this one has many facets - debates on Hammer'sscholarship, disputes on deadlines and technical parts of the tenure andgrievance process at Michigan. And as is the case with many tenure lawsuits,the university says that it and its employees cannot respond to specificquestions about the case. The university does, however, say that the qualityof Hammer's scholarship cost him his tenure bid, not his sexual orientation,and the university's briefs cite critics of his scholarship, just assupporters of the tenure bid cited praise. (Many documents about the caseare available on a Web site maintained by the gay organization of the WayneState law school, the OUTlaws.)

Some parts of the tenure suit - however it is eventually resolved - haveraised new legal theories with potential ramification beyond Hammer andMichigan. To Hammer, these factors point to the vulnerability of gay facultymembers to bias and the need for more protections and more legal approachesto fight discrimination. But some experts on tenure and higher education areworried that these arguments - whatever the veracity of Hammer's claims -pose dangers to the tenure process.

Hammer's suit is based on contract law, not discrimination law; there are nofederal or Michigan laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexualorientation on which he could sue. His suit is based on the idea that he wasassured when accepting the job at Michigan (and turning down other offers)of the university's commitment to equity for gay employees, as outlined inthe faculty handbook and various university policies. Hammer's legalspecialties are health policy and Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia. Sowhile he was out to colleagues, his teaching and scholarship did not focuson gay issues.

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Denied at NECC: Transgender student says college discriminates

By Jason Tait , Staff Writer

HAVERHILL - Northern Essex Community College has denied the use of the men'slocker room to a transgender student because of his female anatomy.

Ethan Santiago, 20, of Methuen was born a girl but identifies himself as aman and applied for a men's locker at the school. School officials refusedhis request for safety reasons, concerned that Santiago may be physicallyassaulted in the men's facility.

The student has since filed an Affirmative Action complaint with the schooland is pushing to reform what he calls discrimination against transgenderpeople, he said.

But the school won't budge, citing safety concerns, Santiago said.

"I've never been beaten up," Santiago said. "But I figure that some day Iwill probably be beaten up. That's a fact of life for me and I'm notafraid."

Santiago was born in Lawrence and named Elizabeth. He changed his name abouttwo years ago when he declared to family and friends that he was a man.

Since then, Santiago has dressed as a man and used the men's restroomwherever he goes, including the college's restrooms. He has also been takinghormones to appear more male and develop facial hair, and is planning onhaving breast reduction surgery.

"I just want people to see me the way I see myself," Santiago said. "And Iwant sideburns, I have to admit."

Santiago said he would feel uncomfortable in the girls locker room since heidentifies as a man. He decided to use the men's facilities because heidentifies himself as male.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

New Study Finds HIV Rates Among MSM Vastly Higher Than General Population inDeveloping Countries
amfAR says discrimination fuels epidemic; calls for more research andprevention

New York (November 30, 2007) -Responding to a new study demonstrating theseverity of the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM) in low-and middle-income countries, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, calledon policymakers to put aside their prejudices and to provide the resourcesand the leadership that the epidemic demands.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Healthtoday published the results of a new study showing that in 38 low- andmiddle-income countries men who have sex with men have an average 19 timesgreater chance of being infected with HIV than the general population. Insome countries MSM are more than 100 times more likely to be infected, thestudy found.

In the most comprehensive analysis of HIV among MSM populations to date,researchers found that in the Republic of Georgia, MSM were about 24 timesmore likely to be infected than the general population; Senegal - 27 timesmore likely; China - 45 times more likely; and Mexico - 109 times morelikely. The study indicates that even in countries with low HIV prevalencein the general population, the epidemic among MSM is raging. The term "MSM"includes those who identify as "gay," but also encompasses any men who havesexual encounters with other men, including groups whose gender and sexualidentities defy Western categorization.

"Even in countries that have made progress overall, we are still seeing veryhigh rates of HIV among MSM," said Dr. Stefan Baral, lead author of thestudy and resident physician, Department of Epidemiology, Center for PublicHealth and Human Rights.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

When hysterics trump logic

Marti Abernathey | December 17, 2007 |

When the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the IndianaTransgender Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) put out a joint press release aboutthe "no match" policy of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), I knewthat there would be a backlash from the religious right here in Indiana. Ididn't have to wait very long to find it. Micah Clark, of the Indianachapter of the American Family Association double dips in transphobia AND xenophobia.
He writes:

A small segment of the gay-rights movement in Indiana is claiming victoryfollowing discussions with the Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of MotorVehicles that resulted in a change in BMV policy concerning security checks.In an apparent effort not to offend, the BMV has agreed not to "red flag"social security numbers that point to a person's gender if it doesn't matchthe gender on their driver's license.

According to a December 5th alert hailing this change, the IndianaTransgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) and the National Center forTransgender Equality (NCTE) is praising the department for no longerinvalidating driver's licenses or even sending out a computer generatedletter to investigate a social security number and driver's license gendermismatch. According to these groups, "gender mismatches will be ignored bythe BMV".

In other words, in a day of rampant identity theft and a war withterrorists, the Indiana BMV believes that not offending a person who is across-dresser or someone who has had a sex change overrides any securityrisk that could happen through a gender and SSI number mismatch.

Because, ya know, there have been a rash of crossdressing terrorists withSocial Security Cards that go to their doctors or to a judge to get aletters for a gender marker change.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

S&M, Ivy League Style

By Miriam Grossman, M.D. | Friday, December 14, 2007

The scene was Princeton University's annual health fair. Students milledabout, taking advantage of the free dental screenings and flu shots. Onetable with sexual health information offered prizes for the winner of araffle. To participate, a student must pick a question from a fishbowl, andanswer it correctly.

One young man decided to take a chance. He handed the question to a womanbehind the table and waited. "What's BDSM?" she asked.

"B.D.S.M?" He shook his head. This hadn't been in his SAT review course. Hewas stumped.

"Bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism,"she explained with a smile.

Too bad. Now he wouldn't be taking home any of the cute plush toysdisplayed, each one representing a different STD: the bright yellow Herpes,the pink Pox (Syphilis), the blue-grey Clap (Gonorrhea), and my favorite-anadorable, Kelly green Chlamydia. These "Giant Microbes" were the raffleprizes. But he could help himself to the free condoms, of course.: thosewere for everybody.

"What does BDSM have to do with health?" I asked.

"Well," I was told, "it's just good to be aware. Just so you'll know what itmeans if it comes up in conversation."

Princeton students seeking further "awareness" may turn to another IvyLeague resource. Columbia University's popular is staffed by health educators. Their statedmission is "to provide readers with reliable, accurate, accessible,culturally competent information and a range of thoughtful perspectives sothat they can make responsible decisions concerning their health andwell-being." You'll find queries here from outside the Columbia's communityas well, including high school students.



Gays Without Borders

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Iran: Internet Cafes Shut Down In Drive Against Un-Islamic Behavior

By Farangis Najibullah

Police in Tehran have raided more than 430 Internet cafes and other shopsduring the first days of the latest campaign against what they say isinappropriate and un-Islamic conduct.

Iranian state media quote the police as saying that in the past few days,they have closed down 25 Internet cafes and given warnings to 170 cafeowners for "using immoral computer games and storing obscene photos," andfor the presence of women without "proper hijab" on the premises.

At least 23 people -- including several women -- have been detained forsimilar reasons.

The owner of one of the Tehran Internet cafes that was inspected andtemporarily closed down by police, who gave his name as Hessam, toldRFE/RL's Radio Farda that police started questioning him when they foundsome family photos -- with a female member of the family among them -- on acomputer.

"We had a few family photos in our system. They asked, 'Who is this girlthat is sitting close to you?'" Hessam said. "Just because of those privatephotos, they closed this place for three or four days. [The police pressure]has reached that level! It has become a headache, a problem for everybody.
We don't know what to do."

Independent Information

The Internet, and Internet cafes, have become increasingly popular in Tehranand other Iranian cities in recent years.

According to official state figures, 60 percent of the country's populationhas access to the Internet. However, independent sources say that figure isexaggerated, given the fact that many Iranians villages do not even haveelectricity. International estimates say that some 20 percent of Iranianshave access to the Internet.

Most of the customers at Internet cafes are young people who come to playcomputer games, check their e-mail, or take part in website chat rooms andblogs.

Some Iranian journalists describe the latest campaign as an attempt by theauthorities to limit access to a major source of alternative news andinformation and restrict Iranian's intellectual and social freedom.

Badrolsadat Mofeedi, an independent journalist and a campaigner for mediarights, told RFE/RL from Tehran that the latest assault on Internet cafes isno surprise. Mofeedi said that "in addition to a crackdown on independentmedia, every now and then the Iranian authorities put pressure on all othersources of news and information, such as satellite dishes, the Internet, andeven bookshops."




Pogues and faggot lyric - BBC hypocrisy

by Peter Tatchell

The media needs a consistent policy to cover all expressions ofbigoted language

London - 19 December 2007

"Radio 1 caved in to mass pressure. I doubt the BBC would have donethis u-turn if the song's lyrics had included the word n*gger," saidgay human right campaigner, Peter Tatchell.

He was commenting on the BBC's reversal of its decision to bleep outthe word faggot from the Christmas pop song, Fairytale of New York, bythe Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

"A BBC online poll asked the public whether the word faggot should bedeleted. Over 95% said no. They apparently believe that a song usingthe f-word as an insult is acceptable. Faced with this deluge ofcriticism, Radio 1 capitulated," added Mr Tatchell.

"Compared to the world's many grave human rights abuses, this fussover a Christmas pop song is trivial and absurd.

"It diverts attention away from really serious, hard-core homophobia,such as the Jamaican dancehall songs that call for the murder of gaypeople and from high street record stores and radio stations thatpromote this murder music.

"The BBC and other media are guilty of double standards when it comesto homophobic language, compared to racist language. It tolerates theformer but never the latter.

"I want to see a consistent, uniform policy applied to all bigoted,hateful words. Either all of them should be okay to use or none ofthem should be acceptable.



Rome's city council turns down civil unions

Catholic World News

Rome, Dec. 18, 2007 ( - Rome's city council has voted againstregistering homosexual civil unions, the daily La Repubblica reports.

The Green and Communist parties had backed the proposed measure. MayorWalter Veltroni had spoken out in favor of civil unions in the past,although he was not present for the vote, and his Democratic party opposedthe legislation that was defeated by a 43-12 vote.

Franco Grillini, a Socialist parliamentarian and honorary head of thehomosexual activist group Arcigay, vowed: "The fight must go on."


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The right condemns U.S. military for 'San Francisco-style socialexperimentation'

Posted December 17th, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Following up on an item from yesterday, "60 Minutes" aired a very compellingreport late night, highlighting an awkward reality for our war-timemilitary: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" mandates that gay servicemen and women whoare open about their sexual orientation have to be discharged and thrown outof the armed forces. But recruiting difficulties, retention difficulties,and national-security interests make it difficult for the military leadersto reject able-bodied, patriotic, American volunteers, based not on abilityor performance, but on whether or not they're gay.

CBS's Lesley Stahl reported that the pressures have led to a new reality - afighting force that's starting to care less and less about DADT anddischarging capable American troops. Some commanding officers are confrontedwith gay troops, and decide that it just doesn't matter - the U.S. militaryand American interests are better served having these soldiers serving theircountry than not.

As a result, gay soldiers discharged under the DADT policy have dropped from1,200 a year in 2001 to less than half of that now. It's still an arbitraryand capricious process - some troops are thrown out for being gay, othersaren't - but the CBS report was helpful anyway. It helped prove that theU.S. military, still the greatest fighting force in the world, remainsstrong, even with openly gay troops.

Except, some of the unhinged members of the conservative movement didn'tquite see it that way. ThinkProgress pointed to this jaw-dropping reportfrom CNS News, a right-wing, online outfit.

Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues with the conservative groupConcerned Women for America (CWA), agreed with Davis. "The military is noplace for such radical San Francisco-style social experimentation,especially during a time of war," he told Cybercast News Service. [.]

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Senate delays government spying bill until January

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate late Monday delayed its consideration of avote on a new government eavesdropping bill until January.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed the bill because there were morethan a dozen amendments planned, and not enough time left on the legislativecalendar to manage them.

"Everyone feels it would be to the best interests of the Senate that we takea look at this when we come back after the first of the year," said Reid,D-Nevada.

"With more than a dozen amendments to this complex and controversial bill,this legislation deserves time for thorough discussion on the floor," hesaid.

The surveillance bill is meant to replace a temporary eavesdropping lawCongress hastily passed in August. That law, which expanded the government'sauthority to listen in on American communications without court permission,expires February 1.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


Labor's 'secret plan' to allow gay unions
Labor ministers have reportedly notified gay activists that the newlyelected government plans to introduce same-sex civil unions.

by Chris Pycroft - Producer on 2007-12-16

After being elected into power less than a month ago, The Sunday Telegraphhas reported that senior ministers of the Labor party are considering plansto legalize same-sex civil unions after an election promise of state basedrelationship registers is successfully implemented.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Professor Kerryn Phelps said that she hadreceived confirmation from several ministers in the Rudd government, andthat civil unions will be introduced "slowly and gradually".

"Their reaction to it was they were committed to eliminating discriminationand ensuring real equality and not a watered-down version. Not proceedingwith gay marriages or civil unions would be a watered-down version ofequality.

"I would strongly endorse the ALP's move towards civil unions but I wouldcertainly encourage them to proceed sooner rather than later", Phelps said.

The Labor party is believed to be acting cautiously on the issue, followingrecent back flip accusations by Christian lobby groups.

Reports by the newspaper suggest that although members of Labor oppose lawspermitting legally recognized same-sex civil unions, MPs that are supportingthe notion include former Labor leader Simon Crean, along with TanyaPlibersek and Anthony Albanese, both of whom attended a policy announcementsupporting the ending of legal discrimination against homosexuals in Sydneyin early October.



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

The outing double standard

December 16, 2007

The news that Jodie Foster publicly thanked her "beautiful Cydney" at a LosAngeles women's banquet has apparently pushed the magic button that allowsthe mainstream media to finally acknowledge that the two-time Oscar winneris gay.

In a typical report, CNN's Kiki King discussed the development by saying,almost in passing, "of course she's been with Cydney Bernard for over 14years now."

"Of course"? If Foster's long-term relationship was so obvious to themainstream press, why did it take 14 years to report it, and only afterFoster herself acknowledged it?

Here is the double standard on outing. When it comes to heterosexualcelebrities, the entertainment media can't get enough, reporting everysalacious detail they can get their hands on. And when closeted celebritiesare caught in scandals, they'll jump in with gusto. But gay celebrities inhappy, well-adjusted relationships -- whether Ellen or Rosie or Jodie (whyare they all lesbians?) -- the public is told nothing about until thecelebrity says OK. Even if the gay star shows up escorted in public by herpartner at event after event.

The same type of double standard holds sway with closeted politicians aswell, with those accused of shenanigans investigated without any regard toprivacy. But it's hands off on those with long-term relationships until theycome out. Mark Foley is an example of both standards.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gay-bashing political Neanderthals

Created 12/17/2007 - 8:25am

As Republican Neanderthals go, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California is aparticularly primitive political hack, a back-to-the-stone-age knuckledragger who thinks men should be men, women should be seen and not heard andgays don't belong in the military.

Hunter proved just how out of step he and the rest of his gay-bashing lot atin the GOP can be on 60 Minutes Sunday when he claimed gays don't belong inthe military because we need a fighting force of rough, tough men.

Hunter says gays can't be "hardened warriors."

Bullshit. One of the toughest fighting forces in the history of the worldcame out of ancient Sparta. The Spartan Army was mostly gay. Ask militaryexperts which modern military Special Forces unit is the best in the worldand most will point to Britain's Special Air Services (SAS), which welcomesgay soldiers into their ranks.

In America, gay soldiers must conceal their sexual preferences under the"don't ask, don't tell" rule. In Britain, gays are allowed to march inuniform in gay pride parades.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Black Christian 'racialism' challenges faith in America

WASHINGTON - African Americans are statistically likely to be religious, buttheir worldview is shaped by their race more than their faith, contends aborn-again black author in her new book.

Long-standing social and political patterns in the African Americancommunity have molded black Christians to behave like secular black society,said former journalist Pamela G. Wilson in her book entitled, Finding SoulBrothers: Dismantling Black Christian Racialism.

Wilson defines the race-focused mindset, which is now expressed throughpolitical and social loyalties, as "racialism."

On issues such as abortion and homosexuality, biblical principles are oftensacrificed to support race agendas like social equality and economicjustice, she contends.

"Most of the time, people (black Christians) are supporting a candidate forthe sake of how they feel they will advance the race," Wilson told TheChristian Post.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Police: Princeton student faked attack

By GEOFF MULVIHILL -- Associated Press Writer
Published: Monday, December 17, 2007

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) A Princeton University student who argued that hisconservative views were not accepted on the campus confessed to fabricatingan assault and sending threatening e-mail messages to himself and somefriends who shared his views, authorities said Monday.

Princeton Township police said that Francisco Nava was not immediatelycharged with any crime, but that the investigation was continuing.

Nava claimed to have been assaulted Friday by two men off campus, policesaid. But he later confessed that scrapes and scratches on his face wereself-inflicted, and that the threats were his work, too, said Detective Sgt.Ernie Silagyi.

A spokeswoman for the Ivy League university said punishment, which couldrange from a warning to expulsion, was pending Monday.



Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

School fundraiser with MTV contestant called off

Posted on Tue, Dec. 18, 2007

A fundraiser for the band at a Coral Springs high school went down -- inflames -- before it ever began.

The band at Taravella High had hoped to raise money by charging $5 forautographs of Deerfield Beach firefighter Dani Campbell, one of twocontestants left standing on an MTV reality show about a bisexual womansearching for love.

But when school district spokesman Keith Bromery learned of the Mondayafternoon effort, he prodded other school district officials to take a lookat the show -- A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila -- online. The result: thefundraiser was canceled.

Bromery said it doesn't matter that the show involves bisexuality. It doesmatter that it involves sex, however.

''The episode that I saw was a woman in various degrees of undress layingprone on a bar with guys drinking shots out of her belly button,'' Bromerysaid. ``Does that answer your question?''

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Bisexual MTV dating show is a breakout hit

Derrik J. Lang
Associated Press
Dec. 17, 2007 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - One man and one woman still have "A Shot at Love with TilaTequila" - and viewers are very interested.

The zany reality show starring bisexual Internet celebrity Tila Tequila isamong the top 15 cable shows and has become MTV's second most popularseries, just behind Lauren Conrad and company on "The Hills," according tonumbers from Nielsen Media Research.

"Who would have ever thought I'd be the girl who does that for MTV?" Tequilawonders.

Good question.

In case you're one of the few people who hasn't seen or read a blog about "AShot a Love," the gist of the dating show is this: a 26-year-old MySpacepinup searches for love "Bachelor"-style among 16 men and 16 women, whocompete for alone time with her in over-the-top challenges - chocolate syrupwrestling, for example - and share one oversized bed. Then, at the end ofeach episode, she chirpily tells the non-eliminated contestants, "You stillhave a shot at love. Are you interested?" And they usually are.

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Rupert Everett: acting in Hollywood is like living in Afghanistan

Ben Hoyle, Arts Reporter
From The TimesDecember 17, 2007

Hollywood has the moral compass of the Taleban or al-Qaeda, according to oneof Britain's best known film actors.

Rupert Everett, who made his name in Another Country before starringopposite Julia Roberts in the hit comedy My Best Friend's Wedding, cited themajor studios' attitude to women, gays, abortion and addiction to supporthis claim.

"Hollywood is a place that pretends it's very liberal but it's not remotely," he told The Times. "It's like Al-Qaeda."

Everett, who is gay, believes that his sexuality has cost him "tons" ofleading roles during his career. In his acclaimed and frequently outspokenautobiography Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins, he claims that the head ofMGM once vetoed his casting as the male lead opposite Sharon Stone in a filmsaying "to all intents and purposes a homosexual was a pervert in the eyesof America and the world would never accept me in the role and therefore MGMwould never hire me."

His recent voicework as Prince Charming in the Shrek films is "a role Iwould never get in a live-action film". He does take the lead in his newfilm St Trinian's, which arrives in cinemas later this week, but he is indrag as Camilla Fritton, the irresponsible headmistress of the anarchicgirls' boarding school

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Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Twin Cities Gay Hockey and the Big Gay Moose
Under Construction: I'm doing some updates to the site this week. Sorry forthe confusing new look!

By Andy on December 17, 2007 5:34 PM

Minnesota Public Radio talks with members of the Twin Cities Gay HockeyAssociation and their team the Big Gay Moose. The team provides sportingopportunities for LGBT folks, opportunities that are not often otherwiseavailable as the world of athletics continues to be a pretty homophobic one.

And, speaking of awesome sports leagues, Minnesota LGBT Soccer has beengoing strong for almost a year (I've been a part of it since the beginning,so I'm partial). We've got leagues and practices set up for next year, so ifyou are interested, check out to get involved! We haveall skill levels available (and even a few cheerleaders).

And save the date for our fundraiser at Camp in St. Paul.


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

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

Iraqi gays threatened by rise of religious extremism
The situation for Iraqi gays and lesbians -- who enjoyed tacit acceptance,if they remained closeted, under Saddam Hussein's rule -- reportedly hasbecome much more dangerous because of the increasing influence of religiousextremists since the outset of the war. One group estimates 400 people havebeen killed in Iraq over the past four years because of their sexualorientation. The New York Times (12/18)

Is Florida marriage-ban vote designed to turn out GOP voters?
Florida's proposed marriage ban, whose supporters claim to have collectedenough signatures to quality for next year's ballot, is a thinly veiledattempt to motivate conservatives to vote in the presidential contest,according to one opponent. "That's what they did in Ohio in 2004," saidDemocratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. "They put these [amendments]on the ballot in swing states so they can draw conservative voters to thepolls. But if they want to use it as a tool for voter turnout, we can do thesam." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) (12/18)

Activists seek to separate civil marriage from religious rite
The decision by Minneapolis' Lyndale United Church of Christ and otherliberal congregations to perform no marriages, as long as same-sex couplesare denied the legal right, is part of an effort to reframe civil andreligious marriage as separate entities, according to this article. "There'sa real shift going on here where I think more and more people arerecognizing the distinction, that what the state offers and the churchoffers are two different things," said the Rev. Mark Wade, pastor of theUnitarian Universalist Church in Asheville, N.C. (12/17)

Attend Harvard this summer!
Are you an openly LGBT elected or appointed official or senior-levelcommunity leader? Consider building your leadership skills as a Gay &Lesbian Leadership Institute Harvard Fellow. Since 2001, GLLI has grantedscholarships to select LGBT leaders to attend the Senior Executives in Stateand Local Government program at Harvard University's Kennedy School ofGovernment. The 2008 program will take place June 8-27 and July 6-25. Thedeadline to apply for the GLLI Fellowship is March 28, 2008. Click here tolearn more or apply.

Price: Web gives activists a venue to keep candidates honest
Columnist Deb Price sees Empire State Pride Agenda's online GiulianiFiles -- whose mission is to point out Republican White House contender RudyGiuliani's alleged flip-flopping on gay issues -- as a powerful virtual toolfor activists. "Truth-squading now means that a candidate's past is nevermore than a few clicks away," Price writes. "Score one for democracy." TheDetroit News (12/17)

Blog: Gay soldier on why he came out on "60 Minutes"
Army Sgt. Darren Manzella, who came out Sunday in a segment on CBS News' "60inutes," talks about his decision to go public and his thoughts on whetheran end is in sight for the military's ban on gays. Read more at TheFrontlines.


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:

Australia's debate on the best way to recognise same-sex couples is trappedin a web of myths about the nation's first and only recognition scheme, theTasmanian relationship registry. One of the most persistent myths is thatthis registry certifies existing de facto relationships rather than creatingnew legal unions between intending partners like a marriage or civil union.This myth was invented by the ACT Government to diminish the Tasmanianscheme next to the its civil union proposal, and has been perpetuated by theFederal Government and the Australian Christian Lobby because they need areform option which they can assure their conservative constituents does not"mimic marriage". But the reality is that when a Tasmanian Deed ofRelationships is signed, witnessed and registered a new legal union iscreated with the equivalent of full marital rights in state law. This iswhy, in the eyes of foreign governments like Britain's, a Tasmanianregistered relationship is considered to be a civil partnership for thepurposes of UK law.

Uruguay's Congress legalized civil unions for homosexual couples on Tuesdayin the first nationwide law of its kind in Latin America. Under the new law,gay and straight couples will be eligible to form civil unions after livingtogether for five years. They will have rights similar to those granted tomarried couples on such matters as inheritance, pensions and child custody.Uruguay's Senate passed the bill unanimously after the lower house approvedit last month, a congressional spokesman said. The country's center-leftpresident is expected to sign it into law.

The Moscow City Council has approved a resolution that provides insurancebenefits to domestic partners of city employees. The council approved theresolution 4-2 Monday at its final meeting of the year. Regence Blue Shieldof Idaho, the city's insurance company, recently began offering a plan thatcovers same- and opposite-sex domestic partners. Employees who meet theinsurance company's requirements must also sign an affidavit to be eligiblefor the health insurance benefits. The benefits take effect early next year,and the council has the option to review the plan by January 2009.


National Gay News

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

PlanetOut Inc. Closes Sale of RSVP Vacations
PlanetOut Inc. (Nasdaq: LGBT - News), the leading media and entertainmentcompany exclusively focused on the gay and lesbian market, today announcedthat, in accordance with the previously announced agreement with AtlantisEvents, Inc., the sale of RSVP Vacations to Atlantis has been completed.

International LGBT Group Want Gay-Friendly Schools
100 young LGBT people from all over Europe gathered in Málaga, Spain, lastweek for the three-day meeting of International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender Queer Youth and Student Organisation.IGLYO member organisationsdiscussed strategies for advancing equality and human rights for LGBTQ youngpeople.

Historian of the Gay Working Class
Allan Bérubé, the gay historian who gave us "Coming Out Under Fire," thedefinitive tome about queers in the military, died December 11 in upstateNew York from complications due to stomach ulcers. He was 61.The former SanFrancisco resident was a founder of the San Francisco Lesbian and GayHistorical Society as well as a well-known and respected chronicler of thequeer working-class.

Police Arrest Two After Hamilton Attacks
Police have arrested two men in connection with two homophobic assaults thatallegedly happened in Hamilton in the early hours of Dec 9.The allegedvictims left separately from the Embassy nightclub, a predominantly gayvenue. One man was allegedly knocked to the ground and then punched andkicked in the head by as many as three men in their early 20s around 3 am.The second victim allegedly suffered a similar attack about a half hourlater.


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1 comment:

FireNBrimstone said...

In Northern California there is a community that is putting pressure on the school district to confront SB 777. The educrats seem to be going no where but down with this, which is why child advocates are calling Christian parents to abandon the public schools.

I think that's where all this is going to end up.