Monday, December 03, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 3, 2007

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In a Progressive State, a City Where Gay Life Hangs by a Thread

December 2, 2007

NEWARK, Nov. 30 - To live in Newark often means grappling with unrelentingpoverty, the anesthetizing lure of drugs, murderous gangs, a lack of decentjobs.

But for gay men, lesbians and transgender people, there are additionalobstacles that are seldom acknowledged: gay bashings, H.I.V., open hostilityfrom many religious leaders and sometimes callous treatment by the police.

When venturing outside his Central Ward neighborhood, Tyrone Simpson, 19,stays on main thoroughfares and steers clear of the men in gang colorslooking for easy quarry. Dynasty Mitchell, 21, an aspiring poet who works ata supermarket, has learned to blend in by stretching a do-rag over his headand adopting a thuggish gait in public.

"If you're not prepared to fight, you're not going to survive in Newark,"said Mr. Simpson, who is unabashedly gay.

New Jersey has become a national beacon for gay equality. It boasts some ofthe toughest anti-discrimination laws in the country, and recent legislationmakes it one of only three states that recognize same-sex civil unions. Gaymarriage, some say, is just around the corner. Across the state, same-sexcouples and their children have become integrated into suburban life.

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Condom Distribution Effort to BroadenCity Announces Plans to Combat HIV'Epidemic'

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration pledged to triple the number of freecondoms being distributed by the D.C. government within a year after acity-issued study declared HIV-AIDS a "modern epidemic" in the District. Thestudy identified 3,269 new HIV cases between 2001 and 2006. It showed thatthe condition, once considered a gay disease, has spread to the generalpopulation.

The city also plans to work with hospitals to increase HIV testing inemergency rooms.


When It Comes to AIDS, a Tale of Two Washingtons

By Jose Antonio Vargas
Sunday, December 2, 2007; B01

"Oh Jose, can you see?"

Josh sounded like his usual peppy self when he called not too long ago. Heasked me about the upcoming Jay-Z album -- "You buying it?" -- and wonderedwhen we'd hang out. I was in Kentucky on assignment, following John Edwardsaround in a rental car, a world away from Washington's ongoing AIDSepidemic. Still, it was good to hear Josh's voice.

Three weeks later, I got another call. This one was from Joseph's House, anAIDS care home in Adams Morgan.

Josh had died on Oct. 24, a month shy of his 24th birthday.

Joshua Murray was the first person I thought of when the District's HIV/AIDSAdministration released a 120-page study last week declaring the city's AIDSproblem "a modern epidemic." The report was announced with great fanfare,earning headlines nationwide. Here's new information! Ring the alarm! Let'sget cracking!

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A new generation of sites ease travel planning

The Associated Press
December 2, 2007

Planning a winter vacation?

There's a whole new collection of Web sites for savvy travelers. Some areaggregators, following the successful model of, which pulls datafrom a variety of sources so you can compare airfares. Others combine socialnetworking and consumer reviews, such as Some are improvedversions of old favorites, like OrbitzTLC Traveler Update, which allowstravelers to share information about conditions at more than 40 airports inthe U.S.

Here is a guide to some of the new or reincarnated sites, with one importantcaveat: Some of these sites do not yet offer the comprehensive database ofreviews and information available on older sites like TripAdvisor. connection to the defunct fashion Web site): Offers travel reviews fromconsumers, search capabilities for 2,500 destinations in 170 countries,comparison hotel prices, and booking through boo or hotel Web sites.Includes restaurants, bars and other interesting things to do in chosendestinations. An online booking agency for international air travel withflight and fare options to about 190 countries. Allows travelers to enterpreferences for connecting airports and travel time. Also has informationabout obtaining visas, passports and immunizations. Combines user-generated reviews, meta-search capabilities,and social networking (think TripAdvisor plus Kayak plus Facebook) forpersonalized hotel recommendations and booking at the best prices.Personalizes hotel searches via three categories: "Ambience," "Activities,"and "Recommended For," such as a romantic hotel near the beach for gays andlesbians. Users can create custom groups, or become members of existinggroups, such as marathon travelers, to exchange stories, tips andrecommendations. Connects you to the Web site with the best price forbooking from among 120,000 hotels. Searches up to 12 travel Web sites, including Orbitz,Kayak, Expedia and SideStep. Users click on each site's logo at the top ofthe page for the results., a subsidiary, allows users to search two travel sites at the same timeand places the results on a split screen.

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Express Gay News

Reporter gets circumcised to fight AIDS
Studies say circumcision significantly reduces men's chances of getting HIV

LUSAKA, Zambia (AP)
Nov 30, 3:05 PM

A southern African radio correspondent has been receiving a flood of textmessages and cell phone calls - some from offended listeners and readers.

All because Kennedy Gondwe chose to get circumcised to protect himself fromAIDS, and took the British Broadcasting Corp.'s radio and Web audiencethrough the procedure with him Friday.

A study published in the Lancet medical journal in February concluded thatthe findings of three major trials - in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda -show that circumcision can significantly reduce men's chances of contractingthe virus that causes AIDS. U.N. health agencies followed up with anendorsement, but stressed that the procedure offers only partial protectionand that abstinence, condom use, having few partners and delaying the firstsexual experience are all among the steps that need to be encouraged.

Frank talk about AIDS and prevention methods, is still rare in Gondwe'sZambia, where HIV prevalence is 16 percent. That's what made Gondwe's publictestimony Friday, the eve of World AIDS Day, even more striking.

A prominent Zambian journalist, Mildred Mpundu, died in November after goingpublic with her HIV-positive status earlier this year and urging her fellowjournalists to get tested.

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Go to the above website for the following articles:

World AIDS Day: From London To Lahore
(London) Eight-thousand people will have died as a result of HIV/AIDS onSaturday. Eight-thousand people around the world are dying every day fromcomplications due to AIDS every day.

Brazil To Install Condom Dispensers In Schools
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) Brazil's government has announced plans to putcondom-dispensing machines in public schools to help teenagers reduce thespread of AIDS.

AIDS Protestors Arrested At White House
(Washington) A giant red ribbon hangs from the White House marking WorldAIDS Day but HIV/AIDS activists say the Bush administration is not doingenough to combat the virus.

Legal Challenge To Wisconsin Anti-Gay Amendment Allowed To Proceed
(Madison, Wisconsin) A judge has rejected a motion from the state ofWisconsin to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a constitutional amendment thatbars same-sex marriage and blocks the state from recognizing civil unions.

Ireland To Move On Gay Partnership Bill
(Dublin) The Irish government will bring in civil partnership legislation inMarch a cabinet minister told an LGBT group on Friday.

New Push To Legalize Gay Unions In Australia
(Canberra) The Australian Capital Territory is reviving plans to legalizecivil unions, a move the new federal government said it was unlikely tooppose.

Man, Christian Coalition Guilty In Canadian Human Rights Gay Case(Calgary, Alberta) An Alberta man who has pressed for five years to get ananti-gay letter branded as hate literature won a victory Friday with a humanrights commission ruling that said it broke provincial law and may even haveplayed a role in the beating of a gay teenager.

Hostage Taking At Clinton NH Campaign Office Ends Peacefully(Rochester, New Hampshire) A mentally unstable man wearing what appeared tobe a bomb strapped to his chest was arrested hours after he walked into aHillary Rodham Clinton campaign office Friday, took hostages and demanded tospeak to the candidate in a standoff that dragged into the night,authorities said.


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:

We must do a better job of educating allies about the discrimination weface. Too many gay people come out to family and friends and then neverspeak of it again. Unfortunately, it's not enough to merely come out; thoseof us living openly and honestly must take it to a new level. Chatting withgay-friendly next-door neighbors last week, the subject of marriagesurfaced. The straight, married couple was surprised to discover thatsame-sex relationships are not recognized under the law. And I was surprisedthat they didn't already know that. The conversation served as a reminderthat gays take their straight allies for granted and that many of them knowvery little about the obstacles and discrimination we face in everyday life.

Washington D.C. - Councilmember Phil Mendelson plans to complete work soonon the Omnibus Domestic Partner Equality Act, which he says wouldsubstantially expand the rights and responsibilities of domestic partners inthe city. Gay activists will be watching with interest when the newlyformed gay group D.C. For Marriage holds its first public event on Dec. 6,which it is billing as a Community Forum on Marriage Equality in theDistrict of Columbia. Most of the founding members of D.C. For Marriage havecalled on the city government to pass a same-sex marriage rights bill assoon as this year. Two of the group's founders, gay activists Lane Hudsonand Michael Crawford, argued at a gay forum earlier this year that existinggay groups were being overly cautious in holding back on pushing for asame-sex marriage rights bill in D.C. after Democrats took control ofCongress in January 2007.

TV - Desperate Housewives - Same-sex Appeal New neighbors Bob and Lee causedchaos on Wisteria Lane - not because they're lovers, but because they put aloud, tacky, blindingly metallic fountain on their front lawn. Oddly, thisgay-friendly show tends to keep its gays boorish (Bree's sulky son Andrew)or benign (Gaby's swishy pal Vern). But Bob and Lee are uppity, snoopy andlethal. On this street, that's called survival.

University of Texas at Austin: An Arabic lecturer discovered Thursday thathis complaint against the University had been denied. This complaintchallenged the University's nondiscrimination policy that prohibits healthbenefits for same-sex couples.Uri Horesh made this complaint after attendinga focus group with fellow gay and lesbian faculty and staff discussing theissue."It really bugged me that the struggle these people have beenconducting has been very quiet and polite," Horesh said. "The atmosphere isthat we feel strongly about this issue. We are playing their game, and it istime to speak out." After conducting more research, Horesh filed a complaintagainst Provost Steven Leslie for what Horesh said was "violating theUniversity's nondiscrimination policy," and that the University's conduct"contradicts this policy, which states that no one can be discriminatedagainst based on sexual orientation."

Massachusetts: Taking questions after her formal remarks, [Supreme JudicialCourt Chief Justice Margaret H.] Marshall also touched on her court's"Goodridge decision," the landmark 4-3 ruling in November 2003 to legalizegay marriage. Massachusetts remains the only state where gay marriage islegal after state legislators in June killed a proposed constitutionalamendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Marshallsaid she attempted to write the Goodridge decision in a way that wascomprehensible first to the public, second to the litigants, third to thelawyers and fourth to other judges. "Do I follow what happened in the wakeof the decision?" Marshall asked. "I know it's difficult for you tounderstand this, but the answer to that is no." Marshall did acknowledgethat the Goodridge decision is defining her career on the bench. "From timeto time I meet law professors, and they say to me, I taught your casetoday," Marshall said. "I sometimes feel that I want to say, 'You mean theworkers compensation case?'"

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A billboard along the Pennsylvania Turnpike poses aprovocative question: "Should Pennsylvania kiss marriage goodbye?" Acoalition of religious activists sponsoring that message and others like ithopes the ads will inspire citizens to prod lawmakers to pass a stateconstitutional amendment banning gay marriage - resurrecting a debate thatstalled abruptly last year. The coalition includes the Pennsylvania FamilyInstitute, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, and the PennsylvaniaPastors Network. Its campaign has received a financial boost in the form ofa $300,000 grant from the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternalorganization that has 65,000 members in Pennsylvania.


The Advocate

Clinton Urges Sweeping Action on AIDS During Church Talk


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton used a Thursday appearance in Lake Forest,Calif., at one of the nation's largest evangelical churches, to sketch abroad agenda to take on disease around the globe, calling it ''the rightthing to do.''

The centerpiece of a speech laced with Biblical references and reflectionson her own faith was a call to spend billions of dollars to combat HIV/AIDSand other infectious diseases at home and abroad. She said she would try tostamp out malaria deaths in Africa within eight years.

Money and government alone cannot solve the problems, she said. AIDS ''is aproblem of our common humanity, and we are called to respond with love, withmercy, and with urgency,'' she said.

With the presidential campaign intensifying in Iowa, New Hampshire, andSouth Carolina, Clinton was alone among leading candidates to fly to coastalCalifornia to appear at Saddleback Church in Orange County, where pastor andbest-selling author Rick Warren convenes a conference each year to highlightthe global threat posed by HIV/AIDS.

Earlier this week Clinton released her proposal to combat the spread ofHIV/AIDS, which focuses in part on fighting the spread of the illness inminority communities. As president, she would double the HIV/AIDS researchbudget at the National Institutes of Health -- to $5.2 billion annually --and spend at least $50 billion within five years around the globe.

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National Gay News

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

Activists sought Saturday to keep the battle against HIV in the public eyeon World AIDS Day in the face of growing complacency amid progress intreating and slowing the spread of the disease.Even the Miss World beautypageant on the Chinese holiday island of Sanya was being enlisted to get outthe message that the disease still kills some 6,000 people each day.

The Human Rights Campaign and One Iowa will hold an equality workshop inCedar Falls Dec. 5 to help Iowans communicate about gay, lesbian, bisexualand transgender issues during the January caucuses. The event is scheduledfrom 7-8:45 p.m. in the meeting room at the Cedar Falls Public Library - Theworkshop will consist of mock caucuses during which participants will learntips on how best to discuss federal issues like Don't Ask, Don't Tell, theMatthew Shepard Act and civil marriage, as well as gain knowledge of what toexpect on Jan. 3. Attendees will also have a chance to ask questions aboutthe issues and will be provided with talking points to ensure they becomesavvy spokespeople for the GLBT community at the caucuses.


Gays Without Borders

Nikolai Alekseev, and about 15 others gays and lesbians have been arrestedthis morning at 10am in Moscow while they attempted to vote at the "DistrictElectoral Commission N° 165 ". They came to the place at 9.30am. Mayor ofMoscow Yuri Luzhkov who banned the last 2 gays prides was planning to votein the same place later in the day.

The police suddenly broke into the place and took all the activists who werequietly voting. There was no protest organized.About 5 police bus could beseen around the voting place which usually serve as a school. In the votingroom, music was being plaied.

The activists are detained at the Tverskoy police station and no informationon their release is given by the authorities.

Member of German Bundestag, Volker Beck, has called his Ministry of ForeignAffairs to react in Moscow. A statement is due soon.

An appeal signed by Russian Gays and Lesbians and released about 2 weeks agocalled the LGBT community to come to vote and write on the balot paper : "Noto homophobs!"

They claimed that no political party took the LGBT issues ino considerationand therefore they did not want to support anyone.


Jesse's Journal

by Jesse Monteagudo

Sex and the Daytona Beach 9

Male homosexual activity in public bathrooms, for decades a fact of gaylife, became big news in 2007, thanks to the misadventures of conservativepoliticos like U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) and Florida StateRepresentative Bob Allen (R-Merritt Island) and the (mostly unfounded)complaints of Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle. Now come the "Daytona Beach9;" nine men who were arrested for lewd behavior during a sex stingoperation at a Sears Department Store bathroom in Daytona Beach Nov. 1.According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the accused include "a formerDaytona Beach city commissioner and a local high school teacher" whopromptly resigned from his job. "The reason that we did this sting is weall go to the mall; our kids go into the bathroom," said Police Chief MikeChitwood, who could hardly contain his disgust. "That they could besusceptible to this type of behavior is absolutely a disgrace." (Pleasenote that I refuse to name the Daytona Beach 9. In my opinion, these menhave suffered enough already.)

Public sex, especially sex in public toilets or "tearooms," has always beencontroversial, even within our GLBT community. Almost without exception,bathroom sex is male masturbatory or male homosexual, proof perhaps of themale's greater sex drive. (It is not my intent, in writing this article, tocondone bathroom sex. In fact, due to its health, safety and legal hazards,I do not recommend it.) There are many reasons why a man would want to havesex in a public restroom. For some men, bathroom sex is a step in thecoming out process; a relatively easy way for them to discover the joys ofmale love before moving on to gay social networks, commercial institutions,or even a life partner. For other men, tearoom trade is their main or onlyform of sexual expression. Many of these are repressed "closet cases;" menwho can not or will not accept their homo- or bisexuality. For them, aquickie in a toilet satisfies their sexual needs but does not require themto be publicly "branded" as queer, which would be the case if they went to agay bar, sex club, community center, church, etc. This was apparently thecase with Sen. Craig, Rep. Allen, and at least some of the "Daytona Beach 9."

What makes a public bathroom a hotspot for tearoom sex? Though opinionsdiffer, a bathroom's location often makes it a favored place for sexualactivity. College campuses are ideal tearoom locations, if only becausecolleges are full of testosterone-charged young men who still question theirsexuality. Public parks are also popular (ask George Michael) as well aslibraries and department stores (like the Sears in Daytona Beach). Once aplace gets a "reputation" there is no telling what might happen. A goodexample is a Home Depot store in Oakland Park, Florida, which in its heydaywas notorious for its men's room activity. How did that Home Depot becomeso cruisy? Certainly the store's butch image attracted a certain type ofgay man. Perhaps two guys hit it off at the paint section, went off to dotheir business in the bathroom, and then told their friends. And the rest ishistory.



Forwarded from Transgender-Equality

Library of Congress Can Be Sued for Discriminating Against Transgender
Veteran, Says Federal Court


November 28, 2007

Contact: Paul Cates, (212) 549-2568
Cell, (917) 566-1294

Art Spitzer, (202) 457-0804

WASHINGTON, DC " Rejecting the federal government's attempt to throwout a transgender veteran's sex discrimination lawsuit against theLibrary of Congress, a federal judge ruled today that the case can goforward. The American Civil Liberties Union brought the lawsuit inJune 2005 on behalf of 25-year U.S. Army veteran Diane Schroer who wasoffered a job as a senior terrorism researcher but was later told shewas not a "good fit" after her future boss learned she was in theprocess of transitioning from male to female.

"After putting my life on the line for my country for 25 years, Icouldn't believe that I could be refused a job that I was told I wasthe most qualified for solely because I happened to be transgender, "said Diane Schroer, a former U.S. Army Special Forces Officer whospecialized in fighting terrorism. "But today's decision makes meproud that I served a country that values equality and fairness."

After retiring from the military, Schroer, who had been hand-picked tohead up a classified national security operation while serving as anAirborne Ranger qualified Special Forces officer, applied for aposition with the Library of Congress as the senior terrorism researchanalyst. Soon thereafter she was offered the job, which she acceptedimmediately. Prior to starting work, Schroer took her future boss tolunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning andthought it would be easier for everyone if she simply started workpresenting as female. The following day, Schroer received a call fromher future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn't a"good fit" for the Library of Congress.



New from DIRELAND, December 1, 2007


In his must-read keynote speech for World AIDS Day at the National AIDSMemorial in San Francisco, Charles King -- the president of the largestgrassroots AIDS service organization in the U.S., Housing Works -- delivereda stinging indictment of the institutional gay community for havingabandoned the fight to stop AIDS, and analyzed the issues of race and classthat are at the heart of this general indifference. If you only do one thingfor World AIDS Day, read Charles King's vital speech by clicking on:


Forwarded from EuroQueer

Irish Independent, Saturday 1 December 2007

Minister rules out prospect of legal gay marriages

By Louise Hogan

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday ruled out the introduction of legally recognisedgay marriage -- in the way that marriage is defined by the Constitution.

Minister of State for Equality Sean Power, said the special protectionafforded to marriage under the Constitution meant it could not legislate tore-define marriage to include same-sex couples.

He said: "In Ireland, the special protection afforded to marriage underArticle 41.3.1 of the Constitution means it is not possible to legislate incertain ways -- either to simply redefine marriage to encompass same-sexcouples, or to define a new status relationship directly by reference tomarriage."

At a national symposium on gay marriage and partnership rights, he statedthe main question was how to extend greater recognition under the law forgay and lesbian couples while respecting the current constitution.

However Mr Power repeated the Government's commitment towards bringing aBill on civil partnership for same sex couples early next year.




Haitian-Americans fault report on spreading of AIDS
Many feel stigmatized again by new research tracing spread

By Ruth Morris
December 1, 2007

Haitian-Americans are calling for an independent review of an AIDS studythey say again stigmatizes them in the spread of HIV.

Activists, lawyers and health workers say the new research, based on geneticanalysis of blood samples from three early Haitian patients in SouthFlorida, could bring back discrimination they endured in the early 1980s. Atthat time, health officials singled out Haitians as being at increased riskfor the virus that causes AIDS and banned them from donating blood.

The controversy around the new study - by evolutionary biologist MichaelWorobey of the University of Arizona - overlaps with the good news last weekthat HIV is actually less prevalent globally than originally thought, andwith World AIDS Day, which is observed around the world today.

But Haitian-Americans in South Florida say the Worobey report reopens an oldwound.

"My initial reaction: This is just more of the same," said Jeff Cazeau,president of the Haitian Lawyers Association, of the Worobey study.

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New York Times

Sex, Science and Savings

December 2, 2007

President Bush's veto of Congress's main social spending bill has Democraticleaders looking for places to make trims to satisfy the president's suddenzeal for fiscal discipline. A small, but sensible, place to begin would beto eliminate the bill's $28 million increase for one of Mr. Bush's signatureboondoggles - abstinence-only sex education.

Federal government spending on highly restrictive abstinence-only sexeducation has ballooned under President Bush, while evidence of the program's danger as a public health strategy has continued to mount.

Last April, a Congressionally mandated evaluation found that students whoreceived abstinence instruction in elementary and middle school were just aslikely to have sex in the following years as students who did not get suchinstruction.

States are catching on. Last month, Virginia became the 14th state to rejectfederal grant money for abstinence-only sex education to pursue thecomprehensive approach supported by science and most Americans. Thatapproach encourages abstinence but also arms young people with informationabout sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives and pregnancy.

Expectations that the new Democratic Congress would confront theabstinence-only hoax have proved unfounded. Instead of cutting support, orat least ditching outrageous rules that restrict information about condomsand contraception, the vetoed spending plan actually increased money forfaith-based and other groups offering abstinence education programs abovethe wasteful $113 million allotted for the current fiscal year.

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1 comment:

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