Friday, December 07, 2007

GLBT DIGEST December 6, 2007

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New Warrior (Part II)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
(Weekly Column)

Last week, I wrote about the ManKind Project, a weekend retreat that triesto jolt men into dealing with deep personal issues. In the column, Idiscussed the troubling ties ManKind's New Warriors program has with ex-gayministries, which aggressively tout the retreat in their efforts tosupposedly instill masculinity in their clients.

It turns out, however, that the love affair may be one sided. The ManKindProject does not support ex-gay therapy and does not believe that theirprogram helps gay men go straight. Indeed, New Warriors has a large gayfollowing and many who attended consider it helpful to their coming outexperience. I received more than 25 letters from gay men who said that theprogram helped them accept their sexual orientation.

"The ManKind Project gave me the confidence and wherewithal to finally say,'I am a gay man,'" said one participant from Wisconsin.

"The program helped me become a better husband,' wrote another gay man fromthe Washington, DC area. "As I knocked down the walls, I became morecomfortable with myself and able to give 100 percent to my partner. Theprogram literally saved my relationship."

These letters are incongruous with the cheerleading ManKind receives fromhomophobic ex-gay groups, such as Jews Offering New Alternatives toHomosexuality (JONAH) and the website People Can Change. In fact, People CanChange director Ben Newman, who served as a trainee and co-staffer in theNew Warrior program, started the ex-gay retreat, "Journey Into Manhood" withseveral other New Warriors.

more . . . . .


Inside Higher Education

Settlement in Sexual Assault Case

Dec. 6

Six years after a group of University of Colorado at Boulder footballplayers and recruits allegedly raped two female students at an off-campusparty, and three months after a federal appeals court ordered the universityto stand trial on charges that its officials had failed to do enough toprevent the alleged assault, Colorado officials announced Wednesday that theinstitution would pay $2.85 million to settle the former students' lawsuit.

Under the agreements, which will pay $2.5 million to one former student,Lisa Simpson, and $350,000 to the other, Anne Gilmore, in exchange forsettling all claims against it, the university will also appoint an officialto advise the Boulder chancellor on preventing sexual harassment andmisconduct, and add another part-time counselor to its Office of Victim'sAssistance. The university did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the legalaccord.

At a news conference Wednesday (captured on video by a local televisionstation), the university's president, the former U.S. senator Hank Brown,said that it was time for Colorado to put behind it an incident that "inmany ways has dominated the university's public affairs for the last severalyears." Brown was both contrite and confident during his comments to thepress and the public, expressing "profound regret that this incidentoccurred" and at the pain it had caused the alleged victims and theuniversity, but asserting forcefully that Colorado was a very differentplace, with an entirely different approach to campus safety, than it hadbeen just those few years ago.

Among the changes, Brown said: The university's leaders are different - 11of its top 12 positions have new occupants; its athletics program, seen assomething of a renegade throughout the 1990s, has been dramaticallyrestructured and its recruiting policies overhauled; and its policies onsexual assault and discrimination have been significantly toughened, in anattempt to "make the university a model" for other institutions, Brown said.

"We have taken this problem seriously and taken every single measure we canthink of that can be a reasonable help in protecting our students," he said.That does not mean "that we're never going to have anything difficult orunpleasant happen on our campuses," Brown said. "The real challenge is to dowhat we can to make sure, one, that they don't happen, and two, to behave ina responsible way afterwards [if incidents do occur] to help the youngpeople through this process."

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Forwarded from National Center for Transgender Equality

Success in Indiana!
Indiana BMV Stops Practice of Using Gender to Invalidate DriverLicenses

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has agreed to immediately discontinue using gender mismatches solely as a reason for invalidatingdriver licenses. Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) andthe National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) successfully worked withofficials at the Indiana BMV to bring about this policy change.

On November 6th, the Indiana BMV began issuing warning letters topeople in the BMV database whose information did not match Social SecurityAdministration's (SSA) records. Information compared between the twodatabases included name, Social Security number, date of birth, and gender.Letters instructed recipients to resolve discrepancies within 30 days orrisk losing their driving privileges.

INTRAA and NCTE brought to the Indiana BMV's attention that SocialSecurity uses a different standard for changing gender markers than what theBMV uses. Because of these differing standards, some transgender peoplelegitimately have an Indiana driver license or identification card with onegender marker and SSA records with a different gender marker. Through thework of INTRAA and NCTE, Indiana BMV Commissioner Ron Stiver realized thedifficulties surrounding gender marker verification and issued an immediatepolicy change. The newest policy is that gender mismatches will be ignoredby the BMV.

Indiana driver license and identification card holders who have otherSSA mismatches besides gender, such as name or date of birth, will stillneed to resolve those discrepancies. Those with mismatches besides gender,and who fail to get their SSA and BMV records to match, will be sent asecond letter. This second letter will advise them that unless the mismatchis resolved their driving license will become invalid, effective 30 daysfrom the date of the second letter.



Forwarded from Gays Without Borders


Iran: Young Man Executed for Alleged Sex Crime

For Immediate Release
Contact: Hossein Alizadeh, IGLHRC Communications Coordinator, 212-430-6016

(New York, Wednesday December 5, 2007) - The International Gay andLesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has learned today thatdespite an order by the Iranian Chief Justice to nullify his deathsentence, Mr. Makvan Mouloodzadeh was executed in Kermanshah CentralPrison at 5 a.m. this morning, Iranian time. Neither Mr.Mouloodzadeh's family or his lawyer were told about the executionuntil after it occurred. IGLHRC is still investigating the facts inthis case.

"This is a shameful and outrageous travesty of justice andinternational human rights law," said Paula Ettelbrick, IGLHRC'sexecutive director. "How many more young Iranians have to die beforethe international community takes action?"

Mr. Mouloodzadeh was a 21-year-old Iranian citizen who was accused ofcommitting anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he was 13years old. However, at Mr. Mouloodzadeh's trial, all the witnessesretracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to theauthorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that hisconfession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty. On June 7,2007, the Seventh District Criminal Court of Kermanshah in WesternIran found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Despite hislawyer's appeal, the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence onAugust 1, 2007. The case caused an international uproar, and prompteda letter writing campaign by IGLHRC and similar actions by AmnestyInternational, Human Rights Watch, Outrage! and Everyone Group.

In response to mounting public pressure, and following a detailedpetition submitted to the Iranian Chief Justice by Mr. Mouloodzadeh'slawyer, the Iranian Chief Justice, Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud HashemiShahrudi, nullified the impending death sentence of Mr. Mouloodzadeh.In his November 10, 2007 opinion (1/86/8607), the Iranian ChiefJustice described the death sentence to be in violation of Islamicteachings, the religious decrees of high-ranking Shiite clerics, andthe law of the land.

In accordance with Iranian legal procedure, Mr. Mouloodzadeh's casewas sent to the Special Supervision Bureau of the Iranian JusticeDepartment, a designated group of judges who are responsible forreviewing and ordering retrials of flawed cases flagged by theIranian Chief Justice. However, in defiance of the Chief Justice, thejudges decided to ratify the original court's ruling and ordered thelocal authorities to carry out the execution.

Mr. Mouloodzadeh's execution came days after a panel at the UNGeneral Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on thedeath penalty.

You can read IGLHRC's action alert on our website:


Sooreh Hera Depicts Muhammed As Homosexual, Sugiero, December 3

Iranian born artist Sooreh Hera, is decided to expose the hypocrisyregarding homosexuality and Islam. She says it is frequent that marriedmuslim men have sexual relations with other men (she mentions specificallyIran and Saudi Arabia).

If you check out her pictures you'll see that homosexuality is a major partof her work.

When she invited two Iranian men to pose they asked to wear a mask in ordernot to be recognized. The masks she chose were the ones you see in thepictures below: Muhammed and his son-in-law Ali.

She was going to be at The Hague Municipal Museum but she was denied becauseher exposition "could offend certain groups".

Hague museum pulls offensive Muslim art, December 3, 2007

The city museum of The Hague has decided not to include in an exhibition awork of art that may offend Muslims, it was reported on Monday.

The picture, made by Iranian artist Sooreh Hera, is entitled Adam and Ewaldand shows two gay men wearing masks of the Muslim prophet Mohammed and hisson-in-law Ali.

It is part of a photoseries the Gemeentemuseum has included in the 7upexhibition due to open on December 15.

The Gemeentemuseum's director Wim van Krimpen told reporters the museum isinterested in purchasing Hera's complete series, which he called "highquality works of art".

However, he added he will not exhibit Adam and Ewald in the next few yearsbecause "certain people in our society might perceive it as offensive".

Hera responded she was "disappointed" and added "apparently a Muslimminority decides what will be on display in the museum".

Liberal-rightist Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders, condemned themuseum's decision, adding it was "based on fear".

Wilders has requested a reaction on the matter from Education and Cultureminister Ronald Plasterk.

Meanwhile Siebe Weide, director of the Museum Association, told reporters"all Dutch museums are free to choose what they exhibit and what not".


Forwarded from EuroQueer

"Give us an equal place at school and university.everywhere!"

Málaga, Spain is hosting the biggest meeting in Europe for young lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender people and student activists

Málaga, 5th December 2007

On 6-9 December 2007, about 100 young LGBT people from allover Europe willgather in Málaga, Spain for the General Meeting of Members of IGLYO(International Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Transgender / Queer Youth andStudent Organisation).

The 'General Meeting of Members' (GMM) is an opportunity for IGLYO memberorganizations to discuss the organizational priorities and strategies onadvancing equality and human rights for LGBTQ young people. The GMM is alsothe organizational meeting when the new Board members are elected andvarious issues and documents are discussed and adopted, including theStrategic Plan for 2008-2010 and Statutes revisions.

At the GMM IGLYO will present the new "Guidelines for the development ofmore friendly schools for LGBT people". These guidelines should help schoolboards in making their schools more welcoming for all young people. Boardmember Bruno Selun, responsible for this project, reports: "Whereas there isa good intention in many schools to help young marginalized people, there isoften lacking awareness of the position of LGBT young people. Becauseschools don't see them, they think they don't exist. This guidelines shouldhelp schools in both realizing that LGBT pupils exist at each school, aswell as taking measures that make these people feel at home and areprotected."

IGLYO Chair Björn van Roozendaal states: "Europe can no longer wait withprotecting young people in schools and universities from any form ofdiscrimination. Young LGBT people continue to be victims of bullying anddiscrimination and continue being deterred from treatment on an equal basis.If we want to count them as full European citizens, then we need to activelystart protecting them today."


International Humanist and Ethical Union
The world union of Humanist organizationshome

Is there any scope for a peaceful co-existence between religion andhomosexuality?

IHEU and member organization the National Secular Society have sent amessage to the European Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian rights, meeting at theEuropean Parliament in Strasbourg on 14 November 2007. The message calls forhuman rights and gay communities to recognise the strength of the threatfrom organised religion and to renew their efforts against it.

The good news is the rapid progress in acceptance of homosexuals in manycountries, and that this increased acceptance includes many people who wouldregard themselves as religious.

It is significant that this support is much greater in countries where thechurch attendance is low and falling, such as in Western Europe, and leastwhere the church is supported more by the population, as for example inPoland and Russia. Support is next to non-existent in Islamic countries.

Similarly, it is incontrovertible that the countries that are most likely torespect Human Rights for homosexuals are secularised countries while thoseleast likely to respect Human Rights for homosexuals are the ones wherereligion has most influence. Where Islam is predominant, and the religionand state are practically inseparable, the situation for homosexuals couldhardly be worse. Homosexual acts are capital offences in Afghanistan, Iran,Iraq, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi-Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and Nigeria (wherethe death penalty applies only in the 12 Northern provinces with Sharia law[1]). At the opposite pole are the more secular countries where in varyingdegrees homosexuals have been included in equality and antidiscriminationlegislation and can be parties to civil partnerships or marriage.


But even in those Western countries where gay equality has taken hold -including those claiming strong adherence to Human Rights - Christianinstitutions are worryingly persistent and often effective in their attemptsto hold back and even reverse gay rights.

No large Christian denomination is prepared to accept gays on equal terms,let alone support civil unions, and certainly not gay marriage.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy is even more institutionally homophobic underthe current Pope - who has instituted a "witch hunt" against all gaysworking in the RC church, not just practising ones. When speaking to theCouncil of Europe ostensibly about Human Rights (or rather his distortedversion of them), the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church displayed hisobsession with homosexuality - comparing gays to kleptomaniacs [2]. Suchlanguage creates a climate which hardly discourages the thugs assaultingthose attending Moscow Gay Pride in 2006 and 2007.

Many clerics claim, preposterously, that because they oppose all sex outsideso-called holy matrimony it is not discrimination to deny gays any sex life,far less civil partnerships. And it is senior clerics like these who are thevery ones that come to international conventions and assure everyone thatHuman Rights were originally a religious initiative and that they supportthem completely.



The New York Times

Boy Scouts Lose Philadelphia Lease in Gay-Rights Fight

December 6, 2007

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4 - For three years the Philadelphia council of the BoyScouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city's request to changeits discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it didnot do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building wherethe Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

Hailed as the birthplace of the Boy Scouts, the Beaux Arts building is theseat of the seventh-largest chapter of the organization and the first of themore than 300 council service centers built by the Scouts around the countryover the past century.

But over the years the fight between the city and the Scouts was about morethan this grandiose structure in Center City.

Municipal officials said the clash stemmed from a duty to defend civilrights and an obligation to abide by a local law that bars taxpayer supportfor any group that discriminates. Boy Scout officials said it was aboutpreserving their culture, protecting the right of private organizations toremain exclusive and defending traditions like requiring members to swear anoath of duty to God and prohibiting membership by anyone who is openlyhomosexual.

This week the Boy Scouts made their last stand and lost.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

The Long Run
Pulpit Was the Springboard for Huckabee's Rise

December 6, 2007

In August 1980, as the conservative Christian movement was firsttransforming American politics, Ronald Reagan stood before a Dallas stadiumfull of 15,000 foot-stomping, hand-clapping evangelicals and pledged hisfealty to the Bible. "All the complex and horrendous questions confrontingus at home and worldwide have their answer in that single book," said Mr.Reagan, the Republican presidential nominee.

Assisting with logistics for the event was a young seminary dropout namedMike Huckabee. "It was the genesis for the whole movement," Mr. Huckabeerecalled of those early days.

Now Mr. Huckabee is running for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination,his campaign shaped by his two decades as an evangelical pastor andbroadcaster. While he says he is running based on his career in the Arkansasgovernor's mansion, not the pulpit, he has grounded his views on issues likeabortion and immigration in Scripture, rallied members of the clergy forsupport, benefited from the anti-Mormon sentiment dogging a political rivaland relied on the down-to-earth style he honed in the pulpit to helpcatapult him in the polls.

Mr. Huckabee risks scorn from secular voters for defending the biblicalcreation story against Darwin, but faces accusations from some fellowChristians that he is soft on a range of issues, including liberal thinkingin his own denomination. His candidacy has renewed the debate over the placeof religion in public life, an issue Mitt Romney, the former Massachusettsgovernor who is also a Republican presidential contender, will take on in aspeech on Thursday about his Mormonism.

As a preacher and a politician, Mr. Huckabee said in an interview, he haspursued the same goal: improving lives. "For me it was never an either or,"he said of his dual careers. "The realm you do it in is less important thanthat you do it."

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The Washington Post

Case Closed in 2 Deaths Within Days in Apartment

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007; B01

Authorities have found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the bizarrecase of two men who died four days apart in a Northwest Washington apartmentin September, D.C. police said yesterday.

The men, who were not acquainted, had traveled from New York to visit theapartment's occupant, and both died of "acute intoxication" fromprescription drugs shortly after they arrived, according to autopsies.

One of them, Jordan "Jeremy" Conklin, 26, who was hoping to find work in aD.C. restaurant or bar, arrived Sept. 14. The apartment's tenant, StevenSaleh, 47, had responded to a Craigslist ad that Conklin posted seekingtemporary housing, one of Conklin's friends said. Two days later, answeringa 911 call from Saleh, police found Conklin dead on Saleh's living roomfloor.

The other man, Dean Johnson, 46, was a celebrity drag queen in downtownManhattan's gay club scene -- a flamboyant rock singer, coffeehouse poet andpaid escort. Johnson, who had escort clients in the District, arrived at theapartment Sept. 19 to comfort Saleh over Conklin's death, several ofJohnson's friends said. The next day, again answering a call from Saleh,police found Johnson dead on the living room floor.

Police said that the bodies -- in a second-floor apartment at the historicEnvoy building, at 2400 16th St. NW -- showed no obvious signs of trauma andthat the odd circumstances raised suspicions. But they said yesterday thatSaleh, a former Commerce Department employee disabled by an illness thatcauses chronic pain and fatigue, is no longer the focus of an investigation.

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The Washington Post

Newly HIV-Infected Gay Men Select Other Infected Partners

Wednesday, December 5, 2007; 12:00 AM

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Most men newly infected with HIV (thevirus that causes AIDS) choose to have unprotected sex only with otherHIV-infected partners, say U.S. researchers who analyzed data from sixclinics in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, New Haven, San Diegoand Providence, R.I.

The study included 27 men with acute HIV infection. This refers to theone-month period immediately following HIV infection, when a person tends tohave the highest levels of HIV circulating in their blood. This makes itmuch more likely they'll infect a partner during unprotected sex.

More than 90 percent of the patients in the study were men who have sex withmen.

"While the findings showed condom use was up and the number of partners wasdown, the most startling effect was seen in men choosing to have unprotectedintercourse almost exclusively with other HIV-infected individuals. Thisreflects a systematic shift by men, most of whom are gay, following HIVinfection to behaviors that protect their sex partners," lead author WayneSteward, assistant professor of medicine at the University of California,San Francisco's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, said in a preparedstatement.

Prior to HIV infection, the men in the study had unprotected sex withHIV-negative or HIV-unknown partners almost 75 percent of the time. Afterlearning they were infected with HIV, there was a major change in theirbehavior. They started having unprotected sex with other HIV-positivepartners 97 percent of the time.

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'Feminine' inmates criticize jail's 'protective' isolation

Michael Mayo
News Columnist
December 6, 2007

For the past 10 weeks, Broward County jail inmate Edward Borden has beenconfined to his cell 23 hours a day, kept in a protective custody unit. Thereason, according to a jail form: "Due to feminine characteristics, inmatecould be perceived as a potential victim if placed in general population."

Borden, jailed since August on multiple charges, including battery on a lawenforcement officer, was sent to the protective custody unit on Sept. 30.

He is one of 13 male inmates housed in restrictive lockdown units because ofthe "feminine characteristics" criteria, according to the Broward PublicDefender's Office. Attorneys who have interviewed four inmates say they musteat meals in their cells and are allowed out for only an hour a day forshowers, phone calls and recreation.

"It's for their safety," said Col. James Wimberly, executive director of thedepartment of detention and community control for the Broward Sheriff'sOffice.

In a letter to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel signed by 10 other inmates,Borden, who is gay, wrote, "We feel we are being persecuted for beinghomosexual. ... We just want to be treated like regular inmates. ... To giveyou an idea of what general population is like, the heterosexual maleinmates get to stay out of their cells all at the same time all day. Theyget to eat, watch TV, play card games and go outside as a group. ... We feelso belittled and humiliated it makes any time we spend here uneasy."

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Man Caught in Sex Sting Worked for Kerry

Associated Press Writer
6:08 PM EST, December 5, 2007

A former aide to Sen. Maria Cantwell, arrested on federal sex charges lastweek, had worked for the 2004 presidential campaigns of Democrats DickGephardt and John Kerry.

James Michael McHaney, 28, of Washington, D.C., was ordered held withoutbond following a brief hearing Wednesday in federal court. Dressed in anorange jumpsuit and blue jacket, McHaney responded "Yes, sir," whenquestioned by Magistrate Judge John Facciola.

McHaney was fired Friday from his job as a scheduler for Cantwell, D-Wash.,hours after he was arrested by FBI agents. The FBI said in a chargingdocument that McHaney tried to set up a meeting with a witness posing onlineas a 13-year-old boy.

McHaney, a native of Little Rock, Ark., did advance work for both Gephardt,a former Missouri congressman, and Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, in their2004 campaigns, Democrats said Wednesday.

A spokesman for Kerry confirmed that McHaney worked for the campaign fromFebruary to November 2004, but declined to comment.

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Theology Divides Mormons, Evangelicals

Associated Press Writer
4:18 PM EST, December 5, 2007

Polygamy, missionaries on bicycles and the Osmonds. What most people knowor think they know about Mormons might be summed up in those few words. Therenowned Tabernacle Choir and, perhaps, quarterback Steve Young could alsofit on that list.

Despite 170 years of history, much about The Church of Jesus Christ ofLatter-day Saints -- the church of Republican presidential candidate MittRomney -- remains a mystery to most.

Questions about his faith, which some mainline religious groups discount asa non-Christian cult, have dogged Romney throughout his campaign, and onThursday he'll tackle the issue at the George H.W. Bush Library on thecampus of Texas A&M University.

Romney isn't expected to focus on the details of Mormonism, but it's inthose details that evangelicals and other Christians sometimes break withLatter-day Saints.

The fundamental issue: the nature of God.

more . . . . .


Express Gay News

Man or woman?
Can't have it both ways, court tells Green Bay resident

WAUSAU (AP) | Dec 5, 11:13 AM

A Green Bay man who amended his birth certificate to change his sex tofemale failed today in efforts to have it revised again to identify him asmale.

Stephanie Calewarts asked for the latest change after marrying a woman lastyear. Brown County revoked their marriage license because Calewarts' birthcertificate listed him as female. Same-sex marriages are banned inWisconsin.

Calewarts contended that a judge's 2000 order changing his birth certificateto female was an error based on mistakes and misunderstandings. Calewartssaid he had some surgery done for health reasons, not to change his sex.

But the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the time forCalewarts to appeal or challenge Brown County Circuit Judge J.D. McKay'sdecision had long passed.

McKay properly rejected the petition Calewarts filed in October 2006requesting that his birth certificate list him as male, the three-judgepanel said.

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Express Gay News

Gay rights activists push for hate crimes law
Move prompted by killing of gay Okla. man

Dec 5, 10:33 AM

Prompted by the killing of a gay Oklahoma City man, faith leaders and gayrights activists in the city are calling for new legislation targeting hatecrimes. Investigators believe 62-year-old Steven Domer was strangled October26th by two members of a white supremacist group who targeted Domer becausehe was gay.

Tuesday, a group of clergy and gay rights activists called on federallawmakers to approve a bill enhancing penalties for hate-motivated crimesand providing resources to prosecutors to pursue such crimes.

Meanwhile, the state's only openly gay lawmaker, Representative Al McAffrey,says he plans to file a bill for the upcoming legislative session to addgender and sexual orientation to the state statute on hate crimes.

Harry Knox, the director of the Human Rights Campaign, says Oklahoma is oneof only 17 states that don't include sexual orientation in its hate crimelaw.


Express Gay News

Trans woman seeks to succeed lawmaker
Beyer could replace Maryland delegate who died

Dec 4, 2:44 PM

A transgender woman is among the candidates seeking to succeed a Marylandstate legislator who died last week.

Dana Beyer, who lost her bid last year to become a state delegate, couldbecome the nation's first transgender state lawmaker if chosen Dec. 11 tofill the vacant Montgomery County seat.

"It's not how I wanted to become a delegate, but it is what it is and youmake the best of what you have and you move forward," she said. "And that'show you honor the memory of those past."

Beyer is among the candidates vying to succeed Democratic Del. Jane Lawton,who died Nov. 29 after giving a presentation before a federal agency.Lawton, 63, joined the Maryland House of Delegates in 2005.

"I always wanted to serve with Jane," Beyer said. "I didn't want to replaceher."

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Express Gay News

Episcopal Church faces possible major defection By Michael Conlon, ReligionWriter

Wed Dec 5, 1:35 PM ET

The U.S. Episcopal Church faces major tumult this week when an entireCalifornia diocese with more than 9,000 members decides whether to secede inan unprecedented protest over gay issues.

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, based in Fresno and consisting ofnearly 50 churches in 14 counties, would be the first diocese to bolt fromthe U.S. branch of the 77-million-member global Anglican Communion ifSaturday's final vote passes.

The U.S. church and Anglicanism generally have been in upheaval since 2003when the Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson of New Hampshire as thefirst bishop known to be in an openly gay relationship in more than fourcenturies of church history.

Dissent over that as well as the blessing of same-sex unions practiced insome congregations has caused a number of defections by traditionalists inthe U.S. church.

The 2.4 million-member U.S. church says that out of 7,600 congregations 32have left, meaning that a majority of members of those congregations havedeparted and the churches are now considered closed. Another 23 have votedto leave, meaning that significant number of members have said they want toleave.

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Express Gay News

Lawyer: Priest will plead guilty to sex charges

By Andrew Tilghman and Chris Amos - Staff writers
Posted : Wednesday Dec 5, 2007 20:54:49 EST

An HIV-positive Catholic Navy chaplain plans to plead guilty Thursday tocharges involving sexual misconduct with an unspecified number of men,according to his attorney, who said the priest has known of his HIV statusfor more than two years.

The chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee, 42, is facing a generalcourt-martial in Quantico, Va. He had been charged with sodomy, aggravatedassault, indecent assault, fraternization and conduct unbecoming a militaryofficer, according to a Marine Corps statement. His attorney, David Sheldon,said Lee will plead guilty to "many" of those charges, but would not saywhich. Three witnesses will testify Thursday, he said.

Marine officials refused to release Lee's charge sheet, which typicallywould give the number of specifications, explain why he is being charged andhow much jail time he faces if convicted.

Neither Sheldon nor the Corps offered any details regarding the victims inthe case. Sources said the sexual partners in question are all men.

"He has entered into a pretrial agreement with the government that willsubstantially reduce his exposure to confinement," said Sheldon, who addedthat Lee was facing life without parole if convicted on all charges. "He'sextremely remorseful about what happened and about his conduct, both as achaplain and as an officer. He will take responsibility for what he hasdone."

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Express Gay News

'Exposing' the Folsom Street Fair

Posted by Rebecca Armendariz, Online Editor|

I just got back from attending the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality,Concerned Women for America and PFOX news conference at the National PressClub. The point of this gathering was to expose the happenings of the FolsomStreet Fair, an annual street festival in San Francisco that's touted as"the grandaddy of all leather events."

I'd have to call Peter LaBarbera and Matt Barber two of my biggest ...nemeses. Well, they bring out the bitch in me. Their opinions and argumentsare so ludicrous that it's easy for many gays to simply ignore theirhate-filled speech because it's so over the top. But when I walked into theroom and saw them face-to-face, there were warm handshakes and greetings.That creeped me out because the introductions were such a facade. As soon asI said "Washington Blade," they knew who I was. They handed me the "pressmaterials" and a DVD and I accepted it with a thank you. Too weird.

Attendance clocked in at less than 10 people -- I only noticed one otherjournalist, a young woman from Scripps Howard. The rest appeared to knoweither Peter or Matt.

The organizers of Folsom Street are obviously not trying to hide the natureof the festival. It's not like you arrive, pay your entry fee and areshocked to realize that there's a strapping leather daddy leading around hismanservant on a leash. That's to be expected. The official program itselfmakes it explicitly clear that this festival "brings together a crosssection of the leather / fetish / BDSM communities."

LaBarbera went to the fair with his video camera and caught the happeningswith every intention of "exposing" them. His main beef is that this areafalls within Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district. So they wrote Pelosi a lettertelling her that there should be a "limit to tolerance." The trio ofanti-gay organizations plans to "alert the nation of this egregious


Express Gay News

Much ado about nothing

Posted by Kevin Naff
Washington Blade Editor

The Drudge-fanned faux controversy last week regarding gay retired Brig.Gen. Keith Kerr's appearance at the CNN-YouTube debate proves yet again justhow effective the right-wing noise machine is at diverting attention anddevouring opponents.

Kerr asked a simple question regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" during thedebate. After the GOP presidential candidates failed to answer the question,moderator Anderson Cooper introduced Kerr, who was sitting in the studioaudience.

Predictably, the largely Republican audience booed Kerr as he attempted toask a follow-up question, which turned into a bit of a disjointed soliloquy.But after 42 years serving his country in the armed forces, Kerr had earneda bit of patience and indulgence from the candidates and the crowd.

It was revealed later that night that Kerr had signed onto a list of gaysupporters of Hillary Clinton. And then Drudge, Fox News, et al went intoaction, declaring Kerr's inclusion a set-up. CNN and Cooper immediatelycapitulated, pulling Kerr's question from a rebroadcast of the show andapologizing to viewers.

There was no justification for yanking Kerr from the rebroadcast and no needfor an apology. The other questioners that night weren't required todisclose their party affiliation or whether they had endorsed a specificcandidate. For CNN and anyone else to act surprised that a rival campaignmight have planted a question among the 5,000 YouTube videos is naïve atbest. I assumed that the bulk of the submissions came from those withinterests in the campaigns or partisan viewers hoping to help their guy onnational TV.

But Kerr's question was legitimate and has been answered by all theDemocrats running for president, who have pledged to end "Don't Ask, Don'tTell." For the Republicans to turn it around and play victim istransparently absurd. This stunt is one more nail in coffin, I hope, of theflawed and demeaning YouTube debate format.




Romney: No Religious Test For President

by The Associated Press
Posted: December 6, 2007 - 8:00 am ET
Updated 11:00 am ET

(College Station, Texas) Republican Mitt Romney, confronting voters'skepticism about his Mormon faith, declared Thursday that as president hewould "serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause," and said callsfor him to explain and justify his religious beliefs go against the profoundwishes of the nation's founders.

At the same time, he decried those who would remove from public life "any acknowledgment of God," and he said that "during the holiday season,nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places."

In a speech less than a month before the first nomination contests, Romneysaid he shares "moral convictions" with Americans of all faiths, thoughsurveys suggest up to half of likely voters have qualms about electing thefirst Mormon president.

"I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it," Romney said."My faith is the faith of my fathers. I will be true to them and to mybeliefs." Nonetheless, he strove to clarify his personal line between churchand state, recalling a similar speech delivered by John F. Kennedy in 1960as Kennedy sought to become the first Catholic elected president.

"I do not define my candidacy by my religion. A person should not be electedbecause of his faith, nor should he be rejected because of his faith,"Romney said at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, 90 milesfrom Kennedy's speaking site in Houston.

more . . . . .



Doctor Sued Over HIV Misdiagnosis

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

(Worcester, Massachusetts) Audrey Serrano received HIV treatments for almostnine years before receiving a stunning diagnosis: she never actually had thevirus that causes AIDS.

Now Serrano is suing a doctor who treated her, saying the powerfulcombination of drugs she took triggered a string of ailments, includingdepression, chronic fatigue, loss of weight and appetite and inflammation ofthe intestine.

``Today, it's still hard. One minute you think you have it, the next minuteyou don't,'' Serrano, the divorced mother of a 17-year-old girl, saidTuesday during a break in proceedings at Worcester Superior Court.

``And your mind plays tricks on you and you still live as if you have HIV,even though you don't.''

Serrano, 45, is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit she filed in2003. The original lawsuit named several medical providers but was amendedto include just Dr. Kwan Lai, an infectious disease specialist at theUniversity of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester's HIV clinic.

more . . . . .



Report: Shepard Hate Crime Bill To Be Dropped

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 5, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) House Democrats are reportedly resigned to removing the MatthewShepard Hate Crime bill from defense authorization legislation.

Congressional Quarterly reports that House Democratic leaders believe theylack the votes to pass the measure.

The Shepard Act would add sexuality to the list of categories covered underfederal hate crime law.

It passed the House in May and the White House threatened to veto it.(story)

In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version tied the measure to the2008 defense authorization bill. It passed in September (story) and thenwent to conference where the two versions of the bill needed to beharmonized for a final vote. Since then the bill has been tied up. (story)

more . . . . .



Scottsdale Passes LGBT Rights Ordinance

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 5, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Scottsdale, Arizona) In a 4-3 vote the Scottsdale City Council has enactedan ordinance that extends workplace protections to LGBT city employees.

The move amends the city's equal employment opportunity ordinance to includesexual orientation and gender identity.

Mayor Mary Manross was among those voting for the the ordinance.

"Despite facing strong opposition, Scottsdale's elected officialsdemonstrated leadership by putting into policy the inclusive practices ofthis diverse city," said Equality Arizona Executive Director BarbaraMcCullough-Jones.

The vote came as the state legislature prepared to consider a similarmeasure to protect LGBT state workers.

more . . . . .



Jenna Bush Calls Dad on Ellen

by the Associated Press

Jenna Bush, phone home. The first daughter appeared nervous when EllenDeGeneres asked her to call her parents during a taping of DeGeneres' talkshow Tuesday. The show aired Wednesday. "They're going to kill me," the26-year-old told DeGeneres. "I'm going to be in so much trouble."

"No, they're going to be thrilled," DeGeneres said. "Why wouldn't they wantto say `hi' to everybody and say Merry Christmas?"

"They may have wanted some warning," responded Bush, who was on "The EllenDeGeneres Show" to promote her new book, "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope."

All was well, though, when she reached her parents on speakerphone.

"I'm just sitting here with daddy," Laura Bush told her daughter, to whichDeGeneres chimed in: "Oh hey! It's Ellen. I wanted to say hi to daddy."

more . . . . .



Jodie Foster Thanks Cydney in Accepting Sherry Lansing Leadership Award

by Sarah Warn, Editor in Chief
December 5, 2007

In a surprising and moving speech on Tuesday, Jodie Foster, 45, thanked "mybeautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss"when she accepted the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the 16th annualWomen in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast.

The award is named after the former chief of Paramount Pictures, SherryLansing, who told the Associated Press that she was "overwhelmed to bepresenting it to Jodie."

The L.A. Daily News reporter covering the event, Greg Hernandez, notedsurprise "at the public acknowledgment of who I presume is Cydney Bernard,the woman who is widely reported to be her life partner," because Foster hasalways been "so intensely private."

In her speech, which the Daily News described as "funny and heart-warming,"Foster went on to say, "I don't feel very powerful. I feel fragile ...unsure, struggling to figure it all out, trying to get there even though I'mnot sure where there is ... I've been working in this business for 42 yearsand there's no way you can do that and not be as nutty as a fruitcake."

Characterizing herself as a "professional" and a "gentleman," Fosteradmitted: "I always feel like something of an impostor. I don't know whatI'm doing. I suppose that's my one little secret, the secret of my success."

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Trans Woman Named Head of LGBT Business Group

December 06, 2007

The Golden Gate Business Association announced the appointment of KatherineDean as its new executive director on Monday. She will replace the outgoingJohn D'Alessandro as leader of the nation's oldest LGBT Chamber of Commerce,according to a press release.

Dean boasts more than 25 years of managerial experience, including as CEO ofseveral startup companies. For the last eight years, she has consulted forsmall companies and Fortune 500 firms in marketing and strategic planning.

The Golden Gate Business Association, founded in 1974, represents nearly 500LGBT businesses in the San Francisco Bay area.

PlanetOut, The Advocate's parent company, is a media sponsor for theorganization. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

Argentine Teenager Undergoes Sex-Change Surgery

December 06, 2007

A 17-year-old Argentine has undergone surgery to become a female only monthsafter winning a court battle in the first case of its kind involving a minorin this country, a representative for the teen said Tuesday.

A judge in 2004 had ruled that the teen had to wait until age 21 for theoperation, but the parents appealed successfully, swaying a court panel toissue a decision in September authorizing surgery.

The teenager was operated on at a private clinic in La Plata, near theArgentine capital. Courts have withheld the teen's name because she is stilla minor and local media have not published her identity.

''Everything went perfectly,'' said Alejandra Victoria Portatadino, whorepresented the teenager in court and is also legal counsel for theorganization Argentine Homosexual Community. ''Now we just need to ask toget her legal identification changed to reflect her name as a woman.''

The teenager has a condition called gender dysphoria, doctors and expertsruled, saying she was born with a male body but is psychologically a female.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Cabin Fever

The gay and lesbian organization Log Cabin Republicans has decided to sitout the Republican primary by not endorsing a candidate. Why aren't theybacking Rudy Giuliani, the most pro-gay Republican White House contender inhistory?

By James Kirchick
December 05, 2007

An exclusive posted December 5, 2007

The mission of Log Cabin Republicans, according to the group's website, is"to make the Republican Party more inclusive, particularly on gay andlesbian issues." The group recognizes -- correctly -- that "equality will beimpossible to achieve without Republican votes." Democrats are largely onboard with gay rights issues; it's conservatives who need convincing. It isfor this reason that Log Cabin, with its handful of staffers and a mere20,000 members, is one of the most important gay political organizations inthe country.

Yet Log Cabin is sitting out what is perhaps the most important presidentialprimary for gay voters in political history. Running for the 2008 Republicannomination is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, the ideal Log CabinRepublican candidate. Indeed, Log Cabin endorsed him in his previous runsfor mayor and U.S. Senate, and he spoke at the organization's nationalconvention in 1999. While it's true that since becoming a major presidentialcontender Giuliani has backtracked on his previous support for civil unions(his campaign claims that the New Hampshire legislature's passage of a civilunions law was overreaching because it recognizes same-sex unions from otherstates), Giuliani still says he supports domestic partnerships that ensurethe same legal rights for gay couples. Add his regular participation in NewYork City's gay pride parades, his appointments of openly gay people to cityoffices, and his having lived with a gay couple after his wife kicked himout of the house -- plus a dearth of gay-supportive Republican rivals -- andyou have a no-brainer of a Log Cabin endorsement.

But, alas, Log Cabin is sitting this one out, at least until the generalelection. In a recent interview with Mother Jones, Log Cabin's grassrootsoutreach director said, "We will probably not endorse anyone in theprimary." The recent endorsement of Giuliani by televangelist Pat Robertson,who has a record of homophobia rivaling that of any major American publicfigure, may dissuade socially moderate Republicans from supporting Giuliani.But sitting this GOP primary out is a grave mistake for Log Cabin, as itdilutes gay political power right when it is most necessary to assert it.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Does a pot bust trump a 4.0 GPA?

A universal form that asks about arrests or discipline problems gainsimportance after the Virginia Tech shootings. Some prospective freshmenportray troubles as a learning experience but many are silent out of fear ofbeing rejected.

By Larry Gordon
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 5 2007

As campus administrators worry about how to prevent violence like lastspring's Virginia Tech shootings, students applying to college increasinglyface queries about their past behavior: Were they ever severely disciplinedin high school? Have they been convicted of a crime?

The complete article can be viewed at:,1,4888699.story


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Retired Utah military leaders call for end of 'Don't ask, don't tell' gaypolicy

The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 12/04/2007 01:42:14 PM MST

Posted: 11:14 AM- Two retired senior military leaders in Utah have signed apetition calling for the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell'policy.

The policy prohibits anyone who is gay from openly acknowledging itwhile serving in the military.

Brig. Gen. J.D. Johnson and Brig. Gen. Phil Peay signed their names to aletter being sent to Congress that asks for repeal of the policy.

"I just believe it's the right thing to do," said Johnson, 60.

The policy was introduced in 1993 and approved by then-President BillClinton.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

African nations urged to embrace LGBT rights

Antonio Fabrizio
5th December 2007 13:07

African and European LGBT organisations have asked all African states tofight homophobia as an EU-Africa summit takes place in Lisbon next weekend.

ILGA Europe and its African equivalent Pan Africa ILGA have denouncedstate-sponsored" homophobia on the African continent and asked that allAfrican countries adopt the Yogyakarta Principles.

Launched in March 2007, the Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles onthe application of international human rights law in relation to sexualorientation and gender identity.

In their joint appeal the LGBT organisations stressed that homophobic laws,which violate fundamental rights of GLBT people, are still in place in manyAfrican states.

ILGA and its partner organisations have called on those states that considersame-sexual relationships a crime to abolish those laws.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Analysis: New law will protect parents and sperm donors

5th December 2007 16:50
Tony Grew

The story of a 37-year-old man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple and isnow being asked to pay child support highlights the complicated legalsituation around children conceived by artificial methods.

New legislation before Parliament aims to make it easier for lesbian couplesto access NHS fertilisation services and ensure that a lesbian or gay couplecan become the legal parents of their children.

At present the law requires that NHS fertility clinics take account of the"need for a father" when assessing women for treatment.

In practice this can lead to clinics deciding not to accept lesbians andthose women instead using "DIY" methods in order to conceive.

"Lesbians tend to be refused service or made to pay for it under the current arrangements," explained Ruth Hunt, head of policy at gay equalityorganisation Stonewall.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Uruguayan parliament passes civil unions law

4th December 2007 12:40 staff writer

Uruguay will legally recognise same-sex civil unions.

The country of 3.6m people is the first nation in South America to grantsuch protections, although some cities and regions throughout the continenthave made similar legal provisions.

The Uruguayan Congress last week passed legislation creating a civil unionregistry for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples.

The measure had previously passed the Chamber of Senators.

The new law was a manifesto commitment of the ruling leftist coalition ofPresident Tabare Vasquez.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News


by Rodney Croome

The election of a Labor Government after more than a decade of Coalitionrule opens up the possibilities for the recognition of same-sexrelationships. When enacted, Labor's commitment to equal entitlements for defacto same-sex couples across Federal law will be an important step forward.So will the adoption of relationship registries in the mainland states andterritories.

But these reforms will inevitably leave some same-sex partners asking whynot equal marriage or civil partnerships, especially those who have enteredinto these legal overseas unions.

There is a danger of the LGBT community erupting into a civil war over thisissue, with some dismissing de facto status or Deeds of Relationship as poorsubstitutes for matrimony, while others argue we should be happy with thepractical benefits of these reforms and forget pointless symbolism.

Both would be wrong.

De facto status, relationship registries and same-sex marriage are notsubstitutes for each other. They serve different purposes for differentcouples. We need them all.

more . . . . .


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:

The French government has recently taken advantage of the reform of the lawof succession (June 23, 2006) to reform the Pacte civil de solidarité whichallows for a form of civil partnership between two adults (same sex andopposite sex) and provides a legal status for their relationship. Theintroduction of Pacs in 1999 was controversial but since then it has becomepopular, mainly with heterosexual couples. Gradually same-sex couples arebeing granted more rights and heterosexual couples are taking advantage ofthese changes so that the institution might be seen as becoming closer tomarriage. This article argues that, while the flexibility of Pacs shouldremain for those who do not want commitment, a legal status should becreated for same sex couples which would give them the same rights andprotections as a married couple.

Romney is singing the praises of the proposed gay marriage ban in an e-mailto Florida supporters today. The former Massachusetts governor professes heknows "first-hand" that "traditional marriage is under assault by liberal,activist judges in many states." "In Florida, a ballot initiative has beenproposed that would give constitutional protection to the definition ofmarriage as one man and one woman and prevent un-elected activist judgesfrom trying to invent and impose new laws that disregard the will of thepeople," his statement reads. "I strongly support this initiative."

Italy's left-wing Foreign Minister said yesterday he is against gaymarriage. - Massimo D'Alema, a former Prime Minister who currently holds thehighest post at the Italian Foreign office, was addressing high-schoolstudents in Rome, when he was asked his view on gay marriage.Mr D'Alema, whois not a Catholic, said that he was against marriage between gay people,because "only a marriage between a man and a woman represents the basis ofthe family according to the Italian Constitution, and is also a sacramentaccording to the Church."He added that gay marriage would offend thereligious feelings of many people. "Same-sex people can live togetherwithout necessarily simulating a marriage. The government, however, shouldrecognise their civil and social rights. I would be happy enough making alaw in that direction."

The Christian Family Coalition announced that it has filed the remaining3,300 petition signatures necessary to place the Florida Marriage Amendmenton the November 2008 U.S. Presidential ballot. The petitions were filed withFlorida4Marriage, the sponsoring political committee, per rule 1SER07-1(1S-2.0091). Once approved by voters, the amendment will define marriage asthe union of only one man and one woman in the state constitution. In 1997,the Florida State Legislature overwhelmingly passed the Defense of MarriageAct (D.O.M.A.) defining marriage in our state as the union of one man, onewoman. However, since that time homosexual extremists from Key West toOrlando, have filed numerous lawsuits attempting to have the law ruledunconstitutional. "In our system of government, the people of Florida, notunaccountable judges, should define marriage in our state", stated AnthonyVerdugo, Founder and Chairman of the Christian Family Coalition. ChristianFamily Coalition filed approximately 50,000 petition signatures throughoutthe campaign.

Over the past few weeks, we've noticed how Focus on The Family's CitizenLinknews site has been touting the health and wealth benefits that marriagesupposedly bring to one's life, while overlooking the fact that theirorganization works day and night to keep gay people from knowing the joy oflegally-recognized monogamy. And today the site has upped the offensive anteby pointing to a new study that says marriage brings positive benefits tothe environment, while neglecting to mention that if not for the anti-gaywork of groups like FOF, the number of married couples on the Earth'slandscape would only be increased. And of course not one time in the entirepiece (which you can read in its entirety at the below link) does the writermention his parent organization's own fight to keep certain population sectsas legal strangers. But why not? If we are talking about sheer numbers ofcohabitating, stable households, it's unsound to NOT look at this aspect.Because even if Focus on the Family disagrees with same-sex marriage on anideological level (and we know they do), on a practical level it cannot bedenied that telling millions of people that they are unworthy of marriageequality keeps many in that group from following a monogamously-coupled,joint-living path!


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