Sunday, January 20, 2008

GLBT DIGEST January 20, 2008

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The New York Times

After Linking New Strain of Staph to Gay Men, University Scrambles toClarify

January 20, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - In a matter of days, it jumped from a routine press releaseto a medical controversy.

On Monday, a team of researchers led by doctors from the University ofCalifornia at San Francisco announced that gay men were "many times morelikely than others" to acquire a new strain of drug-resistantstaphylococcus, a nasty, fast-spreading and potential lethal bacteria knownas MRSA USA300. And sure enough, the study, published online in the Annalsof Internal Medicine, was quickly picked up by reporters round the world andacross the Internet, including a London tabloid which dubbed the disease"the new H.I.V."

But for gay men in the Castro neighborhood here, which was an earlyepicenter for the AIDS epidemic and a current hot spot for MRSA, the reportalso seemed to cast an unfair, and all too familiar, stigma on theirsexuality.

"The way they keep targeting gays as if gays alone are responsible for it,its like H.I.V./AIDS all over again," said Colin Thurlow, 60, who is gay andlives in San Francisco. "And we're sick and tired of it."

The report also inadvertently offered ammunition for many antigay groups,including the conservative Concerned Women for America, which issued arelease on Wednesday citing the "sexual deviancy" of gay men as leading toAIDS, syphilis and gonorrhea.

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The New York Times

BoÎte: Bump. Grind. Repeat.

January 20, 2008

HIDDEN among the vacant lots and bleak brick warehouses of industrialWilliamsburg, a go-go boy shimmied. Clad only in a black jock strap coveredby a pair of tiny gray skivvies, knee pads and, yes, a sailor cap, themuscular exotic dancer jiggled his rear end to the Britney Spears song"Gimme More," and grinned.

But on this recent Saturday night at Sugarland, the latest no-frills gay barand performance space to emerge amid the artists, trust-fund kids andHasidim across the East River, Ms. Spears wasn't the only one needingsomething, um, more.

"There's like one go-go boy, what is that?" grumbled Matthew Kane, a scruffy22-year-old photo agent. Still, he gazed at the sweaty man and reported, "He's relatively hot, like hipster hot - you know, vaguely alternative andimperfect." That description could also apply to Sugarland, where nearlyeveryone was under 30, weighed less than 160 pounds and wore a V-neckT-shirt and about three days of beard.

With the state of gay night life in Manhattan a sad tale of shuttered clubs,police raids and a disturbing lack of dance floor space, the boys inBrooklyn (and some women, too) are practically tripping over their Conversesneakers and cowboy boots to sweat it out on their home turf at Sugarland,which opened in September in what was Capone's, a bar known for its freepizza.

Occasionally, problems come with the territory: "The L train is messed up,so it took forever to get here," said Dzu Bui, an advertising manager fromPark Slope. But the allure of fierce music and a fresh scene drew his friendfrom - gasp - Murray Hill. "It's his first time going out in Brooklyn," Mr.Bui, 29, said. "I'm like 'Are you kidding?' "

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The New York Times

Italians Throng Vatican to Support Silenced Pope

Filed at 7:16 a.m. ET
January 20, 2008

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of students, politicians andordinary Romans thronged the Vatican on Sunday in a major show of sympathyfor Pope Benedict after protests led him to cancel a speech at Rome's topuniversity this week.

"Thank you all for this show of solidarity," a smiling Pope told thecheering, clapping crowds who filled St. Peter's Square in much biggernumbers than usual. Some waved banners denouncing the "censorship" imposedby members of La Sapienza university.

The Pope called off a speech at the university scheduled for Thursday aftera small group staged protests and sit-ins against what they called hisantiquated views on science. The university was founded by a pope more than700 years ago.

The episode provoked accusations of censorship in the Roman Catholiccountry. Even critics of the Church, like leftist Nobel laureate Dario Fo,defended the Pope's right to free speech.

Recalling his "long years" as a theology professor, Benedict told the crowd:"I encourage all of you dear university students to always respect theopinions of others and to seek, with a liberal and responsible spirit, truthand righteousness."

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The Washington Post

Women, Latinos Propel Clinton To First Place

By Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 20, 2008; A01

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 19 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won Nevada's Democraticcaucuses on Saturday, handing Sen. Barack Obama a second consecutive setbackin a volatile nominating contest that is now poised to become acoast-to-coast battle.

Competing in the first state with significant blocs of minority voters,Clinton won 51 percent of the vote, Obama took 45 percent and former senatorJohn Edwards garnered 4 percent, the result of a colorful and at timeschaotic process that included caucuses held in casinos on the Las VegasStrip. Clinton won almost every casino site and dominated among women andLatino voters, while Obama drew overwhelming support from blacks -- apotential foreshadowing of how the contest could play out when almost twodozen states vote on Feb. 5.

"I guess this is how the West was won," Clinton declared at a victory rallyin Las Vegas.

Obama's campaign argued that the outcome in Nevada was a shared victory andlaid claim to 13 delegates, compared with 12 for Clinton, because of the wayhis support was distributed around the state. Obama aides also complained ofwhat they said were voter-suppression tactics. "We're not treating this as aloss," said senior adviser David Axelrod. "We'll keep letting them spin thevictories, and we'll keep taking the delegates." Obama left the statewithout delivering a concession speech, and his campaign sent messages tosupporters heralding the edge in delegates.

Clinton officials rejected the delegate claim out of hand, arguing that thecount has not been finalized.

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Stonewall Democrats get tough with candidates

By John Wright Staff Writer
Jan 17, 2008, 21:02

New screening rules require appearance by candidate or representative; listof questions on surveys gets longer

Mike LoVuolo, political director for Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, notesthat an "endorsements is not just going to be handed" to a candidate anymore.

Candidates will have to work a little harder this year to earn what hasbecome one of the more sought-after endorsements in local politics.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, the third-largest chapter of the nationalLGBT political group, will screen candidates for endorsements in the March 4primary from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at the Resource Center ofDallas.

With the chapter's membership and clout continuing to grow, SDD leaders saidthey've significantly expanded the scope of questions on surveys that weredistributed to candidates in advance of the meeting. Copies of filled-outsurveys will be available for viewing from 11 a.m. to noon.

Unlike in the past, candidates also will be required to attend Sunday'smeeting or send a representative to speak and answer questions. Eachcandidate will be allotted 10 minutes between noon and 6 p.m. beforeStonewall members vote on the endorsements beginning at 6:40 p.m.

"The endorsement is not just going to be handed to them," said Stonewallpolitical director Mike Lo Vuolo, who chaired the committee that overhauledthe group's endorsement process last fall. "It's an important endorsement,and the larger our group gets and the more active our group gets, it's evenmore important, and that was the main reason for rewriting the policies."'

SDD President Jesse Garcia said the new policies have not deterredcandidates from seeking the group's backing. In fact, Garcia said Wednesday,Jan. 16, that SDD may have to schedule a second endorsement meeting inFebruary because all candidate slots for Sunday already had been filled.

"In the last six years our endorsement has grown in prominence becauseStonewall has become an important player in county politics," Garcia said."This endorsement helps get their name out to voters, and it appeals toother Democrats outside the LGBT community who respect the LGBT communityand Stonewall."



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:
Rhode Island: I thought from the outset: Some day this will all seemquaint. But it's too soon for that.
The struggle for gay rights - the current focus being marriage equality -still rages. Colleague Mark Arsenault's package of stories in today's paperchronicles remarkable progress in the gay quest for acceptance in RhodeIsland. I wish the day of full acceptance would arrive more quickly. Ihave written dozens of columns on this topic. I have met terrific people. Ihave seen the State House on one of its finest days ever - Gov. LincolnAlmond's signing the 1995 law barring discrimination against gays inhousing, employment, accommodations and credit. But I also have seen theState House at its darkest, as the campaign for same-sex marriage stallsyear after year, the victim of legislative power plays, opposition from keyDemocratic leaders, Republican Governor Carcieri and the Catholic Church.
I got my issue of Time magazine today (because I'm gradually becoming myfather) and was curious upon seeing that the issue is dedicated to the"science of romance" whether same-sex relationships would be addressed.
Initially disappointed by the various articles' focus on marriage,childbearing and the like and the rather disturbing exclusion of any mentionof homosexual relationships of any kind, I was pleasantly surprised to finda standalone piece dedicated to gay relationships entitled, "Are GayRelationships Different?"
The article, by gay journalist John Cloud, takes a decidedly more personalapproach to the subject matter than the other pieces in its discussion ofwhether gay relationships are more stable (or more bound for disaster) thanstraight pairings. Amidst the studies quoted and theories raised, Clouddiscusses his own failed 7-year relationship, which ended in 2006. Thearticle itself is rather remarkable, as I can't remember ever seeing such apersonal, well-written and poignant discussion of gay relationships in amainstream magazine. Cloud is no Pollyanna about his own romantic life orthose of gays and lesbians in general, and posits that while recent studiesshow that straight folks have a lot to learn from gay couples, we could alsobenefit from taking notes from our hetero friends.
Governor Chet Culver says now is not the time to over-react to an IowaSupreme Court ruling which said a lesbian had the right to seek custody andvisitation rights for a child she adopted with her partner from whom she hadseparated. Opponents of gay marriage see today's ruling on this custody caseas an indication the Iowa Supreme Court will uphold a lower court's rulingwhich briefly legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa, but Culver suggeststhat's jumping to conclusions. "I think we have to let the judicial branchwork through these cases and as a former government teacher and as governorI have a lot of respect for the judicial process. We shouldn't tamper withit," Culver says. "Let them do their work and then we can respond and reactif we need to." Culver says he supports "traditional marriage" between oneman and one woman, but he is not among those who say it's time to let Iowansvote on an amendment to the state constitution which would ban gay marriage.
"There have been many examples of when the judicial branch has ultimatelymade a decision and the legislature has moved quickly," Culver says. "Werecently did that on flag burning."
White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors, a specialist motorcycle law firm, isannouncing a £30,000 GBP settlement for a bereaved partner of a same sexcouple who would otherwise have been precluded from proper compensationunder fatal accidents legislation. Mr David Burke lost his same sex partnerof 14 years, Mr Athaide, on August 26, 2003, following a road trafficcollision between a milk float and Mr Athaide's motorcycle. The milk floatdriver's actions led to the accident which left Mr Athaide unconscious withsevere injuries including a fractured skull. Although taken to the RoyalLondon Hospital, 37 year old Mr Athaide was pronounced dead on admission.
New Year's Day this year was one of the most joyous I have experienced inmany a year. There were celebrations all over the state never before seen inNew Hampshire. This was the day that so many of us had been waiting for -the day when our lesbian and gay friends could finally have their committedrelationships be legally recognized as civil unions in this state. InConcord, dozens of gay and lesbian couples celebrated in an outdoor ceremonyon the plaza of the New Hampshire Statehouse. In Portsmouth, theUnitarian-Universalist church had a magnificent celebration, Standing on theSide of Love, with a beautiful service, followed by a party with food, musicand dancing. With 40 members of the women's chorus, Voices from the Heart, Isang with tears in my eyes as I looked out on the beaming faces of manysame-sex couples, some with their children, some with friends and family.
Before we sang, members of the church read a bit of the history of thestruggle for gays and lesbians to be recognized and of the part that thischurch had played to bring about this celebration. The lyrics to our songincluded, "How could anyone ever tell you that you're less than whole."
[Arizona State University] President Michael Crow has thrown in his supportfor a proposal that would grant unmarried partners of state employees,including those at ASU, health and tuition benefits.Earlier this month, ASUsubmitted a largely overlooked statement in support of an Arizona StateDepartment of Administration proposal that would give benefits to unmarriedpartners of state employees. The statement, issued Jan. 4, clarifies thatthe University supports the administration's proposal. "We are committed tofairness in all that we do and see this proposed change in the benefitseligibility criteria by the state of Arizona as a meaningful and importantway for all of our employees to receive the same benefits," ASU PresidentMichael Crow said in the statement.
Opponents of same-sex marriage who gathered at the Iowa Statehouse Wednesdaymarched, prayed and handed out stickers saying "Let Us Vote" on aconstitutional amendment that would limit marriage to a man and a woman.
That's a classic exercise of the First Amendment rights of speech andassembly.But they did something else that wasn't so admirable: By marchingto the Judicial Branch Building and packing the House galleries for ChiefJustice Marsha Ternus' State of the Judiciary address, they delivered asubtle but menacing suggestion that judges who stray from popularly acceptedrulings might face consequences.


National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
A New 'Gay Disease'?
The headlines this week about a new "gay" infection were dramatic.
FLESH-EATING BUG SPREADS AMONG GAYS, said one Australian newspaper,referring to a study about an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infectionaffecting homosexual men in San Francisco and other American cities.
EPIDEMIC FEARED--GAYS MAY SPREAD DEADLY STAPH INFECTION TO GENERALPOPULATION, shouted a press release from the Concerned Women for America, aconservative public-policy group.
Transgender Play's Strictly Personal
Performance artist Scott Turner Schofield came out twice, first at 16 as alesbian when he was named Katie.''I thought I was a girl and I liked girls,so I must be a lesbian,'' Schofield recalled.Three years later, Schofieldcame across a man whooping it up in a lesbian bar.



Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
McCain Wins S.C. GOP Primary
(Columbia, South Carolina) John McCain claimed a sweet South Carolinavictory that eluded him in 2000 - and, if history is a guide, may have sethimself on course to become the GOP presidential nominee.
Clinton, Romney Win Nevada Caucuses
(Las Vegas, Nevada) Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Nevada caucusesSaturday, powering past Barack Obama in a hard-fought race marred bylast-minute charges of dirty politics. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romneyeasily won the Republican contest.
Gay Marriage Supporter Kucinich Denied Spot On Texas Ballot
(Washington) The Supreme Court on Friday allowed Texas to print presidentialprimary ballots without Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich's name.
Bloomberg Meets With Ballot Expert
(Austin Texas) New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met Friday with the ballotaccess expert and campaign manager for H. Ross Perot's third-partypresidential bid, a sign of the multibillionaire's seriousness about apossible independent run.
Elderly Gay Man First Miami Murder Of 2008
(Miami, Florida) Miami-Dade police are searching for a 20-year old man inconnection with the murder of an elderly gay man who had taken him into hishome.
Swedish Police Investigate Serial Attacks On Gays
(Stockholm) A Stockholm man is under arrest for the murder of one gay man,the attempted murder of another and could be implicated on other recentattacks on gays.
Domestic Partner Bill Revived In New Mexico
(Santa Fe, New Mexico) A domestic partner bill that died in the New Mexico legislature this spring has been revived at the prodding of Gov. BillRichardson (D).
Illinois County Accused Of Thwarting TS Name Change
(Springfield, Illinois) The Illinois Supreme Court has been asked to compela county court to follow state law and allow a low-income transgender womanwith the means of changing her name.


The Advocate

Dissecting South Carolina Politics

South Carolina will be the first Southern state to weigh in on decision2008. Blogging from Charleston to Myrtle Beach on her way to the Democraticdebate next Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kerry Eleveld willexplore the relationship between the LGBT and African-American communities,the Donnie McClurkin effect, and the momentum of the Democratic campaigns.

By Kerry Eleveld
An exclusive posted January 18, 2008

In order to get our bearings in South Carolina, Dr. Scott Huffmon, aprofessor who specializes in Southern politics at Winthrop University inRock Hill, gives us a quick look at the demographics of South Carolina.

African-Americans make up about 30% of the entire population of SouthCarolina, but, as has been widely reported, they will account for about 50%of the Democratic primary voters. Huffmon sees these numbers alone as reasonenough to keep the Palmetto State at the front of the pack in termsprimaries.

"One of the reasons why South Carolina is important for Democrats as anearly primary state is, it's the first real test of a sizableAfrican-American population," he notes. "And we're important for theRepublicans because it's the first real test of traditional conservativeRepublicans and Christian evangelicals."

Perhaps more interesting in terms of demographics, black women reign supremehere. Huffmon says they make up anywhere from 30% to 33% of voters in theDemocratic primary, whereas black men account for between 17% and 20%.

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The Current Issue of HotSpots! Magazine is online at


Washington Post

Most Diversity Training Ineffective, Study Finds

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 20, 2008; A03

Most diversity training efforts at American companies are ineffective andeven counterproductive in increasing the number of women and minorities inmanagerial positions, according to an analysis that turns decades ofconventional wisdom, government policy and court rulings on their head.

A comprehensive review of 31 years of data from 830 mid-size to large U.S.workplaces found that the kind of diversity training exercises offered atmost firms were followed by a 7.5 percent drop in the number of women inmanagement. The number of black, female managers fell by 10 percent, and thenumber of black men in top positions fell by 12 percent. Similar effectswere seen for Latinos and Asians.

The analysis did not find that all diversity training is useless. Rather, itshowed that mandatory programs -- often undertaken mainly with an eye toavoiding liability in discrimination lawsuits -- were the problem. Whendiversity training is voluntary and undertaken to advance a company'sbusiness goals, it was associated with increased diversity in management.

The origins of diversity training trace back to the civil rights movementand the belief that education, sensitivity and awareness are key to reducingdiscrimination. While many companies have embraced such training as a way tomake workplaces more inclusive and to cater to an increasingly diversecustomer base, trainers and researchers note that other companies use"sensitivity training" superficially -- as a cosmetic response to complaintsfrom internal and external critics.

Today, U.S. businesses spend from $200 million to $300 million a year ondiversity training, but the new study is one of the first attempts tosystematically analyze its impact. What it found is that programs work bestwhen they are voluntary and focus on specific organizational skills, such asestablishing mentoring relationships and giving women and minorities achance to prove their worth in high-profile roles.

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