Wednesday, January 23, 2008

GLBT DIGEST January 23, 2008

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GLAAD's "The Best and Worst of National News"

January 2008


1) The New York Times Highlights Gay Teenagers Finding Acceptance andCommunity

Journalists often report on the lives of gay teenagers by talking witheducation experts. In a refreshing change of pace, New York Times parentingcolumnist Michael Winerip let gay teenagers and their supportive parentsspeak for themselves in his Dec. 16 article "For Gay Teenagers, Hope inNumbers." Winerip's column sensitively shared the stories of severalteenagers and parents who found overwhelming support and community at thePrideWorks Conference--a convention of gay-straight alliance clubs fromschools in the Hudson Valley area outside of New York City. "When I firstwalked in, I felt like crying," said openly gay 14-year-old Brian Lindley.
"So many people were meeting so many people for the first time." Winerip'smoving article not only spotlighted the importance of gay-straight allianceclubs in public schools but also educated readers about the increasingavailability of vital support groups for gay teenagers and their allies.
GLAAD encourages you to contact Michael Winerip and The New York Times tothank them for highlighting the stories of gay teenagers and their parents.

2) The New York Times Shares Powerful Stories of Gay Muslim Immigrants inBerlin

In 2007, several leading newspapers provided a great service by educatingreaders about the oft-overlooked struggles of gay Muslims to live theirlives openly and proudly. The New York Times continued this important trendwith an excellent story by Nicholas Kulish about the creation of anaccepting community for LGBT Muslim immigrants in Berlin. In the Jan. 1article "Gay Muslims Pack a Dance Floor of Their Own," Kulish reported aboutGayhane, a monthly club night that provides LGBT Muslims living in Germanywith the opportunity to embrace not only their LGBT identities but alsotheir immigrant cultures. Kulish's article provided compelling portraits ofseveral attendees of Gayhane--which means "home" in Turkish--and revealedthe sad reality that the monthly event allows many LGBT Muslims the onlychance to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity withoutfearing discrimination or violence from their families and neighbors.
GLAAD encourages you to contact Nicholas Kulish and The New York Times tocommend them for highlighting the lives of gay Muslim immigrants in Berlin.

3) The Denver Post Draws Attention to Immigration Inequalities for Gay andLesbian Families

Last month, GLAAD commended reporter Lisa Kennedy for richly covering thelives of LGBT elders for The Denver Post's excellent “Gay in America”series. On Dec. 31, The Denver Post's series yet again featured anexceptionally instructive and remarkably reported article by Kennedy. In"Immigration law divides gay couples," Kennedy explored how immigration lawthreatens gay and lesbian families by denying gay Americans the opportunityto sponsor their foreign-born partners for permanent residence. Whileproviding a thorough background on immigration law, Kennedy also shared thestories of gay and lesbian partners forced by this legal discrimination tomake the grueling choice between living far apart from the person they loveor uprooting their lives and moving to a country with inclusive immigrationlaws. Reporting from Mexico, Scotland, and England, Kennedy profiled threecouples who have faced this choice. Additionally, Kennedy discussed thepossibility of legislation that would provide gay and lesbian couples anequal chance at keeping their families together in the United States. "As anAmerican who has been concerned about equality and justice, I'd like theright to live there," said Gordon Stewart, who moved to London from New Yorkto be united with his partner.
GLAAD encourages you to contact Lisa Kennedy and The Denver Post to thankthem for again providing an exceptionally rich article about the lives ofgay Americans.

4) Newsweek Spotlights the Struggle for Hospital Visitation Rights for Gay
and Lesbian Partners

Along with The Denver Post, Newsweek powerfully explored the devastatingways that inequalities in the law impact the lives of LGBT reporter J. Michael Kennedy focused the Dec. 21 article"Altered Lives" on the work of Seattle resident Charlene Strong to ensurethat LGBT people will not face the tragic inequality that she experienced.Kennedy's piece recounted how Strong was prevented by Washington state lawin Dec. 2006 from being in the emergency room with her dying partner, KateFleming, without the consent of Fleming's family. After Fleming passed away,Strong shared her wrenching story with state lawmakers, playing a crucialrole in the passage of a landmark domestic partnership bill. That bill, nowsigned into law, in part provides equal hospital visitation rights forWashington State’s gay and lesbian families. By spotlighting Strong'sunforgettable story and chronicling her continuing mission for equality,Kennedy provided Newsweek's readers with a valuable education about therights still denied to thousands of gay and lesbian families in emergencymedical situations due to the unequal laws of many states.
GLAAD encourages you to contact J. Michael Kennedy and Newsweek to thankthem for spotlighting Charlene Strong's work to achieve equal hospitalvisitation rights for LGBT Americans.


1) The Wall Street Journal Offers Poorly Reported Opinion Piece onTransgender Equality
On Dec. 28, The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal featured a piecetitled "Crossing Over" that questioned the strides transgender people have
made against discrimination. Since author Naomi Schaeffer Riley enjoys aninfluential media platform to express her opinions, she should have takenthe time to actually speak with transgender Americans and find out howanti-discrimination laws affect their ability to live with dignity andfreedom. Instead, Riley challenged the transgender equality movement whilecompletely overlooking the actual perspectives and experiences oftransgender people. Riley simply pulled material--including the offensivequote "What will prevent the 250-pound linebacker from deciding he wants toshare the locker room with the cheerleaders?"-- from previous news stories,failing to conduct any original interviews or in-depth research. As aresult, her piece contained unacceptable factual errors, such as herincorrect identification of transgender activist Pauline Park as male. It isirresponsible that Riley did not make any effort to accurately report on andunderstand the lives of transgender people before penning an opinioncriticizing their struggle for equal rights.

GLAAD encourages you to contact Naomi Schaefer Riley and The Wall StreetJournal and ask them to reach out to the transgender community beforepublishing articles judging their strides against discrimination.


From Gays Without Borders

Turkey: transsexuals take to the stage to defend their rights

Jan 20, 2008

ANKARA (AFP) - A unique play in an Ankara theatre ended with a standingovation this week as the little-known actors -- transsexuals and gaysraising their voice against discrimination -- fought back their tears onstage.

Their play, "Pink And Grey," put the spotlight on the plight of transsexuals in mainly Muslim Turkey, in the latest initiative of a fledgling butincreasingly vocal movement for rights by a community long ostracized andoften harassed.

Beaming with pride and excitement, the amateur stars, male-to-femaletranssexuals Derya Tunc and Sera Can, received congratulations in theboisterous backstage, taking a welcome respite from their actual jobs assex workers.

"Despite all the discrimination we face, I have no regrets for what I am,"Can cheerfully told AFP. "My only regret is having ended up in theprostitution sector."

Almost all transsexuals and transvestites in Turkey make their living asprostitutes. They say they have no other option in a society wherehomophobia is strong and often accompanied by violence.

Three quarters of Turks say they are "disturbed" by homosexuals, a recentopinion survey showed, although many gays today are recognized as beingamong the country's most prominent singers and fashion designers.



From Gays Without Borders

I am pleased to announce the call for nominations for the biennial RedRibbon Award: Celebrating Community Leadership and Action on AIDS, apartnership initiative between the UNAIDS family and the Leadership andCommunity Programme Committees of the XVII International AIDS Conference.This international award will honour exceptional grassroots leadership inresponding to the AIDS epidemic and will be presented at the XVIIInternational AIDS Conference (AIDS 2008), to be held in Mexico City, from3-8 August 2008 .

The Red Ribbon Award differs from other efforts in that it honors notindividuals, but community organizations whose actions have made anexceptional contribution in addressing HIV and AIDS. "Communities are at theforefront of addressing the core challenges of HIV," declared Dr Peter Piot,Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS(UNAIDS) at a launch press conference in Mexico City on World AIDS Day."Honouring their work and encouraging the replication of communityinitiatives is essential for a successful global response."

UNDP's Administrator, Kemal Dervis, recognized the pivotal role of communityorganisations in the response to the AIDS epidemic and said: "For over 20years, communities have been the hardest hit by AIDS, yet they have shownextraordinary courage and resilience, and their leadership has been centralto addressing the challenges posed by the epidemic."

Nominations for outstanding leadership will be accepted in the fivefollowing areas:

Ø Providing access to care, treatment and support for people livingwith HIV

Ø Promoting human rights and addressing social injustices such ashomophobia, sexism and any other form of stigma and discrimination

Ø Empowering women and girls and addressing gender inequalities thatfuel the spread of HIV

Ø Providing support to children orphaned by AIDS and other vulnerablechildren

Ø Promoting HIV prevention programs and services

Nomination information and criteria can be found at .We encourage you to participate in the nomination process by nominatingdeserving groups or encouraging them to apply. In some cases, you may offerassistance in navigating the process for those organizations who might notapply otherwise Twenty-five community organizations will receive US$ 5,000each while five will receive special recognition and an additional US$15,000. All twenty-five winners will have the opportunity to showcase theirwork at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.

Thank you for finding the best community organizations and helping ussupport their invaluable work around the world!

Best Regards,

Revati Chawla


From EuroQueer

Deputy Speaker of the Polish Parliament negates the decision of theEuropean Court

23 Jan 2008

Politicians from the ruling Citizen’s Platform (PO) have commented onthe issue. “If a similar judgment dealt with Poland we would still notagree to adoption by homosexuals”, said deputy speaker of the PolishParliament, Stefan Niesiolowski.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that France discriminated alesbian by refusing to allow her to adopt a child.

The applicant was a 46-yr old preschool teacher from eastern France whohad been living with another woman, a psychologist, since 1990. TheLower Court first rejected her application to adopt in 1998. Her laterappeals were dismissed.

Niesiolowski was backed by some constitutional law professors like MarekChmaj. He stated that the Court in Strasbourg does not have the power tochange the decisions of national courts but can only give their opinionin regards to whether the application of the law was just. “This rulingwill have no effect on the legal situation of homosexuals to adopt inPoland as the European Convention of Human Rights does not refer to thisissue”, said Prof. Chmaj.

“The Court can go on and make a ruling, it still won’t be enforced inPoland. We will defend ourselves because it’s unthinkable thathomosexuals would adopt children”, the deputy speaker of the Parliament,Stefan Niesiolowski added.

“It’s a milestone. This decision prevents administrators of variouscountries from denying LGB people adoption which has happened in manyplaces”, said a Robert Biedron, president of the Campaign AgainstHomophobia. “I am shocked of the statements of some politicians who aretrying to deny power of the European Court” – Biedron added.

Polls show that around 93% of Poles are against adoption by homosexuals.


From Gays Without Borders

The following article comes from the Jan. 18 Frankfurter Rundschau via theexcellent German webzine in English, Sign and Sight, which daily featuresEnglish translations of articles from the quality German press. -- D.I.


Waking a Polish demon

Jan Tomasz Gross has taken on the difficult task of removing blind spots inPolish history. His new book "Fear" has sparked an emotional debate in thecountry of his birth, where anti-Semitism is not a popular subject.

In recent days a new chapter in the emotional debate over Polishanti-Semitism has opened in Poland. The occasion is the Polish edition of anew book by the Princeton historian of Polish origin Jan Tomasz Gross. Thebook with the punchy title "Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz"(New York 2006) revolves around a central question: "How was Polishanti-Semitism possible after Auschwitz?" According to the reports byHolocaust survivors cited by the author, rather than being welcomed withopen arms, Polish Holocaust survivors were met in their hometowns by thecynical question "Are you still alive?!"

The Holocaust victims were confronted with more or less open hostility onthe part of the Polish population, which ultimately ended in pogroms. Gross'book examines three of these in detail, in Rzeszow (1945), Krakow (1945) andthe most notorious pogrom in Kielce (1946) in which 37 Jews were murdered.

For Gross, neither the allegedly widespread participation of Polish Jews inthe slowly consolidating Communist regime nor the horror stories circulatingabout the ritual murder of Christian children were the real reasons forthese occurrences.



From Gay Asylum;_ylc=X3oDMTJnMmxmMjdyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIxNTEwODQ4BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTY2NzAwMARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDYXRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjAxMDg4NTEw?xm=1&m=p&tidx=1

Swedes supportive of gay marriage

Posted by: "omar kuddus" gayasylum
Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:06 am (PST)

Gay and lesbian couple can register their partnership through a civilceremony, a process introduced in 1995 which gives same-sex couples the samerights as married couples.

A poll for the Sifo Institute published in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaperyesterday found that 71% of Swedes think gay people should be allowed tomarry.

Six of the seven parties represented in Sweden’s parliament are in supportof gay marriage with only the Christian Democrats, a junior member of thefour-party coalition, opposing it.

The opposition Social Democrats, Greens and Left party claim the governmenthas had ample time to bring forward legislation.

However the coalition says it is committed to negotiating a common position.

The Christian Democrats condemned any attempt by the opposition to"steamroller" the government.

In January 2007 the Church of Sweden, which was disestablished in 2000,began offering religious blessings to gay unions and actively welcomed LGBTclergy.

While the Church's initial reaction to be bill was to declare it wouldprefer "marriage" to be a term reserved from heterosexual union, last monthit approved the "gender neutral" proposal.

"The Church of Sweden's central board says yes to the proposal to join thelegislation for marriages and partnerships into a single law," the Churchsaid in December.

Some priests may opt out of performing same-sex ceremonies.

They can currently decline to marry divorced people as long as anotherpriest agress to perform the ceremony.

Approximately 75% of the population are members of the Church of Sweden, aLutheran denomination. However, only 2% regularly attend services.


From Gay Asylum;_ylc=X3oDMTJnMmxmMjdyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIxNTEwODQ4BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTY2NzAwMARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDYXRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjAxMDg4NTEw?xm=1&m=p&tidx=1

Euro Court rules gay couples eligible to adopt

Posted by: "omar kuddus" gayasylum
Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:17 am (PST)

Gemma Pritchard

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled refusing gay couples the rightto adopt a child because of their sexual orientation is discriminatory andin breach of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Today the Grand Chamber delivered its judgement on gay adoption in the caseof E.B. v France.

The Court held by ten votes to seven that there had been a violation ofArticle 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8(right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention onHuman Rights.

Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court by elevenvotes to six awarded the applicant 10,000 euros (£7,450) in respect ofnon-pecuniary damage and 14,528 euros for costs and expenses.

Ms. E.B. is a lesbian nursery school teacher who has been living withanother woman since 1990. She applied for approval as a possible adoptiveparent in February 1998, but her application was rejected. In June 2002, thehighest administrative court in France upheld the rejection of herapplication.

ILGA-Europe (the European Region of the International Lesbian and GayAssociation), FIDH (Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits del'Homme), APGL (Association des Parents et futurs Parents Gays et Lesbiens)and the BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) were grantedpermission to take part in the proceedings as third parties.

In 2002 in the very similar case of Fretté v France, the European Court ofHuman Rights ruled by 4 votes to 3 that the exclusion of a gay man from theapplication process for adoption of children, because of his sexualorientation, did not violate Convention (but only 1 judge in the majorityconsidered the exclusion justifiable; the other 3 rejected the case ontechnical grounds).



From Gay Asylum;_ylc=X3oDMTJnMmxmMjdyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE1BGdycElkAzIxNTEwODQ4BGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTY2NzAwMARzZWMDZG1zZwRzbGsDYXRwYwRzdGltZQMxMjAxMDg4NTEw?xm=1&m=p&tidx=1

Lesbian and gay parental rights approved by Lords

Posted by: "omar kuddus" gayasylum
Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:00 pm (PST)

Legislation that will grant new rights to gay and lesbian parents has beenapproved by the House of Lords.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill proposes new recognition ofsame-sex couples as legal parents of children conceived through the use ofdonated sperm, eggs or embryos.

A woman who gives birth and her civil partner will both be recognised as theparents of a child conceived through assisted reproduction.

Two men will be able to apply for a parental order to become parents of achild conceived through a surrogacy arrangement.




MPs examine Gibraltar abuses

Submission to Foreign Affairs Committee

London – 23 January 2008

MPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee are examining a report on humanrights violations in Gibraltar submitted by human rights campaignerPeter Tatchell.

His wide-ranging report, which covers issues of discrimination againstimmigrant, disabled and gay Gibraltarians, is based on an eight-dayfact-finding visit he made to the territory last year.

The Foreign Affairs Committee is currently conducting an inquiry intoBritish Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar, and is expected tomake recommendations to the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband.

The full text of Mr Tatchell's submission follows below.

"I hope the Foreign Affairs Committee will press the Chief Minister ofGibraltar to remedy the human rights abuses I have identified. Theyare incompatible with UK and European Union law. The people ofGibraltar are open to reform. It is their right-wing government thatis blocking change," said Mr Tatchell.



From EuroQueer


Call for Contributions: Activists’ Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles

Are you a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex activist ororganization with a story to tell about your campaigns? Have you usedhuman rights principles to help an individual, support a community, change apolicy or law, combat discrimination or promote equality and justice?

Or… are you a sexual rights, women’s/feminist, human rights, HIV/AIDS, orsex workers’ rights activist or group with a similar story?

Or … have you used or are you currently using the Yogyakarta Principles tosupport your advocacy efforts? How?

If so, we want to hear about you!

Your story might be one of the best practices that will be portrayed in theActivists’ Guide to the Yogyakarta Principles for others to learn from andbuild on your experiences. (More detailed information on the YogyakartaPrinciples and the Guide can be found below).

Please send us an email to.... and we will get in touch with you.

Note: Feel free to write to us in English, Spanish, or Portuguese—or also,if you don’t speak those languages, French, Arabic, or Chinese ….

The Yogyakarta Principles and the Guide

In November 2006, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a distinguished group of humanrights experts, from diverse regions and backgrounds, including judges,academics, UN experts, members of treaty bodies, and NGO representatives metto adopt a set of principles on how international human rights law appliesto issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

TransSomatechnics Conference Registration is Now Open!

TransSomatechnics, an international conference on ³theories and practices oftransgender embodiment,² will take place 1-3 May 2008 at Simon FraserUniversity¹s Harbour Centre Campus in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada.

To register for the conference, book accommodations, or refer to the CFP,please follow this link:

We have accepted more than 120 abstracts from around the world, but haveroom for a few additional sessions, so please spread the word to friends andcolleagues who might like to attend commentators.

Conference schedule will be posted by March.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:
Afsaneh Najmabadi, Harvard University, USA Nikki Sullivan, MacquarieUniversity, Australia Mauro Cabral, Human Rights Activist, Argentina BobbyNoble, York University, Canada Viviane Namaste, Concordia University, Canada



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Supreme Court Ruling in Gay Adoption Case Has Culver Urging Calm

Gov. Chet Culver is urging Iowans to take a deep, slow breath in response toan opinion filed by the Iowa Supreme Court Friday, which said a lesbian hadthe right to seek custody and visitation of adoptive children. The woman andher partner, the children's biological mother, had separated.

Although opponents of same-sex marriage could view the opinion as anindication of how the state's highest court will rule on a lower court'sdecision to briefly legalize such marriages, Culver told Radio Iowa that would be an over-reaction.

"I think we have to let the judicial branch work through these cases and asa former government teacher and as governor I have a lot of respect for thejudicial process. We shouldn't tamper with it," Culver says. "Let them dotheir work and then we can respond and react if we need to."

In the opinion released Friday, authored by Justice Michael J. Streit, thecourt outlined how Jamie and Heather Schott were in a committed relationshipfor several years and jointly parented Jamie's two biological children.Heather had adopted the two children and, following the separation,petitioned Polk County District Court in January 2007 for a ruling on "childcustody, physical care and support."

Instead of ruling on the petition, however, the court questioned whether ithad jurisdiction, given that the adoptions of the children were contrary toIowa's adoption statute. The district court refused to rule, citing subjectmatter jurisdiction. In essence, the district court declared the adoptionsinvalid, prompting the appeal.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

ATLANTA, GA.—It’s a cold day this Sunday in Atlanta, so frigid (not byChicago standards) that many churches have closed. Here at the famedEbenezer Baptist Church, the home pulpit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, theplace is packed. That’s because speaking today is White House hopeful Sen.Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

“Atlanta, the city that shuts down when it is ice and snow, I’ve got toinvite Barack Obama. I want to thank you brother,’ said the Rev. Raphael G.Warnock.

Obama sways gently as the choir behind him sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

After a hardball, bitter campaign in Nevada, that cracked open racial rifts,Obama called for unity in his speech; unity was a theme throughout, as Obamaand Clinton open up aggresive new fronts in their campaigns as they bothhunt for African-American votes. Their challenge is not to divide theDemocratic base in their primary fight and make it impossible for a Democratto win in November.

“Unity, Obama said, is the great need of the hour” Unity is the great needof the hour.. Unity is how we shall overcome. What Dr. King understood isthat if just one person chose to walk instead of ride the bus, those wallsof oppression would not be moved. But maybe if a few more decided to walkthe foundation might start to shake."

He also told the mainly African-American audience, "And yet, if we arehonest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirelyclean. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll acknowledge that our owncommunity has not always been true to King’s vision of a beloved community.

"If we are honest with ourselves, We have scorned our gay brothers andsisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, attimes, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seenimmigrants only as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fightfor opportunity."



Log Cabin Member Appointed to Student AidCommission

It would be great if he can advocate for passage ofthe FAFSA Fix for Homeless Kids Act from thisposition.

Many of us are well aware that a greatlydisproportionate number of unaccompanied homelessyouth are glbtiq. Many of these young people haveeither left home due to abuse related to their sexualorientation or gender identity or were forced to leavehome by their parents when they came out or when theirparents discovered their child's sexual orientation orgender identity.

In some major cities the figure is as high as 40% ofall homeless youth.

The FAFSA Fix for Homeless Kids Act, introduced incongress by Republican Congresswoman, Rep. JudyBiggert of Illinois now has 53 cosponsors but needssignificantly more to move forward this congressionalsession.

I worked for some time with sexual minority and youthand one of the saddest things was seeing some of thebrightest kids with seemingly acceptingparents(parents had gay friends and relatives andspoke of support for gay rights) kick their kids outof the house and change their phone number as soon astheir child came out to them or when they discoveredtheir child's sexual orientation or gender identity byother means.

It is a huge loss to the glbtiq community and societyas a whole that often kids with strong academic andcultured backgrounds who have near perfect scores ontheir ACT and SAT are unable to go to college becauseof discrimination from their family of origin as theirparents have kicked them out or "thrown them away".

David Strand


New York Times

Heath Ledger, Actor, Is Found Dead at 28

January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger, the Australian-born actor whose breakthrough role as a gaycowboy in the 2005 movie “Brokeback Mountain” earned him a nomination for anAcademy Award and comparisons to the likes of Marlon Brando, was found deadTuesday in an apartment in Manhattan with sleeping pills near his body, thepolice said.

The police said Mr. Ledger, 28, was found naked on the floor near the bed inan apartment in SoHo that he had been renting. The chief police spokesman,Paul J. Browne, said the police did not suspect foul play.

“There was no indication of a disturbance,” he said, adding that there wereno signs that Mr. Ledger had been drinking. Nor were any illegal drugs foundin the loft, which takes up the entire fourth floor. Neighbors said Mr.Ledger had occupied it for several months.

Police officials said that a bottle of prescription sleeping pills was foundon a nearby night table, but that they did not know whether the pills hadanything to do with Mr. Ledger’s death. Officers who checked the apartmentfound other prescription medications in the bathroom. A spokeswoman for themedical examiner’s office said an autopsy would be conducted on Wednesday.

Mr. Browne said no obvious indication of suicide, like a note, was found inthe bedroom.

more . . . . .


Gay & Lesbian Leadership

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Researchers: Staph study not meant to become political football
Researchers behind a study linking the spread of a drug-resistant staphinfection to gay men on Friday apologized for the manner in which the datawere released, after complaints by gay activists over the use of theinformation by conservative groups to vilify gay people. "I think we werelooking at this from a scientific point of view and not projecting anypolitical impact," said Dr. Henry Chambers, one of the report's authors anda professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.International Herald Tribune (1/20)
Bill would give Washington couples marriage-like rights
Same-sex domestic partners in Washington state would gain 170 additionalproperty and guardianship rights and responsibilities now accorded tomarried couples, under a revision to its new DP law that was scheduled to beintroduced today at a news conference. The bill is being sponsored by outSen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and out Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle. SeattlePost-Intelligencer/Associated Press (1/21)
Court: Custody is the issue, not second-parent adoption
The Iowa high court has sent a custody dispute between two former femalepartners over their two children back to a district court, rejecting thelower court's stance that the nonbiological mother's second-parent adoptionwas invalid and it had no jurisdiction over the matter. "We find it wasinappropriate for the district court to collaterally attack the adoptions,"the high court wrote in its decision. The Des Moines Register(Iowa)/Associated Press (1/18)
Should poor trans woman have to pay fee for name change?
The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments last week on whether DaunnTurner, a transgender woman with a low income, should have to pay a $450 feeto change her name. Turner allegedly was told by a lower-court judge that hewould not agree to "spending the county's money on something like this."
Will County Chief Judge Stephen White said he did not remember theconversation. Chicago Tribune (free registration) (1/18)Idaho considering bill to prohibit bias in housing
A measure to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing inIdaho has been voted out of a Senate committee for consideration by the fullSenate. "There are people discriminated (against) all across this statequietly and treated unfairly," said state Rep. Nicole Lefavour, D-Boise, thelegislature's only out member. "This is pretty huge for Idaho." TheTimes-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) (1/22)
Learn to run a winning campaign!
The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is bringing its renowned Candidate &Campaign Training to Charlotte, NC. Join us Feb. 21 to 24 to learn how tobuild a winning campaign. Whether you're running as openly LGBT or workingon a campaign, our training will provide you with the tools you need forsuccess. Click here to learn more and apply by Jan. 28.
Would gay couples benefit if breaking up were harder to do?
Writer John Cloud looks at how the differences between straight and gayrelationships factored into his own breakup and that of same-sex couples ingeneral. Although studies point to better communications and other dynamicsbetween gay partners, vs. straight couples, researchers also have found ahigher breakup rate; in one report, 21% of same-sex couples ended theirrelationship, vs. 14% of married straight couples. "Legalizing same-sexmarriage would probably help prolong gay relationships, if only because ofthe financial and legal benefits married couples enjoy," he writes. TIME(1/17)
Spaulding: Rights bill could give trans identity new legal statusA proposal to bar discrimination against state workers due to their sexualorientation takes a novel approach by including gender identity orexpression as part of those areas protected because of orientation,according to blogger Pam Spaulding. "It caught me by surprise, as I'd neverseen the legal definition of 'sexual orientation' used this way before. Anew twist in transgender rights strategy?" Spaulding writes. Read more atPam's House Blend.


Washington Post

Washington D.C.

John H. Mack; D.C. Pastor Preached Inclusiveness

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2008; Page B07

The Rev. John H. Mack, 65, who extended the multicultural tradition ofopenness at First Congregational United Church of Christ and who made hischurch a leader in providing opportunities for the poor and excluded ofWashington, died Jan. 15 of pulmonary failure at his home in the District.He was stricken with high-altitude pulmonary edema and pneumonia whiletrekking in the Himalayas in November.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Democrats Savor New Majority Status
Va. Senate Leaders Seek Centrist Route

By Tim Craig and Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 23, 2008; B01

RICHMOND -- Midway through their second full week on the job, Democrats arerediscovering what it's like to hold the power in the Virginia Senate.

Lobbyists swarm outside the Democratic senators' offices, waiting to beheard. Campaign contributions pour in. And the Democrats are finding thatthey can muscle some of their priorities through committees, including avote last week to repeal the abusive-driving fees.

"We are still trying to enjoy this," said Sen. R. Edward Houck(Spotsylvania), referring to the Democrats' success in regaining control ofthe Senate after more than a decade of GOP rule. Republicans control theHouse.

But as the hard work of the General Assembly begins, Senate Democrats willprobably discover that it's not easy being in charge. Because they hold anarrow majority, 21 to 19, the slightest dissension within their ranks couldstall their agenda, embolden the Republican opposition and expose sharpideological differences between wings of the party.

The divisions showed last month, when a flurry of backroom deals helpedquell tensions between senators over who should sit on which committees.Since then, Democratic senators have gone out of their way to present aunified front.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Same-Sex Couples Just as Committed as Heterosexual Counterparts

Tuesday, January 22, 2008; 12:00 AM

TUESDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Same-sex couples are as committed andhappy in their romantic relationships as heterosexual couples, find twostudies in the January issue of the journalDevelopmental Psychology.

The authors of the studies say their findings challenge the stereotype thatsame-sex relationships aren't as healthy or secure as heterosexual pairings.

In the first study, researchers at the University of Urbana-Champaigncompared 30 committed gay male and 30 committed lesbian couples to 50engaged and 40 older married heterosexual couples, as well as datingheterosexual couples.

The researchers found that all the couples had positive views of theirrelationships, but the more committed couples (gay or straight) resolvedconflict better than the heterosexual dating couples.

The belief that committed same-sex relationships are "atypical,psychologically immature, or malevolent contexts of development was notsupported by our findings," noted lead author Glenn I. Roisman. "Comparedwith married individuals, committed gay males and lesbians were not lesssatisfied with their relationships."

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Washington Post

ABC Leads Nominees for GLAAD Awards

The Associated Press
Tuesday, January 22, 2008; 8:16 AM

PARK CITY, Utah -- For the second straight year, ABC led nominees for awardsfrom an organization that monitors depictions of gays and lesbians in themedia.

The network landed nine nominations from the Gay and Lesbian AllianceAgainst Defamation, while CBS garnered three nods, NBC two and Fox two.

ABC's nominated shows include "Brothers & Sisters," "Ugly Betty" and"Desperate Housewives." Among cable networks, Logo received fivenominations, CNN four, Bravo three and ABC Family two.

Nominees for feature film in wide release include Julie Taymor's Beatlesmusical "Across the Universe," the fantasy "Stardust" and "The Jane AustenBook Club."

Special prizes will go to singers Rufus Wainwright and Janet Jackson, MTVNetworks president of entertainment Brian Graden, "My So-Called Life" actorWilson Cruz, activist David Mixner and "The L Word" creator Ilene Chaiken.

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Express Gay News

Founder of GLSEN announces resignation
Jennings unsure of next venture after 13 years with gay youth group

by KATHERINE VOLIN | Jan 22, 4:49 PM

The founder of a gay youth organization announced last week that he willresign as president of the organization.

Kevin Jennings, founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network(GLSEN), announced that he will step down on Aug. 1 as executive director ofthe organization, which he has led for all of its 13 years as a nationalorganization that promotes safe schools for gay students.

In 1990, the organization was an all-volunteer group of Massachusettsteachers. At the time, Jennings was teaching in the state at ConcordAcademy, where he had come out and founded the nation's first Gay-StraightAlliance in 1988 at a time when it was risky, if not career-ending, for ateacher to be openly gay. Although Jennings didn't lose his job, he didunintentionally start a different career path.

"We had no idea what we were starting in the fall of '88. We had no idea itwould turn into this national movement and it's so exciting to look backover 20 years and see how incredible the difference is," Jennings said in atelephone interview from South Carolina, where he’s working on presidentialcandidate John Edwards' campaign.

"It's been a really fascinating experience," Jennings says about hisvolunteer work on the campaign, which he's been doing for about a monthwhile on sabbatical from GLSEN. He will return to the organization on Feb. 1to give GLSEN six months to work on its national search for a new leader.

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Express Gay News

'Freeheld' nominated for Oscar
Documentary puts spotlight on domestic partner benefits

LOS ANGELES | Jan 22, 12:30 PM

"Freeheld," a documentary directed by Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth, hasbeen nominated for an Oscar in th Documentary Short category.

The film focuses on Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester of the New JerseyPolice Department, who is facing death from cancer. The last year ofHester's life is spent fighting a policy that will not allow her to transferher pension to her partner, Stacie Andree.

This is the first Oscar nomination for both directors.


Express Gay News

Same sex couples seek divorce, other rights associated with marriage

OLYMPIA – Less than a year after winning the right to establish legaldomestic partnerships contracts through the state, the gay and lesbiancommunity is seeking the rights that go with divorce.

"We are not only asking for the benefits, we are also asking for gaydivorce," said Sen. Ed Murray, D- Seattle and sponsor of new gay rightsbill.

Supporters of the legislation say it seeks to provide financial security forsame-sex couples by establishing community property rights, probateprotections and joint responsibility for debts.

Murray, who is one of a handful of openly gay lawmakers in Olympia, said thegay and lesbian communty seeks not only the protections "but we are alsoasking for the responsibilities that go to marriage."

Senate Bill 6716 and House Bill 3104 would also provide domestic partnersend-of-life rights, nursing home visitation, veterans' benefits and spousaltestimonial privileges that married couples enjoy.

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Gay athletes are making their mark

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
By LZ Granderson
Page 2

ASPEN, Colo. -- Last weekend, I sat on a panel to discuss one of the sportsworld's favorite questions: When will a big-name athlete come out?

To be honest with you, sometimes I get a little tired of talking abouthomophobia in sports -- especially that question in particular. But Icontinue to do so because I understand the importance of having such adialogue, particularly as we near the one-year anniversary of Tim Hardaway's"I hate gay people" statements. And besides, afterward I'm always glad I didif for no other reason than to hear the audience's thoughts.

Last weekend was no different.

Actually, that's not true. Last weekend was very different.

During the question and answer period, I was asked when we all look back onthis subject 30 years from now, what will be the one thing we regret themost. It was a fantastic question and one I'd never been asked before, so Iwas a little stumped. As I was collecting my thoughts, I glanced out intothe audience and found my answer staring back at me.

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Express Gay News

Remembering Heath

I didn’t know Heath Ledger and I’ve only seen a couple of his movies. Still,I’m saddened by the news today of his untimely death.

As I imagine is the case for most gay men, Ledger made the biggestimpression on me in Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” (2005). I can glance justa few inches from where I sit at my desk in the Blade newsroom and see my2008 “Brokeback” calendar with a photo of Heath and co-star Jake Gyllenhaalwho starred as unlikely lovers.

I’d heard enough about “Brokeback” before its release to know it was goingto be an unusual movie-going experience. I lived in Pittsburgh at the timeand went to see it without Maureen, my usual movie-going pal at the time,because some hunch told me I’d prefer to be alone.

This was unchartererd cinematic territory — I had no idea what my reactionmight be and I didn’t want to be a pile of tears if it came to that.

I was moved by the film, but in a strangely pragmatic way. I found it easyto become absorbed in its extremely leisurely pace (some even said it was soslow and densely plotted it was boring) and, like many, found thecinematography breathtaking.

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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:
Same-sex couples are raising nearly 12,000 children across Ohio and morethan 2 percent of the states adopted children, researchers at the UCLA lawschool reported Tuesday. And the number of same-sex couples in the state isgrowing, the study found, jumping from just under 19,000 in 2000 to nearly30,700 by 2005. The Census Snapshot of Ohio compiled by the WilliamsInstitute at the University of California, Los Angeles adds limitedcommentary to data distilled from the 2000 Census and more recent censusupdates. Researcher Adam Romero said he hopes the data will better informdebate about related legislation in Ohio. But Romero and the report stress aregular message of the gay community that same-sex couples are mostlysimilar to married ones, aside from their sexual orientation. Romero saidthe main difference highlighted in the report of same-sex parents havingless income than married ones shows the need for same-sex couples to beallowed to marry so they can share and transfer benefits to their children.
Freeheld, The Legacy of Laurel Hester, which I saw at its East Coastpremiere during the 2007 the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, has beennominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.
If there was ever a teachable moment in recent LGBT history, a time whenaverage people and events affecting their lives put them in a position tospeak for all of us and make a difference in our struggle for equality -- itwas the story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree. Detective LieutenantLaurel Hester spent 25 years putting her life on the line for the residentsof Ocean County, New Jersey. Little did she know that, when she developedterminal lung cancer, that she would have to battle her county governmentfor the right to transfer her earned pension to her woman she loved dearly.
An Anglican diocese in Newfoundland took the rare step Monday of requiringall of its clergy to declare their allegiances to the Church, or ``do thehonorable thing and resign'' if they support a breakaway movement thatopposes same-sex unions. In a letter written to clergy last month, thebishop of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador asks them toattend a mandatory meeting in St. John's to renew their licenses, a move thediocese has not taken in at least 20 years.
Some Iowa clergy were back in Des Moines this week asking lawmakers to amendthe state constitution to protect traditional marriage.“Traditional,” huh?
Can I get a dowry with that?Rotgut wrote, “My great-grandparents’‘traditional marriage’ occurred when he was 29 and she was 16. Maybe theywere in love, but I suspect it had to do more with property. Is this whatthe Family Research Council means by ‘traditional?’ ”
Well, no. It actually means “heterosexual.”This effort is being pushed bythe national Family Research Council and the Iowa Family Policy Center. Bothsupport the multi-year process of amending the state constitution, includinga public vote, to make one particular type of tradition the law of the land.
“The agenda to legalize same-sex marriage doesn’t only threaten thetraditional family, which is the bedrock of any society,” states the IowaFamily Policy Center on its Web site, “Same-sex marriageis only a part of the homosexual agenda to reshape our culture and isthreatening religious freedom and freedom of speech.”It’s one thing topreach that from the pulpit to parishioners who willingly listen. It’s quiteanother to slip it into a document that governs the lives of allIowans.Church and state were not always this muddled over matrimony.
Blogger/activist Jasmyne Cannick asks a question: Is there a fair balanceand interplay between marriage advocates and the broader sociopolitical andeconomic interests of non-white LGBT communities? Excerpt: And while itpains me a little to have to put it out there like that because I havefriends working for this group, it is what it is: White folks trying toorganize Black folks for their marriage campaign and not giving a damn aboutanything other than marriage. I just have a hard time taking these types ofgroups seriously when I never see the group nor its members in the communityon any issue of relevance but can always manage to get an email aboutmarriage. The last time I looked we were flirting with a recession,unemployment was at its highest, and L.A. was still the homeless capital ofthe nation.


National Gay News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
'Bill of Rights' Quietly Added to Miami Ballot
Miami voters are being asked Jan. 29 to approve a 'Citizens' Bill ofRights'' that would, among other things, promote religious freedom, cleanair and scenic beauty. It would also ban discrimination on the basis ofdomestic relationship status, sexual orientation and gender identity andexpression -- though relatively few people are aware of it.
Desperate HousewifesNominated For Gay Award
Televsion series Desperate Housewives has been nominated for a 2008 Gay &Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award because of itspositive depiction of a gay couple.The GLAAD Media Awards were created in1989 to recognise and honour the mainstream media for their fair, accurateand inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues thataffect their lives. Since then the awards have become a major event on theAmerican entertainment calendar.
How Do Our Children Compare?
Dr. Blase Masini wants to spend time with your family -- or at least withdata about you. The developmental psychologist and head of the researchdepartment at Howard Brown Health Center, a leading LGBT health careorganization in Chicago, has launched a nationwide study of LGBT parenting,and hopes more families will participate by completing his online survey. He’snot just an ivory-tower researcher, however: He’s also the gay father of twosons whom he adopted with his partner.
European Court Condemns France for Refusing to Allow Lesbian to Adopt aChild
A French lesbian woman was discriminated against when authorities turneddown her request to adopt a child, Europe's human right court ruledTuesday.The European Court of Human Rights said the refusal by regionalauthorities, upheld by two French courts, to authorize the adoption requestbreached her rights, and granted her ¤24,500 (US$35,500) in damages andcourt expenses.
First Annual Bisexuality Week Kicks Off Today
Today marks the start of Bisexual Awareness Week, presented by the BiVisibility Project at the University of California Davis. The week consistsof 12 events over the next four days. The week and its activities areco-sponsored by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center;Student Assistants to the Chancellor; La Familia; Women's Resources &Research Center and National Organization for Women.
Eight Austin Organizations Establish Pride Coalition
Eight LGBT-affiliated groups in Austin have banded together to form thePride Coalition, a first-of-its-kind organization aimed at galvanizing theenergy and resources of Austin’s LGBT community.
Military Ouster of Gays Plunges
The U.S. military says it is enforcing the ban on open homosexuals in theranks, as it has for decades, in the face of statistics that show a sharpdrop in the number of discharged homosexuals as wars in Afghanistan and Iraqcontinue. Homosexual rights advocates cite the plunge as evidence that themilitary is losing interest in enforcement and lets openly homosexual menand women serve because commanders need every able-bodied troop.
Legislature Considers Gay, Lesbian Discrimination Bill
A bill introduced Monday in the Legislature would forbid Idaho businesseswith more than five employees from discriminating against workers because oftheir sexual orientation. The bill to revise Idaho's 1968 Human Rights Actdoesn't apply to religious organizations.
Reader Contribution: "Gays Get Ready to Rumble on Wilton Drive (Over aFootball Game)"
In what can only be deemed as the most astonishing phenomenon this town hasever witnessed, Sunday’s AFC and NFC Championship football games brought outan abundance of gay and lesbian football fan-actics to Sidelines Sports Barto watch their favorite teams vie for a spot in the Super Bowl on February3rd.
Rudderless Republicans Reach Back for Gipper: Albert R. Hunt
The Republican Party prides itself on order. So why is itspresidential-nominating process bordering on haos?
One explanation was evident in the candidates' debate in South Carolina onJan. 10. The six aspirants cited Ronald Reagan 34 times; they mentionedGeorge W. Bush once -- Rudy Giuliani extolling tax cuts and citing ``theBush program, the Reagan program, the Kennedy program.''
Indiana: Bill That Would Ban Gay Marriage Won't Get Hearing in House
A bill that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage inIndiana won't get a hearing in a key Indiana House committee, likely doomingits chances of passage this legislative session.Rep. Scott Pelath, chairmanof the House Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, said the most urgentissue facing lawmakers during the short legislative session is propertytaxes, not same-sex marriage, which already is banned under Indiana law.
Hate Crimes Against Disabled, Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Scots TackledHate crime legislation in Scotland will be strengthened early this year,after the Scottish government backed a proposal for a Sentencing of OffencesAggravated by Prejudice (Scotland) Bill.The legislation will be takenforward as a handout Member’s Bill this year, announced Scotland’s justicesecretary, Kenny MacAskill, last week.
Actor Alan Cumming Delivers a Powerful New Message Advocating Eradication ofthe “F-Word”
Last night, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) unveiled anew public service announcement (PSA) starring Alan Cumming during theSundance and Slamdance film festivals. In the one-minute spot, theaward-winning actor describes the violence and harassment associated withusing the anti-gay “f-word” and urges viewers to join him in erasing theepithet. The release of the PSA comes one year after the use of the slur atthe Golden Globes sparked heightened media criticism regarding the word’sacceptability.
Teen Swimmers' Photos Put on Gay Sites
Several gay adult Web sites have posted photographs of teenage water poloplayers from several high schools in Southern California, a newspaperreported.Some of the pictures, of boys as young as 14, were displayed nextto photos of nude young men and graphic sexual content, an Orange CountyRegister investigation found.
GLAAD Taps Janet Jackson For Award
Janet Jackson is getting an award from an organization that monitors howgays and lesbians are depicted in the media.She will be getting a specialaward from GLAAD, one of two singers to be honored for their work this pastyear. The other is Rufus Wainwright.



Go to the website, above, for the following articles:
Obama Relationship With Alleged Fixer Probed
(Chicago, Illinois) Real estate developer and fast-food magnate Antoin"Tony" Rezko spent years pouring thousands of dollars in campaigncontributions into Barack Obama's climb from the Illinois legislature toCapitol Hill - and helped him raise tens of thousands more.
Giuliani Drowned Out By Posse
(Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) What happens when a Rudy Giuliani campaignevent, Ron Paul spoilers and anti-abortion protesters collide? Not a pressconference, that's for sure.
Early Voting Dilemma
(Washington) For many people, the question this year isn't just whichpresidential candidate to vote for, it's when.
Washington State Lawmakers Propose Sweeping Expansion Of Domestic PartnerLaw
(Olympia, Washington) Legislation was filed Tuesday to expand Washington'sdomestic partner law to include more than 170 rights and responsibilitiesthat currently are available only to married opposite-sex couples in thestate.
Iowa Gov. Tells High Court To Speed Gay Marriage Ruling
(Des Moines, Iowa) Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) says that the state SupremeCourt should expedite its ruling on same-sex marriage.
Gay-Moderate Italian Government On Brink Of Collapse
(Rome) Italy's Premier Romano Prodi put his government's survival in thehands of Parliament on Tuesday, appealing to lawmakers to back his teeteringcoalition with a confidence vote in a bid to avoid early elections.
Thompson Quits Presidential Race
(Naples, Florida) Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson quit the Republicanpresidential race on Tuesday, after a string of poor finishes in earlyprimary and caucus states.
Study: 14% Of Teens Gay Or Questioning
More Education Needed On STDs
(Toronto, Ontario) Most teens are responsible when it comes to sexuality,but lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and theirconsequences is a concern, says a new study.
Documentary On Dying Lesbian Cop Nominated For Oscar
(Los Angeles, California) A documentary film on the struggle by New Jerseypolice officer Laurel Hester's struggle to have her domestic partnerrecognized as her next of kin was nominated Tuesday for an Academy Award.
Widespread Support For Gay Marriage In Sweden
(Stockholm) As the Swedish government prepares to take up legislation thatwould allow same-sex couples to marry a new poll shows the idea has thesupport of 70-percent of the electorate.


The Advocate

They're Male, Single, and Not Your Stereotype: Meet the Empowered Single Man
At 57, winemaker Bull Gulvin has never been married and has no such plans inthe works.

January 23, 2008

He's not a mama's boy or a playboy. Instead, the Columbia, Pa., residentcalls himself a ''realist'' for remaining single.

''There aren't many really compelling reasons to get married anymore,''Gulvin says.

A lot of attention gets paid to single women, who can cheer themselves withchick flicks, self-help books, and shows like Sex and the City, which aim toempower female consumers to think of singledom as independence orself-reliance.

But this Valentine's Day, it's worth noting: Men can be single and fabuloustoo.

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The Advocate

Mr. Cowell, Mr. Jackson, Ms. Abdul, and Mr. The Bee Gees

By Dave White
An exclusive posted January 18, 2008

In which Dave White, tireless recapper, fact-finder, and opinion maker ofall things Idol, is heard to say, “Oh, shit. American Idol is back.”

My husband/partner/whatever says, “How can it be a new season of this showalready? I thought it was still on from last time.”

“You’re a bad payer of attention,” I say. “The excitement is back and moreelectric than ever.”

Then he expresses a litany of American Idol–related concerns that have beentroubling him lately. Like, has it passed its sell-by date? Didn't threeformer winners just get dropped from their record labels? And what of thatIdol-adjacent “next big rock band” show? How’s season 4 finalist JessicaSierra doing on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew? And are the new Dreyer’s icecream flavors available?

I answer him calmly:

1. Yes.

2. Two former winners, Ruben and The Boogie, have been dropped. The Boogiedoesn’t seem to care. And Ruben’s family is keeping the news from him.Meanwhile, McPhee was not a winner, she was the runner-up. But yeah, shejust got canned too.

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