Wednesday, April 30, 2008

GLBT DIGEST April 30, 2008

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New York Times
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-Australia to cut gay discrimination
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Australia will change a raft of federal laws toremove discrimination against gay couples, but will stop short of allowingsame-sex marriages, the government announced Wednesday.

-McGreeveys argue over allowing aide to testify at divorce
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The wife of former Gov. Jim McGreevey wants to bartestimony in their divorce trial from a former aide who claims he had sexualtrysts with the couple.

-New York City: Investigation of Council Said to Grow
The federal inquiry into how City Council members spend the discretionarymoney they control appears to be expanding, and city investigators havebegun questioning workers at a variety of nonprofit organizations thatreceived money, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

-Presbyterian Church clears minister in gay marriage case
The highest court of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.) has found that a Northern California minister did not violatedenominational law when she officiated at the weddings of two lesbiancouples.

Express Gay News
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-The Gay Baby Boom
Using adoption or surrogacy, more homosexual men than ever before arebecoming fathers. It's not a novelty-it's a movement. Look for it at aplayground near you.

-Gay Latinos 'minority twice over'
The growing gay Latino population in the United States is in a minoritytwice over, says Andres Duque, one of the community's leading voices.

-Study shows promising new approach to thwart HIV
Researchers have pinpointed a protein in a key humanimmune system cells needed for the AIDS virus to infect them, and found thatturning it off can greatly slow down the deadly virus.

-McCain's Glass House: Hagee
At a news conference in Florida this week, John McCain couldn't resist theopportunity to bring up remarks by Jeremiah Wright, calling them "beyondbelief." This, despite the fact that Bill Moyers, in an hour long interviewlast Friday showed the world the broader context in which the remarks weremade. McCain, who seeks to position himself above dirty politics, hasinstead positioned himself as a hypocrite.

-Memphis: Principal Outs Gay High School Couple
The ACLU is protesting the outing of two high school students by theirprincipal, who revealed the students' relationship to other students andteachers, then called one of the student's mother to reveal her son'sgayness and tell her that she would not tolerate homosexuality at herschool.

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-McGreeveys Argue Over 3-Some Testimony
(Trenton, New Jersey) The wife of former Gov. Jim McGreevey wants to bartestimony in their divorce trial from a former aide who claims he had sexualtrysts with the couple.

-Bones May Be Linked To Gay Serial Killer
(Indianapolis, Indiana) Cold case detective have re-opened a 13 year oldmurder case of an unidentified man to see if he was a victim of a serialkiller who preyed on gay men in the 1990s.

-Elderly Spinster Sisters Lose Bid For Inclusion In UK Gay Partner Law
(London) Two elderly sisters who live together have lost their final appealin a discrimination case that claimed they were victims of discriminationunder Britain's civil partner law.

-Presbyterian Church Clears Minister In Gay Marriage Case
(Tiburon, California) The highest court of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)has found that a Northern California minister did not violate denominationallaw when she officiated at the weddings of two lesbian couples.

-Gay Bar Settles With Woman Who Was Ejected
(Montreal, Quebec) A Montreal gay bar that caters to male clients hassettled a discrimination complaint with a woman who was thrown out of thepremises.

-Australia Offers Small Olive Branch To Gays
(Canberra) Australia's federal government announced Tuesday that it willamend about 100 laws to provide benefits to same-sex couples, but said itwould not consider either gay marriage or civil unions.

-Guyana Bans Homophobic Singer
(Georgetown) Guyanese authorities have banned a Jamaican reggae artist knownfor anti- gay lyrics from performing in the South American country.

The Advocate
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-HRC Endorsements Omit Neal
The Human Rights Campaign released a list Monday of U.S. Senate candidateendorsements -- 14 in all -- but more surprising than who was on the listwas who wasn't. Openly gay Democrat Jim Neal, who is running for ElizabethDole's seat in North Carolina, did not receive an endorsement in his primaryrace against state senator Kay Hagan.

-North Carolina governor Mike Easley, introducing presidential candidateHillary Clinton at a ceremony, told those gathered that the candidate "makesRocky Balboa look like a pansy." Clinton has yet to refute the remark.Classy!

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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- Help For Gay People Who Want to Adopt
Although Massachusetts law does not discriminate against GLBT people seekingto adopt children or become foster parents, it can still be an uncomfortableprocess, says Director of LGBTQ Training at the Home for Little WanderersColby Berger. The Home for Little Wanderers is a private,Massachusetts-based adoption center, that provides special services for GLBTpeople.

- Gay Sex: A Manual for Men Who Love Men
We live in a world obsessed with (and appalled by) sex. Open anymagazine--certainly any gay male magazine--and you will find it clogged withsexualized images. But a fundamental, hardcore American puritanism stillprevents open, honest, and useful discussions of sexuality. While this istrue for heterosexuality, it is even more so for gay men and lesbians.

-Author Demands That Courts Catch Up with Real World on G/L Marriage
In California, New York and Connecticut, the issue of whether same-sexcouples can be married or merely joined in a civil union has shown up in thecourts again. Even in states where civil unions afford gays and lesbians allthe legal and civil rights as married heterosexual couples, the inability touse the word "marriage" does real damage. Nona Caspers, author of theaward-winning collection of short stories "Heavier than Air," agrees.

-The Wrong Way on Job Bias
THE SENSATIONAL news about the pregnant man in Oregon has brought someoverdue national attention to transgender issues. Over the last severalyears, transgender people have become much more integrated into what is nowcalled the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. Thatcommunity's leadership has been making a variety of demands, some of which -like a federal hate-crime law based on gender identity - have madesignificant progress, while others - like federal job-discriminationprotections based on gender identity - remain stalled.

-The Naked Playwright's Transgender Jesus
"The basic premise is that Jesus was FTM," says award-winning playwrightTobias K. Davis, describing his one-act play, Crossing, which retells thestory of Christ's crucifixion with this transgender twist. "His strugglesand persecution and crucifixion were motivated not only by his teachings andhow they threatened the Roman Empire, but by his gender, and how itthreatened the rigid binary society."

-We're the True Lesbians, Say Islanders
RESIDENTS of the Greek island of Lesbos have launched a legal case against agay group, insisting they are the real Lesbians. Two inhabitants of theisland of Lesbos along with a member of a nationalist pagan associationtoday launched a legal case to ban the Greek Gay and Lesbian Union (OLKE)from bearing the name "lesbian".

-Coming Out From Behind The Badge
Authors to speak next month at Gay Officers' Action League Conference inWashington DC to hundreds of gay and lesbian police officers and deputysheriffs from around the world. Greg Miraglia announced today that he andother contributing authors from "Coming Out From Behind The Badge" will bespeaking at the Mid-Atlantic Gay Officers' Action League (GOAL) AnnualConference in Washington DC. This unique group of writers will befacilitating a workshop on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 about coming out in thelaw enforcement work place and how to overcome law enforcement's unwritten,"don't ask, don't tell" policy.

-Second Annual Study of Gay and Lesbian Travelers
Harris Interactive® today announced that it has once again teamed up withWiteck-Combs Communications, Inc., the leading gay, lesbian, bisexual, andtransgender (GLBT) strategic marketing and communications agency to conductthe econd Annual GLBT Travel Study. This year's study - expected to bereleased in June/July 2008 -- will again examine the preferences, attitudes,spending patterns and behaviors regarding destination and brand choices forleisure travel (domestic and international) and contrast those findings withthe opinions of heterosexual adults.

-California Governor Takes New Staring Role By Deb Price
My nominee for Best Ex-Actor in a Very Supportive Role: ArnoldSchwarzenegger. In a few simple sentences, the muscular Republican governorof California did some heroically heavy lifting for all Americans whobelieve in equal marriage rights for those of us who're gay.

-A Day of Silence for Lawrence King By William Butte
Even before 15-year-old Lawrence "Larry" King came out to the few friends hehad at E.O. Green Junior High School in Oxnard, Calif., the sweet-faced,slightly built boy endured taunts and anti-gay slurs spewed at him dailyacross campus, from cafeteria to classroom. As one friend was quoted in theLos Angeles Times: "You'd hear, 'Faggot! Hey, faggot!' That was happening inevery class. A lot of teachers knew stuff was going on ... I guess they justdidn't want to get involved."

Marriage Equality News
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-Albany: More than 2,000 gay-rights activists gathered at the Capitol todayto urge the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage. The group of youngand old, black and white, male and female straight and gay people fromacross the state gathered on the Capitol lawn, some dancing and otherswaving signs. Everyone was cheering for same-sex marriage. Alan Van Capelle,executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, told the crowd that themajority of New Yorkers support gay marriage. Now the legislature has catchup. "New Yorkers don't care about these issues,'' he said. "They have a goodlive and let live attitude."

-WASHINGTON -- Some people marry for love, some for companionship, andothers for status or money. Now comes another reason to get hitched: healthinsurance. In a poll released today, 7% of Americans said they or someonein their household decided to marry in the last year so they could gethealthcare benefits via their spouse.

-Maybe I'm just trying to distract myself from "Democratic Celebrity DeathMatch." But I don't think so. I've been quite focused this week on the coverstory of this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine -- the story called"Young Gay Rites." Do take a minute to read it online if you haven't seenit. You will no doubt have varying reactions to it -- some will reflect onthe couples, some on the journalist, many on you.
The piece offers a very narrow swath of gay "married" life (maybe we shoulduse the word in quotes until we have all the same state and federal legalrights and responsibilities as straight people) -- young white men in their20s in the state of Massachusetts. The photography is clever ("kitschy"would be the gay adjective) and as a sociological portrayal of a smallniche, I suppose it was rather good. But a cover story? A cover that teasesthe piece this way: "Life among young men who are married (to men) inMassachusetts could not be more normal. Strange."

-I was reading that lengthy article in the NY Times about young gay coupleswho are getting married, but at about page 6 I wanted to jump out the windowso I could run around the street screaming, so I just stopped. It's one ofthe most irritating things I've ever read without being paid. It's hard tosee much of a point to Benoit Denizet-Lewis's profiling of these couplesother than to present an image of gay marriage that's rich, white, and,witout question, the best goddamned thing ever. Most of the couplesinterviewed by Denizet-Lewis at least present the signs of excessiveaffluence (monogrammed slippers, antique furniture from all over the world,catered sushi parties, jobs at law firms, and degrees from MIT) and the onegroup of young, gay men he interviewed was described as "five workingprofessionals" in their 20's and "two college undergraduates."

-Pennsylvania: Civil-rights attorneys, theologians and moms and dads onboth sides of the gay-marriage debate clashed again in Harrisburg today as astate Senate panel heard a third round of testimony on a proposal to bansame-sex unions in the constitution. "Clearly, what is proposed in SenateBill 1250 is a step backward into language of denial, devaluing,delegitimizing and in its simple wording, in my opinion, conceals awellspring of toxic and prejudicial feeling," testified Riess W. Potterveld,president of Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Pink News - UK
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-Royal calls gay sex claims "spurious"
The Royal at the centre of the gay sex blackmail trial has declared theaccusations of his sexuality as "spurious". The Royal, referred to only aswitness A told the court in a statement: "As far as these comments about mypersonal and professional life are concerned, I can only say they arespurious and without foundation."

-Anti-gay 'Day of Truth' fails to make its mark in US schools
Gay rights groups across America have breathed a sigh of relief after thehomophobic 'Day of Truth' failed to make an impact on American schools.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Attached is a list of civil society organizations that have been invited toparticipate in the UN's high-level meeting on HIV/AIDS this June. The listwill be voted on by UN member governments today.
Scott Long Director Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights ProgramHuman Rights Watch
The list is at:

-New guide available: Opening the Door to Transgender-Inclusion
Download this new publication, jointly produced by the Task Force and theNational Center for Transgender Equality, which guides LGBT organizationsthrough all the steps needed to make organizations fullytransgender-inclusive.

CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights No 5 (61) 2008
Sexual and reproductive health and rights constitute fundamental humanrights, form a vital aspect of the women's empowerment and are key to theachievement of gender equality.

-PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe): Ground-breakingresolution on abortion in Europe. On 16th of April, a report entitled"Access to Safe and Legal Abortion in Europe" was adopted with 102 votesfor, 69 votes against and 14 abstentions after a four-hour debate. With thislandmark voting, the Council of Europe (CoE) calls upon its 47 member statesto guarantee access to safe and legal abortion (including financialcoverage) and to decriminalize it in countries where the law denies women'sright to decide freely over their bodies. It has to be highlighted that theCoE is the first international institution that speaks so explicitly andutterly in favor of the depenalization of termination of pregnancy.

-ITALY: Doctors refuse to perform abortion. Media report that about 70percent of Italian doctors refuse to perform terminations of pregnancy. Thusthe health care system faces a real challenge in providing medical servicesthat by the letter of law must be guaranteed to women. The ministry ofhealth released a report that shows that the percentage of gynecologists whorefuse to terminate pregnancies has risen by 10 points in comparison withthe year 2003. Furthermore, more than half of anesthesiologists also refuseto participate in providing abortion services. This disturbing trend can bepartly attributed to the anti-choice catholic lobby that is even more andmore influential in Italy.

-LITHUANIA: Anti-choice conference on Polish experience. During a conferenceorganized by Polish anti-choice activists in Vilnius that took place on the17th of April, Antoni Szymanski, a parliamentarian from Poland, said thatabortion law in Poland is well-monitored, data is very good - the number ofabortions is low, women's reproductive health has improved and almost allagree with the situation, nobody wants to change the policy. There has onlybeen one tragic death case.

-MALTA: The Malta Labour Party (MLP) speaks against abortion. Leo Brincat,member of the MLP reassured in his speech at the Council of Europe (CoE)that the political party always was, is and will be against thedecriminalization of abortion. Malta remains one of the very few countriesin Europe (as do other Christian countries like Ireland and Poland) thatuphold very restrictive anti-abortion law.

-NORWAY: Government considers adoption of Swedish-like law on sex work.
Norwegian Minister of Justice, Knut Storberget, stated that the plannedintroduction of criminalization of the purchase of sexual services is ameasure to counter trafficking in women to Norway. However, it needs to behighlighted that this statement is challenged and questioned by many expertsin the field of SRHR and anti-trafficking. It is claimed that penalizationof purchasing sexual services will not eliminate the phenomenon of sex workbut only push it into the so-called underground where women, including youngimmigrants, are even more vulnerable to abuse.

-Polish Women meet top officials of the European Commission. On April the7th a group of Polish women's NGOs met in Brussels with Vladimir Spidla - EUCommissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Themain purpose of this meeting was to inform the Commissioner about the lackof adequate equality policies in Poland. The Commissioner seemed to be wellaware of difficulties in the Polish equality policies and lack of sufficientmechanisms and promised to look into it. He even said that if Poland is notgoing to comply with EU equality policies he might consider suing Poland toEuropean Court of Justice in Luxemburg. He also promised to come to Polandon our invitation.

-RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Attempts to restrict access to information on abortionservices. Russian lawmakers proposed a new bill that aims to significantlylimit of access to information on abortion services in the country. Thedraft law has been already introduced to the State Duma and it bans abortionads in all media. Although termination of pregnancy remains legal in Russia,such services can only be announced in the very specialized medicalperiodicals. The draft law can be perceived as blatant violation of theright to information and by these means restricts Russian women's access tosafe abortion. The situation is really alarming as this political initiativehas been supported by three out of four political fractions in the Duma: theUnited Russia, A Just Russia, and the Communist Party.

-RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Fertility rate on the rise raises social concerns.
Governmental programme aimed at boosting procreation (introduction offinancial allowances for children) is yielding results. Statistics show thatin some regions the fertility rate has even grown by six times in comparisonwith the 1990s. Russian health and social care minister, Tatiana Golikova,announces that in 2011 the birth rate will be sufficient to replenish thecurrent population. However, these optimistic views are confronted with lessoptimistic expert opinions according to which increased the fertility rateis leading to a serious social security crisis. bulletin:
Source: Rzeczpospolita Daily, 02/04/2008

-TAJIKISTAN: Political initiative to further restrict sex work. Recently,Tajik Interior Minister, Mahmadnazar Salihov, announced that hisadministration is now working on a bill which would further criminalizeprostitution in the country. When the draft law is elaborated, it will besent to Parliament and put under voting.
More information is available at:

-TAJIKISTAN: Poverty drifts baby trade. More and more cases of sellingnewborns by women living below the poverty line are being reported.
Tajikistan which is a poverty-stricken Central Asian state does not providewomen with many life options. An alarming percentage of the population, alsoon the outskirts of the capital (Dushanbe) live in terrible conditions withno money to get by. Poverty affects women in a specific way. Limited accessto contraception often leads to unwanted pregnancy and many women simplycannot afford to raise a child. The economic situation is also a barrier toabortion. Many Tajik women are left alone by their partners due toeconomical migration to Russia.

-UN report: Tracking progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival. Thenew report has been released on April, 16 in Cape Town, South Africa, whereleading global health experts and policy makers gathered to discuss theeradication of maternal and child mortality, which is one of the MillenniumDevelopment Goals required to be achieved by the year 2015.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-I am writing to invite you to march in the 16th Annual Queens Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade and Festival scheduled for Sunday,June 1, 2008 (rain or shine). It's hard to believe that Pride is 16 yearsold in Queens!
The parade steps off at 12:00 pm on 37th Avenue from 89th Street to 75thStreet in Jackson Heights. Please assemble at 89th Street and 37th Avenueno later than 11:30 AM. The parade disperses into the Festival which is heldon 37th Road from 73rd Street to 77th Street. The Festival runs from 11:00AM until 6:00 pm. This year we are fortunate to have American Music Awardwinner and multi-Platinum recording artist Randy Jones (Original VillagePeople Cowboy) performing on our Main Stage at the Festival.

-My name is Hossein Alizadeh and I am the communication coordinator atIGLHRC. As a IGLHRC staff member who has worked closely with Iranian QueerOrganization (IRQO) over the past two years, and as an Iranian who extremelyproud of IRQO's activities and outreach, it is my honor and pleasure tonightto present the 2008 Felipa de Souza Award to Arsham Parsi, the founder anddirector of IRQO, who is here with us to represent his organization.
The Iranian Queer Organization is an all volunteer, grassroots organizationthat started back in 2001 as a listserv by a group of young Iranian gay andlesbian inside Iran. Despite the risk of wiretapping and infiltration by theIranian morality police, these brave Iranian queers decided to get togetherand form the virtual support group to empower members of the community whoface similar legal, political, and social challenges.

-This is the second in our week-long blog series of PFLAG dads speaking outin response to the recent Details Magazine article

about heterosexual fathers and gay sons. Today's entry is from PFLAG dadPaul Wertsch, M.D., of Madison, Wisconisn, who writes about his son Greg.
Paul also serves as Chair of the American Medical Association's Gay,Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues Advisory Committee.
Can a father be proud of a gay son? You bet!
I was quite sad after reading the article written by a man who thought thatit would be difficult to be proud of his son if he happened to be gay. Iwill admit that when my son came out to his mother and me that we werecompletely unprepared and felt ourselves very ignorant about the wholesubject of sexuality.

Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrier
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-They're young, they're gay -- and they're getting hitched
This article looks at the burgeoning trend of 20-something gay men optingfor marriage in Massachusetts. Journalist Benoit Denizet-Lewis tracked agroup of young couples over the course of a few months to see how the gayworld is adapting to the institution of marriage -- and vice versa. The NewYork Times (4/27)

-Gay, lesbian youth plan to settle down with partner by 30: More than 90% ofyoung lesbians and 80% of young gay men plan on being in a partnered,monogamous relationship by the time they're 30, according to a study by theRockway Institute. (4/24)

-HRC proclaims 2008 the "Year to Win"
"Year to Win" is a new national effort from the Human Rights Campaign to get"pro-equality" LGBT voters to take part in the 2008 elections. The projectwill include a "Camp Equality" program to train 1,500 volunteers in 13cities; voter information at more than 100 pride events; and support for thecampaigns of 14 candidates "to increase the fair-minded majority in theSenate." (4/28)

-HRC releases Senate endorsement list: The Human Rights Campaign hasannounced its backing for 14 U.S. Senate candidates. The group is not makinga pick for the North Carolina Senate seat held by Republican Elizabeth Doleuntil after the May 6 Democratic primary contest between openly gaycandidate Jim Neal and state Sen. Kay Hagan. Washington Blade (4/28)

-Court: No discrimination against lesbian teachers who sued Montana schooldistrict (4/25)

-Out Pittsburgh councilman calls on state lawmakers to vote down marriageban
Out Pittsburgh Councilman Bruce A. Kraus is calling on the PennsylvaniaLegislature to vote against a proposed constitutional marriage ban. "Today Iask you, as members of the state General Assembly, with the power to endthis discrimination before it can go any further, to not only vote againstSB 1250, but to speak out against it and the intolerance, prejudice anddiscrimination it represents," he writes. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (4/27)


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