Friday, May 02, 2008

GLBT DIGEST May 2, 2008

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New York Times
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-First Thing, Muzzle the Clergy?
Wouldn't it be nice if, in the name of ecumenism, certain clergymen couldreach an understanding about why 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001? MostNew Yorkers probably never thought that the victims had it coming. But somegentlemen of the cloth seem to know better.

Washington Post
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-Operator of D.C. Call-Girl Ring Is Dead in Apparent Suicide
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, facing a likely prison term of four to six years forrunning a Washington area call-girl ring, apparently hanged herself Thursdayin a storage shed behind her mother's mobile home in this small Gulf Coastcity, authorities said.

Express Gay News
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-Harris credits Stiller's wife with defining sexual identity
Gay actor Neil Patrick Harris once dated Ben Stiller's actress wifeChristine Taylor.

-Robert Loupo
Co-founder and executive director of Safe Schools South Florida (formerlyGLSEN South Florida)
Express: What do you think about the current Safe Schools Bill in theFlorida Legislature that was just approved by the House?
Robert Loupo: First, it's about time! Safe schools legislation has died inthe Florida Legislature each year for the past 10 years. This bill -although it does not specify categories, including sexual orientation - is agreat start. It does include the intent of protecting GLBT students asrecorded in legislators' recent discussions about the bill. It would requireall 67 Florida school districts to adopt anti-bully policies and reportingprocedures and to collect reliable data regarding bullying incidents.

-The Ridiculous Notion of Gay Privilege
Watching Tim Wise today has me wondering... how do we do the same thing inthe LGBT community? How do we push hard against someone else, make someonesmaller, less than in order to feel our privilege?

-Survey shows gays 'ignorant' of basic rights issues
Majority of respondents flunk test on U.S. laws
Few gay Americans understand their basic rights, according to an analysisreleased this week.

-Can't "lesbians" belong to us all?
Residents of the Greek island of Lesbos are going to court to fight a gayrights organization from using the word "lesbian." If successful (cha!),they plan to fight international use of the term. Later, for a finale,perhaps they can bang their heads on a brick wall.

-A different kind of Southern belle
'Mississippi Sissy' author Kevin Sessums is a true survivor
"I want to be Arlene Francis," pleaded the 8-year-old boy. Yes, forHalloween, Kevin Sessums wanted to dress up as the panelist on thetelevision show "What's My Line?"

-Gay life in the 'other Florida'
Gays and lesbians in rural Polk County endure despite challenges
The older members of the estimated 26,000 gays and lesbians who live inrural Polk County, Fla., consider themselves to be living happily out of thecloset. But they don't like to be identified by name in newspaper articles.

-It's time to focus on our ailing health-care system
We should realize that it is not just AIDS that threatens us
by Phil LaPadula
Events of the past few weeks have focused attention on our ailinghealth-care system. AIDS Walk Miami and the Florida AIDS Walk were heldApril 20 and April 27, respectively. In addition, this week, April 27 to May3, is Cover the Uninsured Week - a goal that presidential candidates havebeen talking about for decades but which never happens.

-Friend or Foe?
Proctor & Gamble and The American Family Association
Our Friend of the Week is Proctor & Gamble, which has stuck with a gaystoryline on its CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns" despite pressurefrom far-right groups to kill it.

-Friend or Foe? By PHIL LaPADULA
Proctor & Gamble
Producers of 'As the World Turns'
Our Friend of the Week is Proctor & Gamble, which has stuck with a gaystoryline on its CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns" despite pressurefrom far-right groups to kill it.
The American Family Association
Our Foe of the Week is the deceptively named American Family Association,which apparently doesn't believe gay people should be depicted on TV as partof American family life. The AFA issued an "Action Alert" on its websiteafter the CBS soap opera "As the World Turns" featured a gay kiss on itsApril 23 broadcast. "Proctor & Gamble promotes explicit open-mouthhomosexual kissing," AFA screamed on its website. AFA also included a videoof the gay kiss and described it as "repulsive."

-Obama And The Gays
It's so strange to me that some believe that Obama's politics representssome kind of messianism, while he consistently tells people that they haveto be the change they want in the world and that no leader can do it forthem. And that's also his message to gays:

-Right Wing Attacks 'Dear Abby'
As this morning's Washington Times reports, right wing activists areattacking 'Dear Abby,' the world's most widely-read advice columnist, forhaving the audacity to suggest that, among other things, parents should lovetheir lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children. One conservativeactivist tells the Times that Abby "is a disciple of the sexual revolution,"and offers up "radical advice."

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for this spectacular weekend

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-Polls Show Drift To Clinton
(Washington) Polls showed voters drifting toward Hillary Rodham Clintonbefore crucial Democratic primary votes next week, but the all-importantparty superdelegates - whose backing is now essential for the nomination -were falling increasingly in line behind Barack Obama.

-Geography May Help Obama In Indiana
(Indianapolis, Indiana) Barack Obama is looking for a little home cooking innext week's Indiana primary. Counting on it, in fact.

-Defection Jolts Clinton
(South Bend, Indiana) Hillary Rodham Clinton was jolted by the defection ofone of her longtime superdelegate supporters, a former national partychairman who urged fellow Democrats to "reject the old negative politics"nd unify behind Barack Obama.

-Conservatives Urge Congress To Maintain Gays In Military Ban
(Washington) A conservative lobby group is urging Congress to rejectlegislation that would repeal "Don't Ask, Don' Tell", the ban on gays andlesbians serving openly in the military.

-Canada Raises Age Of Consent
(Ottawa) Canada's age of sexual consent has been bumped up two years to 16beginning today.

-Monument To Be Erected In Israel To Gay Holocaust Victims
(Tel Aviv, Israel) A monument will be erected in Tel Aviv honoring gays andlesbians persecuted during the Holocaust.

-Florida Passes Anti-Bully Law
(Tallahassee, Florida) Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is expected to signlegislation that would require school districts to prohibit bullying andharassment.

-Nepal Gay Leader Wins Election To Parliament
(Katmandu) Nepal has elected its first openly gay person to Parliament.
Sunil Plant, the founder of the LGBT rights group Blue Diamond Society, wona seat representing Katmandu, the capital.

-Gay Candidate Seeks to Make History
North Carolina is no longer the state that repeatedly sent Jesse Helms tothe U.S. Senate.
Jim Neal, an openly gay man running for the U.S. Senate in the southernstate, vows this is the case. He's counting on a changed state and anelectorate eager for even more change to send him to Washington in place ofElizabeth Dole.

The Advocate
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-Poll: Only 2.9% of Americans Are LGB
Hunter College released a new LGB-specific poll that reveals fresh insightsabout the LGB population, how its men and women differ, and an emerginggenerational divide.

-London Vote for Mayor, Gay Candidate Included, Has National Implications
Londoners voting for a mayor on Thursday chose among a gaffe-prone formerjournalist, a gay ex-policeman, and a left-wing incumbent, while ballotingfor local councils around the country could gauge Prime Minister GordonBrown's chances of winning the next general election.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Vanderbilt to Launch Full-Time GLBT Office
A full-time and fully staffed office to support the gay, lesbian, bisexualand transgender community at Vanderbilt will launch this fall.The K.C.Potter Center will replace a part-time resource center. The search for afull-time director has begun, and another for program director willfollow.The K.C. Potter Center will be named in honor of a former dean ofresidential and judicial affairs at Vanderbilt who was supportive of theGLBT community.

-GLBT Life in Clarksville Thrives Despite Setbacks
Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville. These three major Tennessee cities all haveone thing in common: they contain a thriving GLBT community. Yet, nestledamong the farm lands and miles of forest of Montgomery County lies a stretchin the road known as Clarksville, and much like the crops budding around thecity, it too is rapidly growing. But what is there to say about a city witha population over 100,000? Two words: a lot. Clarksville may not have a lotto offer as far as dazzling clubs, bars and streets flagged as "GLBT." Itdoes, however, offer many sites and sounds not found elsewhere. Yet, to knowClarksville like a true Clarksvillian, you first got to know what makesClarksville so unique.

-Boston Men's Chorus Will Present Crescendo
The internationally acclaimed Boston Gay Men's Chorus will presentCrescendo, its annual benefit gala, on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at 7 pm at theRoxy Ballroom. More than 500 Chorus patrons and friends are expected toattend the celebration which includes entertainment by special guest MissRichfield, live and silent auctions with one-of-a-kind items up for bid, asumptuous array of gourmet desserts, and cocktails and socializing.

-Archambault and iTunes Pull Anti-Gay Reggae Songs
It appears the chickens are coming home to roost: After years protesting theanti-gay lyrics of several dancehall reggae performers, Canadian activistshave convinced Canadian music retailers Archambault and Apple's iTunes toremove some anti-gay dancehall songs from their catalogues.

-Presbyterian Church Court Acquits Lesbian Minister
The highest court of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has acquitted a lesbianminister with local ties of performing a same-sex marriage, but it isunclear whether the ruling will affect a similar case ongoing in PittsburghPresbytery. The Permanent Judicial Commission ruled this week that the Rev.Jane Spahr could not have performed a marriage -- even though she claimed tohave -- because same-sex marriage is impossible under church law. Theconstitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA) defines marriage as the unionof a man and a woman.

-Youth Commission to Honor Boston Pride, PFLAG Leaders
The Friends of LGBT youth will honor Boston Pride Committee President LindaDeMarco and Greater Boston PFLAG Executive Director Pam Garramone at thisyear's Sunset Soiree at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge on May 8.

-Miami-Dade Domestic Partners Final Reading Postponed to May 20
Join us on Tuesday, May 20 at the Commissioners Chambers for the Final Voteon the Domestic Partners and Family Health Insurance OrdinanceMark your calendars for the final vote on the Domestic Partners and FamilyHealth Insurance Ordinance! The final reading of this ordinance by theMiami-Dade County Commissioners has been deferred until Tuesday, May 20th.

-Governor Bill Richardson to Receive International Role Model Award
Equality Forum, a national and international GLBT civil rights organization,will recognizeNew Mexico Governor Bill Richardson with its 13th annualInternational Role Model Award, and Wachovia Corporation will receive its2008 International Business Leadership Award. The awards will be presentedat the International Equality Dinner at the National Constitution CenterinPhiladelphia on Saturday, May 3 during Equality Forum 2008.

-House Gives Initial Approval to Pro-Equality Amendments
Late Wednesday night, the Massachusetts House of Representatives gaveinitial approval to several amendments that, if passed, would increasefunding for programs supporting GLBT youth, seniors and victims of domesticviolence in fiscal year 2009.

-Czech Republic: First Gay Candidate Runs For Senate
Well-known gay and lesbian rights activist Jirí Hromada has become the firstopenly homosexual candidate to run for the Senate in the Czech Republic.
Nominated by the Green Party April 19, Hromada's name will be on the ballotin the upcoming fall elections. Following reports of his nomination, newsservers such as Novinky and Aktuá had to shut down online discussionsbecause they were full of homophobic and vulgar comments. The right-wingextremist National Party immediately issued a press statement brandingHromada a "homosexual deviant." Despite years of hard work by many gay andlesbian activists, it seemed from such reactions that homophobic feelingsare still a part of the national culture, and Hromada's candidacy in theupcoming election could serve as a test of the public's tolerance andopen-mindedness.

Marriage Equality News
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-If the point is getting straight people to take same-sex marriageseriously, getting them to recognize the numerous injustices that bans onsame-sex marriage rain down on the heads of committed gay couples and wockawocka wocka, I don't think mass, Moonie-style marriage ceremonies are reallythe best approach. Moonie marriages are legal, of course, recognized by thestate and all that, but does anyone take them seriously? Well, The MatthewShepard Foundation is planning a group commitment ceremony to kick off gaypride events in L.A.

-Nearly 300 protesters marched into the Fort Worth Convention Center onThursday morning in a negotiated disruption of the United Methodist GeneralConference. The protest was in reaction to the delegates' votes Wednesdayaffirming the denomination's position against same-sex unions, thathomosexual activity is against the Bible, and that ordaining ministers orappointing practicing homosexuals to churches is incompatible with Christianteaching. The protesters -- some wearing arm bands or buttons with "Allmeans all" or other slogans -- walked down the center aisle in a statementarranged with conference leaders. Protest leaders and several bishops thenwent to meet in a private area for conference officials called "holyconferencing." It was not known how long the meeting would be or whetherthose meeting would issue a statement later today.

-In 2007, "Dear Abby" author Jeanne Phillips publicly - andcontroversially - spoke out in support of gay marriage. Since that time, shehas become a target of conservatives. Today, the Washington Times highlightsa recent analysis by the right-wing Culture and Media Institute, whichconcludes that Phillips has repeatedly "rejected traditional morality":
"Abby has flown under the radar for years dispensing radical advice onmatters of sexual morality while enjoying a reputation for hard-nosed,common-sense advice," says Robert Knight, director of the institute. "Wethought people ought to know there's a pattern here that's consistentthroughout her career."

-With a sagging economy and a divisive war occupying Americans' minds, willsocial issues be overshadowed in campaign 2008? Quite possibly - but itwould be foolhardy to write them off. National polls - and more than 50state and national experts contacted for this column - broadly agree thatAmericans' deepening concerns about the economy are currently overshadowingthe kinds of polarizing social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage,that have helped shape recent federal and state races. This year, socialissues do not yet seem to be motivating voters as strongly as they did in2004, the last presidential election year, when exit polls showed that manyvoters placed a heavy emphasis on moral values.

-California: Groups on both sides of an initiative that would amend thestate constitution to ban same-sex marriage are trying to raise millions ofdollars in coming months. "We will continue working to raise as much as wecan and intend to mount a very strong campaign," Geoff Kors, executivedirector of Equality California, the statewide LGBT group leading the effortto defeat the amendment, wrote in a statement to the Bay Area Reporter .
"The other side raised close to $2 million just to buy their way onto theballot and they are saying they will raise in excess of $10 million for thecampaign. We will need to match them dollar for dollar."

-The likelihood that California will be convulsed by another fight oversame-sex marriage at the polls in November is casting a shadow on the heatedSenate race between two of the state's most powerful gay lawmakers. Nowthat anti-gay groups are claiming they have collected enough signatures toplace a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on the ballotthis fall, the question arises who is better suited to lead the fight todefeat it: state Senator Carole Migden or Assemblyman Mark Leno?

Pink News - UK
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-Tories soar to 44% in local elections
Conservative activists are celebrating after the party made significantgains in last night's local council elections in England. They won aprojected 44% of the national vote. The Lib Dems on 25% beat Labour, on 24%,into third place.

-Homophobe Mugabe beaten in Zimbabwean election
The results of last month's Presidential election in Zimbabwe have finallybeen published. The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, MorganTsvangirai, won 47.9%. Robert Mugabe of the Zanu/PF party won 43.2%.

-Homophobic football chief invited to gay World Cup
The Gay Football Supporters Network has said it is "amused" by the commentsof Luciano Moggi, formerly managing director of Juventus, that "a homosexualcannot do the job of a footballer."

-Hillary "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy" says governor
Wrapping up a three-day campaign blitz in North Carolina, Senator HillaryRodham Clinton nabbed a high-profile endorsement from the state'shighest-ranking member, Governor Mike Easley. He officially endorsed Clintonat a joint appearance at North Carolina State University on Tuesday.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Russia: The authorities of St. Petersburg have unexpectedly changed theirdecision and will not approve the mass rally dedicated to theInternational Day of Silence
As was already reported, the city's LGBT community members will holdan event on May 3, from 12 pm to 2 pm, dedicated to the InternationalDay of Silence. The organizers made a decision to somewhat alter theformat of the event from that originally reported. The "Day ofSilence" will take the form of a series of individual rallies.
According to Russian legislation, individual rallies do not requirepreliminary notification of and approval by the authorities.

-Interreligious Council of Russia:
Letter to Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council ofEurope Please be informed that Russian sexual minorities are planning to hold aso-called pride parade this May in Moscow. You are well aware that it is notthe first attempt to hold a public march of people of non-traditional sexualorientation in the Russian capital city. The earlier attempts ended inviolent disorders. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that anoverwhelming majority in Russian society do not believe homosexuality to bea norm in sexual relations. The unity in this matter is based ondeeply-rooted moral perceptions of the traditional religions in Russia:
Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. The faithful of these religions havebeen educated from times immemorial for the respect of traditional family,which is the union of man and woman. We believe this attitude to marriageto be the only right one, while its distortions expressed among other thingsin homosexuality to be a sin damaging human dignity. Our fellow-citizensare free to build in their own country a legal system that would notcontradict their conscience. With all responsibility we state that thebeliefs of most Russians exclude a public propaganda of such things ashomosexuality, the legal recognition of the same-sex families in any form,the possibility for people of non-traditional orientation to adopt childrenand artificial promotion of a positive attitude in society includingchildren towards sexual deviations through the education system and the massmedia. Any coercion of our society's conscience in this matter isinadmissible and lawless.

From Truth Wins Out
by Wayne Besen

-APA Quack Forum May Be Cancelled
New York - Sources have informed TruthWinsOut.orgthat Monday's symposiumfeaturing infamous "ex-gay" therapist Dr. Warren Throckmorton may becancelled. The forum, "A Pastoral Approach for Gay & Lesbian People Troubledby Homosexuality," suffered a major blow when panelist, Episcopal BishopGene Robinson, pulled out of the event. Robinson expressed concern that thesymposium, scheduled to take place the same week as the APA's annual meetingin Washington, would be used as a public relations gimmick for Focus on theFamily. "The cancellation of this forum is welcome news because it gave thewrong impression that the American Psychiatric Association endorsed 'ex-gay'therapy, when, in fact, the organization soundly rejects such therapies,"said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen. Predictably, on his blog,Throckmorton claimed that the APA is "apparently afraid of a conversation."
What he conveniently failed to mention was that this discussion ended threedecades ago and his side was defeated because they lacked scientificcredibility. They have yet to provide a shred of evidence supporting theefficacy of ex-gay therapy, while there is evidence that such methods causea great deal of harm. "Throckmorton 'counsels' vulnerable gay people toeither live a lifetime of loneliness or a lifetime of lies.This is neitherhealthy nor therapeutic and it's a diagnosis for disaster," said Besen.

-Top Researcher Says Focus on the Family Grossly Distorted work
Dr. Gary Remafedi Says Conservative Group Guilty of "Gross
Misrepresentation" And Questions If Focus Actually Read His Article BeforeMisquoting It
NEW YORK - published a letter today from a researcher whoclaims Focus on the Family twisted his work. In the letter, Gary Remafedi,M.D., M.P.H., a professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota,asked Focus on the Family's leader James Dobson to stop misrepresenting hisfindings from a key 1992 study. "I want to draw your attention to a grossmisrepresentation of our research at the website of Focus on the Family,"Remafedi wrote in his letter to Dobson. "More important, had the authors of"Myths and Facts" actually read the article, they would have found nosupport for their contention that 'many children experience a period ofsexual-identity confusion when they can be influenced in either direction.'"
(Full Text of Letter Below)


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