Saturday, June 07, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - June 06, 2008

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New York Times
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-Mother in Virginia Loses Bid to Void Same-Sex Ruling in Vermont on ChildCustody
Virginia must honor a child custody order from a Vermont court issued afterthe breakup of a same-sex civil union there, the Virginia Supreme Courtruled on Friday.

Washington Post
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-Gay Marriage Litmus Test for Friendship Is Offensive
DEAR AMY: I am a gay man living in California. My partner and I have raised a family and have been together for 26 years. The California Supreme Court recently stated it is illegal not to allow gays to marry. We are thrilled.
Now that we are aging Baby Boomers, we need the protection and rights that married couples have. A proposition to change the California constitution to state that marriage "is between only a man and a woman" will appear on the November ballot, and it only needs a simple majority to pass. The problem is that four of my best friends are women. It is important to me to know that I have their support of gay marriage. If they vote "no," it will be impossible for me to continue these friendships. I need help on how to handle this situation. -- California Gay Guy
DEAR CALIFORNIA: Perhaps you should ask people how they intend to vote on the question of gay marriage before you befriend them. It would save you the trouble of having to sever the relationship later. I understand your need to have people in your corner, but your friends are already in your corner.
That's what makes them your friends. Demanding that your friendship hinges on what people choose to do in the privacy of the voting booth is offensive. Furthermore, you seem to assume that your women friends might not support gay marriage. Is this because they're straight or because women are somehow more likely to want to limit the bounds of marriage? This is a sexist assumption. I'd suggest that you tread very lightly.

Express Gay News
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-Three-day event: Utah Pride marks years of struggle
Decades-old festival that celebrates the gay community is expected to draw 25,000 people It started with a kegger. In 1975, about 300 people, mostly gay men and lesbians, drank beer and enjoyed hot dogs in City Creek Canyon near downtown Salt Lake City. Local organizers called it "Gay Freedom Day," and the event was a chance for the gay community in Utah to gather - in public.

-Top Secret: The Transgender Workplace Discrimination Hearings Did you know that there are going to be congressional hearings about transgender employment discrimination? No? Well, you're not alone in yourignorance. I have to confess that even though I'm connected into Washington D.C. fairly well, I've not heard a firm date for these "TOP SECRET" hearings. Donna Rose said on May 28th, 2008: The congressional hearing on Transgender Workplace Discrimination has been scheduled for the morning of June 10.

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-Nevada Moves To Give Public Workers Domestic Partner Benefits
The same-sex partners of workers in the civil servicein Nevada could soon have health and insurance benefits.

-One California Clerk Refusing All Marriages
A California county clerk says she'll stop
performing all marriage ceremonies shortly before a state Supreme Courtorder legalizing same-sex marriage takes effect.

-Study: Programs Succeed In Reducing Risky Sex Among HIV-Pos. Minority GayMen
Research has shown that HIV-positive African American and Hispanic men who were sexually abused as children areparticularly vulnerable to engaging in high-risk sex and experiencingdepressive symptoms. Yet few HIV intervention programs exist to help them.

-Catholic Group Denounces Homoerotic Religious Art
A Roman Catholic watchdog group is protesting a student artexhibition in which religious symbols including a crucifix and rosary aredepicted in sexually explicit paintings.

The Advocate
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- Bishop Robinson to Join With Partner on Saturday
Despite the near certainty of death threats and more outcry from otherreligious and conservative groups, Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson plans toenter into a civil union with his partner on Saturday.

National Gay News,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
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-Same-Sex Marriage Will Break Down Prejudices
These days there are many different views and opinions on homosexuality inthe Central Valley compared with California as a whole. As a graduating highschool senior, I feel as though my sexual orientation plays a major role inmy life. Being a lesbian in the Central Valley, I feel as though there is alack of awareness regarding the acceptance of the individuals in mycommunity. The California Supreme Court ruling to lift the ban on same-sexmarriage is a huge first step in creating a better future for gays andlesbians. I do believe that if we can embrace this Supreme Court decision,we can pave the way to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual,and transgender citizens across the nation.

-Human Rights Campaign Endorses Obama
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights group, endorsedSen. Barack Obama for president today, according to a press release. "HRC isproud to throw our full support behind Senator Obama's presidentialcampaign," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "Senator Obama has consistentlyshown that he understands, as we do, that, GLBT rights are civil rights, andhuman rights. Senator Obama has said that embracing 'our gay brothers andsisters' is true to Martin Luther King's vision; I know that Senator Obama'svision is one of equality, fairness, and justice for all of us," he said.

-Las Vegas Rolls Out The Rainbow Carpet
Las Vegas Gay Days & Nights attracted 200 people when it debuted last yearand organizers are hoping to double the attendance for 2008. "The event cameabout because we were quite surprised that Las Vegas kept coming up on ourmarketing surveys as the number two in visited destinations by LGBTtravelers," said Community Marketing, Inc. Projects Director Glen Fishman.
"We thought that was interesting since you don't think of Las Vegas ashaving much of a gay infrastructure - so we thought we would try to givesome structure/cohesiveness to the Vegas experience."

-Tired of Always Coming Out?
Does anyone else tire of having to constantly come out? I thought that onceI told my family and friends I was done. But, I now realize how wrong I was.
I remember the first time telling people, it was exciting because it meant Iwas comfortable with myself. When I completed a survey for work and checkedof the GLBT check-box, it was fun. Now, I got a new doctor, so I had to comeout to him. I started a new job, and eventually came out to the newco-workers. Moved to a new place, which meant coming out to new neighbours(is that your sister? no, it's my girlfriend). It just seems to be aconstant stream. Even when we say we're "completely out" we're not becausewhenever we meet new people, we have to come out to them. It's a neverendingprocess.

-Support Group Forming
To the editor: One evening in late 2004, while I was at work and my wife washome, our then 27-year-old son tearfully called us in California fromWashington, DC and told his mother he was gay. His mother's response wasvery simple and very much to the point. She said: "So?" She assured him weloved and accepted him and that the fact of his being gay wasn't going tochange that. When she asked why he was crying, he said that he knew how"disappointed we would be" that we wouldn't have a grandchild from him. Herreply was that we had him as our son and we were lucky.

Marriage Equality News
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-San Diego voters re-elect Mayor Jerry Sanders; Republican mayor supportedmarriage equality

Pink News - UK
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-My holiday in Iran challenged perceptions
I spent ages researching into Iran, trying to dispel all these notions thatit is a dangerous place to visit. I knew it wasn't, and I was right.

-MP reacts to homophobic assualt by suggesting "ex-gay" therapy for victimThe wife of the First Minister of Northern Ireland has caused controversywith her born-again Christian outlook on life.

-Muslim gang attacks gay catwalk model
Gay people in Holland have been shocked by a public attack on a gay man inAmsterdam. Model Mike Du Pree was taking part in a fashion show to promotetolerance.

-Sober gays will gather at EuroPride
Special events for the thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans men andwomen in Europe who are in recovery from alcoholism will be held alongsidethis year's EuroPride.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Polish Catholic centre offers 'get well' therapy for gays
LUBLIN, Poland (AFP) - Often considered sick, deviant or sinners, gays andlesbians in deeply Catholic Poland are being nudged towards church-steeredprogrammes designed to help them fight their homosexuality. In thesoutheastern city of Lublin, a hub of Roman Catholic teaching, a nondescriptwhite building houses Odwaga, or Courage, an organisation which offers"therapy" for homosexuals -- to the consternation of gay rights groups whofind it an aberration. Behind its walls, men are taught to kick a footballaround, women take cookery lessons and, above all, participants spend timepraying with priests.

-OAS Adopts Resolution to Protect Sexual Rights
States Condemn Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
(New York, June 6, 2008) - The General Assembly of the Organization ofAmerican States (OAS) has unanimously adopted a resolution condemning humanrights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, taking acrucial step to end the silence around violence against lesbian, gay,bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the Americas, Human Rights Watchsaid today. Human Rights Watch called on OAS member governments to ensurethat the resolution is implemented in their countries, and to continue theirsupport for sexual rights internationally. "This resolution is a bold firststep toward ending violence and discrimination," said Scott Long, directorof the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at HumanRights Watch. "For the resolution to have an impact, concrete changes in lawand policy must follow."

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-Last weekend, American Family Outing volunteers took part in anunprecedented and moving meeting with Bishop Eddie Long and members of NewBirth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Georgia. I would like to sharewith you an email I received from one of the participants, Dr. Dionne Bates,an Atlanta psychotherapist. At the end of her message, you will find linksto photos and media coverage of the American Family Outing. Additionally,this update includes information on the 2008 Soulforce Equality Ride, newsabout an award that Soulforce will receive, and the release of the freeonline version of our popular booklet, What the Science Says -- And Doesn'tSay -- About Homosexuality.

-Report on the American Family Outing Visit with Bishop Eddie Long
[...] Lastly, Bishop Long did say that he needed time to learn more aboutLGBT and research scripture. While I do not know what changes the meetingwith him may or may not bring, his willingness to say this left me feelinghopeful that there may be a possibility for future dialogue between him andthe LGBT community.
-Photos of the New Birth Visit from Other Sheep
-Southern Voice: Soulforce worships with New Birth
-Full Media Coverage of the American Family Outing
-Support the American Family Outing with a Donation

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-FL: Gay Activists to Protest Orlando Event, Notion that Homosexuality is'Curable'
Gay activists and clergy are planning a silent protest Saturday morningoutside a conference of ex-gays who contend homosexuality can be cured byreligious counseling. The conference, called "Love Won Out" and sponsored bythe conservative Colorado-based Christian organization Focus on the Family,has sparked controversy and outrage with several billboards in Orlando andother cities that host the traveling event. The billboards declare: "IQuestioned Homosexuality and discovered love won out." The group's messageis that change is possible. "For gays, this is the same as saying you don'thave to be black, you don't have to be Jewish," said Wayne Besen, executivedirector of, a Brooklyn-based gay advocacy group. "Theyrepresent us as broken and incomplete people."

-HIV+ Shoplifter Charged with Aggravated Robbery for Biting Security Guard
One of the nine aggravated crimes in the Cedar Springs area in the last twoweeks didn't involve a gun, knife or club. Instead, the weapon was saliva.
According to police reports, on May 28, Paul Thibodeaux, 26, tried to steala $4.79 Holmes Smokehouse Sausage from the Kroger at 4142 Cedar SpringsRoad. He tried to make off with the sausage by sticking it down his pantsand walking out the front door. But when a security guard tried to stopThibodeaux, the suspect allegedly kicked and punched the guard before bitinghim twice, and drawing blood.

-TX: Will Ed Oakley Run for City Council Again?
Ed Oakley may run for his old District 3 Dallas City Council seat in 2009.
Oakley, the openly gay former councilman who served three terms beforestepping down to run for mayor last year, filed a campaign treasurer reportwith the City Secretary's Office on May 28, records show. The report doesn'tspecify which office Oakley plans to seek, but he lives in District 3 andsays he doesn't plan on moving.

-Why is EMILY's List Endorsing Anti-Semitism, Racism and Homophobia?
EMILY's List, known for funding female candidates for public office, has twomain qualifications for getting their endorsement. You have to be female andyou have to be pro-choice. The organization recently endorsed Nikki Tinkerin her run for Congress from Tennessee. Tinker is running against sittingRepresentative Steve Cohen, a fellow Democrat. Cohen is one of the mostliberal members of Congress with a history of supporting pro-choice and LGBTissues. Why would EMILY's List work to defeat an incumbent Congressman witha history of working in favor of their chosen issue? The answer has to besexism; he's a man. No other explanation can possibly make sense.

-Michigan: Pride-For Better or Worse
Walking down Woodward Avenue last weekend, it was hard to ignore the feelingin the air. It was more than just another festival or one of thousands ofgay pride celebrations worldwide. It was bigger than the sum of all thevendors selling rainbow chotchkies, plus the HRC lackeys with petitions,plus the half-naked men and women on the dance floor, plus the bandana-claddogs. Motor City Pride was the unlikely enormous celebration of the LGBTcommunity in a state with a terrible economic situation and equally terriblecivil rights situation. Key word: Community. As Interim Executive Directorof the Triangle Foundation Kate Runyon announced at the Building Bridgesmarch, we may be different shades of skin colors, but we're all rainbow.

-Michigan: Couples Wed in Front of City Hall
FERNDALE - Following a night of rain and thunder the sun broke through thecrowds to shine over the 8th annual Commitment Ceremony held in front ofFerndale's City Hall. At the event, which is held the day before Motor CityPride, nine same-sex couples exchanged vows and rings and ate wedding cakeas their friends and families looked on. Ferndale Mayor Craig Coveyofficiated the event along with Rev. Mark Bidwell, Rev. Deb Dysert and Rev.Kevin Kinsel of Metropolitan Community Church of Detroit. Covey is the thirdFerndale Mayor to officiate the event. "Ferndale does this to stand up anddemonstrate to the region that this is the right thing to do. This is thefuture. We're simply ahead of our time," Covey said. "We try to demonstratein our own way that we value and embrace diversity."

-Michigan: 'Power in Numbers'
If the forecast for Michigan's LGBT community has been cloudy, you couldn'ttell last Sunday in Ferndale. There, on a breezy, beautiful spring day, thesun was shining - both literally and on the faces of the estimated 50,000people who showed up to the Motor City Pride Festival.

-Pride Across the Generations
"There's a huge difference between being gay and being trans," says LGBTactivist and parent Marti Abernathey. Many would agree, but Abernathey has arare perspective: She is transgender, but has a gay son.
Despite their differences, though, she feels they share a certain bond: "Inthe whole coming-out process, there are a lot of similarities. I think hisunderstanding of that has helped him understand where I'm at. And viceversa."

-Cuba Approves Free Sex-Change Operations
HAVANA - Cuba has authorized sex-change operations and will offer them freefor qualifying citizens, an official said Friday. The move is the latest ina series of changes implemented by President Raul Castro since he succeededhis elder brother, Fidel, in February. Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela,heads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which strongly backs the newpolicy. Health Minister Jose Ramon Balaguer signed a resolution approvingsex-change surgery, said an official at the center who spoke on condition ofanonymity because the measure has not been formally published. Theresolution will be posted on the Internet on Saturday, the official said.

-MA: Transgender Youth Summit Coming to Cambridge
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and the BostonAlliance of LGBT Youth (BAGLY) have teamed up to present the TransgenderYouth Summit, a daylong confab that aims to empower trans youth, create ayouth leadership network, and promote political and civic activism. The freeevent is open to people under age 24 who identify as trans or could fallunder the transgender umbrella. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at theDemocracy Center in Cambridge on June 28.


-The editorial piece below was sent to many Florida newspapers recently asGay Days in Orlando kicks off and the restorative therapy recruiters andrecruits have also come to that town. Please feel free to distribute andreproduce it as you like, just please do not edit the contact orauthor/contact information.

-What I Can Do For You by Marc Adams
Founder/Executive Director, HeartStrong Inc.
As a former exgay and former fundamentalist Baptist Christian, its important to state something that is NEVER said in these articles. Being gay has nothing to do with religion, spirituality, etc. It just doesn't. We've allowed an unholy union to happen between homosexuality and religion.
Religion is a choice. Orientation is not. You can be gay and any religion you choose or you can be gay and choose not to join a particular religion.
No one ever wakes up one morning and says, "I'm an evangelical Christian."
But every day millions of people wake up to a day where they understand their sexual orientation. As a boy growing up in a fundamentalist Baptisthome, going to Jerry Falwell's university, going through years of restorative therapy, it's easy to understand why I, my peers and many like I once was, choose restorative therapy. (And, even after 20 years, many ofthem are still trapped in a simulated heterosexual lifestyle. Still others ended their lives early when the strain of changing one's behavior is too much to bear.)
Marc Adams - Founder/Executive Director, HeartStrong Inc.


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