Sunday, September 21, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - September 21, 2008

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New York Times
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-Several Portraits Emerge of Engineer in Crash
He lived a solitary life, working long days and long nights as the engineer of a commuter train that crawled across Southern California, making stop after routine stop. He loved trains, so much that he encouraged teenagers who showed their own enthusiasm for the rails, exchanging text messages while he was at work, one boy asserted last week. That, the authorities say, may have contributed to the worst California train disaster in 50 years.

-Like the Makeup Model, Warts and All?
AS beauty goes, Ellen DeGeneres is not cut from the same cloth as her bride, Portia de Rossi, or an actress like Gwyneth Paltrow. With her sharpish features and flair for courting controversy, Ms. DeGeneres, 50, would seem an unlikely candidate to represent a major cosmetics brand.

-Editorial: The Candidates and the Court
Among the many issues voters need to consider in this campaign is this vital fact: The next president is likely to appoint several Supreme Court justices. Those choices will determine the future of the law, and of some of Americans' most cherished rights.

-Art: Home Views, Bound by Ice or Leather
AT the age of 9, after writing a book report on Lewis Hine's images of child laborers from the early 20th century, Catherine Opie sat her parents down and passionately announced that she wanted to be a social-documentary photographer. "I talked to them about this photograph of a little girl who worked in a factory in North Carolina and how this guy was able to change the laws," Ms. Opie, now 47, said. She spent the next year of her childhood meticulously documenting her family and neighborhood in Sandusky, Ohio, and hasn't stopped taking pictures since.

-Political Memo: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Tied to Obama Factor
Could Senator Barack Obama's popularity among black voters hurt gay couplesin California who want to marry? That is the concern of opponents ofProposition 8, a measure on the November ballot that would amend the stateconstitution to ban same-sex marriage, which was legalized in May by theState Supreme Court.

Washington Post
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-A Real McCain Supporter? Or Just a Clintonite on the Rebound?
Lynette Long's friends can barely sputter their objections. "How could you?" they say. "What about the environment? What about gay rights? What about Roe v. Wade?" Long's son calls, flabbergasted. And her patients in affluent, liberal Bethesda? They can hardly fathom it.

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-S. Florida: Lambda Chorale changing minds, hearts
Director Keating sees Lambda Chorale as more than music. Conducting 30 singers in front of a live audience is a thrill you just don't get from sitting behind a desk. But it's only one of the reasons artistic director Gary Keating gave for returning to lead the group he founded in 1991, the South Florida Lambda Chorale. The Wilton Manors resident left the group five years ago, at age 51, to pursue a doctorate at the University of Miami. But when members of the predominantly gay and lesbian chorale asked him to come back, he did.,0,667327.story

-Details of presidential poll
The issues
Of the issues debated in this election, which is most important to you in your choice of candidate?,0,7715182.story

Miami Herald
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Pinecrest's Temple Beth Am welcomes its second female rabbi
Rabbi Rachel Greengrass grew up feeling that she wasn't an authentic Jew. ''I had Orthodox grandparents and I thought that was really Judaism,'' said Greengrass, 28, whose grandfather was an Orthodox rabbi.

-Was the fact that this DVD appeared only in papers in swing states coincidental? Was it a thinly veiled attempt to help elect one particular candidate?
Would The Miami Herald accept advertising supplements advocating racism, sexism, anti-Semitism or gay bashing? If the answer is No, then why did The Miami Herald accept advertising advocating anti-Muslim hatred?

-Do yourself a favor -- read a book
Of course, we all have questions for Sarah Palin: Does she actually think living across the Bering Strait from Russia constitutes foreign policyexpertise? Does she really take the parable of Adam and Eve as literaltruth? How, exactly, does one field dress a moose? And why would one wantto?

Steve Rothaus
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-Poll: Gay marriage amendment 2 percent shy of passing. Margin of error: 3.5 percentage points.
From Saturday's Miami Herald report by Lesley Clark and Jose Pagliery abouta current Miami Herald-St. Pete Times poll of Floridians' attitudes on stateissues: The survey of 800 voters was conducted Sept. 14 to Sept. 17 and hasa margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Gay Azeri artist Babi Badalov has been deported from the UK to Azerbaijan via BMI flight
Sorry, Babi! We failed to keep you in the UK and potentially safeguard your life. If anything happens to Babi in Azerbaijan, British government and the BMI airline will bear the ultimate responsibility for that. Below is a message which I just received via Keep Babi Safe in Cardiff Facebook group: "As far as we know, Babi left the country on BMI flight BD929 to Baku at 3.15 pm today (Saturday 20th Sept).

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-John Burnside dies at 91; gay rights activist, teleidoscope inventor
John Burnside, the inventor of a kaleidoscope-like device called the teleidoscope and an early gay movement activist who was the longtime partner of the late gay rights pioneer Harry Hay, has died. He was 91. Burnside, who had recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma brain cancer, died Sunday at his home in San Francisco, said Joey Cain, a longtime friend.,0,699210.story

-There has been much discussion here on Bilerico about the importance of the November elections to the LGBT community and the country at large. Much of that discussion has focused on the presidential race because the differences between Barack Obama and John McCain are so stark. But, it is also criticalthat we increase the number of pro-LGBT Democrats in Congress to ensure that legislation protecting our civil rights reaches the president's desk. Ashwin is one of the Democratic Party's best chances for taking over a previously-GOP seat this election cycle. He is strongly pro-marriage, pro-inclusive ENDA and is close to his openly-gay brother. As a Marine JAG, Madia defended a gay servicemember facing discharge under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and he is passionate about
overturning DADT.

From MoveOn.Org
Great news: Our young-voter registration program is going strong. Thousands of canvassers have hit the ground running in 14 critical battleground states, and they're registering lots of new voters each day. But now it's crunch time-registration deadlines start hitting in just two weeks, and that means we have to ramp up quickly. Can you help by chipping in $12 or more today? If you do, we'll send you a brand-new, baby blue Obama T-shirt-and your donation will help pay for the offices, canvassers, and technology we need to hit our goal of registering 500,000 young voters in swing states.

Lambda Legal in Miami
Thursday, October 2, 2008
6:30 - 9:00 pm - National Hotel - 1677 Collins Avenue
Join Lambda Legal at the National Hotel in Miami Beach for an evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres to celebrate our recent victories, support our current cases and hear guest speaker and Southern Regional Director, Heidi Williams, discuss the our strategic civil rights work across the nation. To RSVP or for more information, including sponsorship opportunities, please contact Rick Hill at 786-473-6126 or purchase tickets online!

From Transgender Equality
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-Washington D.C.: Court rules that Title VII prohibits gender identity discrimination
Yesterday, in the first ever victory directly on this point, the ACLU won a federal court decision holding that discrimination against a transgender person constitutes per se sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. In Schroer v Billington, Judge James Robertson of the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Library of Congress discriminated against Diane Schroer when it rescinded a job offer to her after Schroer disclosed that she was transitioning from male to female. The most important aspect of the decision is the ruling that discrimination based on gender identity is literally discrimination based on sex.

The Advocate
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-Mitcham on AussieBum Team?
The Australian website is reporting that gay diver Matthew Mitcham -- who took home a gold medal last month in Beijing -- is very close to nabbing his first endorsement deal. If reports are true, Mitcham would be the new celebrity sponsor for aussieBum, an Australian underwear and swimwear company. "We were fortunate enough to meet Matthew prior to competing in the Beijing Olympics," aussieBum founder Sean Ashby told, without confirming a deal. "Everyone in the company watched Matthew dive. To witness this man winning gold was a moment we will talk about with great pride -- an Australian who chose to believe in himself."

Pink News - UK
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-George Michael arrested for drug offences
Pop star George Michael was arrested in a public toilet in Hampstead on Friday and later cautioned for possession of drugs. The 45-year-old's latest brush with the law happened after a suspicious toilet attendant called police. Michael has talked openly about his cannabis use in the past, and last year even smoked it during a recorded TV inteview with ITV's The South Bank Show.

-Belgrade queer festival defiant after Fascist attack
A group of 25 people were the victims of an "organised attack by fascists" after attending the 5th Queerbeograd festival in Belgrade.

Marriage Equality News
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-Pope Seeks Greater Role for Catholics in Europe on Policy Issues
Link: New York Times
Is the Catholic Church a beleaguered underdog, fighting for a voice in secular Europe, or a still-mighty power, wielding its influence on European law through friendly center-right governments? That question, which has been building momentum throughout Pope Benedict XVI's three-year-old papacy, came mightily to the fore in his recent trip to France.

-CA: Prop. 8 Opponents Worried about the Economy
Link: The Bilerico Project
The nation's economic crisis is causing grave concern among LGBT activists fighting Prop 8, the initiative on the California ballot this November that would overturn the right of same sex couples to marry. "With the economy in so much trouble, we are concerned about the impact on our fundraising since so much money is coming from small donors," says Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California (EQCA) and a leader in the No on 8/Equality for All coalition. "It will take an extraordinary effort by all of the organizations and donors in order for us to fully fund the campaign."

-Undecided voters key to Florida marriage ban
Link: St. Petersburg Times
A proposal to ban gay marriage in the Florida Constitution is within striking distance of success, according to a new poll. The St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9 survey shows 58 percent of voters approve the proposal to define marriage as between a man and woman. The poll, which was also underwritten by the Miami Herald, has a margin of error of 3.5 percent, meaning Amendment 2 has a shot at getting the 60 percent required to amend the state Constitution. The poll showed 37 percent oppose the measure and 5 percent are undecided.

Daily Queer News
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-GA: Atlanta police to get lesson in trans, gay terminology
By RYAN LEE | Southern Voice
The Atlanta Police Department's LGBT liaison is preparing to make the rounds at police roll calls next week to remind officers to use respectful and appropriate terminology when dealing with gay, lesbian and transgender individuals. Officer D. Harris said all officers already received such language training as part of the course she teaches at the police academy, but she feels compelled to refresh everyone's memory after a Zone 5 officer used the term "transvestite" in his police report about prostitution arrests made in Midtown Sept. 5. "Part of my training is training the officers to make sure they don't use certain types of language," said Harris, who called the incident "a slip through the cracks."

-GA: Gay on Campus
By MATT SCHAFER | Southern Voice
Soulforce, a religious gay rights organization, plans to highlight diversity issues in Georgia's college system when its "Equality Ride" visits Morehouse University and Spelman College Oct. 9 and 10. The Equality Ride announcement comes as Southern Voice completes a survey of Georgia's top colleges, which shows Spelman and Morehouse have both made strides in including openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students through non-discrimination policies and academics. "Most people see the Equality Ride as a ride to places where discrimination against GLBT students is blatant, and certainly with Morehouse and Spelman it's not the case," said Jarrett Lucas, co-director of the Equality Ride. The Equality Ride has visited over 50 Christian colleges in the past years, and has made national headlines as members were arrested in social justice protests. This year marks the first time Soulforce is visiting historically black colleges

-Negative Feelings about Sexuality Predict Health
By Rick Nauert, Ph.D. | PsychCentral
A new study shows that the degree of internalized homonegativity (negative attitude towards homosexuality) among homosexual men is what predicts poor mental and sexual health - not the act of being homosexual.
As part of attending an HIV prevention seminar, 422 Midwestern gay and bisexual men completed surveys assessing their degree of homosexuality, their degree of positive or negative attitudes towards homosexuality, and a range of mental and sexual health variables. In all cases, internalized homonegativity, not being homosexual, predicted poorer mental health (particularly increased depression) and worse sexual health.
The study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Homosexuality.

-SC: Parade Hopes 'So Gay' Works
By Meg Kinnard | The Associated Press | Myrtle Beach
COLUMBIA -Members of an S.C. gay rights organization said Tuesday they hope a recent controversy about ads proclaiming the state "so gay" will stir up interest in this year's gay pride celebration. "We truly believe that this week, South Carolina is 'so gay,'" said Ryan Wilson, president of SC Pride. The annual S.C. Pride Festival and Celebration is being held in Columbia this week. Events include a film festival, parade and appearance by entertainer and female impersonator RuPaul. Wilson said he expects about 7,000 to attend.
The theme: "South Carolina will be so gay," a reference to an ad campaign that roiled the state this summer. The S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism originally joined the campaign, which was to include posters overseas saying "South Carolina is so gay" and encouraging gay travelers to visit the state's historic sites and beaches. But the state agency dropped out in July, saying the project hadn't been properly reviewed, and a tourism department employee involved in the promotion resigned.

-Fire chief recounts gay pride parade
Fire Chief Tracy Jarman and the assistant chief who ordered four San Diego firefighters to attend last year's gay pride parade testified yesterday in the men's sexual harassment case that they understand how some people could find the event offensive. The firefighters - John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison - are suing the city for unspecified damages.
They said they were sexually harassed at the parade and mistreated at work after filing complaints. The trial began Monday before Judge Michael Anello and is expected to last two more weeks. The four men say they suffered emotional distress because of what they saw and heard: cat calls, simulated sex acts among men wearing nothing but briefs, and lewd comments and gestures. Jarman and Assistant Chief Jeff Carle marched in last year's parade ahead of Engine 5, which carried the four firefighters. Neither Jarman nor Carle said they felt sexually harassed, but both testified that they can see why the parade would offend some people.


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