Friday, September 26, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - September 26, 2008

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Washington Post
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-DEAR AMY: In three months, my wife and I will celebrate our daughter's first
Two of our friends are getting ready to adopt their first child soon, and we couldn't be more thrilled for them, but I am hesitant about having my immediate family attend our daughter's party with this couple.
My mother is a very conservative Catholic, and our friends are gay men. To put it simply, I'm afraid my mother will embarrass us by making a scene at what is supposed to be a joyous occasion for our baby and us. Mom knows we associate with people whom she disapproves of, but I have never told her that we are friends with a gay couple who are adopting a child.
My mother helps us out by baby-sitting during the week (a huge savings for us). I'm afraid her outrage at having her granddaughter exposed to what she would
consider an abnormal lifestyle would be detrimental to the relationships.
Should we have two separate gatherings (one for our conservative families and one for our more open-minded friends), exclude our friends or family, or allow everyone to come and turn my daughter's birthday into a political statement? -- Birthday Dad

-Zulus Defy Virginity Test Ban
South Africa's progressive constitution collides with tribal customs.
The debate over virginity testing is an example of the clash common throughout Africa as governments try to regulate traditional practices that have long held sway, particularly in rural areas. Legal experts say the topic is particularly complex in post-apartheid South Africa, where patriarchal tribal cultures have dusted off long-stifled traditions under one of the world's most progressive constitutions, which lauds diversity but requires cultural customs to bend to individual rights.

-Gay stars thriving but await A-list company
"American Idol" singer Clay Aiken tiptoed out of the closet this week into a world where American gay and lesbian celebrities are thriving, but still awaiting the company of an A-list star. Aiken, 29, confirmed what most people in the music business have long believed when he told People magazine he was gay in an interview released on Wednesday.

South Florida Blade
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-Happy Friday! Italian rugby players in their skivvies
New ad campaign strips ruffians (almost) bare
Speaking of scantily-dressed men, after discussing TFabiano...have you seen the new Dolce & Gabbana ad campaign? ...featuring the Italian rugby players? We won't waste any more time writing about it. Just click here. Then click on either "video" or "gallery." [...] A split gay vote could have been an advantage for State Representative Jack Seiler, one of three race frontrunners. "Now the [gay] vote is more unified," said Albetta. Albetta said he is now shifting his endorsement to Trantalis. He said he does not consider Rynerson to be a threat.

The Advocate
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-Iraqi Gay Activist Murdered in Baghdad
A coordinator of an Iraqi LGBT advocacy group was assassinated Thursday. The 27-year-old university student, known only as Bashar, was assassinated in a barbershop in Baghdad. Militia members burst into the barbershop and "sprayed his body with bullets at point blank range," Peter Tatchell of the U.K gay advocacy OutRage! told the Guardian newspaper. The student organized safe houses for gays and lesbians in Baghdad, where many seek refuge from militias that seek out and kill LGBT people. Iraqi LGBT, which Bashar led, houses about 40 gay men between the ages of 14 and 28, according to Newsweek.

-Pepsi Gives $500K to PFLAG
In a move many gay activists are expecting might anger conservatives, the PepsiCo Foundation renewed its relationship with Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays earlier this week to the tune of a $500,000 grant. The grant was earmarked to support Straight for Equality, a national education campaign created to help straight allies stand up for gay people in their families, communities, and workplaces, and PFLAG chapter support.

-Is Famed Architect Richard Meier Gay?
The son of famed architect Richard Meier, designer of a slew of world-class buildings around the world, is claiming his dad's gay. Joseph Meier, 28, also says that when he told Richard he knew his secret, his father committed him to a New York City psychiatric hospital for five days, the New York Post's Page Six column reports. "I think that the kid of Clay Aiken is very lucky," Joseph told Page Six. "He probably won't risk being fired by his father or be canceled from his will." The latter reference concerns Joseph's contention that his father is trying to disinherit him for "outing" Richard.

-Transgender 'Top Model' Contestant Booted Off Show
Willowy model Isis King, who gained notoriety for being the first transgender woman to compete on America's Next Top Model, was eliminated from Tyra Banks's reality competition on Wednesday night. Banks and her three fellow judges decided King had to go after too many uninspiring photo shoots and catwalk sessions. King's last photo shoot required her to wear a bikini, which made her noticeably uncomfortable. The 22-year-old handled her elimination with grace, but was clearly sad to leave the show. King was the fifth contestant (out of 14 finalists) to leave Top Model, currently in its 11th season. King -- a pre-operative transgender woman -- endured mocking from some of the contestants, support from others. Her inclusion on the popular show -- airing on the CW network, whose viewer demographic skews younger than most networks -- was seen as a breakthrough in transgender acceptance. Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, called King's position on the show an "unprecedented opportunity." (Neal Broverman, The Advocate)

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Xenophobic, homophobic or just afraid?
I have kept quiet for quite some time, reading and listening about the whole Queer Sarajevo Festival issue. Now, I fear that I don't belong in this country any more! The first time I heard abut the given festival I thought it was an interesting thing and a sign that our society - no matter how conservative or closed it seems - was actually tolerant, unlike the picture it often portrays about itself. But, oh. how wrong was I! The fire, from all sides, came storming in. I was quite shocked to see how intolerant people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are towards people who. that. which. hmm. hmmmm. what do I say here... Can I actually say: whom they do not have everything in common with?

-PM against gay unions as a matter of policy
Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates has this week appeared to turn down a proposed law change which was intended to legalise gay unions and which will be debated in Parliament next month. During a bi-monthly debate in Parliament, the Prime Minister confirmed this proposition was neither on the Government's nor the Socialist Party's political agenda. "Homosexual unions are not on the political agenda", he said, reiterating what he said three years ago during electoral campaigning. "It is not in the Government's programme and the PS will not being instructed by other parties".

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Young, black, gay and vulnerable
At 20, you should be getting dressed at midnight to go to a party, harassing your friends to help put gas in your hooptie, falling in and out of love. The last thing you should be doing is sitting in a doctor's office reading phrases like "viral load" on the wall. But that's exactly where Nkosi Figueroa found himself in 2002 -- young and HIV-positive. "It was hard because I thought I knew how HIV worked," said Figueroa, who was working as an outreach worker at a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth. But, like many gay African-American men ages 13-24, he didn't know enough to avoid the virus.

-Court: Sex With Sheep Does Not Warrant Registration as Offender
The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that a Battle Creek man who pleaded no contest to sodomizing a sheep does not have to register as a sex offender after his release from prison.

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-'These kids are invisible': An LGBT youth shelter in words and pictures
It's a gorgeous mid-September Tuesday evening in New York City and the setting sun warmly glows over the streets of Midtown. Chelsea, New York's gayest enclave, shifts into party mode just a few blocks south. To the northeast, the world is starting to queue up for Broadway hits. Meanwhile, commuters rush to the comforts of home.

-Queer Streets: Where are they now?
The two years since the filming of Queer Streets may not have been easy for any of the seven young people profiled in the film, and indeed tragically they proved impossible for one.

-Ex-college basketball player sues university over gay comments
A former Southern Methodist University women's basketball player is suing the school for $2.5 million, claiming she lost a scholarship after complaining her coach made inappropriate comments about her sex life.

-Study: Gays important resource in reducing children in state care
A study released Thursday by a non-partisan adoption group says that states need to tap into the gay and lesbian community to reduce the number of children up for adoption.

-Siciliano: LGBT teen homelessness is an epidemic
As National Coming Out Day approaches, I find myself wondering if the LGBT community is failing too many of the teens who come out.

-Religious leaders call for fast in support of gay marriage ban
Hundreds of pastors have called on their congregations to fast and pray for passage of a ballot measure in November that would put an end to gay marriage in California.

Marriage Equality News
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-CA: Unmarried opposite-sex couples claim discrimination; Maggie Gallagher provides unintended irony
Link: Press Enterprise
Michael Imel wants to put his girlfriend on his health-insurance policy. But the Bermuda Dunes man's employer declined his request because the couple is not married. To Thomas Coleman, Imel's case exemplifies how unmarried people face pervasive discrimination under federal, state and local laws. The group that Coleman heads, Glendale-based Unmarried America, sponsors Unmarried and Single Americans Week, which began Sunday.

-CA: Um, Sorry Prop 8 Folks, but the vote was to OPPOSE
Link: Box Turtle Bulletin
The supporters of Proposition 8 seem to be finding it difficult to extend their endorsements beyond their base. Yes they have all of the Republican State Senators and and 19 of 32 Repubican Assemblymen, but no Democrats or Independants. And they can't get either of the two statewide elected Republicans, the Governor and the Insurance Commissioner. Yes, they have the Church of Scientology of San Diego, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., and Creation Research of North America but they have yet to win the endorsement of any major newspapers or mainstream voters group.

-CA: Levi's joins fight to defeat marriage ban; S. Cal. business group joins battle
Link: San Jose Mercury News
Levi Strauss & Co. is putting its famous pockets behind defeating a ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriage in California. The San Francisco-based jeans maker said Thursday it will co-chair with Pacific Gas & Electric a group trying to drum up opposition to Proposition 8 in the business community. Chief Executive Officer John Anderson said the move is consistent with Levi's long history of supporting civil rights causes.

-Miami mayor fighting marriage ban
Link: Orlando Sentinel blogs
Yesterday, black leaders in Tampa lined up behind the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage known as Amendment 2. Today, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz is joining the fight against the ballot measure. Diaz, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was announced as hte "honorary statewide co-chair" of the SayNo2 campaign to defeat the ban organized by a group called Florida Red and Blue. The other co-chair is former Tampa congressman and gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis. "I don't see how this amendment protects anything," said Diaz in a statement. "Even worse, its vague language could actually take away important existing benefits like health care from Floridians."

-Help Needed in Four States
Link: Gay City News
Much of the political focus in the LGBT community is on electing Barack Obama and defeating the constitutional amendment in California that would end marriage equality, which became legal earlier this year under an order from that state's high court. There are three other measures that are struggling for support. In Florida, where same-sex marriage is already barred, an amendment is on the ballot to ban it in the Constitution. Proponents of the measure need 60 percent of the vote to ratify it. In Arizona, the only state to defeat a ballot initiative versus same-sex marriage in 2006, partly because it also banned any partner benefits, an amendment that would just ban same-sex marriage is up this November. Like the California initiative, it requires a simple majority. And in Arkansas, where the courts have ruled that the state cannot discriminate against gay couples in adoption, there is a ballot measure to ban all unmarried couples from adopting.

-CA: Pro-Prop 8 LDS Leaders--"The Work Depends On Us"
Link: Box Turtle Bulletin
Amid continuing reports of heavy Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints'
involvement in anti-marriage campaigns in California, and Arizona, a Wiki website has released a document which provides further evidence that the nuts and bolts of the Prop 8 campaign in California is almost exclusively an LDS-driven effort. The brief document, which was on document posted on Wikileaks earlier this week, appears to be brief notes for a meeting of LDS officials working to defeat California's Prop 8. According to the document: The brethren emphasized that there wasn't much participation from non-LDS people. The work depends on us.

-Another Brazilian Wedding
Link: Made in Brazil
The first gay wedding in the northeastern state of Paraíba took place this past weekend. Edvaldo Brasil and Luciano Mondego signed a contract of stable union during an Afro-Brazilian ceremony in a packed auditorium at the state's public university. Watch the news as they aired on local TV on the video below. [In Portuguese.]

Pink News - UK
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-Gay Canadians urged to vote Conservatives out of office
A leading gay and lesbian media group in Canada has published a 16-page expose of the Conservative party alleging that they "pandered to antigay, faith-based groups to win a minority government in 2006."

-Iranian President attacks US acceptance of homosexuality
The President of Iran has admitted in an interview that there may be "a few" gay people in his country, but attacked homosexuality as destructive to society.

-New report shows rise in hate crimes across Europe
A human rights group has published research into incidents of violent hate crime against minority groups in 56 North American and European states. New-York based Human Rights First said that targeting of minority groups is increasing or occurring at historically high levels in many of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) member states.

-Labour party votes overwhelmingly for trans inclusion
A change to the Labour party rule book that adds trans inclusion has been backed at the annual conference by more than 98% of delegates. Labour's general secretary Ray Collins said the trans inclusion motion had the support of the party's National Executive Committee.

-Bosnia gay festival closes after attacks at opening event
The organisers of a Queer Festival in Sarajevo have decided to close after some participants were attacked by an angry mob last night. "We cannot guarantee the safety of visitors," organiser Svetlana Djurkovic told Reuters.

-Senate to consider same-sex benefits for US federal employees
A new report ahead of a US Senate hearing into The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act has costed the introduction of benefits for the same-sex partners of federal employees. More than 30,000 employees with same-sex partners would benefit if Congress enacts this bill, the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law reported.

-London to host Muslim LGBT conference
The tenth anniversary of the establishment of a leading Muslim lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans support organisation will be celebrated with a conference in London next month. Imaan is the largest network for Muslim LGBT people outside the USA.

-Awards celebrate contributions to black gay community
Individuals and organisations that have made a difference to the lives of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have been honoured at the second Black LGBT Community Awards. Advocacy group UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, actor Dean Atta, health promotion group Big Up and newspaper Pink Paper were among the award winners.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Palin's Alleged Library Censorship Opens Up Wider Debate
by Scott Stiffler | EDGE Contributor | Edge Boston
Past actions by Sarah Palin as the mayor of a small Alaskan city have ignited a wider debate as to the role of public libraries, socially progressive authors and conservative organizations. Sometimes, it seems all three disparate groups find themselves on the same page in their call for access to information. Meanwhile, the Republican vice-presidential candidate faces scrutiny for a twelve-year-old series of events that call into question her yen for censorship and penchant for terminating employees who don't toe the line.

-Bush "Conscientious Refusal" Puts Us All at Risk
by: Dr. Wendy Chavkin | RH Reality Check | Truthout
Today is the last day for public comment on the Bush administration's proposed stronger job protections for doctors and other health workers who refuse to participate in abortions because of religious or moral objections. (Photo: Plamen Petkov / SELF magazine) Imagine a lifeguard at a public beach who sees a swimmer caught in a riptide but feels he cannot rescue her because his faith prohibits contact between the sexes. He calls for his partner who does not share his beliefs, and the woman is saved. The government hears about this and intervenes - not by demanding that the lifeguard rescue all swimmers but by telling him that he does not need to notify another guard, regardless of the consequence for half of the world's swimmers. Deciding that religious freedom is what needs saving, the government proposes antidiscrimination regulations that extend its version of the right of refusal to the people who repair the lifeboats, train the guards and insure the beach.

-These Sisses May Be Crying (or Laughing) All the Way to the Bank
Gay & Lesbian Times
The near-tears testimony of one of four firefighters suing San Diego for being forced to participate in the 2007 Pride parade isn't generating a lot of sympathy in our office (surprise!). Firefighter Alex Kane, who, along with Capt. John Ghiotto, Capt. Jason Hewitt and firefighter Chad Allison, had to take a break from testifying Tuesday, after describing the anger, confusion, humiliation, embarrassment and abandonment he felt during the parade and in its aftermath. Confusion, humiliation, embarrassment and abandonment are big words for a little man. We thought the firefighters and their lawsuit couldn't disgrace this city any more; turns out, we were wrong. Kane's on-the-stand stunt Tuesday drew ire on The San Diego Union-Tribune's Web site from users saying this cash-grabbing bunch needs to toughen up or find a new life calling. Allison, who volunteered for search and rescue at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, said the stress and anxiety he felt following the Pride parade prompted him to seek counseling.

-Republican Source: Lesbian Rumors Ruined Condoleezza Rice's VP Chances
by PageOneQ
It was Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, not Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, that was the first choice for Senator John McCain's female running mate, according to a mid-level member of the Republican National Committee. "Once [Democratic presidential nominee, Illinois Senator] Obama selected [Delaware Senator] Biden" instead of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the source told journalist Ian Halperin, "they had this theory that Condi was the perfect candidate to put up against him. She's tough, conservative and a hawk, not to mention a football fanatic, which would be more than enough for white men. "They never expected traditionally Democratic Blacks and women to vote for her in large numbers, but argued that if she could just sway 5-10% of Blacks and 10% of women to defect, it could be enough to tilt the election towards McCain in a number of crucial swing states. At this point, Palin still wasn't on anybody's radar screen."

-Transsexual Turkish singer defends self in court
Associated Press | International Herald Tribune
ANKARA, Turkey: A transsexual singer charged with illegally criticizing mandatory military service in Turkey said in court Wednesday she would say the same thing again. Singer Bulent Ersoy has acknowledged saying on television that if she had children she would not want them to join the army to battle Kurdish rebels who are fighting for self-rule. "I spoke in the name of humanity. Even if I were to face execution, I would say the same thing," the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Ersoy as telling the court in Istanbul. In Turkey, defendants are not expected to enter a plea before a panel of judges hears testimony at a trial and returns a verdict. Ersoy questioned the fairness of a law making it a crime to criticize Turkey's mandatory 15-month military service for all men over 20. If found guilty, she could face two years in prison.


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