Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GLBT DIGEST - November 18, 2008

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT rays.list@comcast.net and we'll be happy to send the full article.

New York Times
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-California Asks Court to Weigh Ban on Gay Marriage
The California attorney general asked the State Supreme Court on Monday to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the voter initiative passed two weeks ago that bans same-sex marriage. The attorney general, Jerry Brown, said in a brief that such a review was necessary to provide closure and clarity on the ballot measure, which has prompted protests across the country and several challenges filed with the court.

-Madrid Journal: Queen Sofia Unamused by a Book Quoting Her
MADRID - When the English monarch in Alan Bennett's novella, "The Uncommon Reader," decides to write her memoirs, she takes the prudent step of abdicating first. Queen Sofía of Spain may be wondering whether she, too,
should have waited for her husband, King Juan Carlos, to leave the throne before granting a Spanish journalist a series of uncharacteristically candid interviews.

-Murder of Transgender Woman Revives Scrutiny
The videotaped beating of a transgender woman in police custody in Memphis last February led to charges against two officers and national condemnation from gay rights groups. The officers were fired, and the Police Department overhauled some of its procedures and began sensitivity training for the entire force.

-Obama's Church Choice Likely to Be Scrutinized
Churches in the nation's capital have started extending invitations to President-elect Barack Obama and his family, touting their African-American roots, their ties to presidents past and to Obama himself.

-Rare Treatment Is Reported to Cure AIDS Patient
Doctors in Berlin are reporting that they cured a man of AIDS by giving him transplanted blood stem cells from a person naturally resistant to the virus. But while the case has novel medical implications, experts say it will be of little immediate use in treating AIDS. Top American researchers called the treatment unthinkable for the millions infected in Africa and impractical even for insured patients in top research hospitals.

-Diocese in Texas Leaves Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth on Saturday became the latest to break with the national church over a dispute that involves the ordination of an openly gay bishop, with clergy members and lay leaders voting overwhelmingly to align itself with a South American province.

-Gay Advocates Protest Marriage Ban Across Nation
Gay rights supporters waving rainbow colors marched, chanted and danced in cities coast to coast Saturday to protest the vote that banned gay marriage in California and to urge supporters not to quit the fight for the right to wed. Crowds gathered near public buildings in cities large and small, including Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Fargo, to vent their frustrations, celebrate gay relationships and renew calls for change.

-They Couldn't Get Past the 'Mimbos'
NOT long after Nicole Caldwell became editor in chief of Playgirl magazine, she realized that looking at photos of naked men all day was not everything she had imagined it would be. When she would meet them, there was often a curious vapidity to the men, who Ms. Caldwell took to describing as "mimbos."

-The Seven-Day Itch
Susan Cheever is a sex addict. She wants you to know that she has had sex - a lot of sex - with all sorts of men. She has committed adultery. She has been up to hanky-panky in hotel rooms. She has made eyes at lawyers and book salesmen and the guys from the moving company.

-Op-Ed Columnist: The Moose Stops Here
ELECTION junkies in acute withdrawal need suffer no longer. Though the exciting Obama-McCain race is over, the cockfight among the losers has only just begun. The conservative crackup may be ugly, but as entertainment, it's two thumbs up!

-Across U.S., Big Rallies for Same-Sex Marriage
In one of the nation's largest displays of support for gay rights, tens of thousands of people in cities across the country turned out in support of same-sex marriage on Saturday, lending their voices to an issue that many gay men and lesbians consider a critical step to full equality.

-New York Observed: That Certain Feeling
I WAS at an election party at Room Service, a swanky gay bar in Midtown, the moment around 11 p.m. that CNN proclaimed Barack Obama the next president of the United States. A joyous roar erupted in the bar, and within seconds my cellphone vibrated, flashing my mother's number.

-To the Editor:
William Logan analyzes Bishop and Lowell's relationship through a problematically heteronormative lens, maintaining that Bishop and Lowell were "star-crossed lovers" despite the fact that Bishop's homosexuality precluded the possibility of a romance between her and Lowell. Logan also refers to the pair's "might-have-been affair"; however, it only might have been had Bishop been heterosexual or had Lowell been biologically female.
That is, only if they had been entirely different people.
Logan's emphasis on the hypo­thetical heterosexual romance between Bishop and Lowell performs a disservice to gay people by trivializing the legitimacy and immutability of their sexuality, while ignoring straight people's capacity to have friends of the opposite sex without being attracted to them. Bishop and Lowell's correspondence is substantially more significant in its actual status as a correspondence between friends and literary peers than in its hypothetical status as romantic love.
Katharine Olla
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Washington Post
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-For Gays in India, Fear Rules
Blackmailers Thrive Using Law That Makes Homosexuality a Crime
BANGALORE, India -- Even with the white horse rented, his gold-speckled turban fitted and the wedding hall lined up, Mahesh did not feel ready to get married, at least not to a woman.

-Same-sex marriage ban to hit California economy: mayor
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - California's vote last week to ban same-sex marriage will hit the state's economy by making it harder for cutting-edge industries like biotechnology to recruit top talent, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday. Newsom said the passage of Proposition 8, which amended the state's constitution to halt same-sex marriages less than six months after a state Supreme Court decision legalized them, gives an edge to Massachusetts and Connecticut, which permit same-sex marriage and compete with California in key sectors.

-Gay couples can start to marry in Connecticut
A judge cleared the way Wednesday for gay marriage in Connecticut, a victory for advocates stung by California's referendum that banned same-sex unions in that state. Minutes after a judge entered a final ruling, the New Haven city clerk's office issued its first marriage license to a gay couple. It went to Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman of New Haven, one of the eight couples who successfully challenged a state law prohibiting gay marriage.

-Gay Veterans Gather To Honor Their Own
Military's Outsiders Commend the Fallen For Sacrifice, Service
It was a short ceremony, and not that many people came. Maybe 25, and one small white dog. People gathered around the grave. There was the American flag and the rainbow-colored gay movement flag. There was the singing of the national anthem and poetry and the remembrance of fallen soldiers and the playing of taps on a trumpet in the brisk winter air.

-TURNING POINT: The Center-Right Nation Exits Stage Left
Here's the main thought Republicans are consoling themselves with these days: Notwithstanding President-elect Barack Obama, a nearly filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and the largest Democratic majority in the House of Representatives since 1993, the United States is still a center-right country. Sure, voters may be angry with Republicans now, but eventually, as the Bush years recede and the GOP modernizes its brand, a basically right-tilting electorate will come back home. Or, in the words of the animated rock band the Gorillaz, "I'm useless, but not for long/The future is comin' on."

-Around the Nation: Calif. Gay Marriage Ban Spurs Protest Across U.S.
Tens of thousands of gay rights supporters rallied throughout the nation Saturday, protesting the California vote that banned same-sex marriage there.

The Wall Street Journal
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-What if Voters Killed Interracial Marriage?
Your editorial "Voters and Marriage" (Nov. 6) on gay marriage in California leaves out some pertinent facts. The state legislature (the representatives of the electorate) passed gay marriage bills twice and the governor vetoed both bills on the grounds that it was up to the courts to decide. The courts did decide as you say "by judicial fiat" and now the voters have spoken. What would the vote have been had voters voted on interracial marriage when it was essentially forced on them by judicial fiat; or what about integration of the military by President Truman? By all accounts both moves would have been defeated by a much wider margin.
Should voters be able to take away rights based on equal protection under the law by a simple majority or any majority at all? Minorities beware.
Robert J. Del Bonta
San Francisco

-Gay-Rights Supporters Protest in U.S.
Gay-rights supporters in the state where same-sex couples first exchanged wedding vows gathered Saturday to protest the California vote that banned gay marriage there and to urge supporters not to quit the fight for the right to wed.

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-Gays' right to marry is nation's newest struggle
Imagine that you lived in a society where 90 percent of the people were gay. You were straight, and you were quite happy that way. You didn't want to change, and you didn't see yourself as "immoral," even though others labeled you as such. You paid your taxes, worked hard and tried to live by the Golden Rule.

-U.S. Rep. Mark Foley reveals the demons he faced after being abused in church as a child
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley says in an exclusive interview airing today on WPTV-Ch. 5 that he wishes he had "confronted those demons" of sexual abuse suffered as a child before launching a political career that collapsed amid national scrutiny of his private life. The Palm Beach County Republican served in Washington, Tallahassee and Lake Worth for nearly three decades until his resignation from Congress in 2006 after news reports of his sexually explicit online chats with congressional pages. "Torturous. Difficult. Embarrassing. I don't know how many adjectives I can throw at you to quantify what has been the experience," Foley said of the emotional fallout of his political scandal - a disgrace that presaged the defeat of other congressional incumbents in the 2006 elections.

-Mormon comments give gays hope for new Utah laws
Equality Utah asks for support on several bills
Gay-rights activists see opportunities for their cause in Utah thanks to Mormon church officials, who strongly supported California's proposition denying same-sex couples the right to marry but said they did not object to granting those couples certain other rights. The advocacy group Equality Utah is asking The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support several bills that will be submitted to the Legislature supporting rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Mormon support - especially in the form of campaign contributions - was an important factor in the passage of California's Proposition 8, which rejected a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.

Miami Herald
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-Puerto Rico bars bias against gay couples
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's outgoing governor said Monday he has prohibited government agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples, but the governor-elect indicated he will reverse the measure to avoid higher expenses for health care.

Experts clash on gays' bids to adopt children
Dueling social-science testimony marked a trial over a gay North Miami man's petition to adopt his two foster children.

-NY eyes allowing gay marriage; opponents vow fight
Even as voters in California banned same-sex marriage in a tight referendum, Tuesday's election opened the door for the same debate in New York. The pending shift in state Senate control away from Republicans removes one clear obstacle to legalizing gay marriage in New York, though opponents aren't conceding anything yet and advocates say they have work to do.

-GAY RIGHTS: Some blacks forgot sting of discrimination
That's as good a summary as any of a sad irony from last week's historic election. You will recall one of the major storylines of that day was the fact that, in helping make Barack Obama the nation's first black president, African Americans struck a blow against a history that has taught us all too well how it feels to be demeaned and denied. Unfortunately, while they were striking that blow, some black folks chose to demean and deny someone else. Last week, you see, California voters passed an initiative denying recognition to same-sex marriages. This overturned an earlier ruling from the state Supreme Court legalizing those unions. The vote was hardly a surprise; surely there is nothing in politics easier than to rouse a majority of voters against the ''threat'' of gay people being treated like people.

-Palin and Co. abate election withdrawal
What's an addict to do? A dozen days since the election and I'm still in the grip of incessant compulsion. Can't read five minutes before the obsessive habit comes whispering in my ear. Causes me to lop off conversations mid-sentence, run to my computer. Watching TV, I feel the exigent craving rubbing up against me like a hungry cat demanding Kibble. More Kibble, dammit!

-CNN reports Amendment 2 vote percentages by religion
Reader Dan Friedman asks, 'Have you seen the breakout of the Jewish vote on the amendment?'

South Florida Blade
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-Mormon comments give gays hope for new Utah laws
Equality Utah asks for support on several bills
Gay-rights activists see opportunities for their cause in Utah thanks to Mormon church officials, who strongly supported California's proposition denying same-sex couples the right to marry but said they did not object to granting those couples certain other rights. The advocacy group Equality Utah is asking The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support several bills that will be submitted to the Legislature supporting rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Mormon support - especially in the form of campaign contributions - was an important factor in the passage of California's Proposition 8, which rejected a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage.

-City elects nation's first trans mayor
Stu Rasmussen defeated incumbent Ken Hector
Plenty of politicians reinvent themselves, but few do it quite like Mayor-elect Stu Rasmussen. Rasmussen has been a fixture in Silverton politics for more than 20 years and had twice before been mayor of the small city 45 miles south of Portland.

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-Study illustrates need for LGBT anti-discrimination laws
A study released Tuesday by a University of California - Los Angeles think tank has found workplace discrimination against LGBT employees is as widespread as that against women and visible minorities.

-Gay-friendly rental car companies
Last summer, my partner and I flew to North Carolina for a friend's wedding. When we arrived at the Avis counter to pick up our rental car, I asked if I could add her as an additional driver, and was told it would cost $35. As the woman behind the counter ran my credit card, she casually drawled, "Yep. It's thirty-five dollars unless you're co-workers, spouses or domestic partners." My partner and I exchanged a look and I knew we were both thinking the same thing: "Is it worth thirty-five dollars to convince someone that we're gay? In public? In a red state?"

-Besen: Prop 8 and race
I can understand why white gay people are angry. I certainly am. But let's take a step back and look at this dispassionately. I believe our failure with the African American vote (70 percent voted in favor of Prop. 8) has more to do with education levels than race. In general, people with lower levels of education - of any race - do not vote for gay rights. White people are twice as likely to graduate college as black people. This accounts for the difference by race on Prop. 8.

-Doctor suspended for anti-gay remarks
(London) A well-known British doctor's medical license was suspended for one year after a homophobic letter he wrote was published in a medical journal. In a letter to the editor of Pulse - a journal for general practitioners - Dr Muhammad Siddiq, the head of the Islamic Medical Association, said that gay patients deserve neither help nor pity but they do need "the stick of the law to put them on the right path."

The Advocate
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-Gay Is the New Black?
In the wake of California's passage of Proposition 8, protests are popping up around the country -- and so are comparisons between gays' and African-Americans' fights for equality. Is gay the new black? Michael Joseph Gross examines two struggles for civil rights. Plus: Photos from Wednesday night's rally in New York City.

-Focus on the Family Lays Off 202 Workers
Focus on the Family will eliminate 202 jobs, making it the biggest layoff in the history of James Dobson's Christian ministry, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The nonprofit's budget has been adjusted from $160 million in the 2008 fiscal year to $138 million, according to The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

-Study: Gay Men Less Likely to Cut Spending Because of Economy
A new survey shows that gay men are less likely to cut back on spending due to the economy than heterosexuals or lesbians. The online Harris Interactive poll indicates that in several categories, gay men report being less affected by the looming recession.

-Trevor Project Gains Accreditation From National Suicide Group
The Trevor Project -- the nation's only 24-hour crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youths -- received accreditation from the American Association of Suicidology this month. With the AAS endorsement, the Trevor Project is recognized as an exemplary suicide prevention program according to nationally recognized standards. To receive the accreditation the Trevor Project was required to undergo an evaluation process that looked at the organization's administration, training, and handling of life-threatening crises, among other topics.

-Ashton Kutcher Gets Emotional About Prop. 8
OK, so it doesn't really surprise us that Ashton Kutcher is against Prop. 8. It just sort of seems to go with his whole vibe. But the fact that he got so passionate about that fact that Americans are ever voting on civil rights took us off guard. Check out Ashton getting right down to the heart of why Prop. 8 is so wrong on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher.

-Utah Leaders Push Forward on LGBT Rights Legislation
In the wake of Proposition 8, pro-gay Equality Utah is taking the comments of Mormon Church elders as a signal to move forward with legislation that will expand the rights of gays and lesbians in the state, reports The New York Times. Defending their members' estimated $20 million contribution to the passage of California's gay marriage ban, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said they are not antigay and wouldn't deny certain legal protections to gays and lesbians."We are taking the LDS Church at its word," Stephanie Pappas, Equality Utah's chairwoman, told The Times.

-Etheridge: No More Taxes!
Melissa Etheridge is vowing to stop paying her taxes now that California citizens have voted to bar gay couples from marrying. "I am taking that to mean I do not have to pay my state taxes because I am not a full citizen," the 44-year-old lesbian singer-songwriter wrote in a blog post on The Daily Beast. "I mean that would just be wrong, to make someone pay taxes and not give them the same rights, sounds sort of like that taxation without representation thing from the history books." Etheridge goes on to say that she's excited about the enormous savings not paying taxes will bring her: "There is a lot I can do with the extra half a million dollars that I will be keeping instead of handing it over to the state of California. Oh, and I am sure Ellen will be a little excited to keep her bazillion bucks that she pays in taxes too."

National Gay News
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-Prominent Lesbian Blogger Launches Talk Radio Show
Genia Stevens, editor of the 6-yr-old lesbian blog SistersTalk, announces the launch of SistersTalk Radio - a weekly radio show hosted at BlogTalkRadio.com. SistersTalk Radio airs live on Sunday nights at 5pm central time. Archives are available for download after each show ends.

-Wanda Sykes Says She's 'Proud to be Gay'
Comedian Wanda Sykes says the passage of a same-sex marriage ban in California has led to her be more outspoken about being gay. "You know, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn't feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life," Sykes told a crowd at a gay rights rally in Las Vegas on Saturday. "Everybody that knows me personally they know I'm gay. But that's the way people should be able to live their lives," she said. Read More...

Marriage Equality News
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-EDITORIAL: Healing the Gay/Black Divide
Link: Los Angeles Times
In a letter addressed to "Dear Community," a high-powered coalition of gay-rights leaders is calling for an end to the scapegoating of African Americans for the passage of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in California. Nine painful, anger-filled and vitriolic days passed before this request for calm appeared, and although the letter is sensible and encouraging, words alone will not undo the damage.

-Obama's Change.Gov Website Features Comprehensive LGBT Agenda
Link: Towleroad
A few weeks ago I was getting dozens of emails about President-elect Barack Obama's Change.gov website and its lack of any mention of the words 'gay' or 'lesbian'. That has now changed, and the site, which echoes Obama's campaign positions, features a civil rights agenda for LGBT Americans more comprehensive than anything we've seen from an incoming president. There is no doubt, however, that demands for marriage equality from the masses will need to take the proper route and stand behind equality in action and name for all Americans.

Pink News - UK
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-The Simpsons outs macho character as gay in latest show
Long-running TV comedy show The Simpsons has revealed that the character of Duffman is gay. The revelation comes in the latest episode of the programme, now in its 20th series. Sweet Conclusions follows Homer as he sets up a business breaking up with people on behalf of his clients.

-New report on Ireland's gays reveals isolation and discrimination
A new study of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in the West of Ireland has found that nearly 70% of them have suffered some form of discrimination. 90% felt isolated at times because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

-Slavic Gay Pride will unite Belarusian and Russian activists
Gay rights groups in Belarus and Russia have agreed to hold an annual Slavic Pride event. Organisers said there is good reason for Russian and Belarusian gays and lesbians to work together.

-Pakistan bans Bollywood "gay" buddy movie
The High Court in Lahore has issued ban on an Indian film after a petitioner claimed it "propogates homosexuality." Dostana, which is hyped as Bollywood's first gay-themed comedy, cannot be shown anywhere in Pakistan as a result of Friday's court ruling.

-Nepal's highest court confirms full rights for LGBT people
A Nepali MP has said his "eyes were filled with tears" when he read the full written decision of the country's Supreme Court on a writ petition from four organisations representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people. A summary decision was issued in December 2007, when the court issued directive orders to the Nepal government to ensure the right to life according to their own identities and introduce laws providing equal rights to LGBTIs and amend all the discriminatory laws.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Across US, Big Rallies for Same-Sex Marriage
SAN FRANCISCO - In one of the nation's largest displays of support for gay rights, tens of thousands of people in cities across the country turned out in support of same-sex marriage on Saturday, lending their voices to an issue that many gay men and lesbians consider a critical step to full equality. The demonstrations - from a sun-splashed throng in San Francisco to a chilly crowd in Minneapolis - came 11 days after California voters narrowly passed a ballot measure, Proposition 8, that outlawed previously legal same-sex ceremonies in the state. The measure's passage has spurred protests in California and across the country, including at several Mormon temples, a reflection of that church's ardent backing of the proposition. On Saturday, speakers painted the fight over Proposition 8 as another test of a movement that began with the riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York in 1969, survived the emergence of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, and has since made enormous strides in societal acceptance, whether in television shows or in antidiscrimination laws. "It's not 'Yes we can,' " said Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco city supervisor, referring to President-elect Barack Obama's campaign mantra. "It's 'Yes we will.' " Read more

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Syracuse man was killed for being gay, police say
SYRACUSE, NY - Dwight R. DeLee shot and killed Moses "Teish" Cannon with a .22-caliber rifle Friday night because he didn't like that Cannon was openly gay, Syracuse police said. Cannon, 22, and his brother, Mark Cannon, 18, both of 404 Arthur St., were shot as they sat in a car parked in front of 411 Seymour St., where they had been invited to a party. The bullet grazed the left arm of Mark Cannon, who was in the driver's seat, and hit Moses Cannon in the chest, police said.

-Sen. Sam Nunn discusses the "heterosexual problem"in the military
Did you know the first person discharged from the military for being gay was in 1778 at the hand of George Washington? If you missed Equality Arizona Radio on November 8th discussing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, you can hear a replay through our podcast of this informative and thought provoking episode. Emmy Award winning host, Donna Rossi interviews openly gay Admiral Al Steinman (Ret.) and others about the policy.

-Raped in the Military? You'll Have to Pay for Your Own Forensic Exam Kit
By Penny Coleman, AlterNet
Sarah Palin's decision not to pay for rape kits when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, was an issue in the campaign for the White House. But allow me to introduce the large pink elephant that has been sitting quietly in the corner of the room: TRICARE, the Pentagon's Military Health System that covers active duty members, doesn't pay for rape kits, either. Spec. Patricia McCann, who served in Iraq with the Illinois Army National Guard from 2003 to 2004, raised the issue at the Winter Soldier Investigation in March. McCann read a memo issued to all MEDCOM commanders clarifying that "SAD kits" -- which are forensic rape kits -- "are not included in TRICARE coverage."

-Iowa Supreme Court to Review Nude Dancing Decision
The Iowa Supreme Court will review a lower court's decision that nude dancing is an art in Iowa. In August, a Fremont County judge ruled in favor of an all-nude dancing club owner, Clarence Judy, who has since sold the club in Hamburg. He was charged with violating the state's public indecent exposure law after a teenage girl stripped on stage.

-Gay arts group sues Milwaukee for discrimination
A gay arts group has sued the city of Milwaukee in federal court for violating its free speech rights three years ago when officials shut down a musical revue featuring nudity. The city temporarily shut down performances of "Naked Boys Singing!" in August 2005 while it considered the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center's application for a theater permit. The group later received a permit and reopened the show.

-Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon Announces Departure
National Board Conducting Search for Replacement
(Washington, DC)-Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon will be leaving his position early next year. "After five years at this organization and more than two years leading Log Cabin, I am ready to tackle new challenges. I'll be doing documentary filmmaking, which is what I did before joining Log Cabin's staff," said Sammon. "I told Log Cabin's national board earlier this year I would be moving on after the election. I'm proud of the progress we've made and I know Log Cabin is well positioned to impact the GOP's future direction."

-Norway: Bishops wants special homo-liturgy
Church must decide: Bishops wants special homo-liturgy From the New Year, the new gender-neutral marriage law will come into force, but the church has not decided upon a special liturgy for homosexuals who enter into marriage. "Adopting a new liturgy is now urgent. This is something that applies to many in the church, and for some of us it is starting to be a matter of conscience," says the bishop to NRK. At the annual Church Meeting this year, time has not been allotted to discussing how priests should relate to the gender-neutral law. As of today, it is up to each priest whether or not to perform consecration prayers.

-The Huffington Post
Gay Rights and Reproductive Rights: Why Don't People Get the Connection?
Supporters of New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center gathered on the evening of November 4 to watch history unfold as the nation, inspired by a powerful vision for change, elected Senator Barack Obama as its next president. The room shook as the audience erupted in applause, whistles, foot-stomping and cheers, as President-elect Obama told us, "It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. [...] We are, and always will be, the United States of America."

-Obama and the Gay Bishop: 'Three Private Meetings'
Read on to find out why Barack Obama sought out gay Bishop Gene Robinson not once but three times on the campaign trail for private talks.

-CA bumper sticker
CA voted that it's illegal for chicken farms to house hens in cages too small for them to turn around in.

-Gay marriage catastrophe in the US
For those wondering what went wrong in California - why a state that voted hugely for Obama also rejected equal marriage rights - here's an excellent article by my colleague Richard Kim about how gay rights advocates failed to understand the racial and ethnic diversity that the Obama campaign affirmed:

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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City Sees Most Significant LGBT Rights Demo in a Decade
Over 5000 LGBT people and allies rallied in Federal Plaza Saturday and then took to the streets in a wide ranging, 4-1/2 mile march against California's Proposition 8 and other anti-gay ballot measures that passed in early November. The event led all of the early evening newscasts and launched a firestorm of coverage in the blogisphere (see the huge, but still partial listing of links below).

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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A historical declaration against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity will be presented to the General Assembly of the United Nations between 15th and 20th December 2008. It is thought that this is the first time a declaration of this kind has reached the General Assembly of the UN. The initiative for the declaration follows a campaign by the IDAHO committee (the committee coordinating the International Day Against Homophobia) which has been supported by the French government following a meeting to mark IDAHO on 17th May 2008. All 27 countries of the European Union have signed the declaration and a spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office has advised IDAHO-UK that they are supportive of the French efforts to increase the signatories to the statement and are working closely with the EU Presidency who are coordinating efforts.

-Turkey's sex workers seek to establish a union
ISTANBUL - Activists and sex workers in Turkey are working on a project to establish Turkey's first sex workers union. They are hopeful about finding a solution to their problems and changing society's approach toward sex workers. They will organize an awareness walk to bring attention to their issues

-Transvestism 'no longer a disease' in Sweden
New feature Double click on a word to get a translation
Transvestism, along with six other sexual behaviours, will be struck from Sweden's official list of medical diagnoses starting on January 1st, 2009. The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) took the decision to declassify the behaviours as illnesses in order to avoid strengthening prejudices about them, said agency head Lars-Erik Holm. "We don't want to contribute to certain sexual behaviours being thought of as diseases. These individuals' sexual preferences have nothing to do with sciety," he explained in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

-Vatican backs psychological screening of seminarians
The Vatican has approved the psychological screening of seminarians in the wake of damaging clerical abuse scandals. In a long-awaited document the Congregation for Catholic Education said seminary candidates should undergo psychological evaluations whenever there is a suspicion of personality disturbances or serious doubts about their ability to live a celibate life. The document, entitled Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood, also controversially endorsed tests to root out men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" from seminaries. The statement echoed the language of a 2005 document which said candidates with deep-seated homosexual tendencies could not become seminarians.

-Defending human rights
Peter Tatchell interviewed
Peter Tatchell has been a prominent human rights activist for over forty years. He campaigned for aboriginal rights and against the war in Vietnam in his native Australia before moving to the UK and becoming involved in the movement for Gay rights and railing against countless other injustices. He has outed bishops, attempted to charge Henry Kissinger and has recently forced a debate about homophobia in national football. He has even had a theme tune written for him. He joined the Green Party in 2004 and is currently running a strong campaign as Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East. Green World went to talk to him about the past, present and future of the fight for civil rights.

-Gay attackers usually young Dutch men
Most of the 150 cases of verbal or physical violence against gay men and women in the Netherlands in the first six months of this year were committed by native Dutch men or no attacker was listed, according to home affairs ministry figures. Police chiefs were asked to keep a record of instances of gay bashing following concerns that attacks were increasing and that young immigrants were largely to blame. There have been several high profile attacks on gay men over the past year, particularly in Amsterdam.

-Trans Indians Under Assault
Police target hijras as government debates sodomy law.
As India's gays, lesbians, and gender nonconformists struggle for legal recognition of their civil rights and the end to their criminalization, an ugly two-day incident of police violence against hijras - as the transgenders are known - and LGBT activists in the south-eastern city of Bangalore, the nation's third largest, illustrates their continued tenuous position in the world's second most populous country. According to reporting from the Times of India, the country's newspaper of record, and other local media as well as an October 24 press release from Bangalore's Campaign for Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR), the incident began on the morning of October 20, when five hijras were arrested and charged - "falsely," says the CSMR - with "wrongful restraint" and "extortion" for begging. Although arrests of hijras for public begging are commonplace, and usually lead to them being sent to a "beggars colony," the use of the extortion charge allowed police to hold them, without bail, at a local police station.

-Military pay out to dismissed gay soldiers
Compensation to victims of military homophobia
London - The UK Ministry of Defence has revealed that it has paid £4 million in compensation to 65 former service personnel who were booted out of the armed forces because of their homosexuality. The average payout was £61,500. The ban on gays in the British military was overturned in 1999, after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was a violation of a person's right to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

-"MEPs ask Bulgaria to grant a legal recognition to same-sex couples."
On 11 November the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Sergei Stanishev and Members of the National Assembly expressing concerns about draft legislation on domestic partnerships which excludes same-sex couples. "Unions between opposite-sex and same-sex couples are based on the same ground. It is a commitment and a declaration of love." said MEPs Michael Cashman, Lissy Gräner, Raúl Romeva and Sophie In´t Veld in the letter. "It constitutes a direct discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation if opposite-sex couples can legally register a partnership, but same-sex couples can not."

Budapest, November 10, 2008 - The Hungarian Parliament has adopted today two new pieces of legislation concerning LGBT people. The first one extends hate crime legislation to cover hate motivated crimes committed against a member of a group other than national, ethnic, or religious: from now on the Criminal Code contains a general formulation 'Violent act against a member of a social group', which is believed to include groups based on sexual orientation as well. The second piece of legislation makes it possible to initiate civil proceedings against a person who engages in degrading or intimidating behavior towards groups based on nationality, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

-For those wondering what went wrong in California - why a state that voted hugely for Obama also rejected equal marriage rights - here's an excellent article by my colleague Richard Kim about how gay rights advocates failed to understand the racial and ethnic diversity that the Obama campaign affirmed:

-Capleton Concert cancelled in Basel, Switzerland
Singer broke Reggae Compassionate Act agreement
A major reggae concert with the Jamaican singer Capleton, that had ben scheduled to take place tonight (6 November) in Basel, witzerland, has been cancelled by the organisers, according to the ocal LGBT rights group, Homosexuelle Arbeitsgruppen Basel (HABS). HABS, together with "Stop Murder Music Bern", opposed the concert because Capleton has performed songs encouraging violence against lesbian and gay people, in violation of his commitment to abide by the terms of the Reggae Compassionate Act (RCA) - an agreement that he signed in early 2007, whereby he undertook to not perform "murder music" songs any more.

-20 November - The Transgender Day of Remembrance
On 20 November 2008, the 9th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance will be marked across the world and Europe. This Day was established following a murder of Rita Hester in 1998 and serves as a reminder of existing prejudice, hatred and discrimination against transgender people.

-Iran aims to establish Islamic studies departments in UK universities
Iran wants to fund Islamic studies in the UK
Institutions funded by the British taxpayer could be used to promote the extremist, homophobic, racist, and violent interpretations of Islam used in Iran. The Tehran Times reports that Iran's Ministry of Science, Research and Technology "feels the necessity to help establish and strengthen departments of Islamic studies."


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