Monday, November 24, 2008

GLBT DIGEST November 24, 2008

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New York Times
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-Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight
Even now, at 81 and with her memory beginning to fade, Gloria Donadello recalls her painful brush with bigotry at an assisted-living center in Santa Fe, N.M. Sitting with those she considered friends, "people were laughing and making certain kinds of comments, and I told them, 'Please don't do that, because I'm gay.'"

Washington Post
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-Mormons' Uneasy Victory
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is becoming a potent political force. Last year's story was that Mormons had risen to some of the highest offices in America -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid belongs to the church, as does former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. This year's headline is that, with the encouragement of their religious leaders, Mormons gave loads of money and man-hours to pass Proposition 8 in California, which banned same-sex marriage in the state. Indeed, they were probably the most organized and consequential force behind the measure's passage. But in the face of post-election protests outside its temples, the church doesn't seem to want to take much credit.

-Bigotry on the Bus
A week after the election, I was riding the bus home in Santa Monica when we went past one of the many protests around the city against the narrow passage of Proposition 8, which amended the California constitution to eliminate marriage rights for an entire class of people. The bus driver surveyed the situation and exclaimed, loud enough for the passengers to hear, "sodomites!" I've been so hurt and angry since my theoretically liberal and gay-friendly state passed Proposition 8 that I instantly replied, just as loudly, "Hey, I'm one of those sodomites, too!" Maybe I should have had a snappier comeback, but the driver was stunned. I'm guessing that nobody had ever stood up to him for saying something homophobic. The driver has a right to free speech and is entitled to his beliefs and opinions -- and his bigotry -- just like everyone else. However, he was a public employee in uniform, on the clock.

The Wall Street Journal
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-The Geithner Rally
Stuart Varney: Coming up next on "The Journal Editorial Report," stocks soar on word of Obama's Treasury pick. But who is Tim Geithner, and what would he bring to the table? Plus, bailout fever. The Big Three aren't the only ones lining up for a piece of the pie. And Mormons are taking the heat for the passage of California's Proposition 8. But who actually voted for the gay-marriage ban? "The Journal Editorial Report" begins right now.

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-Don't make a constitutional issue a religious one
As a 70-year-old heterosexual female, I find it unacceptable that some groups are opposed to gay marriage due to their religious beliefs. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all citizens under the Constitution. Some of us live happy, fulfilled lives as agnostics, atheists or practicing our own spirituality. Allowing a religious group to dictate who can marry whom is not in keeping with the Constitution. Civil marriage is not a sacred religious ritual. It allows couples to share benefits and privileges as well as to love each other legally. Our Founding Fathers had wisdom and vision to include separation of church and state in the Constitution. Religious beliefs of some of the people should not interfere with the liberties of others. The Constitution was so brilliantly written of the people, by the people and for the people - all the people, without discrimination.
Jane Brownley, Lauderdale by the Sea,0,4816559.story


Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's
"The Best & Worst of National News"
October 2008


-Op-ed in Chicago Sun-Times Voices Need for Inclusive Hate-Crime Legislation
The Chicago Sun-Times published an opinion piece reflecting on the prevalence of hate crimes against LGBT people at the 10-year remembrance of Mathew Shephard's murder. In his October 17 op-ed, "Expand hate-crimes law to cover transgender people," Ricky Garcia, the Public Policy Director of Equality Illinois, highlights the dangerous lack of comprehensive federal and statewide hate-crime legislation. Garcia draws upon his personal experience working in Illinois, and speaks to the need for gender identity to be included in the state's hate crimes law, which currently only encompasses sexual orientation. Most brutal attacks in the state have been against transgender people and those who do not fit traditional gender stereotypes. Garcia says, "unfortunately, as shown by the news, gay and transgender folks here in Illinois and across the country are too often the victim of brutal hate crimes."Â He also points to the recent murders of Lawrence King in California and Angie Zapata in Colorado as two tragic examples that highlight the dire need for inclusive state and federal hate crime legislation.
READ ARTICLE:,CST-EDT-open17.article
GLAAD encourages you to contact Ricky Garcia and the Chicago Sun-Times to thank them for drawing attention to the urgent need for inclusive hate crime legislation.
Ricky Garcia
Equality Illinois
Chicago Sun-Times

-Denver Post Shares Moving Story of Family's Loss
Monica Zapata, the sister of Angie Zapata, an 18-year-old woman who was brutally murdered in her home because she was transgender, shared her story in the Denver Post on October 7. In "Ten years after Matthew Shepard, no change," Monica paints a moving portrait of her sister Angie and the ramifications her murder has had on her family and friends. She calls upon readers to stop hate crimes, pointing out that not enough change has happened since Matthew's death, and that LGBT youth continue to be victims of hate-motivated violence. She says, "My sister and Matthew were both torn down in their prime. At the threshold of their lives, they were brutally torn down and denied the opportunity to achieve their hopes and dreams." Monica highlights the need for federal hate-crimes legislation and reminds readers that the time has come to end violence against LGBT people.
GLAAD encourages you to contact the Denver Post to thank them for giving space to Monica Zapata's powerful story about her sister Angie and for encouraging readers to take a stand against hate.
Denver Post

-Associated Press Explores Experiences of Gay Seniors
The Associated Press drew attention to the estimated 2.5 million gay seniors in America and the challenges they face in an October 4 article titled, "Gay elders' distinctive challenges get a closer look." In his story reporter David Crary highlights the recent partnership between the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), and shares the stories of several LGBT seniors and how they have worked to overcome a lack of familial and institutional support. Ruth Juster, an 85-year-old lesbian Crary profiles, illuminates the need for increased outreach to gay and lesbian seniors, explaining, "Society looked down on us. A lot of people remained under the influence of that prejudice and kept their lives secret. We have to reach these seniors and let them know life is much different now. You have to speak up."
GLAAD encourages you to contact David Crary and the Associated Press to thank them for increasing awareness about LGBT seniors and the challenges they face.
David Crary

-"Choice" Issue Debunked Los Angeles Times
Following Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's comments prior to the election implying that being gay is a "choice," the Los Angeles Times published an October 8 opinion piece by Nathaniel Frank titled, "Gay is a choice?" Frank, of the Michael Palm Center, a public policy group that works on LGBT issues, debunks the legitimacy of the choice argument. He says, "calling homosexuality a choice is the time tested way politicians signal their belief that it is the wrong choice." On Palin's assertion that her gay friend has made a choice to be gay, Frank writes, "if Palin's gay friend is like other gays and lesbians, her sexual orientation is neither a choice to be tolerated nor a sentence to be served. It's an expression of her freedom to be herself, a freedom that, as Palin said in the debate, 'is always just one generation away from extinction.'" Frank's op-ed is a reminder that rhetoric that inaccurately suggests sexual orientation is a choice can be used as a justification for discrimination and intolerance towards LGBT people.
READ ARTICLE:,0,7682829.story
GLAAD encourages you to contact the Los Angeles Times to thank them for providing a space for this clear and convincing argument against the baseless assertion that being gay is a "choice" and the discrimination that is validated by this argument.
Los Angeles Times


-Glenn Beck and James Dobson Make False Claims About Prop 8
Prior to the elections, an episode of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck featured an interview with James Dobson, head of the anti-gay organization Focus on the Family. The subject of the interview was Proposition 8, which since has passed, and will eliminate future marriages for same-sex couples in California. Beck and Dobson made repeated false and misleading claims about Prop 8, suggesting that if it was not passed churches would be called "organizations of hate." Dobson continued by saying "There's no question about it. If Proposition 8 fails, there will be a spate of lawsuit against churches â?¦." Dobson then repeated discredited assertions about schools, saying, "all textbooks would have to be republished" and "everything in schools will change." By giving an uncontested platform to an anti-gay activist to state falsehoods about Prop. 8, CNN Headline News and Glenn Beck perpetuated the kind of fear and misinformation that contributed to the passage of Prop 8.
Glenn Beck, whose program will move to Fox News in 2009, has made repeated anti-LGBT remarks on his program. GLAAD urges you to contact the Fox News Channel and remind them that the LGBT community and our allies will continue to hold Beck accountable if he continues to make inaccurate and misleading claims about our community.
Mr. John Moody
Senior Vice President, News Editorial
FOX News Channel
Ms. Sharri Berg
Senior Vice President, News Operations
FOX News Channel

-Radio Station Gives Anti-Gay Activist Platform to Attack Transgender Youth
Kentucky News Talk radio station WKYX's gave Richard Nelson of the anti-gay group The Family Foundation of Kentucky a platform on the outlet's website to perpetuate misinformation about medical care for transgender youth. Nelson made a baseless and fallacious attack on Dr. Norman Spack, a pediatric endocrinologist in Boston who provides care and treatment to transgender youth. Nelson falsely claims both that the treatment is permanent and makes the false assertion that it is "the first step necessary for a sex-change operation." Expressing a blatant disregard for the struggles transgender children encounter, Nelson dispassionately states, "When little Johnny comes in for a checkup wearing a dress and women's jewelry, has it ever occurred to anybody, including his parents, that he should be told to wear pants and stop playing with Barbies?" These kinds of uninformed attacks disregard the expertise of medical and psychological professionals, and only serve to perpetuate distortions and fear of transgender people.
GLAAD urges you to contact WKYX news editors and tell them not to make cheap, sensational grabs for ratings by attacking transgender youth and deceiving audiences about medical decisions that they make with their families and doctors.
WKYX News Email

-Dr. Phil Show Fails to Present a Fair and Accurate Dialogue on Transgender Children
On the October 29th episode of Dr. Phil, Dr. Phil McGraw interviewed transgender children and their parents. Also on the show to discuss gender identity were Dr. Dan Segal, a clinical psychologist from UCLA, and Glenn Stanton of the anti-LGBT organization Focus on the Family. While Segal's dialogue was backed by research and medical experience, Stanton was not a credited or unbiased source in any way. While we encourage informative dialogue, the Focus on the Family representative was not an expert on developmental issues or transgender children and should not have been presented as a professional counterpart to Dr. Segal. Stanton baselessly asserts that children develop transgender identities when their parents fail to enforce gender roles.
GLAAD encourages you to contact the Dr. Phil Show and voice your concerns about the platform afforded to the anti-LGBT organization, Focus on the Family, which allowed them to perpetuate misinformation about transgender children. Ask why producers presented Glenn Stanton as an equal counterpart to Dr. Dan Segal when Stanton lacks expertise or credentials in the fields of psychology, medicine or transgender issues.
Stephanie Granader, Producer

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-Haggard bounces back after gay hustler scandal
Earlier this month, a guest took the pulpit at Open Bible Fellowship in Morrison, Ill., a 350-member church surrounded by cornfields. The speaker was an insurance salesman from Colorado named Ted Haggard. The former superstar pastor, disgraced two years ago in a sex-and-drugs scandal, had returned - this time as a Christian businessman preaching a message that was equal parts contrition and defiance. Haggard linked his fall to being molested in second grade and apologized again.

The Advocate
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-Democratic Supermajority No Guarantee for Gay Progress
The 2008 election may already be one for the record books, but triumphant Democrats are still vying for an elusive political prize -- the 60-seat supermajority required to overcome Republican filibuster attempts and advance their legislative agenda swiftly beginning in January. But what are the odds of actually getting 60 seats -- and will it really push gay rights to the front of the line?

-A Fortune 500 Take on Prop. 8
The old saying goes that every cloud has a silver lining. And on November 5, the day after California voters stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry, so many around the country were searching for one. Although thousands of individuals, organizations, and businesses donated to the Yes on 8 campaign, not one Fortune 500 company is among those names. But on the opposite side, the side of fairness and basic rights, you'll find some of the nation's most successful and powerful corporate players.

-Chevy Volt: The Jolt GM Needs?
Launching a new vehicle while the American auto industry is asking Congress for a $25 billion bailout might seem like illogical timing, but for General Motors and the people behind Chevy Volt, it's essential. With their backs against the wall, GM is rolling out their much-anticipated first plug-in electric vehicle -- and focusing their marketing efforts on the gay community.

Marriage Equality News
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-Commentary: What if 52 percent voted not to let blacks drink at the
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader
by Merlene Davis image
After 52 percent of California voters decided earlier this month to ban same-sex marriage in their state, gay rights activists there and throughout this nation took to the streets demanding a right unrelated heterosexuals are granted without question. A majority of the voters in California, Florida and Arizona recently determined that because of their sexual orientation, because they don't fall in love with the same people they would, gays cannot legally validate that relationship or gain the same financial benefits through a marriage contract as heterosexuals do.

-Candace Gingrich: A Letter to My Brother Newt Gingrich
Source: Huffington Post
by Candace Gingrich
Dear Newt,
I recently had the displeasure of watching you bash the protestors of the Prop 8 marriage ban to Bill O'Reilly on FOX News. I must say, after years of watching you build your career by stirring up the fears and prejudices ofthe far right, I feel compelled to use the words of your idol, Ronald Reagan, "There you go, again." [.] Welcome to the 21st century, big bro. I can understand why you're so afraid of the energy that has been unleashed after gay and lesbian couples had their rights stripped away from them by a hateful campaign. I can see why you're sounding the alarm against the activists who use all the latest tech tools to build these rallies from the ground up in cities across the country. [.] This is a movement of the people that you most fear. It's a movement of progress -- and your words on FOX News only show how truly desperate you are to maintain control of a world that is changing before your very eyes.

-Commentary: Good reasons to support, none to oppose
Source: The Providence Journal
by Bob Kerr
The question came up during an appearance by David Gergen at Roger Williams University last week. A student expressed her happiness at the election of Barack Obama and, at the same time, her disappointment over the vote in California to rescind the right of gays to marry. It was an emotional mix felt by a lot of people after the election - joy over Obama's victory and deep disappointment over the anti-gay vote in California.

-Florida: Antigay-rights activist seeks to ban same-sex benefits
Source: St. Petersburg Times
Seeking to capitalize on statewide passage of a gay marriage ban, a leading antigay-rights activist is setting his sights on same-sex domestic partnership benefits. David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, says he will seek a change to the Hillsborough County Charter in 2010 to pre-emptively ban same-sex benefits for county employees. Efforts to recruit volunteers and collect signatures from voters to get the issue on the ballot will begin early next year, he said.

-Analyzing the Two Key Arguments in The California Supreme Court Case
Regarding the Anti-Same-Sex-Marriage Proposition Eight
Source: FindLaw's Writ
by Vikram David Amar
Read full article here. This week, the California Supreme Court decided to hear a case posing two important questions. The first is whether the voter-adopted state constitutional ban on gay marriage passed in the November election, Proposition 8, was validly enacted. The second is - assuming Proposition 8 was indeed validly enacted -- what is the status of the same-sex marriages that were entered into between the California Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling last spring and the enactment of Prop. 8? (As readers will recall, the court had previously ruled in May 2008 that the then-existing statutory ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution.)

Pink News - UK
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-Homophobic church advert criticised by advertising standards body
An advert placed in a local paper in Northern Ireland by Sandown Free Presbyterian Church ahead of this summer's Pride event in Belfast breached the Advertising Standards Authority code. The 540-word ad was placed in the Belfast News Letter on August 1st, the day before Pride.

-Trans people will get two ID cards under government plans
People who are in the process of gender reassignment will be able to apply for two ID cards, it has been revealed. The government's controversial ID card system is voluntary, and the new £5 billion scheme has been criticised by opposition parties and civil liberties groups.

-South African gays picket Human Rights Commission over 'hate speech' article
Gay rights advocates in South Africa have attacked the country's Human Rights Commission for failing to comment on the case of a columnist who wrote a homophobic newspaper article.

-Video: Turkey slaughter backdrop for Sarah Palin's bizarre interview
She electrified the Republican party base during the US Presidential elections with her hunting and shooting hockey mom persona. Sarah Palin is even tipped as a candidate for President in 2012.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-One Step Forward, Three Steps Back
By Mary Shaw | Online Journal
On Election Day, tolerance in the USA took a huge step forward with the election of our first African-American president. On at least three other fronts, however, tolerance took a step backwards in a somewhat different direction. Californians passed Proposition 8, to ban same-sex marriage in that state. Similar marriage bans were approved in Florida and Arizona. While an African American can now win election to the highest office in the land, gays and lesbians remain second-class citizens, and cannot enjoy all of the benefits that the state has to offer, simply because of whom they happen to be sexually attracted to. It is absurd. I hear all kinds of excuses: If you allow a man to marry another man, the next thing you know, people will want to marry their pets. Sorry, folks, but that Rick Santorum slippery-slope argument is as ridiculous today as it was when it was used to oppose interracial marriage 45 years ago. Read more

-World Conference on HIV/AIDS Eradication
African Student Organization upholds the international agreements to protect lives, the most important of which is the 1998 Convention on the Rights to live. The Convention recognizes a range of rights related to human protection, and calls upon countries to honor their obligations to uphold these rights.

-Votes on Gay Marriage Bans Expose Vulnerability of Progressivism
Barack Obama's victory was a huge victory for self-described progressives. Arguably the most liberal presidential nominee in American history, Obama has given some very old ideas an aura of new coolness. Congrats on all that. Hope it works out for you. But something interesting happened on Election Day that didn't get much attention. Bans on gay marriage were on ballots in several states, and they all won. In fact, gay marriage bans have ultimately passed in all 30 of the states in which they were on the ballot. The ban in California was particularly intriguing. Proposition 8 would have failed in the Golden State if it were up to white voters, who opposed it by a 51-49 ratio. What carried it over the top was enormous support from black voters, with about 70 percent of them backing it.

-The Ugly Backlash over Proposition 8
John Diaz | San Francisco Chronicle
A supporter of Proposition 8, fed up with what he believed was the gay community's and "liberal media's" refusal to accept the voters' verdict, fired off a letter to the editor. "Please show respect for democracy," he wrote, in a letter we published. What he encountered instead was an utter lack of respect for free speech. Within hours, the intimidation game was on. Because his real name and city were listed - a condition for publication of letters to The Chronicle - opponents of Prop. 8 used Internet search engines to find the letter writer's small business, his Web site (which included the names of his children and dog), his phone number and his clients. And they posted that information in the "Comments" section of - urging, in ugly language, retribution against the author's business and its identified clients.

-Sanctified Discrimination
By Giles Fraser | Guardian
To what extent did the recent passing of the anti-gay marriage law in California have to do with black homophobia? Here's a hornet's nest of a question. But as California voters turned out to choose their next president they also got the opportunity to vote for or against gay marriage. Surprisingly perhaps - after all this is California - they voted for the ban: 52 % voted for it, 48 % against. One of the explanations for this is that black voters turned out in their droves to vote for Barack Obama and that black voters went 2 to 1 against gay marriage. So, does this enable us to speak of black homophobia?

-Letters to President-Elect Obama: Tammy Baldwin
From The Advocate December 16, 2008 Letters to President-elect Obama:
Tammy Baldwin
Dear Mr. President,
Congratulations on your election. You take office in a time of great uncertainty both nationally and internationally. Your words and actions now will have serious consequences for this and future generations. In your campaign you expressed your belief in the fortitude of the American people and the promise of the American Dream. As you address the urgent, interdependent challenges we face with the economy, energy, climate change, and health care, I believe you will rightly call on and rely on the American people to work together, and with you, to solve these pressing problems. Indeed, the affirmation of "We the People" is the starting point of our Constitution and its effort to "form a more perfect Union." More than 200 years since those words were penned on parchment, we are still striving. Americans have always risen to meet challenges head-on and are more than ready to work with you to restore our nation's strength and image. But we will never achieve the full promise of America until all of our people are treated equally under the law.


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