Wednesday, December 17, 2008

GLBT DIGEST December 17, 2008

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New York Times
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-Editorial: A Lynching in Brooklyn
The murder of José Sucuzhañay, an Ecuadorean immigrant who died over the weekend at a hospital in Queens, has thrown a harsh light onto a savage, hate-inspired crime that should sicken us all. This horror is also a reminder that bigotry can be deadly, not just to the groups intentionally targeted, but to anyone unfortunate enough to cross its path.

Washington Post
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-Berlin memorial to gay victims of Nazis vandalized
BERLIN -- Berlin's memorial to gay victims of the Nazis has been vandalized for the second time in four months. Berlin police say a window on the outside of the memorial has been broken, probably with a stone.

Wall Street Journal
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-This School Makes Film A Kosher Career Choice
In "Srugim" (woven, as in a woven yarmulke), a young surgeon adrift in Orthodox Jerusalem's singles scene reads a newspaper outside his apartment's open bathroom door. It's the Sabbath, and the bathroom light is on all night so observant Jews won't break religious laws by turning it off and on.
Filmmaker Eliezer "Laizy" Shapiro, who created the popular television series -- second only to "Lost" in downloads in Israel -- says many secular Israeli Jews wouldn't get the Sabbath reading scene. Mr. Shapiro is a graduate of the Ma'ale School of Film and Television, barely known outside Jerusalem, which puts modern Orthodox Jews in front of and behind the camera. The 35-year-old son of American-born parents, who spent his teenage years in a West Bank settlement, is the star of its 200 alumni.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Lithuanian Law to Protect Minors from homosexual Advocacy
LifeSiteNews / Catholic Online
The law is set to be approved by a parliamentary committee and take effect next year.
An amendment that the Lithuanian Parliament added to its protection of minors statutes last week says that "public information that agitates for homosexual relations" causes "a detrimental effect on the development of minors" and "defies family values." The story was largely ignored by the English speaking press, but the UK's homosexual news source, Pink News, states that the homosexual rights group Tolerant Youth Association (TJA) believes the law will ban homosexual websites, films such as Brokeback Mountain, discos, exhibitions, demonstrations and other public events.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-As we all know, the economy is a shambles, but the work of a nonprofit like Lmbda Literary continues nontheless. In fact, during times of economic downturns, individuals often increase their funding to their favorite charities because they know that times are tough. Lambda Literary needs to raise $9,000 by December 31, to end the year without a deficit. Please consider a gift of $15 or $25 today!

-'Sodomy' Laws Show Survival of Colonial Injustice
As India's High Court Mulls Reform, Nations Should Repeal This Legacy More than half of the world's remaining "sodomy" laws -criminalizing consensual homosexual conduct - are relics of British colonial rule, Human Rights Watch showed in a report published today. Human Rights Watch urged governments everywhere to affirm international human rights standards, and reject the oppressive legacies of colonialism, by repealing laws that criminalize consensual sexual activity among adults of the same sex. The 66-page report, "This Alien Legacy: The Origins of 'Sodomy' Laws in British Colonialism," describes how laws in over three dozen countries, from India to Uganda and from Nigeria to Papua New Guinea, derive from a single law on homosexual conduct that British colonial rulers imposed on India in 1860.
This year, the High Court in Delhi ended hearings in a years-long case seeking to decriminalize homosexual conduct there. A ruling in the landmark case is expected soon. During the embargo period, "This Alien Legacy: The Origins of 'Sodomy' Laws in British Colonialism" is available at:
username: alien
password: laws

-Berlin Gay Memorial Vandalized
For the second time in four months, vandals have broken a window on Berlin's Memorial to gay victims of the Nazis. The window allows viewers to watch a video of a same-sex couple kissing. Berlin police say the window on the outside of the memorial was broken, most likely with a stone, Associated Press reports. The window allows visitors to look inside the concrete memorial at a video installation that shows a same-sex couple locked in a perpetual kiss. The simple grey rectangular stone across the street from Germany's national memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust was inaugurated in May after years of controversy. More than 50,000 homosexuals are thought to have been convicted under the Nazis "because of their sexual orientation," with thousands of them sent to concentration camps and murdered. Current research suggests 54,000 men and women were convicted of homosexual acts and about 7,000 killed in the camps.,,3880574,00.html

-NC Episcopal priests' resolution - clergy must decline contracting,
blessing civil marriages
I recently received an email from the Reverend Randall J. Keeney, who is an Episcopal priest in Greensboro, NC. Keeney and two retired priests will introduce a resolution at the Episcopal church's convention in January 2009 that will surely roil the gathering. While it is self-evident to reality-based people that civil and religious marriage are separate matters, it's quite controversial in the church for faith leaders to point out the obvious. Keeney is putting his position on the line since he's still a member of the clergy at St. Barnabas . I was given permission by Rev. Keeney to publish the resolution -- it will go out in preconvention mailings beginning early in January. Rev. Keeney wrote to me:
The purpose of the resolution is to separate church and state in the contracting of civil marriage. One of the main issues in debates about marriage is the fact that it is tied to the ordained clergy of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and "you name it" faith traditions. The result is that arguments about marriage become enmeshed with theology and theologically based bigotry.

-Prudish NYT Columnist Condemns 'Hooking-Up'
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
Divining the sexual habits of teenagers -- and then overreacting to them -- has always been a favorite pastime for older people (or at least since moral opprobrium and teenagers were invented).
It certainly hasn't been any different the past few years, especially given our prurient and sensationalist media's tendency to amplify alarmist 'trends' about young peoples' sexuality (teenage girls trade blow jobs for pats on the head! Teens text each other sexy pictures! Hook-up culture has supplanted church square-dances!) Recently, NYT columnist Charles M. Blow discovered "the demise of dating", and he is not happy about it:

from larry kramer
In reading rex wockner's international news column just now i was particularly struck by the following item:
"Britain to count gay population
Britain's Office for National Statistics is going to count the gay population.
Starting in January, a sexual-orientation question will be included in several of the office's routine surveys, leading to an eventual estimate of the size of the nation's gay community. Respondents will choose from heterosexual/straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual or "other" -- or can opt not to answer. Officials say the results will be useful for gauging levels of discrimination and unequal treatment and addressing those problems." When are gays in america going to fight to find out how many of us there are. I am tired of not knowing. i am tired of hearing numbers quoted all over the map from practically zero to only a few million, all of them certainly far less than i believe we are. i think it is, psychologically, now the time to try and do something about this. we need to know as we go forward into our never-ending fights with THEM how many of us there are. we just do. i have long implored our "major" gay organizations, particularly HRC, to commence a project that would reap these figures. we are never going to get our government to do what england is now doing. therefore we have to do it ourselves. i am always arguing with that gary guy at ucla's william institute that is always putting out his numbers, based, so far as i can tell, by his viewing into his own crystal ball. i want better. i want something that will hold up in court, in the halls of government, etc. joe solmonese, could you and hrc spearhead something like this? could urvashi or tim sweeney or the gill foundation or all the people with some money still left on this list, could people just get together and brainstorm this.
could the williams institute? correct me if i am wrong, but aren't we better, stronger being able to go forth knowing how many of us there are, no matter how many of us there are? otherwise we continue as the sort of only half-visible population. i know rodger at gill did a survey a few years ago of a couple of thousand gay people who, when asked if they identified as straight, bi, or gay, over fifty percent weaseled out and said bi. this is sickening and we must find a way to find firmer truths. perhaps a new small organization can be funded just to gather our numbers? don't you all want to know???? or do you want to continue to live in this darkness visible forever?
love etc

-Expand AIDS testing
At the dawn of the AIDS scourge over two decades ago, there was a fear factor about testing for the disease-causing virus. There were worries of government tracking, no treatments to follow a potentially fatal diagnosis and the outcast stigma of the disease. These what-if doubts hamstrung a valuable tool in containing a epidemic that has killed more than 25 million worldwide and infected another 33 million. But now the landscape has changed. A patient diagnosed with the AIDS virus can be treated with life-extending drugs, which carry the added plus of limiting transmission. An informed patient will be less likely to pass on the virus, transmitted by needles, blood and bodily fluids. That's why it makes sense for AIDS screening to be a routine part of medical exams. Catch it early, and everyone from patients to partners benefits.

-The sins of the Pope
By Lisa Neff, columnist,
The United States, by ruling of the Supreme Court, did not decriminalize homosexuality until 2003. "American Idol" has been on the television longer than consensual same-sex sex has been legal in some U.S. states. This month, perhaps this week, France will introduce to the United Nations General Assembly a statement about human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including torture, arbitrary arrest, killings, political, social and economic discrimination and the criminalization of same-sex love. Scott Long of Human Rights Watch called the statement, "One of the most comprehensive affirmations of human rights relating to sexual orientation and gender identity that any international body has seen in recent years." The statement, building on the UN's record of promoting LGBT rights, is neither a resolution nor a declaration. It will not be binding. It will not have the force of law in the member states. It will not even be voted upon. But it hopefully will have symbolic impact and it will send a message to the 86 countries that criminalize same-sex sexual activity. The penalty for such activity is imprisonment in some nations and death in at least seven nations - Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Sudan, Mauritania and parts of Nigeria and Pakistan.

-Newsweek Takes a Bullet On Gay Marriage
By Mary E. Hunt
As a theologian, I sometimes wonder if anyone cares about what we write. But Newsweek's cover story (December 15, 2008), "Our Mutual Joy," set off a firestorm of responses so voluminous that it temporarily shut down the magazine's comments function on their Web site. Time's "Person of the Year" issue would be lucky to get as much attention as the enormous response to a religion editor's pro-gay marriage piece. Apparently, religion still matters. What does it mean, though, that this story has generated such controversy? The most obvious point is that people still care what religions say about matters of sexuality, for reasons that sometimes remain obscure. I doubt that the same reaction, and surely not the same huge numbers and rabid intensity, would have accompanied a progressive religious treatment of the war in Iraq or the death penalty. So why same-sex marriage? Why the private sphere and not the public forum?

-Winter 2009 issue of "mental health AIDS" now available
Dear HIV Educators, Clinicians, Researchers, Colleagues, and Friends: The Winter 2009 issue of "mental health AIDS," a quarterly biopsychosocial research update on HIV and mental health, is available online at

-Openly gay, politically active and trying to find a place to settle
by Sergey Chernov / The St. Petersburg Times
Azeri artist and poet Babi Badalov pictured in St. Petersburg last month. Badalov was denied political asylum in the U.K. earlier this year. Artist and poet Babi Badalov feels that his life is threatened both in his home country Azerbaijan and in Russia because of his politically conscious art and because he is openly gay. Growing nationalism and increasing attacks on people from the former Soviet republics also means that Russia is not entirely safe for someone from Azerbaijan. Badalov thought he had found a new home in Cardiff, Wales, where he had been based since December 2006, but earlier this year the U.K.'s interior ministry denied his application for political asylum.

-Indiana University researchers revisit male bisexuality
The landmark Sexual Behavior in the Human Male report revealed major insights into bisexual behavior and orientation -- without even using the word "bisexual" -- when it was published 60 years ago by pioneering sex researcher Alfred Kinsey and his research team at Indiana University. For a copy of the study, contact Tracy James,

-Living Hillary: Clinton’s Departure Leaves Wide Range of Advocates Wondering
Fate of junior senator’s agenda on education, energy and health unclear
Andrew J. Hawkins
Beyond the din of speculation over who her replacement will be, advocates for a host of local issues are wondering what the future holds for the policies that Hillary Clinton championed. [...] “You would have to prompt my memory to tell me how she was an aggressive advocate for LGBT rights,” said Kenneth Sherrill, a former political science professor at Hunter College and an expert on gay and lesbian politics. “She did what you would expect any Democratic senator from New York to do. Did she take the lead? I’m not sure.”

Steve Rothaus
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-Irene Monroe: Gay is not the New Black
If you are African American and gay, and fighting alongside your white brothers and sisters for queer civil rights, the notion that "Gay is the new black" is not only absurdly arrogant, it is also dangerously divisive.

South Florida Blade
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-Tonight: Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus
Receive 'A Gift For All' in annual holiday concert.
By Dan Renzi,
The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus present “A Gift for All” tonight, as their annual holiday concert. Over the years, the Gay Men’s Chorus presentations have become one of the most anticipated events of the holiday season. Soaring voices, stirring arrangements and spectacular showmanship unite for an unforgettable evening of entertainment as the chorus celebrates the holiday season with their own inimitable flair. Tickets start at $20 and are available at or by calling (954) 832-0060. “A Gift for All” will be running tonight through December 19 at the Sunshine Cathedral /MCC, 1480 S.W. 9th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

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-Study: Lesbian teens at higher pregnancy risk
By The Canadian Press
(Toronto, Ontario) Lesbian, gay and bisexual teens are at a higher risk of becoming pregnant or causing a pregnancy than their heterosexual peers, says a new study.

-NY hate crime killing renews call for Shepard Act passage
The brutal slaying of an Ecuadorian immigrant viciously beaten by men who yelled anti-Hispanic and anti-gay slurs at him has renewed calls for the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.

-Phase 3 testing confirms HIV fat disorder drug findings
By The Canadian Press
(Montreal, Quebec) Theratechnologies has concluded a Phase 3 trial confirming earlier clinical results on the safety and effectiveness of its lead drug, tesamorelin, for an HIV-related fat disorder.

The Advocate
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-Obama's Pick for Education Secretary Backed Chicago Gay School
President-elect Barack Obama's choice for education secretary supported a proposal this year for a Chicago public high school that would be geared to gay students. Arne Duncan, the Chicago school superintendent, approved plans for the Pride Campus of Social Justice High School, which was set to be voted on by the school board in November, only to be pulled by organizers at the last minute after controversy.

-LGBT Leaders Lobby for Openly Gay Appointees
By Kerry Eleveld
LGBT leaders are meeting with members of the Obama transition team to push for appointing an out cabinet secretary and brief them on LGBT policy. Though no promises have been made, activists are hopeful more gay appointees will be added to the list. LGBT leaders in Washington are working to simultaneously keep gay issues top of mind for President-elect Obama’s transition team and drill home the importance of appointing an openly gay cabinet member, which would be a historic first for the community.

Pink News - UK
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-Cypriot MEP "offended" by pictures of gay families
An exhibition designed to highlight the legal and social discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-led families has upset an MEP from Cyprus, who claims he is being harassed by the "gay lobby."

-US Army chief looks to practicalities of out gays in the military
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff has "begun to think about" the changes to the US military if openly gay and lesbian people are allowed to serve. Admiral Mike Mullen has indicated that the current ban, known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, is likely to be repealed.

Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News
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-Sean Penn’s Blind Spot
by James Kirchick | Independent Gay Forum
It’s not surprising that Sean Penn, thanks to his star turn as Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant’s biopic Milk, is becoming a hero to gays. His performance is moving and, judging by the archival film footage, flawless; Penn simultaneously renders Milk as a figure of historic importance and a vulnerable individual with a sparkling sense of humor. Aside from the acting prizes he will surely win (and deservingly), Penn is likely to earn himself the iconic status of “straight ally,” a heterosexual who goes out of his way to take a stand for gay rights and is thus showered with praise from gays. A GLAAD Media Award, honors from the Human Rights Campaign, and a slew of prizes from other prominent gay rights organizations are only a matter of time. Which is a shame, because Penn’s political activism, irrespective of his views on gay rights, negates the values for which a movement based upon individual freedom must stand.

-Activists Pin Hopes on Obama Banning Transgender Bias
Deb Price | Detroit News
Six months ago, a highly decorated retired Army colonel told Congress of instantly going from “hero to zero” in the eyes of a prospective employer when she disclosed that she was in the process of changing gender. Since that hearing, Congress has done nothing to protect transgender workers, despite evidence of outrageous job discrimination. But a federal judge has stepped in to say that the Library of Congress broke the law against sex discrimination by rescinding the job offer it had made before learning David Schroer was becoming Diane.

-TX: LGBT Protests Met with Dissent
By John Wright | News Editor | Dallas Voice
PLANO — A gay-rights protest is planned outside the Cinemark Legacy theaters in Plano on Saturday, Dec. 13, but the event doesn’t have the blessing of the local LGBT equality group. The Cinemark protest is the latest example of internal differences about what the LGBT community’s strategy should be in the wake of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California. Israel Luna, a gay independent filmmaker from Dallas, organized the protest in response to Cinemark CEO Alan Stock’s contribution of $9,999 to Yes on 8. The “No ‘Milk’ for Cinemark” protest will take place a day after the opening of “Milk” — a film about murdered gay-rights activist Harvey Milk — at the Cinemark Legacy. Cinemark Theatres, the nation’s third-largest theater chain, is based in Plano. Read

-Aetna Announces Member of New LGBT Equality External Advisory Council
HARTFORD, Conn., December 16, 2008 — Aetna (NYSE: ΑET) announced today the members of its newly formed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Advisory Council. This move will strengthen Aetna’s efforts to integrate business, philanthropic and outreach activities to improve access and care for its LGBT members. The LGBT Advisory Council will support Aetna and the Aetna Foundation in identifying new initiatives that specifically focus on enhancing outreach to the LGBT community. LGBT populations, in addition to having the same basic health needs as the general population, often face unique challenges and may experience health disparities related to sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression. Since 2001, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have directed more than $20 million toward efforts to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. More than $350,000 in grants and sponsorships have been awarded to nonprofits seeking to advance LGBT specific programs and initiatives.

Gay American Heroes

-San Francisco, Honors Gay American Heroes with Cities Highest Honor .. see video
From Scott Hall
I Have great news... All 11 of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave Gay American Heroes, the Highest Honor the city can give on 12-09-08. I am so grateful we need all the help we can get, to shine a light on our families and friends who are being stolen from us.
And help the people who are bullied and beaten every day for being themselves.
We need to "Give Them Hope"(Harvey Milk) and help create change.
Thank you helping this Historic Project and joining us in our fight for a brighter future and equal rights.
This is a Great Honor I'm so Excited
Here is our new 3 D video of our Heroes Memorial ... please let me know your thoughts. And please pass it everyone ( 1 min video.. priceless )
Please check out our home page
Thank you again.. all the best.
Scott Hall

Click on ...BOS 12 09 08 Video and Fast Forward to 2:01:38 or around there to see Supervisor Bevan Dufty intro to GAHF and me speaking to the Board...its about 4 Min's.

-The Gay American Heroes Memorial is a tribute to the lives of the hundreds of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender victims of hate crimes. Through this traveling memorial, we will insure that the lives of these heroes will be celebrated and never forgotten.The multidimensional, mobile Memorial is over 7 feet high and more than 75 feet in length. Check the video:


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