Friday, February 13, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - February 13, 2009

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New York Times
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-Mexico City Journal: Mayor Aims to Add Spark to Flagging Sex Lives
Flashing a boyish grin, the silver-haired septuagenarian fidgeted nervously. His voice dropped to a whisper. A reddish hue enveloped his face. All this because he was asked how the latest social program to be offered by Mexico City's government was affecting his home life.

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-NY: Same-sex couples protest laws: Activists denied licenses to marry across the nation
By Verena Dobnik
Hundreds of same-sex couples seeking to wed were turned away from marriage license counters throughout the nation Thursday, part of an annual protest that took on renewed urgency in light of recent setbacks in the gay marriage movement.,0,2896580.story

Steve Rothaus
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-David Beckham subjected to homophobic abuse during match reports that Spanish fans in Seville abused soccer star David Beckham on Wednesday by chanting "Beckham maricón" or "Beckham faggot."

-Gay adoptive dad fights for state benefits for his child
Wayne LaRue Smith wanted to ensure that the foster child he was raising wouldn't be taken from him, so he sought permanent guardianship. He really wanted to adopt the boy, but under a 32-year-old Florida law that bans adoption by gay people, that seemed out of the question. Now, two years later, Smith faces a legal Catch 22. In August, a Key West judge declared the state's gay adoption law unconstitutional, allowing Smith to adopt his foster son. But state child welfare administrators have declined to provide the boy a host of financial benefits available to foster kids who are adopted. Their reason: Because the boy was already in a guardianship, he was no longer a foster child when he was adopted. ''We have never granted an adoption subsidy in a guardianship case,'' Department of Children & Families Secretary George Sheldon said. Smith suspects there's another reason: He was the first gay Florida man in almost two decades to legally adopt a child from state care. Though state officials did not oppose the adoption, they strongly contested a similar case that prompted a Miami judge to declare the 1977 adoption law unconstitutional in November. To read more, click here.

-Q-uba Art Exhibit Friday night at Stonewall Library
An ArtExplosion 2009 event: Q-uba Art Exhibit
New Works by Artist Hildana Ciser, and Photographer Alex Heria
Friday, February 13, 2009, 6:30-8:30 PM
Stonewall Library & Archives
1300 East Sunrise Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Free Admission

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-Lesbian comic to headline White House correspondents' dinner
By The Associated Press
Wanda Sykes will soon get the chance to make fun of President Barack Obama to his face. The comic actress said Thursday that she has been selected as the entertainer at the annual White House correspondents' dinner in Washington, slated for May 9.

-Stepson of 'family values' televangelist busted
By The Associated Press
The stepson of megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes has been arrested on an indecent exposure charge. Dallas police say Jermaine Jakes is accused of exposing himself to two undercover vice detectives last month. He turned himself in Thursday and was released on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond.

-Bill would allow gays to sponsor foreign partners
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
Legislation was re-introduced in Congress Thursday that would allow Americans in a same-sex relationship to sponsor their "permanent partners" for legal residency in the United States, a right currently afforded only to opposite-sex couples under immigration law.

Pink News - UK
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-God Hates Fags church threatens to picket Basingstoke
A small religious community from Kansas notorious for picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq have said they are to protest in England. Click here for full article

-Outrage as Jamaican MP asks why "violent" gays are allowed gun licences
Gay equality activists in Jamaica have reacted with disgust at the latest homophobic outburst from one of the island's politicians. Click here for full article

-"Cross-dressing" man is latest victim of Bahrain's morality purge
A driving instructor has been jailed for one month in Bahrain for wearing women's clothing in public. A court was told the 39-year-old was wearing a abaya. Click here for full article

-Legal battle in US federal court after HIV+ woman denied surgery
A 35-year-old American woman living with HIV who was denied surgery to remove her gallbladder because of her status has filed a federal lawsuit. Click here for full article

Daily Queer News
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-Illinois Takes Up Gay Marriage Bill
Openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) has filed legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in Illinois. The bill is slated for discussion Tuesday in the Youth and Family Committee and a large number of gay and lesbian couples are expected to pack the committee room. But even Harris admits it will be tough to get the measure to a vote in the House. Two years ago, a civil union bill introduced by Harris died when the session ended and conservative groups already have made it known they will fight the marriage bill. They've work to push for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage they hope will make it to the ballot in 2010. The marriage bill, officially called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act would "provide eligible same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same treatment as those in a civil marriage." Read more

-Ireland to Refuse Adoption Rights for Gay Couples
Pink News
A leading gay rights group in Ireland is angry that new adoption legislation is discriminatory. The Irish government published the Adoption Bill 2009 last month. It limits access to adoption to married couples and individuals, excluding non-married same-sex and opposite-sex couples. The chair of the country's National Lesbian and Gay Federation, Ailbhe Smyth, said: "It is extraordinarily disappointing that a government which professes to support full equality for all citizens would seek to yet again reinforce the inequalities within our society. Read more

-If Not Ex-Gay, Then What?
DAVID BENKOF | Jerusalem Post
For years, I have been a critic of the 'ex-gay' movement, particularly its Jewish manifestation. Many advocates of 'reorientation therapy' appear to exaggerate ex-gay transformation rates, and so far the non-gay leaders of the Jewish ex-gay movement have been utterly unable to produce success stories who are willing to be interviewed. Alarmingly, Jewish ex-gay organizers sometimes lead Jewish strugglers perilously close to Christian ideas at odds with Judaism. The mainstream press treats the ex-gay movement with anything from curiosity to disdain, and the gay and lesbian community openly mocks and reviles it. Yet most of the people who turn to ex-gay ministries and reorientation therapies are genuine and sincere. Shouldn't they have an alternative to either living a gay lifestyle or striving to remake themselves as ex-gays? Well, I have a suggestion. Instead of gay or ex-gay, those of us who have stopped thinking of ourselves primarily as same-sexers can emphasize the fact that, whether we're celibate or in opposite-sex relationships, we're 'Deliberately Living Traditionally.' The handy acronym Delta corresponds to a Greek letter representing change; it can be a rival to the use of the letter Lambda to represent all things gay. Delta can serve as a new identity and community for people who are making or have made that tough transition. (Perhaps the Hebrew version will be known as 'Dalets.') Read more

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-Spain to accept transsexuals into armed forces
The Spanish ministry of defence has said it will reform legislation to allow transsexuals to serve in the armed forces. The move follows a publicised battle by a 28-year-old male transsexual who has been rejected by the army on two occasions because he does not have a penis. The man, who has only been named as Aitor G R, was born female but underwent a mastectomy and hormone treatment several years ago in the first step of "gender reassignment". He is on a waiting list for an operation to reshape his genitals into a penis. Although the Spanish army recruits women, Aitor G R is recognised as a man legally and was declared medically unfit by army recruiters because of his lack of male genitalia.

-On April 28, 2008, Eudy Simelane, 31 years old, was gang-raped and brutally murdered in her home township, Kwa-Thema, near Johannesburg in South AFrica. The apparent motive for her killing was that she was a lesbian who fought back "like a man." Despite its strong constitution and human rights protections, South Africa has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world. In the crisis of sexual assault, women who are identified as lesbians or who don't conform to cultural or social norms for what women "should look like" or how women "should act" have also been targeted, with brutal consequences.

-Whatever happened to free speech?
Britain was once renowned around the world for defending people's right to speak out. Not any more, says Philip Johnston. The refusal to admit the oddball Dutch MP Geert Wilders to Britain yesterday marks a further retreat from this country's traditions of free speech. It stands in stark contrast to what happened exactly 20 years ago tomorrow, when Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie for insulting the Prophet Mohammed in his book The Satanic Verses. In retrospect, that was a turning point in the country's history of free speech, an event that appeared to demonstrate indomitability, yet turned out to be a defeat. An unambiguous stand was taken on Rushdie's behalf by the government of the day, which denounced the threat to his life and broke off diplomatic relations with Iran. Sir Geoffrey Howe, then foreign secretary, told the Commons: "This action is taken in plain defence of the right within the law of freedom of speech and the right within the law of freedom of protest."

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Two Federal Appellate Judges Question DOMA
Same-Sex Spouses of 9th Circuit Court Employees Win Benefits
In rulings on two internal employee grievances within the federal judiciary's 9th Circuit, a pair of appellate judges each raised constitutional concerns about the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, with one of them flat out ruling that it is unconstitutional in its application to the matter at issue. In both rulings, which are not official 9th Circuit opinions but rather internal administrative findings - yet were still posted to its website on February 4 - court administrators were ordered to include the same-sex spouses of judicial employees in their federal benefits plan.

-South Carolina vs. the Lion('s Den)
The courts are full of litigation over the validity of numerous state and local laws regulating the existence, locations, hours, and advertising of sexually-oriented businesses of all kinds. This litigation has produced its own body of law and legal cottage industry, and is ably chronicled by blogs such as The Legal Satyricon and Meeting the Sin Laws. I post about this particular case not because it breaks new legal ground but because it explans a phenomenon I have often wondered about on my cross-country road trips: the Lion's Den highway signs. The Lion's Den is one of the biggest chain stores selling pornography and sex toys in the US. Toys in Babeland they're not, and their unpretentious stores - perhaps catering to the truck-driving profession - are often located in rural and small-town areas alongside major highways. If you live in the eastern US, you've probably seen these signs.

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-Equality Riders facing a Texas trial need your wings to fly!
In late October of 2009, The Equality Ride visited the Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachi, TX. Prior to our arrival, the school printed out prayer cards for their students. Each one depicted a different Equality Rider, and each one asked we be the focus of the prayers. And every Friday night, SAGU sends out a team of student missionaries to the well-known LGBTQ area of Dallas, encouraging folks there to leave and come into their church community, were a self-affirming LGBTQ person is not safe. So while the school's administration refused to talk with us, their communication was loud! Three Equality Riders took a bold step onto the Waxahachie, TX campus, knowing that this was a place that actively seeks out its LGBTQ students in a misuse of ministry, and were arrested. We need our voices of support to sing louder than the prayer cards, louder than their street team, and louder than the handcuffs stopped the Riders in their tracks. Nicholas Rocco DeFinis, Manny Lampon, and Zak Rittenhouse have to be back in Texas for an April court date and need your help getting there. Flights from NYC, Philly, and Lynchburg are not cheap and Waxahachie is a town that requires all defendants to be present. Your frequent flyer miles are fantastic way to make sure that no one goes broke when fighting for justice! If you have miles available, please contact Kara Speltz at

-Don't forget that our founder, the Rev. Dr. Mel White, will be competing in the 14th edition of the CBS program, The Amazing Race beginning this Sunday, February 15th! For more information, go to

-You can help end religion-based discrimination by becoming a part of the 365 Club, Soulforce's new monthly donor program. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day, your membership in the 365 Club will keep you informed of Soulforce's progress while you help maintain our ongoing programs.

From Transgender Equality
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-Michigan Television Station Pulls Misleading AFA Program Following Announcement of National Action Alert By Human Rights Campaign Station manager releases statement: "The Offer is now off the table." WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today issued a national action alert against the American Family Association's (AFA) one-hour television special called "Speechless: Silencing Christians," which is promoted to "reveal the truth about the radical homosexual agenda and its impact on the family, the nation and religious freedom." Within an hour of that action alert announcement, the Grand Rapids, MI station which had planned to air the deceptive programming rescinded that offer.


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