Friday, February 20, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - February 20, 2009

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New York Times
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-Charities Now Seek Bankruptcy Protection
On Tuesday, the board of Glass Youth and Family Services in Los Angeles voted to file for bankruptcy protection, unable to overcome falling state reimbursements, rising costs and dwindling donations.

Washington Post
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-Work That Tiara, Boy!
GMU's Choice of Homecoming Queen Sparks Campus Divide
By Annie Gowen
Spend time with George Mason University senior Ryan Allen and it's clear why he's a Big Man on Campus. He wears size 12 pumps. Allen is now -- as of halftime at Saturday's sold-out basketball game against Northeastern at the Patriot Center -- the school's homecoming queen. He received more votes than the two women who vied for the crown.

-Growing HIV rates among gay, bisexual men in Asia
HONG KONG -- The AIDS virus is spreading rapidly among gay and bisexual men in Asia as younger people shun condoms and authorities fail to increase awareness of the disease, health officials said Friday. The epidemic will worsen dramatically in coming years unless there is better education and stronger political will to combat the disease, warned Massimo Ghidinelli, the World Health Organization's regional adviser on HIV/AIDS.

Wall Street Journal

-There's No Reason to Gloat Over Dubai's Fall
The emirates set a good example in a bad neighborhood. Of all the victims of the global financial crisis, Dubai and its neighboring states are receiving little sympathy. The oil-rich Persian Gulf emirate, which until recently had been a glitzy boomtown attracting fortune-seekers from across the globe, is reported to be canceling 1,500 work visas every day. Its real-estate market has dropped 30% or more over the past few months.

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-Lutheran panel urges new rules for gay clergy
By Manya A. Brachear and Margaret Ramirez
A task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommended Thursday that its leaders make changes to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy.,0,2269925.story

Steve Rothaus
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-Winter Party Festival: It's going to be a throwback to the gay '08s
The 2009 economy is tanking and tourism has taken a hit, but gay men and women are poised to party in South Florida like it's 2008. Winter Party Festival advance ticket sales are nearly the same this year as last, according to Michael Bath, special events manager for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

South Florida Blade
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-Ft. Lauderdale: Pompano Bill to be released from hospital
Local event photographer John "Pompano Bill" Calceterra is recovering from hip replacement surgery. For the scheduled operation, Calceterra was admitted to Holy Cross Hospital on February 5th and was released from Holy Cross Hospital after surgery on February 8th. He is currently recovering at the Fort Lauderdale Health and Rehabilitation Center where he is undergoing physical therapy twice daily and is expected to be released the weekend of Feb. 20. "I have one hip that's 83 and another one that's a week old." Calceterra said. No surgery was needed on his other hip but he admits he will not be able to do the Tango.

-Anti-gay forces work to regain nat'l influence
Religious conservatives fear Congress will advance gay rights legislation
By CHRIS JOHNSON, Washington Blade

-Plan would recognize same-sex couples in Wisconsin
Partners would have right to hospital visits, property

-Stimulus allows 'discretionary' funds for HIV prevention
AIDS funding earmark stripped from $787 billion measure
By LOU CHIBBARO JR, Washington Blade

The Advocate
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-PepsiCo Gets in Bed With Rockstar, Michael Savage
PepsiCo announced Wednesday morning a multiyear distribution deal with the makers of the energy drink Rockstar, prompting calls among gay rights activists for a company-wide boycott.

-Tyra Loves Gays Who Hate Gays
By Dave White
Nobody wants to go to Elisabeth Hasselbeck's house to watch her favorite show, The Bachelor. Nobody on The View anyway. She asked her cohosts this week -- and even tried to make it sound like it would be 110% fun -- to hang out at her place watching a show about straight women battling it out to fall in fake-love with a handsome, frequently shirtless guy. There would be pajamas worn! There would be snacks!

-Long-Standing LGBT Social Service Organization Files for Bankruptcy
Eight days after celebrating its 25th anniversary, Los Angeles's Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, effectively ceasing operations immediately. GLASS was the nation's first long-term residential treatment program specifically for LGBT youths. The group currently operates residential group homes in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland that house 71 young people. The agency also provides transitional living space for about 25 teens aged 17-19 and secures foster homes for 50 youths.

-Fred Phelps, Daughter Barred From Entering U.K.
As they've done many times before, Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper had planned to picket an upcoming production of the Matthew Shepard play The Laramie Project -- but the United Kingdom will have none of their "extremist" hate.

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-HIV rate among Swazi women now 42%
Some 42 percent of pregnant women in Swaziland are infected with the virus that causes AIDS, a jump of 3 percent since last year

-FBI's Hoover investigated rumors Valenti was gay
Longtime Hollywood lobbyist Jack Valenti was among the Washington figures whose sex lives were secretly investigated by the FBI in the 1960s.

-8 LGBT protections added to ND human rights law in state senate
In a bipartisan move, the North Dakota Senate has voted to amend the state Human Rights Act to include gays, lesbians and transgenderds.

Pink News - UK
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-Gay airport guard awarded compensation in sexual harassment case
By Tony Grew
A gay airport employee who was sexually harassed by a female colleague was today awarded almost double the compensation expected.

Daily Queer News
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-Hollywood Slowly Opening Up to Gay Films
Malay Mail
Three years after gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain missed out on best picture at the Oscars, can Milk be the cream of the crop at the 81st Academy Awards? Director Gus Van Sant's inspirational biopic charts the life and death of California's first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, who was murdered by a fellow San Francisco politician in 1978. The film, which stars Sean Penn as Milk, heads into next Sunday's Oscars with eight nominations - including best picture, best director, best actor, best supporting actor and best original screenplay. But recent history suggests that admirers of Milk should not be banking on a multi-Oscar- winning haul. "The memory of Brokeback Mountain's defeat, led some commentators to wonder if the Academy was ready to name a "gay" film for its top prize. Although Brokeback Mountain was widely acclaimed and managed three Oscars - direction, score and attempted screenplay - it was beaten by Crash as best picture. Read more

-NJ: Workshop Will Discuss Homophobia in Sports
The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network of Central New Jersey will sponsor the "It Takes a Team!" workshop 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at the South Brunswick High School, 750 Ridge Road, Monmouth Junction. The program, which is co-sponsored by the South Brunswick High School Gay Straight Alliance, will feature Dr. Pat Griffin speaking about ending homophobia in sports. Student athletes, parents, coaches and interested community members are welcome. Link

-Gay Pensioners Required to Out Themselves to Centrelink
Yahoo News
From July 1, Centrelink will recognise gay and lesbian relationships for the first time, but for same sex-couples receiving Centrelink payments, that hard-won equality comes at a price. Under the changes, some may get less money, or lose their payments altogether, if their partner earns more than the income threshold. And they will now be obliged to disclose their homosexuality to Centrelink. For old-age pensioners in particular, that's raising concerns. Gerontologist Jo Harrison says it is a traumatic prospect for some of the gay and lesbian pensioners she works with. "It's a huge problem, even if it is kept secret by Centrelink, because we're talking about people who have lived lives where in their 20s they were arrested and bashed," she says. Read more

-ELCA Panel Urges Church to Allow Clergy to Live in Gay, Lesbian Relationships
The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS - In what promises to be a controversial move unprecedented in the history of Lutheranism in the United States, a national task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America recommends that the nation's largest Lutheran denomination change its policy and allow homosexual clergy to live in "committed, same-gender relationships." The report, made public at noon today, is the result of years of study, wrangling and revising of official statements. According to an ELCA news release, "The report focuses on changing the policy that 'ordained ministers who are homosexual in their self-understanding are expected to abstain from homosexual sexual relationships," - as stated in the ELCA's 'Vision and Expectations,' for ordained ministers." Read more

-NC: Gay Groups Agitated Over Conference
Tonya Jameson | | Charlotte Observer
A battle for gay souls is unfolding in Charlotte this week. One faith-based conference is trying to turn people away from homosexuality and another faith-based conference teaches that homosexuals can have happy, healthy spiritual lives. Also, the 14th annual Human Rights Campaign Carolinas gala is Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center. The HRC is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., will be the keynote speaker at Saturday's event. All of this is going down less than a week after Charlotte Presbyterians voted to end the ban on gay clergy. Read more

-Pro, "Ex" Gay Spiritual Events Converge in Charlotte, N.C.
Kilian Melloy | EDGE Contributor | EDGE Boston
Wayne Besen of "Truth Wins Out" is scheduled to speak at an anti-"ex gay" event in Charlotte
As the cultural storm over gays, their families, and their souls sweeps America, an unexpected, if momentary, focus has emerged: Charlotte, North Carolina. A Feb. 19 article in the Charlotte Observer notes that no fewer than events in Charlotte are aligning to draw attention to that city with regard to GLBT issues. Read more

-IL: Gay Students Going 'Full Kitsch' for Mixer
Chicago Breaking News
There will be music, heart-shaped decorations and the ever observant eyes of parent chaperons roaming the school commons. Beneath pink streamers, teenagers will dance and pose for pictures in the Cupid Booth. But the dance Friday will break ground as north suburban Stevenson High School's first mixer for homosexual students. "This is the first time they've gotten to actually plan a dance explicitly for their interests. That seems like a small thing, and it's not," said teacher Bill Fritz. Educators say gay students are vulnerable to harassment and are more likely to miss school or feel disconnected - ultimately affecting their academic performance. So as more teens come out in high school, support systems have broadened to emphasize tolerance. In Illinois, the first Gay Straight Alliances emerged at Chicago's Whitney Young and Marshall High Schools 15 years ago, said Shannon Sullivan of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. Now, 88 public high schools sponsor similar groups, and more may exist but choose not to be listed. "Students who feel they are more part of a school do better in school. The [Gay Straight Alliance] is part of that, having a teacher you can talk with is part of that, and for that matter, so is a school dance," said Joseph Kosciw, research director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Read more

-He Won't Be On a List, But He's in the Pulpit
Star Tribune
In a happenstance of timing, the Rev. Bradley Froslee is being installed as pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church at 3 p.m .Sunday, but he won't be recognized. Current bylaws allow gays and lesbians to be ordained only if they are celibate. But some churches, including Calvary Lutheran in Minneapolis, are ignoring that rule. Ministers in such cases are not "rostered," meaning that calvary's ministry will be listed as "vacant." Froslee was ordained five years ago but has since become involved in a relationship and now is listed as "on leave from call." "This congregation is trying very hard to build bridges with the community," he said. "Yes, we have gay and lesbian members, but we also have African-American members and Latino members. Our vision is to be a congregation that reflects the diversity of our community." JEFF STRICKLER Link

-Final Ruling: Just Say No to Gay Volunteers
Chris Nielsen | PageOneQ
Adding insult to injury would aptly describe a recent, long-awaited ruling by the Washington State Human Rights Commission in its answer to a complaint filed by a gay couple who was shown the door when they tried to volunteer at a religious organization's hot meal program. In March 2008, Tad Erichsen and John Footh were turned away from the His Supper Table program in the tiny coastal community of Long Beach, Washington, where they both reside. They were told in no uncertain terms by then meal program director Mike Renfro that they were refused the opportunity to volunteer solely because they were gay. "We were told that our being there, a gay couple, would create a 'hostile work environment,'" says Erichsen. Read more

-Rebel Australian Priest Defies Sacking
AFP | Google News
SYDNEY (AFP) - A rebel Catholic priest sacked for blessing gay couples and allowing women to preach has vowed to defy his archbishop and lead mass on Sunday.
Father Peter Kennedy of St Mary's parish in the east coast city of Brisbane said he expected a "packed church" to show support against his dismissal this week by Archbishop John Bathersby. "I think he's sacked me unjustly and the community agrees so I'm standing strong and I don't think he can do anything about that," Kennedy told AFP. "I don't know what will happen but we will just continue with our liturgy as we normally have it," he said in a telephone interview from the inner-city church where he has preached for 28 years. Read more

-UT: Wilson's Benefits Push:A Profile of Persistence if Not Courage
Jeremiah Stettler | The Salt Lake Tribune
How hard could it be? she thought. In her mind, she wasn't asking for anything "radical." Democratic Councilwoman Jenny Wilson simply wanted to offer wider health benefits to Salt Lake County employees. But her colleagues warned about political pushback: "You won't get a Republican vote," Councilman Joe Hatch told her. Read more

-KS: Access to Sex Books Restricted at Topeka Library
Associated Press |
TOPEKA | The Topeka Shawnee County Library Board of Trustees has voted to restrict access to four books about sex. The 5-3 vote came Thursday after the board heard more than two hours of testimony and discussion. The board had moved its regular meeting to a bigger room for the public hearing because of the interest in the issue. The board took up the issue after Kim Borchers and her group "Kansans for Common Sense" requested that the books should be taken off the public shelves and available only by request from an adult. The books are The Joy of Sex, The Joy of Gay Sex, Sex for Busy People, and the Lesbian Kama Sutra. The board left the decision on how to restrict access to the books to the library staff. Read more


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