Saturday, February 28, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - February 28, 2009

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New York Times
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-The Perpetual Protester
The weather was cold, and the protesters relatively few. But among the two dozen or so men who braved the whipping winds for a recent rally near the mayor's home on the Upper East Side, one man's sign stood out.

-Obama Moves to Undo Rule on Abortion Providers
The Obama administration moved Friday to undo a last-minute Bush administration rule granting broad protections to health workers who refuse to take part in abortions or provide other health care that goes against their consciences. The Department of Health and Human Services served notice on Friday that it intended to rescind the regulation, which was originally announced on Dec. 19 and took effect on the day President Obama took office.

Washington Post
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Panel Proposes Allowing Gays to Become Clergy
A task force of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has recommended that its leaders make changes to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy. At the same time, the task force proposed giving individual congregations the option of rejecting a gay clergy member.

Wall Street Journal

-The Democratic Party Could Face an Internal Civil War
'Gentry' and 'populist' factions square off on energy and the environment. This is the Democratic Party's moment, its power now greater than any time since the mid-1960s. But do not expect smooth sailing. The party is a fractious group divided by competing interests, factions and constituencies that could explode into a civil war, especially when it comes to energy and the environment.

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-Focus on Family leader to step down
By Eric Gorski
Conservative evangelical leader James Dobson has resigned as chairman of Focus on the Family but will continue to play a prominent role at the organization he founded more than three decades ago. Dobson notified the board of his decision Wednesday, and the 950 employees of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based ministry were informed Friday, said Jim Daly, the group's president and chief executive officer.,0,2487201.story

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-Study: Gays of color face greater discrimination in schools
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
LGBT students of color face greater victimization at school, according to a new study.

-Life sentence for murder of Ryan SkipperJ
Joseph Bearden, a known methamphetamine addict, has been sentenced to life behind bars for his part in the killing of Ryan Skipper in 2007. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.5

-Harvey Milk sculpture proposed for Utah Capitol (Salt Lake City, Utah)
A Salt Lake City area man has a unique proposal to counter what he sees as growing homophobia among Utah politicians - a statue to Harvey Milk at the Utah Capitol. Roger...

-Maine inkeeps say gay marriage could save industry
With the nation in the grip of an economic crisis that is threatening tourism across the country, Maine's inns, tourism agencies, and the wedding industry say legalizing same-sex marriage in the state could save them from disaster.

-Gay, straight adult entertainment, toys face "Skin Tax"
In Washington state, a half-dozen cash-strapped legislators recently endorsed a huge sales tax increase on explicit movies, magazines and other sex-themed products.

Pink News - UK
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By Staff Writer,
The fallout from Google's decision to list as a site containing "malware" on the service continues. For around 48 hours between Tuesday to Thursday of this week users of Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Google's search engine were unable to access because of alleged security vulnerabilities.

-Gay marriage vigils planned ahead of Prop 8 appeal to Supreme Court
Lesbian, gay and bisexual Californians and their supporters will take to the streets of more than a dozen cities next month to protest against a ban on gay marriage in the state.

-Catholic bishops 'helped defeat' domestic partnerships bill in New Mexico
Lesiglation to provide gay and straight unmarried couples with the right to enter into domestic partnerships under state law has been rejected by the New Mexico state Senate.

-Republican politician partially apologises for comparing gays to murderers
A state Senator in Colorado has admitted he has caused insult by comparing gay and lesbian people to murderers and adulterers.

-Lithuania's EU Commissioner denies she is a lesbian
A leading Euro politician has responded to speculation about her personal life. Dalia Grybauskaite is the EU Commissioner for Financial Planning and Budgets.

-Lesbian couple's victory over NHS fertility treatment
A local health authority has backed down after they were taken to court for refusing fertility treatment to a lesbian couple.

-Homophobia is "rampant" on XBox claims gay media group
A cyber-row has broken out after a woman was banned from playing XBox Live online because her open lesbianism "offended" other players.

-Comment: Tory MPs really need to shut up if they want my vote
As a political journalist, I regularly talk to MPs and activists of all parties. Tories spend most of their time telling me how much their party has changed.

-Euro Parliament accepts petition on Poland's discrimination against gays
The European Parliament Committee on Petitions has accepted a petition submitted by a Polish LGBT rights group on the discriminatory practices of registry offices.

Daily Queer News
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-NY: Gays of Color Face Greater Discrimination in Schools
365gay Newscenter Staff |
LGBT students of color face greater victimization at school, according to a new study. The research paper: Shared Differences: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students of Color in Our Nation's Schools, was released by GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The report documents the experiences of over 2,000 LGBT middle and high school students of color who were African American or Black, Latino, Asian or Pacific Islander, Native American, and multiracial. The researchers used data collected in 2007 as part of GLSEN's biennial survey of LGBT students along with results from in-depth individual and group interviews. Read more

-Federal Court: Montana Church May Shield Donations to Gay Marriage Ban
Carol J. Williams | Los Angeles Times
Far from the gay-rights battlefields of Los Angeles and San Francisco, where supporters of a ban on gay marriage risk business boycotts and landing on the social D-list, a Baptist church in Montana has scored a quiet victory in its campaign to keep its books and defense-of-marriage backers out of the limelight. The Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church of East Helena isn't obliged to make campaign finance disclosures, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday, because its support for the Montana Marriage Protection Amendment - use of some printer ink and a foyer table - was "extremely minimal." The 2004 state ballot initiative passed by a 2-to-1 margin. Religious rights groups opposed to according legal status to gay marriage cheered the decision of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel as a precedent that could protect the identities of donors to other ballot initiatives in the West - including California's narrow passage in November of Proposition 8, which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. Read more

-UT: Gay-Rights Group Drops Boycott Against Garff
Tony Semerad | The Salt Lake Tribune
A California gay-rights group announced Friday it is formally ending a boycott of one of Utah's most high-profile car dealerships. Californians Against Hate had called for a boycott of Ken Garff Automotive Group's 53 dealerships in six states in retaliation for a $100,000 donation made by Garff family matriarch Katharine Garff in support of Proposition 8, alifornia's same-sex marriage ban, part of a total of $3.4 million donated for and against Prop 8 by Utahns. The same-sex-marriage ban is now being challenged in Calfornia Supreme Court. Fred Karger, director of Californians Against Hate, said Friday the two-week boycott of Ken Garff Automotive Group was being called off immediately, following a series of meetings that included face-to-face discussions between company principals John and Robert Garff and Utah philanthropist Bruce Bastian, a leading gay-rights advocate. "We're just ecstatic," said Karger, who said his group was moving swiftly to take down a Web site and other Internet presences associated with the boycott. "It's a wonderful situation . a happy ending." Said Bastian: "We were able to discuss this openly and honestly with the Garffs and reach an understanding. I think they understand now why this was upsetting and hurtful to many people." Read more

-Irish Gay Marriage Advocates Claim Massive Public Support
Tony Grew | Pink News
A group campaigning for full marriage rights for gay and lesbian people in Ireland has revealed the results of a new survey suggesting widespread support. MarriagEquality said 81% of those polled believe that all people living in Ireland should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of their sexual orientation. Six out of ten people believe that denying marriage to lesbians and gay men is a form of discrimination. Read more

-Lithuania's EU Commissioner Denies She is a Lesbian
Pink News
A leading Euro politician has responded to speculation about her personal life. Dalia Grybauskaite is the EU Commissioner for Financial Planning and Budgets. Yesterday she confirmed that she will be a candidate for President of her homeland, Lithuania, in May's elections. She was asked as part of an online Q&A with a Lithuanian website about press reports she has a relationship with another women several years ago. She responded: "If you are asking whether I am a lesbian, then no, I am not."
Lithuania is one of the most homophobic countries in the EU. Read more

-TX: National Gay-Rights Conference Coming to Dallas in 2010
Tammye Nash | Senior Editor | Dallas Voice
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's annual National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change is coming back to Dallas in 2010, and NGLTF leaders will be in town March 9 for the first of what is sure to be numerous planning sessions. Sue Hyde, Creating Change director, and Russell Roybal, deputy executive director of external relations, will attend the community information meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Resource Center of Dallas, Hyde said this week. "We have a few different goals set for this meeting," Hyde said in a telephone interview this week. "The first of those is that Russell and I want to meet people from the Dallas-Fort Worth LGBT community and its organizations. Second, we want to tell people about this very important event that is coming to Dallas." Read more

-TX: Queer Liberaction Plans Dallas Rally Following Prop 8 Hearing
Dallas Voice
Queer Liberaction, the Dallas LGBT direct action group founded in the wake of the passage of Proposition 8 in California last November, is calling for rallies to be held across the country on Saturday, March 7 to demand that the California State Supreme Court invalidate the voter-approved amendment banning same-sex marriage there. The California court issued a ruling last May declaring the state law banning same-sex marriage to be a violation of the state's constitution. Voters, however, approved a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages on Nov. 4, sparking outrage and protests across the country. Opponents of the amendment, known as Proposition 8, quickly filed suit claiming that the amendment created a significant change in the constitution and therefore could not be approved just by a popular vote. The Supreme Court agreed to put the lawsuit on the fast track, and will hear oral arguments in the case on Thursday, March 5. The court is required to issue its ruling in the case within 90 days of the hearing. Read more

-Is the US Changing Its Anti-Gay Stance at the UN?
Patricia Nell | The Bilerico Project
Amid the marriage uproars, many gay media almost lost an important piece of news in the shuffle. We LGBT people had a longstanding grievance against the Bush administration for opposing and undercutting establishment of our rights in the global arena. Now the Obama administration has made a start on reversing that policy. As part of the countdown to the UN's upcoming Durban Review Conference, the U.S. voted with other countries to support language that would outlaw all discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Durban Review Conference will held in Geneva, Switzerland on April 20-24. According to the UN website, "It will evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa in 2001." Previously, the U.S. took the opposite positioning, and hung us LGBT people out to dry at the UN. More on this after the jump. Read more

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-US State Department Criticises Russia, Serbia for Breaches of Human Rights
of Gays
Human Rights Report praised by Moscow Gay Pride Organisers
Russia is condemned for breaches of human rights in the US State Department's annual Human Rights Report, published yesterday. And human rights for gay men and women are highlights by the cases of continued bans on Moscow Gay Pride. The report also criticises other countries, like Serbia and Nigeria, for their attitudes towards gays. In the section on Russia, a large part of the report is given over to the human rights situation in the North Caucasus, highlighting cases of kidnapping, tortures, and killings of civilians.

-Iraq's underground queer railroad
A secret network of safe houses and escape routes is saving gay Iraqis from execution by Islamist death squads
By Peter Tatchell - The Guardian
In the bad old days of slavery in the United States, there was the "Underground Railroad" - a clandestine network of secret routes and safe houses - which spirited thousands of southern slaves to freedom in the north. Today, 200 years later in Iraq, a modern version of the underground railroad is saving the lives of gay people who are fleeing Islamist death squads. It is providing safe houses in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, and is smuggling lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to neighbouring countries, where it helps them apply for United Nations humanitarian protection. This secret network, coordinated by Iraqi LGBT exiles in London, is saving dozens of lives.

-Mich. man pleads no contest in vacuum sex act case From SAGINAW, Mich. - A man has pleaded no contest to indecent exposure after police said he was arrested for performing a sex act with a car wash vacuum. The Saginaw News reported 29-year-old Jason Leroy Savage entered the plea Wednesday in Saginaw County Circuit Court. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt but will be treated as one at sentencing on March 25. Police said Savage was arrested after a resident called officers early on Oct. 16 to report suspicious activity at a car wash in Thomas Township, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit. Defense attorney Philip Alexander Sturtz had no immediate comment Thursday.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-For some, shadow of regret cast over gender switch
By Steve Friess, special for USA TODAY
The day Mike Penner left the Los Angeles Times made the news. The longtime sportswriter wrote the article himself, a personal essay explaining that he was taking some time off and, upon his return, he would be known from then on as Christine Daniels. Penner's public acknowledgment in April 2007 that he was transgender and would soon live as a woman shocked the world of sports journalism and turned his new identity, Daniels, into an instant celebrity. Daniels gave speeches, was profiled in Sports Illustrated, collected honors for courage from transgender groups and wrote a blog for the Times titled "Woman In Progress." Except that the transition didn't last. In mid-October 2008, after a lengthy leave of absence, Penner, 51, returned to the sports pages and the Times newsroom as a man. And just as suddenly, Penner's story, heralded in its early days as a triumphant example of transgender progress, has instead become a cautionary tale of the lesser-known phenomenon: transgender regret.

-14th Annual Rainbow Families Conference 2009
Minneapolis, MN - April 18
Hosted by the Family Equality Council
Anwatin/Bryn Mawr Schools
The Rainbow Families Conference is the premier community building and learning event for current and prospective LGBT parents, their children, family members and friends, area educators and community members. This incredible conference is a special resource for Minnesota and surrounding states and is the largest of its kind in the nation. Participants enjoy a day of learning and sharing together and also leave with concrete skills and information relevant to their own lives and needs.

-U.S. Department of State / 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

-Roman Catholic Group Claims Progress in Campus Fight Against 'Vagina Monologues'
A conservative Roman Catholic organization is boasting that pressure from it and its allies has led, over the past six years, to a more than 50-percent reduction in the number of Catholic college campuses staging productions of The Vagina Monologues. The Virginia-based Cardinal Newman Society said in a statement this month that the number of Catholic colleges staging the controversial work has dropped from 32 in 2003 to 15 this year. Responding to Catholic college officials who continue to allow performances of the play out of a belief in academic freedom, the group argued in its statement that "there is no academic value to a third-rate, vile play presented to celebrate lesbian activity, objectify women, and sell tickets," and that Pope Benedict XVI "has made it clear that 'academic freedom' can no longer be used as cover for ignoring the abuse of Catholic identity."

-National Equality Rally YouTube Video
What kind of world do you want? Make your voice heard! Join the National Equality Rally at Independence Hall on Sunday, May 3, and tell our President, Congress, and people everywhere that the world you want cherishes diversity and supports Equality - for all!

-Judge Rules Child Porn Possessor Must Pay Victim
Conn. - In a first-of-its-kind ruling, Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton has ordered a corporate exec to pay $200,000 in damages to a teenager pictured in a sexually explicit image found on his computer. The child porn user is former Pfizer Pharmaceuticals executive Alan Hesketh, a British citizen who was fired from his position after his arrest in March of 2008 on child porn charges. Hesketh is currently serving 78 months in prison for possession and distribution of approximately 2,000 child porn images. Before Judge Eginton's ruling, courts had only awarded damages to child porn victims from the producers of the images themselves; never before has a possessor of the material been forced to compensate one of the children depicted. The woman, now 19, was awarded $150,000 for her medical and psychological expenses and another $45,500 in legal fees and expert witness costs - and she was only one of 24 children identified in Hesketh's kiddie porn collection.

-Steamy sex courses fire GOP's ire
ATLANTA - Upset House Republicans are mounting a campaign to purge Georgia's higher education system of professors with an expertise in racy sexuality topics as the state grapples with a $2.2 billion shortfall. State Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, took the House well on Friday to announce a "grassroots" effort to oust professors with expertise in subjects like male prostitution, oral sex and "queer theory." "This is not considered higher education," Byrd said. "If legislators are going to dole out the dollars, we should have a say-so in where they go." Byrd and her supporters, including state Rep. Calvin Hill, R-Canton, said they will team with the Christian Coalition and other religious groups to pressure fellow lawmakers and the University System Board of Regents to eliminate the jobs. "Our job is to educate our people in sciences, business, math," said Hill, a vice chairman of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee. He said professors aren't going to meet those needs "by teaching a class in queer theory."

-Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, International Lesbian and Gay Law Association (ILGLaw), and the City of West Hollywood
The Global Arc of Justice Conference: Sexual Law Around the World
The Global Arc of Justice Conference will be a four-day international conference focused on advances in LGBT rights around the globe. Convened by the Williams Institute, a research center on sexual orientation and gender identity law and policy at UCLA Law; the International Lesbian and Gay Law Association (ILGLaw); and the City of West Hollywood; the conference will be held from March 11-14 on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles and in West Hollywood, California. The conference will offer simultaneous translation in English and Spanish. Topics covered at the Global Arc of Justice Conference will include international efforts to advance legal recognition for same sex couples; the repeal of sodomy laws in former British Colonies; efforts by national governments to end homophobia and advance LGBT equality; implementation of the Yogyakarta Principles in litigation strategies and legal scholarship; and advancement of the rights of transgender people. Conference activities will include strategy working groups, paper presentations, plenary sessions, and various networking opportunities and celebrations.

-Sign the petition to Secretary Gates
The New York Times reported last week that the Pentagon has a new program to recruit 1,000 temporary immigrants over the next year. It's heartening news -- but it's also pretty befuddling. While the Pentagon struggles to reach recruiting goals of 1,000 new service members, it could easily sign up that number of tough, capable recruits tomorrow. What's preventing those recruits from enlisting? "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Find this as frustrating as we do? Join our campaign to ask Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to help lift the ban:

-48 Hours Left to Participate in the Largest Ever Study of Transgender Discrimination

-Culture & Identity Studies: Explore Gay Paris
Faculty-Led Summer Session 2009
UW-La Crosse has partnered with CEA to offer you the opportunity to study abroad in Paris, France. Renowned for its intellectuals, artists, writers, and revolutionaries, Paris represents the perfect combination of tradition and modernity. Long known as a city for freedom and tolerance, Paris has become characterized over the past decade by its acceptance of the LGBT community. Discover the Marais district, the location of CEA's GlobalCampus in Paris and the heart of Gay Paris. You will live in an apartment with like-minded students, fully immersed in French culture. Contact Willem Van Roosenbeek at or Sara Sullivan at

Equality Forum
10th Annual Art Exhibit Features Richard Amsel Retrospective
PHILADELPHIA- Equality Forum 2009 will showcase the first-ever Richard Amsel Retrospective Exhibition, featuring artwork by one of Hollywood's most highly-acclaimed illustrators. The exhibition runs at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery at The University of the Arts April 15 - May 14, 2009. Equality Forum 2009, the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum, will be held April 27 to May 3 in Philadelphia. [...] "The first-ever Richard Amsel retrospective is the icing on the cake to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our annual exhibit of gay and lesbian artists," said Equality Forum Executive Director Malcolm Lazin. "Richard Amsel was Hollywood's top illustrator and a legendary artist."

Video: Old Age Is No Place For Sissies!
A topic many in the LGBT community don't think about often is aging. We can accept it, but American society, unfortunately, still isn't comfortable with "the gays." Thus, when gay seniors need to find a retirement home, they are often shoved back into the closet. Significant others of many years are torn apart as they aren't legally recognized as a couple with rights. What happens to you if you're in your 60's or 70's with no biological family? How do you find affordable living arrangements that don't muzzle a major part of your identity or life? A Place to Live: The Story of Triangle Square is a documentary film that investigates this problem. The film won the Audience Award at OUTFEST in 2008.

Nancy Keenan - NARAL Pro-Choice America
News organizations are reporting that the Obama administration is moving to repeal Bush's dangerous, last-minute regulation that could allow anyone from a woman's doctor to her doctor's receptionist to her entire HMO system to deny women reproductive-health services. This is a great win for American woman! I'm grateful to President Obama for listening to activists like you and reversing this outrageous attack. Please thank the president for taking action and continuing to make women's health care a priority. Bush's last-minute regulation was a parting gift to his anti-choice base. It could allow insurance companies to deny claims for the pill, hospitals to refuse emergency contraceptives to rape survivors, and employees at HMOs to refuse their patients referrals for abortion care. We expect anti-choice organizations like Americans United for Life to overwhelm the White House with calls. Please show President Obama that he has your support - send him a quick thank-you email today.

Kate Kendell, Esq., Executive Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights
California: On Thursday of next week, March 5th, NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter will stand before the California Supreme Court and argue that by taking away a right from a minority, Proposition 8 violates the most basic principle of our government: that all people are entitled to equal treatment under the law, and such a change may not be enacted through the amendment process. I know you'll be in the courtroom in spirit. I hope you will also watch the argument and support our case in one or more of the following ways:
Join our online rally in support of our legal challenge to Prop 8. We're 10,000 strong, join us now!
Check out our live blogging of the oral argument with the most up-to-date information from the court. We will also be keeping you updated through Twitter.
Make plans to view the oral argument:

Truth Wins Out - TWO
by Wayne Besen

-TWO Comments On James Dobson Resigning As Focus on the Family Chairman
NEW YORK - Truth Wins Out (TWO) expressed its hope today that James Dobson resigning as chairman of Focus on the Family would eventually lead the anti-gay organization in a new direction. Dobson has created an entire industry that distorts the lives of gay and lesbian people for political gain, says TWO. "James Dobson's legacy of lies has caused significant pain for gay and lesbian people and their families," said Wayne Besen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out. "We hope his departure will eventually signal a shift in tone and end Focus on the Family's destructive attacks against gay and lesbian Americans." The Associated Press reports that Dobson, 72, will still be a powerful presence. He will continue to host his daily radio show, which reaches 1.5 million listeners in the United States. A Focus on the family spokesman also said he will "continue to speak out as he always has - a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded." "It is time for Focus on the Family to abandon the politics of polarization and choose moderate leaders who are not fixated on culture wars," said Besen. "This would also be a good time for the organization to consider abandoning its failed 'ex-gay' ministry, Love Won Out."

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For the first time ever at the United Nations in December 2008, a statement was heard on the support of equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. French Minister of Human Rights and Foreign Affairs Rama Yade began the effort in early 2008 to create U.N.-backed protections for LGBT people. The Netherlands signed on as a co-sponsor on behalf of the European Union, and on December 18, 2008 Ambassador Jorge Arguello of Argentina read out the first declaration on LGBT rights in the General Assembly. [...] We have sent a letter to the Archbishop in New York City, calling on him to take a personal stand against defamatory language regarding LGBT people and work in open and good faith to bring the Vatican toward supporting safety for all humans.


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