Saturday, April 25, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - April 25, 2009

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New York Times
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-Gays in the U.S. military
Between repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and continuing the ban on openly gay service members, the United States Congress has a third option: Allow noncombat gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly right away, and wait a few years to see how that change affects the military's mission. With noncombat service members, there's no problem of unit cohesion, and the U.S. military could use the talents of the thousands of gay and lesbian recruits who would serve in supporting roles. Unfortunately, members of the gay and lesbian establishment see any compromise as unacceptable because they are so single mindedly focused on equality that lately they have been unwilling to allow any other value to supercede it - not the welfare of children, not religious freedom, and not even national security. Thankfully, President Obama has indicated a willingness to go slowly in changing the policy, and I hope he considers proceeding in these stages.
David Benkof, St. Louis, Missouri

-Faked Evidence of 'Gay Conversion'?
By John Tierney
Did Masters & Johnson fake their evidence that they'd successfully "converted" more than 70 percent of men and women who were dissatisfied with their homosexuality? That claim was made in the 1979 book, "Homosexuality in Perspective," by William Masters and Virginia Johnson. But it's questioned in Thomas Maier's new biography of the sexologists, "Masters of Sex."

-New Battle Lines on Gay Marriage
By The Editors
In the days since Carrie Prejean - Miss California USA - told a national pageant audience that she opposed gay marriage, debate has raged on several fronts. When the executive director of the Miss California USA pageant quickly disavowed her views, was that evidence of a broader social shift? And what do accusations of intolerance say about the changing lines of the battle? We sought several voices on both sides of the issue to comment.

-Two Little Boys
By Charles M. Blow
On April 6, just before dinner, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a Massachusetts boy who had endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped an extension cord around his tiny neck and hanged himself. He was only 11 years old. His mother had to cut him down. On April 16, just after school, Jaheem Herrera, a Georgia boy who had also endured relentless homophobic taunts at school, wrapped a fabric belt around his tiny neck and hanged himself as well. He too was only 11 years old. His 10-year-old sister found him.

-The Couple From Queens vs. the President of Poland
ON July 27, 2003, about six weeks after a court in Ontario legalized same-sex marriage in the province, Dr. Thomas Moulton and Brendan Fay were married outside St. Lawrence Hall in Toronto. A few minutes later, they were talking with Judge Harvey Brownstone, who had officiated. It was a busy day - the couple had flown in from New York, where they live - but something Judge Brownstone said still sticks in Mr. Fay's mind.

-Same-Sex Marriage
To the Editor:
I believe that marriage matters because children need a mother and a father, and I have spent the last five years warning that opposition to gay marriage will be treated as bigotry. Now Frank Rich describes the National Organization for Marriage's "Gathering Storm" ad as "The Bigots' Last Hurrah" (column, April 19). I am not the only one Mr. Rich is calling a bigot. In a March CBS News poll, only a third of Americans said they supported gay marriage. I am proud of the "Gathering Storm" ad precisely because it lets the American people know the truth: Gay marriage has consequences. Name-calling will not change that.
Maggie Gallagher
National Organization for Marriage
Ossining, N.Y., April 20, 2009

-Murder and Hate Verdict in Transgender Case
Published: April 22, 2009
GREELEY, Colo. - A jury took just two hours Wednesday to find a Colorado man guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of an 18-year-old transgender woman, and determined that the act was a hate crime. The defendant, Allen Andrade, 32, was convicted of murdering Angie Zapata in her Greeley apartment last summer and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the mandatory penalty in Colorado for first-degree murder.

-Comments of the Moment
" I went to a conference on bisexuality about 15 years ago. A woman there said to me, "I wish you gay men would stop putting your energy into fighting homophobia and instead put your energy into eradicating misogyny. Because the problem society has with gay men isn't that they're with other men - it's that they're men who are "acting like women." If it were ok to be a woman in this culture, homophobia would just disappear." I think she's right." Jess Thompson-Adams

Washington Post
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-Leadership Shifts at Parks and Recreation
Fenty's Decision to Dismiss Gay Director Draws Criticism and Questions D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty abruptly fired his parks and recreation director yesterday, announcing that it was time to "shift gears" and replace him with a former principal who runs the after-school and summer school programs for the public schools. The mayor's sudden dismissal of Clark E. Ray drew criticism from a D.C. Council member, a labor union president and gay activists.

-Gertrude Stein Club Backs Gay Marriage
By Tim Craig
The Gertrude Stein Democratic Club voted last night to endorse same-sex marriage in the District, clearing the way for a broader debate within D.C. Democratic State Committee over the issue in the coming weeks. Jeffrey Richardson, the club president, said it is believed to be the first time that the organization, which was founded in 1976, has gone on record in support of same-sex marriage.

-Perez Hilton's Hypocritical Rantings
By Eva Rodriguez
It's a wonder that even supporters of same-sex marriage don't reconsider their position after hearing the embarrassing, infuriating, self-absorbed rantings of quasi-celebrity Perez Hilton. Hilton, a self-proclaimed gay man who made a name for himself by blogging about real celebrities, was a judge for Sunday's Miss USA pageant. There he asked Carrie Prejean, Miss California, whether other states should follow the lead of Vermont, whose legislature recently legalized same-sex marriages. Prejean gave an unsophisticated yet earnest answer: No offense, she began, but in her opinion marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman. She explained that's what she had been brought up to believe. No further elaboration, no discourse on states rights. Not a prize-winning answer -- granted.

-Social Startup Amazee Fighting Amazon's Amazing Name-Change Demand
This is amaz-ing. Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has been demanding Swiss social collaboration platform Amazee change its name, and has now also filed an appeal against its plan to register the name in the US. Amazee was founded in Zurich in 2007 by Gregory Gerhardt, Dania Gerhardt and Prodosh Banerjee as a way to help people collaborate on projects in an open fashion. But the company says the bookseller's Luxembourg subsidiary is "demanding the deletion of Amazee in the Swiss trade mark register, (while) US attorneys have filed an appeal against the registration of Amazee in the US".

-The Boston Globe, on bullying:
Relentless Bullying, including anti-gay slurs, by students at the New Leadership Charter School in Springfield pushed sixth-grader Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover to take his own life, according to his mother. The quality of interventions by school officials is unclear. But an act so desperate by one so young is a clear reminder of how schools can become torture chambers for students perceived as different. ... Any sentient school official knows that gay students, or those perceived to be gay, are teased and bullied disproportionately. One remedy is the use of student handbooks that outline the specific consequences of discriminating against gay students. At New Leadership, students in the middle and high school grades sign a Golden Rule contract pledging not to "laugh, tease or poke fun at others." But there is no specific mention in the student handbook of discrimination based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. The school's written anti-harassment policies need to reflect the reality that students who are different actually face. ...

-Ivy Leaguer `infiltrates' Falwell's university
Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break. Roose had transferred to the Virginia campus from Brown University in Providence, a famously liberal member of the Ivy League. His Liberty classmates knew about the switch, but he kept something more important hidden: He planned to write a book about his experience at the school founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell.

-OnDating: Shared Qualities for a Successful Relationship
EHarmony Researcher Gian Gonzaga Says Shared Traits Matter
By Ellen McCarthy
OVER THE PAST FOUR YEARS, psychologist Gian Gonzaga has spent his days dissecting love as the lead researcher inside eHarmony Labs, the online dating service's think tank, where Gonzaga and his colleagues observe and analyze romantic relationships. EHarmony operates on the theory that partners need to share certain key characteristics to better their chances of a successful long-term relationship. We caught up with Gonzaga to talk about that theory and what he has learned about love during his tenure at eHarmony.

-Churches that staged protest wait for IRS response
Nearly seven months after defying a prohibition on endorsing candidates from the pulpit, 33 churches across the country are still waiting to learn whether the Internal Revenue Service will take action against them. The goal of "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" was to trigger a legal fight and ultimately overturn regulations that prevent places of worship from supporting or opposing candidates for office. But a conservative legal group that organized the effort says the IRS has yet to notify the churches of any investigation.

-Catania, Director Fighting Over AIDS Clinic Mission
Funding, Expansion Beyond Gay Base at Issue
By Tim Craig
As the District struggles to respond to an HIV/AIDS epidemic, a nasty fight is underway between a powerful member of the D.C. Council and leaders of the
Whitman-Walker Clinic, which has been on the front lines of fighting the disease for three decades.

-GOD IN GOVERNMENT : The Best From This Week's Blog
Fighting Same-Sex Marriage in D.C.
The D.C. Council earlier this month unanimously passed a measure recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other jurisdictions, and a measure is expected to be introduced later this year to legalize same-sex marriages in the District.

-At Whitman, A Protest Over Poet's Lifestyle
By Daniel de Vise
A group of seven congregants from Topeka, Kan., set up outside Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda yesterday to protest the sexual orientation of the poet for whom the school was named. The police presence -- 40 officers, five horses, blocked-off streets and a football field's length of yellow tape -- seemed comically disproportionate until the counter-protest arrived.

-Author of "Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life"
President Obama enters his second 100 days with an advantage over many previous occupants of the White House. He insists upon keeping his eyes on the prize -- the big issues of governance that helped get him elected. Many presidents quickly lose their sense of political direction. The distractible Bill Clinton got derailed by the explosive issue of gays in the military, which savvy conservatives threw in his way early on. Likewise, Jimmy Carter lost hold of party unity while micromanaging the White House tennis court schedules. What are the potential distractions out there now? Although questions about torture prosecutions are in the news, the quagmire of Afghanistan and the dangers in Pakistan are more likely to give Obama what Lyndon Johnson got -- a foreign mess to ruin even the best domestic agenda. Moreover, presidential focus can be especially difficult during hard economic times, which tend to bring out unruly and irrational forces. Think of how Roosevelt had to face down demagogue Huey Long, pitchfork anarchists and would-be anti-government conspirators. But Obama brings to the job a fierce determination unequaled in recent presidential history. He plans to fight hard to win universal health care, clean energy and education reform. And, so far, he is undaunted by critics and crazies alike.

Wall Street Journal

-Former McCain Campaign Manager Backs Same-Sex Marriage
Timothy J. Alberta reports.
Steve Schmidt, the former campaign manager for Sen. John McCain, announced Friday his support for same-sex marriage and encouraged the Republican Party to be more supportive of homosexuals and their civil rights.

-Perez Hilton and Miss USA Contestant Debate Gay Marriage
By Marisa Taylor
A heated, multimedia gay-marriage discussion spanning YouTube, Twitter and "The Hills" ensued after a Miss USA contestant answered a question about the topic, sparking debates on cable news and even a tweet from Britney Spears.

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-Public health officials turn to online networking to reduce sexually transmitted diseases
LISA CORNWELL | Associated Press Writer
As life moves to the Internet, a growing number of public health agencies are signing on to social networking sites - not to find friends but to fight syphilis, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Public agencies in Ohio are among the latest to open accounts on online meeting sites in an
effort to reach people who may have a sexually transmitted disease and need medical care.,0,1867551.story

-Hundreds show Gay Pride on Miami Beach
By Aiyana Baida
Among the rows of antique cars and colorful floats, Robert Collier and Charles Hunziker of Fort Lauderdale marched down Ocean Drive hand in hand in honor of 46 years together and in celebration of the first Miami Beach Pride Parade. "We have been looking forward to today," said Collier, "It's about time that Miami Beach has a pride parade.",0,178491.story

-As gay-marriage dominoes fall throughout New England, Maine gets its turn
A legislative hearing to extend gay marriage to Maine took on the atmosphere of a religious revival Wednesday as ministers made impassioned speeches for and against the bill before thousands of cheering spectators packed into a civic arena. Gay couples also took turns pleading for recognition of their partnerships, while opponents warned that state sanctioning of same-sex marriages would fracture a basic building block of society.,0,1736534.story

-FAU students create petition seeking gay, transgendered protections
By Scott Travis
Florida Atlantic University would become the latest state school to specifically protect gays and lesbians from harassment and discrimination, and one of the first to protect transgendered people, if a student plan succeeds. Some students are collecting signatures for a petition that asks the university to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy. So far, they've received about 1,000 signatures, with the hopes of collecting 3,000, said Amy Milin, 20, president of Lambda United, FAU's gay/straight alliance.,0,1517824.story

-Pastors who endorsed candidates wonder why IRS is silent nearly 7 months after protest
Nearly seven months after defying a prohibition on endorsing candidates from the pulpit, 33 churches across the country are still waiting to learn whether the Internal Revenue Service will take action against them. The goal of "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" was to trigger a legal fight and ultimately overturn regulations that prevent places of worship from supporting or opposing candidates for office. But a conservative legal group that organized the effort says the IRS has yet to notify the churches of any investigation.,0,5022590.story

Miami Herald
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-Outrage in Geneva
We should pause now and say Thank you to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In the months leading up to the U.N. conference against racism and prejudice, diplomats and world leaders debated the wisdom of participating in an event that looked set to completely ignore its official purpose and instead become a giant megaphone for dictators, tyrants and oppressive regimes. Diplomats tend to speak a language that leaves us, mere mortals, somewhere between dazed and baffled. Ahmadinejad, on the other hand, breaks through the clutter of phony politeness and tells us exactly what he means. He has a way of waking us up.

-Don't cave in!
Sen. John McCain's daughter and his presidential campaign manager think that they've figured out why McCain lost the 2008 election and what Republicans must do to win in the future: They need to be more like Democrats. Steve Schmidt and Meghan McCain delivered their analyses in separate speeches to the Log Cabin Republicans, whose stated mission ``is to work within the Republican Party to advocate equal rights for all Americans, including gays and lesbians.''

South Florida Blade
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-Missing BlackBerry data at issue in Wone murder
Defense team says data could have helped prove innocence
Attorneys representing three gay men charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the murder of Washington attorney Robert Wone accused prosecutors in court Friday of failing to preserve evidence from Wone's BlackBerry cell phone that could have helped prove their clients' innocence. The lead prosecutor in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn Kirschner, disputed the significance of the BlackBerry data. He said the government has solid evidence showing that defendants Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward obstructed justice by engaging in evidence tampering to hide the facts surrounding Wone's August 2006 murder.

-Colo. House gives initial OK to same-sex benefits
Domestic partners would be eligible for coverage
The partners of gay and lesbian state workers would be able to get health insurance coverage under a bill given initial backing by the Colorado House. The measure approved Friday would add domestic partners to the list of dependents eligible for coverage. Same-sex partners who have been in a committed relationship with a state employee for at least a year would qualify. Supporters say gay couples don't have the option of getting married and it's only fair to provide an alternative. Opponents say it will be costly and it's unfair to heterosexual couples who are committed but not married.

-Minn. lawmakers move ahead in face of veto threats
Benefits would begin in 2012
The Minnesota House has narrowly passed a state agency funding bill that would extend state employee health insurance to domestic partners, including same-sex partners. The vote on the full bill was 69-62. The domestic partner benefits would begin in 2012. Republicans including Representative Joyce Peppin of Rogers say the definition of domestic partner is loose enough so that even friends of state employees could get the benefits. Democratic Representative Karen Clark of Minneapolis says it's belittling to compare gay relationships to casual friendships, and the benefits are a hard-fought civil right. The state government bill would also cut gubernatorial appointees and let officials sell naming rights to state buildings, but not the Capitol.

-McGreeveys to share pension fund
Agreed to share in 'spirit of conciliation'
Former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey will split a $135,000 pension account with ex-wife Dina Matos under terms of a consent agreement signed by both parties. McGreevey resigned as governor in 2004 after announcing he was gay and had an extramarital affair with another man. He and Matos were divorced last August. Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy divided the marital assets, awarding Matos close to $110,000. In a statement Thursday, Matos said she filed a motion in March over the pension account funds. McGreevey said the account predated his marriage to Matos and he felt the money was not part of his marital estate. His lawyer said McGreevey agreed to share it in a spirit of conciliation. The consent order was signed Wednesday.

The Advocate
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-Obama Condemns Homophobia at Holocaust Remembrance
President Barack Obama spoke at the National Holocaust Museum's Days of Remembrance Thursday in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. He highlighted the need for understanding and tolerance, saying hatred "diminishes us all." "To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened, who perpetrate every form of intolerance -- racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, and more -- hatred that degrades its victim and diminishes us all," he said. "Today and every day we have an opportunity, as well as an obligation, to confront these scourges. To fight the impulse to turn the channel when we see images that disturb us, or wrap ourselves in the false comforts that others' sufferings are not our own."

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-Vanasco: Gay "conversion" scientists made it up
By Jennifer Vanasco
Surprise, surprise. The New York Times' John Tierney reports on his blog today that a new book questions whether Masters & Johnson faked the conversion of gays and lesbians into happy heterosexuals. Ex-gay groups, like Exodous International, often use the Masters & Johnson study to say that the ability to turn gays into ex-gays has a scientific basis. Fail!

-New Iowa marriage licenses gender neutral
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
The Iowa Department of Public Health, which registers marriages in the state, has begun sending county clerks new gender neutral marriage license application forms. Same-sex couples can begin issuing the forms on Monday, the date imposed by the Iowa Supreme Court when it struck down the state ban on gay marriage on April 3.

Pink News - UK
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-THT marks 25th anniversary of blood test with HIV warning
25 years ago today, on 23rd April 1984, the US Health Secretary, Margaret Heckler, announced the ground breaking discovery that HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.

-Gays urged to vote in European Parliament elections
The European Parliament elections are taking place between 4th and 7th June and gay rights group ILGA-Europe has recently launched a campaign encouraging people to take part.

-Rightwing Polish politician angry at elephant's gay tendencies
A member of Poland's Law and Justice party has criticised a zoo for acquiring an elephant that might be gay.

-New rules will widen access to gender reassignment in Wales
The Health Commission Wales (HCW) will allow transgender patients in Wales to access funding for gender reassignment therapy, it has been announced.

-Same-sex couples urged to hold hands in public
A new campaign aims to encourage same-sex couples to publicly and unashamedly hold hands. A Day in Hand is asking people to upload photos.

-Maine hears arguments on gay marriage
Maine is the latest New England state to take up the issue of same-sex marriage. Approximately 4,000 people packed into the Augusta Civic Centre after the public were invited to a hearing to discuss the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

-Lesbian woman saved from deportation
Shirley Tan, a Filipino woman living in Pacifica, USA, who recently faced deportation, has had the case blocked.

-Dutch survey reveals lesbian women suffer depression and stigmatisation
Research from the Netherlands has reported that bisexual and lesbian women suffer anxiety, depression and insomnia and are the targets of gossip and abuse.

-Pop star claims he had gay relationship with rocker Gavin Rossdale
The lead singer of rock band Bush had a five-year sexual relationship with an out British singer, it has been alleged.

-Interview: Dan Choi on the US military gay ban
In the first part of series of interviews with Dan Choi, the infantry platoon leader leading the fight against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', Adrian Tippetts highlights the serious national security issues surrounding expelling vital service members for being gay.

-New Hampshire committee rejects trans protection bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee of the New Hampshire state Senate has voted 5-0 to reject new protections for trans people.

-Six years for attempted killing of 'bisexual transvestite'
A 27-year-old who stabbed a bisexual man after his girlfriend discoved them "play fighting" and accused him of being gay has been sentenced to six years in prison.

-Comment: Can Lord Alli save the Equality Bill?
Last week one of only three openly gay peers in the House of Lords launched a bold attempt to prevent history repeating itself. Waheed Alli is collecting and marshalling public opinion in the hope of forcing the House of Lords, known as the place equality legislation goes to die, to pass the government's upcoming Equality Bill.

-Activists to protest at 'gay cure' conference
Around 150 demonstrators are expected to protest at a 'gay cure' conference in London tomorrow. The conference, which has been denounced by gay groups, will feature Joseph Nicolosi, who claims reparative therapy can 'cure' homosexuality.

-Linguists fired under military gay ban 'could have alerted US over 9/11'
A leading campaigner in the fight to repeal the US military gay ban has said that a lack of skilled linguists, who were fired for being gay, may have undermined the government's potential to prevent the September 11th bombings.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Here in San Francisco we recently staged a vigil for LGBT Iraqis at Harvey Milk Plaza that generated some global media stories and lots of attention on USA gay blogs.
See background here:

-The Gays Without Borders chapter in San Francisco will be participating in the May 17 IDAHO, International Day Against Homophobia, with a focus on the horrific torture and slaying of LGBT people in Iraq. We'll be holding an organizing meeting tomorrow, April 25, from 1:00-3:00 pm at Cafe Flore, located at Market and Noe Streets. To find us, look for the Boycott Jamaica and Iraq: Stop Killing Gays signs.

-Nepal becoming haven for persecuted lesbians
Kathmandu, April 22 (IANS) Sunil Babu Pant, Nepal's first openly gay MP who is also the founding president of the country's first gay rights organisation, the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), received a distress call recently. Two girls, both in their teens, who had left their home in India's Kolkata city after their families opposed their lesbian relationship, wanted his help. They had heard that Nepal's Supreme Court had given its nod to same sex marriages and wanted the BDS to help them get married. "But though the court has approved of same sex marriage, the government is yet to enact a law," Pant told IANS. "Also, we are unsure if Nepali laws would hold (good) in India."

-While gay people in Iraq today enjoy far greater freedom than under the previous regime, persecution is rife and intensifying. According to the Iraqi Gay and Lesbians Society, a society which has a website but no firm contact details, 26 of its members have been killed since 2003 including two minors, 11 year-old Amir and 14 year-old Ahmed.

-Luxembourg is the 6th country to recognize May 17 as the Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO)

-Iraqi pogrom of LGBT: horrific report
As you can see from the latest report on LGBT Asylum News the situation in Iraq is getting worse

-In Brazil Gay-Bashing Murders Are Up 55 Percent
In 2008, 190 homosexuals were killed in Brazil, one every two days, representing a 55 percent increase on the previous year - a veritable "homocaust" according to gay rights activists. The Annual Report on Murders of Homosexuals, produced by the Grupo Gay da Bahia (GGB), says that 64 percent of the victims were gay men, 32 percent were transvestites, and four percent were lesbians. "A transvestite is 259 times more likely to be murdered than a gay man," says the study which is based on media reports, since there are no official statistics on hate crimes in Brazil.

-From Michael Petrelis: I have never posted a full statement from the Human Rights Campaign because I generally find it is a nominally effective wing of the Democratic Party, nor am I in the habit of praising the group. But today I am sharing their full blog post about the torture and murder of gays in Iraq.

-A video is running on the net about torture into a police station (if it's really a police station) in a non identified country. (People in the comments says North Africa, Egypt, but not sure!) I have hesitated several weeks before sending you this link, because the video is really hard and also because it's not said if it's a video about a gay man. Now I share it with you, because it can be an evidence for some of us. Nobody knows what happens here, if the man is gay of not, but this movie shows how homosexuality is considered as a shame into some countries. Homosexuality is used here as a punishment. The name of the video is "Tortured and forced to suck a cock".,17705.0.html

-From Wayne Besen
The latest anti-gay terrorism in Iraq -- is gluing shut the anuses of homosexuals, while forcing the victims to ingest a form of Ex-Lax. The special glue can only be removed by surgery -- thus often leading to a painful death. It is challenging to know if such information is accurate. But, confirming the latest form of torture is beside the point, really. What we do know is that the news from overseas is rarely encouraging.

-Iraqi LGBT: U.S. Has 'Moral Responsibility' to Save Gays in Iraq
QUEERTY REPORTS - Two weeks ago, we urged the gay community to get involved in supporting the struggle of queer Iraqis, a group targeted for slayings by both the Iraqi government and religious zealots protecting some sense of family honor. Since that call the arms, the mainstream press has picked up on the situation: The New York Times and CNN covered the issue. But before it was popular, openly gay Colorado rep. Jared Polis went to Iraq on a self-financed fact-finding mission. And before he left, he turned to Ali Hili, the leader of the UK-based organization Iraqi LGBT, for a briefing. Following his eye opening visit, where he learned about the accepted discrimination and torment of gay Iraqis, Polis donated $10,000 of his software millions to the group. Meanwhile, our own U.S. government remains indifferent to the plight of gay and lesbian Iraqis; President Barack Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton have made no indication these atrocities are even on their radar. But our radar is blip-bloop-BLEEPING with this shit. So Queerty spoke with Iraqi LGBT's Hili about the situation for queers in Iraq, what individuals and gay rights organizations can do, and whether there is any hope for a more tolerant Iraq.

-Belarusian Opposition does not want Gays at its Chernobyl Remembrance March
MINSK, April 23, 2009 ( - Gay activists in Belarus have been denied to take part in the annual march for the remembrance of the Chernobyl disaster due to take place on April 26 in Minsk. Sergey Androsenko, the leader of the LGBT Project GayBelarus, earlier asked the opposition leaders to include his organization in the organisational committee of the commemorative march.

-An appeal from Pakistan
First of all I want to thank LGBT Asylum News for giving me a chance to write about myself and the situation in Pakistan. My country has been in the news for quite some time and for all the bad reasons. Thanks to our government's support of Taliban and military extremists, they are taking control of one area after another. I live in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan and the so-called most 'liberal' city in this country. It has never been easy for LGBT community to even open up here let alone fight for their rights. Pakistan and India share a clause - Article 377 that was enacted by the British in 1861 - under this clause, homosexuality is punishable under law.

Council of LGBT Organizations of Ukraine is concerned about the recent harsh violation of human rights of homosexual people by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) officers in Kyiv.

-Hungarian Parliament Adopts New Registered Partnership Act
The Hungarian Parliament has adopted today the revised bill on registered partnership. The bill was introduced to the Parliament following the Constitutional Court decision of December 2008 that struck down the previous version of the law just weeks before its supposed entry into force. The new legislation introduces the institution of registered partnership for same sex couples and also sets up a different scheme of domestic partnership registration for both same sex and different sex couples. The bill was adopted 199-159-8, the governing socialist party and their former liberal coalition partner voted for the bill, other opposition parties voted against it.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-"European Parliament's Intergroup concerned about the ruling of the Turkish Supreme Court."
European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights welcomes the decision of the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargitay) overturning the ruling of a local court on the closure of LGBT organisation Lambdaistanbul. However the Intergroup is very concerned about the wording in the ruling which states that "dissolution of the organisation could be possible if it would act in the ways of encouraging or provoking LGBT behaviour or acting with the aim of spreading such sexual orientations."

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Out leader expected to win full term in Iceland

-Here are the links to the country reports of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency's Homophobia Study (with thanks to Silvan Agius from ILGA-Europe), as well as a compilation of the parts of the country reports that are relevant to transgender issues. Please note that the country reports for the second study appear to be only the executive summaries of these reports and hold not a lot of new information on trans issues (relative to the first part of the study). As you (hopefully ;-) ) are aware, a vast majority of EU member states require sterilization and/or other surgeries/medical treatment as a prerequisite for a full legal gender change, which the first part of the study demonstrates.

-Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU
Member States Part I - Legal Analysis

-Two things have bothered me lately, and it occurred to me that they are connected. One is the difficulty of persuading judges to find for plaintiffs in transgender discrimination cases, particularly in cases involving disputed bathroom use.The other is the overwhelming tendency of pop-culture representations of gender transition to focus on reassignment surgery as the central and defining change, the sine qua non of authentic gender.

-MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Spotlights "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
In March, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show aired two segments addressing the U.S. military's ban on openly gay military personnel. On March 3, host Rachel Maddow featured Dr. Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow at the Palm Center and author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. Frank eloquently discussed the flawed logic that led to the creation of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Then on March 20, Maddow welcomed West Point graduate Lieutenant Dan Choi from the group Knights Out, an organization of LGBT West Point military alumni who are advocating for the repeal of the ban. Choi shared his story about being an openly gay service member and talked about the harmful effects of the policy. Choi says "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is immoral because it causes soldiers who are selflessly serving their country to lie. VIEW CLIPS:>

-San Jose Mercury News Humanizes Struggles of Binational Couples
On March 29, the San Jose Mercury News devoted significant space to the story of Shirley Tan, who is on the verge of deportation to the Philippines because her partner, Jaylynn Mercado, a U.S. citizen, cannot sponsor her for permanent residency. The couple has twin 12-year-old sons and their family risks being torn apart because of the lack of protections for same-sex couples under current U.S. immigration law. In the article, "Binational, same-sex couples face immigration problems," reporter Mike Swift takes readers through Tan and Mercado's tumultuous battle to keep their family intact. "'It's hard when they are breaking up families,' said a tearful Mercado, as she sat next to Tan in the house the couple owns overlooking the Pacific Ocean. ââ,¬ËoWhy can't they just leave us alone? Just because I am not a man, that I cannot petition her (for a green card), they are punishing us.'">

-Murder and Hate Verdict in Transgender Case
GREELEY, Colo. - A jury took just two hours Wednesday to find a Colorado man guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of an 18-year-old transgender woman, and determined that the act was a hate crime. The defendant, Allen Andrade, 32, was convicted of murdering Angie Zapata in her Greeley apartment last summer and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the mandatory penalty in Colorado for first-degree murder.

-Georgia: A DeKalb County mother discovers her fifth grade son dead. He used a belt to hang himself from a bedroom closet. The family said the boy was bullied by classmates. The family of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera is highly critical of Dunaire Elementary school officials. They said they repeatedly complained about harassment, but nothing was done.

-Belgian condom ads feature celebrity penis

-San Jose council votes down porn filters at public library computers

-How Common Is Masturbation, Really?
An old joke observes that 98 percent of people masturbate--and the other 2 percent are lying. But according to a recent study based on a representative sample of American adults, only 38 percent of women said they'd masturbated at all during the past year. The figure for men was 61 percent.

-Iowa: Today we're excited to release our first television ad to continue our conversation with Iowans about the freedom to marry in Iowa. We need your help! Share this with your friends and family, and contribute to keep it on the air. Our ad, "This Place" features Iowans, promotes our shared Iowa values, and reminds us of our tradition of protecting all families.

-Survey finds most New Yorkers favor marriage rights:

-"Sinful" Sex Addiction: The Newest Way to Demonize Sexuality
Addictions. Gotta love 'em. Gotta hate 'em too, sometimes. But first, we gotta love 'em, or we wouldn't have 'em in the first place. Addictions are the spices of our lives. Of course, too much spice spoils the enchilada. But remember, without a little salsa, it's all just beans and dead meat.

-Miss California's Bigotry: She Foists Loss on Homosexual Agenda

-Nude dudes forget details
BROOKSVILLE - Tim Clements was excited about getting his new business up and running. Several weeks ago, he put up an impressive sign on the gate of his 10-acre horse farm on remote Hampstead Drive, tucked away in a pastoral setting in southeast Hernando not far from the Pasco County line. He named the business the CJ Dude Ranch, combining his last name and that of David Jennings, co-owner of the property. "I just named it for us two dudes,'' he said. "Two guys on a farm with horses.'' Clements put the finishing touches on a new Web site,, that features scenic shots of his property and photos of his many pets. He then set out a price list for the new bed-and-breakfast he was offering to visitors, a luxury bedroom suite built from a converted two-car garage. The Dude Ranch is unique in another way: It is clothing optional.

-Sexual Orientation Public Policy Research Fellowship
In 2009, the Williams Institute will offer a Public Policy Research Fellowship to a recent graduate school graduate who is interested in public policy research and writing on sexual orientation issues. The Williams Institute is a national think tank at UCLA School of Law dedicated to advancing critical thought in the field of sexual orientation law and public policy.

-Colbert does a wicked parody of the Storm anti-gay ad:

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-Our research using statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics has shown that there are more than 1300 k-12 religious schools of all affiliations in the state of Texas. Texas, like many states, does not require religious schools to register with the state. Most of the schools register anyway. The schools that do not register are typically smaller schools with enrollments under 30 students. These smaller schools do add quite a bit to the enrollment number of every state. However, it is difficult to accurately count them because many are not registered with the state. These 1300+ religious schools include Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, nondenominational, Seven-day Adventist, etc. These schools enroll tens of thousands of students. This is, of course, why the HeartStrong outreach team is headed to Texas. While California still holds as the state with the most religious schools and the most students enrolled, Texas is not far behind. The things that change in our society, (gay marriage, etc.) have little to no effect upon the people who enroll their students in these schools. It is understood quite well among parents and administrations that the more "secular" and "permissive" society becomes, the more there is a need for religious education. We continue to search for religious schools which have written, enforced nondiscrimination and nonharrassment policies for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. It's nearly impossible to find public schools with those policies let alone a religious school where there is no legal repercussion for persecuting GLBT students. However, in hopes that there may be a religious educational institution that is different, HeartStrong maintains on its website specific language to help a religious school develop an appropriate nondiscrimination and nonharrassment policy. Needless to say, it is the least viewed page on our website. HeartStrong still needs your help! As of today 4/21, we have only received $305.00 of the $5000.00 needed for our extensive outreach trip to Texas. You can help us reach our goal by making a tax deductible donation online right now. Just follow the link below. You can even make your donation with a check online by following the above link. Everything helps! Please don't feel that your gift is too small. We appreciate every dollar donated to HeartStrong to help us continue to educate the public and save the lives of those struggling.


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