Sunday, May 10, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - May 10, 2009

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New York Times
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-Taking Offense
To the Editor:
Regarding Ms. Dargis's memo urging straight filmmakers to avoid making fun of gay people: I am curious as to whether she has ever heard of a small, independent flick called "Borat," which contains more than a fair share of what she might call "vicious digs" at the expense of the Jews. There are also a decent number of movies that have been pumped out by the Wayans brothers, including "White Chicks," that appear to poke fun at everyone under the sun. Though I wouldn't blame Ms. Dargis if she avoided movies by these filmmakers.
Stephen Suhovsky

-A World of Least-Wanted Lists
Last week, the British government published a list of 16 people barred from the country. Eight Muslim clerics, writers and political advocates were among them. And then there was a right-wing radio host from San Francisco, an anti-gay pastor and his like-minded daughter from Kansas, and a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan from Florida.

-New York Senators Hedge on Gay Marriage
Pose the question "Would you vote to make same-sex marriage legal?" within the gilded State Senate chamber, and you'll hear a lot of hedging. Senator Vincent L. Leibell, a Republican who represents parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties, prefers civil unions to marriage. Still, he acknowledged that "society changes over time," and said that he might not make up his mind until the last minute.

Washington Post
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-VH1, Logo among winners at GLAAD Media Awards
The Associated Press
Laverne Cox isn't on the road with Sean Combs, but the outspoken transgender person has picked up an outstanding reality show trophy at the 20th annual GLAAD Media Awards. Cox was a contestant on VH1's "I Want to Work for Diddy," which tied with the Logo transgender dating series "Transamerican Love Story" for the award presented by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

-Supreme Court Prospect Has Unlikely Ally
Friendship With Thomas May Complicate Chances for Left-Leaning Georgia Judge
By Krissah Thompson
One day in the early 1990s, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas telephoned Leah Ward Sears to introduce himself. She was a rising star in Georgia's legal community, a relatively liberal black woman on the state's conservative Supreme Court. Thomas had read about political attacks against Sears and called to say he didn't like it.

-One Man, One Woman -- Only
When the D.C. Council passed a measure last week to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, the council members acted surreptitiously and violated the sacred trust of their office. This decision, in which little attention was paid to the concerns of many D.C. constituents, marked a new low in irresponsible leadership.

-Marion Barry Doesn't Get It
There were nights in high school and college when I'd cry myself to sleep over the confusion and frustration I felt over my sexuality. As with every other moment at that time, I'd force my tears to roll silently down my face so as to hide my anguish from the normalcy around me. At 25, with the help of wonderful friends and family, I have survived those wounds of alienation and fear that cut deep into the core of so many young gay men and lesbians.

Wall Street Journal

-Gay Rights in Lebanon Gain Traction
Associated Press
BEIRUT -- In the Arab world, where several nations have seen killings of gay men in recent months, it can be startling to see a rainbow flag unfurled in public. But the region's only overt gay rights organization, based in Lebanon, says it is slowly making progress in preventing discrimination and violence.

Miami Herald
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-Blacks must confront their homophobia
''The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.'' -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
That's for Marion Barry, who seems to need the reminder. The former mayor and current city councilman of Washington, D.C. is a longtime supporter of gay rights. So observers were stunned last week when a bill committing the city to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere passed the council on a vote of 12-1.

From Transgender Equality
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-Ft. Lauderdale: WSVN -- High school is tough for kids and became worse for Martavian Johnson when both his parents passed away. Martavian Johnson: "My dad died like a year and half ago, and my mom died like a month and half ago. I like to see myself as a strong individual, I've coped with it." Copes by living with his older brother. That makes him different, and this makes him stand out as well. Martavian Johnson: "I'm gay." Gay, happy and excited about the Homestead High School prom. Martavian Johnson: "Prom is what everyone talks about." And if he gets his way, his classmates will be talking about Martavian at the prom because he wants to dress ... in a dress. Martavian Johnson: "I want to dress as a female for prom ... and male. I plan on doing both. I was going to switch. You walk in as a female, with your clothes on, and then you change at the party at the prom."

Daily Queer News
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-Fox News: US Gov't Funds Gays! Sex! Beer! In-gulp-Argentina!
Yesterday, Rex alerted me to a rather bizarre story from FOX News ("U.S. Government Funds $400,000 Study on Gay Sex in Argentina Bars").
An excerpt:
The National Institutes of Health are paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk - and just what can be done about it.
Doctors and specialists from the New York Psychiatric Institute are using the generous grant from NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to help tailor HIV prevention programs to work at bars and clubs.
Though public health officials say that HIV/AIDS rates are higher in Washington, D.C., than in some parts of West Africa, U.S. government funds are going to help curb dangerous liaisons in Argentina's capital.
The study began in September 2008, according to an online abstract, and has already cost taxpayers $198,776, NIH documents show. OK. Let's get a few things out of the way: Read more

-UN: 'Favorable Consideration' Needed for Gay Iraqi Asylum Claims
Michael Petrelis | Petrelis Files
[As the brutality against LGBT persons in Iraq continues, I wish to make a short announcement before getting into the meat of this post. The Gays Without Borders chapter in San Francisco on May 17 will hold a rally and fundraiser for the Iraqi LGBT organization from noon till 4:00 PM at Harvey Milk Plaza. We are lining up support from non-profits, politicians and social justice activists, for an afternoon of solidarity, and money-raising, for our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Please join us next weekend.] This is just a small ray of hope for LGBT Iraqis with the resources and wherewithal to leave their chaotic and deadly country, and should receive widespread attention from gay blogs, advocacy organizations worldwide, and the mainstream press. The spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Ron Redmond, on May 5 in Geneva made on the record comments regarding persons seeking asylum outside of Iraq, and revisions in the agency's guidelines. Redmond said homosexuals were a category needing 'favourable consideration' by nations offering to take in Iraqi refugees:
However, UNHCR advises that people belonging to specific groups from these governorates which have been identified as at risk should receive favourable consideration. These groups include, among others, members of religious and ethnic minorities; public officials; Iraqis perceived as opposing armed groups or political factions; Iraqis affiliated with the multinational forces or foreign companies; certain professionals; media workers; UN and NGO workers; human rights activists; and homosexuals. At the end of of the briefing note is a link to the actual guidelines. I went over the document and culled the citation referencing persons with HIV/AIDS, and the section about LGBT citizens and their plight. Read more

-Federal Government to Regulate the Internet & Social Networking
NWV News writer Jim Kouri |
Recently dispatched a reporter to attend a press conference regarding new legislation proposed that will be used to regulate free speech and expression on the Internet.Congress will soon debate a bill that could lead to regulating the Internet in the name of protecting the children. Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) and 12 other lawmakers have signed onto a bill being considered by the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee Congress which may seriously threaten the First Amendment rights of every American who uses the Internet, blogs online, uses Twitter, Facebook and other social media. The bill (HR 1966) proposes up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to "coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum the potential harm of this bill on our freedom of speech will be massive. "What this bill is really designed to do is to go after and prosecute Bible believing Christians and those who speak out against homosexuality, gay marriage, and pro abortion advocates" said a NWV reader. Read more


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