Monday, September 14, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - September 14, 2009

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New York Times
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Straight Spouses Advocate Same-Sex Marriage
Wah Cheong, a lifelong Republican and the soon-to-be divorced father of two teenage boys, sometimes surprises his co-workers and neighbors in a relatively conservative community outside San Francisco when he says he supports same-sex marriage. ''Here is my situation,'' the 47-year-old chemical engineer tells them when the hot-button topic comes up. ''If gays and lesbians were more accepted, I wouldn't have married a closeted lesbian.''

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Gay couples who lose jobs face extra sting
By Jeff KunerthFor millions of American couples, the federal COBRA program is their health-care safety net in the recession. But not if they are gay. Couples such as Mark McNealy and Robert Meredith are just now finding out that the federal program excludes domestic partners from coverage. That means McNealy, a Disney employee for 30 years until he was laid off in April, is eligible for the 18 months of group-rate insurance through COBRA — the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.,0,5005092.story

Steve Rothaus
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How Islamist gangs use internet to track, torture and kill Iraqi gays published a report Sunday about how Iraqi extremists are using the Internet to hunt, torture and kill gay men and women:
Iraqi militias infiltrate internet gay chatrooms to hunt their quarry – and hundreds are feared to be victims
Afif Sarhan and Jason Burke. Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims. "It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up," he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.

Elton John can’t adopt in Ukraine; official says he’s too old and country won’t recognize gay marriage
Associated Press
KIEV, Ukraine -- A Ukrainian official says Elton John cannot adopt a 14-month-old Ukrainian child because the pop star is too old and isn't married. John said Saturday that he and his male partner wanted to adopt an HIV-infected boy named Lev whom the singer met during a visit to an orphanage.

HRC: Number of top-rated businesses for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers jumps despite economy
News release from Human Rights Campaign. Scroll down to read the complete report, which is posted below the news release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. –The number of businesses with perfect ratings based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace policies and benefits rose by twenty percent in the past twelve months — despite the serious economic downturn — according to a new report released today by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. The 2010 edition of the Corporate Equality Index, which rates 590 businesses on a scale from 0 to 100 percent, reports 305 businesses achieved top ratings, compared to 260 last year. To view the report visit:

The Advocate
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Canadian Queer Hall of Fame Inducted
The new Canadian Queer Hall of Fame prepares to recognize its first group of inductees.
By Julie Bolcer
The first five inductees of the new Canadian Queer Hall of Fame -- including drag court founder and fund-raiser Ted Northe (pictured) -- will be recognized during an inaugural ceremony in Vancouver this Saturday.

Logo to Go Dark for Equality March
The gay cable network announced it would support equality by going dark during the hours of the march on October 11.
By Julie Bolcer
Gay cable network Logo announced that it would go dark for four hours on October 11 in support of the National Equality March on Washington, D.C.

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Bullying laws give scant protection
By The Associated Press
Recent student suicides have parents and advocates complaining that anti-bullying laws enacted in nearly every state are not being enforced and do not go far enough to identify and rid schools of chronic tormentors.

Pink News - UK
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Jamaican police claim murder of British consul was not homophobic despite note calling him a 'batty man'
The murder of a British honorary consul in Jamaica was unlikely to be a homophobic attack, local police have said. John Terry, 65, was found dead at his home last Thursday. A note promised the same would happen to "all gays".

Man arrested for gay attack in Italy
A 32-year-old has been arrested in connection with the beating of a young gay man in Florence last week. The victim has had metal plates inserted in his face after sustaining fractures to his cheekbones, nose and jaw.

Indonesian province introduces severe penalties for homosexuality
Aceh, a devoutly Muslim province of Indonesia, has passed new laws allowing heavy punishments for homosexuality, adultery and alcohol consumption.

Schwarzenegger to decide on Harvey Milk Day
A bill to designate May 22nd as Harvey Milk Day has reached the desk of California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Milk was a gay activist who was assassinated in 1978.

Gay Australians want marriage, not partnerships
A survey of gay and lesbian Australians has found that the majority would prefer marriage over civil partnerships.

Daily Queer News
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The Unacknowledged Victims of Homophobia
Michael A. Jones \
We know that gays and lesbians pay a huge price for being denied equal marriage rights, be it in the form of taxes and benefits, reinforced homophobia, or being told that we’re less than straight people. But there’s another group of folks who say they, too, pay a price for society not recognizing marriage equality, and they’re the straight spouses of gay and lesbian people.

UT: Tragic SLC Anti-Discrimination Plan
Jim Dabakis \ Salt Lake Tribune
This month a Shakespearean tragedy will unfold in our community and our state. The play’s outcome is written. The script is set. Despite the fact that almost all the players will come out hurt, bitter and bloody, everyone seems to be trapped to play their assigned part.

ME: Catholic Churches Plan Collection for Anti-Gay Marriage Effort
The Associated Press \ Bangor Daily News
Maine’s Roman Catholic churches plan a second collection at Masses this weekend to help the referendum campaign to overturn the law recognizing gay marriages. Voters will decide Nov. 3 whether to repeal that law. The Portland Diocese is asking parishioners who want to contribute by checks to make them out to Stand for Marriage Maine. State law requires Stand for Marriage to report individual donations of more than $50 more because it’s a political action committee; the church must report donations of more than $100.

Standing Up to Church Leadership
Linda L. Nelson \ Bangor Daily News
I was baptized, raised and confirmed a Catholic, and to this day, despite a wide range of experience with other world faiths, including a deep engagement with Buddhism, the Catholic liturgy and Mass are the spiritual practice I consider my own. I’ve had to make peace with contradictions between the actions of the church hierarchy and my faith, my spiritual and my political beliefs for most of my life, from the church’s historical atrocities to its modern strictures against ordaining women. The majority of my friends and family long ago gave up this moral wrestling. And while I have deep respect for individuals’ personal moral choices, I have no tolerance for religious organizations such as the Catholic Church using their pulpits and funds to impose such choices on others in our secular democracy — particularly when the results seek to restrict and-or discriminate against the human rights of others.

Frank Won’t Back Marriage Act Repeal
Glen Thrush | Politico
Efforts by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act have suffered a setback with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) — the most powerful gay pol on the Hill — expressing opposition to Nadler’s tactics.

Obama Touts the Money We’ll Save with Health Reforms, While We Quietly Spend Billions on Bush’s Wars
Byard Duncan, AlterNet
That President Barack Obama’s most important domestic policy speech of 2009 coincides almost exactly with the eighth anniversary of 9/11 should not be ignored. This is because the debates surrounding both health care reform and the war in Afghanistan are dogged by the same questions: What is the cost to the American people? How have our priorities changed? How long can we afford to place political dogma above human life before we are overwhelmed by the consequences?

Religion and Gender: Jew School
Guestpost by “anonymous,” who is Jewish, and Skyler, who was raised Christian. Both writers are post-transition FTMs. Anonymous first asked to write a guest post a couple weeks ago, before Skylar’s article was forwarded to me. I thought they ran well, and show parallel thoughts and struggles across religions. - TWJ
Skyler: Last weekend was the annual Gender Odyssey Conference here in Seattle. One of the workshops I attended was called Homo No Mo’, presented by Peterson Toscano. Fantastic. He talked and acted out his experience with change therapy and the ex-gay movement, and opened up a discussion. (You can own the full play and a form of the discussion by buying his DVD.) This weekend he also performed Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible which I unfortunately missed. You can see his trailer for that here:

CA: Energy 92.7 Goes from Gay-Oriented to Mainstream
Sam Whiting, Chronicle Staff Writer \ San Francisco Chronicle
KNGY, Energy 92.7, San Francisco’s gay-oriented FM radio station, has been sold, and the staff of about 35 dismissed. At 9 p.m. Thursday, new ownership took control, and the format flipped from top-40 dance to top-40 mainstream, according to Jason Dahlstedt, producer of KNGY’s show “Fernando and Greg in the Morning.”

CIA Experiments on US Soldiers Linked to Torture Program
Jeffrey Kaye, t r u t h o u t | Report
A number of new reports have, in recent weeks, highlighted evidence of illegal human experimentation on US-held “terrorism” prisoners undergoing torture. Those reports come on the heels of a “white paper” by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), “Aiding Torture: Health Professionals’ Ethics and Human Rights Violations Demonstrated”, in the May 2004 inspector general’s report.

The Nightmare of Christianity: How Religious Indoctrination Led to Murder
Max Blumenthal, The Nation \ AlterNet
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Max Blumenthal’s new book Republican Gommorah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party published by Nation Books.
A few miles down the road from Colorado Springs [a home to James Dobson's Focus on the Family], in the quiet bedroom community of Eldredge, a deeply disturbed young man named Matthew Murray followed the unfolding debacle at New Life Church [once under the stewardship of Pastor Ted Haggard] with an interest that bordered on obsession. Murray, a sallow-faced, bespectacled 24-year-old, had been indelibly scarred by a lifetime of psychological abuse at the hands of his charismatic Pentecostal parents. Murray’s mind became crowded with thoughts of death, destruction, and the killings he would soon carry out in the name of avenging what he called his “nightmare of Christianity.”

CT: CCSU Opens Lounge for Gay/Lesbian Students
JENNIFER ABEL \ Staff writer \ The New Britain Herald
NEW BRITAIN — Over a hundred people packed the tiny TCC lounge on the second floor of Central Connecticut State University’s Student Center Wednesday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the school’s new LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) lounge on the Student Center’s third floor.


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