Friday, November 20, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - November 20, 2009

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Ft. Lauderdale: HIV/AIDS Community Town Hall Meeting
November 20, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Dillard High School, 2501 NW 11th Street, Fort lauderdale.
The White House Office on National AIDS Policy will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting to gather input from the South Florida Community. Come and help develop the nation's first national strategy to end HIV/AIDS. This meeting is an important opportunity for residents to provide recommendations to White House staff and other policy makers. Online registration is encouraged:

New York Times
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Christian Leaders Issue 'Call of Conscience'
More than 150 Christian leaders, most of them conservative evangelicals and traditionalist Roman Catholics, issued a joint declaration Friday reaffirming their opposition to abortion and gay marriage and pledging to protect religious freedoms.

Barbary Coast: Faith and Tolerance Collide in Vallejo
Drive through Vallejo and you will see a once-proud Navy town clearly down on its luck. A motel room goes for $30.99 a night, including HBO. Closed businesses proliferate; those that remain often have temporary vinyl signs held up by string, indicating a tentative investment in the future.

Washington Post
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D.C. officials press for compromise on Catholic Charities
City hopes approving same-sex marriage wouldn't affect services
By Tim Craig
Some D.C. Council members and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton are reaching out to the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington to see whether they can find a compromise so the Church will not end its social services contracts with the city if the council legalizes same-sex marriage.

Gallery opening of the week
It's a timely moment to reflect on the birth of the gay rights movement given the controversy over same-sex marriage in the District and beyond, and artist Geoffrey Aldridge is doing just that with his exhibition at Transformer, "Geoffrey Aldridge: Hole in the Wall." The title comes from the Stonewall riots, often credited with jump-starting the gay rights movement in 1969 when police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, and the patrons responded by hurling bricks, pennies and even a parking meter at the police.

Wall Street Journal
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Christian Activists Unveil ‘Manhattan Declaration’; Jim Leach Speaks; Zoellick on Women’s Roles in Global Financial Crisis; Solis at Latino Lunch
By Susan Davis
A New Kind of Declaration: Christian activists are holding a new conference today at the National Press Club to release the “Manhattan Declaration.” The 4,700-plus word document has over 125 original signers and affirms opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage while endorsing religious freedom and, when necessary, civil disobedience. The document is addressed to Christians, but also members of Congress and President Barack Obama. Chuck Colson, founder of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, helped draft the document. Original signers include Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Tony Perkins, president of the socially conservative Family Research Council.

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From Liberace to Cruise to Palin, Oprah Winfrey has created years of noteworthy TV moments
By Lynn Elber
Oprah Winfrey has racked up memorable moments during her long television reign. Some were moving, some embarrassing — to her or others — and a handful became pop-culture landmarks. Here are highlights through the years: Winfrey gets the final TV interview with pianist-showman Liberace, six weeks before his AIDS-related death, 1986.,0,3347422.story/

Steve Rothaus
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Conferences offering opposite views on homosexuality to converge in West Palm Beach
One group believes that homosexuals can be cured and runs programs aimed at putting gay men and lesbians on a straight path.

Task Force remembers those lost to anti-transgender violence
News release from National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 — Tomorrow marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing those lost to anti-transgender violence over the past year. The Task Force honors the memory of transgender people killed internationally in 2009. For more information, including a list of related events, visit

Miss California pageant gives ad time to gay group, offers equal time to ex-title holder Carrie Prejean
Associated Press
The Miss California USA pageant director who became embroiled in a war of words with former title holder Carrie Prejean has donated 30-seconds of free ad time to the state's largest gay rights group.

HRC: Sen. John McCain reiterates support for ‘misguided’ don’t ask, don’t tell military policy
News release from Human Rights Campaign:
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, was troubled by Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) remarks supporting the misguided Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) military policy. During Dr. Clifford Stanley’s confirmation hearing today for Undersecretary of Personnel and Readiness at the Department of Defense, Senator McCain expressed his opposition to the repeal of DADT and believes that this policy is currently working despite evidence proving otherwise, including studies from military think tanks and official pentagon publications.

Tampa City Council protects transgender people by adding ‘gender identity’ to human-rights law
From Equality Florida Blog:
Equality Florida commends the Tampa City Council for expanding non-discrimination protections to those who live, work and visit the city. Tampa is the latest city in Florida to add “gender identity” to its human rights ordinance that bans discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation.

The Advocate
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L.A. Confidential
What's it like to be 33, gay, and one of the most powerful people in America's second-largest city? Stressful, says Matt Szabo, the new deputy chief of staff to Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
By Neal Broverman
The Velvet Mafia has yet to break the pink ceiling within the Senate or inside governors' mansions, but gays and lesbians have successfully invaded the power circles of America's biggest cities. Sam Adams runs Portland, Ore., Christine Quinn is the speaker of the New York city council, and in December, Annise Parker has a good shot at becoming Houston's first lesbian mayor. In Los Angeles, Matt Szabo took over one of the top spots in city government when he was announced as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's deputy chief of staff in September. The 33-year-old Southern California native talks to about his new job at City Hall, Proposition 8, and balancing (or not balancing) career and love.

Stanley Remains Neutral on DADT
By Kerry Eleveld
The Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing Thursday for Clifford Stanley, a retired Marine general who has been nominated as undersecretary of Personnel and Readiness within the Department of Defense — the position that oversees the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

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Why do we hate? Academics seek answer in new field
By The Associated Press
Why did the Nazis hate the Jews? Why did the Hutus hate the Tutsis? Hate is everywhere, but the fundamental question of why one person can hate another has never been adequately studied, contends Jim Mohr of Gonzaga University, who is developing a new academic field of hate studies.

Miss Calif. pageant gives ad time to gay group
By The Associated Press
The Miss California USA pageant director who became embroiled in a war of words with former title holder Carrie Prejean has donated 30-seconds of free ad time to the state’s largest gay rights group.

Pink News - UK
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Family appeals to gay community to find missing son
The father of a 14-year-old boy who went missing two years ago has appealed to the gay community to help find him. Andrew Gosden has not been seen since September 14th, 2007.

Suspect in Puerto Rico teen's murder 'may use gay panic defence'
The man arrested in connection with the murder of gay Puerto Rico teenage Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado will reportedly use the 'gay panic' defence.

Trans woman in Italian political scandal found dead
A Brazillian trans woman at the centre of a scandal involving an Italian politician has been found dead in a burnt-out basement.

Tatchell: 'Alan Carr and Graham Norton are camp and cliched'
Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell has said that TV executives should chose a wider range of gay presenters, not just "camp and cliched" stereotypes.

Texas 'accidentally banned all marriages'
A Texas candidate for attorney general has argued that an amendment made to the state's constitution to ban gay marriages has actually made all marriages illegal.

NHS 'a world pioneer' in treating intersex babies
British doctors are becoming "world pioneers" in treating children and adults who are born with ambiguous genitals, it has been reported. The NHS treats such babies on the assumption that they should not automatically be operated on.

Video: Gordon Brown records message for World AIDS Day
Prime minister Gordon Brown has recorded a video message for World AIDS Day. In the message, Brown paid tribute to the gay community in the 1980s, which he said had "led the way" on HIV and AIDS campaigning.

Newspaper roundup: New EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton has strong gay rights record
In a profile published for The Guardian, Caroline Davies argues that the new European Union's new High Representative For Foreign Affairs has a strong history of standing up for equality. In 2006 she was the first recipient of the Stonewall Politician of the Year award.

Daily Queer News
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Berkowitz: ‘2012′–Religious Right Leader Excoriates His Own for Aiding and Abetting ‘End of Times’ Hype and Hysteria
Bill Berkowitz \ BuzzFlash
Move over Nostradamus, “Rapture” kings and queens, “End Times” prophets, and Y2K hucksters. Here comes the real “end of days” brought to you by the Mayan calendar: Not! In its first weekend, the film “2012″ was a box office sensation; it took in $225 million — $65 million domestically and $160 million internationally. “2012″ is an special effects spectacular, combining the star power of its cast with the kind of doomsday scenario — derived from the end of the Mayan Calendar –- that apparently is being lapped up by movie audiences everywhere. Talk about going global!

PA: Vigil for Puerto Rico Teen
Stop the Slaughter!
A Vigil will be held in Philadelphia on Friday evening, November 20th
to remember 19-year-old Jorge Lopez Mercado Lopez. Lopez, a Puerto Rican native, was found partially burned, decapitated and with arms and legs dismembered, on the side of the road near his home town Caguas, Puerto Rico on Saturday, November 14th.

US Christian Right Activists Pushing Death Penalty for Homosexuals in Poor African State
Christi van der Westhuizen, IPS News \ AlterNet
CAPE TOWN, Nov 11 (IPS) - The Anti-Homosexuality Bill under consideration in Uganda was sparked by a conference in Kampala earlier this year at which fundamentalist Christians from the U.S. identified homosexuality as a threat to “family values”.

Time to Stop the Lies
Jeff Krehely | American Progress
Download this memo (pdf)
Same-sex couples in Washington, D.C. could soon have the same full marriage rights and responsibilities that their straight counterparts currently enjoy. The Washington, D.C. city council is considering a bill that would expand its marriage law to be inclusive of same-sex couples. This bill also calls for all sections of the district’s code related to marriage and family benefits to be updated with gender-neutral language. This change would ensure that married same-sex couples receive the same treatment under the district’s laws as opposite-sex married couples.

Anti-Gay Church Sets Its Sights on Jews
Matthew E. Berger, Religion News Service \ USA Today
For more than a decade, Westboro Baptist Church has raised a ruckus with the message that God hates gays, posting itself outside government buildings, college campuses and even the funerals of American soldiers. But in recent months, the Topeka, Kan.-based church has been moving toward other targets, predominantly in the American Jewish community. Westboro Baptist members were in Washington this week to protest speeches by President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Jewish Federations of North America conference. Members of the Phelps family have been to other, less high-profile sites as well, targeting synagogues, Jewish community centers and Hillels on college campuses.

Hugo Chavez on LGBT Persecution and Marriage Equality
In an interview conducted at the Venice Film Festival in September, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is asked his thoughts on marriage equality.

Transgender Day of Remembrance
Jessica Geen \ Pink News
Today is the 11th International Transgender Day of Remembrance. The yearly event is held to recognise and remember trans people who have been killed through hatred or prejudice.

Special Report: Sexuality and Spirituality
Arielle Clay \ NBC Augusta
Can a gay person go straight? Many Christian groups say yes. Others say a person is born gay and can’t change. In this special report, NBC Augusta 26 News takes a closer look at this debate.

Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s Gay Church
Rev. Irene Monroe \ Bay Windows
The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) is the largest African American and largest Pentecostal church in the United States. It’s also the largest denominational black church in the country and the loudest in rebuking homosexuality.Many of the gospel music industry mega-stars can be heard at COGIC. The church’s charismatic worship style shouts to a black male queer gospel aesthetic making COGIC a church is conflicted with itself.

Feldblum Answers Questions at Confirmation Hearing
Gay Politics
Chai Feldblum, an openly lesbian nominee for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, today answered a question put to her by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who asked the nominee if she supported polygamy. The question came in response to a statement Feldblum had signed in support of alternative families while she was a professor at Columbia. Law Dork describes the exchange:

US Christian Right Also Mobilizes African Clerics in US “Culture War” Over Ordination of LGBT Clergy
Public Research Association \ Public Eye
Sexual minorities in Africa have become collateral damage to our domestic conflicts and culture wars as U.S. conservative evangelicals and those opposing gay pastors and bishops within mainline Protestant denominations woo Africans in their American fight, a groundbreaking investigation by Political Research Associates (PRA) has discovered.

Right Plans “Armageddon” to Block Gay EEOC Nominee
Gay Politics
The anti-gay Family Research Council and its allies on Capitol Hill are readying a withering series of questions for Chai Feldblum, who could become the first openly LGBT member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Census Bureau Begins to Set a Good Example
Deb Price \ Creators
The 2010 Census will have a new message for same-sex married couples like Joyce and me: “You count.” Reflecting a refreshingly new era at the Census Bureau, the nation’s pre-eminent collector of data is upgrading how it deals with those of us who are gay.


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