poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, April 23, 2004

War Crimes
By Traci Hukill, AlterNet
News this winter that 112 women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan reported having been sexually assaulted by fellow U.S. soldiers in the last 18 months shocked the public and shamed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld into appointing a task force to investigate the matter. The task force, headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Ellen Embrey, is due to present its findings to Rumsfeld on April 30. The team is highly regarded, and victim advocates say they have faith in members' commitment to the job. The question is: Will anyone listen to what they have to say?

The answer is a disappointing "probably not." Sex scandals have rocked the military with dismaying regularity in the last 13 years; in 1991, when dozens of women in uniform were harassed and some sexually assaulted at the Navy's Tailhook Association convention; in 1993, when reports of rape first emerged at the Air Force Academy; in 1994, when the General Accounting Office found widespread harassment of female cadets at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy; in 1997, when drill sergeants at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland were accused of raping and assaulting dozens of female recruits; in 2003, with fresh allegations of rape and coercion at the Air Force Academy.

Each of these eruptions has provoked an outraged response, a commission, a task force, a report. Christine Hansen, executive director of the Miles Foundation, which provides services to victims of violence associated with the armed services, counts 20 in the last 17 years.

"In all of these recommendations, we have seen very few of them implemented," Hansen says. "Our concern is, at what priority level is this?"


Reproductive Freedom is a Gay Issue - Now, More than Ever
WASHINGTON - April 23 - This Sunday (April 25) the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force will join hundreds of thousands of Americans in Washington D.C. for the March for Women's Lives in support of reproductive health and reproductive freedom. The Task Force is the oldest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights and advocacy organization.

"We are proud to be a part of the 'March for Women's Lives' this Sunday. For nearly 30 years, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has considered reproductive freedom a 'gay' issue," said Matt Foreman, Task Force executive director. "Today, that reality is more evident than ever before, as is the necessity that we join together. Our right to have private, consensual sex - won in last summer's U.S. Supreme Court Lawrence v. Texas decision - will be lost if Roe v. Wade falls under the right's persistent onslaught. Likewise, the enemies of reproductive freedom are the very same people we battle every day in trying to win equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Finally, the Bush Administration's war on gay America - including his support to amend the U.S. Constitution to deny equal marriage rights to our community - is inextricably tied to the administration's assault on reproductive freedom - from 'abstinence only' programs, to the multi-million dollar 'marriage promotion' plan, to his 'every child deserves a mother and a father' mantra."


Proposed amendment would ban more than same-sex marriage
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gay-rights advocates and same-sex marriage opponents alike say a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment would have a far broader effect than banning gay marriage.

That's exactly the intent, the attorney who wrote the proposal said Friday.

The amendment seeks to bar any type of civil unions or the legal privileges of marriage to any cohabiting couple, said David R. Langdon of Cincinnati, attorney for the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage. For example, it likely would nullify a domestic-benefits registry in Cleveland Heights.

"This isn't necessarily just geared at same-sex couples," Langdon said.


Group Plans Push For Amendment To Ban Same-Sex Marriage
A group opposed to same-sex marriages says the state ban isn't enough, so members are trying to put a constitutional amendment on the November ballot.

Ohio's law banning same-sex marriage that goes into effect next month could be weakened by the courts, said David R. Langdon of Cincinnati, the attorney for the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage.

The group submitted 218 signatures on a sample petition to Attorney General Jim Petro's office Tuesday. If 100 are verified, the group can begin collecting the signatures of 315,000 registered Ohio voters required by Aug. 4 to put an initiative on the ballot.


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