poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, May 28, 2004

Gays in Brazilian state quietly tie the knot as controversy rages over gay marriages in United States
Associated Press Writer

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) To the cheers of a delighted crowd, Joazinho Moraes and Alcindo Sandini exchanged gold rings and cut their white wedding cake inside their beauty salon across the street from the city's Roman Catholic cathedral.

A day earlier, the two men sealed their commitment by signing papers before a justice of the peace, becoming the latest gay couple to get hitched in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's first state to permit civil unions between same-sex couples.

Now it was time to party with champagne and hors d'oeuvres, a celebration that symbolizes one of the biggest gains for gay rights in Latin America.

Unlike the controversy raging in the United States over gay marriages, a landmark judicial decision two months ago allowing civil unions in Brazil's southernmost state has generated little tension in Porto Alegre. It's such a non-issue in South America's largest country that many people don't even know about it.


JUVENILE CRIME: Boy held, another hurt in fight over who's gay

A 12-year-old River Rouge boy was in juvenile detention Thursday after allegedly attacking another 12-year-old at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Ecorse during an argument in which each boy accused the other of being gay.

The incident happened shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to reports filed in Wayne County Family Court.

Ecorse Police Officer Jerod Fedea said he was sent to the school on a report of an injured juvenile and was led to a boy lying in a pool of blood on the floor of a classroom.

The teacher, William Watt Jr., told Fedea the boys were arguing about each other being gay, and he told them to stop "because neither one of them understood what being gay meant."


Judge rules police OK to raid gay bathhouse

Cops did nothing wrong when they raided a gay bathhouse, a judge ruled yesterday in admitting evidence police found at the scene. Provincial court Judge Terry Semenuk agreed with Crown prosecutor Dave Torske that police had a reasonable suspicion to conduct their investigation.

Defence lawyer John Bascom had sought to have evidence gathered by police during a December 2002, raid of Goliath's excluded.

Bascom said police acted on anonymous tips and had no credible information any criminal activity was taking place at the 17 Ave. S.W. business.

"Members of the public have a right to be left alone," Bascom said during his submissions last month.


Trans protection compromised?
Two years after law was passed, commission still has no guidelines
By Cyd Zeigler Jr.

A growing restlessness among transgender activists and the City Council has turned attention to the city’s Commission on Human Rights. Activists claim the commission is failing to adequately implement changes to the New York City Human Rights Law that will protect transgender New Yorkers.

The city’s Human Rights Law was amended in April 2002 to broaden the scope of protection from gender discrimination by defining “gender” to include actual or perceived sex, as well as a “person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.”

The Equal Employment Practices Commission, which aims to eliminate discrimination in the areas of employment, public accommodation and housing, held a hearing on the subject on May 20 in Downtown Manhattan.

Avery Mehlman, deputy commissioner of the New York City Human Rights Commission, testified that the commission has enforced the law since its inception and has, to date, filed eight cases alleging violations of the law. The Commission, however, has come under heavy fire not because of what they have done but because of what they have not done.


Council OKs Gay Pride Day in Los Altos
By Julie Patel
Mercury News

Two weeks after the Los Altos City Council rejected a proclamation to declare June 7 Gay Pride Day, instead declaring it the less-divisive Tolerance Day, a group of gay-rights activists persuaded council members to change their minds.

About 10 activists, students and political representatives decried the decision during Tuesday night's council meeting.

They didn't have to wait long for results. At the top of the meeting, Councilman King Lear made an unusual request to add an emergency item to the agenda. The council later voted 4-1 to declare June 7 Gay Pride Day as well.

Lear suggested that ``we keep the Tolerance Day proclamation for those of us who are straight and add Pride Day for those who are gay, so that they can take pride.''


Gay Marriage Heads To Oregon Appeals Court
by Newscenter Staff

(Portland, Oregon)  Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is appealing a ruling that ordered the state to recognize the 3,022 marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in the Portland area.

The notice of appeal was filed Thursday with the Oregon Court of Appeals.  It seeks to overturn the ruling last month by Multnomah County judge Frank Bearden that also gave the state 90 days to provide gay and lesbian couples with either marriage or the legal equivalent.

In his ruling Bearden also ordered the county to stop issuing more marriage licenses to gay couples until the courts and the legislature made a final decision on same-sex marriage. 

Bearden's ruling said that if the legislature failed to act he would allow the licensing to resume.


Bill would bar gays, unmarried couples from claiming homestead exemption
The Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would deny homestead exemptions to gay or unmarried couples is on its way to the state House of Representatives.

The bill was originally designed to clarify the law and add consistency to its application. It was later amended to prevent people who may own a home together but who aren't related or married from getting the tax break from Louisiana's $75,000 homestead exemption.

"Our original bill would have simply said if you own and occupy your dwelling, you could get homestead exemption, regardless of your relationship," said Jefferson Parish Tax Assessor Lawrence Chehardy. "I think it should be that way."

But in the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee, Sen. Robert Adley, D-Benton, pushed the change to grant homestead exemptions only to married couples or people related by blood and adoption. Adley said he didn't want to extend homestead exemption to same-sex couples


Organisation looks to tackle homophobia in schools
Ben Townley, UK

Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH), a UK wide group that fights homophobia in schools, has outlined new strategies to cut harassment and bullying of lesbian and gay school children and teachers.

The group will hold a seminar next month for teachers, who it claims have been overlooked in strategies to tackle homophobia in schools.

A spokesman for the group told UK today that the seminar, which is being supported by the NUT will focus on explaining the impact of the new laws to protect workers from homophobic discrimination, which were introduced last December; as well as the positive changes to school life that the repeal of Section 28 should bring.

A separate session will also discuss how teachers can respond to homophobic harassment.


Ont. won't pay for sex-change surgery: report
Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario's health minister appeared to run afoul of his political masters Thursday when an apparent bid by George Smitherman to reinstate provincial funding for sex-change procedures was abruptly shot down by his own government.

Smitherman had reportedly been working for months to restore Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage for sex changes in cases where an individual has been diagnosed with a gender identity disorder.

But news of the plan had barely seen the light of day Thursday before senior Liberal insiders were saying it wouldn't happen.

"Reinstating sex-change operations was not in the provincial budget introduced last week," said one Liberal insider.

"It is not one of our health-care priorities, and therefore there is no plan to reinstate funding for those procedures at this time.


Out from under the radar
By Lisa Sorg
Five gay clubs no longer off-limits to military

For more than a decade, you could enter the Saint or the Silver Dollar, two popular gay clubs on Main Street, and rarely, if ever, see a soldier.

Until earlier this month, Randolph and Lackland Air Force bases prohibited its enlisted men and women and officers from patronizing five gay clubs in San Antonio [see box, this page]. The new policy, which came down from the Base Commander at Randolph AFB, allows Air Force personnel to go to the clubs without being investigated for suspected homosexual activity.

This new policy doesn't extend to Army personnel at Fort Sam Houston.

Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which advocates for gays and lesbians in the military, said that these clubs should have been removed from the "off-limits list" in 1993, when Don't Ask, Don't Tell went into effect.


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