poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Melissa Sue Robinson announces candidacy for State Representative

LANSING - Transgender candidate Melissa Sue Robinson will appear on the Aug. 3 Democratic Primary ballot for Rep. of Lansing's 68th District.

Running on a platform of civil and human rights, Robinson said she will introduce or aggressively pursue legislation that introduces a Universal Health Insurance plan which is designed to cover all uninsured citizens of Michigan; eliminates the Michigan Single Business Tax; and discourages disparity between the sexes in wages, with emphasis on penalizing businesses that pay the male sex more for equal work done by both sexes.

In a press release Robinson said, "I promise that if elected, my whole term or terms in office will be focused on 'you' the voters, and I will do everything to earn your trust and my salary as your State Representative. As the entire 68th District is in Lansing, I will take a special interest in our City and insure that you 'the voters' are properly represented."

Robinson also encouraged voters to keep an open mind and see her gender change as a strength. She said, "Please don't let the idea that I am a person that changed my gender interfere with your choice at the polls in August and November. If anything, that fact will insure that I'll fight for your rights."

For more information on Robinson's campaign contact The Committee to Elect Melissa Sue Robinson For State Representative 68th District at 517-371-1103 or email


House puts off taking action on same-sex unions
By a two-vote margin Wednesday, the state House of Representatives put off a vote on a pair of amendments designed to more narrowly define marriage as a heterosexual institution.

"I think those of us who oppose the legislation and don't want these conservative prohibitions were happy to vote 'no' and maintain the status quo," said Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford. "There is a feeling among a lot people that this did not need to be dealt with right away."

The measures, if passed, would prevent recognition of "spousal-equivalent relationships" entered into in other jurisdictions and prohibit the commonwealth from providing life insurance, health insurance, medical leave and pension survivorship benefits to partners of state employees.

"A lot of Democrats who favor same-sex marriage and extending benefits to same-sex couples saw this as a tough vote they didn't want to take," said Rep. Stephen Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, who favors the amendments. "Pennsylvania is still a very conservative state and Democrats running in conservative areas knew they would have a tough time defending their vote."

Millersville University political analyst and pollster G. Terry Madonna was not surprised to see House members take a pass, the second time they have done so.

"A tax vote becomes ripe when the state has a deficit and a gambling vote becomes ripe when revenue is needed for a particular purpose," Madonna said. "This legislation is more of a diversion whose time has not come, especially with property-tax reform, gaming and the budget still out there."


Group starts contest to get America to say 'I Do' to gay marriage
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - Borrowing a page from the playbook of online political organization, a national gay rights group is sponsoring an advertising contest that it hopes will lead to television audiences seeing positive images of same-sex marriage.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which monitors how gays and lesbians are portrayed in the media, plans to air the winning entry or entries in its "I Do" competition in markets where political opposition to marriage rights for gay couples is fiercest, said Joan Garry, the New York-based group's executive director.

"My hope is that we come up with a winning spot and an inventory of other spots that speak to people in America who may not be quite clear about where they stand on the issue of marriage rights, and it's my hope these spots will move them, literally and emotionally," Garry said.

The contest begins Thursday with the launch of a new Web site where viewers will be able to vote for their favorite 30-second ads after the July 1 submission deadline. A seven-member panel of entertainment industry judges will choose the winner from a group of finalists selected by GLAAD's staff.


Rainbow tassel not shown on brochure
By alex dubilet
May 27, 2004

When friends of 2003 College alumnus Arshad Hasan notified him that he was pictured on the cover of this year's commencement brochure, he was initially flattered.

But upon closer examination, Hasan and his friends realized that one detail from his costume was missing -- the rainbow tassel that had hung beside the standard black tassel from his cap.

Hasan distinctly remembered having the rainbow tassel -- distributed by the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center to be worn during graduation ceremonies -- as part of his academic regalia. He also knew that it was distinct enough that it could not simply be covered up due to the angle of the photograph.

But while University officials in charge of commencement materials have admitted since then that the photograph was edited, they have also said that slight alteration to published images is standard procedure.


Prom Queen offices trashed
Producers at Tapestry Pictures fear the vandalism is linked to its TV movie about a gay teenager who won the right to bring his partner to a Catholic school dance

The offices of Toronto-based Tapestry Pictures were trashed earlier this week, and the producers fear the vandalism is linked to its coming, controversial film, Prom Queen.

In recent weeks, pro-family and anti-gay support groups have been using the Internet to denounce the made-for-TV movie, slated to air on CTV on June 1, about the so-called "Cinderfella," the media nickname for Marc Hall, a teen from Oshawa, Ont., who won the right in 2002 to bring his partner to a Catholic school dance.

One chat site, TalkAboutNetwork, posted a disturbing rant recently against the movie that began with the headline: Anti-Catholic Film Star a Homosexual Child Molester.

It went on to accuse one of the film's young actors (not the movie's star, B.C. actor Aaron Ashmore, who portrays Hall) of being a pedophile. It added that the dramatization of Hall's story -- and his controversial court case has "caused probl


Gay rights group: Church broke law
Gazette State Bureau
HELENA - Gay rights advocates filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices against the Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church Wednesday, saying the church inappropriately held an event to support a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Montanans for Families and Fairness, a coalition that includes InterMountain Planned Parenthood, PRIDE and the Montana Human Rights Network, said in the complaint that the church failed to report to the state commissioner it used its "in-kind" resources to support the proposed constitutional ban.

Petitions supporting the proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Montana were circulated at a church event Sunday night. The initiative will be placed on the November ballot if 41,000 voters sign a petition in favor of the measure.

"They made an expense on behalf of this thing," said Rob Hill, campaign director for the coalition that filed the complaint. "We believe they have to file with the commissioner's office. They haven't done that."


Homosexuals Meet in Kampala
Charles Ariko

UGANDA is hosting the first-ever conference to discuss the rights of homosexuals.

The conference at Muyenga International Hotel, organised by the Uganda Humanist Association and the International Humanist and Ethical Union, has attracted a cross section of participants, mostly lesbians and gays.

Jim Herrick, a founder member of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association of Britain,said the 25-year-old association had about 400 registered members.

"Our organisation has supporters from across the world. Being gay is about love and deep feelings. I have been gay since I was 17 years old. Some people say homosexuality is sickness. It is not. It is about feelings," he said.


Group of lawmakers is jumping the gun on Pa. marriage law
First, a valid suit is needed to declare it constitutional.
By Mitchell Sommers

Readers might be too focused on the same-sex marriage issue to appreciate the sideshow recently staged by 12 state legislators seeking to validate the Pennsylvania Defense of Marriage Act.

Under the guise of protecting this law, these lawmakers are trying to use the courts in a preemptive way that violates their purpose.

Courts are supposed to resolve disputes. What has happened here is that even before the Defense of Marriage Act has been challenged in court, the legislators want the courts to say it's constitutional. And that's not the way the process works.

Here are the facts: In March, a gay couple from New Hope sought and failed to receive a marriage license from Bucks County. The state Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, says unambiguously that "marriage shall be between one man and one woman." So Stephen Stahl and Robert Seneca came back from Doylestown empty-handed.


Sex change birth certificate legislation approved

A Birmingham MP has celebrated victory in a ten-year campaign to win new rights for people who have a sex change.

Transsexuals will now be able to demand new birth certificates - with their correct gender, thanks to a change in the law.

Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak), a long-time supporter of the change, described the introduction of the legislation as "a wonderful moment", in a House of Commons debate.

But the measures in the Gender Recognition Bill were condemned by Midland MP Sir Patrick Cormack (Con Staffordshire South).


Gay group slams PM's ban

A gay rights group lashed Prime Minister John Howard's plan to ban same-sex marriages, saying he was using homophobia as a re-election tool.

Australia's Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby said the move to change the Marriage Act, which includes redefining marriage as the "voluntarily entered-into union of a man and a woman to exclusion of all others", was backward.

Under the changes, gay couples also will be banned from adopting children overseas, but will have access to each other's superannuation funds.

"It's a gross overreaction," lobby co-convener Somali Cerise said.


Senator quits leadership post over gay marriage vote

A state senator resigned from her Republican leadership position Wednesday over Senate President Ken Bennett's decision to let the chamber vote on a gay marriage proposal.

Republican Carolyn Allen of Scottsdale said she quit as the Senate's president pro tem because Bennett reneged on a promise not to bring the measure to a vote.

The proposal cleared the state House easily but stalled in the Senate, where supporters said they were one vote short of getting it through the Legislature.

The measure is a symbolic piece of legislation that would to urge Congress to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

Even though it's unlikely to pass the Senate, gay marriage opponents are trying to use the vote to target moderate Republicans who are up for election, Allen said.


French mayor "forbidden" to marry gay couples
Ben Townley, UK

Noel Mamere, the French mayor who wanted to marry same-sex couples in his Bordeaux town, has been ordered to stop offering his services by the local authorities.

Mamere had promised to marry any same-sex couples who came to him in the town of Begles. The first ceremony was due to take place on June 5th, despite government opposition to the plans.

But the couple who were due to marry may now have to postpone their wedding, after public prosecutor for Bordeaux, Bertrand de Loze, sent Mamere a fax banning him from conducting the ceremony.

The BBC reports that de Loze said Mamere was "forbidden" from marrying same-sex couples, claiming his intentions would "undermine the application of the law".


Same-sex pairs due benefits in Howard
County policy change is to take effect July 1
By Larry Carson
Sun Staff

Howard County employees in same-sex domestic partnerships will be eligible for full health benefits, starting July 1, the Robey administration announced yesterday after months of internal deliberation.

Raquel Sanudo, the county's chief administrative officer, said the administration took the action, which will not require County Council scrutiny, as a matter of fairness.

"As an organization, we believe in equity across our work force, when and wherever possible," she said. "This change will afford those employees whose union is not currently, legally recognizable the same health insurance benefits as others currently employed by the county."

Howard County joins Baltimore, Montgomery County, the District of Columbia, Takoma Park and Greenbelt in extending the benefits. Several major universities and large companies, such as the Rouse Co., Lockheed Martin and Marriott International, also offer them.


Day of Silence tried to illustrate oppression in new way
By Abigail Moses

Columbia News Service
NEW YORK - Kris Aleman knows the word "faggot" in half a dozen languages. He learned it from classmates, who yell it in the hallways when he walks by. He picks it out of customers' conversations when he's working. In the multicultural, but conservative community of Linden, N.J., Aleman has responded by streaking his hair purple, dyeing his sideburns blue and lining his eyes with black pencil and mascara.

On a Wednesday in late April, Aleman, who is 17, also responded by saying nothing at all for a full school day. He was one of nearly 300,000 students, faculty and school staff members who participated in the Day of Silence, a student-led protest now in its ninth year, that is coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the United States Student Association (USSA). By making silence a symbol, organizers hope to draw attention to the prevalence of homophobia in schools.

There are roughly 2 million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender school-age children in the United States, the organizations say, most of whom are silenced in some way by harassment and discrimination.

The Day's founders envisioned using silence as an instrument of protest rather than oppression. "Instead of trying to do something very loud, like having a rally or a protest or a speaker, we try to do the inverse of that," said Maria Pulzetti, now 26, who conceived the idea as a freshman in college.


Students stand up on diversity issues
Leaders say attitudes and comments about sexual orientation, gender and race show a need for awareness

TIGARD -- The skit at Tigard High School's prom assembly was supposed to amuse. But the announcers' ad-libbed jokes about homosexuality weren't funny to several audience members, and, for at least one student, downright uncomfortable.

Senior Nicole Hartfield, 18, was a prom princess and front and center at the assembly. But Hartfield is also the president of the Tigard Awareness Coalition, a school group promotes tolerance and acceptance.

For group members, the comments were another example of why the school needs a tolerance-building club. Promoting awareness in the school not only helps combat such activities, but leads to a better environment for the whole student body, even those at the margins, members of the group said.

"I just feel that our school is really close-minded," said Angie Doerr, 17, a senior and Tigard Awareness Coalition member.


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