poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Monday, June 28, 2004

Prosecutors face higher hurdles in Araujo retrial
By Yomi S. Wronge

Now that the prosecution has announced it will retry the case of three men accused of killing a Newark transgender teenager, legal experts say it will be even tougher to convict them of first-degree murder in a second trial.

"Generally, as prosecutors retry cases, it does not get better for them; it gets more difficult," said Peter Keane, a professor at Golden Gate School of Law in San Francisco.

First-degree murder involves a premeditated killing in which the person considered the crime ahead of time, weighed the options and then decided to kill.


Transgender lesbian activist
Leslie Feinberg tours Italy
By Minnie Bruce Pratt

The lesbian, gay, bi and trans movement of Italy showed the spectacular breadth and depth of the colors of its rainbow flag as it hosted transgender lesbian activist and author Leslie Feinberg from June 2-6 in a week of special events. Workers World Managing Editor Feinberg spoke at local meetings in the northern cities of Milan, Bologna and Turin, and traveled south to address gatherings in Florence and Rome.

Leaders in diverse sectors of the Italian LGBT movement invited Feinberg because this is a historic moment in which they are trying to develop greater unity in their struggle. As the trip unfolded, that solidarity began to emerge, visible to all.

The tour coincided with the publication of the Italian edition of Feinberg's "Stone Butch Blues," a novel set in pre-Stonewall gay drag bars of working-class Buffalo in upstate New York. The gender journey of the protagonist, Jess Goldberg, explores the relationship of the struggle against oppression based on sex, gender and sexuality with other battles against racism and war, and with the working-class struggle for liberation.

The novel's Italian translators were Margharita Giacobino, a feminist writer and author of "Pride and Privilege: the Heroic Journal of Lesbian Literature," and Davide Tolu, a leading FTM [female-to-male] transsexual activist and author of "The Journey of Arnold: Story of a Man Born as Woman."


Finding the inner and outer self
Transsexual pastor of Charleston church spent life searching for identity
Of The Post and Courier Staff

The hands, big and masculine -- a contrast with the quiet voice and soft face -- are the most visible reminders that the Rev. Wilhelmina Hein started out life as a man.

Hein, pastor of Open Door Christian Church in Charleston, is a transsexual. She says she has always visualized herself as a woman, even as a young boy secretly parading around in dresses. The physical transformation started with hormone treatments in 1975. After 20 years of therapy and soul searching, she underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 1995.


Vocal about their vows
100 same-sex couples take part in a civil commitment ceremony for love — and to make a larger statement to society.
Pioneer Press

Think of it as a wedding ceremony with a hint of the Oscars.

On a very public stage Sunday afternoon, about 100 gay and lesbian couples stood together in Minneapolis' Loring Park and vowed to spend their lives together. But before the prized "I do" moment, several ministers and elected leaders took the stage and sprinkled their talk of love and commitment with some sociopolitical commentary.

"There are some people in the world that think this kind of ceremony is wrong," said the Rev. Heidi H. Vardeman with the Macalester Plymouth United Church in St. Paul. "For the life of me, I can't figure out why. How can anyone be against loyalty and love?"

The mass civil-commitment ceremony was one of the final acts of this year's Gay Pride weekend and a first for the 32-year-old gala. The festival included a celebrated Sunday morning parade down Hennepin Avenue and a two-day fair in Loring Park. Gay marriage isn't legal in Minnesota, but it's been a hot political button that could be pivotal in the upcoming presidential election.


Sexual freedom vs. fascism in Germany
By Leslie Feinberg

Decades of left-wing political activism, agitation and education ushered in the short-lived era of the "Golden Twenties" in Germany. Berlin rivaled Paris for its flourishing gay and lesbian cultures-which included transgender expression. The movement had forced the police to issue certificates to trans people, allowing them to "cross-dress" without threat of arrest.

Turn-of-the-century independent strug gles for sexual reform, including the movement for women's right to vote-which had held its first large protest in Berlin in 1894-were coalescing into a broad political alliance between the women's emancipation movement and the gay, trans and lesbian movement.

The most prominent organization in that political coalition was the League for the Protection of Maternity and Sexual Reform, founded in 1905. Its leader, Dr. Helene Stoecker, became a director of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee headed by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a leader of the German Homosexual Emancipation Movement.

The First Congress for Sexual Reform convened in Berlin Sept. 15-20, 1921. The gathering met at the Institute of Sexual Science-the international center of the movement for sexual emancipation. Experts traveled to Germany from around the world for this ground-breaking discussion about sexology, genetics and the law.


Labour MP apologises for gay MP comments, PM says
Labour MP Janet Mackey is sorry she said the Civil Union Bill had been hijacked by gay MPs, Prime Minister Helen Clark said today.

Ms Mackey did not vote when the bill had its first reading last week, as she was in Australia.

She then accused gay MPs of hijacking the legislation and making it into their own issue.

"I think she is sorry that she has made those comments," Miss Clark told NewstalkZB today.

"I think that was chatter that went on with the local paper and the last thing that she expected was to see it blasted all over the main media.


Group protests same-sex unions
Predominantly Chinese crowd rallies behind traditional marriages
By Emanuel Parker , Staff Writer, (CA)

ALHAMBRA -- The northeast corner of Alhambra Park was a sea of red Sunday as thousands of predominantly Chinese gathered for a two-hour rally and demonstration in support of traditional marriage.

Marchers wore red shirts that read "Marriage' and under that "1 man + 1 woman.' The message was repeated on the back in Chinese characters. While the crowd was overwhelmingly Chinese, whites, Latinos and blacks also participated.

"We want to let the community know we oppose the idea of same-sex marriage,' said rally organizer the Rev. David Lee, ministry director at Chinese Christian Herald Crusades in San Gabriel.

"We are not trying to attack anyone. We are not trying to create any hatreds between different groups. The only thing we want to let the community and society know is that we don't want to change the status of marriage,' Lee said.


Canadians Vote In Election That Could End Gay Marriages
by Ben Thompson Newscenter
Ottawa Bureau

(Ottawa)  Canadians go to the polls today in an election expected to be a nail biter for gays and lesbians fearful that if Conservatives win hard fought same-sex marriage rights will be lost.

Polls show that the race is so close it could take dozens of judicial recounts and weeks to determine the ultimate winner. And, even then the results are expected to be so close it may be up to the queens' representative, the Governor General, to decide whether the Liberals will return to power or be replaced by the Conservatives.

The governing Liberals wracked by political scandals and a lackluster leader dropped in approval ratings below the fledgling Conservatives a fusion of the extreme right wing Alliance Party and the more moderate Progressive Conservatives.  Only in the final days of the campaign did the Liberals rise above the Tories in major polls.  But, when the factors of error were considered both parties were tied.

The same-sex marriage issue featured prominently in the campaign. Liberal leader Paul Martin tried to show his party as the moderate voice of Canada while portraying the Conservatives as right wing fanatics.


Gay Rights Advocate To Lead Presbyterian Church
by The Associated Press

(Richmond, Virginia) A peace activist who supports the inclusion of gays in the ministry was elected to lead the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) for the next two years.

The selection of Rick Ufford-Chase as moderator comes as the church prepares for a fresh round of debate at its annual convention on whether to repeal a ban on gay pastors.

Ufford-Chase, 40, may be the youngest person to serve as moderator of the 2.4 million-member denomination, church officials said. He was installed as moderator of the group's 216th General Assembly on Saturday making him the first layperson to hold the unpaid position since 1999. 

``I am grateful to be elected moderator,'' said Ufford-Chase, an elder at Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, Ariz. ``I've been dreaming about this opportunity for two full years.''


Nation's Mayors To Vote On Gay Marriage Resolution
by The Associated Press

(Boston, Massachusetts) The U.S. Conference of Mayors will vote Monday on a resolution that opposes a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The resolution was approved unanimously by the Criminal and Social Justice Committee during its meeting Saturday, putting it on Monday's agenda for consideration by the larger conference, said conference spokeswoman Rhonda Spears.

The proposed federal marriage amendment would change the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, invalidating any gay marriages nationwide, including those in Massachusetts, which has allowed same-sex marriages since last month.

The mayors' resolution states that the amendment would restrict the ability of local governments to determine marriage policy, and may be interpreted as prohibiting local governments from granting domestic partner benefits.


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