transdada

poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, July 23, 2004

International anti-gay violence on the rise: reports
Some worry hate attacks becoming an ‘epidemic’
By BRYAN ANDERTON


While gay activists in the United States fight for the right to marry, one global gay rights group issued a reminder this week that in many countries, gay people are fighting just to be treated humanely.

There has been a recent rash of international anti-gay violence including incidents in Jamaica, India and Nepal, according to the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Officials from the group say the violence has increased as a result of more individuals and organizations lobbying for gay rights.

“Increasingly, gay people are unwilling to be the subject of abuse,” said IGLHRC Executive Director Paula Ettelbrick, adding that the violence in recent months is most likely a “backlash” resulting from gays becoming more vocal.



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Nepal: Sexual Rights Group at Risk of Closure

(New York, July 23, 2004) -- The Nepalese government should respond to a threatened judicial ban on an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights by affirming the freedoms of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Nepalese authorities.

On June 18, a private lawyer petitioned the Nepalese Supreme Court to shut down the Blue Diamond Society, a nongovernmental organization working in the areas of sexual health and human rights. The petition accused the group of trying to “make homosexual activities legal,” and demanded it be banned because homosexual conduct is criminalized in Nepal.

In response to the petition, the Supreme Court gave the Ministry of Home Affairs until July 27 to show why “open homosexual activities” should not be banned in Nepal. Pointing to recent allegations of police abuse in Nepal based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Human Rights Watch urged the ministry to confirm its commitment to protecting human rights without discrimination.

“In trying to stifle the voices of sexual minorities, Nepal demonstrates its indifference to basic rights of expression and assembly,” said Scott Long, Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “In trying to silence those who document police abuse, the Nepalese government shows its



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Sex education group meets gay activists
'Homophobic' site tops talks agenda
By Sarah Brett, Belfast Telegraph


A controversial sex education group accused of promoting homophobia on its website, has met gay rights campaigners in Londonderry, it emerged today.

Love for Life, an abstinence-based sex education group, sat down with members of the Rainbow Project to discuss the content of the site and the group's overall approach to homosexuality.

Development co-ordinator for the Rainbow Project, David McCartney, said the meeting with the group's chief executive, Dr Richard Barr, was satisfactory, but produced no guarantees that perceived homophobic references would be removed from the site.

Mr McCartney was informed this morning that Love for Life will not meet them again until September.



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Anti-gay Senate candidate has two gay advisers
Martinez advisor led Florida’s Christian Coalition; finance director is gay
By MUBARAK DAHIR


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On a humid day in Tampa last month, John Dowless could be seen passing out cards at Landry’s Seafood House to a group of about 40 of Florida’s most conservative religious leaders, including members of Family First of Tampa and the Pinellas Crisis Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion group.

Dowless arranged the lunch on behalf of Mel Martinez, the former housing secretary who is now one of eight Republican candidates trying to get his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race this fall.

As Martinez railed against the threat of same-sex marriages to the traditional family, Dowless handed out cards to the religious leaders imploring them to “pray for Mel Martinez” and to get involved in his campaign.

Dowless was just doing his job. Formerly the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Dowless is now a private political consultant in Orlando.



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Shepard: colleges should welcome diversity
By ANDREA FALKENHAGEN
Star-Tribune staff writer


No child can learn in an atmosphere of fear, Judy Shepard told college administrators on Wednesday morning, so colleges need to train staff and faculty to welcome diverse student populations.

"This isn't just a gay thing, we're still facing hate in our country," said Shepard. "For example, let's add to the list the Muslim population -- it's becoming a bigger issue."

Shepard is the mother of slain University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard and the founder of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which focuses on the prevention of hate crimes.

She addressed the conference of the Rocky Mountain Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, hosted by Casper College.



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House votes to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over gay marriage
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer


Gay marriage opponents wanted more, but House Republicans gave them at least a symbolic election-year victory.

Republicans passed legislation in the House on Thursday, 233-194, to prevent federal courts from ordering states to recognize same-sex unions that took place in other states. Democrats objected to the bill as an unconstitutional attack on gays and the federal judiciary to satisfy the GOP's political base.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the legislation is a welcome interim step. "It provides us the opportunity to isolate some of these judicial rewrites of marriage. Until we can get an amendment to the Constitution, this will keep it from spreading," Perkins said.

Supporters said the House legislation would protect the institution of marriage by reining in federal judges who might otherwise impose gay marriage on states that have banned it. "Marriage is under attack," said Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., referring to the Massachusetts state court decision allowing same-sex marriages



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SIUC LOOKS AT EXTENDING HEALTH CARE TO SAME-SEX PARTNERS
BY CALEB HALE
THE SOUTHERN


CARBONDALE -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials say they are looking at how they could extend their benefits policies to people with same-sex partners, but it is essentially up to the university system leadership to make the final decision.

While discussions are just getting started, university officials expect to tackle the matter this fall. Duane Stucky, SIU vice president for financial and administrative affairs, said officials at both the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses are reviewing the options available to individuals should the university extend medical benefits to gay and lesbian employees' partners.

"It'd be too early to describe what the outcome will be at both campuses," Stucky said.

Stucky said the idea for the change came from SIU President James Walker and the board of trustees, and SIUC Chancellor Walter Wendler said that is where he'll get his orders.



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BlogThis!Michael Mclean Seminole County Campaign
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Lake Mary Commissioner Michael McLean hires John Dowless former Mel Martinez adviser who caused a stir as he was outed as gay in the WashingtonBlade during the campaign.

http://www.washingtonblade.com/2004/7-16/news/breaking/two.cfm

Anti-gay Senate candidate has two gay advisers (Gay)Martinez advisor led Florida’s Christian Coalition; finance director is gay
By MUBARAK DAHIR Friday, July 16, 2004
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — On a humid day in Tampa last month, John Dowless could be seen passing out cards at Landry’s Seafood House to a group of about 40 of Florida’s most conservative religious leaders, including members of Family First of Tampa and the Pinellas Crisis Pregnancy Center, an anti-abortion group.
Dowless arranged the lunch on behalf of Mel Martinez, the former housing secretary who is now one of eight Republican candidates trying to get his party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race this fall.
As Martinez railed against the threat of same-sex marriages to the traditional family, Dowless handed out cards to the religious leaders imploring them to “pray for Mel Martinez” and to get involved in his campaign.
Dowless was just doing his job. Formerly the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Dowless is now a private political consultant in Orlando.
Because of Dowless’ strong connections to the state’s conservative religious groups, Martinez hired him several months ago to help the campaign reach out to conservative Christians.
“My role is organizing grassroots stuff for them,” particularly among conservative Christians, Dowless said.
In a crowded primary field, many Republican candidates in Florida, including Martinez, are angling to get voter attention by running as far as possible to the right.
Martinez in particular has sought to distinguish himself as the candidate perhaps most vocal against gay rights, including running a statewide radio ad encouraging the Senate to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, and attacking one of his opponents for supporting hate crimes laws that would include protections based on sexual orientation.
Ironically, at least two powerful men working for the Martinez campaign are gay.
One of them is John Dowless, the political consultant. The other is Kirk Fordham, who is employed as Martinez’s finance director.
‘A ticking time bomb’It was about 10 p.m. on the evening of April 2 when a man called “Sam” entered the Lava Lounge, a gay bar in Orlando.
Sam, a gay resident of Washington, D.C., was in Orlando on business, and went out to meet a friend for drinks. After ordering a beer, Sam bumped into a former colleague from Washington, someone he describes as “a well-placed political operative.”
When Sam asked the man how he liked working in Florida, the man replied that politics in the state was “weird.”
How so?” Sam wanted to know.
“He began telling me about this guy who used to be the head of the Christian Coalition,” Sam said. “He said the guy is gay and out, and goes to the gay bars all the time, but is involved in all this anti-gay political campaigning. That struck me as incredibly hypocritical.”
Twenty minutes later, John Dowless walked into the Lava Lounge.
“The guy I used to know from D.C. pointed Dowless out to me, and I made it a point to go over and meet him,” Sam said. “I was just so intrigued that someone could play both sides of the fence this way.”
Dowless identified himself as gay and conflicted about how to reconcile his sexual orientation with his religion and his political beliefs, according to Sam, whose account of Dowless’ statements that evening was witnessed by a Washington Blade editor, who was also present.
Sam describes Dowless as handsome and affable, a person who was easy to meet and talk to.
“We talked about his work, but we talked a lot more about religion,” Sam said.
“I am a fairly devout Christian myself, and I was interested in why he felt being Christian and gay were so completely incompatible,” Sam said. “He was very adamant that it just wasn’t possible to be both, in his understanding.”
After a few drinks at the Lava Lounge, Sam jumped into his rental car and followed Dowless’ silver SUV to Southern Nights, another gay bar in Orlando, where the two men continued their conversation. All together, they spent approximately two hours speaking about religion and homosexuality that night, Sam said.
“When he admitted that he uses homosexuality as a weapon to win campaigns, I got the feeling this guy was not just struggling with the issue of being gay and Christian,” Sam said. “I felt maybe he’s a ticking time bomb.”
Handwritten cell phone numberBut Dowless didn’t let their difference of opinions stop him from making a pass, Sam said.
“John [Dowless] made it very clear he was interested in me, that he found me attractive,” Sam said. “I just told him I was out with friends and couldn’t get away to spend the evening with him. Then he said he wanted to see me again.”
Dowless took out a business card and, with a pen, wrote his cell phone number on it.
“He told me to call him the next time I was in Orlando,” Sam said.
But if he happens to go back to Orlando, Sam won’t be calling Dowless.
“I could never abide by someone being gay and using homosexuality to be so destructive in a political way,” Sam said. “I found John both sad and deplorable.”
‘ Why are you asking that?’Reached at his office at Millennium Consulting Inc. in Orlando, Dowless confirmed that he had been working for the Martinez campaign “for two or three months.” But he declined to talk about his sexual orientation.
“Oh come on, I’m not going to talk about that,” he said. “I’m just not going to address that with you or anyone else. That’s about me, not about the Martinez campaign.
“I’m helping Mel Martinez, who I believe in, and who is a good candidate,” he said. “My personal life has no regards to his campaign and it’s no business of yours or anyone else’s.”
However, after being confronted with the fact that several sources identified him as a patron of the Lava Lounge in April, Dowless conceded, “Yeah, I go there.”
He would not say what he was doing at the bar, and he continued to refuse to answer questions about his sexual orientation or how he reconciles being a gay man working for the political campaign of an anti-gay politician.
“I told you I am not going to answer that. I don’t know why you are doing this, why it matters,” Dowless said.
Christian Coalition surprisedSome activists — both gay and Christian — believe it matters a lot.
John Aravosis, a D.C.-based gay political consultant and activist is one of the men behind the current move to out staffers of politicians considered to be anti-gay.
He said he got the idea in March, when he ran into two men in gay bars in Washington, D.C. One of the men was working for Republican Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado, who introduced the Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate, and the other was working for Ralph Reed, the former national head of the Christian Coalition. Reed is a political strategist for the Bush re-election campaign.
“Why do we protect these people?” Aravosis asked himself of those gay men. He came to the conclusion, “We tolerate them too much.”
Aravosis was not familiar with John Dowless’ name or his work. But he was plenty aware of what he called the gay-baiting campaign of Mel Martinez.
“Martinez is an anti-gay bigot,” he said, pointing particularly to the recent radio ad that likened life in a country with same-sex marriage to life under Castro, “a totalitarian dictator who had no respect for the traditional values of family and faith,” as Martinez, who is originally Cuban, said in the radio spot.
“It’s atrocious that any gay person would work for Martinez,” said Aravosis.
A Christian activist was similarly surprised that the former head of the Christian Coalition of Florida could be a gay man and be working for the Martinez campaign.
Bill Stephens, the current executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, confirmed that John Dowless had been the organization’s head for about five years in the mid to late 90s.
“Wow, that’s shocking and that’s news to me,” said Stephens when asked if he knew Dowless was gay. “I didn’t know anything about that.”
When asked if it might affect Dowless’ work among Christian conservatives, Stephens replied, “Of course it would, of course. But I don’t think I want to say anything else about that right now.”
Stephens made a point to say that Dowless was no longer affiliated in any way with the Christian Coalition. “He does not do any work for us anymore, and hasn’t for some time.”
Failed political aspirationsIn 1999, Dowless quit the Christian Coalition to work as the Florida director for the presidential campaign of millionaire Steve Forbes. Dowless promoted Forbes as a conservative alternative to Bush.
He told the St. Petersburg Times that social conservatives were upset that Bush was not outspoken enough on abortion. Forbes had pledged to appoint only judges who opposed abortion.
At the time, Dowless also said one reason he resigned from the Christian Coalition was because of his frustration at the group’s inability to push its agenda through the Florida Legislature as much as he would have liked.
In 2000, Dowless ran an unsuccessful bid for a Republican House seat in District 40, an area around Orlando. He lost to Rep. Andy Gardiner in a 54 to 46 percent tally.
Throughout his career, both at the Christian Coalition and after, Dowless has had a long history of pushing an anti-gay agenda.
As far back as 1994, Dowless, then the director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, was quoted in the New York Times opposing the popular Gay Days event at Disney World in Orlando because it allegedly was a threat to kids.
“This whole day is focusing on sex,” Dowless was quoted as saying, “and when you put these elements together, there is the greater possibility of illegal activities on children or some harassment.”
In 1997, Dowless, still in his role as director of the state’s Christian Coalition, cheered when the University of Florida rescinded a student spouse ID card that had been given to the partner of a lesbian student. The card gave spouses of students special advantages, such as use of the university’s libraries and recreational facilities.
“Marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman,” Dowless told the Alligator, the student publication.
In 1998, Dowless successfully blocked a move by the state legislature to write the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into the state Constitution. The move would have prohibited discrimination based on a variety of attributes, including gender.
But, according to the St. Petersburg Times, Dowless opposed the gender provision, saying it would be a possible loophole for allowing same-sex marriages.
And in 2002, Dowless created a misleading phone message for Gov. Jeb Bush. The message, sent to 50,000 social conservatives in the state, claimed that voters should cast their lot with Bush over Democratic rival Bill McBride because Bush was “the only candidate who supports traditional marriage.”
But the statement was false. McBride did oppose same-sex marriage, and after a public controversy, the phone message campaign was pulled.
Just last year, Dowless was scheduled as one of 25 guest speakers at a “Reclaiming America for Christ” conference held Oct. 24-25 in Fort Lauderdale. Promotional materials indicate he spoke about grassroots organizing among conservative Christians.
Other speakers included such conservative religious icons as Roy Moore, the ousted chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Interestingly, of the 25 speakers listed, only the Dowless entry did not include a photo with his bio.
Kirk Fordham, the finance director for Mel Martinez’s campaign, is also a gay man.
But unlike Dowless, Fordham does not have a history of anti-gay political activity, and some gay activists consider him already out.
In the past, Fordham has told the Blade that he is “out in the community but not in the press.” The Blade reported last week that Fordham is gay.
Before moving to the Martinez campaign earlier this year, Fordham was the campaign manager and then the chief of staff for Florida Congressman Mark Foley, a Republican.
It has been widely reported that Foley is gay, but the congressman continues to refuse to discuss his sexual orientation. When reports about it surfaced during his aborted Senate campaign last year, Foley held a news conference denouncing the “rumors” and calling the talk about his sexual orientation “revolting and unforgivable.”
Jason Kello, a spokesperson for Foley, declined to say if Fordham was out while he worked as Foley’s chief of staff.
“We’re not going to get into a discussion on Kirk’s personal life,” Kello said. “Kirk was a terrific chief of staff and Congressman Foley was sorry to see him go. Kirk did tremendous work here, and I can say there was a very comfortable office environment.”
Kello said it would not matter one way or the other to Foley if Fordham were gay. Foley has a nondiscrimination policy for his employees that includes protection based on sexual orientation, Kello said.
An August 2003 article in the Advocate, the national gay magazine, matter-of-factly identified Fordham as Foley’s gay chief of staff.
Repeated phone calls to both Fordham’s office number and cell phone remained unreturned by press time.
Jennifer Coxe, a spokesperson for Mel Martinez, refused to comment on whether or not Martinez knows Fordham and Dowless are gay. She also declined to comment on how Martinez squares having close personal gay advisers while running anti-gay ads.
She was uncertain if there was an official nondiscrimination policy for employees that included protection based on sexual orientation, but she said that an employee would not be fired because he is gay.

http://www.expressgaynews.com/advertising/etearsheets/pdf/07-23-2004/008.pdf
posted by mycampaign at 10:38 AM 1 comments

Saturday, May 20, 2006
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/seminole/orl-loccontribute1706may17,0,6120486.story

Candidate in Seminole violates rules
Checks to Michael McLean's campaign for commissioner exceed state limits.Robert Perez Sentinel Staff Writer Posted May 17, 2006

Campaign finance reports turned in by Seminole County Commission candidate Michael McLean suggest the would-be commissioner violated the state's campaign finance rules.McLean accepted three $1,000 checks from contributors in March, double the $500 limit established by state law. It also appears others have contributed more than the limit to his campaign.
The two-term Lake Mary commissioner said he didn't intentionally do anything wrong. Rather, he blames mistakes in calculations and a misunderstanding of campaign finance laws."Mistakes were made, and when I was informed of them, I corrected them to the best of my ability," he said. "We've learned from our mistakes and are moving on. I think people who know me are fairly confident I deal things off the top of the deck."McLean, a Republican running for the District 2 County Commission seat, said his troubles were partly the result of a goal to raise $100,000 before the end of the reporting period on March 31.The three $1,000 checks were delivered to McLean on March 31, less than a half-hour before the bank closed, he said. He said he knew that if the contributions were to show up on the latest report, they would have to be deposited that day.He admitted knowing the contributions were over the limit, but he said he figured the problem could be corrected by having the campaign write $500 refund checks to each of the three contributors, which was done, he said.But Elections Supervisor Michael Ertel notified McLean that simply accepting a contribution of more than $500 violates state law. No other action has been taken.McLean had attended a candidate workshop in January sponsored by Ertel's office. The workshop included segments on campaign finance rules and how to fill out campaign finance reports, Ertel said.An Orlando Sentinel review of checks written to McLean's campaign found additional mistakes. Amendments intended to correct the names and amounts of contributors in two instances actually made the information incorrect.The campaign also listed $2,500 in expenditures that were refunds of contributions over the limit, yet the illegal contributions still were counted as part of the campaign's total contributions received.McLean isn't the only candidate in the District 2 race who has had to correct campaign finance reports. Democrat Mark Griffis had to file two amendments with corrections to how contributions were classified, according to election supervisor records.McLean's opponent in the Sept. 5 Republican primary, Michael Blake, has filed two campaign finance reports that required no amendments. A review of those reports by the Sentinel found no contribution violations.
posted by mycampaign at 12:33 PM 0 comments

Friday, May 19, 2006
Candidate in Seminole violates rules
Checks to Michael McLean's campaign for commissioner exceed state limits.Robert Perez Sentinel Staff Writer Posted May 17, 2006

Campaign finance reports turned in by Seminole County Commission candidate Michael McLean suggest the would-be commissioner violated the state's campaign finance rules.McLean accepted three $1,000 checks from contributors in March, double the $500 limit established by state law. It also appears others have contributed more than the limit to his campaign.

The two-term Lake Mary commissioner said he didn't intentionally do anything wrong. Rather, he blames mistakes in calculations and a misunderstanding of campaign finance laws."Mistakes were made, and when I was informed of them, I corrected them to the best of my ability," he said. "We've learned from our mistakes and are moving on. I think people who know me are fairly confident I deal things off the top of the deck."McLean, a Republican running for the District 2 County Commission seat, said his troubles were partly the result of a goal to raise $100,000 before the end of the reporting period on March 31.The three $1,000 checks were delivered to McLean on March 31, less than a half-hour before the bank closed, he said. He said he knew that if the contributions were to show up on the latest report, they would have to be deposited that day.He admitted knowing the contributions were over the limit, but he said he figured the problem could be corrected by having the campaign write $500 refund checks to each of the three contributors, which was done, he said.But Elections Supervisor Michael Ertel notified McLean that simply accepting a contribution of more than $500 violates state law. No other action has been taken.McLean had attended a candidate workshop in January sponsored by Ertel's office. The workshop included segments on campaign finance rules and how to fill out campaign finance reports, Ertel said.An Orlando Sentinel review of checks written to McLean's campaign found additional mistakes. Amendments intended to correct the names and amounts of contributors in two instances actually made the information incorrect.The campaign also listed $2,500 in expenditures that were refunds of contributions over the limit, yet the illegal contributions still were counted as part of the campaign's total contributions received.McLean isn't the only candidate in the District 2 race who has had to correct campaign finance reports. Democrat Mark Griffis had to file two amendments with corrections to how contributions were classified, according to election supervisor records.McLean's opponent in the Sept. 5 Republican primary, Michael Blake, has filed two campaign finance reports that required no amendments. A review of those reports by the Sentinel found no contribution violations.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/seminole/orl-loccontribute1706may17,0,6120486.story

 

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