Transgender People Are Finding It's Tougher to Change a Name
Group's advocates say increased concerns of identity theft have made the legal process more cumbersome -- and sometimes unfair.
By Jean-Paul Renaud, Times Staff Writer
Luca Brenna scoured baby books for months looking for the right name. Jennifer, Sandra, Vanessa. None of them fit.
But with a few strokes of mascara and some dabs of blush, the choice of name became obvious. In the mirror, he saw a woman with flawless skin, blond hair, deep blue eyes and thin red lips.
Brenna knew it was time to change his name and sex on his driver's license. So on Dec. 26, 2002, at age 31, he became Sonya.
"It was hard to decide," the 33-year-old said. "How does a name match a person? It's just something about that name that's very connected to who you are.
Police remove uni protesters
Police have removed a group of student protesters from the main campus of Wollongong University on the New South Wales south coast.
Gay students at the University claim there has been an increasing number of attacks on them, including death threats over the past few weeks.
A group from the Queer Collective staged a two-day sit in, demanding protection from the university.
They were removed from the campus this afternoon.
Gay murder case open to public
By Garry Mitchell
The Associated Press
A state judge said Friday he does not plan to seal the record or bar the public from court proceedings in the capital murder case against three young defendants in the killing of a gay teenager.
Baldwin County District Judge Jody W. Bishop also delayed a decision on a defense request for a gag order that would prohibit attorneys, court and law enforcement officials from making public comments about the case.
Bishop held a hearing on the secrecy and gag order issues after the three defendants waived a preliminary hearing, sending the case to a September grand jury for possible indictments. A trial date is not expected until next year.
Robert Porter, 18, Christopher Ryan Gaines, 20, and Gaines' girlfriend, Nichole Kelsay, 18 -- all held without bond -- are charged in the July 18 killing of Scotty Joe Weaver, 18. If convicted, they could be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
Grand jury indicts man in hate-crime beating
By Travis Gettys
NEWPORT - A grand jury Thursday indicted a man accused in a June beating that left another man seriously injured.
Police say Steven Ard of Newport struck Matthew Ashcraft in the back of the head with an aluminum baseball bat outside Woolly's On Monmouth, a bar with many gay patrons.
Witnesses said Ashcraft, who friends say is not a homosexual, had come to the aid of another patron verbally harassed by Ard.
Police characterized the incident as a hate crime, which removes the possibility of parole during the sentencing phase, because Ard had yelled anti-gay slurs before the attack. Ard, who remains in jail on $50,000 bond, will face one felony charge of first-degree Sept. 9 in Campbell County District Court.
Ashcroft Asks Federal Judge To Dismiss Gay Marriage Suit
by Fidel Ortega
(Miami, Florida) The U.S. Justice Department Friday asked a Federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.
Attorney General John Ashcroft is fighting a lawsuit filed by four same-sex marriages who argue the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton, is unconstitutional.
The law defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allows states to refuse to recognize gay marriages from other states.
Friday's action is the federal government's first direct legal defense of DOMA.
US parishes defect as gay rift deepens
The leader of the United States Episcopal Church told Ugandan Anglican bishops on Friday to keep out of its affairs after three Los Angeles parishes decided to ally themselves with an African diocese in the row over homosexual clergy.
The parishes, in Newport Beach, Long Beach and North Hollywood, are the first to seek oversight from a bishop overseas. They have fallen out with the Rt Rev Jon Bruno, the Bishop of Los Angeles, because of his support for blessing services for gay couples. He has warned the parishes' ministers that they may be deposed.
Bollywood Film Tackles AIDS Discrimination In India
by Romola Talwar Badam
The Associated Press
(Mumbai, India) India's first mainstream movie with a plot centered on AIDS was released worldwide this week with leading actors portraying characters who battle stigma and discrimination after testing positive for HIV.
Phir Milenge, which in Hindi means We'll Meet Again, is a departure from Bollywood's normal fare of light romances or action packed thrillers that grip this movie-crazy country. With 5.1 million HIV-positive people, India has the world's second highest number of infections after South Africa.
Battle continues to block Louisiana vote on gay marriage
By ALAN SAYRE
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Lawyers for gay rights supporters urged an appeal court Friday to uphold a judge's order blocking a Sept. 18 vote on a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages and civil unions.
Last week, state Civil District Court Judge Christopher Bruno ruled that the amendment as approved earlier this year by the Legislature was unconstitutional because it addressed more than one issue and appeared on a ballot that was not on a statewide election date.
Attorneys for the civil rights group Forum for Equality urged the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal here to uphold Bruno's decision; state lawyers sought to overturn the ruling.
Whatever the 4th Circuit panel decides, the issue is destined for the state Supreme Court, along with two other rulings in two other lawsuits filed to stop the vote.