poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ohio congressman accused of curbing health studies debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — A watchdog group has criticized an Ohio congressman for what it says is an attempt to cut off debate on health studies in a federal spending bill. Several lawmakers last year sought to block funding for sex-related studies being funded through the National Institutes of Health. Republican Congressman Ralph Regula, who heads a subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee, this year asked lawmakers in a letter not to challenge specific grants on the House floor. Citizens Against Government Waste said the tactic threatens open debate in Congress. Regula said in the letter that he did not have enough notice to answer detailed questions that came up last year about the sex-related studies, some of which are multiyear projects that continue to be funded in this year’s $142 billion bill, which includes $28.5 billion for NIH. “There are 40,000 grants out there, so it’s kind of hard to be knowledgeable about each one,’’ Regula said. Last year’s effort by Rep. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to cut $1.5 million in funding for four sex-related grants, which also included a “Study on American Indian Transgender Research,” failed 212-210.


Verdict on rape seeks to redefine gender identities
HT Correspondent

IN A recent judgement that is likely to stir up debate in medical and legal fraternities, Shivpuri District Judge Renu Sharma convicted a rape accused under Section 376 of the IPC (rape) even as the defence counsel argued that the rape victim was not a woman since she had no vagina from birth, implying that she was a eunuch. The decision has far-reaching import for the 'third gender'.

The defence line was that since there was no vagina, there was no penetration of it and thus, the offense of rape, as the prosecution had charged the accused, one Ganesh Ram of village Lukwasa in the district, with, wasn't made out.

The convict had forced entry into the house of the victim in the dead of the night and raped her last year. The 35 years old victim had been abandoned by her husband who had remarried. She had been living with her brother ever since. Aside from raping the victim, the convict had also physically assaulted her.

The judge also sent a copy of the judgement to the High Court with a request to forward it to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, as she found that the case had raised the issue of redefining gender identities so as to include transgender and transsexual persons in its ambit, or have a gender-free definition for the offence of rape.


Gay man’s accused killer captured in Texas
Suspect charged with murder of former Fayette commissioner

The man accused in the brutal bludgeoning of a gay former Fayette County commissioner was captured in Texas and now faces charges of felony and malice murder, according to authorities.

Thomas Richey, 33, who has served time in Georgia jails for car theft and is on probation, was arrested Sept. 20 in Rockwall, Texas, a city located northeast of Dallas. He waived extradition Sept. 21 and officials are now working to transport Richey back to Georgia, said Sgt. Dwayne Prosser of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department.


Dutch Gay Couples Win Right To Compete In Ballroom Dancing

THE HAGUE, Sept 24 (AFP) - The Dutch anti-discrimination board said Friday that the national competitive ballroom dancing association (NADB) should admit gay couples.

"Many dancers are homosexual," the board said in a ruling posted on its website after two dancers that the NADB had banned from competitive events had appealed to it.

"Homosexual and lesbian dancers already take part in competitions at the highest level, it said."

Refusing to allow them to dance as gay couples "is a consequence of the dominant heterosexual norm," it said, "but this is in no sense an even-handed norm."


ENDA debate overlooks Title VII trans benefits: experts
HRC, activists say that trans ENDA helps gays

In the debate over the strategy for adding protections based on gender identity and expression to the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, there is one aspect receiving less attention. Some legal experts are claiming that transgender Americans already receive some protections now that gay men and lesbians do not.

Courtney Joslin, a staff attorney at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco and co-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, said various court rulings suggest that transgender workers are covered at least in part under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws hiring or employment discrimination on the basis of the employee’s “sex.”

Court rulings have generally agreed that anti-gay discrimination is not covered by Title VII.

The Human Rights Campaign announced in August that it will withdraw support for ENDA, the group’s signature federal legislation, if it is amended not to cover gender identity and expression. HRC has argued that such language would benefit gay men and lesbians who face discrimination because they are either effeminate men or butch lesbians


Thousands of Royal Bank employees to display Rainbow Triangle on workdesks
by Judi McLeod,

Tens of thousands of Royal Bank Canada employees are being asked by bank management to display the Rainbow Triangle on their work desks. In early September, RBC employees arrived at the office to find the directive on their PCs. "The RBC Safe Space (program) is a visible, non-threatening way to show that your desk, cubicle or office is a "safe place" for gay men, bisexuals, transgendered and lesbians," employees were told in the first edition of the bank’s online newsletter, Rainbow Space.

The Safe Space Program, introduced within Service Delivery Central Canada, "highlights the importance of sexual preference as one of RBC’s diversity elements."

Of the Royal Bank’s 60,000 global employees, roughly half are Canadian.


Protests rage as singer takes stage
By Alison Neumer

Gay-rights activists rallied outside a downtown club Thursday to protest a concert by Jamaican reggae performer Capleton, one of several Jamaican artists whose lyrics are causing an uproar because they allegedly encourage violence against gays and lesbians.

Dozens of people marched in front of the House of Blues, holding up signs and chanting "The House of Blues is a house of hate" and calling for a boycott of the venue.

Leaders from the Chicago Anti-Bashing Network denounced the club's decision to host the show in the name of "artistic self-expression."

"Since when is advocating murder a question of self expression?" asked Bob Schwartz, a spokesman for the gay-rights organization. "No one would be given a stage today who called for the murder of Jews or African-Americans


Riverdale home to state’s first trans official
Council member fights to add gender identity to city charter

Michelle Bruce knows what it’s like to be hated. And she wants to pick bigots out of society like “weeds in a garden.”

“All my life I’ve had to listen to, ‘You’re gay, you’re a fag, you’re a man in a damned dress’ or some other snide remark,” Bruce said during a recent interview at Riverdale City Hall in Clayton County.

“Now, I’m trying to make a difference the best positive way I can. I’m trying to do what’s right for everyone, doesn’t matter if they’re transgender, gay, lesbian, straight, black, white or whatever.”

Bruce, 42, was born intersexed and identifies as transgendered. She has lived her entire life as a woman.


1,138 reasons to beat back Bush
The president claims the tax code is outdated and unfair but wants to amend the Constitution to keep it that way.

DID ANYONE IN the GOP leadership actually listen to the speech the president gave when he accepted his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention?

Specifically, I’m wondering about the part when Mr. Bush said, “Many of our most fundamental systems — the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, worker training — were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow.” He added, “We will transform these systems so that all citizens are equipped, prepared and thus truly free to make your own choices and pursue your own dreams.”

Has anyone else noticed that even as the president’s words are still hanging in the air like so much convention confetti, the House Republican leadership is moving to have a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment?


U.S. House plans to vote on marriage ban next week
Experts say tally could go either way

WASHINGTON —Gay rights groups expect that a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage will come up for a vote in the U.S. House on Sept. 30, leaving lawmakers time to stake a position before November elections.

The move could finally put an end to more than a year of back-and-forth from House committee rooms to chambers regarding the contentious amendment’s future, marked by sharp protests, cancelled hearings, cancelled votes, bizarre alliances and a campaign outing Congressional staffers.

But if defeated, the amendment would certainly make an appearance in the campaign platforms of many conservatives and most likely on the House floor again next year. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave introduced H.J. Resolution 56, also known as the Federal Marriage Amendment, in May 2003.

Despite heated rhetoric on both sides of the issue, though, legislative experts predict a photo finish for the FMA.


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