poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Ousted from Democracy

In April, I led a team of trans and trans-supportive activists in a meeting that included the GLBT Outreach team leaders of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Kerry campaign.

We knew the political realities and our requests were quite reasonable. We didn’t go into this meeting asking for public declarations from John Kerry or the DNC of support for the inclusion of gender identity and expression protections in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the hate crimes bill. We didn’t even ask the Kerry campaign people to have the senator declare his support for transgender rights.

We went into this meeting asking not for what would have amounted to miracles, but for one simple, basic concession: acknowledgment of transgendered Americans as a valid minority constituency of the Democratic Party, simple respect for the fact that we’re law-abiding, hardworking citizens, and we deserve a voice in the political process of our country, just like every other American minority group.

While the Kerry folks were less than enthusiastic, the DNC was different. They made it clear that they considered us part of the team and they were ready to work with us. They even appointed one of our team members, Mara Keisling, who is the executive director of the National Center on Transgender Equality, to the DNC Steering Committee. We made plans, we believed, we looked forward to the future.


On Nov. 16, 2003, RP (pseudonym), a Pinoy1 transgender activist, reported attending a fundraising event at the office of the Critical Resistance (a national organization working on policing and prison issues) in Brooklyn, New York City. The fundraising event, hosted by Critical Resistance and attended by many LGBT people of color, was for the 1st Anarchist People of Color conference. While at the event, RP reported that he heard a scuffle at the front door, and saw two undercover officers trying to force their way in to the organization’s offices past a group of people by the door who refused to let them in unless they showed their badges and a warrant for entry into private premises. According to police report, the officers saw four individuals standing outside the event drinking alcoholic beverage in public, a misdemeanor offense.

RP took photos of the two undercover officers with his camera while they were at the door, and then followed them to their unmarked car and took photos of their license plate from a location at least 10 feet away from the vehicle. RP reported that when he tried to take a photo of one of the undercover officers, the officer yelled, “You can’t do that! That could be a gun, how do I know that’s not a gun.” RP alleged that both officers then started running after him and yelling, “Arrest him, arrest him.”

The two officers allegedly grabbed RP, pushed him down on the trunk of the car, kicked his legs apart, and repeatedly hit his head against the trunk, then handcuffed him. Other people came out of the Critical Resistance offices protesting the arrest. At this point, more police officers arrived at the scene. A total of twenty-one marked and unmarked police cars were reported to have responded to the location.

According to witnesses the police began indiscriminately spraying people with mace (a type of pepper spray), punching people, beating them with billy clubs, and dragging them along the sidewalk. RP reported witnessing a queer2 Latino man in a fetal position on the ground being kicked by four officers. RP also reported seeing police pull a queer Black woman by her hair to the ground and beat her with their batons. According to Critical Resistance, at least 20 people suffered injuries in the course of the incident, including blunt trauma, lacerations, contusions, and lower back spasms. One person reportedly required medical treatment for a bruise on his right frontal skull caused by a severe blow to the head.

Gay Marriage Amendment Crafted with a Progressive Loophole
by Matt Peiken

Who thought Republicans, of all people, would carry the torch of social progress? But to those who support federal and state marriage amendments to discriminate against homosexuals, I salute your biblically ordained effort to preserve the Constitutional rights of transgendered people to wed.

Your intention to protect transgender marriage is clear in the language of the proposed federal amendment: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

Thank you, wise congressmen, for the loophole guaranteeing the rights of men who’ve become women to marry men, and vice versa. Cynics might call this an oversight. I call it forward thinking.

For too long, society has pushed transgendered people to the margins, regarding them with such abhorrence even gays and lesbians embrace them with stiff arms. As today’s gays enjoy unprecedented exposure through popular media, transgenders suffer the comic indignity of the Wayans brothers masquerading on screen as “White Chicks.” Well, who’s turning green now?


this is the first use of the word Activist I have seen in term of a conservatism // its about time..

Activists submit signatures to put bias issue to voters
By Alisa Weinstein
The Bulletin

Bend residents who want voters to decide whether the ordinance protecting the rights of gays, lesbians and transgenders should go on the city books delivered a thick stack of signed petitions to City Hall Friday afternoon, beating the 5 p.m. deadline set by city officials.

Petitioners told City Recorder Patty Stell that they gathered 3,895 signatures, exceeding the 3,352 required to put the question on the November ballot.

The Bend city recorder and the Deschutes County clerk have 15 days to verify the signatures, said Deputy Recorder Kim Meyers. The joint effort between the city and county will begin Monday, she said. But City Councilor John Hummel said between 10 percent and 20 percent of the collected signatures could be thrown out during the verification process.


Lesbians find ways to make peace with their sexuality
Dewi Santoso, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Oscar Wilde, himself imprisoned for a scandalous relationship with another man, once said that the only sin one would have committed was to have lived against one's nature.

The words strike at the conscience of "Sarah", a 29-year-old young executive, for she has been denying her feelings for almost 15 years.

"I used to deny to myself that a lesbian. It took me 15 years before I finally was able to make peace with myself and say 'yes, I am a lesbian and there's nothing wrong with it'," she said.

The 29 year old knew that she was different from other girls when she was in elementary school. Of course, she did not know what the word lesbian meant; all she knew was that she was drawn to her female peers in unusual ways..


Missouri Synod affirms marriage as 1 man, 1 woman
Adelle Banks,  Religion News Service

Delegates to the triennial convention of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have overwhelmingly passed a resolution affirming marriage as "the lifelong union of one man and one woman."

The resolution was adopted this week in St. Louis by a vote of 1,163 to 22, gaining the affirmation of about 98 percent of the voting delegates.

The statement referred to how "many in society are demanding legal recognition of same-sex unions as 'marriages' by appeals to 'equality under the law' " and declared that "for our Synod to be silent, especially in the present context, could be viewed as acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle."

The resolution cited biblical verses and past church statements to underscore the denomination's stance. It called for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod to "urge its members to give a public witness from Scripture against the social acceptance and legal recognition of homosexual 'marriage.' "

UNFPA Loses Funding Appropriated by Congress in 2003
UNFPA Loses Funding Appropriated by Congress in 2003

WASHINGTON, DC — The State Department announced today that it is withholding its annual contribution to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. This is the third year in a row that the administration has refused to fund UNFPA.

"This decision is clearly based on politics, not on public health," said Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). "Make no mistake: this administration will always choose anti-family planning extremism over women's health programs here and around the world."

The decision comes as the United States was under fire this week at the International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. Public health experts and AIDS activists criticized the United States for promoting abstinence as the best method of preventing AIDS, when a comprehensive approach has been shown to be more effective.

The State Department claimed to find UNFPA in violation of the Kemp-Kasten anti-coercion law. However, multiple investigations - including one by a Bush-appointed team - have shown that claim to be untrue. "Everyone needs information about how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and HIV/AIDS," said Feldt. "But by cutting off funding for UNPFA, emphasizing 'ignorance-only' prevention programs, and placing severe restrictions on family planning funding, this administration keeps women from getting the information and services they need to make healthy choices."

Gay couple's custody of sisters unresolved
Caseworkers are criticized for not working hard enough to adopt out two children whose foster parents are gay men.
By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer

LARGO - Foster care caseworkers did a poor job of seeking parents willing to adopt two sisters before the state gave long-term custody to two gay men, several people testified Friday.

"I was definitely shocked and disappointed," after reviewing the sparse documentation of efforts to find adoptive families for the girls, said Kelly Rossi, a staff advocate with the guardian ad litem office.

A complaint from a prospective adoptive family to the governor's office sparked the state to take a new look at the case, officials said Friday.

Now the question before Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Irene Sullivan is whether the state should try again to find adoptive parents for the two girls - a step that could pull them out of the home where they have lived for more than a year, where all sides agree they are flourishing.

Men charged with attack on gay man were found by cell phone

A young man who bragged about how he'd just beaten up a man, then lent a cell phone to a stranger, can thank "caller ID" for helping police tie him and his friends to the attack, according to court documents.

Vadim Samusenko, 20, and David Kravchenko, 19, were charged yesterday with first-degree assault and malicious harassment -- a hate crime -- for the June 27 attack on Micah Painter, who was beaten and slashed, allegedly because he's gay.

A third suspect, 17, also has been arrested and could face charges Monday.

Painter was jumped outside Timberline Spirits at the bottom of Capitol Hill by men who were allegedly using a derogatory term for gays. They left the 23-year-old Seattle man with several long cuts and a stab wound.

Gay pairs request licenses
Colo. Springs clerk rejects 20 couples
By Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News

COLORADO SPRINGS - One by one the 20 couples, men with men and women with women, filed up to the El Paso County Clerk's counter just after noon Friday and asked for marriage licenses.

"I'm sorry, I can't issue you a marriage license," a clerk told each. "Colorado statute requires that a marriage be between a man and a woman."

Then the Rev. Nori Rost, a lesbian who lives with her partner, and Ryan Acker, the head of the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center, asked for a marriage license.

The clerk complied, and with a payment of $10, Rost and Acker were given a license.

Gay-suit petition by GOP berated
By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter

A Thurston County Superior Court Judge yesterday blasted 22 Republican lawmakers who sought to intervene in a lawsuit against the state over gay marriage.

Saying the "train has left the station" in this watershed case first filed in April and set for a Sept. 2 hearing, Judge Richard Hicks told the attorney for the seven state senators and 15 representatives that allowing them to enter now would be disruptive.

"I suspect there is a tactic to have the date of the decision put off until some point in the future," Hicks said.

"This is not the Legislature seeking to intervene but certain legislators who may (subscribe) to a certain point of view. If I open this door, there will most certainly be others seeking to balance the table."


U.S. judge tackles gay men's lawsuit over police use of force
By John Agar
The Grand Rapids Press

SAUGATUCK -- The attorney for two gay men blame a rabbit-eared cop for a ruckus over sexually suggestive comments and whistles toward the officer.

"Had this been a group of women making comments ... I would imagine the officer wouldn't have come up to them and talked about an apology," attorney Christine Yared said Thursday.

"There was no swearing, no solicitation, they were just joking around," she said.

But the attorney for Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department said the men swore at the officer and became disorderly in the 2002 confrontation in downtown Saugatuck.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Transsexual Cop Wages Human Rights Battle With Toronto Force
by Jan Prout Newscenter
Toronto Bureau 

(Toronto, Ontario)  Two weeks after Toronto Police chief Julian Fantino hosted a gay pride event in the city's gay village a transgendered police officer has gone public with her experiences of bias and abuse by the force.

Bonnie Henderson, 51, left the force two years ago and has been waging a battle with the force before Ontario's Human Rights Commission.

As Constable Ron Henderson, she was a model police officer with a stellar record.  She says that upon revealing to her superiors that she is transsexual and was about to undergo transitioning she was transferred from her duties as a school liaison officer.  As Constable Bonnie Henderson she was subjected to constant discriminatory behavior.

The abuse, she says in a complaint to the Commission, became so bad she felt compelled to leave the force. She now lives on a reduced police pension and was forced to put her home up for sale to pay for her surgery.


Police seek Jamaican singer after armed attack on gay men
Gary Younge in Chicago
The Guardian

One of Jamaica's most famous dancehall singers, Buju Banton, is being sought by police in Jamaica in connection with a homophobic attack on a group of gay men.

Mr Banton was allegedly one of a group of about a dozen armed men who forced their way into a house in Kingston on the morning of June 24 and beat up the occupants while shouting homophobic insults, according to the victims.

At least two people were taken to the hospital. Mr Banton - whose song Boom Boom Bye Bye threatens gay men with a "gunshot in ah head" - was identified by several witnesses and is wanted for questioning.

"There is a pattern of police indifference to attacks on gay men in Jamaica that goes far beyond what Buju Banton is alleged to have done in this case," said Rebecca Schleiser of Human Rights Watch, who has spoken to several of the victims. "Neither his fame nor the stigma attached to the victims should stand in the way of a full, fair and complete police investigation."


Law Profs Allowed to Sue Rumsfeld
Alleged violation of Yale faculty's free speech rights a sufficiently concrete injury to compel litigation
Lisa Siegel
The Connecticut Law Tribune

Forty-four faculty members of Yale Law School have won standing to proceed with their suit against U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld over the Pentagon's demand for on-campus military recruiting in spite of its prohibition on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers.

In an early courtroom battle, U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall also found the controversy is ripe for adjudication.

The suit arose over the Department of Defense's threats to withdraw over $300 million in federal funding if the law school didn't include military recruitment in the career development services it provides to students. Ruling that the plaintiffs have standing, Hall noted that, although the university stands to lose the funding, it is the individual faculty members who are compelled "to choose between the exercise of their constitutional rights and federal funding for themselves, Yale Law School and Yale University."

Since 1978, the law school has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In light of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexuals serving in the military, the defense department refused to certify compliance with Yale Law's nondiscrimination rules and military recruiters were barred from using the school's career development office, though they were given access to classrooms and other meeting spaces, as well as students' names and phone numbers.


Why some queer political activists are raising questions about the limits and long-term worth of same-sex marriage

IT LOOKS LIKE same-sex marriage is here to stay. It’s even beginning to look downright patriotic. Last weekend, on the Fourth of July, Cambridge saw one of its most prominent lesbian couples marry at Memorial Church in Harvard Yard. Professor Diana Eck, of Harvard Divinity School, and her partner, the Reverend Dorothy Austin, who ministers at the famed church, wed amid a crowd of well-wishers that included Supreme Judicial Court chief justice Margaret Marshall. And not only did the brides purposely choose Independence Day for their nuptials, the ceremony’s final hymn was "America" ("My Country ’Tis of Thee"). Take that, George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

But even though winning Goodridge v. Department of Public Health — and defeating various challenges to it so far — has redeemed the American Way of Life for many gay men and lesbians, some queer political activists are raising questions about the limits and long-term worth of same-sex marriage. It’s not that these activists don’t believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. Rather, the vital questions they pose are, "What might we lose, and who might be harmed by same-sex marriage?"

Such questions stem from a longstanding division among queer activists dating back to the ’60s. One side has stood firmly for gaining equal rights, while the other, "liberationist" side has celebrated a politics of difference, arguing that gay culture has its own ethos from which straight people could learn a thing or two about justice and love. Not surprisingly, this debate has resurfaced in what many in the gay community are calling "the great divide" over the fight for same-sex marriage.

What’s interesting this time around, however, is that alongside the well-worn plea for gay cultural liberation is emerging a critique of gay marriage based on class rather than culture. Indeed, the push to legalize same-sex marriage has been so rushed and emotionally heady — no one, not even the litigators who fought so hard for it, thought we’d win anytime soon — that complicated legal issues with particular implications for the working poor and people of color were quite simply ignored. Couple that with the desire among many gay and lesbian people to be "normal," and the result has been that a lot of thinking has taken place inside the box — and a very small box, at that.


O'Reilly misleading on same-sex marriage ... again

On the same day that Media Matters for America exposed FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly distorting same-sex marriage poll data on the July 12 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, he misled viewers on the issue again.

O'Reilly billed the "Talking Points Memo" segment of his July 15 show as "[t]he whole truth about same-sex marriage"; yet seconds later, he said the following: "As far as the constitutional amendment is concerned, most polls say more than half the nation wants man-woman marriage to have constitutional protection, but it will not happen because the Senate will not approve it and that's that."

O'Reilly's statement was misleading because it addressed only those polls that present the question of a constitutional amendment on marriage in a particular way. The truth is that while polls show that Americans largely oppose same-sex marriage, they also indicate that if the question offers the alternative of deciding the issue at the state level, the public prefers that over a federal constitutional amendment. As Media Matters for America previously explained, a survey (pdf) by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania from late June indicates that 48 percent of Americans oppose "an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that no state can allow two men or two women to marry each other," while only 43 percent are in favor. An ABC News/Washington Post poll (pdf) from early March showed 53 percent in favor of letting states decide the question, compared with 44 percent in favor of an amendment.

A minority of polls (see a roundup of contrasting polls here [no subscription required] or a more complete compilation here [ subscription required]) appear to show the public favoring a constitutional amendment; however, as ABC News explained in an analysis accompanying its January survey, poll results on this issue are unusually sensitive to the precise wording of the question. In general, respondents are less likely to say they favor an amendment if the questioner offers the alternative option of letting states decide the issue; they are more likely to favor the amendment when the questioner describes the proposed amendment as defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- but less likely again if they are explicitly informed that the effect would be to legally ban same-sex marriage.


Beyond the Witch Hunt
Reporters' access to a wider world may distance us from the public.

By Mary Sanchez

I recently began a column: "The witch hunt for the lesbians began my senior year."

The column generated much response, most of it positive. But in talking with readers who raised questions about it, I was reminded that with access comes responsibility. 
As reporters, we often experience a broader and different swath of the world than the average person. Most of us know this. The chance to live in a wider range of society is one of the reasons we are drawn to this work. But I wonder if this broadening that deepens reporters also distances us from the general public we try to reach. More on that in a moment. First, more of the column:

The witch hunt for the lesbians began my senior year.

this writer has no idea how to speak of trans folks...
please write to:

Man fatally stabbed in the Village
Staff Writer
July 16, 2004, 4:54 PM EDT

A man was stabbed to death after coming to the aid of three transgender people in Greenwich Village early Friday morning, police said.

Christian Soto-Ruiz, 19, approached three men dressed in women's clothing on 10th Street at 5 a.m. Friday, police said. A dispute broke out between Soto-Ruiz and the men, police said.

A 19-year-old man, who police were still trying to identify late Friday and who is friends with the transgender men, intervened. Soto-Ruiz allegedly pulled out a kitchen knife, stabbed the man and slashed one of the transgender men before fleeing.

The three transgender men rushed to the Sixth Precinct station house, where police drove them around the neighborhood looking for the suspect.

Gay Cruise Meets Protest in Bahamas
Associated Press

NASSAU, Bahamas - Passengers on a gay cruise were greeted by more than 100 protesters as they stepped off their chartered ship Friday in the Bahamas.

The protesters, led by Christian pastors, gathered in a square in front of the cruise terminal and chanted, "Gay Ways are Not God's Ways!"

Cruise organizers said former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell, who promoted the voyage, was aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Norwegian Dawn. But she wasn't seen among those who disembarked.

Gregg Kominsky, a founder of cruise organizer R Family Vacations, said the passengers - 1,150 adults and 450 children - had come to have fun and that on previous trips he found most Bahamians friendly and welcoming. "We are not really here to make a statement," he said.


Gay advocacy group launches anti-discrimination TV ads

With debate raging about same-sex marriage nationwide, a Denver-based gay advocacy group has launched an ad campaign intended to steer voter attention to an even more basic gay rights issue: workplace discrimination. The Gill Foundation is testing television ads in Michigan, Florida, and Colorado featuring two men and two women who say they were fired for being gay or lesbian, or fear the consequences of being honest about their personal lives. The ads end with: "In 36 states, you can be fired just because you're gay." The group, which has given $54 million in grants to nonprofits nationwide, notes that only 14 states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Although the U.S. Senate defeated a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, gays and lesbians face a number of inequalities every day, spokeswoman Allison Johnson said. The disparities include, she said, workplace discrimination, inability to make medical decisions for same-sex partners, and lack of Social Security benefits when a partner dies. The hope is to encourage voters to become educated about issues and candidates before the November 2 election. "There are a group of people that we need to educate who for the most part are straight and are fair-minded," Johnson said.

Kimya Ayodele of Detroit, featured in one of the ads, said she hopes the campaign "does a lot of educating." Ayodele, who has a master's degree in social work, said she was fired in 2001 as a manager at a private health care center in the Detroit area because she's a lesbian. The 36-year-old woman, who wouldn't name the center on the advice of her lawyer, said the firing followed nearly a year of threatening messages, vandalism to her car, and slurs uttered in the halls. "In the back in my mind, I knew I couldn't do much," Ayodele said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "Five attorneys later, and the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) later, there's no lawsuit."

Take Action!
Stop the Marriage Protection Act!

Now that the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment has been killed in the United States Senate, we are urging you to turn your attention to an immediate threat to equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community - H.R. 3313, the so-called Marriage Protection Act.

This legislation seeks to strip federal courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and is likely to be voted on in the next week in Congress.

The legislation would prevent federal court challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and holds that states are not bound to recognize marriages of same-sex couples that might be legally recognized in other states.

While we've asked you to contact your elected officials many times in the past, we must ask again. It does make a difference when elected officials hear from their constituents.

New group here joins in Pride events
By Pat Schneider

Mary Beth Dietz wants to see an end to homophobia.

Homophobia hurts not just lesbians and gays, she said, but also deeply affects the straight community. "It interferes with our ability to react to one another and know each other," she said.

She and other founders of Creating Visible Community formed the organization about six months ago as a way to fight homophobia through connections to "allied" people sympathetic to the cause of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Creating Visible Community is sponsoring some events as part of Madison Pride Community Events, today through Sunday.


Colorado TV spot chastises Peter Coors for promoting gay rights

Television ads airing in Colorado this week claim Republican Senate candidate Peter Coors is promoting gay rights, escalating the increasingly bitter primary battle between him and former U.S. representative Bob Schaffer. The Coors campaign said the commercials amount to an illegal "soft money" contribution because the group sponsoring the ads has ties to the Schaffer campaign. Schaffer's campaign denied the charge, saying any formal links were broken last month.

Marriage rights and benefits for same-sex couples have become an issue in the primary campaign, as Coors and Schaffer battle for support from the GOP's conservative core. As an executive of his family's brewing company, Coors backed benefits for gay workers and promoted beer in gay bars, while as a candidate he endorsed a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. Schaffer also supported the constitutional amendment. The ads, which ran in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction, were paid for by the group Colorado Conservative Voters, whose president, former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong, has endorsed Schaffer. The Coors campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and asked Comcast Cable to stop running the ads; its officials said Armstrong is a member of Schaffer's campaign, which would make the ads an illegal campaign contribution. "It is unfortunate that Bob can't raise his money legally and has to resort to these types of tactics," said Coors campaign spokeswoman Cinamon Watson.


Waco Puberty Seminar Fuels Sex-Ed Program Debate
Argument Rages Over Effectiveness Of Contraceptives, Abstinence Education

WACO, Texas -- Taking her two teenage daughters to a sex-education seminar Thursday, Marilynn Dieterich walked by about 40 protesters and few dozen large red signs declaring "Stop Planned Promiscuity."

One of the Pro-Life Waco members handed Dieterich a pamphlet saying the Planned Parenthood-sponsored conference for fifth- through ninth-graders used sexually explicit materials.

"It gave me second thoughts about what I was doing, but I thought, 'o, I'm doing the right thing.' Kids aren't babies; they're old enough," said Dieterich, smiling at her 13- and 14-year-old daughters.

About 350 children attended the Nobody's Fool program, now in its 15th year. Organizers said attendance didn't drop this year, despite the protesters and recent radio ads lambasting the one-day conference in Waco.

These KC area ministers call for defeat of gay marriage ban
The Kansas City Star

A group of Kansas City area ministers said Thursday that a proposed ban on gay marriages in Missouri is unfair and should be defeated.

The Aug. 3 constitutional amendment is “unnecessary and mean-spirited,” said the Rev. Jim Eller, minister at the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City, where the forum was held. About a dozen ministers attended.

Gays are entitled to the same legal rights as other couples, Eller said.

“As a religious leader, I am called to stand for justice, equity and human dignity, as God as is my witness,” Eller said at the forum sponsored by the Constitution Defense League, formed to oppose the proposed marriage ban

Ongoing police violence against hijras in India
Sexual Minorities activists go on hunger strike and ask for support

Dear friend(s)

We are writing from SANGAMA, a sexuality minorities' rights organisation in Bangalore, India.

Protest letter follows.

Kokila, a 21 year old hijra (member of a traditional male-to-female transsexual community in South Asia), has been living in Bangalore City for the last 5 years. She survives by doing sex-work, the only option available to most hijras.

On 18th June, 2004 (Friday), around 8 p.m., while she was waiting for clients, she was raped by 10 goondas (all male) who forcefully took her to the grounds next to Old Madras Road. They threatened to kill her if she wouldn't have sex with them. She was forced to have oral and anal sex with all of them. While she was being sexually assaulted, two policemen arrived. Most of the goondas ran away from the scene but two were caught by the policemen. Kokila told the policemen about the sexual assault by the goondas. Instead of registering a case against the goondas and sending Kokila for medical examination, they abused her using filthy language and took her along with the two captured goondas to the Byappanahalli Police Station. They didn't even allow Kokila to pickup her trousers from the ground and she was forced to be naked for the next 7 hours.

In the Police Station Kokila was subjected to brutal torture. They took her to a room inside the Police Station, stripped her naked and handcuffed her hands to a window. There were six policemen in that room. All of the policemen were under the influence of alcohol. Many of them hit her with lathis and their hands, and kicked her with their boots. They abused her using sexually violent language. The verbal abuses include: ninna ammane keyya (we will fuck your mother), ninna akkane keyya (we will fuck your sister), khoja (derogatory word used against transgenders) and gandu (one who gets penetrated anally, a derogatory word). She was assaulted brutally by policemen and suffered severe injuries on her hands, palms, buttocks, shoulder and legs. They also tortured her sexually by burning her nipples and chapdi (vaginal portion of hijras) with a burning coir rope. One policeman of the rank of SI (Sub Inspector of Police) positioned his rifle on her chapdi and threatened to shoot her. He also tried push the rifle butt and lathi into the chapdi and saying, “Do you have a vagina, can this go inside?” while other policemen were laughing. This is to humiliate a transsexual woman by insisting that she is not a woman as she was not born with a vagina.

At around 11 p.m. PI (Inspector of Police, highest ranking Police Official of that Police Station) arrived into the room. He directed the policemen to continue the torture. The torture continued till 1 a.m. in the night. Despite begging for water she was not given any water. The police tied her up and the Inspector of Police threatened to leave her on the railway track unless she confessed to the knowledge of the robbery of a diamond ring and a bracelet. They paid no attention to her pleading that she had no knowledge of the robbery, or the person they were trying to get to implicate in the robbery.

At 1 a.m., four policemen (including PI and SI) dragged Kokila into a police jeep and took her to a hamam (bathhouse run by hijras) in Krishnarajapuram area. They physically abused her and forced her to knock on the hamam door and call the hijras living there to open the door. At around 2 a.m., they took her to another hamam in Garudacharapalya area. They broke open the lock of that hamam. They forced her to wear male clothes (shirt and trouser). They tied a towel to her head and threatened to shave off her hair. Police also searched both the hamams illegally.


Belarus to host LGBT events despite dictatorship
World Homo Culture Conference & Moonbow Festival to be held in Minsk
On August 28-29, Minsk, the capital of the East European dictatorship, Belarus, is to host both the first stage of this year's 7th ILGCN (International Lesbian & Gay Cultural Network) World Conference on Lesbian & Gay Culture and the final phase of the 4th Moonbow Human Rights & Homo Cultural Festival 2004, which has been taking place on both sides of the Baltic Sea.

"During Soviet times from 1933 till 1993, at least 60,000 homosexuals in the Soviet Union were sent to prisons and labor camps and it is an interesting study to compare Soviet and Facist German policies towards homosexuals," says Viachaslau Bortnik, chairman of Belarus-Amnesty International -co-organizer of the ILGCN events.

"On August 29, we also plan to visit the biggest concentration camp on Soviet territory - Trostinets - not far from Minsk where homosexuals were among the prisoners. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Belarus 10 years ago, but homophobia and violent discrimantory police policies still remain," Bortnik adds.

Transsexual applies to change registered gender under new law

TOKYO — After years of campaigning for the rights of transsexuals, Masae Torai saw himself a step closer to a dream come true Friday as he submitted an application to alter his officially registered gender to the Tokyo Family Court.

Torai, 40, was among the first to make the application as landmark legislation, enabling people with gender identity disorder to change their sex in family registries under certain conditions. Under the new law, people diagnosed by at least two doctors as having a different psychological makeup from their biological sex and a desire to live as the opposite sex both physically and socially can apply to change their registrations. (Kyodo News)


Top bravery award for sex change PC (sic)
By Ben Ashford

A TRANSSEXUAL police officer will be hailed a heroine today (Friday) for snaring an armed thug.

PC Lee Worsfold, 23, created a storm earlier this year when he underwent "gender reassignment" and went back on the beat as a woman.

The officer - now known as Louise - will be presented with a top bravery award at the town hall for tackling a teenage robber armed with a large kitchen knife.

The dramatic encounter happened after she and a colleague, PC Robert Hill, were called to Crowley Crescent, in Waddon, in June 2003, after a 999 call from a terrified woman who said two thugs had threatened her with a knife.

Mothers ask court for shared custody
by Amanda Luker

A lesbian couple filed an appeal Tuesday to ask for legal protection of both parents' relationship with their child. Last year, Cheryl and Jennifer McKetrick of Ohio were denied shared custody of their son, 3-year old Josh, by the Warren County court. The court denied the request on the grounds that they could use other legal documents to protect the relationship.

Heather Sawyer, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, is representing the couple, in its claim that Ohio has a longstanding history of granting custody to both same-sex parents in such cases. "Same-sex couples need to be able to protect their families, which often requires creating a patchwork of legal documents that provide a fraction of the security that they need," said Sawyer. Lambda Legal, which litigates for full civil rights in the LGBT and HIV-positive communities, is asking the court to recognize a formal custody agreement instead.


Blackmailers give gays, lesbians a hard time

MUMBAI: It's an unfortunate side-effect of the increasing visibility of gays and lesbians in Mumbai. According to gay activists, the last one month has seen over a dozen members of the community being mugged by blackmailers who threaten tomake their sexual preference public.

However, victims, fearing social ostracism and the prospect of being charged under Section 377 (unnatural offences) of the IPC, have refrained from making police complaints.

The blackmail brigade's modus operandi is simple. It networks with gays through cruising sites or internet chat rooms andmobile phones, fixes meetings, and then extorts money. Some of the blackmailer-infested areas in the city are Churchgate station, Bandra Bandstand, Dadar railway station, Khar and Andheri station.

A fortnight ago, Jitesh, a gay college youth, was badly bashed up and robbed of his wristwatch, mobile phone, CDplayer and wallet near the Gateway of India. “They took my college identity card and threatened to tell my teacher and parents about my sexuality. I lost a total of Rs 20,000,'' says a petrified Jitesh.


In Thailand, loans to people with HIV are paying off
Lawrence K. Altman NYT

BANGKOKAn imaginative program that makes small loans to HIV-infected Thai people is succeeding in helping them earn a living and overcoming social isolation, the program's organizer reported at the closing of the 15th and largest International AIDS Conference here Friday.

The loans average about $300 each and repayment periods range from six to 12 months. To qualify for them, infected applicants must become business partners with an uninfected person, said the organizer, Mechai Viravaidya. Mechai is Thailand's most prominent AIDS educator, having received international recognition in the 1990s for promoting Thailand's condom effort, which was credited with saving millions of lives.

The program aims to strengthen bonds between infected and uninfected people. As the uninfected realize that those with HIV repaid their loans and made new ones possible, attitudes about discrimination become more enlightened and the stigma of AIDS is lessened, Mechai said. He said that about 1,000 business partners have received loans since the program began 21⁄2 years ago. The program is an example of the creativity that health workers, policy makers, AIDS activists and other conference participants said is needed to break down stigma and economic barriers as human immunodeficiency virus spreads in Asia and the rest of the world.

"In the course of human history there has never been a greater threat than the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, told the closing session on Friday.

Hate graffiti rocks region
Vandals spay-painted swastikas and other racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic graffiti at a high school and park in Taunton and two residential neighborhoods in Norton Wednesday night or yesterday morning.
In Norton, several residents of the affluent Rosewood Estates development awoke early yesterday morning to discover offensive graffiti spray-painted on their homes. The graffiti, in red and black spray paint, included expletives and references to "Jews" and "Homos," as well as crude drawings of swastikas.

"It’s pretty disturbing," said John McLaughlin of 1 Cartton Drive, pointing to the several expletives and the Star of David spray-painted on the side of his house and chimney.

McLaughlin, whose family is not Jewish, said he and his wife were having a hard time explaining to their two young sons the meaning of the hateful vandalism.

"It’s very difficult for us," he said.

Stephanie Veglas’ home at 12 Downing Drive was spared of graffiti, but her mailbox was knocked over and lamppost smashed.

The Advocate’s summer intern is tired of running into city dwellers who think the Midwest is a mecca for gay discrimination and conservative ideologies. He’s finding that narrow-mindedness can happen anywhere.
By Steven Harbaugh

I moved to Los Angeles this summer from Kent, Ohio, for an internship at The Advocate. Kent, nicknamed “Tree City” for its beautiful foliage, is a relatively small town of little more than 27,000 people—a far cry from the more than 15 million people in Southern California. Kent’s claim to fame is the fact that four college students were killed there on May 4, 1970, for protesting the Vietnam War. Also, Drew Carey used to go to school there. In the Midwest, a late night trip to Wal-Mart or hanging out at 24-hour "greasy spoon" family restaurants usually top the evening’s entertainment. 

Many Midwesterners, especially gay ones, view the West Coast, and specifically Los Angeles, as a golden light of opportunity and liberal openness. The weather is ten times better than it is in the Snow Belt. People have nicer cars. 

But I’ve realized that Los Angeles is not that open-minded. It’s exciting to live one block from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, but few people here talk to one another—gay or straight. Few here really even acknowledge that others are alive—unless they are begging for money. If someone talks to me here, I suspect they are either asking for money or mentally disturbed, in which case what they say won’t make sense. Maybe it’s just Hollywood. 

In the new movie Collateral Tom Cruise tells a story about a man who died on an L.A. subway train and no one noticed he wasn’t alive until he had made six trips around the city. Even the living sometimes experience that very same disjointed feeling in Los Angeles. And being gay doesn’t help. 


Hoping for the Best, Planning for the Worst
By Michael Blanding, AlterNet. Posted July 16, 2004.
Even though police in Boston are working to accomodate protesters during the Democratic convention, there are signs that officers are planning for mass arrests.

The permits have been signed, the free-speech zone has been cleared, and the fences are starting to rise. Boston is bracing itself for thousands of protesters that will descend upon the city for the Democratic National Convention. The city has promised to welcome demonstrators with open arms, anxious to avoid the clashes that have marred previous large-scale political events such as the Republican National Convention four years ago in Philadelphia and the Free Trade Area of the Americas Summit last November in Miami.

But even as police have been upfront on their plans by working with groups such as the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), concerns persist about inadequate space to accommodate protesters at the convention hall, as well as other signs that police are planning for mass arrests and are preemptively harassing protesters coming to Boston.

In response to civil libertarians' concerns, police moved the "free-speech zone to a location closer to the FleetCenter where the convention will be held, and have helped expedite permit requests. Even so, the current protest pen is still claustrophobic and cramped. It has only one small entrance and small two exits, one of them with only a five-foot clearance below elevated subway tracks. The area itself is only large enough to hold some 4,000 protesters, even though more than twice that many are expected to arrive. Protesters won’t have direct access to the FleetCenter either, but will have to address their concerns to delegates as they arrive at the bus terminal next to the zone. Two fences separated by 10 feet will prevent activists from handing out pamphlets or information.

Police spokesman Lt. Kevin Foley, while admitting that the space isn’t perfect, claims that the area is the closest that protesters have ever been allowed to a major event such as this. “Taking into account post-9/11 security concerns, and Boston’s narrow street configurations, we’ve gone out of our way to accommodate protesters,” he says.

Town Clerks given one week to respond in gay marriage suit
By Rosemary Ruley Atkins
I&M Staff Writer

A Superior Court Judge has given the group of 13 town clerks, including Nantucket’s, who are suing the state over the gay marriage residency requirement, one week to respond to a 90-page brief filed by Attorney General Tom Reilly’s office.

According to attorney Kevin Batt of the Boston law firm Palmer & Dodge, who is representing the Town Clerks, the brief was submitted just 24 hours prior to the first hearing on the suit Tuesday. Batt says that the key issue in the clerks’ request for a preliminary injunction is whether the A.G.’s office can enforce a directive instructing the clerks not to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples who do not live in Massachusetts.

“One task in the preliminary injunction is to balance harms,” said Batt. “Who will be harmed more pending the outcome of the litigation? Even the governor has said that it doesn’t harm Massachusetts if out of state same sex couples get licenses.”

Batt expects that the judge in the case will issue her ruling in August. The suit names Attorney General Thomas Reilly, as well as the heads of the state’s the Department of Public Health and the state’s Registrar of Vital Records and Statistics.

Lesbian councilmember opposes pro-gay resolution
Mount Rainier lawmaker refuses to explain position

MOUNT RAINIER, Md. — A lesbian City Councilmember here has refused to support a resolution that calls upon public and private entities to support marriage rights for same-sex couples, according to city officials.

City Councilmember Carol Gandee (Ward 1), who voiced her support for the resolution on two occasions after fellow councilmember Pedro Briones (Ward 2) introduced it, has since changed her mind but refused to explain why.

The resolution condemns the denial of marriage licenses to gay couples, acknowledges the city’s commitment to equal rights for gays, calls upon insurance companies and other benefits providers to recognize gay marriage and urges the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The resolution was discussed briefly last week and the council took public comment on Friday but decided not to take action. Briones said the measure would likely be brought to a vote sometime in the fall.


Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Rights
All Things Considered audio
July 15, 2004

Advocates for same-sex marriage often describe their work as a civil rights struggle. But commentator Robert Franklin would like to point out that the term "civil rights" has special meaning to African Americans -- and that many of them feel like same-sex marriage does not qualify for the title of "civil rights movement." Robert Franklin is a professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.


Lesbian couple recognized as parents
By Casey Ross / Boston Herald

In a milestone for same-sex parents, a married lesbian couple from Jamaica Plain is believed to be the first homosexual pair recognized as parents on their child's birth certificate.

     Cora Roelofs and Liz Steinhauser are named as mother and "second parent" on a certificate issued by the town of Wellesley and approved by the state Department of Public Health.

     "We hope people realize this is both justice and a joy, and we hope they support our family," said Roelofs, who gave birth June 4 to a boy who was conceived through artificial insemination. The birth certificate was issued June 29.

     The milestone became possible when same-sex couples gained the right to marry in Massachusetts on May 17. Under state law, married couples that have a child through artifical insemination are automatically recognized as parents.

Clash over same-sex marriage(CO)

Gay rights activists rallied for change at the Pueblo County Courthouse Thursday.  They started with a symbolic request for same-sex marriage licenses at the Pueblo County Clerk's Office.  They knew the answer beforeit was given,

Colorado law does not recognize marriages except between a man and woman.
When those against same-sex marriage showed up, it became a microcosm of thenational debate.  "I think if you can violate this minority group's rights,"said Puebloan Tom Monroe, "then you can start violating my rights next ormaybe your rights next."  A group from the other side of the issue was also on hand for what at times was a loud debate.  Lynn Robertson of Pueblo said, "It's not a matter of civil rights.  It's not a matter of birth.  It's a matter of choice; it's a matter of sin."

Bobby Wilson, who pastors one of Pueblo's largest church's, expects to see more of this kind of thing.  "I think we are in a real moral battleground and I think that's going to continue and probably escalate.  So we have to just stay the course."

The gay rights activists say they'll be in Colorado Springs Friday and ask for marriage licenses there as well.

Web site urges boycott of Va. businesses
Gay groups so far not targeting MLB expansion

As Major League Baseball’s relocation committee continues to debate whether the Montreal Expos will move to Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia or another location, a loose contingent of gay advocacy groups has begun boycotting other Virginia-based tourism businesses over the newly enacted Marriage Affirmation Act.

Led primarily by the Web site,, some gay Virginians and visitors to the state — once marketed under the slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” — are contacting hotels, restaurants and colonial villages to inform them of their plans to spend leisure time elsewhere.

Boycott organizers contend their efforts will lead tourism-dependent businesses to put pressure on legislators to pass pro-gay legislation.

“Philadelphia just launched its gay-focused ‘Freedom Started Here’ tourism campaign, and is spending millions of dollars to get gays and lesbians to visit,” said Jay Porter, one of the Web site’s founders. “It makes you wonder how stupid a state government has to be to pull the welcome mat away.”

New Mexico reacts to failed attempt to ban gay marriage
By Mary Perea/ Associated Press Writer

ALBUQUERQUE — Gay marriage advocates in New Mexico are expressing relief and happiness as the Bush administration’s proposed gay marriage ban was rejected by the Senate.

The Senate fell short Wednesday of getting the “supermajority” of senators to allow the proposed constitutional amendment to move forward. The vote was 48-50 — 12 short of the 60 needed to keep the measure alive.

Six Republicans joined dozens of Democrats in sealing the amendment’s fate.

“I’m just very relieved that the Republicans’ attempt to use a socially divisive issue like this as a diversionary tactic to shift the attention from the failures of the war in Iraq and the economy ... failed,” said Mary Ellen Capek of Corrales, who married her partner of 17 years last year in Canada.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., voted against the measure saying he supported a 1996 measure giving the authority over marriage to individual states.

Gay dads fight to keep custody of two sisters
By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer

SEMINOLE - The smiling 5-year-old girl in a dripping yellow swimsuit slid open a glass door and said, "Daddy, I love you, I love you."

It wasn't clear if she was talking to one daddy or both. But the two dads - gay men who are life partners - broke into smiles.

Those smiles may soon fade for Curtis Watson, 40, who is the licensed foster parent of the 5-year-old girl and her 6-year-old sister; and for his partner, who is in his 40s and works for a health facility. They no longer are sure how long they can keep the girls in their family.

Four months ago, they were thrilled when the state granted them long-term custody of the sisters, just a step shy of adoption. Now the state says it made an error and may want to place the girls elsewhere.


A Highlander's ban on gay couples sharing a bed at his B &B could get backing in the Scottish Parliament.

An MSP from outwith the area has intervened because Tom Forrest was blacklisted by tourism chiefs at VisitScotland.

South of Scotland Tory MSP Phil Gallie has written to Visit-Scotland to voice his anger.

He says in his letter to Visit-Scotland chairman, Peter Lederer: "While well outside of my area of remit, I find that this decision cuts across freedoms of thought and mind that many paid the price so dearly for, this recently brought to mind with the D-Day Landing commemorations."


Police arrest third suspect in beating of Seattle gay man

A third suspect in the attack on a Seattle man outside a gay bar last month turned himself in to Bellingham police late Wednesday.

With the arrest of the 17-year- old, police now have in custody all three men suspected of a violent assault that alarmed the Seattle gay community, prompting a rally and calls for renewed vigilance against such attacks.

The victim, Micah Painter, spoke with reporters yesterday at the offices of the Seattle Gay News on Capitol Hill, saying that he was pleased but shaken when he saw reports of the first arrests in the case.

Seattle police, working with the U.S. Marshals Service, arrested the two other suspects in the case on Tuesday.

Mont. Voters to Decide on Gay Marriage
By Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. -- A proposal to amend the Montana Constitution to ban gay marriage will appear on the fall ballot after supporters collected more than 46,000 signatures, officials announced Thursday.

To qualify for the Nov. 2 ballot, the measure needed a minimum of 41,020 signatures, the secretary of state's office said.

State law already prohibits same-sex marriages, but the initiative would make the ban more difficult to overturn by embedding it in the constitution.

Republican state Rep. Jeff Laszloffy proposed the amendment as president of the Montana Family Foundation.


Republicans Still Hope to Score Points on Gay Marriage

ASHINGTON, July 15 - Minutes after the Senate rejected the Constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage on Wednesday, Republican sponsors of the proposal deftly maneuvered Representative Jim DeMint before the television cameras.

"All of us as Americans believe that people have a right to live the way they want, but no person, no judge has a right to redefine our basic institutions," asserted Mr. DeMint, a Republican who, not coincidentally, is running for the Senate back home in South Carolina.

Even in defeat, the effort by Republicans to thrust Mr. DeMint front and center illustrates how the party intends to capitalize on the fight over gay marriage.

Republican lawmakers, strategists and activists said in interviews that they would seize on the issue to motivate conservative voters - and draw a clear comparison with Democrats on an issue on which Republicans think they are in sync with most Americans.


Renewed State Efforts Made Against Same-Sex Marriage

WASHINGTON, July 15 - The defeat of a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage is spurring conservative groups to redouble efforts in a dozen states where similar amendments to state constitutions are likely to be on the ballot this year, proponents of the measures say.

Partisans on both sides have already begun organizing campaigns in many of those states, raising money, preparing advertising scripts and mobilizing get-out-the-vote operations that could increase turnout in several presidential swing states.

Many political analysts say President Bush is almost certain to benefit from the mobilization of conservatives in those states, particularly in Michigan and Oregon, where amendments seem likely to make the ballot.

"It will generate higher turnout among conservative Christians, who would tend to vote for President Bush," said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at Akron University.

Gay marriage ban pushed again
Eric Johnston, Network

As the US Senate voted down the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment, leaders in the country's House of Representatives advanced a bill aimed at reigning in courts on same-sex marriage.

Under the measure approved Wednesday by a House panel, the US Supreme Court and other federal courts would be stripped of jurisdiction over federal legislation that gives states the right to decide whether to recognise same-sex marriages.

Specifically, the legislation would prevent federal court challenges to the Defence of Marriage Act, a federal law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman and holds that states are not bound to recognise same-sex marriages that might be legally recognised in other states.

The House Judiciary Committee adopted the Marriage Protection Act (MPA) on a near party-line vote of 21-13. Republican officials said the measure would likely come up for debate by the full House next week.


Demand Equal Marriage Rights
- Regardless of Party -

Protest for Equal Marriage Rights
during the Democratic Convention
8:30 PM, Monday, July 26
Outside the Avalon
15 Lansdowne St., Boston

After its July 14th defeat in the Senate, the threat of an anti-gay Constitutional amendment at the federal level has receded for the time being.

Unfortunately, other threats are beginning to loom larger. Chief among them is the threat to equal marriage rights in Massachusetts, the one state where we've won it.

John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, says that while he opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment, he also OPPOSES gay marriage and says he SUPPORTS a proposed anti-gay amendment to the Massachusetts State Constitution.

In other words, he calls for destroying equal marriage rights in the only state where we have it!!

Democratic office holders in Massachusetts are in the forefront of a move which could once again ban gay marriage there as early as 2006.

Rather than forthrightly saying that the civil rights of millions of Americans should be defended, most Democratic politicians have treated our equal marriage rights as at best, an unfortunate "diversion" in their election campaigns. In response to the July 14th victory over the Federal Marriage Amendment, Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader in the Senate, loudly proclaimed his own "family values," which explicitly exclude us:

"Marriage is a sacred union between men and women. That is what the vast majority of Americans believe. It's what virtually all South Dakotans believe. It's what I believe. In South Dakota, we've never had a single same-sex marriage, and we won't have anyâ?∫ There is no confusion. There is no ambiguity."

These attitudes are an insult to the humanity of every Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered person in this country. Unfortunately, the leading political organizations in our community have chosen to politely downplay the Democrats' attacks on equal marriage rights, all while using the marriage issue in fundraising letter and fundraising letter to swell their treasuries.

Shouldn't we be demanding better from our organizations and "our" politicians? Can you imagine the NAACP endorsing a candidate who OPPOSED legal equality for African-Americans? Can you imagine NOW endorsing a candidate who OPPOSED legal equality for women?

XVth International AIDS Conference

Bangkok, Thailand, 11-16 July 2004

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Spokane board rejects materials on sexual orientation
Associated Press

The Spokane School Board has declined to approve teaching materials on homosexuality and homophobia after parents complained that they were inaccurate and constituted propaganda.

A 25-minute videotape, "Being Gay: Coming Out in the 21st Century," and a four-page booklet to go with it called "Dealing with Homophobia" were recommended for use in ninth-grade health classes.

After the five-member board's 2-2 vote Wednesday night, Superintendent Brian Benzel urged administrators to continue searching for educational materials to address sexual-orientation issues. The fifth board member was not at the meeting, and could break the deadlock at a subsequent session.

A dozen people addressed the board, saying they were concerned and offended by the proposed classroom materials, which had been recommended by a committee of teachers and administrators, a 14-person citizens advisory committee and a group of principals.

New bill would block federal judges from hearing key gay-marriage casesOff the Courtby Alan Hirsch

We've been watching the wrong game.

With attention focused on the doomed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, the media, general public, and gay rights supporters are overlooking a more lively threat: H.R. 3313, the so-called Marriage Protection Act.

The constitutional amendment was merely an opportunity for conservative members of Congress to throw red meat to the base. Opponents of same-sex marriage knew the amendment wouldn't pass, so they crafted a fallback plan: the Marriage Protection Act, which says federal courts may not hear cases from gay couples challenging the eight-year-old federal law that prohibits them from marrying. If the bill passes, many states will refuse to recognize the marriage of a gay couple hitched in another state. Under today's rules, the couple could bring suit in federal court, asking that the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, be ruled unconstitutional. If the Marriage Protection Act becomes law, no federal court could take the case.

Does that sound outlandish? Brace yourself for a primer on the anti-gay approach to constitutional law. The conservatives' nightmare has long been that gay and lesbian couples will marry in Massachusetts or some other enlightened state, then be free to move anywhere and enjoy the state and federal benefits that accompany marriage. In 1996, they responded with DOMA, which declares that no state must recognize another state's marriage of a same-sex couple.

On the Gay Marriage Amendment, a Control-Freak Issue?
by Salle Engelhardt

That does it. I’m fed up with all this griping about gay marriage and Constitutional Amendments and the morality of it all. We the people seem to have forgotten some fundamental Constitutional concepts upon which we assert ideals that differentiate us from other nations. To begin with there’s that pesky First Amendment which, last time I checked, gives us assurance of the freedom of religion or belief system and the practice thereof.

I would like to elaborate on the idea of religion and marriage since the definitions seem to be a little blurry for many of those elected folks in DC.

First, religion (belief system) refers to a set of beliefs that guide one in the practice of ritual and performance of daily responsibilities relative to concepts of good and not good. The actual concept of religion, in anthropological terms, is a set of practices that are intended to appeal to a supernatural or higher power in order to induce change upon the natural world.

There are multiple religions practiced in our midst but there appear to be some folks in the DC factions that can’t accept that there are numerous religions that do not subscribe to their accustomed set of practices. The First Amendment was intended to allow for such diversity in this land. Granted, we’ve never been very good at consenting to it.

Justifications, Obfuscations and Wave of State Anti-Marriage Constitutional Amendments Cloud Defeat of Federal Marriage Amendment
'The message should have been that this year's election will not be won on our backs.'
Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director

Washington, DC - July 15, 2004 - Yesterday, as long expected, the "Federal Marriage Amendment" was killed in the U.S. Senate, failing to even garner the 60 votes needed to end debate, let alone the 67 votes it would need to pass in an up/down vote. Six Republicans joined all but three Democrats in defeating the motion for cloture 50 to 48. A majority of the entire Senate would have voted against cloture had either Sen. John Kerry or Sen. John Edwards been present for the vote. There is widespread agreement that the vote was a major embarrassment for President Bush, who made repeated calls for the Senate to pass the amendment, and a significant defeat for the religious right, which has poured millions into pro-amendment lobbying efforts.

Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:
"Yesterday's defeat of the 'Federal Marriage Amendment' in the U.S. Senate - even though long expected - is a welcome repudiation of the President's cynical attempt to bash the gay community to both appease and energize his far right base.

Our national community and its allies owes its thanks to the Democratic minority in the Senate for fulfilling its year-old pledge to kill the amendment, to the six Republican senators who broke party ranks, and to the many gay and straight organizations who have worked so hard on this, including the Human Rights Campaign, Log Cabin Republicans, LLEGO, the National Black Justice Coalition, People for the American Way, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and so many, many more. We can and must savor this moment.

At the same time, there are many clouds over the vote. First, while every vote against the amendment is welcome, the vote was far from a ringing endorsement for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. In fact, the statements made by so many senators to explain their votes were discouraging, frequently insulting, and denied many Americans the respect we are due. Some said the amendment was 'unnecessary' because the repulsive 'Defense of Marriage Act' already bans the recognition of same-sex marriage. Others said that marriage has always been a 'state rights issue' and should be left to the states to work out. Others said they objected to amending the U.S. Constitution to address any social issues. Still others objected because they saw the amendment as 'divisive,' or politically motivated, or an attempt to distract the nation and the Congress from other, more important matters. Over and over again we heard even our staunchest allies repeating ad nauseam the mantra, 'I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman' or the ever-popular, 'While I do not support gay marriage,' not a single Senator stood up and said he or she was voting against the amendment because marriage is a fundamental right that same-sex couples should enjoy under the Constitution. If the Senate actually reflected and articulated the views of the American public, at least one-third of them would have actually argued for marriage equality and the basic rights of all Americans.

Second, even though yesterday's vote was technically procedural, (i.e., whether to stop debate), six Republican Senators crossed party lines to vote on our side - even though party unity on procedural votes is expected. Sadly, the Democratic Party's nominees for President and Vice President skipped the vote - though, thankfully, they said they would be present if there was a vote on the amendment itself. Had they come for yesterday's vote, a majority of the Senate - a much more powerful block of 52 members -- would have voted against the amendment. This missed opportunity for bringing to bear the full weight of the Senate could have sent a strong message to the U.S. House and to the over one dozen states who will have State Constitutional amendments on the ballot this November. The message should have been that this year's election will not be won on our backs.

Third, it goes without saying that the fight in Congress is far from over. The right wing will be sure to haunt Senators for their vote-explaining statements not being anti-gay enough. And Members of Congress may bow to the pressure from the right instead of doing their jobs to represent all Americans. For example, the House of Representatives is taking up a bill called the "Marriage Protection Act of 2003," (H.R. 3313) which seeks to strip federal courts of jurisdiction to hear challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act.


>Dear Friends, Colleague, Activists and leaders

I am writing to express my deep concern about the situation of all sexual minorities and Blue Diamond Society, the only organization of such, in Nepal after the latest development (the case against us in the supreme court in Nepal) and ask your solidarity and support us.

Blue Diamond Society has been working on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights for sexual minorities and sex workers since last 3 years. Now there has been case filed in the supreme court of Nepal against us demanding to close down our activities. Now court has asked to the home ministry to respond within 15 days.

So we are very concern about the development in Nepal (which is against the spirit of the International AIDS
conference in Bangkok) which may stop the HIV prevention work we are doing and raising the awareness about HIV/AIDS, care and support for PLWHAs and working on reduce the stigma/discrimination and violence against marginalized community in Nepal.

So please read the news below from Kathmandu Post published on the 13th July 2004 and respond accordingly.
In solidarity and support.

Sunil Babu Pant
President Blue Dimaond Society
Kathmandu Nepal.

From Kathmandu post.
SC notice on open homosexual activities


KATHMANDU, July 13 - The Supreme Court on Monday issued a show cause notice to the Home Ministry regarding open homosexual activities in recent years. According to the apex court order issued by a single bench of Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha, the Ministry is required to reply to the apex court ruling within 15 days whether activities of homosexuals should be banned or not.

The apex court ruling was in response to a writ petition seeking a ban on activities of homosexuals since the constitution does not recognize sexual relationship between people of the same sex. Advocate Achyut Kharel had filed the petition on June 18 accusing the Home Ministry of being silent to the open activities of homosexuals in the capital.

I think this is fact based, but can not find another source.

Boys better be boys, or else

Tehran - Iran's hardline judiciary has ordered two young men to stop dressing up in women's clothing after they were caught at a gender-bending gathering near the capital, the Iran newspaper said on Thursday.

According to the government daily, the pair admitted to the judge that they had difficulties with their sexual identities - a contention that was reportedly "medically confirmed".

They had been detained wearing frocks after police raided a building in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran. The paper said they had been thrown out by their respective families.,5583,2-1343-1345_1558123,00.html

'The battle is yet to come'
By Emil Guillermo
Record Staff Writer

The U.S. Senate's rejection Wednesday of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is a good first step to equality, said Danette Dean, the new head of a local education project in support of same-sex marriage.

"The battle is yet to come," said Dean, 38, who married her lesbian partner last spring in San Francisco. Dean was named last weekend as the leader of the San Joaquin County chapter of Marriage Equality California, the public education wing of the statewide lobbying group Equality California. The lobbying group is based in San Francisco.

Dean said the amendment's failure shows the United States may be ready for some education on same-sex marriage.

"If our senators are doing some soul-searching, that's going to provoke individuals to do the same," said Dean, who pointed out that a number of senators, including Democratic standard-bearers John Kerry and John Edwards, did not vote. "People are beginning to understand you cannot take someone's civil rights away

Council member explains rights stand
Mike Campbell gives views against proposed gay rights ordinance, calling it too limited.

Although he opposes adding sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in Burlington's anti–discrimination ordinance, City Councilman Mike Campbell favors a law that would protect everybody, including homosexuals, from discrimination.

Campbell commented during a Monday meeting that he's against a gay rights ordinance proposed by the city's Human Rights Commission and that he believes the commission should follow Christian principles.

Campbell, an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church, said because of his belief in the Bible, he believes homosexuality is wrong.

Coincidentally, Campbell's sister, Kristina Campbell, a Maryland resident, is a lesbian and has entered into a civil union with another woman.

Transgender Day of Remembrance announced.
Subject:            Transgender Day of Remembrance announced.
Date sent:          Wed, 16 Jun 04 12:01:50 -0700
From:               Gwendolyn Ann Smith
For Immediate Release

Gwen Smith
(925) 754-5599

Ethan St. Pierre
(97 373-8898

6th annual event will be held November 20, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO, June 16, 2004 - The 6th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance has been set for November 20th, 2004, with over 100 separate observances expected world-wide.  

"Since last year's event, nine more people have died due to anti-transgender violence," said Ethan St. Pierre of the Remembering Our Dead project. "So yet again, we will be making it known that such killings are unacceptable.  

The most recent reported case of anti-transgender violence leading to death is that of Cedric Thomas of Baton Rogue, Louisiana, who was shot multiple times on May 18th.  Thomas died from those wounds on June 5th.  

The Day of Remembrance began in 1999 as a way to draw attention to the issue of anti-transgender violence in the wake of unsolved murders such as that of Rita Hester.  Hester was killed November 28th, 1995.  Her death remains unsolved.

The Remembering Our Dead project exists to honor individuals murdered as a result of anti-transgender hatred and prejudice, and draw attention to the issue of anti-transgendered violence. Remembering Our Dead is a project of Gender Education and Advocacy, Inc.

Crooked cop scalded by transvestite(sic..)

A TRANSVESTITE named Mercedes poured boiling water over a corrupt police officer because he was being harassed over his sexuality, a court was told today.

Damien Edward Chandler, 29, pleaded guilty in the District Court in Brisbane to two counts of assault causing bodily harm on December 1, 2002.

Chandler, who prefers the name "Mercedes", was on remand for robbery and deprivation of liberty offences, committed because of his drug addiction.

He was being held in protective custody at Brisbane's Arthur Gorrie Remand and Reception Centre along with Gregory Catton, who was serving a three-and-a-half year sentence after pleading guilty to official corruption and drug possession and supply charges.


Grocer defends its stance
By Kelly Pate Dwyer
Denver Post Staff Writer

Kim Dower isn't the first King Soopers employee to undergo gender transformation, company officials said Wednesday.

The Denver-based grocer recently denied Dower's request to dress at work as a woman as part of male-to-female gender transformation because such situations need to be carefully handled, says King Soopers' attorney Ray Deeny of Denver law firm Sherman & Howard.

And chain executives said Dower wouldn't consent to providing the medical and psychological information they need to make a decision in the matter.

The case raises issues of privacy - which restroom Dower uses and how co-workers and customers feel about that - and the overall work atmosphere, Deeny said.


Nondiscrimination policy all talk, no action, some say
LGBT activists question whether gender identity clause will yield changes in housing, bathrooms
By alex dubilet

In the spring of 2003, in an effort to protect the transgender community from discrimination and unfair treatment, Penn's University Council amended the University's Nondiscrimination policy to include a gender identity clause.

More than a year later, some proponents of the policy, many of whom are members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community, are suggesting that, despite the official inclusion of the gender identity clause, few tangible changes have come about.

This concern was brought to the forefront in April of this year -- more than a year after the policy change. Erin Cross, the associate director of the LGBT Center, discovered that the gender identity clause was absent from her employment benefit package.

The situation was swiftly resolved through a printed apology followed by a note sent out from The Office of the General Counsel to remind everyone to make the appropriate changes.

do they not have anything better to do?

Opponents promote backup plan
Seth Seymour

As some Hoosiers praised the defeat of a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, Indiana conservatives turned to a backup plan.

"We're going to keep fighting," said Curt Smith, executive director of Indiana Family Institute, a group opposed to gay marriage.

Reacting to the failed amendment, U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, a Wadesville Republican, is pushing even harder for the bill he introduced last year: the Marriage Protection Act.
It is not as strong as the proposed amendment, but the bill would prevent federal courts from forcing states to recognize gay marriages from other states.

"Indiana determines what marriages it will recognize," said Michael Jahr, spokesman for the congressman. "At this point, the state does not want to accept same-sex relationships."


Log Cabin Declares Victory Over Radical Right on Anti-Family Amendment
Supporters of FMA Afraid to Vote on Actual Amendment

Washington, DC (PRWEB) July 15, 2004 -- Today's procedural vote in the United States Senate on the anti-family Federal Marriage Amendment is an overwhelming defeat for the radical right. "This is a victory for principle over politics, hope over fear, and real family values over anti-gay propaganda," said Log Cabin Executive Director Patrick Guerriero.

"As many as 60 Senators were prepared to vote against the amendment. Rather than face certain defeat, the radical right took the easy way out—by turning this into a largely party-line procedural vote. For six months, the radical right has been clamoring for an up or down vote. Today they are hiding behind a procedural vote because their campaign to write discrimination into the American Constitution has been an unqualified failure," said Guerriero.

"Proponents of the FMA didn't have the courage to allow an up or down vote on their anti-gay proposal because they didn't want to face an overwhelming defeat" said Log Cabin Political Director Chris Barron.

In a moving floor speech on Tuesday night, Republican Senator John McCain from Arizona denounced the anti-family FMA, "[the constitutional amendment we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans." Senator McCain attacked this discriminatory amendment because, "[it usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them."


George W. Bush: Presidential or pathological?
New book puts 'Bush on the Couch'
Arianna Huffington

Presidential or pathological? That's the highly provocative question being asked in "Bush on the Couch," a new book in which psychoanalyst and George Washington University professor Dr. Justin Frank uses the president's public pronouncements and behavior, along with biographical data, to craft a comprehensive psychological profile of Bush 43.

It's not a pretty picture, but it goes a long way in explaining how exactly our country got itself into the mess we are in: an intractable war, the loss of allies and international goodwill, a half-trillion-dollar deficit.

Poking around in the presidential psyche, Frank uncovers a man suffering from megalomania, paranoia, a false sense of omnipotence, an inability to manage his emotions, a lifelong need to defy authority, an unresolved love-hate relationship with his father, and the repercussions of a history of untreated alcohol abuse.

Other than that, George Bush is the picture of psychological health.

Government equality pledge could make B&B gay ban illegal
Ben Townley, UK

The government has announced it intends to introduce a new Single Equality Act that could protect all minority groups on the same level, including lesbians and gay men, with regards to goods and services.

The pledge came during a seminar at the Department of Trade and Industry, from women and equality minister Jacqui Smith MP.

It follows a case in Scotland where a bed and breakfast owner refused to allow a gay couple to share a bed in his lodgings, because he did not wish to "condone their sexual perversions".

Gay rights group Stonewall says the commitment is a major step forward for equality and, if successful, the Single Equality Act would make such a case illegal in the future.

Gay-amendment bid may backfire
Same-sex gambit may boomerang
By Richard Stevenson, New York Times

WASHINGTON -- From the beginning, gay marriage has been an issue that President Bush has tried to finesse.

Under election-year pressure from his social conservative base, Bush endorsed the effort to adopt a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. In the last few days he has turned up the volume on the issue, talking about about it in his weekly radio address on Saturday. He telephoned wavering senators over the past day or two in an attempt to shore up support for the measure as it headed toward a crucial procedural vote on Wednesday.

But after endorsing the measure in February, he would often go weeks without mentioning it in public, suggesting either a personal or political reticence about pushing it too hard, or both. And when he did
raise the topic, he was careful to modulate his message to avoid alienating moderate voters, warning in particular against allowing the issue to become an excuse for gay bashing.


National Gay Helpline launched
by di-ve news

VALLETTA, Malta (di-ve news) -- The Malta Gay Rights Movement (MGRM) launched the National Gay Helpline to assist gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and other individuals who are discovering their sexuality, who are in need of support.

The service which will start operating on Monday will be available on phone number: 21430006. At first the helpline will be available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 1800CET and 2100CET. The rates will be normal.

In a press conference, the Social Protection Official within the MGRM, Gabriella Calleja, explained that the volunteers who will be answering the phone were trained professionally with Appogg Agency. Some of them also have experience with the helpline 179.

Gay couple to ask for action on suit
The men's lawyer will ask a judge to act on a lawsuit by legislators seeking to bar the pair from marrying.
By Walter F. Naedele
Inquirer Staff Writer

A lawyer for a New Hope gay couple says that she soon will ask a Bucks County judge to act on a lawsuit seeking to bar the couple from marrying.

Malia Brink, a Philadelphia lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in an interview that the filing is likely "toward the end of this month."

In Washington today, the U.S. Senate is to vote on a proposal to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. On May 14, 12 Pennsylvania state representatives and a Bedford County firm sought the same result when they filed suit in Bucks County Court.

Same-sex marriage advertisement draws complaints from readers
Anita Clark Wisconsin State Journal

A full-page newspaper advertisement against same-sex marriage drew angry reaction from readers Wednesday.

An Madison-based interdenominational Christian organization, Alliance for Life Ministries, said it bought the ad because the issue needs more public discussion.

"There's a lot of rhetoric that you hear on both sides of the issue, but a lot of truth is not being broadcast," said Paul Lagan, Madison, president of the alliance.

The advertisement, which cost more than $5,000, ran in the front sections of the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times on the same day the U.S. Senate scuttled a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage


Gay rights proponents savor Senate victory, brace for long battle
LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

Gay rights advocates reveled in the moment after the Senate handed President Bush and his most conservative backers an embarrassing setback by voting to block a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage.

But opponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment also acknowledged that with the House of Representatives and voters in 11 states set to take up the issue again, it's too early to declare victory. And conservatives vowed to use Wednesday's Senate outcome as ammunition in the upcoming election.

"The Republicans, at least some of them, have made the political calculation that this is to their benefit to raise," said Michael Adams, education director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. "We certainly hope today's vote might have a moderating influence on them to realize it's not the political wedge issue they wanted."

Gay rights organizations have made fighting the amendment their top priority since the president announced his support for it in late February in a speech that complained about "activist judges" on Massachusetts' top court.