poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, September 04, 2004

its easy to *not* see this as a trans murder in the wording, especially in the use of transvestite which implies a man (?) in woman's clothes.... this is a gender bias hate crime again a trans female.. make no mistake about it...!!

Arrest made in transvestite (sic) murder
(New Haven-WTNH)

Police have made an arrest in the year-old murder of a transvestite.

32-year-old Michael Streater is charged with fatally stabbing Jessica Mercado.

Detectives found the body of Mercado, once known as Horacio, following a fire in Mercado's Chapel Street apartment in May of 2003.

Police say Streater stabbed Mercado to death and then tired to burn the body.



On July 1, 2004, Alex Franco Acebo was fired from Invescol, a private security company in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He had worked for the company for two years. According to Invescol Manager, Mr. Franklin Gallegos, the company’s internal regulations bar the employment of "physically disabled people and gays."

In 1997, Ecuador was the first in Latin America (and the second in the world, following South Africa) to include specific protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation in its Constitution. In this context, the action of Invescol, especially Mr. Acebo’s sexuality, are irrelevant to his job performance and should not, in any context, be compared to a "physical deficiency" that might render him unable to perform his job properly.

Indeed, while Invescol’s position is impossible to justify, the consequences of their policy are dramatic and conclusive: Alex Franco Acebo is currently unemployed, and is thus unable to attend to his basic survival needs, lacking any support if he happens to fall ill. In this context, if the government of Ecuador does not take action against Invescol, they will have failed to protect and fulfil Mr. Acebo's rights to be free from discrimination and his right to work. Fundación Amigos por la Vida (FAMIVIDA), a local LGBT Rights and HIV/AIDS prevention group, has submitted a complaint against Invescol to the Ecuador’s Labour Ministry.


‘Their platform and policy record is so divisive and at times discriminatory that it might have even driven Mary Cheney from the RNC stage,’ said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON — Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques released the following statement today regarding the climate at the Republican National Convention.

“All week long, the Republicans have been trying to put forth a moderate message, while their platform and policy record is so divisive and at times discriminatory that it might have even driven Mary Cheney from the RNC stage.

“Instead of talking about the Cheneys being divided on stage, we should be talking about the divide between the president’s discriminatory platform and the fair-minded moderate voters he is appealing to.

“Some of the most notable speakers at this week’s convention — Senator John McCain, Governor Schwarzenegger and former Mayor Giuliani — demonstrate compassionate, moderate Republican leadership. At the same time, the party’s platform is the most discriminatory in modern history. There has been absolutely no mention of important issues like hate violence and workplace discrimination, and the silence from the party leadership following Alan Keyes’ outrageous remarks has been deafening.

W.V. Court to Hear Lesbian Custody Case
By Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether state law recognizes the parental rights of same-sex partners.

Tina Burch is appealing for custody of the 4-year-old son of her lesbian partner, Christina D. Smarr, who died in a 2002 car accident. Within hours of Smarr's death, Smarr's brothers-in-law took the child from Burch and handed him over to his grandparents.

A lower court ruled in December that state law does not give a homosexual the right to win legal guardianship of a former partner's child; Burch appealed.

On Thursday, the state high court agreed to hear the case, and voted 3-2 to grant Burch temporary custody.


Homophobe Preacher Banned From Big Easy Gay Fest
by Newscenter Staff

(New Orleans) A fundamentalist pastor who led a protest march through last year's Southern Decadence has been banned from going near this year's festival.  Southern Decadence is the largest gay event in the South and runs until September 6. 

Reverend Grant Storms led a group of church members down Bourbon Street attempting to disrupt crowds. When he was refused entry into a gay bar where he wanted to protest Storms charged the doorman with assault.  The charge was later thrown out of court.

Today, Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris granted an area business group a restraining order against Storms to prevent him from disrupting this year's party.

Storms and his followers will be allowed to hold signs denouncing homosexuality but are barred from using megaphones, bullhorns or other noisemakers.


Bishop seeks harmony over gay rights
With release of report, O'Neill asks Episcopalians to try to 'work together'
By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News

Colorado Episcopal Bishop Rob O'Neill called on fellow Episcopalians to seek common ground Tuesday, as he formally released a diocesan study on how to mend rifts over same-sex policies and other controversies.

"That we disagree is evident; the consequences of disagreement are not," O'Neill said in an interview.

Indeed, in the report he insisted that it's still possible "to establish policies that will facilitate our living together in disagreement."

The bishop endorsed the 23-page report, which he commissioned, and its recommendations drawn up by 10 clergy and lay members, including a gay representative. However, O'Neill noted the report will take time and the help of further committees to implement.


Attorney General's Office defends state's gay marriage ban
Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. -- The Attorney General's Office defended the state's ban on same-sex marriage in legal papers filed late Thursday, reiterating its position that New Jersey's Constitution does not permit gay unions and that the power to change the definition of marriage rests with the Legislature, not the courts.

The state's 60-page brief, filed with the Appellate Division of Superior Court, challenges a a civil lawsuit by seven same-sex couples and supported by the national civil rights organization Lambda Legal seeking the right for gay and lesbian couples to wed.

Both sides have said they will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

"Our response continues to be that the courts have a traditional role to play to assess whether lines that the Legislature draws _ in this case to exclude a class of citizens _ are constitutional or not," said Gary Buseck, legal director at Lambda Legal in New York. "The courts are to answer these questions no matter how controversial they are."


Friday, September 03, 2004

Greetings from (rainy) Camp Trans

Dear BTL,

Camp Trans is the ongoing protest of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's policy of excluding any womyn who they can identify as transgender.

I attended Camp Trans for my second year- this time for a full week. CT is an amazing space where the varieties of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and sexual interests go beyond a two-dimensional rainbow into some bizarre mathematical construct of combinations and possibilities. As an out and proud transwoman I love the novelty of a space where I'm not only normal, but even a little bit boring.

Activism provides the focus for Camp Trans. We get our message to MWMF attendees through approaching them as they line up to enter, talking with visitors, and the assistance of many wonderful allies within their borders. Toys in Babeland (a vendor) was amazingly helpful all week. Ember Swift (a performer) was another amazing ally. (Buy their stuff.) Many other allies took actions from handing out fliers, to wearing armbands, to speaking positively about including transwomyn. And many more quietly agree that all womyn should be allowed to attend MWMF.

Our allies are helping to get transwomyn's voices heard on the land. Toys in Babeland displayed a posterboard full of written statements by transwomyn and many allies passed out fliers with excerpts from these statements. I was particularly proud to be able to say, "The policy doesn't keep out transwomyn. Some transwomyn can and do attend. The policy excludes transwomyn's voices. It silences us."


WESTMINSTER, Calif. (AP) - With help from a Christian legal rights group, the school board voted to sue the state Department of Education in an effort to change the definition of the word "gender" in the anti-discrimination policy for all California schools.

Board members Judy Ahrens, Helena Rutkowski and Blossie Marquez consider a state law that defines gender as "a person's actual or perceived sex" as immoral and they voted Thursday to challenge the definition in court.

The Westminster School District board members believe the state education definition conflicts with the state penal code - which defines gender as "a person's biological sex" - and therefore schools should not be required to comply with it

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian organization that wages legal battles promoting traditional religious views, agreed to represent the district and pay all legal costs.


Transmissions: Going it alone
By Gwendolyn Ann Smith

The transgender community is a diverse one, containing any number of identities and presentations. More than this, the larger lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community contains four distinct larger categories.

I have often spoken of some of the frictions that came come up between transgender people and the larger community. This friction can be unavoidable when discussing the Human Rights Campaign in recent weeks, or the recent Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - or quite frankly just about anything. It often seems that if there's the possibility of friction, then there's the probability of friction.

Because of this often frustrating and seemingly endless series of conflicts, the thought often gets floated of just going it alone. That is - rather than continuing to try and work with organizations and others who can not or will not consider trans needs as equal with their own - why not simply promote "transgender" as something separate from the larger community and avoid all these problems.


Court Says Anti-Gay Amendment Should Go To Michigan Voters
by Newscenter Staff

(Lansing, Michigan) The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled Friday that a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage should be placed on the November ballot.

Citizens for the Protection of Marriage, gathered far more than the 317,757 signatures required to place the issue on the ballot but the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked on whether the issue should go to voters.

Under the rules of the election board the issue died.  But the CPM went to court.

The main issue of contention was the wording of the question to be put to voters. Democrats on the committee and LGBT rights groups said it was misleading.

Turning HRC’s Promise Into Action

A resolution adopted earlier this month by the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) represents an enormous step forward for the transgender community. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community’s leading voice in Washington is now clearly on the record saying that transgender inclusion in federal anti-discrimination legislation is essential, not optional.

And it seems that, at last, HRC is ready to treat the trans community as a full partner in the LGBT civil rights struggle.

But it is much too early to “declare victory” or even to assume that the most difficult struggles are over. Instead, they may be just beginning. It is important to take note of the fact that HRC’s action has not led to immediate pledges by members of Congress to broaden the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) to cover transgender and gender-different people. In fact, Rep. Barney Frank, the gay Massachusetts Democrat who wields great influence on LGBT legislation, has been quoted in recent days as arguing against broadening the bill.

A good deal remains to be done, by both HRC and the transgender community.


Gay bashing incident resolved
UP, Safe Zone settle conflict over comedian
By Megan Nichols
Student Life Editor

University Programs and Safe Zone, a watchdog group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students' rights on campus, have resolved a conflict stemming from an incidence of gay bashing at a UP-sponsored event Friday night.

Kevin Locke, UP president, acknowledged the incident occurred, but said his organization is not apologizing for the acts of a comedian who insulted a UA student during his show at the Ferguson Center Theater.

"Gay bashing was not a part of his show," Locke said. "This was a public conversation between two people. No one could hear what the student was saying, but the comedian had a mike."

Amanda Schuber, Safe Zone coordinator, said her organization has been in touch with the student and he asked that his name not be released.


School District Votes to Sue State
Westminster trustees agree 3 to 2 to become the plaintiff in Christian group's lawsuit over a regulation on gender anti-discrimination.
By Joel Rubin, Times Staff Writer

Months after narrowly avoiding severe financial sanctions because of its controversial stand against a state anti-discrimination regulation, the Westminster School District resumed the fight Thursday, voting to sue the state Department of Education.
Voting 3 to 2, the small Orange County district agreed to become the plaintiff in a case planned and funded by the Alliance Defense Fund, an Arizona-based Christian legal organization that recently argued against same-sex marriages before the California Supreme Court.   

   At issue is a part of the state education code — and the accompanying regulation written to enforce it — that is meant to protect transsexual teachers and students, as well as others who do not conform to traditional gender roles, from discrimination at school.
Mark Bucher, the lawyer the district hired in April, said the definitions of "gender" in the education code and the regulation contradict each other. The lawsuit, he said, is aimed at forcing state education officials to rewrite the regulation.


School Board bans bias over 'gender ID'

The School Board decided Wednesday to add "gender identity" to the list of personal characteristics protected against defamation and discrimination in educational opportunity or employment in the schools, for students and staff members.

Race, creed, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marital status and mental, physical and sensory disability already are protected, with some exceptions for fitness for work.

Although few students are likely to undergo sex-change operations before they graduate from high school, school district lawyer Holly Ferguson said some are contemplating the procedure and may experiment with the clothing or lifestyle of a gender different from the one their biology suggests.


Record 80 Percent of Fortune 500 Companies Protect Gay and Lesbian Employees

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A record 400 (80 percent) of the 2003 Fortune 500 Companies have adopted personnel policies that protect sexual orientation from workplace discrimination.

In fall 2003, Equality Forum in collaboration with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Canadian Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) wrote to the 177 CEOs of the 2003 Fortune 500 Companies that did not provide workplace protection based on sexual orientation requesting that inclusion in their anti-discrimination policy.

"Over the past ten months, 77 (43 percent) of the 177 noncompliant Fortune 500 Companies added sexual orientation to their workplace discrimination policies. These 77 companies employ over 5.1 million workers. The inclusion of sexual orientation sends a message that their company provides a level playing field with merit as the standard for career advancement," stated Malcolm Lazin, executive director, Equality Forum.


Anti-amendment effort spreads beyond metro Atlanta
‘Biggest obstacle’ in rural areas is coming out, volunteer says

The effort to convince Georgia voters to reject Amendment 1 on Nov. 2 is headquartered in metro Atlanta.

But volunteers are fanning out across the state to win over allies, reaching out in areas like Dahlonega, Athens and Savannah.

Volunteer Donna Waddell, a lesbian and home health nurse, said she is sometimes surprised where opponents of the measure, which would ban same-sex marriage in Georgia, are found.

After Waddell addressed a group in Ellijay last week — Republicans, Independents & Democrats to Defeat Bush — a Vietnam veteran and former POW spoke about the issue.


Gay vote may split in Council race
Long-shot is only Democrat to back gay marriage
Friday, September 03, 2004

Incumbent D.C. Councilmember Harold Brazil (D-At-Large), who has been in office for 14 years, is facing one of his toughest re-election efforts in the city’s Sept. 14 primary, and Brazil is turning to gay voters for support.

But activists familiar with the at-large Council race say the gay vote is likely to split this year between Brazil and his Democratic opponents, Kwame Brown and Sam Brooks, with many gays expected to base their vote on non-gay issues.

Brazil and Brown, who is considered Brazil’s closet rival, have expressed strong support for virtually all gay civil rights and AIDS-related issues except same-sex marriage. The two say they support civil unions over gay marriage, although they have pledged to support D.C. recognition of same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts or other states.

Gay Marriage Ruling Expected Today

Today, the State Court of Appeals is expected to decide on whether to put the same-sex marriage question on the ballot in November.

Last week, the state elections board deadlocked on whether to certify all the signatures gathered.
So right now, the issue is off the ballot, but that could change depending on today's ruling.


Home Depot to insure domestic same-sex partners
Jennifer Waters

CHICAGO (CBS.MW) -- Home Depot said Thursday that health insurance will be available to employees' same-sex domestic partners beginning next year. The country's largest do-it-yourself retailer said eligible employees can start signing up their domestic partners next month. The company said the benefits revision had been in the works for about a year. Home Depot has been criticized for insuring employees' pets but not their same-sex domestic partners. Shares of Home Depot (HD) were trading at $37.65, up 77 cents, or 2.1 percent.


Antibullying policies in place for Vermont schools

New antiharassment and antibullying policies are in place to mark the start of the new school year in Vermont. The laws are meant to clarify what constitutes harassment in schools and how better to handle reported incidents and also to require school boards to update their discipline plan to include the new legislation on bullying. The harassment law introduces a new review process that allows the family lodging the complaint to seek a third party to discover what actions were followed in dealing with the situation.


Recognizing gay marriages may be left to Legislature
By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter

OLYMPIA — In defending Washington's ban on gay marriage before a judge here yesterday, the state appeared to concede that same-sex couples may be owed some kind of legal recognition.

Assistant Attorney General William Collins, arguing before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks, suggested that the court might uphold the ban, but the Legislature could consider allowing same-sex civil unions.

Collins told the court that the claims of 11 couples suing the state for the right to marry come down to two questions:

The first is whether Washington's constitution requires the state to extend to same-sex couples benefits and rights identical to those offered to heterosexual married people, Collins argued.


Calif. Supreme Court to Clarify Gay Parents' Rights
Mike McKee
The Recorder

Gay rights lawyers celebrated on Wednesday after the California Supreme Court granted review in three cases that could have significant impact on the rights of thousands of same-sex parents statewide.

All three involve lesbian break-ups -- one in which the birth mother was granted sole parental rights, another in which a woman was granted rights as a "presumed father," and the third involving whether one parent could be forced to pay child support.

"I couldn't be happier," San Francisco attorney Jill Hersh, who represents a plaintiff in one of the cases, said about the court's action. "I hope in the long run it means children of same-sex couples are going to be treated with the same regard as those of opposite-sex couples."


A Party for Some
By Joshuah Bearman, LA Weekly

The big tents have been well guarded at the Republican convention in New York. It took some doing to penetrate the several layers of security at the Log Cabin Republicans' Big Tent party Sunday to hear them complain about their own difficulty getting inside the symbolic big tent pitched over Madison Square Garden this week. "There are two Republican parties," Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin's executive director, said to the crowd assembled at the Bryant Park Grill. "The party has to make a choice: Is it an inclusive Republican Party, or one hijacked by the radical right?"

He was highlighting the tension between a conservative base drifting so far into the outer reaches of ideological space that they're red-shifting from the Doppler effect, and the increasingly anomalous social moderates in the prime-time speaker lineup.

Everyone else on the itinerary at the Bryant Park Grill tried to celebrate the party's deep cleavage as "diversity," but the right-leaning imbalance was in evidence at the platform committee meetings held earlier in the cavernous and strangely vacant Javits Center, where the grip of the social conservatives tightened. They successfully dodged an attempt by the Log Cabin Republicans, along with fellow moderates from the Republicans for Choice, to soften language on constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage and abortion.


LLEGÓ esta muerto, finito

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Officials with the National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Organization abruptly shut down the organization last week laying off all 14 of its employees in the face of a $700,000 deficit, sources familiar with the group said.

Rodger McFarlane, the executive director of the Gill Foundation, which gave LLEGÓ $90,000 this year and a total of $400,000 over the past 10 years, said that “sheer financial desperation” and a complete reliance on government contracts instead of a donor base was the death knell for the “the only national nonprofit organization devoted to representing” the needs of gay and lesbian Latinos.

“My heart is broken because we were utterly committed to the work of LLEGÓ,” McFarlane said. “No other organization can speak credibly for Latino queers. This is a tragedy. I’ve spoken to a number of other funders and we all remain committed to their mission. When the dust settles, we will talk about how we can carry on that mission.”

LLEGÓ faces an operating debt of more than $700,000 between now and next March and a $200,000 operating deficit over the next two months, McFarlane said.


S.F., gays argue for 'marriage equality'
Court briefs charge state ban based on 'archaic stereotypes'
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

A dozen gay and lesbian couples and the city of San Francisco launched a legal attack on California's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, arguing that the law enshrines bigotry, discriminates arbitrarily and violates a constitutional right to marry one's chosen partner.

"Exclusion from marriage ... marks lesbian and gay couples as second- class citizens. It dashes their hopes and dreams, and labels them and their children as inferior, based only on archaic stereotypes,'' lawyers for the couples said in written arguments in San Francisco Superior Court.

"The time for marriage equality has arrived,'' declared lawyers from City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office, which is suing on the city's behalf to overturn the marriage law.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

India court rejects gay petition
By Ayanjit Sen
BBC corespondent in Delhi

The high court in the Indian capital Delhi has dismissed a legal petition that sought to legalise homosexuality.

The petition challenged laws which deem homosexual acts to be "unnatural criminal behaviour".

The court ruled that the "validity of a law" cannot be challenged by anyone who is "not affected by it".

The petition, filed by a voluntary organisation, argued that it is wrong for homosexuality to be a punishable offence in 21st century India

Dear friends,

The petition challenging the anti-sodomy law in India, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was dismissed by the Delhi High Court, by the bench comprising Chief Justice BC Patel and Justice BD Ahmed, today, i.e. 2 September 2004.

The petition had been admitted on 15.1.2003, meaning thereby that the petition had to be fully heard on merits. Notice had also been issued to the Attorney General in view of the constitutional importance of the issue. However, two of the Respondents to the petition, i.e. the Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) and the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) had not filed their affidavits despite the order of 15.1.2003.

Today, when the matter was taken up as the last item just before the Court rose at approximately 4.15 pm, the advocate for the Petitioner, Trideep Pais, pointed out that the two Respondents, DSACS and NACO, had not filed their affidavits despite the order of the court dated 15.1.2003. The Court in turn asked whether there was any case or FIR filed against the Petitioner, i.e. NAZ Foundation (India) Trust, under S.377 of the IPC, to which the advocate mentioned that there was none. The Court dismissed the petition on the ground that since there was no FIR, there was no ‘cause of action’ for the petition. The exact court order is not yet available.

Thurston County judge hears gay-marriage arguments
By REBECCA COOK  / Associated Press

A Thurston County judge is scheduled to hear arguments on the legality of gay marriage on Wednesday morning.

The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged Washington state's ban on same-sex marriage on behalf of 11 gay and lesbian couples from around the state.

"Same-sex couples who have formed families are being discriminated against solely because of their gender," said Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington, in a news release before the hearing. "The state of Washington has long acknowledged that gay and lesbian couples are suitable to be parents. We must no longer deny them the right to marry."


Rainbow tassel incident unresolved
Students still upset over U. blacking out LGBT tassel in May graduation brochure students still upset
By alex dubilet

The Office of the University Secretary sent a short apology earlier this summer to Arshad Hasan, who graduated from the College in 2003, for altering his photograph used by the University in commencement material without his permission.

But, Hasan said, neither the form nor the substance of the apology was adequate, adding that he was looking for a public apology that would circulate as widely as the original publication.

The apology came in the wake of The Summer Pennsylvanian article covering the incident. In the article, University Secretary Leslie Kruhly stated that the alteration of the photograph blackening Hasan's rainbow tassel that represented Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender pride was part of a general University policy of making the photographs reflect "official academic regalia."

She stated that there were no political motivations for the alteration


Anwar goes free on final appeal
Ruling reflects new era in Malaysia

SINGAPORE The high court in Malaysia overturned the sodomy conviction of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Thursday and allowed him to walk free after serving six years in jail.
The decision, which took many Malaysians and officials in surrounding countries by surprise, was the clearest sign yet of a new era since the election of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi six months ago.
Anwar, who attended the hearing seated in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace, had been abruptly fired by the former Malaysian leader Mahathir bin Mohamad in 1998 over differences about how to handle the Asian financial crisis. The high court ruling came exactly six years after Anwar's removal from office.
Soon afterward Anwar, 57, was arrested, tried and convicted on sodomy and corruption charges in what was interpreted by the deputy prime minister's supporters as personal revenge by Mahathir against the man who was his probable successor.


Opponents of gay marriage intervene in Arkansas court challenge

Groups supporting and opposing a proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage have been gearing up for a legal battle for months. The Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee and the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will have their chance to argue before the state supreme court on September 23. This week the high court granted a request from the amendment committee to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. The committee had turned in more than 200,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. Briefs from both sides are due September 15. "We've been preparing for the case. We knew it was going to happen and that it was just a matter of time," said Chris Stewart, executive director of the amendment committee. "We've done all our legal work already."


Amendment on November ballot
By DALE WETZEL, Associated Press Writer

North Dakotans will vote in November on a constitutional amendment to limit marriage rights to man-woman couples, Secretary of State Al Jaeger says.

Jaeger on Wednesday said a petition that requires a statewide vote on the amendment had 42,093 legal signatures, considerably more than the 25,688 names needed to put the idea on the statewide ballot.

The North Dakota Family Alliance, a Bismarck group that supervised the initiative campaign, had said it collected more than 52,000 petition signatures. Jaeger said his office counted 44,105 names, and rejected 1,647 signatures for various reasons, including incomplete signatures and addresses and notary errors.


Illinois Republicans Denounce Keyes' Remarks
Keyes Attacks Daughter Of Vice President

NEW YORK -- Illinois Republican U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes is causing a stir at the party's national convention in New York City -- and among Illinois Republicans.

According to the Chicago Tribune, when Keyes told two interviewers on Sirius OutQ, a New York-based satellite station that provides 24-hour gay and lesbian programming, that homosexuality is "selfish hedonism," his hosts asked if Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney is a "selfish hedonist."

Supreme Court kills challenges to gay marriage amendment

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The Louisiana Supreme Court has refused to take up legal challenges aimed at keeping a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages and civil unions off the September 18th ballot.

Acting late yesterday on three requests to hear appeals of three lawsuits, court spokeswoman Katherine Fontana says the justices refused to consider two and said the third had not been filed in time.

The suits were filed on behalf of a group called Forum for Equality, arguing that the "Defense of Marriage" amendment is unconstitutional because it would deprive unmarried couples -- gay or straight -- of the right to enter into certain contracts.

Supporters of the ban disagree. The amendment, passed by state lawmakers earlier this year, would also ban state officials and courts from recognizing out-of-state marriages and civil unions between homosexuals.


Lawyers draft gay weddings bill
  By Sheena Adams

The SA Law Commission is sifting through hundreds of public submissions on same-sex marriages before drawing up a draft bill.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question from the DA, Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla said the investigation was aimed at "harmonising family law with the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the values of equality and dignity".

Mabandla said the probe was also looking at whether marital rights should be extended to opposite and same-sex domestic partnerships and also whether specific rights should be awarded to people living in "interdependent relationships without a sexual element".


Tired Of Waiting, Gay Couple Takes Legal Path
Colchester women cite discrimination in suit against state

Colchester — They were born in the same Connecticut town, attended the same high school, fell in love after graduation and have never parted since. This fall they'll celebrate 29 years together in sickness and in health, in the dream house they saved for and helped build.

“That was our 20th anniversary party,” says Janet Peck at home on Tuesday, explaining one of many framed photos chronicling their romance through the years.

It's been a good, old-fashioned marriage in most respects, with one notable exception. Because the partners are women, they can't legally wed.

Now, Peck and Carol Conklin are going to court for what they say is their due. Last week, along with six other gay or lesbian couples from Connecticut who were denied marriage licenses in Madison, they filed suit in New Haven Superior Court charging that the state's denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples is discriminatory.


Gay man's partner seeks share of estate
The deceased left no will, and his son says he and his siblings should get the inheritance
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

When he died in January 2003, John Green left no will designating who should be given his town house, another home under renovation in Katy and stock worth $88,000.

As administrator of his father's estate, his son, Scott Goldstein of South Florida, says all of the proceeds belong to him and his siblings.

But Green's partner for 7 1/2 years, William Ross, has asked Harris County Probate Judge Russell Austin to grant him many of the same rights as a man or woman who has lost a spouse — meaning he could claim a good portion of the estate.

Lawyers on both sides said a favorable ruling could set a precedent in Texas, which does not recognize same-sex marriages, especially if an appellate court were to uphold such a decision in a written ruling.


Testimony helps gay dads' case
The owner of a day care center where the sisters stay and a behavioral specialist say the children excel in the home.
By CHRIS TISCH, Times Staff Writer

LARGO - Both young sisters hit other children and threw tantrums. The younger child was mean to animals and scratched her legs until they bled.

After state officials took the girls from their natural parents because of abuse or neglect, one behaved so badly that foster parents refused to keep her, some giving her up after just one night.

Then the girls were taken into a home headed by two gay men. Their behavior improved. They became friendlier toward other children. They began listening to adults.

That was testimony offered in court Wednesday from the owner of a day care center where the girls stay, and a behavioral specialist who has studied one of the girls.


OutRage! wants 'anti-gay' gig axed
By Sarah Probert, Birmingham Post

A gay rights campaign group has urged a Birmingham nightclub to cancel a reggae concert following claims the singer incites violence against homosexuals.

Top Jamaican reggae star Sizzla Kalonji is due to appear at the White Pearl Club in Upper Trinity Street, Aston, tomorrow as part of a national tour.

He is among eight artists whose material is being examined by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over claims their lyrics incite violence against homosexuals.

The gay campaign group OutRage! made a complaint to police about the content, who in turn have asked the CPS to consider whether performance or promotion of the material might amount to a criminal offence

Baina beach demolitions: What about the sex worker’s right to shelter?
By Rakesh Shukla

Acting on orders by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court, around 250 huts belonging to sex workers, on Goa’s Baina beach, were bulldozed in an effort to ‘clean up’ Goa. ‘Operation Monsoon Demolition’ appears to have been based on the assumption that sex workers have no right to shelter

This year, the rains that bring joy to millions of people in India brought only grief to the residents of Baina beach in Goa. Carrying an order by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court, for the identification and demolition of 250 huts being used by sex workers, the state government set about bulldozing hundreds of hutments right in the midst of heavy rains lashing the area.

The rationale: The restoration of an ‘unspoilt Goa’ by cleansing it of the ‘sin’ of prostitution.

The huts are the homes of women who have been living here for the past 40 years. They have valid ration cards, voter identity cards, electricity bills and tax receipts as proof of their being bonafide residents of Baina; their children attend schools in the area. In fact, many children born in Baina are, today, vote-casting adults. Now, attempts are being made to class them as ‘outsiders’ from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and send them back once their homes have been demolished.

Using the ‘outsider’ bogey as the cause of all ills and whipping up chauvinism is a populist strategy often used by unscrupulous politicians. Like the Shiv Sena campaign ‘Maharashtra for Maharashtrians’ in the ’60s-’70s, there have been similar campaigns all over the country including Goa. Displaying remarkable foresight, the Constitution of India -- under Articles 19 (1) (d) and (e) -- specifically guarantees, as a fundamental right, the right ‘to move throughout the territory of India’ and the right ‘to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India’.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Arundhati Roy:
Public power in the age of empire

ARUNDHATI ROY is one of the leading voices in the international struggle against war, poverty and injustice. Roy first came to worldwide prominence as the author of the novel The God of Small Things, which won the prestigious Booker Prize for literature in 1997.

But since then, she has become an outspoken activist in the international antiwar and global justice movements, and an author of numerous essays and books on political issues and struggles. Her latest book is An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, a collection of essays and speeches that follows previous collections War Talk, Power Politics and The Cost of Living.

In August, Roy spoke out in San Francisco on the subject "Power Politics in the Age of Empire"--in one of her only speaking engagements in the U.S. this year. Here, with permission, Socialist Worker reprints her speech.

Family kidnaps youth living with transsexual

JAIPUR: Police here are investigating the case of a youth who was allegedly kidnapped by his family members to prevent his living with a transsexual.

Police arrested the youth Nafees' uncle and another person on a complaint that they along with some hired goons beat up a group of transsexuals that had visited the youth's house to free him after the family locked up Nafees to prevent his going back to the transsexual.

Nafees was living with a transsexual as "man and wife" in the city's Bibi Fatima Colony for some time, something to which his family had objected, a police official told IANS


Battle over 'Defense of Marriage' amendment reaches La. high court

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The battle over a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriages and civil unions was in the hands of the Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The final appeal in three separate cases brought by opponents of the ban was filed with the high court on Wednesday.

Opponents, led by gay rights activists, lost the latest round of legal arguments on Monday when the state 4th Circuit Court of Appeal overturned a New Orleans judge's ruling that the ban was unconstitutional and should be stripped from the Sept. 18 ballot.

The ruling came in one of three lawsuits filed by gay activists to keep voters from casting ballots on the amendment. The state Supreme Court had already been asked to hear arguments in the first two cases and attorney John Rawls said he hoped the court would consider all three together.


Missouri delegates are heckled by gays
By DAVID LIEB ~ Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Protesters jeered and chanted "Missouri is a hate state" Tuesday as delegates of one of the first states to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage headed to dinner.

Missouri delegates were heckled as they arrived and left a downtown restaurant before the convention's evening speeches.

Although protests have abounded in New York, Tuesday's was the first protest specifically targeted at Missouri's delegation.

"The reason why we're targeting the Missouri delegation is because they have already passed the amendment," said Ray Dries, 50, of New York. "They're anti-American. These people are fascists."


University of Pittsburgh to offer same-sex benefits
By MIKE CRISSEY, Associated Press Writer

The University of Pittsburgh has agreed to offer health benefits to same-sex partners, ending eight years of legal wrangling over coverage for employees.

The state-affiliated university's decision to offer benefits to same-sex partners was included in an eight-page memo sent to employees Wednesday. The benefits will be offered starting Jan. 1.

Transvestite(sic..) trial the talk of Nigeria
By Amina Waziri
BBC correspondent in Kano
A transvestite faces trial in September in a case which has become a big talking point in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

The issue of sexual orientation is a controversial one in Africa and the existence of transvestites usually gets little attention.

But 19-year-old Abubakar Hamza has become famous with posters of him dressed in women's clothes selling well among male admirers.

He is charged with living and dressing as a woman in the first case of its kind in this conservative city.

But what is shocking for many Nigerians is that he lived as a young woman in the heart of a family for seven years, without his secret being suspected

Gay marriages groom anti-Aids battle

VADODARA: Married in both Hindu and Muslim traditions, Hanif and Zubair — in their early 20s — may draw flak from society. But in the gay community, they are treated as role models. Admired for their commitment to a single partner, the couple is also spearheading the HIV prevention campaign of Lakshya, an NGO working for homosexuals' rights.

Hanif and Zubair are Vadodara's one of the many same sex couples, who have dared to exchange vows. The couple had a 'nikah' ceremony attended by friends and well-wishers. And for the Hindu ceremony, they brought in a pandit.

Lakshya Trust project officer Sylvester Merchant says, "In four years, we have facilitated at least 15 gay marriages and soon hope to introduce a gay couple club to extend emotional support. Gay marriages are a boon as the group is already at a high risk of contracting Aids. The marriages will promote single-partner sex, which will help the HIV prevention campaign."

Although such marriages don't have legal sanction, activists believe rituals can have a dual impact. On the one hand it sends a message to society that they have equal rights and on the other, it is an indication to other gays that the couple is 'going steady'.

To Governor Schwarzenegger on 'Girlie Men'

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

On behalf of "girlie men" everywhere I'm perplexed. Last night while you were speaking at the Republican National Convention, you said, "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "Don't be girlie men.""

I've never known girlie men to be pessimistic about much of anything. Think of our leading girlie men icons - Liberace, Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson-Reilly, Freddy Mercury, Nathan Lane, and Harvey Fierstein - all hopeless optimists, smiling and fighting on in the face of adversity.

Oops. Now I get it. You simply misread the teleprompter. You obviously meant to say, "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: "BE girlie men." I look forward to someone in your office setting the record straight, so to speak.

All the best,

Matt Foreman
Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

shameless self promotion:

Submodern Fiction #2 is now available.

This issue features fiction and innovative prose by kari edwards, Eric Basso, Alan Sondheim, Bill Marsh, Vernon Frazier, and Elizabeth Burns, and includes an essay by Stephen-Paul Martin on "Submodern Death: Preventing the Death of Submodernism."

Submodern Fiction is published once a year. Subscriptions are $6 for one issue and $10 for two. Make checks payable to Mark Wallace and send them to Mark Wallace, Submodern Fiction, 10402 Ewell Ave., Kensington, MD 20895.

Submissions of short innovative fiction and prose, or short critical articles about them, are encouraged; please contact me at this e-mail address for details. The goal of the magazine is to encourage conversation about alternative fiction, so I look forward to hearing from you.

Transgenders thwart AIDS education
by Judy Nichols
The Arizona Republic

This article explores gender flexibility among Native Americans and other indigenous societies in the context of HIV/AIDS education initiatives. Wesley Thomas, a Navajo professor (University of Indiana) and author quoted in the article, explains that historically many tribes accepted and revered people with ambiguous or both male and female sex organs, as well as those whose sex was not in dispute but who took on both gender roles. Though Christianity and Westernisation led many members of these communities to embrace much stricter gender categories, some Native peoples do not identify with dualisms like male/female. This means that a man who has sex with a male who presents himself to the world as a female may not call himself gay. Such a person may not relate to - see the implication of - materials distributed by HIV/AIDS workers who are advocating safe sex for gay men.


Tour opens way for sex-change (sic) players
By Peter Stone

Transsexual Mianne Bagger's long and emotional journey to be accepted in the ranks of women's professional golf has taken a decided turn for the better with a decision by the Ladies' European Tour to change its membership regulations to remove the barrier against sex-change players.

At a meeting of the tour players' council and board of directors in Cheshire, England, on Tuesday, it was decided to approve a change in regulations that previously stated that applicants for membership must be female at birth.


Sexologist eyes classes for cops

HAVANA -- In the four years since she became a transvestite, life hadn't been too difficult for Gillian. But this summer, she says, she was detained twice by police who threatened her with prison for the crime of "peligrosidad" -- dangerousness. Her "dangerousness," apparently, is her dress and makeup.

Cuban transvestites say police have come to their homes lately to warn them to dress "in a corresponding manner." Gillian, 19, says she is afraid to go outdoors dressed as a woman.

But help is on the way.

Mariela Castro Espin, an internationally renowned sexologist who happens to be the niece of President Fidel Castro, wants Cuba's National Revolutionary Police to undergo gender-sensitivity training.


Police investigating string of campus hate crimes
By Michael Gluskin
Staff writer

University Police are investigating a string of hate crimes that occurred over the weekend in two North Campus dorms after students awoke to profanity, racial slurs and anti-gay graffiti written in stairwells and on walls and elevator doors.

The words were found on the third and fourth floors in Cambridge Hall and the third and eighth floors of Centreville South Hall Saturday morning. Police surveyed the scenes, and Facilities Management cleaned up the writing.

"It was written in very big lettering on the wall. It was almost illegible," said freshman information systems major Jesse Chen, a fourth-floor Cambridge resident. "The walls were pretty much covered with graffiti."


Protesters confront Republican delegates

NEW YORK -- Roving bands of activists engaged in direct confrontation with Republican delegates and targeted the headquarters of major corporations yesterday as arrests continue to mount outside the Republican National Convention.

Anti-war protesters, conducting a largely peaceful weeklong effort in their opposition to the administration of President George W. Bush, designated yesterday as a day for "direct action."

Two of the largest demonstrations involved a memorial march at the World Trade Center site, which police prevented from moving toward the convention at Madison Square Garden, and a "shut-up-a-thon" at the headquarters of Fox News, the conservative TV channel that has been accused of bias in favour of Mr. Bush.


First report on state of human rights:
Wednesday, 1 September 2004, 12:21 pm
Press Release: Human Rights Commission

. . .Over five thousand New Zealanders contributed to the report that identifies where we must do better. "The fundamental right to be who we are and to be respected for who we are - whether a disabled person, Pakeha, Màori, Pacific, Asian, gay, lesbian, a transgender or intersex person, male, female, young or old - is still not a reality for all New Zealanders," Ms Noonan says. "Violence, bullying and harassment represent the most flagrant human rights abuses and are present in too many New Zealand homes, schools, workplaces, playgrounds and playing fields.


Group's Target: Same-Sex Marriage
By DANIELA ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writer

The Family Institute of Connecticut intends to file a motion today seeking to become a party to a lawsuit brought by seven same-sex couples seeking the right to marry.

"We're doing this because we don't want to happen in Connecticut what happened in Massachusetts," said Brian Brown, the group's executive director. "To use the court to rewrite the law [is] an attack on the democratic process."

The lawsuit, filed last week in New Haven Superior Court by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, claims that the state's marriage laws violate the equal protection and due process provisions of the state constitution. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will defend the state.


Gay-rights groups give to defeat measure
Two national gay and lesbian groups donate thousands of dollars to oppose a measure banning same-sex marriage

National gay-rights groups are spending heavily to defeat a measure banning same-sex marriage in Oregon, a state they say has the best chance of defeating such measures.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has given $500,000 to the Oregon group opposing Measure 36, which is on the Nov. 2 ballot. It would amend the state Constitution to say that marriage only between a man and a woman is legal.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian rights group in the country, also has pledged $100,000 to the opposition group, called No on Constitutional Amendment 36.


Published by The Guardian/UK
President Admits War on Terror Cannot Be Won
by Julian Borger
George Bush admitted yesterday the war on terror could not be won, as the Republican party convention, designed to showcase the president as a resolute leader at a time of national peril, was launched in New York.

The White House rushed to limit the potential damage as Democrats seized on the remarks as a sign of defeatism. A spokesman for the president said he was simply pointing out the unconventional nature of the conflict.


Bettendorf, IA
Mayor wants voters to consider anti-discrimination law which protects sexual orientation
By Karetha Dodd

BETTENDORF - Same sex marriage rights may be the more high-profile issue, but many gay activists say their biggest fight is to get anti-discrimination protection in America's cities and states. Bettendorf is considering adding the protection to its anti-discrimination laws.

Bettendorf's Mayor is bringing the controversial issue to City Hall.  What's being considered is a law that would make it illegal for an employer or a landlord to turn someone away based solely on their sexual orientation. Mayor Mike Freemire wants to conduct a survey to find out what Bettendorf residents think about the issue.

American Arrested For Sex With Afghan Male
(Kabul)  Police in Kabul have arrested an American adviser to the Afghan government for allegedly having homosexual relations with an Afghan man, officials said on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the government said the man met several times with a male Afghani citizen in a hotel in the capital.  The Afghan citizen was questioned and confessed to police that the American had paid him for sex.

Homosexuality it a crime in Afghanistan, punishable by lengthy prison terms with hard labour.  Under the Taliban, which was ousted in 2001, the country was under tight Shariah, or Islamic, law.  At that time gays were crushed to death by having walls toppled on them.

“Islam doesn’t allow homosexuality,” said Abdul Halim Samadi, a prosecutor dealing with the current case in Kabul.  

Nevertheless, Samadi acknowledged that a gay "underground" exists in the country.


"Social partnership" plan to halt Northern Ireland gay attacks
Ben Townley, UK

A conference is being planned in the Northern Ireland city of Derry, in a bid to help stop the ongoing homophobic attacks taking place in the city.

Community leaders and members of local Churches and political parties are expected to attend the meeting to discuss how to combat the crisis in the town, which has seen an increase in attacks against gay men.

These have included death threats, violence and graffiti on homes of those suspected of being gay. The latest attack involved a man in his 50s, as reported yesterday, being hounded in his own home because of his sexuality.


Brazil to give gay teenagers sex education
Ben Townley, UK

Brazil is set to launch its first ever sex education campaign targeted at gay adolescents, according to press reports, in a bid to curb the rise of HIV amongst gay men.

The country's Ministry of Health launched a campaign to work with non-governmental organisations that focus on the health of gay, teenage boys yesterday.

The campaign will also look at preventing the increased transmission of HIV amongst gay adults.


Honduras recognizes 3 gay groups
Associated Press

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) - Catholic and Protestant churches joined Tuesday in criticizing a government decision to grant legal recognition to three homosexual rights groups.

"It's sad that the government is giving its blessing to homosexuals," Roman Catholic Church spokesman Jesus Mora told a news conference. He said the government measure implies "that kind of behavior is acceptable."

The government on Friday granted legal recognition to three groups - the Violet Collective, the Gay Community and the Gay-Lesbian Group - a relatively mundane step that essentially gives them the right to act before courts and government institutions.

The deputy justice minister, Fernando Suazo, said the measure does not authorize gay marriage, but would help overcome discrimination.


Gay minister scared by hard stance

A gay Hamilton church minister who supports the Civil Union Bill says the hardline stance of people such as Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki scares her.

Rev Dr Susan Thompson, a minister at St Paul's Methodist Church, says loud conservative Christian voices do not represent the majority Christian opinion.

"The thing that scares me about Destiny Churches is the absolute certainty people like Brian Tamaki have that they know what God wants and [that] they know the difference between right and wrong and good and evil."

Last week, Mr Tamaki organised a march involving 5000 protesters outside Parliament as a stand against the Civil Union Bill, which legally recognises same-sex relationships.


Court weighs harsher sentence in gay underage sex case
By John Hanna - Associated Press Writer

Topeka — The state can punish illegal underage sex more harshly when it involves homosexual acts, even if the only goal is promoting traditional sexual roles, an official told the Kansas Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Deputy Atty. Gen. Jared Maag said legislators had such broad latitude in setting policy that "any conceivable, rational basis" would justify the different treatment.

Maag argued in favor of upholding a sentence of more than 17 years in prison for Matthew R. Limon, convicted of criminal sodomy for having sex at age 18 with a 14-year-old boy in 2000.

Had the victim been a girl, Limon could have been sentenced to one year and three months in prison under a 1999 law. His attorneys argued the different treatment represents discrimination against gays and lesbians -- and is unconstitutional.


Keyes defends comments about Cheney’s gay daughter
By Jennifer Skalka and Ofelia Casillas
Tribune staff reporters

NEW YORK -- Madison Square Garden, home of many prizefights and hockey brawls, seems a fitting venue for Alan Keyes to be meeting his fellow Republicans.

The candidate for U.S. Senate has miffed many members of the Illinois delegation by spending more time on national talk shows than schmoozing with them.

He has been prickly with the media, chastising reporters for asking "inappropriate" questions.

As the Republican National Convention focused on unity Tuesday, Keyes lashed out at the vice president's gay daughter.


E-mail: Eatery wants no gays

Gay South Beach party promoter Edison Farrow is less than touched by an e-mail inadvertently forwarded to him after an event at Touch on Lincoln Road.

''I am not crazy about having a room full of gay men in our restaurant,'' reads an e-mail supposedly sent by Touch co-owner David Tornek to operations manager Shai Zelering and publicist Susan Scott. ``Interestingly enough, the day after we had that party we had a table of gay men in the restaurant and at the bar . . . not what I am looking for.'

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Teenagers with HIV/AIDS dare to speak out
A. Junaidi, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

What does the public need to know when a group of young people with HIV/AIDS gather and engage in scientific -- not self-pitying -- discussion?

Certainly, their courage to "come out of the closet" and to share their life stories is something that must be lauded, against the prevailing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

The young people, mostly in their 20s, did not only make a public outcry of what had happened to them, but they also delivered a strong demand to the government to give much-needed attention to young people living with HIV/AIDS by establishing "youth-friendly services at health centers" immediately.


CNN refuses to air gay Republican ad

Cable news giant CNN has informed the gay political group Log Cabin Republicans that it will not air its new television advertising campaign, which calls for inclusion of gays and their issues in the Republican Party platform. The ad is in response to the rejection of a Log Cabin "unity plank" by the party's platform committee last week and the adoption of language calling for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and the outlawing of all legal recognition of gay relationships. While other cable and local broadcast outlets are airing the ad, CNN claimed that its images are "too controversial." "We are deeply disappointed that CNN has refused our voices the opportunity to be heard," said Log Cabin executive director Patrick Guerriero. "Last week we told the Republican Party that you cannot sugarcoat the vicious and mean-spirited platform. Today we want CNN to know that you cannot sugarcoat the politics of fear and intolerance that lead to hate."

Brouder denies benefits for domestic partners
By NATE CARLISLE of the Tribune’s staff

The president of Columbia College says he will not act on a proposal to give domestic partner benefits to employees, killing the measure recommended by the faculty.

Columbia College President Gerald Brouder yesterday in an interview repeated what he said he told faculty in a meeting before the start of the semester: The proposal will remain on his desk and will not go to the institution’s trustees for their consideration.

Among other things, Brouder said allowing benefits for gay and lesbian couples might cause problems at the college’s 15 military campuses. He said he would not permit domestic partner benefits under his administration.


Supreme Court Allows Group to Intervene in Lawsuit

Little Rock (AP) - The Arkansas Supreme Court Tuesday granted a requested by leaders of an effort to constitutionally ban gay marriage to intervene in a lawsuit against the measure.

Last week, The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit to knock the issue off the November ballot in Arkansas. The lawsuit claims the proposed amendment is deliberately vague to hide potentially far-ranging effects on civil unions, single people and heterosexual couples.

An attorney for the Arkansas Marriage Amendment Committee said today that his group looks forward to presenting its case in opposition to the ACLU before the state's highest court.


Kansas Supreme Court Hears Gay Teen Appeal
by Newscenter Staff

(Topeka, Kansas) The American Civil Liberties Union today asked the Kansas Supreme Court to reduce the sentence of a young man who is serving 16 years more in prison than he would if he were heterosexual because of Kansas's so-called "Romeo and Juliet" law. The law makes sexual relations with a minor a lesser crime if both people are teens, but only applies to opposite-sex relations.

"The Constitution guarantees that all citizens are supposed to be treated equally, but Matthew Limon is set to be in prison until he is 36 years old, while he would have been released before turning 20 if he were heterosexual," said Dick Kurtenbach, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. "We're not saying the state shouldn't punish those who break the law. We are only asking that the state do the right thing and treat gay teenagers the same as it does straight teenagers."


Good Old Gays
Homosexuality was an intrinsic tradition of ancient India, states a new research. Delhi Times brings you the findings which might help resolve the contemporary debate...

When art-curator Alka Pande, set out to conduct a research on homosexuality, she realised that unlike today's societal disapproval, alternate sexuality had been an intrinsic part of ancient India. Her soon to be released Ardhanarishvara : The Androgyne -- Probing the Gender Within is evidence of the above fact. Says Pande, "Right from literature to mythology and religion, homosexuality in ancient India is considered to be the ultimate and acceptable form of the sacred kind."

In fact, while society maintains that men and woman are "made that way", various studies prove there are at least thirteen types of bisexualities, as defined by sexual desires and experiences. On the other hand, cross-dressing is considered to be a highly erotic form of sexuality. Reason? One becomes "more than what he or she was before and often feels more attractive in the guise of the opposite sex". Says Pande, "It draws attention to the real gender of the cross-dresser, while creating a hyper sexual illusion. "


Size matters

However well-meaning, doctors who perform intersex surgery employ a very finite tool in making their decision. The first measure of manhood is a ruler: If a penis is less than one inch (2.5cm) at birth, it doesn’t count. And if it’s more than three-eighths of an inch (0.9cm) long, it can’t qualify as a clitoris either. Any appendage that falls in the middle must be fixed. Then there’s the question of the urethral opening, which must be in the right place — men don’t pee sitting down. A curving penis must also be corrected.

For a boy to be a boy, he ought to have two testicles just below a straight penis, and only one opening down there. If the genitals fall short, a paediatric urologist will almost always assign the infant a female gender, remove anything protruding too far and prescribe oestrogen at puberty. A talented surgeon can construct a vagina using a piece of the bowel, although the woman who owns it will never experience any sensation inside.

Intersexuality: Two People’s Personal Experience
By Jarmila Dokladalova

Although Curtis Hinkle and Joëlle-Circé Laramée did not meet until this spring when the Organisation Internationale des Intersexués (OII - International Intersex Organisation) was founded, they both share memories of a common experience that goes back as early in their childhood as they can  remember. They were born intersexed, or having anatomical characteristics that could not  be classified strictly as either  “male” or “female.”  They are also both transsexuals, Curtis having undergone Sex re-assignment surgery (SRS) to be male and Joëlle from male to female.

According to a 2003 book published by Rutgers University Press, (Intersex and Identity: The Contested Self by Sharon E. Preves), as many  as four in one hundred individuals may be intersexed if we take into account  hormonal and chromosomal differences along with anatomy. One in 2,000 infants are born with atypical genitalia.

Following the practice of the 1950s and 60s when Curtis and Joëlle  were growing up, they were assigned a gender and underwent surgery to bring their genitalia in compliance with  being a “normal” male and female. The philosophy as espoused by psychologists and psychiatrists of those days stressed that gender identity was determined by upbringing and not by genetics, so assigning a male or female “identity” and then raising the child in that role was their best path to a satisfying life. Both Curtis and Joëlle remember “urinary tract problems” as the only reason given to them for their multiple operations and treatments. Curtis was assigned “female” and Joëlle a “male.” The only problem, it turned out,  was that the doctors in both cases made a mistake.

“I was born with a vaginal opening under the shaft, and it was all closed up,” explains Joëlle. “I realized later in life that I just had the wrong body.”   Before meeting Curtis, which she considers “an epiphany” because she came to understand so much about her past, she was an activist with the Canadian Fight for Transsexual Rights (CFTR). She is now the Canadian vice-President of OII, which Curtis founded this March along with André Fiset.


Reclaiming Gender
By Jarmila Dokladalova

“I identify  as a transsexual when I need to, but I do not necessarily want to be spotted as trans. I first identify as a woman,” asserts Melanie Pasztor, who is well-known in the Ottawa area for her involvement in the community on LGBT and youth issues.

For Melanie, the path to self-discovery started at puberty when she was about 12. She acknowledges that she felt different: “I tried to be one of the guys, but I did not relate to any of them. I could relate more to the girls at school.” She hid her feelings out of fear and did not come out to her parents, who started to suspect when they saw her in the streets wearing different clothes. 

When she was ready to explore her feelings, she turned to the internet and the first word she did a search on was “cross-dressing.” “That is the only word I knew. As I found out, I learned that there were other terms.” At 16, she came out as transgender and a lesbian at the same time. “I was not sure if I was transsexual, because I was scared of the whole medical thing. Hormones can be scary.   ‘I am not going to do that,’ I thought at first.  It was a process.”

 Two years later, at 18, she did come out as transsexual and embarked on the road to transitioning. The first step she undertook in May of 2003 was on the medical front: she started to take hormones, which she said she would have done sooner, but admits with a laugh: “I procrastinated, and there was a two month wait to see the doctor that everyone in the trans community goes to.” The regimen consists of taking a testosterone blocker, estrogen, and provera, which stimulates breast development. 

Deanna, 11, founds COLAGE chapter
By Rachel Grace Toussaint

EXETER - Eleven-year-old Deanna Makinen knows what some people would say about her family. But instead of hiding the fact that she has lesbian parents, the Exeter resident has decided to find more ways to talk about it.

With the help of her mother, Debora Masterson, Deanna has founded a local chapter of Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE).

N.H. COLAGE Seacoast joins countless chapters around the nation and the world working to support young people with Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) parents.

According to Masterson, one reason why Deanna formed the group was to help others like herself.


Furniture maker's ad taunts president

The open letter was hard to miss, taking up two pages of Sunday's New York Times magazine.

On one page was a photo of Mitchell Gold, chairman of a furniture company that bears his name, along with his partner Bob Williams. On the other was a letter to President Bush.

"We hope you enjoy your stay in a metropolis defined by diversity, culture and courage," Gold wrote. "Bob and I would also like to extend an invitation to you to visit our furniture factory in Taylorsville, North Carolina.

"A place where REAL family values are infused into our culture and the spirit of our brand. A culture that welcomes all employees regardless of race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation."


yes.. vote green.. this is what makes sense not war, segragation and cheap labor... that's what is wacky..Australia vote green.. USA vote green.. we need more green.. not more blood

Want a Sex Change? Vote Green

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's election campaign took a wacky turn on Tuesday with claims the Greens party wanted to allow the sale of "party" drugs, state funding for sex changes and laws to make people ride bicycles and eat less meat.

The small but influential Greens party rejected a media report which claimed it would campaign for all that and more during the run-up to the Oct. 9 election.

"Greens back illegal drugs," Melbourne's Herald Sun tabloid declared in a headline above some of the most bizarre policy claims in Australian political history.


Protesters from poor people's group arrested near Republican convention
Canadian Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A day after massive street demonstrations, smaller groups of protesters turned Monday to health care, civil rights and economics - areas where they said President George W. Bush and the Republicans convening in New York's Madison Square Garden have failed the country.

A group called the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign massed a crowd of several thousand outside United Nations headquarters and negotiated with police to march to the convention site, despite lacking a permit. Police proposed a route to a permitted protest area and demonstration leaders eventually accepted.

A few arrests were made when protesters tried to break through barricades set up within two blocks of the Garden along the march route.

Up to then, marchers trooped down city streets with no barricades, passing parked cars and inadvertently setting off some alarms as police - some on scooters - steered the restless, unwieldy crowd through midtown Manhattan rush-hour traffic. Cars were backed up 10 blocks in places.


Gay Marriage Group Calls National Boycott

(New York City) An advocacy group for same-sex marriage is calling on gays and lesbians to stage a one-day boycott show the clout of the pink buck.

Estimates indicate that America's lesbian and gay population spends an average of $1.4 billion each day, totaling $500 billion a year.

Boycott For Equality is calling for a one-day nation-wide economic 'walkout' on October 8, 2004 to make that point clear.


Marriage amendment petitions
falling short
By Jim Siegel
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS - The group pushing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Ohio likely will be forced to submit additional signatures if it hopes to qualify for the November ballot.

The Secretary of State's Office on Monday reported that 24 percent of the nearly 156,000 signatures certified so far by county boards of elections are invalid.

If the trend continues for the remaining 225,000 signatures, the issue will fall roughly 33,000 votes short of the requirement to make it on the ballot. State officials are still waiting for 31 counties, including Hamilton and Butler, to submit their petitions, which were due Friday.

Phil Burress, chairman of the Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage, said his group has collected more than 100,000 extra signatures, which he expects is more than enough to satisfy the requirement of 323,000.

Manchester Pride sees UK's biggest gay wedding
Ben Townley, UK

As well as the now traditional parade, floats and celebrations, Manchester Pride also played host to what could be the country's biggest ever same-sex wedding ceremony over the bank holiday weekend.

Seventy couples are thought to have taken part in the ceremony, which included a religious blessing for the lesbians and gay men who took part.

Although it will have no legal standing - the wedding was essentially a commitment ceremony with religious support - many are seeing the mass wedding as a protest for the right to marry.


Gay man's home attacked in Derry
Ben Townley, UK

Another homophobic attack has taken place in the Derry area of Northern Ireland, this time resulting in a man's home being vandalised.

The unnamed man, aged in his late 50s, had his house splashed with anti-gay graffiti and paint, the region's Rainbow Project reports. The attack took place in the Bogside area.

It follows sustained abuse and attacks on him by local people.

It is the latest in a string of attacks in Northern Ireland, which have recently included death threats, as well as verbal and physical abuse.


HRC sends "Bush: you're fired" billboard trucks into Manhattan

The gay rights group Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday will launch an ad campaign for the Republican National Convention calling for the defeat of President Bush this November. Four large billboard trucks with the message "George W. Bush: You're Fired" on them will troll the streets of Manhattan this week. HRC is sponsoring the trucks to highlight the need to get rid of Bush in light of his support for a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.


Florida paper withdraws Martinez endorsement over antigay ad

The St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times has rescinded its endorsement of Mel Martinez for U.S. Senate in the state's Republican primary, to be held Tuesday, accusing him of "hateful and dishonest attacks" on fellow Republican Bill McCollum. In an editorial published Monday the newspaper said it made "an almost unprecedented step" of withdrawing its endorsement because the former Bush cabinet member "took his campaign into the gutter with hateful and dishonest attacks" against McCollum's support of a hate-crimes bill and expanded embryonic stem cell research. "The Times is not willing to be associated with bigotry," the editorial said. The newspaper now endorses McCollum, the former Orlando-area congressman who was defeated by Bill Nelson in the 2000 Senate race.


Same-sex issue turns political races ugly
By Garin Groff and Bill Bertolino
Opponents of same-sex marriage are rallying conservative supporters with attacks on gay marriage this election season, particularly in two north East Valley legislative districts.

Some moderate politicians say the rhetoric has created a hostile environment, and one gay candidate said that has led to threats against him.

District 7 House candidate Thom Von Hapsburg said he has been followed while driving, had campaign signs cut down and had animal waste thrown at his house several times a week. These activities have become more common, Von Hapsburg said, as political rivals increase their attacks on gay marriage and on his politics.

He said opponent David Burnell Smith has encouraged "hate mongering" with a mailer that states Von Hapsburg supports gay marriage and is "dangerously liberal."

"He's sending out inaccurate information," said Von Hapsburg, who is openly gay. He said he opposes same-sex marriage. "It just fuels these right-wingers even more."


Ballot's wording changed
Council removes controversial language from Article XII repeal effort
By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The ballot issue to repeal Cincinnati's Article XII will no longer contain references to "discrimination" or "sexual orientation," after Cincinnati City Council removed the controversial language from the ballot Monday.

City Council voted 7-1 to change the ballot language just 35 minutes before a scheduled court hearing in which conservative activists sought an injunction to keep the words off the ballot. Republican Sam Malone voted no; Republican Pat DeWine was absent.

"Fairness won today," said Phil Burress, the chairman of the pro-Article XII Equal Rights Not Special Rights Committee. Article XII is an 11-year-old charter amendment that prohibits City Council from enacting gay rights laws.

"It just shows the lengths the other side will go to misrepresent this issue. It is not - in capital letters not - about discrimination. And this proves it," Burress said.


A 'sense of betrayal' for gay Republicans
  By Bill Ainsworth

NEW YORK – Four years ago, Republican gay activists were elated that presidential candidate George W. Bush was willing to meet with them and welcome their presence in the GOP, even if he didn't embrace their agenda.

Today, many of those activists feel betrayed.

President Bush now is running on a platform that calls for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and opposes domestic partnership laws. Bush long has favored allowing faith-based groups to receive federal funding, even though some of them refuse to hire gays and lesbians.

"In many ways, he's taken us back instead of forward," said Brian Bennett, a California Republican delegate from Long Beach. "There's a real sense of betrayal."


Va. Congressman Calls it Quits After Gay Internet Allegations

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Edward L. Schrock abruptly announced Monday that he will not seek a third term in Congress, citing unspecified allegations that have "called into question'' his ability to serve.

Although Schrock did not comment on why he decided against seeking re-election, several Virginia Republicans said allegations that Schrock is gay have roiled the party since they were posted on a Web log Aug. 19.

Schrock, 63, is married and a conservative who voted for legislation to ban gay marriages.

Schrock said in a five-paragraph statement that allegations have surfaced in recent weeks "that have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia's Second Congressional District.''


Monday, August 30, 2004

Gay marriage opponents win appeals court victory
By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- Supporters of a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage in Louisiana won a legal ruling on Monday and the issue made its way to the state Supreme Court.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal overturned a New Orleans judge's ruling that the ban was unconstitutional and should be stripped from the Sept. 18 ballot.

The ruling was in one of three suits filed on behalf of a group called Forum for Equality. The suits argue that the "Defense of Marriage" amendment is unconstitutional because it would deprive unmarried couples -- gay or straight -- of the right to enter into certain contracts.


by: J Smith, OIA Newswire

The Human Rights Campaign and the National Black Justice Coalition called on President Bush today to repudiate anti-gay speakers at the Republican National Convention. HRC's Cheryl Jacques and National Black Justice Coalition's H. Alexander Robinson sent the following letter today to the President today:

Dear Mr. President,

As advocates for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Americans, we are writing to you on a matter of grave concern.

We are deeply disturbed to learn that Donnie McClurkin, Sheri Dew and Bishop Keith Butler, who have made deeply offensive comments about GLBT Americans, will be featured at the Republican Convention and we urge you to repudiate their divisive and appalling comments.


Blame the Law: Section 377 Drives Gays Into A Twilight Zone

It takes a tragedy to make people sit up and take notice. Therefore, in the context of Pushkin Chandra's recent murder, it becomes imperative to examine the socio-legal situation regarding homosexuality in India.

It's not easy to be gay in our country. There is immense social stigma attached to it. Families and friends assume that everyone is heterosexual. The abuse starts the moment a young gay person realises his desires. He is suddenly confronted with his 'otherness'. He fails to see any recognition for his feelings, his instincts and his emotions. On the other hand, everything around him says he isn't normal, an aberration, someone who went wrong along the way.

It's hard to maintain your self-esteem in the face of such forceful opposition. Many gay men succumb to this rampant homophobia. Some become depressive, fragile and diffident. Others make choices to please others, they get married and repress their real desires for a lifetime. Very few are able to stand up to the onslaught and try living on their own terms. In a culture, which cannot support long-term stable same sex relationships, many of these men live a life in which they struggle to steal moments to love each other.

Now, consider this: Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes it a criminal act for two people of the same sex to love each other by sharing physical intimacy to express that love. A portion of the Section 377 defines "unnatural offences" as "whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend up to 10 years and shall be liable to be fined". The term "unnatural offences" has been interpreted to include sodomy and oral sex.

Here is an essay written by the vice-president of the International Intersex Organisation.
Curtis E. Hinkle

Who is a woman?

Who is a woman? This is a question that some are now asking themselves. I have heard say that a woman is defined by her birth certificate, her hormones, her chromosomes and her genitals.

But all this still cannot and does not define what a woman is; because there are women with high counts of testosterone who even grow beards, others whose chromosomes say xy, xo, xxy, xxxy, xo/xy not to mention those of us who are born with ambiguous genitalia ... yes, intersex people!

I know of many a woman who expresses her masculine side without wanting nor desiring to be male identified and the same goes for men who demonstrate a rather strong penchant for their softer, more feminine side. These people still represent their gender, they are on some point of the gradient scale of their gender is all.

Masculine women and feminine men is something most of us are familiar with and accept but what of the woman who tells you she is a prisoner in her male body? What of the man who says the same thing, are they hallucinating or fantasizing, have they gone off the deep end of sanity?