poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Thursday, November 25, 2004

transdada will be on a 30 day hiatus. it will return last week of december

Battle on Gay Pride Shirts Leads to Suit Against School

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday against a Missouri high school that twice admonished a gay student for wearing T-shirts bearing gay pride messages. The suit charges that the school violated the youth's constitutional right to free expression.

By the account of the civil liberties union, the student, Brad Mathewson, a 16-year-old junior, was sent to the principal's office at Webb City High School on Oct. 20 for wearing a T-shirt that he said came from the Gay-Straight Alliance at a school he previously attended, in Fayetteville, Ark. The shirt bore a pink triangle and the words "Make a Difference!"

Mr. Mathewson, the A.C.L.U. said, was told to turn the shirt inside out or go home and change. Instead he traded shirts with a friend, who wore the gay pride shirt the rest of the day without incident.

A week later, Mr. Mathewson was again admonished for wearing a gay pride T-shirt, this one featuring a rainbow and the inscription "I'm gay and I'm proud." Told once more to turn the shirt instead out or leave, he chose to go home and was eventually ordered not to return to school wearing clothing supporting gay rights.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Court says toy giant must pay transgenders' legal fees

New York's top court ruled Tuesday that Toys "R" Us must pay the legal fees for three transgenders who won a "moral victory" in their discrimination lawsuit against the retail giant. The three customers charged they were verbally harassed and threatened with baseball bats at a Brooklyn store during two shopping excursions there in December 2000. A jury in June 2002 found the plaintiffs were harassed but awarded them only $1 each in damages. Donna McGrath, Tanya Jinks, and Tara Lopez had each sought $300,000 in damages.

Later that year, lawyers for the three were awarded $193,551 by a federal court judge. The Wayne, N.J.-based retail toy giant appealed. A federal appeals court asked New York's court of appeals, the state's top tribunal, to determine if New York law permitted fees in cases where only nominal damages had been awarded. In a 5-2 ruling Tuesday, the court said the fees were justified because the case served "a significant public purpose" by clarifying the rights of transgender people to be protected from discrimination.


Free condom handout suspended by Beijing universities
 Health - AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Two top Beijing universities have suspended a programme to distribute free condoms to students to prevent HIV/AIDS, frowning on it as "inappropriate".

Administrators at prestigious Beijing University and Tsinghua University prevented the handout going ahead Tuesday, saying it was not acceptable and that organizers had not obtained approval.

"We should put more emphasis on guiding college students not to have pre-marital sex," Zhou Baohua, head of Beijing University's hospital, was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying Wednesday.

"Condom use only serves as a secondary method for educating those who can't control themselves."

Louisville Ready To Ditch Gays
(Louisville, Kentucky) Gays and lesbians are expendable under proposals for a new human rights law in Louisville.

A Metro Council committee on Monday approved two versions of the civil rights ordinance: One that includes gays and one that does not.

Council must adopt some form of civil-rights law by the end of 2007 or, under the law that merges the city with the county, the existing legislation would be wiped from the books.

During a public hearing on the proposed ordinance the committee heard deputations from both sides of the issue.

The Rev. Cecil Blye Jr., of More Grace Ministries, an evangelical church, said  the council is being "hoodwinked and bamboozled" by gays.


`Exorcism' at St. Paul cathedral investigated as hate crime
Associated Press

ST. PAUL - Police are investigating an informal exorcism at the Cathedral of St. Paul as a possible hate crime against homosexuals.

Authorities say the ritualistic sprinkling of blessed oil and salt around the church and in donation boxes amounted to costly vandalism.

The damage was discovered earlier this month after words were exchanged between members of the Rainbow Sash Alliance, a gay rights group, and an opposing group, Catholics Against Sacrilege.

The groups are at odds over homosexuals participating in communion.


ACLU Sues Missouri School District
Associated Press Writer

The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday sued a southwest Missouri school district for prohibiting a high school student from wearing gay pride-themed T-shirts.

The district has said the T-shirts were disruptive and therefore a violation of school dress code. The lawsuit filed in federal court also names Webb City High School Principal Stephen P. Gollhofer.

"Because I'm gay, my school is trying to take away my constitutional right as an American to express myself," the student, Brad Mathewson, said in a statement.


Campuses are hot spots for sexual orientation hate crimes
ASU student groups combat discrimination with education
By Jenna Eckenrode

In a national 2003 report released by the FBI this month, hate crimes based on sexual orientation made up 17 percent of all hate crimes, with nearly half of those crimes taking place at schools or on college campuses.

Exactly 1,239 incidents were reported, which kept pace with 2002's numbers. Half of the hate crimes based on sexual orientation occurred at schools or on college campuses.


Arizonans in poll split over amendment banning gay unions
Elvia Díaz
The Arizona Republic

Arizonans are split over a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and they strongly support outlawing smoking in public places, a new statewide poll indicates.

The new poll suggests 49 percent of 372 registered voters surveyed last week favor amending the state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriages while 43 percent opposed it. Eight percent were undecided or had no opinio


Student group sues University
CLS demands right to be selective with members
by Ryan Kost

ASU's Christian Legal Society is claiming in a lawsuit against ASU that the University's Student Code of Conduct's nondiscrimination policy discriminates against its beliefs.

ASU CLS members filed suit against the University Nov. 17 after a request to be exempt from a club nondiscrimination clause was denied by ASU administrators.

CLS spokesman Casey Mattox said the policy doesn't allow them to be selective with their membership, potentially forcing them to include as formal members students who are neither Christian nor uphold the Christian values they represent.


L.A. Bishop Would Sacrifice Gay Rites For Unity 
by The Associated Press

(Los Angels, California) The Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles said he would stop blessing same-sex unions in an attempt to win back three breakaway Southern California parishes and appease conservative critics - but he also said his priests would be free to continue officiating at ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.

Bishop Jon Bruno of the six-county Los Angeles diocese also called Tuesday for an international church summit in Los Angeles. He asked that it include African bishops who have claimed jurisdiction over the three parishes that bolted in mid-August from the Episcopal Church because of differences over Scripture and homosexuality.

The parishes - St. James Church in Newport Beach, All Saints' Church in Long Beach and St. David's Church in North Hollywood - said they had placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church in Uganda. The Episcopal Church is the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Couples use Lockyer's words against him
Judge to decide if ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

A group of gay and lesbian couples and the city of San Francisco are trying to use Attorney General Bill Lockyer's cautious defense of California's ban on same-sex marriage to their advantage as they challenge the law.

In separate filings Monday before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, lawyers for the couples and the city claimed that Lockyer had virtually conceded one of their main points - that domestic partnership falls far short of marriage, even under a new California law that provides partners many of the same benefits as spouses. That law is due to take effect Jan. 1, but is also being challenged in court.

Kramer is scheduled to hear arguments Dec. 22 on whether the ban on same- sex marriage discriminates unconstitutionally on the basis of sex or sexual orientation. Lockyer, in a filing last month, contended California has a policy of treating intimate partners equally - as illustrated by the domestic partner law - but is entitled to follow "the deeply rooted and historic understanding of marriage.''

In Monday's briefs, City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office argued that the state is undermining the constitutionality of its marriage law by offering same-sex couples many of the legal benefits of marriage while withholding the right to marry.


Romanian elections marred by antigay politics

Romania's leading gay rights organization urged the ruling party Tuesday not to incite citizens against gays and lesbians to gain advantage in a closely disputed election campaign. Gay rights has become one of the central issues ahead of Sunday's elections in light of centrist presidential candidate Traian Basescu's comments that he supports equal rights for gays and lesbians.

The dominant Orthodox Church condemned Basescu's statements, and the ruling Social Democratic Party has used the statements against Basescu, who is the mayor of Bucharest. "Human rights and the rights of a sexual minority should not become an issue in the elections," said Florin Buhuceanu, who heads Accept, Romania's main gay rights group. Buhuceanu also condemned "the way in which the Social Democratic Party is trying to use this topic, by inciting Romania's population against sexual minorities, when the level of discrimination is high anyway."


Arizonans in poll split over amendment banning gay unions
Elvia Díaz
The Arizona Republic

Arizonans are split over a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and they strongly support outlawing smoking in public places, a new statewide poll indicates.

The new poll suggests 49 percent of 372 registered voters surveyed last week favor amending the state's Constitution to ban same-sex marriages while 43 percent opposed it. Eight percent were undecided or had no opinion.

The majority, or 62 percent, of those interviewed Thursday-Sunday said they would support a statewide smoking ban in public places, including restaurants, bars and workplaces. Thirty-five percent opposed it, and 3 percent were undecided. Health organizations announced plans to put the smoking ban in the 2006 ballot.

The poll by Channel 8 (KAET) and the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.


Anti-Gay Marriage Advertorial Rankles 'Washington Post' Readers
By Joe Strupp

NEW YORK A 16-page advertising insert espousing a strong argument against gay marriage ran in some editions of The Washington Post Sunday, sparking more than 1,000 e-mails and phone calls, according to Ombudsman Michel Getler, who said most of the comments opposed the publication as offensive.

"They were overwhelmingly negative about the Post distributing this thing," Getler told E&P, noting that many of the responses were from outside the Post circulation area, indicating a formal campaign against the publication may have begun. "People were upset and they let the paper know."

The advertorial did not run in the metro edition of the Post, according to Getler, but could be found in about 200,000 zoned copies. It was labeled "BothSides Magazine" and appeared to be a creation of Grace Christian Church, with support from a number of Virginia area churches.

Formatted like a magazine, the publication included articles that argued against comparing gay-marriage rights to civil rights and criticized same-sex couples as parents.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Nearly half of those with HIV are women
Reuters News Service

LONDON -- Women make up nearly half of the 37.2 million adults living with HIV and in sub-Saharan Africa the proportion rises to almost 60 percent, according to a UN report released today.

"Increasingly the face of AIDS is young and female," said Dr Kathleen Cravero, deputy executive director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

In every region of the globe, the number of women infected with the deadly virus has risen during the past two years. East Asia had the highest jump with 56 percent, followed by Eastern Europe and Central Asia with 48 percent.

Topeka Narrowly Outlaws Anti-Gay Bias
Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Kansas is as conservative as any state, but its capital city has taken a small step toward protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The Topeka City Council last week narrowly approved an ordinance prohibiting bias in city hiring or employment based on sexual orientation.

Many activists were disappointed, hoping the council would enact a broader ordinance against discrimination in housing, lending and private employment. Yet a few took some comfort in the small progress they did perceive.

Part of it was timing. The vote on Nov. 16 came two weeks after President Bush carried Kansas with 62 percent of the vote and during an election when 11 states approved constitutional bans on gay marriage.


SA withdraws same-sex bill

South Australia Government has withdrawn a Bill that would give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, except in the areas of adoption, access to reproductive technology and marriage, from the Lower House.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson says the Bill would have a better chance of passing through Parliament this year if it is first debated in the Upper House.

"It became clear from the agenda in this place that this Bill could make no progress this year, indeed it would have difficulty making progress early next year," he said.


Homophobic incidents at Lafayette College
The Express-Times

EASTON -- A gay student at Lafayette College was reportedly harassed over the weekend by a person claiming to offer discount cell phone service to homosexuals.

The incident marked the second time in the past week that a gay student has been targeted for harassment.

In the latest incident, the unidentified student was in his Ramer Hall dorm room at 7 p.m. Saturday when he received a call on his cell phone from a person claiming to be a representative of his wireless phone carrier.

The caller told the student during the call that the carrier was offering discounts to gay people, said Hugh Harris, the school's director of public safety.


Controversial Equality Commission in Queen's Speech
Ben Townley, UK

Proposals for the first equality commission to offer support for victims of anti-gay discrimination were included in today's Queen's Speech, as the government pushes ahead with its plans for the single Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR).

If backed by parliament, the CEHR will be the first time that discrimination and prejudice based on sexual orientation will be included in the remit of an equality body.


Asylum for Isalam

Two of Isalam's gay friends were murdered by the Islamic fundamentalists of the GIA (Group Islamic Arme) in 1994 and 1996. He grew up in a district that was a stronghold of the GIA, where gay people live in fear of beatings, torture and murder.

Islam witnessed the stoning of two gay men in the street in 2001.

In 2002, he was found having sex with a man and reported to the GIA who sent members to his house. Isalam was beaten and threatened with death. At around the same time he was due to be called up for military service, and feared that he would suffer the same fate as many other gay conscripts: rape, torture and beatings.

Because Islam avoided military service, his return to Algeria would result in two years imprisonment in a military prison, where brutality is universal and gay inmates suffer routine queer-bashings and sexual assaults.


Denomination Apologises To Gays

(Pretoria) South Africa's Dutch Reformed Church has issued a formal apology to the nation's gay community for years of religiously fuelled homophobia.

For decades the church has condemned homosexuality, fought laws extending rights to gays and lesbians, and battled against the recognition of same-sex relationships.

At its general synod in October The Dutch Reformed Church agreed that its anti-gay attitude was rooted in the past and voted to make peace with the gay community.

The apology was made at a special service at the Reforming Church in Muckleneuk by the new leader of the denomination, Dr Kobus Gerber.  


Gay parents denied right to baptise children

Any priest who may have issues with baptizing a child with homosexual parents should reconsider their line of work, believes the Archbishop's Chaplain Michael Persson.

According to DN on Monday, Persson has said that a priest should never rule out baptism of a child even if he or she disputes the status of the child’s parents.

"All children should be welcome in church," he said. "Baptism is a fundamental right. Anyone who is in legal care of a child should be able to have his or her baby blessed."


Tory councillors resign over "homophobic" claims
Ben Townley, UK

Two Conservative councillors have resigned in Falmouth, after they were accused of being anti-gay .

The councillors quit following an ongoing row involving accusations of UKIP sympathies and homophobia.

They have now warned that other local party activists and members may well leave the party in the wake of the fall out, which began when some members were accused of showing a pro-UKIP video earlier this year.


City seeks 'anti-gay' album ban
By Tom Bishop
BBC News entertainment reporter

The first city-wide boycott of reggae and rap albums with "anti-gay" lyrics is being considered in Brighton.

Councillors want music retailers HMV, Virgin Megastore and MVC to stop selling albums with homophobic lyrics in its Brighton and Hove branches.

While the council does not have the power to ban their sale, it can urge retailers to act on their objections.

"We do not condone such lyrics, but customers should be able to make their own choices," an HMV spokesman said.


ACLU to announce if lawsuit to be filed
By Derek Spellman
Globe Staff Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. - The American Civil Liberties Union is expected to announce today whether a lawsuit will be filed against the Webb City School District on behalf of a student who wore gay-pride T-shirts to school.

The ACLU has said it might pursue legal action after Brad Mathewson, 16, a Webb City High School junior, was told Oct. 20 he could not wear a shirt identifying the FHS Gay-Straight Alliance, a group at his former school in Fayetteville, Ark. The back of the shirt displayed a pink triangle, symbols representing gay and straight couples, and the words "Make a Difference."

Mathewson also wore a homemade shirt that said "I'm gay and I'm proud" on Oct. 27, but was told the shirt also violated the school dress code.


High hate crime statistics deceiving
By LOLITA HARPER, Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO - The number of hate crimes reported in San Bernardino County increased in 2003, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Of the 16 law enforcement agencies that chose to report hate crime statistics to the FBI for its annual report, six showed an increase in incidences from 2002 to 2003. Percentages are difficult to calculate, however, because three of these agencies Hesperia, Victorville and San Bernardino Unified School District police did not report any 2002 incidents.

The fact that more agencies are tabulating their hate crimes and identifying the motivations behind certain incidents reflects a positive trend, officials said


Minister faces gay marriage 'charges'
By Gary Klien, IJ reporter

Rev. Janie Spahr presided over ceremony of two men; Church is investigating

A Presbyterian minister in Marin County is facing an internal church trial for presiding over the marriage of two gay men earlier this year in Canada.


Majority Of Canadians Now Support Gay Marriage
by Jan Prout Toronto Bureau

(Toronto, Ontario)  As the number of Canadian provinces that allow same-sex couples to wed grows a new poll shows that for the first time a majority of Canadians support gay marriage.

The Pollara survey, taken for Rogers Media, shows that if a direct vote by all Canadians were held regarding same-sex marriage, 52% would allow gay couples to officially marry and to register their marriage with their province like other couples.  Four-in-ten (41%) would vote no to such a proposition, while seven percent are undecided.

The highest level of support for same-sex marriage is found among residents of Quebec (61%), followed by those in British Columbia (56%) and Ontario (50%). All three provinces allow gay marriage.

People in Atlantic Canada are divided equally ( yes 45% vs. no 45%).  Only one of the 3 Maritime provinces, Nova Scotia allows gay marriage. 


Revision Marches to Social Agenda
Conservative State Board of Education Leans on Publishers to Tweak Marriage and Sexuality References in Public School Health Textbooks
by Scott Gold

SPRING, Texas -- Outside the Spring Church of Christ, a large roadside sign says a lot about the prevailing sensibility in this cordial town. It reads: "Support New Testament Morality."

This is the home and powerbase of Terri Leo, a state Board of Education member representing 2.5 million people in East Texas.

At the urging of Leo and several other members — who describe themselves as Christian conservatives — the board this month approved new health textbooks for high school and middle school students after publishers said they would tweak references to marriage and sexuality.

One agreed to define marriage as a "lifelong union between a husband and a wife." Another deleted words that were attacked by conservatives as "stealth" references to gay relationships; "partners," for example, was changed to "husbands and wives." A passage explaining that adolescence brings the onset of "attraction to others" became "attraction to the opposite sex."

Monday, November 22, 2004

Gay cops sought
SFPD estimates 25 gay male officers on force.
By Alison Soltau | Staff Writer

Alarmed that The City, often viewed as the nation's gay capital, has only about 25 gay male officers in its 2,100-strong police department, cops have undertaken their first recruitment drive specifically targeting this community.

For the past month, ending today, cops have targeted Castro District bars and gyms, and established a recruitment table at Castro and 18th streets, in hope of communicating that the SFPD welcomes gays and lesbians. Some 350 men and 150 women have taken applications from the Castro site, which is part of a broader SFPD recruitment drive.

According to the gay police officers' advocacy group San Francisco Pride Alliance -- which came up with the estimate of 25 gay officers -- a combination of the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, which claimed 50 gay cops, and a perception that the Police Department is a "macho" culture, could explain the low number of gay cops.

Lesbians, not as affected by AIDS, are far better represented, with about 210 officers -- much closer to the 10.5 percent gays and lesbian each represent of The City's overall population.


Muslims protest gay education

UNI Toronto Nov 21: Gay education in Toronto’s public schools has brought the Muslims of the city on a collision course with the administration and its policy of tolerance towards different groups, including homosexuals.Muslim parents, riled at the gay education classes being held in schools, are protesting against the Toronto district school board’s ‘anti-homophobia’ education which seeks to make children accept gay relationships.

The parents want their children excluded from these classes but neither the school authorities nor the Ontario government are succumbing to their demand.

The protest centered around the anti-homophobia education classes held at the Market Lane Public School earlier this week. One of the films shown during these classes featured a number of interviews with children of same-sex parents who talked about their feelings at being taunted for belonging to gay parents.


Leno takes aim, The Ex holds a 'do
By P.J. Corkery | Staff Writer

WHETHER YOU'RE GAY or straight, activist or apolitical, hear and heed the words of Mark Leno the other night at an awards dinner held by amfAR, the respected organization that funds research and education into AIDS. The times they are a-changin', as the man said, so here's the heads-up.

"To those who say the struggle for marriage equality has been 'Too much, too fast, too soon,'" the assemblyman said, "we say 'Enough!'

"Enough of Democratic leaders buying into Karl Rove's cynical, handcrafted game plan. By doing so they are increasing the store and stock of homophobia in this country. Homophobia is on the rise; even in California, 91 percent of college students report hearing slurs about sexual identity on campus. ... Don't think that homophobia isn't impactful. Each of us is responsible for our own actions, but homophobia is connected to the rise in HIV. When you have a community disparaged and labeled by the nation as inferior, not worthy of equality, self-destructive behavior in the young of that community results. And half the new HIV infections are among those 25 years of age and younger.

"I will not let the gay, lesbian, bi, transgender community become the whipping child for America.


Gays Targeted In 1 Of Six Hate Crimes
by The Associated Press

(Washington) Over 7,400 hate crime incidents occurred nationwide last year, more than half of them motivated by racial prejudice most often against black people, the FBI reported Monday.

Hate crimes motivated by anti-black racial bias totaled 2,548 in 2003, more than double such crimes against all other racial groups combined. There were 3,150 black victims in these cases, including four who were murdered, according to the annual FBI report.

The overall total of 7,489 hate crime incidents reported in 2003 was slightly above the number reported in 2002. Nearly two-thirds of the crimes involved in such cases are intimidation, vandalism or property destruction.

But there are also hundreds of violent crimes, including 14 murders. There were more than 2,700 assaults, 444 bias-related robberies, burglaries and thefts, and 34 arson incidents.


House moves to defeat constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
By DAVID ESPO AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled House moved toward certain defeat of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes pushed to a vote in the run-up to Election Day


Gay Adoption Inching Toward Supreme Court
By Paul Johnson

(Washington) A nasty co-parenting battle being fought out in two states between an estranged lesbian couple is expected to wind up in the US Supreme Court and could include the issue of whether states which do not recognize same-sex relationships must honor civil unions from those which do.

The case revolves around a two year old girl born through artificial insemination to Lisa Miller-Jenkins. At the time she was in a relationship with Janet Miller-Jenkins, which had been formalized by a civil union in Vermont where they resided

by Rex Wockner

Eritrea expels 'immoral' people

The African nation of Eritrea expelled three foreign InterContinental hotel workers in October over "a question of immorality," Information Minister Ali Abdu Ahmed told the Agence France-Presse news wire.

At least one of the hotel workers was said to be openly gay.

"They exercised immoral activities, which invade our tradition and culture," Ahmed said.

An InterContinental spokeswoman said the employees were re-assigned to hotels in other nations.

AFP said homosexuality is not illegal in Eritrea.

Many amphibian species close to extinction

Washington - Up to 122 amphibian species have become extinct since 1990, evidence that they are "under unprecedented assault", according to the online edition of Science Express. 

In a study unprecedented for its extent of international collaboration, 500 scientists from more than 60 countries found that frogs, toads, newts and salamanders are experiencing "tens of thousands of years worth of extinctions in just a century".


As Ice Thaws, Arctic Peoples at Loss for Words
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (Reuters) - What are the words used by indigenous peoples in the Arctic for "hornet," "robin," "elk," "barn owl" or "salmon?" If you don't know, you're not alone.

Many indigenous languages have no words for legions of new animals, insects and plants advancing north as global warming thaws the polar ice and lets forests creep over tundra.

"We can't even describe what we're seeing," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference which says it represents 155,000 people in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia.

In the Inuit language Inuktitut, robins are known just as the "bird with the red breast," she said. Inuit hunters in north Canada recently saw some ducks but have not figured out what species they were, in Inuktitut or any other language.


the Cleveland Plain Dealer
Group Blasts Political Quizzing of U.S. Science-Panel Nominees
by John Mangels

The Bush administration's practice of screening some potential government science advisers about their political views is improper, the nation's top science organization says.

In a strongly worded report and public comments last week, members of a National Academies of Science and Engineering panel said quizzing candidates for federal science advisory committees about their voting record or party affiliation or whether they agree with the president's policies is "not relevant" and in some cases may be illegal.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien to Receive International Role Model Award at Equality Forum 2005

PHILADEPLHIA -- November 22 -- "As Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chretien championed same-sex marriage," stated Malcolm Lazin, executive director, Equality Forum. "In 2003, then Prime Minister Chretien called on Canadian citizens to support marriage equality. This impressive support by Mr. Chretien demonstrates the importance to Canadians of minority rights and separation of church and state."

"We are honored to bestow our 10th annual International Role Model Award to Jean Chretien," according to Joe Farrell, chair, Board of Directors, Equality Forum. "Mr. Chretien will attend to accept the award and speak about international GLBT civil rights." The award will be presented on Friday, April 29 at the National Constitution Center, Independence National Historical Park at Equality Forum 2005


'No Man's Land' - a documentary on 'hijras' life
Manish Chand,

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS): Neither male nor female, they inhabit a twilight world that has its own ways. Social pariahs, they are scorned and ridiculed by civilised society.

Yet they are the first to storm a house with their lusty celebratory singing and dancing when a baby is born. If you are simultaneously fascinated and repelled by them, it's not your fault.

For, the in-between world of eunuchs, or 'hijras' as they are called in India, is cluttered with deadly clichés. So tread gently when you see "No Man's Land" - a film on eunuchs screened at the India International Centre here Sunday evening.

The documentary, directed by Prajna Khanna and Himali Kapil, demolishes some pet stereotypes about these grossly misunderstood and misrepresented `in-between' people.


Topics on AIDS,
the intersexed discussed
in conference
by Cassie Gutierrez
News Writer

Last week, Boise State University unveiled the second annual Point of View Academic Conference: Sexuality in a Diverse Society. Tuesday, Nov. 16. The conference opened with a juried art exhibit, reception and awards. "The Performance of Pink." followed at 7 p.m. The conference continued all day on Wednesday and concluded that evening.


Draft legislation on HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination soon

PUNE: Healthcare establishments (HCEs) or doctors denying treatment to HIV/AIDS patients, beware, for the proposed anti-discrimination law that is being readied, if passed, will hold the guilty liable for prosecution. Moreover, employers victimising an employee because of his/her positive status is also liable to be prosecuted under the proposed legislation.

Prepared by a group of lawyers fighting large-scale instances of stigma, discrimination that has haunted HIV/AIDS patients, the draft legislation is almost 90 per cent complete.

According to project co-ordinator of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS unit, advocate Vivek Divan, the project was taken up in August 2002 at the behest of Congress MP, Kapil Sibal who spearheads a parliamentary committee with the aim to build a consensus amongst politicians against AIDS in the country. Sibal is currently the union minister for science and technology.


HIV warning over reggae lyrics

International Development Minister Gareth Thomas fears that discrimination against homosexuals is deterring people from being tested for HIV.

Mr Thomas will tell a conference in St Kitts there must be free speech but people should not incite violence against minorities.

He will single out artistes such as Sizzla Kalonji and Buju Banton.

Scotland Yard is continuing to examine the lyrics by eight artists, including Beenie Man, Elephant Man and Bountie Killer after complaints from gay rights group Outrage!.


HIV/Aids is Expected to Slash African Labour Force By 9 Per Cent By 2010 - UN

By 2010 sub-Saharan Africa's total labour force is expected to shrink by 9 per cent due to HIV/AIDS, with losses topping 20 per cent in the worst affected countries, a United Nations-organized workshop has been told.

By 2015 these losses could reach up to 12 per cent overall, reducing the labour supply by as much 30 per cent to 40 per cent in the highest prevalence countries.

Over 100 hundred representatives from the public and private sectors attended the two-day policy dialogue last week in Accra, capital of Ghana, organized by the UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa (CHGA) in collaboration with ILO-AIDS, part of the UN International Labour Organization, to offer policy makers recommendations to reduce the impact of the pandemic on the continent's labour force.


Recent University diversity statement misses queer community
By John Gabriel

The recently released Statement on Diversity makes no mention of the queer population on campus, either as students, faculty, and staff, or in the community at large. Apparently this statement is an attempt by the University to justify its recruitment, retention, and hiring practices, and since the University doesn’t take sexuality or gender identity into account in admissions or hiring, this is the reason for the oversight.

That said, the statement’s language on the value of diversity in the community suggests that the University should begin recruiting students and faculty based on these criteria. The University has recognized that women and racial minorities may find the environment here somewhat intimidating and has taken special steps to help accommodate their concerns. The queer community, however, is taken for granted.

Radio hosts vilified gays, tribunal rules
By Leonie Lamont

The radio station 2UE says it is about freedom of speech. Others say it is about freedom from shock jocks inciting hatred and fear towards homosexuals.

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal says it is not whether the word poof is derogatory, or is well accepted by gays; it is whether a discussion by the 2UE presenters Steve Price and John Laws of two gay men appearing on the reality television show The Block "incited hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of homosexual men".

Yesterday the tribunal found that it did constitute homosexual vilification, a decision 2UE said it would appeal against. The tribunal said that given the dominant position of Laws and Price as opinion makers, their comments were capable of "inciting others to more than mere mockery or derision ... [but] to severe ridicule", which was a breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

It said that for 50 minutes Price talked about the "young poofs", who were "renovating in their undies", had been condescending and patronising to listeners who disagreed with him, and had verged on the contemptuous when he said "... they could do all sorts of grubby things at about 11 o'clock at night".


Oregon Republican to push for law allowing civil unions
The Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — Just a few weeks ago, state Sen. Ben Westlund voted "yes" on Measure 36 to ban gay marriages in Oregon.

Now, the Central Oregon lawmaker is hard at work drafting a civil-unions bill for the 2005 Legislature to give gay and lesbian couples some of the rights bestowed on married couples.

"It's just the right thing to do," the Tumalo Republican says. "Nothing in Measure 36 prevents the Legislature from affording equal rights and privileges to same-sex couples."

Not everyone in the Oregon Legislature agrees, though, and Westlund's sponsorship of a civil-unions law will thrust him into the middle of what likely will be one of the thorniest debates of the 2005 session


Blessings for same sex relationships increasing in C of E

The Church of England is "yielding to increasing pressure" to conduct blessings for gay partnerships as the Civil Partnerships Act recognising same-sex unions comes into force next year, reports the Times newspaper.

Ceremonies by Anglican priests blessing lesbian and gay partnerships increased by 10 per cent last year to 300 in England alone reports the newspaper.


Court Says Both in Gay Union Are Parents
By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer

A Vermont family court has ruled that both parties in a same-sex civil union are legal parents of a child, a contradiction of an earlier Virginia court ruling that awarded custody to the biological parent.

The cases center on Lisa and Janet Miller-Jenkins, who were joined in a civil union in the Green Mountain State in 2000 and split up last year. They are now embroiled in a contentious custody dispute over Isabella, 2, to whom Lisa Miller-Jenkins gave birth in Virginia after being artificially inseminated.

In August, Frederick County Judge John R. Prosser ruled that Lisa Miller-Jenkins is Isabella's "sole parent," citing a Virginia law that prohibits recognition of same-sex unions.

But in a Nov. 17 ruling, Rutland Family Court Judge William D. Cohen in Vermont wrote that "parties to a civil union who use artificial insemination to conceive a child can be treated no differently than a husband and wife, who, unable to conceive a child biologically, choose to conceive a child by inseminating the wife with the sperm of an anonymous donor."


Policewoman was "sacked over sexuality"
Ben Townley, UK

A leading policewoman is taking her employers to court, claiming she was forced out of her job because of her sexuality.

Chief Superintendent Patsy Lord claimed West Mercia Police encouraged her to retire after taking offence at her being a lesbian. She says this is despite her work on high profile cases and her career success.

The case comes after Lord was faced with an inquiry into bullying. Despite the inquiry clearing her of the accusations, and being attacked for wasting valuable police time, Lord says she was never given her former job back.

Speaking to the local press this weekend, Lord said she was “devastated” by the decision not to reinstate her, and was angry at being told she would be “forcibly retired”.


Democrats renew efforts on behalf of gays, Latinos
By Kate Folmar
Mercury News Sacramento Bureau

If at first you don't succeed, should you really try, try again?

It's a question that could dog Democrats as two of the most controversial social issues in California -- gay marriage and driver's licenses for illegal immigrants -- come up again when lawmakers return Dec. 6.

By tradition, many legislators use the first day of the session to introduce a favorite bill, and Assemblyman Mark Leno and Sen. Gil Cedillo don't plan to wait another day. They plan to promptly introduce bills to legalize same-sex nuptials and driver's licenses for undocumented workers, again.

On these two issues, Democrats are between ``a rock and a hard spot,'' said Larry Gerston, a political-science professor at San Jose State University.


Conservatives Now Admit Gay Marriage Not Responsible For Breakups
by David Crary, Associated Press

(New York City) "Protection of marriage" is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul-searching look at the institution.

"When you talk about protecting marriage, you need to talk about divorce," said Bryce Christensen, a Southern Utah University professor who writes frequently about family issues.

While Christensen doesn't oppose the campaign to enact state and federal bans on gay marriage, he worries it's distracting from immediate threats to marriage's place in society.

"If those initiatives are part of a broader effort to reaffirm lifetime fidelity in marriage, they're worthwhile," he said. "If they're isolated - if we don't address cohabitation and casual divorce and deliberate childlessness - then I think they're futile and will be brushed aside."


Sunday, November 21, 2004

New Papal Gay Marriage Attack
by The Associated Press

(Vatican City) Pope John Paul II warned against attempts to tamper with what he called "the irreplaceable" institution of marriage-based family, saying Saturday that such efforts would deeply wound society.

John Paul has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage.

His speech to participants in a meeting of the Vatican's council on family matters did not mention any specific issues.

But it appeared to refer to moves by some countries and cities to recognize same-sex marriage and to grant social benefits deriving from marriage — such as inheritance or pensions — to cohabiting couples who are not married.

Protesters, police clash in Santiago
By Francoise Kadri
Agence France-Presse

SANTIAGO, Chile -- Chilean anti-riot police Friday fired water-cannon and tear gas at bands of stone-throwing, masked protesters in a massive rally against an Asia-Pacific summit and star guest US President George W. Bush.

Tens of thousands of activists had marched peacefully in a police-authorized demonstration through Santiago ahead of a weekend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

But as the procession culminated with a concert in a central park, small knots of masked protesters destroyed telephone cabins, smashed lamps and lobbed stones at police and through the windows of a closed McDonalds restaurant.

Military-style police in armored cars responded with water and tear gas, scattering people in the park. Organizers halted the concert


Now out of the spotlight, activist is still on the front lines
By Julie Muhlstein
Herald columnist

Adozen years ago, the attention of the world was fixed on Col. Margarethe "Grethe" Cammermeyer.

Today, the spotlight is gone. From her home on Whidbey Island, within "spitting distance from Langley," Cammermeyer has her attention fixed firmly on the world - but not only on the world.

There's local politics. Cammermeyer heads the Democratic Party in Island County. And mostly, there's love. In March, Cammermeyer married her partner, artist Diane Divelbess.

"I refuse to accept the fact that my relationship with my partner of 16 years is any less valued than those of my children, their relationships," Cammermeyer said last week


Singapore's gay sex prohibition slammed

A group that promotes AIDS awareness blasted a Singapore law that prohibits gay sex, saying it impedes efforts to educate homosexuals about the dangers of HIV transmission through unsafe sex.

Stuart Koe, head of the Fridae Asian gay and lesbian network, also rejected recent criticism by Singapore's minister of state for health, Balaji Sadasivan, who said the advocacy group Action for AIDS was "not doing enough" to fight the spread of the disease.

"Since gay sex is illegal, how then can any agency or organization in Singapore promote safe sex among men ... without being complicit in abetting illegal activity?" a statement on Fridae's Web site said Sunday.

Singapore, a country of 4 million people, bans gay sex, defining it as "an act of gross indecency" punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. There have been few prosecutions, however.


Ireland eyes civil partnerships
By Shawn Pogatchnik

DUBLIN — Ireland should legalize civil partnerships between unmarried couples, including homosexuals, but not pursue full-fledged same-sex "marriage," Justice Minister Michael McDowell said yesterday in his first major policy speech on the matter.

    Ireland has become one of Europe's most prominent legal battlegrounds on the matter after a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit this month against the country's tax-collection agency for refusing to recognize their 2003 "marriage" in Canada. Married couples can claim a special income-tax credit.

    An all-party committee of lawmakers this month also launched public hearings into possible reforms to family law in Ireland, a predominantly Roman Catholic country where homosexuality was outlawed until 1993.

    Mr. McDowell declared that the government today was "unequivocally in favor of treating gay people as fully equal citizens in our society." But he said the current heavy public focus on whether to extend full marriage rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples "is too narrow."


GOP Tells Gays To Stop Harassing Boy Scouts
by Jim Abrams, Associated Press

(Washington) The House on Saturday commended the Boy Scouts and condemned legal efforts to limit government ties to the group because of its requirement that members believe in God.

A nonbinding resolution, passed by a 391-3 vote, recognized the 3.2 million-member Boy Scouts for its public service efforts. But the main thrust of the debate was what the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said were the "strident legal attacks" on the group.

The Pentagon agreed last week to tell U.S. military bases around the world not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops. The warning resulted from legal challenges to government relations with a group that bans openly gay leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God.

The American Civil Liberties Union and others say that direct government sponsorship of such a program amounts to discrimination.