poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Open Letter from Sam Hamill

New Years Day, 2005

Dear Friends:

The war drags on. Fallujah has been destroyed in order to save it, shades of Vietnam. A man who presented the argument in favor of ignoring the Geneva accords, a man who would authorize torture, is now our Attorney General. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, many times more wounded, homeless And American soldiers who have served their tours of duty are being post facto drafted to remain in combat.

We can look forward to Bush’s new secretary of state continuing to who knows what? And there will be supreme and other high court appointments, and of course a Patriot Act II, with attendant incursions into our constitutional rights. Tax cuts for the rich? Permanent. The environment? The worst policies in our history. What a ghastly litany.

The Saints Of Dark Sins
An AIDS conference woke Pakistan to a stark, ugly reality: the rampant sodomy in madrassas

For decades, it has been a sight common to most Pakistani homes: the bearded maulana teaching children the holy Quran. But what has changed over the last few years is the presence of a family elder at these private tuitions, irrespective of the child's gender. The family elder, though it's tacit, is there to deter the maulana from preying upon children for sexual gratification. Indeed, the maulana's penchant to sodomise the male child, or molest girls, has been Pakistan's darkest, best-kept secret.

Until it was made public last month at a most unusual venue: a World AIDS Day conference in Islamabad. "

Friday, January 14, 2005

Bush Plans Sharp Cuts in HUD Community Efforts
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 14, 2005; Page A01

The White House will seek to drastically shrink the Department of Housing and Urban Development's $8 billion community branch, purging dozens of economic development projects, scrapping a rural housing program and folding high-profile anti-poverty efforts into the Labor and Commerce departments, administration officials said yesterday.

The proposal in the upcoming 2006 budget would make good on President Bush's vow to eliminate or consolidate what he sees as duplicative or ineffective programs. Officials said yesterday that economic development programs are scattered too widely in the government and have proved particularly ineffectual at HUD.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Iran's sex-change operations
By Frances Harrison
The BBC's Tehran correspondent

In a country that has outlawed homosexuality, Frances Harrison meets one Iranian cleric who says the right to a sex change is a human right.

For 20 years Mahyar has been a woman trapped in a man's body.

As a small child Mahyar liked dressing up in women's clothes and experimenting with make-up but as she grew older it got more difficult. "I badly needed to do it but it had to be in secret," she says.

Now she wants to have a sex-change operation - if she can muster the £2,000 it will cost in Iran. If her family doesn't help financially, she says she might sell one of her kidneys to pay for it.

"People say you'll get other illnesses but I think I can live without one kidney. I cannot live between the sky and the earth," says Mahyar.

senegal gays fight to be included in anti-aids campaigns
by UN integrated regional information networks

January 13, 2005: Senegal's fledgling gay movement is battling for recognition in the struggle against HIV/AIDS and hopes to win its first ever government grant to assist homosexuals living with the disease.

The problem is that homosexuality is illegal in devoutly Muslim Senegal, and the MSM movement - the acronym stands for "Men who have sex with men" - is asking for funds from the government-run National Council to Fight AIDS (CNLS).

Everybody's Talkin' About Christian Fascism

Right and left are talking about fascism in the U.S. of A. Libertarian conservative Lew Rockwell, in a recent article entitled "The Reality of Red-State Fascism," declares, "what we have alive in the US is an updated and Americanized fascism."

Trans leader urges unity in fight against inequality
Ben Townley, UK

The Vice-President of one of the country's largest transsexual rights groups has urged unity between all members of the UK's LGBT community, warning that if disparate sides do not work together, equality will never be reached.

Speaking at UNISON's Lesbian and Gay Conference earlier this week, Claire McNab of the Press for Change group, said that the country's LGBT community was in danger of slipping back into the "ghetto", unless it joined together to fight abuses.

Gay rights row over US golf club

A Georgia golf club that is resisting an order to grant spousal benefits to members in same-sex partnerships has sparked a battle over gay rights.

The Atlanta club's defiant stand has angered gay activists and prompted threats of criminal prosecution and fines from city officials.

State Senate to vote today on marriage amendment
The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas Senate is expected to vote today on a constitutional amendment that would ban all marriages except those between one man and one woman.
A two-thirds majority, or 27 votes, are needed. The amendment already has 17 co-sponsors.

Pentagon Withheld True Number Of Fired Gay Linguists
by Newscenter Staff

(San Francisco, California) Records obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request show that the military misled the public and discharged three times the number of gay Arabic linguists that it had said.

The records were obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a research unit of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Despite previously saying that under ''don't ask, don't tell'' it had discharged seven translators who specialized in Arabic the new documents show that between 1998 and 2004, the military actually discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers.

Georgia Republicans plan to overrule Atlanta's antidiscrimination law

A standoff between the city of Atlanta and a local country club that doesn't want to give spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners has Republican state lawmakers planning to prevent the city from enforcing a local law that forbids antigay discrimination.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, a Republican and new chairman of the powerful rules committee, introduced a bill Wednesday that would block Georgia cities from punishing groups that want to exclude gays and lesbians. Atlanta Democrats accused conservative lawmakers of hypocrisy: upholding local control unless they disagree with local decisions. "Atlanta is under attack," said Democratic representative Bob Holmes, chairman of the Fulton County delegation.

White House Fought New Curbs on Interrogations, Officials Say
Published: January 13, 2005

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 - At the urging of the White House, Congressional leaders scrapped a legislative measure last month that would have imposed new restrictions on the use of extreme interrogation measures by American intelligence officers, Congressional officials say.

The defeat of the proposal affects one of the most obscure arenas of the war on terrorism, involving the Central Intelligence Agency's secret detention and interrogation of top terror leaders like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and about three dozen other senior members of Al Qaeda and its offshoots.

From: Proyecto Agenda - Informative bulletin []

“To honor diversity is to honor life”

Montevideo (Uruguay). EELMS - Due to initiatives by LGBT groups in this South American country, a request to designate public space to honor sexual diversity was filed at the “Comisión de Nomenclatura de la Junta Departamental”.

The bill was presented last year in front of the departmental legislative body and was approved immediately. The bill was then sent to the executive branch to announce to new bill and for this one to be presented in front of the full house last December.

The request presented to the Commission proposed calling a recently built space in the city, “Sexual Diversity Square”. This space is located in the old city's historic district, very near Sarandi Street, which is currently a cultural meeting point. The proposal included pacing a pink granite triangular monument with the inscription: “To honor diversity is to honor life”; Montevideo for respecting all genders, identities and sexual orientations.

Included in the groups that participated in this initiative are: Grupo Diversidad, Grupo LGTTB de Amnistía Internacional Uruguay, Biblioteca GLTTIB, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Intersexuales (CIEI), Hermanas de la Perpetua Indulgencia (HPI), Encuentro Ecuménico para la liberación de las Minorías Sexuales (EELMS) and la Asociación de Lesbianas Uruguayas (ALU).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


January 11, 2005

Illinois Bans Anti-Gay and Anti -Transgender Discrimination

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Praises Equality Illinois for Its Tireless Work

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 12. Capping an eleven year effort led by Equality Illinois, the Illinois House of Representatives today passed a bill banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The bill was first introduced
over thirty years ago in 1974. When signed into law by Governor Rod R. Blagojevich, a supporter of the measure, Illinois will become the 15th state to protect gay people from discrimination, and the 5th state to protect transgender persons. The bill cleared the State Senate yesterday by a vote of 30-27 and the State House today by a vote 65-51.

"We salute Equality Illinois and its tireless leader, Rick Garcia, for today's extraordinary achievement," said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "This win again shows that dogged work by state and local
leaders and activists can surmount enormous odds - and is real salve to a community still hurting from the results of November

A non-discrimination bill first passed the House in 1993, also because of the work of Equality Illinois.

The law will add "sexual orientation" to the state's existing nondiscrimination statute which already bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations or credit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, marital status and military status. The definition of "sexual
orientation" includes provisions to specifically cover transgender persons. A non-discrimination bill first passed the state House in 1993,

"The passage of this bill is a major advancement for transgender people, both in Illinois and countrywide," continued Foreman. "Once again, a state has proven that when we dare to dream to protect our entire LGBT community with one bill to cover
everyone, legislators respond. The activists in Illinois have done a tremendous job."

Illinois becomes the fifth state to pass explicit transgender-inclusive language in its discrimination law, joining California, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Rhode Island. In addition, 72 cities and counties have transgender-inclusive non-discrimination laws on the books. With the addition of Illinois, 27% of the U.S. population now lives in a jurisdiction with transgender discrimination protection. Eight states have enacted transgender-inclusive hate crime laws.

In addition ten states ban anti-gay discrimination - Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Nevada, Maryland and New York.