poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Friday, February 04, 2005

Task Force Calls NY Marriage Decision 'Brilliant and Moving'
Calls Upon Mayor Bloomberg Not to Appeal
Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We urge every American and particularly New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to read with an open mind Justice Doris LingCohans extraordinary opinion ordering an end to marriage inequality in New York. It is brilliant, moving, and with compelling logic demolishes each and every argument raised against extending same sex couples the freedom to marry.

We call upon Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York not to appeal this decision, but rather, when the 30day stay expires on March 7, to welcome our couples with open arms and official marriage licenses."

As always, we are grateful to our heroes at Lambda Legal and the plaintiff couples for their courage and vision.

Task Force Calls NY Marriage Decision 'Brilliant and Moving'
Calls Upon Mayor Bloomberg Not to Appeal
Statement by Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"We urge every American and particularly New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to read with an open mind Justice Doris LingCohans extraordinary opinion ordering an end to marriage inequality in New York. It is brilliant, moving, and with compelling logic demolishes each and every argument raised against extending same sex couples the freedom to marry.

We call upon Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York not to appeal this decision, but rather, when the 30day stay expires on March 7, to welcome our couples with open arms and official marriage licenses."

As always, we are grateful to our heroes at Lambda Legal and the plaintiff couples for their courage and vision.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ohio gay marriage ban at center of domestic violence challenge
Associated Press Writer

CLEVELAND (AP) - Darnell Forte is accused of slapping a woman he lived with. To try to get a domestic violence charged overturned, his lawyer has raised a wider issue, claiming a conflict between Ohio's new constitutional amendment defining marriage and the state's domestic violence law.

Opponents of the amendment banning gay marriage, among the nation's broadest, feared the measure would be used to try to curtail all sorts of rights for unmarried people, and they say the domestic violence case in Cleveland is one such attempt.

Greens Call for Support for New Paltz, N.Y. Mayor Jason West

WASHINGTON -- February 3 -- Greens called for national support for Mayor Jason West of New Paltz, New York after misdemeanor charges were reinstated against him on Wednesday for solemnizing more than two dozen same-sex marriages. Mayor West, a member of the Green Party, faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

"We urge everyone who supports basic American values of freedom, equality, and human rights to protest the decision of an Ulster County judge and prosecutors to press these charges against Jason," said Marc Sanson, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "This is a conflict between an elected official acting on his conscience and some public officials and rightwing activists who confuse their own bigotry with moral values. The charges serve no legal purpose, except to vilify same-sex couples and anyone who supports their rights. We will do all we can to assist Jason."

Citizens Banned From President's Social Security Tour

After renewing his call for the privatization of social security in his State of the Union address last night, the President will embark on a barnstorming tour around the country to attempt to convince voters that his scheme to "reform" Social Security is in their interest.

One of his first stops is Fargo, North Dakota, where some locals were apparently shocked to find themselves unwelcome at the President's speech. According to an Associated Press report, more than 40 locals were on a "banned" list that was given to workers distributing tickets for the speech. Included on that list were Fargo City Commissioner Linda Coates and her husband, two local high school students, a producer of a local progressive radio show, a librarian, and a number of university professors. The seeming connection between the names on the list was that they had voiced opposition to the war on Iraq.

Statement of Steven Fisher, Communications Director
Once again, President Bush contradicts himself.

President Bush said that government should never undermine family values and family responsibilities but, in the very next breath, called for passage of a constitutional amendment that undermines GLBT families and denies them the same responsibilities of all others.

President Bush, in his first State of the Unionof his second term, chose the divisive path of supporting the narrow interests of extremist elements of his party over uniting the American people.

Sadly, once again he valued the extremism of a few over the greater good of protecting all Americans, including GLBT families whose well-being are jeopardized by this proposal.

Gays Excluded From Auschwitz Commemoration
The only victims not remembered — or invited.
By Tomek Kitlinski

WARSAW, Holocaust survivors and world leaders held a ceremony last week in Poland to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp by the Red Army. Gay victims were the only ones not remembered, and gay groups the only ones not invited.

A thousand Holocaust survivors, the Presidents of Israel, Russia, France, Germany and Poland, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, and Prince Edward of the United Kingdom, attended the Auschwitz ceremony.

Arkansas bill would ban adoptions, foster parenting by cohabiting adults
Associated Press Writer

LITTLE ROCK - In a strategic move to boost support, legislative sponsors Wednesday abandoned efforts to specifically ban gays from being adoptive or foster parents in Arkansas. Instead, they targeted unmarried cohabiting adults.

Dropping any mention of homosexuals, the revised bill would prohibit the state from placing a child with an adoptive or foster parent who is an unmarried adult "who is cohabiting in a relationship that is not a legally valid and binding marriage" under the state constitution.

IGLHRC Responds to Reports of Gay Man in India Beheaded After Sex
Sodomy Laws Contribute to Culture of Homophobia and Violence

(New York, NY) — The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) expressed its deep sorrow over the reported beheading of a young Indian man by a male co-worker who apparently told police he “was ashamed” after the two had sex. Known for its global human rights advocacy on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, IGLHRC blamed the tragic incident on a culture of shame and fear promoted by homophobia.

“The idea that we live in a world in which sex could be so shameful that it would lead someone to commit such a violent act is incomprehensible,” said Paula L. Ettelbrick, the executive director of IGLHRC. “Sadly, a global culture that has taught people to feel shameful of their sexuality has had tragic consequences for both of these young men.” According to reports posted on and other news sites last week, 18-year-old bakery worker Naushad Pathan confessed to stabbing then beheading a male co-worker with whom he had just had sex. The torso and severed head of his victim were found outside of Vadodara, India.

IGLHRC cited sodomy laws as a main culprit in legitimizing and promoting homophobia and human rights abuses of LGBT people. IGLHRC has documented numerous cases from around the world in which sodomy laws have been used to justify police harassment of LGBT people, discrimination in the workplace, and adverse decisions involving LGBT parents.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Daily Thinking Points
Bush Administration - Hard-on Men

So yesterday Medicare – the same one that is already broke and getting broker -- announce it would pay the stiff price of ED drugs like Viagra for men who can’t whank their Willies at will.

Now some among us find this decision hard to reconcile with the Bush administration’s refusal to allow Medicaid to cover women’s contraceptive drugs or disease-fighting-unwanted-pregnancy-stopping condoms. Not to mention the Bush administration’s nonstop talk about encouraging abstinence among the unmarried.

Idaho Senate defeats same-sex marriage ban

Members of the Idaho Senate voted against a proposal to ban same-sex marriages Wednesday for the second consecutive year. The defeated measure would have amended the Idaho Constitution

Couple navigating murky legal ground
His sex change poses a Catch-22
By Erik Stetson
Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. -- Judi Howden went into her marriage knowing full well that one day her husband might become her wife.

The couple stayed together--even as Howden's husband, Michael, underwent a sex-change operation that transformed him into Mikayla. That surgery also landed them in a murky area where gender and law collide.

Charges Reinstated Against Gay Marriage Mayor
by The Associated Press

(Albany, New York) Criminal charges against New Paltz Village Mayor Jason West for marrying gay couples were reinstated by a judge Wednesday.

Twenty-four misdemeanor counts were filed against West after he married a series of gay couples last Feb. 27 in the Hudson Valley college town of New Paltz.

US House Calls For Appeal In Pro-Gay Ruling
by Doreen Brandt Washington Bureau

Washington) The House of Representatives is urging the White House to appeal a court ruling that allows colleges to bar the Pentagon from recruiting on their campuses because of the military's ban on gays.

In a non-binding resolution the House voted 327 - 84 to express support for The Solomon Law, passed in 1995 to deny defense-related funding to universities that don't provide ROTC programs and don't give military recruiters equal access to their campuses.

Last November, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law, saying it infringed on the free-speech rights of law schools that had barred on-campus recruiting because of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Petition urges boycott of ‘homophobia’
By Jenna Sykoff
Pipe Dream

A Binghamton University professor is outraged by McGraw-Hill Publishers’ controversial decision to amend the definition of marriage in a Texas health textbook.

In December, Professor Sean G. Massey of the School of Education and Human Development started two petitions to voice his disagreement regarding McGraw-Hill’s decision to revise health textbooks distributed in Texas middle schools and high schools. Under pressure from members of the Texas State Board of Education, the publisher altered the textbook to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. In addition, the new edition of the textbook offers an abstinence-only approach to sex education, failing to present any information regarding contraception.

(Petition 1 and 2)

Judge: Yale Can Block Military Recruiters
Associated Press Writer

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP)- A federal judge has ruled that Yale Law School can block military recruiters from campus without fear of losing federal funding.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall ruled Monday that a federal law requiring universities to let recruiters on campus violates the school's constitutional right to free speech.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Homeland Security State
By Nicholas Turse,
Part I: The Military Half

If you're reading this on the internet, the FBI may be spying on you at this very moment.

Under provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the Department of Justice has been collecting e-mail and IP (a computer's unique numeric identifier) addresses, without a warrant, using trap-and-trace surveillance devices ("pen-traps"). Now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice's principle investigative arm, may be monitoring the web-surfing habits of internet users – also without a search warrant – that is, spying on you with no probable cause whatsoever.

FOCUS: Regulating Chemicals

The link between human health and our environment may be obvious, but the devil is in the details.
In January, new or forthcoming reports about common industrial chemicals provoked the usual disputes between public health activists and the business community over the need for regulation.

-The solvent trichloroethylene has been linked with lymphoma and other diseases. It was dumped "indiscriminately" in the past, and a doctor with Boston University called the EPA "cowardly" for not controlling the substance. If a cancer link is established, the environmental cleanup costs -- including groundwater -- could run to the billions of dollars.

-PFOA, a chemical used to make the non-stick coating Teflon, has been tentatively linked to liver and testicular cancer in animals. No human link has yet been established. DuPont, the owner of the Teflon brand, released its own report finding no cancer evidence, but problems with cholesterol increases.

What I Heard about Iraq
Eliot Weinberger

In 1992, a year after the first Gulf War, I heard Dick Cheney, then secretary of defense, say that the US had been wise not to invade Baghdad and get ‘bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq’. I heard him say: ‘The question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is: not that damned many.’

In February 2001, I heard Colin Powell say that Saddam Hussein ‘has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.’

That same month, I heard that a CIA report stated: ‘We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction programmes.’

Conference on African American women and HIV
by Nancy Larson

ST. LOUIS–African Americans comprise approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population, but make up 38 percent of the AIDS cases. In 2003, there were 472 new HIV infections in Missouri — nearly 54 percent of those were among African Americans.

In an effort to address startling statistics such as these, local HIV/AIDS organizations will host a Tuesday, Feb. 5 conference entitled Woman2Woman, focusing on women’s health and HIV/AIDS at Harris Stowe State College. The conference coincides with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness & Information Day (NBHAAD), Feb. 7.

New Ukraine, Old Homophobia
Will anything change now?
By Tomek Kitlinski

JAN. 28, 2005. The orange banners and buntings are just beginning to fade from Kiev's Independence Square, where President Viktor Yushchenko was sworn in last Sunday after a tumultuous two-month public drama of mass demonstrations, epic electoral fraud, dioxin poisoning, and echoes of the Cold War.

A year before the courageous "orange revolution" demonstrators swarmed over Independence Square, inadvertently turning it into a feel-good site for CNN, Fox News and the Iraq-mired Bush administration, a less edifying spectacle had taken place there. A mob attacked the Gay Pride parade on September 21, 2003, wielding placards with "Deviants Get Out of Ukraine" and "Homiki are the cause of AIDS." Homiki, or "hamsters" is Ukraine's favorite zoological slur for gays. The ugly scene, one re-enacted all over the former Soviet empire in the past few years as queers have begun asserting themselves, was not televised.

Choosing the right gender

When Tony Briffa was born at Altona Hospital in 1970, doctors were unable to determine his gender. The younger of a set of twins, Briffa's sister Catherine was confidently announced to be a girl, but for Tony, there was much doubt.

Sent to the Royal Children's Hospital for further investigation, it was discovered that Briffa had been born with a rare intersex condition known as Incomplete Testicular Feminisation (now referred to as Partial Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome).

Establishing that Briffa was genetically male, doctors decided he would be better off assigned as a female. His parents were advised that he was a girl, and to raise him accordingly. They were not told their son had testes; just that he had gonads (which medically, can be either ovaries or testes).

Bishop supports sex-change priest
A female priest who underwent a sex-change operation almost 20 years ago has been given public support by the Bishop of Hereford.

Anthony Priddis revealed Sarah Jones's past to parishioners at a meeting in Ross-on-Wye on Monday evening.

Miss Jones, 43, an assistant curate in the Ross Team Ministry, was one of the first priests to be ordained by Bishop Priddis after his appointment in 2004.

Utah Amending Gay-Marriage Ban Problems
Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- After rushing to write a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution, Utah legislators are stepping back to repair some of the damage the law could deal other kinds of domestic partners.

Taken literally, Utah's provision could deny hospital visitation or survivor's property rights to children being brought up by grandparents, or to senior citizens who live together but do not marry for financial reasons. Siblings living in the same household also could find themselves without customary rights.

Utah's Legislature -- overwhelmingly Republican and Mormon, and one of the most conservative bodies in the nation -- ignored warnings from the state's Republican attorney general that the amendment went too far. Utah voters ratified it with 66 percent approval in November.

Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - A gay rights group is challenging an amendment to Oregon's Constitution banning same-sex marriage, arguing it revises rather than amends the document.

The ban should be overturned because "it violates the fundamental principle of civil rights for Oregonians on which the Oregon Constitution is based," said Roey Thorpe of Basic Rights Oregon.

The group filed a lawsuit Monday that also argues the ban makes more than one change to the constitution in violation of state law barring multiple changes under a single ballot measure.

Trans Politics, Social Change and Justice
May 6-7, 2005

The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) presents "Trans Politics, Social Change, and Justice" to be held May 6-7, 2005 in New York City. This conference will provide a venue to strengthen activist and research networks, incite dialogues, share research, and create resources central to creating social change for trans people. The conference will take place at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where CLAGS is housed, at 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th streets), New York, NY.

During two days, conference participants will take part in plenary sessions, breakout groups, and roundtables about trans activism and public policy research on local, state-wide, national, and international levels. Activists and researchers will have the opportunity to further develop their ongoing work and to create new dialogues with trans and non-trans allies.

Washington Lobby Day, March 14

NCTE announces the first NCTE-sponsored Washington, DC Lobby Day, to be held on March 14, 2005. This day will provide an opportunity for transgender people and allies to visit members of Congress to educate them on transgender issues.

Washington Lobby Day will be preceded by a day-long training and strategy session on Sunday, March 13. On this day, experienced professional advocates will train participants to effectively educate Congress on transgender issues. Participants will also be briefed on trans-related federal policy. This session is open to everyone who wishes to learn how to educate Congress on transgender issues.

Serbia and Montenegro: Shameful investigation into sex-trafficking case

The government of Montenegro must re-open as a matter of priority a high-profile sex-trafficking case in which Montenegrin politicians, judges, police and civil servants are implicated, Amnesty International said in a letter to the Minister of the Interior of Montenegro. The Moldovan woman in the centre of the case alleges that Montenegrin politicians, judges, police and civil servants had tortured and raped her and other East European women who like her had been trafficked and held as sex-slaves.