US states introduce transgender protections
Two US states have made historic strides in protecting the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming people. Hawaii and Vermont, have in the past week introduced laws to include, protect and support transgender people. Hawaii’s second transgender-inclusive bill passed into law, followed by an expansive non-discrimination bill in Vermont clearing the Legislature, positioning Vermont to become the ninth state in America to make discriminatory practices based on gender identity or expression illegal. The District of Columbia also amended its anti-discrimination law in March to include gender identity or expression.
D.C. minister calls gay men ‘faggots’ in sermon Activists, mayoral candidates outraged
Two African-American gay groups are calling on D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams to oust from his Interfaith Council a city minister who used the term "faggot" and "sissy" to describe gay men in an April 9 sermon.
"It takes a real man to confess Jesus as Lord and savior," Bishop Alfred A. Owens Jr., pastor of Greater Mount Calvary Church in Northeast D.C., told his congregation in his Good Friday sermon.
"I'm not talking about no faggot or no sissy," he said. "Wait a minute! Let the real men come on down here and take a bow … all the real men. I'm talking about the straight men."
Empowerment of transvestites on Koovagam fest
By Papri Sri Raman,
Villupuram (Tamil Nadu): India's transvestites, who have faced ostracism for centuries, are discovering their identities and potentials and getting to know their rights and social duties in a tiny village festival here in Tamil Nadu. Since time immemorial, the Aravanis or eunuch-transvestites have been gathering at the ancient temple of the deity Koothandavar in Koovagam village, about 200 km south of Chennai, to perform an annual ritual of wedding and widowhood. This year the festival or the day of the transvestites fell Tuesday night. They celebrate their special day by meeting friends and family, participating in fashion shows, debates and theatre, telling their life stories, exhibiting their skills and, of course, giving non-profit organisations like the Tamil Nadu AIDS Initiative (TAI) a platform to spread awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and the HIV.
George Takei, Mr. Sulu of Star Trek, Comes Out and Speaks Out
I’m Matt Rothschild, and welcome to Progressive Radio. My guest today is Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu, who came out last year to work with the Human Rights Campaign to combat the rightwing’s push against gay marriage.
George Takei: It’s a pleasure to be with you and to discuss this issue with you. But let me put what you said about me coming out last year in context. I’ve been together with my partner Brad Altman for two decades now. We’ve been out with our family and friends and with various activities we’re involved with in the civic community. We support nonprofits. Our names have been engraved together in granite on donors’ walls. So we’ve been out, in that sense. But what I’d not done is talk to the press, you guys, because you’re a whole different ball game.
But last year our California legislature did an extraordinary thing, a historic thing, a landmark event: They passed the same-sex marriage bill, something that the Massachusetts legislature had not even done. It was a judicial process that brought about the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. We were elated. All that was required for that bill to become the law of the state was the autograph of another actor, who also happens to be the governor of the state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.