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Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Military In Crisis: Day IV.

Today is Day Four in one of the most dangerous crises the United States has ever faced. For four days, due to the unprecedented actions of an activist judge, the United States Military has been unable to discharge its gay and lesbian service members creating, in the words of a Department of Justice official,

large logistical problems ... and ... potential harm so great...

that the President has apparently come to believe that the space-time continuum might collapse should the situation continue an emergency sacrifice appeal to the Gods judges of the Ninth Dimensional Circuit Court of Destiny Appeals must be undertaken.

In this time of unparalleled crisis, GLBTTV is bringing you exclusive coverage from Washington, military outposts around the world and foreign capitals.

Was your school a safe and affirming place for ALL youth?


Just last week, Chely Wright, out country music artist, helped GLSEN launch a major, comprehensive campaign — the GLSEN Safe Space Kit. I urge you to read her personal letter below. And if you haven't already, send a Safe Space Kit to your local school today.

This basic and simple kit, which is designed to help educators send a visible message and create a safe space for LGBT youth, can create a world of difference to a student who has no where else to turn. And in light of the recent student suicides and anti-gay sentiments currently in the media, the Safe Space Kit is more important now than ever.

Thank you so much for your continued support,

Signature

Safe Space KitEvery student deserves a safe space at school …

… A place where they are encouraged to lead, where they are provided with the support they need to escape the bullies and their hateful words.

The sad reality is that too many students are silenced and alone. And I know all too well what it’s like to feel unsafe and afraid to be yourself — or like you have nowhere to turn and no one to confide in.

This is why I’ve joined GLSEN, to help ensure that no student has to experience the kind of fear I went through when I was a closeted lesbian throughout my years in high school, and long after. And that all students, no matter who they are, are part of a respectful school environment with supportive and informed educators.

To help us get there, I announced with GLSEN the launch of its groundbreaking campaign to send a Safe Space Kit to every secondary school in the nation.

Please join me in taking a stand — send a Safe Space Kit to the school you attended or a school you care about.

The Kit includes a 42-page guide to being an ally, which gives educators tools to support LGBT youth and address anti-LGBT bullying, and a set of Safe Space Stickers and Posters to help students identify supportive educators.

Each kit costs just $20 to make and deliver. And each Kit that’s delivered will help eliminate anti-gay language and harassment, and will ensure every LGBT student is able to identify at least one supportive educator.

I’m sure that if I had access to compassionate allies and educators early on, my life would have been dramatically different. But while we can’t change the past, we can help shape the future — please join me in sending a Safe Space Kit to a school of your choice today.

So far, we have covered all middle and high schools in the unified school districts of Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and the entire state of Maine with GLSEN Safe Space Kits. But with over 100,000 middle and high schools from coast to coast, our work is far from done.

Help us keep the momentum going — by supporting the Safe Space campaign, you join a national movement to make sure that every student has a visible ally and is able to learn in a respectful environment.

Sincerely,

Chely Wright
GLSEN Supporter and Safe Space Campaign Spokesperson

P.S. The need for a Safe Space in every school is real. Bullying and hate speech are too common in our schools and in the media. But I’m positive we can create safe and respectful spaces in every school. And it all starts with one simple step: sending a Safe Space Kit to your local school now. This act can change — or even save — a student’s life.

Chely Wright with Students


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Ari Gold :: Wave of You

Ari Gold's Pioneering Video Wave Of You Directed by Guy Guido Is One Of The First Independent Videos with Gay Content to Garner This Much Attention. Names Among The Best Videos Of 2005 By MTV's LOGO Channel, Wave Of You also became a Hit On The Internet as well as Other Outlets Including HERE TV, Q TV, HBO ZONE and even a Clip on MTV. Check it out and www.arigold.com for more information!



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Three LI Teens Charged With Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Three teens were arrested today and charged with assault as a hate crime after they beat up another student on a Nassau County school bus, and harassed him with anti-gay taunts. "We felt this was bias-related," said Det. Lt. John MacEwen at a news conference.
Police say that the three teens, David Spencer, 18, Chase Morrison, 16, and Roy Wilson, 16, assaulted the 14-year-old boy (whose name was withheld) twice on their school bus this week. They allege that the suspects "stomped and kicked" the victim on the arms, legs, stomach and thighs, while taunting him with gay slurs. “This young person was subjected apparently to bullying on a routine basis that escalated to a physical confrontation,” Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey of the Nassau County PD. Spencer and Morrison were each charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and second-degree aggravated harassment, a felony. Wilson was charged with third-degree assault.

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GOPs New Face Exposed by Culture War - Iran Style Homophobia, Nazi Admiration, Racism, Witchcraft...

The tea party-backed Republican candidate for governor of New York said he has no regrets over remarks in two appearances before Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn Sunday opposing gay marriage and suggesting those who back equality for gays have been "brainwashed."

"I don't regret the remark. The remarks that I made I believe in," Paladino told Matt Lauer in an appearance on NBC's "Today" Monday.

Paladino's remarks might raise an eyebrow but would be little cause for surprise coming from a Republican candidate for governor of Arkansas or Tennessee, but are unusually socially conservative for a candidate for the executive post in New York.
His remarks come against a backdrop of anti-gay violence that last week saw multiple arrests in New York of individuals accused of kidnapping and torturing a gay man in the Bronx and, over the past month, a rash of suicides by gay teens who faced anti-gay harassment.

Cuomo's campaign on Sunday blasted Paladino for the comments. "Mr. Paladino's statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality," it said. "These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York."

Cuomo, the New York state attorney general, led Paladino by an 18 point margin in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.



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Chris Salvatore - It Gets Better

Available on iTunes. Written by Chris Salvatore
Directed by Jonathan Clay Harris
Song Produced by Gabe Lopez
http://www.twitter.com/csalvatore
http://www.Chris-Salvatore.com
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/



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GLBT History Month 2010 - Jamie Nabozny

Jamie Nabozny is a student activist and pioneered the drive for safe schools.



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Belgian Archbishop: “AIDS Is a Kind of Immanant Justice”

Belgian Catholic Primate Archbishop André-Joseph LéonardBelgian Catholic Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard


    According to Flandersnews, the Belgian Catholic Primate, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, is about to publish a memoir. The book is a collection of conversations with the Archbishop about his youth, career and ideas. The book was compiled by journalists Dominique Minten and Louis Mahoux, who held lengthy conversations with the Belgian Primate. It sketches his youth and career and also focuses on problems that the Roman Catholic Church is currently wrestling with.
   The Archbishop, speaking about AIDS, says that this is a kind "immanent justice". The Archbishop's spokesman Jürgen Mettepenningen read the proofs of the book and voiced his concern about this passage, but André-Joseph Léonard decided to let it stand.

“When the Archbishop spoke of homosexuality as a misunderstood form of sexuality I also sounded the alarm (to the archbishop). I thought that this could be formulated in a better way. But I don’t have the job of thinking for him. I am only his spokesman.”

   The Catholic Church in Belgium is embroiled in a massive child sexual abuse scandal. Last June, police seized files on 475 cases last Juny, but a court declared the raid illegal and ordered the files returned. The Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vengheluwe, resigned in April after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew for years. In September, Bishop Guy Harpigny, the Belgian bishops’ spokesman on the abuse scandal, told Belgium Radio that the church is afraid to give a full apology for the sexual abuse of children by its priests as this could open the door to compensation claims.

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Sydney's new adoption law advances rights for gay parents

 The gay adoption legislation in NSW is an historic advance.
WHAT does it mean to make history? While much of Australia was preoccupied with forming a minority federal government, history of another kind was being made in NSW. The passing of the Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill ushered in an end to direct legislative discrimination against same-sex couples in NSW.
While historic, the bill's content was modest. It merely provided definitional changes of terms such as ''couple'', ''de facto partner'' and ''step-parent'' – making them gender neutral. Legal technicalities of the amendments aside, the legislation's effect is to ensure that parenting ability, not gender, is the determinative factor in deciding the best place to raise children.
No one has the right to adopt. Children do, however, have the right to have legally recognized parents, regardless of their parent's sexuality or gender identity. As a consequence of this reform, NSW has significantly advanced social justice for gay men, lesbians and their families.
The path to legislative equality for sexual minorities in NSW has not been an easy one.
It has been a process fraught with insecurity and uncertainty. Until 1984, consenting sexual activity between men was not simply frowned upon - it was criminal.
While today in NSW (and indeed most of Australia) the idea of criminal sanctions for same-sex relationships seem ludicrous, the resistance towards relationship and family recognition remains.
Being non-heterosexual still challenges our social imaginations about what we consider to be ''normal''. Normalcy can be troubling when it is used parochially as a political strategy to refuse acknowledging anything that may be different. When it comes to people of diverse sexual orientations, the politics of the ''normal'' can come at the expense of recognizing the value of different forms of intimacy and kinship that exist outside the heterosexual bonds of matrimony.

Fidel Castro takes blame for gay persecution

Fidel Castro took the blame for a wave of homophobia launched by his revolutionary government in the 1960s, but said it happened because he was distracted by other problems, in an interview published on Tuesday in a Mexican newspaper.
The former Cuban president told La Jornada the persecution of gays, who were rounded up at the time as supposed counterrevolutionaries and placed in forced labor camps, was a "great injustice" that arose from the island's history of discrimination against homosexuals.
He said he was not prejudiced against gays, but "if anyone is responsible (for the persecution), it's me."
"I'm not going to place the blame on others," he said.
Castro, 84, said he was busy in those days fending off threats from the United States, including attempts on his life, and trying to maintain the revolution that put him in power in 1959.
"We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death," Castro said.
"In those moments I was not able to deal with that matter (of homosexuals). I found myself immersed, principally, in the Crisis of October (Cuban Missile Crisis), in the war, in policy questions," he said.
Official persecution of gays continued into the 1970s before homosexual acts were decriminalized in 1979. Today, Cuba's medical service provides free sex-change operations.
Tuesday's story was the second from La Jornada based on a recent five-hour interview with Castro, who has reappeared in public after four years of seclusion following surgery for an undisclosed intestinal illness.
NUCLEAR WAR
On Monday, the Mexico-City based newspaper quoted Castro as saying his illness nearly killed him, but that he has mostly recovered and is trying to stop a nuclear war he believes to be imminent.
Castro, who resigned the presidency in 2008 but remains head of Cuba's ruling Communist Party, has warned for months that nuclear war will break out if the United States and Israel try to enforce international nuclear sanctions against Iran.
Cuban media reported on Tuesday that he went to the National Aquarium in Havana to watch a dolphin show with U.S.-based writer Jeffrey Goldberg, Julia Sweig of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Washington and Adela Dworin, leader of Cuba's Jewish community.
The purpose of the visit was not disclosed, but the reports said Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine who has written on the Middle East and Iran, had interviewed Castro.
Sweig is a well-known expert on Cuba and has written several books about the island.
The reports did not say whether Dworin had discussed with Castro the case of Alan Gross, a U.S. contractor jailed in Havana since December on suspicion of spying.
The U.S. has said he was in Cuba providing Internet access for Cuba's Jewish community. Cuba says Gross is under investigation, but no charges have been filed.

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President Obama's Shameful Moment

By David Mixner-
Flags2
As you listened to President Obama on MTV yesterday about DADT, you couldn't help but feel he was whispering sweet nothings into your ear and seeing someone else on the side. Nothing in his words match his actions. In fact, the decision to appeal the DADT Federal Court decision is tragic with powerful consequences. The Department of Justice, in appealing the case, is morally wrong and cowardly.
The message being sent by Secretary of Defense Gates and the Obama team deeply is ingrained with homophobia. What it basically says is that being a LGBT soldier is such an abnormal concept that we need to be studied, examined and have a special process all just for us! That instead of abiding by the court decision the entire military will be thrown into chaos and the world will come unraveled. Isn't it amazing that we never knew as a community that we had the power to threaten the entire military structure, the ability to conduct war and are so scary to the United States government?
In the 1960's I remember those against the 1964 Civil Rights Bill arguing that the nation couldn't be expected to end segregation of public accommodations overnight because chaos would prevail. Guess what? The day after the bill was signed, blacks and whites ate side by side across the land. There was little chaos and Americans abided by the law. There is no question in my mind that if President Obama hadn't appealed this court case there military would have implemented it without chaos. In fact, the Air Force was already in the process of doing just that.
Finally, in this time of tragic suicides and brutal hate crimes, the President couldn't have sent a worst message. Instead of standing up for justice, freedom and human dignity, he reinforced the concept that the LGBT community is indeed different from other Americans and needed a special process to be integrated into American life. Every young LGBT American will see a Democratic President making a decision involving their lives in a process that separates us from other Americans and not brings us together.
Empty promises of action in the future no longer work Mr. President. The odds of either a lame duck Congress or a new Republican dominated Congress tackling DADT after this year's elections is not promising. You know it and so do I.
The President had a moment where he could have exercised greatness and powerful moral leadership. Instead, he chose 'process' and 'politics' over justice and freedom. He once again refused even to issue a 'stop loss order' while his precious process takes place. No matter what happens in the future, the President will never again regain his moral high ground on this issue. He has failed us miserably. This could have had been all over yesterday.

for more from David visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.

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Openly Gay in the Bronx, but Constantly on Guard

By Béatrice de Géa-

   Keith Mitchell, a 24-year-old who likes to be called Sparkles, strolled down East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx, discussing what he would wear on a date that night. As he rounded a corner, a stocky man with baggy pants and arms covered in tattoos locked eyes on him.
   Keith has lived his life as an openly gay man in the Bronx, says that since the attacks he is more cautious.
   The torture of three men suspected of being gay by a local gang has shaken residents of the Bronx.
    The news had been filled with details of the vicious antigay attacks two weeks earlier and just two miles to the west, but Mr. Mitchell, breezy as ever, did not notice the stare until the tattooed man called out.
    “What’s up, mama?” the man asked with a smile. “How you been?”
    In West Farms, the neighborhood where Mr. Mitchell lives, nearly everyone — the bodega cashiers, the basketball players, even the gang members — knows he is gay, and he has rarely felt threatened.
    Yet the torture of three men thought to be gay has shaken him, as it has people across the city, and especially in the Bronx, the borough with the city’s highest rates of poverty and some of its most violent crime.
    In the toughest neighborhoods, gay residents say, it is possible to live openly much of the time — and then to suddenly pay for it.
    “There is a constant threat of violence that we live with,” said Charles Rice-Gonzalez, 46, a writer and gay rights advocate who has been working in the South Bronx for two decades. “I was horrified, disgusted and angered by the attacks. I wouldn’t say I was surprised or shocked.”
    In the week since the police announced the first arrests of several gang members in the assaults, Mr. Rice-Gonzalez and Arthur Aviles, co-founders of the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, have begun planning a self-defense class at their theater in Hunts Point. David Matthews, 43, another gay rights advocate who works in the South Bronx, said he was looking over his shoulder with a new vigilance.
And Mr. Mitchell, who said he can be himself in his neighborhood because people there watched him grow up, is taking care when straying beyond its borders. He has been beaten up before, he said, and the recent attacks are never far from his mind. “That could have been me,” he said. “You never know when someone is going to turn on you.”

Gay couples take on an immigrant divide

By Maria Sacchetti-

   The final touches are in place for their late October wedding by the sea: the marriage license, the red and orange orchids, and the matching gold rings.
But the honeymoon will be different. After they exchange vows, Greg Gould and Aurelio Tiné will immediately go to battle with the US government.
Gould said he will formally apply for legal residency for Tiné, a native of Venezuela, even though he fully expects to be rejected, to lay the groundwork for a possible legal challenge to a federal law they say discriminates against gays. The US government offers a path to legal residency for immigrants who marry Americans, but it does not recognize same-sex marriages.
   The couple would rather honeymoon in Italy, but with Tiné facing deportation, Gould says that is not an option.
   “We don’t have a choice, if we want to be with each other,’’ Gould, a 42-year-old former investment banker and a New Hampshire native, said as he and Tiné sat on Boston Common for a recent interview. “We just have to fight.’’
   A lawsuit would be part of a nationwide effort among advocacy groups to push for same-sex marriage rights. Gay-rights groups are holding rallies, lobbying Congress, and challenging in court the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
   Lavi Soloway, Gould and Tiné’s lawyer and a longtime gay rights advocate, said his clients are among a handful of couples whose immigrant spouses are facing deportation that are filing the legal residency applications with US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Rejection letters would serve as tangible evidence of discrimination, he said, and possible fodder for legal challenges.
   “The few people that have done this have done it for the specific purpose of holding the government accountable for its discrimination,’’ Soloway said. “They’re aware that one way to resolve this issue . . . is to sue in federal court. That’s an option that’s definitely open and will be considered.’’
   The campaign links two politically explosive issues — immigration and gay marriage — that have already divided the country. Gay marriage is legal in five states and the District of Columbia, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and Iowa.
   Voters in 31 states have rejected same-sex marriage, said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a vocal opponent of such unions.
   “We remain committed to marriage being between one man and one woman, and that is what the federal law reads until it is finally decided in the courts,’’ said Mineau.
   “Therefore, the immigration bureau has to acknowledge those laws and submit to those laws and operate in the purview of those laws.’’

Friday, October 15, 2010

Neil Patrick Harris Is a Dad

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS DAVID BURTKA x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COM



   Neil Patrick Harris and his partner, David Burtka, are the proud fathers of twins, the How I Met Your Mother star announced on Twitter Friday.

   Harris tweeted, “Babies!! On 10/12, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace entered the Burtka-Harris fold. All of us are happy, healthy, tired, and a little pukey.”
Harris announced in August that he and Burtka were expecting twins via a surrogate mother.

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Pentagon: Gays Shouldn't Tell ... for Now

A new Pentagon memo cautions gay service members that even though the Defense Department is complying with a federal judge's injunction of the "don't ask, don't tell" law, they still could get in trouble if they come out of the closet while enforcement of the policy is on hold. 

The warning is contained in a memo from Clifford Stanley, the defense under secretary for personnel and readiness, to the four military services. The letter advises them that because of the injunction issued Tuesday, the military is not implementing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Though "don't ask, don't tell" is on hold, Stanley says the Pentagon will continue with its policy to not ask "service members or applicants about their sexual orientation, to treat all members with dignity and respect, and to ensure maintenance of good order and discipline."




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Don't Ask, Don't Tell: The President Gets Angry.

Not at obstructionists in the military. Not at a recalcitrant Senate. Not at all.


I do know that President Obama gets angry every time he's heckled by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protesters. He thinks he's doing everything he can given the constraints imposed on him by reality.

Marc Ambinder


And that's the problem. What the President thinks is divorced from reality, not constrained by reality. Is it just me, or can you honestly say that you too didn't believe, as you watched the election returns in November of 2008, that something like the following would come down on or about January 21st, 2009:


President Obama, in the Oval Office, meeting with the Joint Chiefs: "As you know, I promised to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. I want an implementation plan on my desk in sixty days. I will present the plan to Congress and ask that the law be undone immediately. That's an order."

Admiral Mullen: "Yes sir!"


(I admit that I thought a similar thing would happen in January of 1993 too. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...)

Instead, the military has co-opted, once again, a President of the United States.

October Trans News

By Robyn

We have had another suicide, unfortunately. Chloe Lacey from Clovis, CA, shot herself because she feared she would be harassed and bullied when she went to college in Eureka.

This and other stories about the transgender community on the inside, including some murders, sexual harassment, lost history, and challenges to discrimination.

Some good.

A little more bad.

The usual.

Andrew Cuomo addresses ESPA 2010 Spring Dinner

"I pledge my continued commitment to work with you in achieving equality for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens." - Andrew Cuomo

Enact Marriage Equality:

- Marriage equality is a question of principle and the State shouldn’t discriminate against same-sex couples who wish to get married. Barring marriage equality denies same-sex couples and their families over 1,000 federal and 700 state rights and responsibilities.196 For instance, spouses have hospital visitation rights and can make medical decisions in event of illness or disability of their spouse; employers offer spouses sick leave, bereavement leave, access to health insurance and pension; and the law provides certain automatic rights to a person’s spouse regardless of whether or not a will exists. None of these rights exist automatically for same-sex couples in the absence of marriage.

- As Governor, Andrew Cuomo will not stand for such discrimination. He will fight to make sure all couples have equal marriage rights under the law.

AS ATTORNEY GENERAL:

As Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo’s office confronted injustice head on in a variety of ways:

- He successfully led the effort to insure validly executed out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples are recognized in New York.

- His office defended the recognition of valid out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples in a series of legal challenges that were filed against public officials for recognizing those marriages. The cases were ultimately argued before the highest court in New York, the Court of Appeals, which affirmed that out-of-state marriages between same-sex couples should be recognized in the State.

- He investigated and prosecuted gender identity discrimination.

- He reached an agreement with a national clothing retailer that operates approximately 1,000 stores across the United States, requiring the company to take important steps to ensure that employees and job applicants are not treated differently because if their gender expression or identity. The agreement requires the adoption and implementation of anti-discrimination policies and procedures in their New York stores to ensure that all job applicants and employees are provided with equal opportunities regardless of gender identity and expression, train staff on the prohibition against gender identity and expression discrimination, retain an independent auditor to monitor future compliance with the agreement, and pay $70,000 to New York State to resolve the investigation.

- And he has shut down discriminatory adoption services.

- His office successfully banned Adoption Media L.L.C. and Adoption Profiles L.L.C, both nationwide adoption service providers, from doing business in New York State as a result of an investigation into the companies discriminatory policies, procedures and practices. The companies, which tout themselves as servicing 1.5 million people per month, intentionally excluded individuals from adopting children based on marital status and sexual orientation. As a result of his Attorney General Cuomo’s action, the companies can no longer conduct business in the State.

- Successfully secured health insurance coverage for same-sex and common law spouses and their dependents.

- The Attorney General’s office, along with local advocates, successfully compelled Otsego County to reverse its prior decision to exclude same-sex couples and common law spouses and their dependents from its health care plan. The County initially contended that the exclusion of same-sex and common law spouses was legal because the plan is self-funded. After commencement of the Attorney General’s investigation, the County subsequently reversed its decision and issued resolutions revising its health care plan to provide coverage to all same-sex and common law spouses and their dependents.



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Federal Employees Can Purchase Health Insurance For Their Pets, But Not Their Same-Sex Partners

By Igor Volsky-

This morning, federal employees who are insured through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program received an email from Aetna advertising their new pet insurance plans. “In these challenging economic times, it’s good to know you can get some financial protection for unexpected illness and injury to your pets,” the e-mail reads before listing the many benefits:
The insurance is a handsome perk for those who can afford it, but what’s illuminating about the ad is that while federal employees can buy pet insurance “in these challenging economic times,” LGBT workers are still prohibited from purchasing policies for their partners or spouses by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — a federal law which denies federal benefits to legally married same sex couples.
President Obama supports repealing DOMA (although the administration is currently defending the policy in court), but hasn’t pressured Congress to repeal the Act. Last year, he issued a memorandum instructing federal agencies to “conduct a thorough review of the benefits they provide and to identify any that could be extended to LGBT employees and their partners and families” within the scope of current law and has since ordered federal agencies to “extend a host of benefits to their employees’ same-sex domestic partners.” These benefits include: long-term health insurance, credit union membership; access to fitness facilities, planning and counseling services (including briefings on employee pay and allowances, career counseling and retirement counseling.
There are currently two separate bills in the House and Senate to provide full federal benefits to same sex domestic partners of federal employee. Last year, the legislation was voted out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on a bipartisan basis (Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) co-sponsored the measure), but Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) — the bill’s chief sponsor — has promised not to move this on the floor of the Senate “until we get the explicit offsets” from OPM. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the legislation would cost approximately $310 million through 2020 and benefit some 30,000 employees with same-sex partners.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a similar domestic partner benefits bill in November of 2009.

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"Gay" Saudi Prince Faces Death Penalty


LONDON — A Saudi prince accused of murdering his servant in Britain could face the death penalty in his homeland over allegations of homosexuality, a London court heard on Friday.
   Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir al Saud, 34, who is a grandson of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, is accused of killing Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz in a top London hotel on February 15 after abusing him for weeks.
   The prince is alleged to have murdered the servant in a ferocious attack with a "sexual element". His lawyer John Kelsey-Fry has denied suggestions that the two men were in a gay relationship.
   Prosecutor Bobbie Cheema told England's Old Bailey central criminal court: "Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and carries the death penalty which is still applied in some cases.
"The country in which any alleged acts took place would have little bearing on the likelihood of prosecution as the Saudi legal system is based on the sharia law which is considered to be universal."
   She said prosecution would be a matter for the Saudi authorities but can depend on the wishes of the person's family. Some relatives push for the harshest penalty if they are deemed to have shamed the family, she said.
   Gay Saudis have been granted asylum in Britain on the basis they could face prosecution, "and potentially the death penalty -- or harm if they returned", Cheema said.
Kelsey-Fry said the Saudi law as described to the court would only apply "if it were the case that the defendant had engaged in homosexuality".
   The prince, whose mother is one of King Abdullah's daughters, denies murder and a second charge of grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to an earlier alleged assault in a hotel lift.

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Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry

The Family Research Council is a far-right organization that endorses the work of Paul Cameron--a man who leads a known hate group and once said "the extermination of homosexuals" might be necessary and who called AIDS a "godsend."1

Yet earlier this week, Washington Post editors Jon Meacham and Sally Quinn legitimized an anti-gay screed of Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council, by giving it space on the editorial pages of one the nation's leading newspapers.
Shockingly, they thought Perkins would be an acceptable commentator on the recent, tragic spate of teen suicides caused by anti-gay bullying.
Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry.
Cameron's reports, which are cited by the Family Research Council in justifying its anti-gay positions, rely upon a kind of so-called "science" that the Southern Poverty Law Center said "echoed Nazi Germany." That is why SPLC has labeled the Family Research Institute (the organization Cameron runs) a hate group, which is a designation the Family Research Institute shares with the Ku Klux Klan.2

Tony Perkins may claim he does not agree with all the disgusting positions Cameron has taken, but when Perkins and his Family Research Council use the worthless "studies" of bigots like Cameron as a rationale for their anti-gay positions, they are endorsing the fruits of that bigotry.

No matter the facade, Perkins simply cannot ground his argument in irrational hate without lending legitimacy to that hate. And when the Washington Post allows its pages to be used for the repackaging of hate in this way, it becomes an accomplice to it.
One of the unwritten rules of mainstream political discourse is that naked bigotry -- unrepentant and irrational hate for whole classes of people based on characteristics that they cannot change -- is indecent and unacceptable.

So how can the Washington Post justify giving a platform to such viciousness?
Tell the Washington Post: Stop mainstreaming anti-gay bigotry.
This is not an academic exercise--it matters which voices are given legitimacy by mainstream publications and what kind of national discourse they give rise to.
When anti-gay bigotry is mainstreamed and tolerated, the consequences can literally be deadly.
The recent spate of tragic teen suicides by young people bullied because of their sexual orientation did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in a toxic environment in which gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are subject to irrational scorn, ridicule and discrimination because of who they are.
So it is appalling that Washington Post gave space to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council to comment on these teen suicides when he is in part responsible for their deaths because his organization foments the very toxic environment that encourages anti-gay bullying.

Editors Jon Meacham, Sally Quinn and the Washington Post should apologize and pledge to stop offering legitimacy to those who base their arguments in the bigotry of recognized hate groups.
Notes:
1"A Mighty Army: A dozen major groups help drive the religious right's anti-gay crusade," Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Spring 2005, Issue Number 117.

2"Wash Post Post publishes anti-gay screed by man who promotes known hate group's anti-gay 'Nazi' science," AmericaBlog, Oct. 12, 2010.

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How YOU Can Help Stop AIDS: HIV Vaccine Trial Seeks Volunteers


By Steve Weinstein-

At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, people were looking for a way to prevent the disease. Almost as soon as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, was discovered, specialists were speculating about a serum similar to the one Jonas Salk developed, which effectively put an end to the previous most serious health epidemic, polio.

Significantly, Salk himself actively looked for such a vaccine in the mid-’80s. But, as he and hundreds of other researchers have since confirmed, the so-called "magic bullet" that can be applied to entire populations has proved as elusive as the ever-evolving HIV molecule itself. Meanwhile, as we all know only too well, the virus continues on its grim journey, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and especially devastating the gay community.

A little over a year ago, a study in Thailand provided a ray of hope. But the results have been controversial -- not least because the tested group was the general population, which means that the rate of infection would be very low with or without the virus.

Partly for that reason, a study now under way in several U.S. cities is limiting itself to sexually active gay men. This is because we still represent a community at high risk for possible HIV infection. That means the results can be noticeable between those participants who receive a vaccine and those who receive a placebo.

But this study also differs from previous HIV vaccine trials in other important ways. It is limited to men who are circumcised; and to those men who do not possess antibodies to a particular type of adenovirus (that is, the common cold virus), Ad5.

People who do not have these antibodies will be enrolled in the study to see if a DNA vaccine, combined with an Ad5 "booster," will heighten the body’s ability to build T-cills and lower virus load -- if, that is, the participant is exposed to the virus.

It is a small but important step toward an eventual vaccine. If the researchers can determine that this vaccine combination will help people fight HIV, it would lead to more research about how the immune system works. That, in turn, would lead to knowledge about how to design more effective vaccines.

3 Teens Accused of Beating Boy, 14, For Being Gay


By Kilian Melloy-

Less than two weeks after a gang beat and sexually assaulted several men in the Bronx, three Long Island teens were arrested for twice attacking a victim they thought was gay. The attacks took place two days in a row--and both attacks were carried out on a school bus.

The victim had been harassed for months, media stories said. When the bias-motivated bullying got physical on the afternoon of Oct. 12, the beating was severe: WPIX-TV reported in an Oct. 14 story that the 14-year-old victim was stomped on and kicked by the three teens, who were identified as David Spencer, 18, Chase Morrison, 16, and Roy Wilson, 14. The assault was carried out on the school bus after classes that day.

The three assailants repeated their attack the following morning, again on the bus, on the way back to school. The boys slapped the victim and hurled anti-gay abuse at him, the article said. The driver and a bus monitor were questioned as to what happened. Though the driver stopped the bus at one point due to the assault, neither adult reported the attack against the boy.

The teens all attend Nassau BOCES High School in the town of Hicksville, according to NBC New York.com, which reported on Oct. 14 that the victim had suffered harassment for months leading up to the attacks. "There was an ongoing course of conduct against this particular student," according to Lawrence Mulvey, a commissioner with the Nassau county police. "It’s hard to believe we would have an incident like this after what happened in the Bronx and at Rutgers," Mulvey added.

The bias-motivated assault took place in the wake of a string of suicides across the country by youths who were bullied and harassed at school for being gay, or for being perceived as gay. One recent suicide was Tyler Clementi, 18, who was a freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

All three perpetrators in the Long Island assault were charged with third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. Morrison and Spencer were also charged with a felony, second-degree aggravated harassment, the NBC site said.

Newsday reported on Oct. 14 that the charges were enhanced by one degree due to the bias-motivated nature of the crime. "We felt this was bias-related," said Det. Lt. John MacEwen, who spoke at the same media conference Mulvey attended.

The brutal anti-gay attacks in the Bronx were similarly motivated by anti-gay bias when nine members of a gang, the Latin King Goonies, suspected that one of their recruits might be gay, the Associated Press reported Oct. 8. The gang allegedly attacked the youth, 17, on Oct. 3, beating him, sexually assaulting him with a plunger handle, and interrogating him about an older man, a 30-year-old whom the gang subsequently targeted. The older man’s brother was also assaulted in a home invasion undertaken by the gang.

Even as the man’s brother was being attacked and robbed, the 30-year-old himself was being assaulted in another location, together with the second 17-year-old, media stories reported. The teen was also forced to burn the older man using cigarettes, and the gang sexually assaulted the older man in much the same manner as they had assaulted the first teenager.

"These suspects employed terrible wolf-pack odds of nine-against-one, odds which revealed them as predators whose crimes were as cowardly as they were despicable," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the press.

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IT GETS BETTER: Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire



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Anti-Gay Group Targets Iowa Judges--With Out-of-State Money

Marsha Ternus
Marsha Ternus  

By Kilian Melloy-

A Mississippi-based group is financing efforts by anti-gay activists in Iowa to remove three justices belonging to Iowa’s supreme court. In 2009 the state’s highest court ruled unanimously that gay and lesbian Iowa families should have the right to marry under that state’s constitution.

The American Family Association--an anti-gay group that says GLBTs are unfit for public office and also believes that Muslims should be barred from military service--has contributed $100,000 to the Iowa group, led by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, which is trying to defeat the three justices who are up for a retention vote this year. Local news station KCRG-TV reported on the out of state funding on Oct. 13.

Another out of state anti-gay group, the National Organization for Marriage, has also kicked in money--to the tune of $235,000, the article said.

Vander Plaats brushed aside concerns about the ethics of using such large sums of money from out of state, telling the media, "What we’re doing is we’re running an effective campaign according to the letter of the law." Vander Plaats added, "They can’t defend what the justices are doing so they’re attacking something else."

But the morality of the use of funds from out of state interests was questioned by the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s Connie Ryan Terrell. "It is gravely concerning to us that a hate-mongering group such as the AFA is the single funder of an effort to insert its narrow political agenda into Iowa with the sole purpose of disrupting our fair and impartial courts," Terrell said at a news conference.

"Iowa’s judicial system is under assault," said another religious leader, minister Matt Mardis LeCroy. "Iowa for Freedom is not from Iowa and it is not for freedom."

Judges in Iowa are subject to retention votes every eight years. Normally, the votes fly well below the radar, but not this year: Chief Justice Marcia Ternus and two others, justices David Baker and Michael Streit, have been marked for removal by anti0gay activists for their interpretation of the state’s constitutional protections, which resulted in the voiding of a law denying marriage to same-sex families.

Critics of state laws that force judges to face elections say that political pressure should be kept out of the justice system, lest judges feel compelled to allow popular sentiment rather than a strict adherence to the law to color their verdicts. "This is the first time that Iowa has had special interests and major campaign donations involved in a judicial retention election," said Norman Kaut of Iowans for Fair & Impartial Courts, reported blogger Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts on Oct. 5.

"This kind of campaign can push judges to consider the political implications of their rulings as opposed to limiting themselves to the application of the law to the facts of a case brought before them," added Kaut. "This, in turn, can subvert citizens’ belief in whether judges can be fair and impartial."

The blog reported that polls show voters are almost evenly divided, with 44% saying they will retain the justices, 40% intending to vote to remove them, and 16% voting to remove one or two of the justices.

Former U.S. Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor is an advocate for reform, and a supporter of the three embattled Iowa justices.

Locally, the justices also count heavy hitters among their supporters, reported the Associated Press on an Oct. 14 article. An organization called Fair Courts for US that counts former state Gov. Robert Ray and former Lt. Gov. Art Neu among its members is defending the justices.

The current governor of Iowa, Chet Culver, also attended an Oct. 9 event to benefit the Fairness Fund, a PAC supporting equality-minded political candidates, according to an Oct. 8 Radio Iowa story. Culver had opposed marriage equality before the court’s decision, but now says that marriage equality in Iowa "has not had an effect on the state of Iowa, other than allowing people to make their own decisions." Culver made that statement during a debate with Republican challenger Terry Brandstad, who says that the rights of gay and lesbian families should be put to a popular vote.

Since the court’s decision, the Democratically-led state legislature has refused to allow a Propostion-8 style anti-gay ballot initiative to go before the voters. But anti-gay groups, including the Iowa Catholic Conference, have been working to get a proposition on the ballot in hopes of taking marriage rights away from same-sex families.

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NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB sponsor PFLAG

By Cyd Zeigler jr..


    Brian Burke, President & General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will receive the inaugural “Stay Close” Sports Leadership Award from PFLAG NYC on October 11 and deliver keynote remarks on fighting homophobia and making sports more welcoming of young people who are gay.
   The award will be presented to Mr. Burke by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on behalf of PFLAG NYC — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of New York City. The awards dinner represents a historic first time that all four major professional sports leagues — the NHL, NFL, NBA, and MLB — come together to sponsor an effort to bring attention to the challenges faced by young athletes who are gay.
   Burke, a longtime NHL executive who led the Anaheim Ducks to their 2007 Stanley Cup win, also served as general manager of Team USA, the United States men’s ice hockey team at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The public coming out of Burke’s son, Brendan — an aspiring lawyer and hockey fanatic — made international headlines last year and prompted fresh and honest dialogue about the role of homophobia in sports. Following Brendan Burke’s tragic death in a car crash earlier this year, his father Brian has set out to honor his memory through fierce advocacy for LGBT equality in sports.
   “I am very proud to accept this award. There will come a day when a gay athlete is not a story, but that’s not today,” said Brian Burke about PFLAG NYC’s recognition. “Until then it’s all of our responsibility to raise awareness and support young people finding out they are gay. Sports are an important part of growing up for so many kids, it’s tragic that a child not be able to participate, much less be made to suffer, because they are gay.”
   The dinner program will highlight the PFLAG NYC Safe Schools Program. In New York City’s public schools, with 1.1 million students, as many as 100,000 young people may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and struggling with issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Extensive research shows that these students are at higher risk to experience academic, health, social, and family-related problems. The Safe Schools Program helps make schools safer and more accepting for LGBT young people by bringing parents and relatives of LGBT people as well as LGBT people themselves into schools to share their personal experiences of finding out a loved one was gay and of coming out. By encouraging open and respectful dialogue on LGBT issues, PFLAG NYC’s work in the schools fosters respect for diversity, which benefits all students—both LGBT and straight.
   After a Safe Schools Program in her Brooklyn school, Blair Blackman, a social worker at Brownsville Academy High School, wrote PFLAG NYC, “The Safe Schools Program is fantastic. In the communities in which our students live, there is a great deal of homophobia. Many students are not exposed to proud and out individuals. The positive role models are crucial, as is having the opportunity to ask questions. You impacted our students in a profound and far-reaching way.
   “Stay Close” Leadership Awards will also be presented to JetBlue Airways and David Steward. JetBlue will be honored with the “Stay Close” Corporate Leadership Award for its commitment to LGBT equality, both within the company and in the community. JetBlue has supported the work of PFLAG NYC since 2005 and is dedicated to improving the environment for LGBT youth in New York City and elsewhere through its involvement not just with PFLAG NYC but with organizations such as the Point Foundation, which funds academic scholarships for marginalized LGBT youth, and New York’s Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest shelter for homeless LGBT youth.
   “On behalf of the more than 13,000 crewmembers at New York’s Hometown Airline, I’m honored to have our company recognized with PFLAG NYC’s Corporate Leadership Award,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s Chief People Officer. “We’re proud to count JetBlue among PFLAG NYC’s ardent supporters.”
Steward, receiving the “Stay Close” Individual Leadership Award, has been a longtime leader in the fight for LGBT equality through work with PFLAG NYC, GLAAD and the Point Foundation, which provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership training to meritorious university students who have been marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
   The dinner will kick off at 6 p.m. with a VIP reception hosted by Miss New York Claire Buffie, who will compete for the Miss America title in January 2011 on a platform equal civil rights for LGBT people. Ms. Buffie, whose sister is a lesbian, has personally addressed hundreds of students in New York City schools as a volunteer speaker in the Safe Schools Program.
   The evening’s presenters will include two Broadway stars. Actor Rory O’Malley, co-founder of Broadway Impact, the theater community’s campaign for marriage equality, will serve as emcee and actress and former Miss America, Kate Shindle, will make a special appearance. As Miss America 1998, Shindle campaigned for HIV/AIDS awareness and education and she continues as an activist for HIV/AIDS issues and as a leading straight ally for full equality for LGBT people.
   The event starts with Cocktails, VIP Reception, and Silent Auction at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards program, on Monday, October 11, 2010, at Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses Street, New York City.
To purchase tickets to the event, visit PFLAG NYC online at www.pflagnyc.org. For more information, contact Kara Solomon at 646-403-3682 646-403-3682 or e-mail ks@pflagnyc.com.
   The National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), MetLife, and JetBlue Airways are platinum sponsors of the event.

for more visit OutSports.

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Election 2010: Send New York's Kirsten Gillibrand Back To The Senate

Us-senator-kirsten-gillibrand-visits-syracuse-8f4a451167dc965e_largeBy David Mixner-

    Not only is it important for New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to win election but it is critical that she win by a huge margin. Why? First of all, her opponent is a right wing-nut job who vehemently opposes LGBT equality. Second, no senator has matched her passion, commitment and energy around LGBT issues in the United States Senate. In her two short years, she has become the leading voice in Washington for full equality for LGBT citizens.
   Gillibrand supports and works for full marriage equality. She has been the champion of repealing DADT including not being afraid to directly confront the foot-dragging Obama team. When the recent Federal Court ruling came down repealing DADT, along with Senator Udall from Colorado, she instantly had 21 senators join her in telling the President not to appeal the court ruling. We have not seen that kind of passionate and spontaneous reaction in the US Senate since the days of our late beloved Senator Edward Kennedy. With almost every LGBT issue that has risen on the floor she has been there as an advocate and educator on our issues. Simply put, she is a voice that not only must be sent back to Washington but returned with the kind of margin that makes clear our advocates can win and win big.
   For those gravely disappointed by President Obama, not voting in this election is not an option. No better case can be made for voting in this election than the ability to send a powerful message by sending Senator Gillibrand back to Washington.
   If someone would ask me today who among all the women in American politics do I believe could someday become President of the United States, without hesitation I would answer Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She is charismatic, intelligent, fearless, independent, accessible and is not afraid to rock the boat. We need about 99 more of her in Washington but I would be thrilled just to see her returned in a landslide.
   Get out and vote for no other reason than to elect Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to the United States Senate. She is one of a kind.

for more from David visit Live from Hell's Kitchen.

you can donate to  Kirsten's campaign via our WGLB/ActBlue link along the right of the Blog page.

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New Administration policy: Don't Ask Don't Tell Don't Lead

By Nan Hunter-

   What a day it has been... The Justice Department sought a stay of Judge Phillips' injunction against enforcement of Don't Ask Don't Tell, after a somewhat puzzling two days of delay, during which the status of the policy seemed strangely in limbo. The Defense Department first said that local commanders are in charge, but then sent a communique telling them not to proceed with any discharges.  This was a good move, since a general in Afghanistan told the press that no one there had heard about the injunction, implying that they weren't too worried about disobeying it. This is not what lawyers want their client to say. Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs revealed that the President was "very involved" in the discussions about what the next litigation moves should be.

   Run that by me again...

   Does this muddle mean that the Administration was actually seriously considering the possibility of not seeking a stay of the injunction? That's hard to believe, but the Associated Press says it's true. Is that why they made such a hash of the situation, alienating pretty much everyone on any side of the issue? If POTUS was personally engaged with this, why was it so bungled? Or was the Oval Office engagement the reason why this deer-in-the-headlights moment happened?

   And just to polish off the messaging debacle, the Senate leadership said today that they aren't so sure that there will be a vote on DADT repeal in the lame duck session after all. The promise of this vote has been the Administration's primary offering of the strategy by which the President is going to make good on  his promise that DADT will end "on my watch."

   Do we laugh or cry?

for more visit Hunter for Justice.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

GLBT History Month 2010 - Matthew Mitcham

Visit http://glbthistorymonth.com/glbthisto... for more about
Australian diver Matthew Mitcham, one of the few openly gay Olympic athletes. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Mitcham won a gold medal after executing the highest-scoring dive in Olympic history.



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Moby for New Yorkers for Marriage Equality

Musician Moby supports marriage equality. Do You?



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Modern Family stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet for The Trevor Project

Modern Family stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet offer words of encouragement in a PSA for The Trevor Project. Do your part - visit http://www.thetrevorproject.org and take action.



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New Report Uncovers Rampent Discrimination Against Transgender People In Healthcare.

By David Mixner-

TRANSLogo2
    In a startling report, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and The National Center for Transgender Equality have uncovered extensive discrimination facing Transgender people in the healthcare system. This includes being denied treatment, humiliation and lack of education among medical personnel. The consequences of these conditions are horrendous as statistics illustrate the increased liklihood of illness in the community.

from the study-
    "Access to health care is a fundamental human right that is regularly denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people. Transgender and gender non-conforming people frequently experience discrimination when accessing health care, from disrespect and harassment to violence and outright denial of service.  Participants in our study reported barriers to care whether seeking preventive medicine, routine and emergency care, or transgender-related services.  These realities, combined with widespread provider ignorance about the health needs of transgender and gender non-conforming people, deter them from seeking and receiving quality health care. Our data consistently show that racial bias presents a significant, additional risk of discrimination for transgender and gender non-conforming people of color in virtually every major area of the study, making their health care access and outcomes dramatically worse."

   Here are some of the key findings of the report and read the entire report by clicking here: 

- Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) reported being refused care outright because they were transgender or gender non-conforming.

- Survey participants reported very high levels of postponing medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination and disrespect (28 percent). 
- Harassment: 28 percent of respondents were subjected to harassment in medical settings.

- Significant lack of provider knowledge: 50 percent of the sample reported having to teach their medical providers about transgender care.

- Despite barriers, the majority has accessed some form of transition-related medical care, but only a minority has had any surgery, despite the fact that a strong majority stated wanting to have it someday. 
- Respondents reported more than four times the national average of HIV infection, 2.64 percent in our sample compared to 0.6 percent in the general population, with rates for transgender women at 3.76 percent, and with those who are unemployed (4.67 percent) or who have engaged in sex work (15.32 percent) even higher. 

- Over a quarter of the respondents reported misusing drugs or alcohol specifically to cope with the discrimination they faced due to their gender identity or expression.

- A staggering 41 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6 percent of the general population. 
   Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality said about the report:

    “Health care is a fundamental human right. This study clearly documents that it is regularly being denied to transgender and gender non-conforming people,” says Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The study also provides information about the serious health impact of the discrimination that transgender people face. The health risks are many times higher for people of color, for those who have lost a job due to bias, and those who were bullied in school.”

for more from David visit Live from Hell's kitchen.

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Man vs. City: Russian Gay Activist Nikolai Alexeyev Fights Homophobic Moscow

By Allison Hope -

   From the headline, you'd think a more appropriate dateline would be 1957 or 1972 or even 1991, after the fall of Communism, but this story actually dates back to this month. That's right, on Friday October 1, 2010, gay rights activists in Moscow held their first-ever legal protest outside the local office of Swiss International Air Lines.
   The group of 15 gay people that gathered outside Swiss Air to protest the strange disappearance of the group leader, Nikolai Alexeyev, as he was boarding a Swiss International Air flight to Geneva on September 15. According to the Moscow Times, "Alexeyev claims that the airline removed him from the boarding gate ahead of his flight to Geneva at the behest of four unidentified men, not in uniform, who took him to a police station. He said he was warned to withdraw complaints filed against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights and then deported to Belarus."
   For the first time, the group protesting were protected by police escorts. The group was subject to death threats, epithets, and water pistol shots fired at them from a group of hooded men thought to be Nazis. "Unfortunately we are obliged to do some kind of military operation to make sure that this event takes place," Alexeyev told AFP after the protest.
   Why the change of heart Moscow? As it turns out, the increased tolerance for gay gatherings is due almost entirely to the removal of Mayor Yury Luzhkov this past month, following a public feud between the Mayor and President Dmitry Medvedev, who laid claims, supported by media stories, that Luzhkov neglected duties during last summer's wildfires and helped to make his wife become one of the richest women in Russia rather than lead his city. The news reports mark the first time in ten years that national television has openly criticized a public official. Luzhkov was homophobic and was largely responsible for the inability of the gay community in Moscow to hold public events, protests, or pride events.
   No word on why Alexeyev was arrested on September 15 and no response from the Russian government or Swiss International Air Lines. According to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, when Alexeyev was released he relayed that he had been drugged and pressured to withdraw his complaint against Luzhkov.
   Alexeyev posted on his Facebook the day of the Swiss Air protest, “This morning I got direct threats against my life due to the picket which is supposed to take place today next to Swiss Air Lines office. Anti gay protestors (sic) already promised to kill me today and to disrupt the event ...”
   Incredibly, after the first arrest, Alexeyev continues to be the target of backlash from the Russian government. He was arrested a second time on September 21 for protesting outside of city hall for anti-gay comments that Luzhkov made on Russian television.
   The truth is, Moscow hasn't truly had a change of heart, but rather has taken a tiny baby step toward fair and equal treatment of LGBT people. Just yesterday, Alexeyev was arrested again, according to Russian news sources, along with 40 other human rights activists, while protesting for the return of the direct election of the mayor of Moscow. They were charged with participation in an unsanctioned rally and released later that day. Alexeyev said to News BCM, "We were dragged on the pavement almost in a reclining position. The same way they dragged us into the bus."
   Moscow's Gay and Lesbian Community page on Facebook, run by Alexeyev, has a meager 32 members and the tagline states, "Let's create a place to show we support the courage, the bravery and the overcoming of fear for Moscow's GLBT community." The image shows protesters with a rainbow flag; the one young person in center focus with a cloth over her mouth in the event of tear gas. How easily we can take pride for granted in America. Let us not forget that our LGBTQ brothers and sisters (and others) are still fighting for their lives, let alone for their place on the stage.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

STEVE HAYES: Tired Old Queen at the Movies

THE DARK CORNER (1946)
Lucille Ball and Mark Stevens find themselves in a whirlpool of suspense in Henry Hathaway's classic Film Noir, THE DARK CORNER. A Detective (Stevens) knows he's being set up. But what for? By whom? And where can it lead, except of course, to murder? With the help of his faithful "Girl Friday"(Ball), he sets out to unravel the mystery before the cops get to him.
The cast is top notch and so is the acting. Clifton Webb reprises the acid tongued sophisticate he'd played in LAURA as a sardonic gallery owner with an obsession for his young and beautiful wife. William Bendix, a noir veteran, plays the hired muscle and Kurt Kruegar, plays the suave, blond playboy, who's sleeping with the wrong man's wife. The dialogue is snappy, the action is fast paced, the New York locations are spectacular and Ball, Bendix and especially Webb are at their very best. Everything comes together to make THE DARK CORNER top flight entertainment.

Follow Steve On:

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with John "Johnny" Bixler and Steve Hayes



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What can you do to make a positive difference?


Many in the LGBT and ally community are asking what we can do in the wake of multiple tragedies across the country. What can you do to make a positive difference?
Ask for help:
If you or someone you know is in crisis and has mentioned or is considering suicide take it seriously and get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. View the resource list below for how to recognize if someone is in crisis.
Be a visible ally to LGBT youth!
Although there are many factors involved when someone decides to end their own life, many of the recent stories talk about the effects of anti-LGBT bullying and bias.
  1. Go to your next GSA meeting to help the GSA plan their events for the year. Find tips for starting and running a GSA at www.glsen.org/jumpstart
  2. Support Ally Week, October 18-22 - Visit www.allyweek.org to learn how you can be a visible Ally to LGBT students
  3. Talk about important moments and people in LGBT history - October is GLBT History Month. See videos and download information about these icons each day and find out more ways to talk about GLBT History Month in your school here.
  4. Educators: Be a visible safe space - Download the Safe Space Kit and print the stickers and posters to display in your classroom.
Take Action
Even if you are not in school there are still things you can do.

  1. Contact your local school or school district to let them know that you support their work against anti-LGBT bullying. See Four Steps Schools Can Take to Address Anti-LGBT Bullying and Harassment to find out what specific tips you can offer them.
  2. Call your senators and representatives about the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA). Click here to learn more about SSIA and how you can support it.
Media/Social Media
If you are a Facebook or Twitter user or a member of the media, please read these media guidelines (PDF) from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Research indicates that the way suicide is reported in the media can contribute to additional suicides and suicide attempts.
See also: GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project Release Statement on Recent Tragedies.
For further resources for Suicide Prevention click here; for anti-LGBT bullying work, please go to www.glsen.org/bullying.

for more on the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network visit  GLSEN.

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Joel Burns tells gay teens 'it gets better'

Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns reaches out to GLBT teens with a personal story and a message of hope.



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