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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Gay Family Values - Selena The Ballerina

We started making "Gay Family Values" videos as a response to prop 8 here in Ca. These videos have been a huge hit. We have come to understand that the reason these videos are so popular is that people dont get to see what it means to be a gay couple in a long term relationship raising children. Our family is no better and no worse then any other family.

Ok YouTube, the last video we put up was a little sad so we thought we would give you a happier side of our life's....Selena getting ready for Ballet School talking about her upcoming birthday.



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Elton John: Gay Marriage Advocate Says 'F**k' You To Opponents

By Lisa Leff -

Has fatherhood changed Sir Elton John's feelings about marriage for same-sex couples?

The 63-year-old singer made several blunt comments on the topic Wednesday night while performing at a private fundraiser for the ongoing legal challenge to California's gay marriage ban.

"It seems so ridiculous I could be with my partner for 17 years and we have a son, and my partner and I can't get married," John said during the 90-minute set at a sprawling Beverly Hills estate in which he banged out "Your Song," "Sixty Years On," "Levon" and other hits he wrote before he came out as gay.

John disappointed some gay rights activists after the ban, known as Proposition 8, passed in 2008 when he said he had no desire to get married and was satisfied with the civil partnership he and his longtime partner, David Furnish, had.

"If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word 'marriage,' I think, puts a lot of people off," he said at the time.

But Sir Elton was singing a different tune at Wednesday's concert, which raised $3 million for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He praised the effort to overturn the ban and promised to do everything he could to support it, even though he is British.

"As a gay man, I think I have it all," he said. "I have a wonderful career, a wonderful life. I have my health, I have a partner of 17 years and I have a son. And you know what, I don't have everything, because I don't have the respect of people like the church, and people like politicians who tell me that I am not worthy or that I am 'less than' because I am gay."

He then punctuated his remark with an expletive, to cheers and applause from the crowd.

Furnish and John became parents to a baby boy on Christmas Day. Their son, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, was born in California through a surrogate mother.

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Hate crime shatters couple's lives (NZ)

By IMOGEN NEALE -

A lesbian couple are thinking about abandoning their home after a vicious hate crime.
Anti-gay slurs were scrawled on their house and car, and their business was left in ruins when an arsonist torched a packing shed on their property.
Juliet Leigh and Lindsay Curnow have lived in the seaside community of Mangawhai Heads for seven years, running a successful floral business, Blooming Bulbs, from their backyard.
In their mid-60s, both say it's always been an inclusive community and their sexuality has never been an issue.
But two attacks in a week mean they're contemplating moving on and closing the business.
On January 9, a friend's son was playing with their puppy Lulu when he discovered the graffiti.
They found seven crudely scrawled messages – five on their house and packing shed, and two on their cars.
The messages, written in thin black permanent marker, were an arrangement of the words "dike", "trash", "dirty" and "filthy".
Curnow says the hate graffiti makes her feel sick. "We rang the cops and they said 'send in photos'. I don't think they took it that seriously then."
The following Saturday they went out for dinner, returning about 8pm – just in time for their favourite TV show, Midsomer Murders.
They would not get to see it.
"I know I locked up carefully because of the graffiti," Curnow said. But during the first commercial break they heard a bang they thought was kids playing with fireworks.
Not long after, they heard a second noise – this time thinking it was a door slamming.
Seconds later, there was an explosion and they rushed outside to see flames licking the shed's inside walls.
The packing shed – which housed two cold-storage shipping containers, an office, packing boxes, and gardening products – wraps around the yard, is metres from the house and runs next to a tall wooden fence between two neighbouring properties.
"Juliet was rushing across the lawn screaming 'you bastards'.
"I was pretty worried about her because she is pretty intrepid and she was starting to try to put out the fire with our garden hose.
 "There were insect spray cannisters, polyurethane stacking crates, tissues and cartons in there, so I knew it was dangerous," Curnow said.
Leigh said they were lucky the fire brigade was just down the street, that the wind blew the fire away from their neighbours, and that days before they'd felled two totara trees bordering the shed.
Northland fire safety officer Craig Bain said if the trees had been standing, the fire would have spread to the neighbouring houses.
"It took a bit of putting out. It was difficult for the crews to contain it."
A decontamination unit also had to be erected because a material containing cyanide is used in the manufacture of the shipping containers.
"There are definite signs that someone has broken into the place. It was deliberately lit," Bain said. "It's a real nasty, nasty crime."
Neighbour Nigel Boyd and his wife were woken by the explosion and got up to see "flames everywhere". The fumes were "terrible" he said, and he saw one fireman spitting blood.
"I feel sorry for the girls. My wife worked for them part-time. It's disgusting. Mangawhai is a decent town."
Blooming Bulbs contracts growers nationwide to grow bulbs it sells by mail and internet orders.
Curnow said they "work like the clappers" for three months of the year and employ eight people to help pack around 300,000 bulbs.
She estimated it would cost around $100,000 to remedy the damage.
"It would cost more than the business is worth to have had full insurance.
"The suppliers are lovely people," Curnow said. "We know them personally, and they've all said they won't hold us to the contracts. But that's quite a loss for them too."
Police believe the two attacks are linked and are appealing for information.
Curnow said she and Leigh would not feel safe until they knew who it was and why they did it.
"I want to understand. We'd like to know it's not a local, and so would the community."

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See MTV ‘Skins’ trailer showing lesbian kiss as Taco Bell pull their ads

See MTV ‘Skins’ trailer showing lesbian kiss as Taco Bell pull their ads
Amid much controversy about Skins and suggestions it’s depicting “child pornography” comes news that sponsors Taco Bell have pulled their ads…
But refusing to be abashed by criticism, MTV have released a trailer that shows two teen girls kissing.
As you’re probably aware, but can read about here, the PTC have asked for an investigation into the show’s content and they’ve accused MTV and Viacom of producing material that contravenes child pornography laws.
In response, Taco Bell has pulled its adverts from the show, but given the massive viewing figures the show’s getting, it could be a decision they live to regret…
3.3 million viewers tuned in on Monday, and Skins is now MTV's highest-rated new scripted series in the network's key demographic for audiences.
Here’s the trailer that’s sure to cause yet more fuss!



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NBC Picks Up a Lesbian Love Story and a Musical

It's Showtime at NBC: The Peacock late Friday picked up two big, bold pilots -- one a musical, the other a lesbian love story -- that very clearly seem to be the work of incoming chief Bob Greenblatt. First there's Smash, a musical series about the making of a Broadway play based on an idea by Steven Spielberg that's being produced by Chicago and Hairspray maestros Craig Zadan and Neil Meron; if a deal can be finalized, the pilot will be directed by American Idiot helmer Michael Mayer. This one's definitely from Team Greenblatt: The project actually started in development at Showtime nearly 18 months ago, and insiders confirm Greenblatt was instrumental in bringing it to the Peacock. Hairspray duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman will reunite with Zadan and Meron to write original songs for the series (no Glee karaoke here!), with Theresa Rebeck writing the script and Spielberg on board as an executive producer. Greenblatt could almost serve as a consultant on Smash if he wanted to: He was behind the short-lived Broadway musical version of 9 to 5.

Meanwhile, NBC yesterday also gave the thumbs-up to a half-hour romantic comedy pilot called I Hate That I Love You. It's from Will and Grace alum Jhoni Marchenko, and the logline is certainly eye-catching: "A straight couple introduces two of its lesbian friends to one another and what results is both instant attraction and a pregnancy." It's the sort of buzzworthy concept you'd expect from the exec who greenlit Dexter and Californication. While Greenblatt won't officially join NBC until next week, Vulture has heard (and other media outlets have reported) that he's been kept in the loop about developments at the network for at least several weeks now (though he hasn't been making decisions.)

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It Gets Better: NYC Designing Men

Interior designers and design community members John Eason (John Douglas Eason Interiors), Patrick J. Hamilton (AskPatrick), Carl Lana (Beale-Lana Design), Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz (BNO Designs), Darrin Varden, Michael Tavano, and Kenneth Wampler, founder and Director of The Alpha Workshops, add their voices and personal stories of growing up Gay to the "It Gets Better" project. This pro bono project was filmed at the New York Design Center, in the Kelihauer showroom, and shot, produced and directed by Jeff Cadge, of Cadge Productions.



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Victory for NYC Gender Identity Protections

BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD -

Judge finds transit authority not exempt; no First Amendment shield for transphobic employee comments


 A New York State trial judge in Brooklyn rejected the New York City Transit Authority’s argument that city law banning gender identity discrimination in places of public accommodation is unconstitutional as applied to a claim that a transit worker directed transphobic language at a member of the public seeking assistance in using a Metrocard.
In a decision dated December 29 but not released to the parties until January 21, Supreme Court Justice Kenneth P. Sherman denied a motion for summary judgment by the TA and the accused transit worker, while granting a motion by the city’s Law Department to intervene in the case to defend the anti-bias law’s constitutionality.
The lawsuit arose from two incidents in July 2006 when Tracy Bumpus claims to have been the victim of transphobic verbal harassment by Lorna Smith, a transit worker on duty at the Nostrand Avenue A train station in Brooklyn.
Bumpus claims that on July 16 she asked Smith for assistance in using a Metrocard, and Smith responded with “a steady stream of discriminatory, transgender-phobic epithets at Ms. Bumpus, verbally harassing her and haranguing her with vicious transphobic language in an extremely loud voice, pointedly doing so publicly to humiliate and harass Ms. Bumpus.”
Bumpus made a formal complaint and spoke with a TA superintendent on July 20 about this incident, but when she entered the same station on July 25, she claims, Smith was there, recognized her, pointed at her, and again verbally harassed her with transphobic language. Bumpus then filed a claim with the TA, testified at a hearing, and, in January 2007, filed her lawsuit against the TA and “Jane Doe,” later identified as Smith.
Attorney Armen H. Merjian represents Bumpus on behalf of Housing Works, the AIDS advocacy group.
Bumpus claimed mental and emotional injuries due to conduct she characterized as a violation of the city’s ordinance barring gender identity discrimination in places of public accommodation. The TA, pointing out that it has a non-discrimination policy, argued it could not be held liable for Smith’s actions, but Bumpus responded that the TA was negligent in not training its employees after enactment of the transgender rights law in 2002.
The TA also argued that as a public authority it was not subject to the city’s human rights ordinance, and Smith asserted that holding her personally liable for speech would violate her First Amendment free speech rights. The defendants also claimed that the anti-discrimination provision was unconstitutionally vague, and that Smith could not be liable for discrimination because she never specifically told Bumpus she was unwelcome in the subway system.
Justice Sherman found that the TA did not enjoy any exemption from the non-discrimination provisions in the city ordinance, which he wrote, by their terms, clearly apply both to employers and employees who violate them. The judge rejected the argument that directing transphobic comments at a customer who requested help from a transit worker was not a denial of services.
As to the negligent training argument against the TA, Sherman noted evidence that there had been 16 past complaints against Smith by TA customers, and that “there is evidence that the NYCTA simply failed to respond to complaints about Smith… A trier of fact could properly conclude that Smith had a long history of mistreating subway customers.”
Sherman wrote that there was “no indication” that the TA offered training in the wake of the 2002 law, concluding, “A reasonable trier of fact could reasonably conclude that by failing to instruct Smith about sensitivity to gender identity, NYCTA’s failure to train proximately caused the alleged incident.”
The judge found it irrelevant that none of the past incidents involving Smith concerned transphobic speech, since what was at issue was the employee’s “propensity to cause injury,” which would put the TA on notice about its obligation to protect its customers.
Finally, Sherman rejected the argument that the law was unduly vague or overbroad or wrongly punished constitutionally protected speech. In light of the TA’s “public service functions,” he found, the court must weigh how Smith’s alleged speech affected the ability of members of the public to access a public service.
“The prohibition of bigoted behavior in the public accommodation context contained in [the law] does not violate the constitutional guarantee of free speech,” he wrote, finding that the city has a “compelling interest in combating invidious discrimination,” and that Supreme Court precedents suggest that the city law as applied in this case “would survive the most exacting scrutiny.”
It is surprising that Sherman failed to mention Garcetti v. Ceballos, a 2006 US Supreme Court decision that held that public employees are not protected under the First Amendment when they are speaking as employees rather than as individual citizens on a matter of public interest. Smith was in uniform, on duty at a subway station in her capacity as an employee, and responding to a request by a member of the public for assistance. Her speech in response to that request would seem to be exempt from First Amendment protection according to that Supreme Court ruling.
Bumpus’ case now goes forward against the Transit Authority and Smith, unless the parties settle.

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Speech: Is the Freedom to Marry Inevitable?

“Is the Freedom to Marry Inevitable?” 

January 17, 2011

University of Michigan — 25th MLK Symposium
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson was invited to the University of Michigan Law School to deliver a keynote address on the struggle for civil rights in the context of marriage for same-sex couples.
Wolfson discussed the impact of Dr. King’s legacy on his life and activism and told the audience the best way to honor Dr. King’s commitment, sacrifice and hard-won gains is to end the denial of marriage for same-sex couples. He went on to ask, “Is the freedom to marry inevitable? The answer is, that is up to us. This is our time. In the name of those who came before us, in the name of those we love, in the name of those to whom we seek to leave a better country and world, let’s make it so.”

Watch Wolfson's speech here.


NOM’s effort to pressure New Hampshire GOP backfires

By Norma Love -

CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire's House Republican leader said Friday he will ask that the fight to repeal gay marriage be postponed until 2012.
Rep. D.J. Bettencourt told The Associated Press he will ask the committee responsible for the repeal bill to retain it until next year.
Bettencourt said the National Organization for Marriage sent a direct mailer to his district in Salem saying he doesn't support traditional family values. He said the mailer was the result of his announcement last week that the House Republican agenda did not include repealing gay marriage.
Bettencourt said the incident shows how controversial the issue is and reinforces his belief the House should focus on fiscal issues this year.
In a letter to House Speaker William O'Brien, Bettencourt said the organization and its supporters in New Hampshire know the repeal bill will be acted upon because legislative rules require floor votes on bills.
"This assault on our agenda has the potential to take important focus and energy away from our focus on the budget," Bettencourt wrote O'Brien. "Therefore, it is my belief that the same sex marriage repeal must be retained in the Judiciary Committee this year so that our full and undivided attention is focused on New Hampshire's outstanding financial issues."
Bettencourt said his office will make that position clear in testimony it provides at any hearing on the bill.
State Rep. David Bates, R-Windham, the bill's prime sponsor, said he won't fight leadership, but will tell the committee handling his bill he believes it would be better to put the issue to rest this year.
"It's controversial, but this only drags out the controversy rather than bringing it to a conclusion sooner. I don't know why we'd want to elongate it over 15 months," said Bates.
Bates added that the budget is not the only important issue lawmakers must address.
"As much as we're making that a priority, there are all kinds of things going on," he said.
Mo Baxley, executive director of New Hampshire Freedom to Marry, which supports gay marriage, called it a "clear effort by a small but well-funded group to bully the GOP House majority leader."
"As any responsible leader would, Bettencourt is focused on creating jobs and economic recovery, the main reason why voters put Republicans in charge in New Hampshire," she said.
Gay marriage was enacted two years ago when Democrats controlled the Legislature. Democratic Gov. John Lynch, who said he opposed gay marriage, signed the law after lawmakers approved provisions affirming religious rights and has since repeatedly said he would veto any attempt to repeal it.
Conservatives were hoping for enough votes in the Legislature to repeal gay marriage and overturn a veto after Republicans took control in November. The National Organization for Marriage and another opposition group, Cornerstone Action, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on television ads in an effort to defeat Lynch in last year's governor's race and elect lawmakers who would support a repeal.


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APIs for the Trevor Project PSA 30 second



Directed by Ben Wong and produced by Pan Asian Community Together and Ken Choy
crew: Amy Cheong, Nicole Amico, Mark Jue

Sue Jin
Francois Chao
Edward Hong
Megan Lee
Kevyn Fong
Jully Lee
David Tran
and Matthew Bridges, Bety Le, Graham Phoenix Bui

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In another nod to gays, feds tackling housing bias

By Ed O'Keefe -

In the latest example of the Obama administration extending greater rights to gays and lesbians, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is making changes to ensure they don't face discrimination when applying for federal housing assistance.
The department unveiled a series of proposed rule changes Thursday that would prohibit lenders from using sexual orientation or gender identity as a way of determining a borrower's eligibility. In a nod to same-sex marriages and same-sex parents, the rule change would state that eligible families have the opportunity to participate in HUD-based programs regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.
The new rules, if adopted, also would prohibit owners and operators of HUD-funded housing from asking applicants or occupants of the housing about sexual orientation or gender identity.

HUD is conducting a national study on the potential impact of housing discrimination against gays and lesbians, but in its formal notice of the proposed rules cited a 2007 study of housing discrimination in Michigan that found disparate treatment of gays in 32 out of 120 fair housing tests conducted.
"This is a fundamental issue of fairness," HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said Thursday.
The proposed rules must undergo a 60-day public comment period before formal implemented. If approved, they would joint a growing list of policy and procedural changes made by federal agencies that don't require congressional approval, including gender-neutral passport application forms, changes to how the U.S. Census Bureau counts same-sex relationships and the extension of fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay and lesbian federal workers.

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A gay man In The Civil Rights Movement

Black Pride 2011 - Bayard Rustin was an American civil rights activist, important largely behind the scenes in the civil rights movement



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The 30th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS

By Elizabeth Lombino -

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosed case of AIDS. In June 1981, a rare pneumonia diagnosed in five Los Angeles gay men was reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These were the first documented cases of what would later become known as AIDS.
On Friday, January 14, Anderson Cooper 360 (AC360) aired Hope Survives: 30 Years of AIDS. The show featured an interesting mix of celebrities and prominent figures who are active within the HIV/AIDS community. Elton John spoke at length about his influential organization, the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Phill Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Black AIDS Institute and co-founder of Greater Than AIDS, discussed the impact of HIV/AIDS within communities of color.  Mo'nique, Maya Angelou, Margaret Cho and Susan Sarandon also contributed their thoughts and feelings. It was quite the party.
There are plenty of reasons to stop and take notice of this important milestone. HIV/AIDS is now considered to be a chronic illness. People are living long, vibrant, healthy lives with HIV. I have worked with people who are 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-year survivors. For a variety of reasons, long-term HIV survivors beat the odds that were set for them at the height of the epidemic back in the mid 1980s and early 1990s. Now those who are diagnosed are not given a poor prognosis. They are not expected to only live a few years and suffer in poor health. With guidance and support, a person with HIV can live a full life. This is a beautiful accomplishment.
At the same time, there is still a ton of work to be done.
Stigma, discrimination, myths & misinformation, and funding cuts are among a few of the major obstacles the HIV/AIDS community is faced with. Even more disheartening is that HIV continues to spread at rapid rates. Despite varying prevention efforts and educational campaigns, HIV has not been contained. Women, young men who have sex with men, and black Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. On the AC360 special, the panel did a good job of exploring these issues with candor and honesty.
Not to be left out of acknowledging this historic anniversary, the always vocal and brutally honest Larry Kramer has made his opinion known. In a piece written for CNN.com, Kramer pours out his heart and soul. He declares AIDS to be a plague that was "allowed to happen." He speaks of the continued hatred toward those who are most affected by AIDS and how this hatred still fuels the overall response -- or lack thereof -- from the powers that be who are responsible for gaining control over this insidious virus. His words are powerful and speak to this strong need for increased awareness, advocacy and change.
Woven throughout the AC360 piece was the intense sense of hope. This was highlighted beautifully by Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of Ryan White who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1985 at age 13. He was a hemophiliac and had received a blood transfusion with blood containing HIV and was subsequently banned from attending his school. He died five years later. His story (finally) prompted government and health officials to begin looking more closely at how AIDS is transmitted. It became clear that AIDS was not GRID (Gay Related Immune Disease). What followed was the discovery of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS. Ryan White became a world-wide face of this epidemic. Speaking on AC360, White-Ginder became the face of hope. Hope to all those living with HIV that they will continue to be healthy, strong and live even longer lives. Hope that we can overcome this devastating disease.
It is this hope that we must hold on to. Without hope, the future of HIV/AIDS will no doubt be worse than the past. Working together, we can continue to raise awareness, dispel myths, fight injustices, and ensure that we do not lapse back into the silence that plagued the epidemic early on. To paraphrase the title of the AC360 special: Hope has and will survive.

Please click here to be connected to a full list of HIV-related petitions. Take your pick and join us in this important fight!

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Grace Under Fire

Progressives must counter the right wing's loaded language

By Richard J. Rosendall -

The light in the darkness of the mass shooting in Tucson came from the courage and poise of ordinary citizens who disarmed Jared Loughner and — in the case of openly gay intern Daniel Hernandez — ran toward the gunfire and applied emergency care to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. They represent a seldom-mentioned alternative in the gun-rights debate, one that neither cowers in fear nor embraces the ''shoot 'em up'' ethos.
President Obama spoke eloquently on Jan. 12 of the need for "reflection and debate ... worthy of those we have lost." But while he rightly spoke against reflexively blaming one's political opponents, the tone-it-down message risks a false equivalence between left and right. In fact, the vast majority of politicians employing violent rhetoric are Republican — Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Newt Gingrich and Giffords's 2010 opponent, Jesse Kelly, to name a few. It is not just their ballistic imagery but their portrayal of opponents as illegitimate, as domestic enemies, that requires accountability. Inflaming hate does not require actually setting a fire.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has published an "Insurrectionism Timeline" on csgv.org that documents well over 100 incidents of insurrectionist violence and its promotion since the Supreme Court's June 2008 decision in D.C. v. Heller, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, which said that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms and that a key purpose is to "assure the existence of a 'citizens' militia' as a safeguard against tyranny."
The CSGV timeline details a long litany of death threats against legislators, census workers and police; armed insurrection being peddled by Republican politicians and right-wing radio hosts; violence and threats by members of far-right groups like Oath Keepers and Guardians of the Free Republics; a jump in gun sales following a National Rifle Association campaign making the baseless claim that Obama planned a gun ban; and an unprecedented level of death threats against Obama.
James Adkisson fatally shot two worshippers in a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tenn., in July 2008. After being sentenced to life in prison, he issued a manifesto stating his purpose: "This was a symbolic killing. Who I wanted to kill was every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book [100 People Who Are Screwing Up America]. ... But I know those people were inaccessible to me." Adkisson had underestimated the church members, who quickly disarmed him.
The right wing's warfare rhetoric trades on the home invasion fantasies of people much likelier to shoot loved ones than ATF agents. The fear and rage against a tyrannical government coming to get them exploded only after the free election of a Democratic president and Congress. Let's face it, citizens in an arms race against their own government are bound to lose. But that is just a cover: Republicans are striving to make the country ungovernable except by them, in service of the wealthy few.
Democratic politicians surrendered on gun control years ago. Until they borrow some of their constituents' bravery, the pathological proliferation of guns and ammunition, which create an enticing illusion of power, will not be curbed.
The fight to preserve our republic takes different forms in each generation. Our challenge now, beyond gun clips and psychological exams, is to resist the purveyors of political paranoia who would cripple government's ability to defend the weak from the powerful.
The heroes of Tucson rose to their moment like the passengers of United Flight 93 on 9/11, when another gay man, Mark Bingham, was one of the defenders. We honor these Americans best by not allowing public policy to be determined by the threat of violence. Our country is reborn each moment, right where we are.

Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at rrosendall@starpower.net.

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Gay Marriage Likely to Become Law This Year in Maryland

By Steve Weinstein -

Maryland lawmakers reintroduced a same-sex marriage on Jan. 20, and the governor, Martin O’Malley, has indicated he will sign it into law. Considering the heavy Democratic advantage in the Annapolis Statehouse, it’s a fairly good bet that the Free State will join five others and the neighboring District of Columbia.

O’Malley is an advocate of civil unions over marriage, but, he told a radio station last summer while campaigning for the office, that if the Legislature "were to reach a compromise in another way, I would sign a bill like that."

HB-55, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, was introduced by Delegate Luis Simmons and 16 co-sponsors. The Washington Times reported that the bill has a carve-out so that anti-gay marriage clergy do not have to perform such marriages. The so-called carve-out exemption is common in other states with legalized gay marriage on the books.

State Sen. Rich Magdaleno, an openly gay senator from the Washington suburbs, will introduce a similar bill in the upper house.

In an indication of how popular gay marriage has become in Maryland, the GOP minority leader withdrew from that position because his own views differ from the party’s stated objections to gay marriage.

The Washington Blade reported that State Sen. Allan Kittleman planned to actively support civil unions. "I’m a social moderate and I wanted to stand up for what I believe in," he told the Baltimore Sun. "It’s more important for me to stay true to my beliefs than it is for me to be the minority leader."

The head of the state’s major gay-rights activist group, Equality Maryland, praised Kittleman for "an incredibly brave and important move on his part to stand by his principles."

Freedom to Marry will hold a joint news conference with Equality Maryland in Annapolis, the state capital, on Jan. 25 to support the full marriage bill.

Not surprisingly,the National Organization for Marriage has also announced plans to move into the state with ads opposing the bill. As reported here, NOM plans a full-on assault in Rhode Island, another state where gay marriage looks likely to become law this year.

Even so, Maryland looks more than hopeful to become another domino falling in the march toward gay marriage. Delegate Maggie McIntosh sent an email to constituents in which, she said, "I am pleased to say 2011 is the first year that I feel a civil marriage bill can and will pass in the Maryland Senate."

Nearly a year ago, the state’s attorney general ruled that the state would recognize out-of-state gay marriages there.
EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007). 
 
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Will Italy’s Next Prime Minister Be a Gay Man?

By Steve Weinstein -

Nichi Vendola
As Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fights mounting scandals in his personal, business and political life, the out-gay governor of Apulia has emerged as his principal rival and successor.

Nichi Vendola governs the region, which constitutes the "heel" of the boot-shaped Mediterranean nation. The agricultural region, rich in history, has one major city, Bari, on the Adriatic Coast. The region is traditionally conservative, but the left-wing Vendola is very popular there.

Berlusconi has survived several crises before, including a public and nasty divorce and allegations that he hired underage girls as prostitutes. But the latest scandals involve alleged orgies at his villa with underage girls and hush money being given to them.

"We are in the delivery room," Vendola said in a Washington Post profile, about the coming parliamentary no-confidence vote against Berlusconi. "I see in the belly of Italy the alternative creature ready to be born. And as an obstetrician, I want to deliver it."

Vendola has an ornate, baroque speaking style that is both admired and satirized in the Italian press, as is his lisp. He is also a natty dresser. He is a member of a communist party, which puts him to the left of nearly all other major politicians -- which is pretty far left in the volatile political state of Italian politics. (Even his first name harks back to the Soviets; he is purportedly named for USSR Premier Nikita Kruschev.)

His latest party -- which he formed -- is called the Left Ecology Freedom Party. Berlusconi is apparently taking him seriously enough so that he made a now-infamous response to his carousing with underage girls: "It’s better to like beautiful girls than to be gay."

The statement didn’t win him many friends among voters, the press or even the Vatican, which still wields a great deal of influence over affairs in Italy despite being officially limited to the tiny Roman enclave of Vatican City.

"On the one hand, I thought it’s the usual Berlusconi, that slimy bottom-feeder of small bourgeois culture, who tells anti-Semitic and homophobic jokes and affects a rampant masculinity to connect with what he imagines to be the Italian everyman, because he is the monstrous and extreme version of the Italian everyman," Vendola said of the wisecrack. "On the other hand, I thought he chose me. It’s a joke aimed at an antagonist."

If Berlusconi, who is the major press baron of Italy (a sort of Italian Rupert Murdoch) represents the media establishment, Vendola represents the future of media. He is very active on social networks like Facebook, and his website There Is a Better Italy has promoted clubs around the country knowns as "Nichi’s Workshops."

In the Post profile, Vendola reveals that he partly broke with his close-knit family after he came out but had a reconciliation after he spoke to a huge crowd at a Gay Pride rally in Rome. His mother told him that his father wanted to him for forgiveness.

"I don’t think I ever cried like that in my life," Vendola recalled. "I think I cried for a couple of days."

Vendola doesn’t see his sexuality as necessarily presenting a problem for the Vatican -- or at least his sexuality may be, in the end, less of a problem for the pope and the cardinals than Berlusconi’s increasingly embarrassing escapades.

Vendola, who is 52, is also a published poet. There is a documentary, Nichi, based on his life. According to a profile in New York’s Gay City News, Vendola did his university thesis on the famous gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Vendola was a reporter for the Italian Communist newspaper after graduating from college. He was elected to Italy’s parliament before leading Apulia.

He’s also the only major Italian politician to wear an earring -- a large hoop that dangles from his left ear. If elected, he would be the second out-gay head of a European government, after Iceland.
EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007). 
 
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Deal rejected in Warm Sands case DA's office offers to drop sex offender status; defendants want case dismissed

by Mariecar Mendoza -
The hearing for 15 of 19 men arrested in connection with the 2009 Warm Sands public sex sting resumed yesterday after the men rejected a plea agreement offered Thursday by the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
“The problem I have with this is that it's always, ‘Why don't the gay men roll over and apologize? Why don't they take a deal or something like good gay guys are supposed to?' Well, no. We've had enough of that,” defense attorney Joseph Rhea said. “These men were entrapped.”
The controversial case, which has attracted national attention, resumed Thursday in Indio after defense attorneys demanded the charges against their clients be dismissed.
It also was a continuation of a June hearing that, at that time, involved only three of the now 15 defendants.
According to court documents, the defense maintains the charges are invalid because Palm Springs police appeared “to be engaging in homophobia rather than focusing on actual crime.”
The operation, which took place in June 2009, involved an undercover male police officer who acted as a decoy to attract male suspects intent on engaging in public sex acts.
Nineteen men, in total, were arrested during the sting and charged with misdemeanor lewd conduct in public.
If convicted as charged, the men would be required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives on a database available only to authorities.
According to previous defense testimony, at least one police officer uttered a gay slur during the operation.
A subsequent city investigation found that Palm Springs police Chief David Dominguez also made an “inappropriate comment” during the operation.
On Jan. 5, citing the significant controversy surrounding the sting, Dominguez announced his retirement as Palm Springs police chief after three years.
During Thursday's hearing, the district attorney's office proposed a plea agreement that would have dropped the lifetime sex offender registration requirement if the defendants pleaded guilty.But defense attorneys said no.
They opted, instead, to move forward with their motion to dismiss the charges.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Earl Lee Roberts called the defense decision “ironic.”
“They've been screaming about (being listed as sex offenders) all along, and now we've offered to settle this for less than sexual registration and they want to keep going. I think that's kind of ironic,” Roberts said.
Judge David B. Downing ruled Thursday that because 12 new defendants have been added to the defense's motion, testimony from the June hearing must be redone.
The judge also added that Dominguez's comment “troubles” him, but did not elaborate.
Downing's decision means in the coming days, the prosecution will bring back witnesses from the June hearing to redo their earlier testimonies.
Those witnesses include Palm Springs City Manager David Ready and Dominguez, as well as other city officials.
Roberts, the deputy district attorney, said he is confident in his case.
“The Palm Springs Police Department did nothing wrong. Nothing at all. They did an operation to address a problem that was legitimately there, that legitimately needed to be addressed,” he said.
“We are right on the law. I'm counting on us winning.”
Roberts added that he will bring in witnesses familiar with the Warm Sands neighborhood to prove that public sex is a problem in the area.
Palm Springs City Councilman Rick Hutcheson, a defense witness, testified Thursday that Warm Sands is known for its “friskiness.”

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Ricky Martin says he wants a daughter

Ricky Martin says his twin sons are a handful but he’d love to have a “daddy’s girl”.
The gay star had sons Matteo and Valentino by a surrogate mother in 2008.
He told Miami radio station Y100: “Fatherhood is incredible! Every day is something different.
“Matteo and Valentino, they’re constantly ganging up on me but I can take it! They’re amazing – I want more. This is only the beginning of our family.”
When asked how many children he would like, Martin said: “I don’t know. Maybe one, two more, but yeah, definitely. I need [a] daddy’s girl.”
He added that becoming a father had changed his life, not least his sleeping patterns.
“Babies wake up every two hours,” he said. “At 7 o’clock you are awake. For me, I was a night owl in the past, but now, I’m up, I’m working, I’m already dealing with the kids.”

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Labour MEP Michael Cashman says he’s working to stop Iranian gay executions

By Jessica Geen  -


Gay Labour MEP Michael Cashman has said he is working to stop the planned executions of two young men for alleged homosexuality offences.
The two men, named only as Ayub, 21, and Mosleh, 20, were arrested by agents of the Iranian regime in the Kurdistan city of Piranshahr in northwest Iran after mobile phone footage was discovered of them having sex.
It has been claimed that the video included them having sex with a 17-year-old who told religious police that the pair raped him in exchange for sparing his own life.
Homosexuality is illegal in Iran.
Mr Cashman tweeted yesterday: “Working to stop the execution of Ayoub and Mosleh in Iran.”
PinkNews.co.uk understands he has alerted EU Foreign Minister Cathy Ashton about the men’s plight, while MPs Chris Bryant and Caroline Lucas have written to the Foreign Secretary to highlight the case.
The US State Department has also been asked to intervene by gay rights campaigners.
The date of the execution was originally reported as today (January 21st) although this is now unclear.
Gay rights activist Paul Canning, who wrote for PinkNews.co.uk about the case this week, said: “This case has been difficult to write about because of the dangers for sources of information in Iran, changing or limited information and because of the obvious politics which surround any such case.
“However this does not mean we can stand by and do nothing. Previous cases, in particular that of the woman sentenced to stoning for adultery, now changed to imprisonment, show that sometimes international pressure works.
“I am delighted that pressure does now appear to be being applied.”

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New Apple boss Tim Cook described as most “powerful gay man in Silicon Valley”

The acting chief executive of Apple, Tim Cook, has been deemed the most powerful gay man in Silicon Valley.
Cook, who takes over while Steve Jobs takes two years’ medical leave, has not spoken publicly about his sexual orientation.
But with Jobs in the background, he is expected to become a public figure.
Valleyrag reported: “It looks increasingly like Steve Jobs’ reign at Apple is over. If the CEO doesn’t return from his third, indefinite medical leave, COO Tim Cook will succeed him, marking a new era not only for Apple but for gay progress.
“Cook. . . has been as reticent to acknowledge his sexual orientation as he has his prowess in overseeing the company supply chain. But as Jobs fades back, and as his absences grow more prolonged and uncertain, Cook will become, by necessity, a public figure.”
The website said it had been told by “two well-placed sources” that Cook is gay and that his sexuality has been the topic of at least some discussion within the company.
Some executives were said to be happy to encourage him to come out, but were concerned about whether it would “impact the perception of the Apple brand”.

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Gays Aren't "Redefining" Marriage, But We Are Ahead of the Curve

By Cristian Asher -

The times, they are a’changing. And so is marriage. This isn’t the work of gays and lesbians — as I've been shouting for awhile now — it’s a result of the ways society is changing overall. Now the Washington Post has chimed in with a similar message, while two articles in the New York Times detail that process and even indicate that the way gays and lesbians approach marriage may be happier and more sustainable than all those “traditions” the far right keeps harping on about.
The Post editorial gives the basics: marriage used to be about property and enforcing a strict male-female hierarchy, but now it’s about love and partnership. That property question was not just about land and inheritance, incidentally — women and children were, for many centuries, legally counted as possessions, too, so marriages were literally business transactions between fathers and fianc├ęs. The structure and legal underpinnings of marriage perpetuated this, specifically working to keep women in a secondary, powerless position.
But all that changed, partly due to changing attitudes and partly (as Justin Wolfers has written in the New York Times) to the practical fact that technological advancements made it unnecessary for one spouse to be tied full-time to the home. As men and women grew more equal, marriage came to be understood as a partnership rather than a hierarchy. Now, the revolution of marriage is complete; rather than being a duty, it is seen as one choice among many, and its success is judged by the happiness of its participants.
And that’s where we gays come in. We’ve had equal relationships for a long time — no hierarchies, no strict division of labor, no difference in rights or power. Our relationships certainly aren't perfect, but the whole equality thing is a language we speak.
And now that heterosexual marriage has caught up to us, it turns out that the “me-centric” approach to marriage is the happiest way to do things. The Times reports multiple studies and experts that are saying exactly this, and even a quiz to measure how much your spouse expands your own horizons as a measure of the sustainability of your union. The idea is that two people who are equal, and who push each other to grow and evolve as individuals, make the happiest couples and the most lasting unions.
In other words — surprise! — equality is a good thing. It's good for everyone, in politics and the bedroom. And when it comes to the latter, gay people have been way ahead of the curve.
We're not destroying marriage. We are, in fact, leading the charge on its latest and happiest version.

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Jane Lynch, Adam Lambert, Jason Mraz at Elton John's concert for Gay Marriage

By Karen Ocamb -

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, Elton John performed a private benefit concert in Beverly Hills, CA to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Co-founded by actor/director Rob Reiner, AFER is leading the fight for marriage equality through its groundbreaking federal court case to overturn California’s Proposition 8. On the red carpet, AFER’s team and celebrities alike share their feelings on gay marriage with facts, personal experience and song.
In attendance at the fundraiser, and featured in the red carpet interview video below are Jason Mraz, Jane Lynch, Marisa Tomei, Adam Lambert, Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons), Bruce Vilanch, Rob Reiner, Attorney Ted Olson and Plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. This video was shot and produced by Renee Sotile & Mary Jo Godges of Traipsing Thru Films, Inc. for LGBT POV.
Excerpt from AFER attorney Ted Olson:
“This is the most important case that I know I’ve ever had. It means so much to so many people and we’re feeling progress being made every single day. The more people learn about this case, the more people listen to what we have to say, we’re feeling the changing of public opinion. It’s like flowers blooming in the spring – you can almost see them growing and it’s so moving to see this happen.”



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Special Comment on Gay Marriage Keith Olbermann

Thanks and best of luck Keith.



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Friday, January 21, 2011

Granite State (NH) Camp Courage Community Intro Video

Granite State Camp Courage

Hosted by Granite State Progress, in collaboration with the Courage Campaign

New Hampshire is an equality state - we passed marriage equality in 2009, soundly defeated a repeal bill in 2010 and sent a clear message last town meeting season that the Granite State opposes discrimination.

But anti-equality forces are at work again, introducing legislation to overturn marriage equality and codify discrimination into our state law. In the immediate, we need to help ensure equality remains a proud "Live Free or Die" tradition in New Hampshire. In the long-term, we need to build more visible, broad public support for equality by changing the hearts and minds of those closest to us.

Join us for Camp Courage, an intensive training on how to talk to our legislators, friends, family and community members about the importance of equality through our own stories and experiences. Based on the model developed by the Courage Campaign, these trainings across New Hampshire will empower individuals to have "Courageous Conversations" about their personal reasons for supporting marriage equality. Working in local teams, we will establish ways to strengthen equality in our community and at the State House, one person at a time.

Sign up to attend a Camp Courage in your area, or to help organize one!

            
   
          
* denotes required field



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"Official oppression" earns ex-cop a year behind bars, Case involved sexual assault of a transsexual woman.

Officer Craig Nash, who was arrested in
connection with a sexual assault.
A former San Antonio police officer accused of raping a transsexual prostitute while on duty was ordered Tuesday to spend a year in jail.
Attorneys for Craig Nash, 39, had asked state District Judge Lori Valenzuela for deferred adjudication probation during the brief sentencing hearing, pointing out that he otherwise had been commended for his service during his six years with the department.
Prosecutors sought the maximum one-year sentence for the official oppression charge, which is a Class A misdemeanor.
As part of a plea agreement, Nash waived an indictment last month and pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to pursue a felony charge of sexual assault by a police officer, which had a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Nash also agreed to never again seek work as a police officer in Texas. Police Chief William McManus had indefinitely suspended Nash — the equivalent of firing him — last March and said the accusation had arrived as “a hard slap to the face” of other officers.
“Officers should be held to a higher standard,” prosecutor Trey Banack said Tuesday of his request for jail time. “A police officer who is a criminal does not deserve mercy from the system he serves to protect.”
Nash was arrested last February after the victim — currently serving time in a male state jail facility for prostitution — reported that she had just been held captive and raped by the officer.
She had been picked up by Nash at Guadalupe and Zarzamora streets early that morning and handcuffed in the back of the patrol car, she told police. She then was then told to lie down as Nash drove to an unknown location, where she was forced to commit multiple sex acts, she reported.
DNA taken from a rape kit later linked Nash to the complainant, according to court records. The woman picked Nash out in a police lineup and GPS tracking of his patrol unit was consistent with what she said, documents state.
Two days after the officer's arrest, a second person came forward to say he had also been raped by the officer in 2008. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors won't pursue the second allegation, according to court documents.
Prosecutors opted to pursue the misdemeanor charge against Nash instead of the felony as they began looking ahead to trial and contemplating “additional issues we'd have to deal with,” said Adriana Biggs, chief of the district attorney's white-collar crimes division. She declined to elaborate.
Unlike sexual assault, consent isn't an issue for an officer to be charged with official oppression. Prosecutors only have to show that an officer had sex with somebody in custody.
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Alan Brown wouldn't say if he had been prepared to argue that sex between his client and the accuser was consensual, saying only: “We don't agree to the elements of sexual assault. We don't agree that happened.”
Nash had been a good officer and good father to six children and probation seemed appropriate, Brown said.
“He had been officer of the month a couple times,” Brown said, adding that Nash had been recognized for saving a woman from a fire, among other commendations. “He had a lot of heroic acts.”

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The Men of Str8 Against H8

warning- strong language


Making of Video: FCKH8 "STR8 AGAINST H8" 2011 Calendar from FCKH8.com on Vimeo.

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Iowa: Subcommittee Hearing on Marriage Ban, Monday Jan 24 at 12:30



On Monday, a House Judiciary Subcommittee will be discussing House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks to deny any legal recognition to gay couples. The proposed amendment would ban marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, harming thousands of Iowa families.
We need supporters of equality present at the hearing to demonstrate the positive impact marriage has had on the lives of Iowans and that this bill would harm thousands of gay and lesbian couples and their families. Please join us!

Subcommittee Hearing on Marriage Ban (HJR6)
Monday, January 24, 2011 12:30 PM
Iowa Capitol - Meet on the first floor by the USS Iowa Battleship Replica


RSVP Today!
*WEAR BLUE to signify your support for equality!
**The hearing will start promptly at 1:00 PM and is likely to run late into the afternoon.
We know our opposition will be out in force, and that’s why its so important to have you there. This is a critical opportunity for supporters of equality to show collective opposition to writing discrimination into the Constitution. Please join us!
Sincerely,
Carolyn Jenison
Executive Director

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A Celebration of Courage.

IGLHRC
A Celebration of Courage
Save the Date
March 7th 6 to 9pm
Landmark on the Park NYC
Wine Beer Cocktails
Tickets 150
Host Alan Cumming Awardees Mongolian LGBT Cntr and Jeff Sharlet
Fred Eychaner
Presenting Sponsor Astrea Patron Sponsors Dorothy Sander and IBM
Beverage Sponsor Veev Media Sponsor Queerty
Learn More Sponsor COC

 IGLHRC on Twitter Check out our Facebook page Watch our Videos on You Tube View our Photos on Picasa
IGLHRC · 80 Maiden Lane, Suite 1505 · New York, NY 10038
phone: +1 (212) 430-6054 · fax: +1 (212) 430-6060 · www.iglhrc.org


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The Long Hard Road For Transgender Rights

By David Mixner -

TRANSLogo2 In the early years of the movement there really was no LGBT community. There was real separatism - and sometimes even bad blood - between the gay male community and lesbians. Many men refused to come to terms with issues of concern for women. Gay men were not immune from the sexism of the times. Many women passed judgement on what they thought to be 'the gay male lifestyle.' The Transgender community, with few exceptions, was relegated to the fringe and many forced isolation on them within the community. Many gays and lesbians didn't even believe bisexuality existed and that all bisexual people were simple closet cases.
Over the years, many of us worked hard to create a respectful, honest and needed coalition between all these communities. The path to reaching the historic place of an inclusive LGBT community was not an easy one. There were angry meetings, tests to be met and long difficult discussions and decisions to be made. The fact of the matter is that those decisions were made and it created a great civil rights movement.
A crucial part of that struggle over the decades was to include Transgenders - a critical part of that coalition. Often,even in today's world, people (even myself at times) have to be reminded that there is a big old "T" in LGBT. The attempt a few years back to exclude Transgender citizens from ENDA in some ways reminded all of us how important our long-fought for coalition was to the community. Freedom for not part us but for all of us.
In many ways, Transgender Americans bear the brunt of our oppression. The reports of job discrimination against Trangender people sometimes run higher than others in the coalition by 20%. Hate crimes have taken a particularly bitter toll on our Transgender brothers and sisters and have numbered in the hundreds if not thousands. Dozens have been killed in vicious, ugly and brutal crimes. The suicide rate is the highest among Transgender youth and even older citizens. While many LGBT citizens have seen progress in civil rights, job protections, military service and other areas of full citizenship, often Transgender Americans are excluded from those advances.
More than anyone else in the LGBT coalition the Transgender community needs our unflinching support. They have to know we have their backs. Their battle is our battle. Our straight allies need to know that this is how we feel and we are all in this together. No one has the right to take the "T" out of LGBT.

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

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Maine ethics panel seeking NOM donor names

By BETTY ADAMS -

AUGUSTA - The state ethics commission continues to seek the names of people who donated to the National Organization for Marriage in 2009 -- an inquiry the organization continues to oppose.
The group provided more than $1.9 million to a political action committee in Maine that helped repeal a law to legalize same-sex marriage.
The National Organization for Marriage says that identifying donors would violate their First Amendment rights and deter future donors.
Lawyers for each side presented arguments Wednesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to a judge who said she will provide a ruling in writing.
Assistant Attorney General Phyllis Gardiner told the judge that the ethics commission wants to question donors.
"What did they understand they were asked to contribute money for?" Gardiner said.
The answers would help the commission determine whether the National Organization for Marriage should have registered with the state as a ballot question committee.
State law says groups that raise or spend more than $5,000 to attempt to influence the outcome of any Maine election must register and disclose their donors.
Josiah Neeley, the attorney representing the National Organization for Marriage in its bid to keep donors' names private, said it would be possible to provide information about donation amounts and dates while redacting the names of donors.
According to Neeley, a number of people want to know who the donors are, and a lawyer at a previous hearing cited instances of harassment in California after the release of donors' names following a gay-marriage vote there.

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Fmr Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt Favors Gay Exorcisms, Says Gay Men Are Women, Must See

--Gordon Klingenschmitt, former Navy Chaplain, joins us live to discuss the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, which he claims will force a draft, as well as gay exorcisms as an effective method of treatment for homosexuality, and much more.

The David Pakman Show is an internationally syndicated talk radio and television program hosted by David Pakman



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Gay, lesbian couples more confident about finances

By QMI Agency -

Gay and lesbian adults in the U.S. are more likely to be happy - even confident - about their financial future than heterosexual couples, according to newly released survey.
In fact, the group is roughly 50% more likely to be confident about the future than their heterosexual counterparts.
Roughly 27% of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) adults in the U.S. said that they felt more financially secure than a year ago. That compares with only 19% of heterosexual adults, according to data provided by Harris Decima Interactive.
The same was true when it came to economic expectations for the coming year.
Approximately 35% of LGBT adults expected the situation to improve, and another 49% said it would stay the same. Meanwhile, 44% of heterosexual adults said it would stay the same and only 29% said it would improve.
Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications who commissioned the survey, said that everyone has faced hard decisions during the recession. But for some reason LGBT adults are remaining more optimistic about it than others.
"Same-sex couples and their families, in fact, have a more fragile safety net today under existing outdated laws and unequal policies. Nonetheless, they increasingly believe, more than others, that this recovery is becoming real and tangible."
The study surveyed 2,519 people in the U.S.

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This February on IN THE LIFE - You Are Not Alone

This month on IN THE LIFE: Bullycides, the national crisis of young people, Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, And ITL staff share personal stories of hope.



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Leading GOP Contenders to Speak At Forums Hosted By Iowa's Leading Anti-Gay Group

By Kyle -

The other day, Brian noted that Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would soon be heading to Iowa to discuss "pro-family issues, all the way from life and marriage to economic policy and energy policy" at a forum being hosted by the right-wing group The Family Leader
The Family Leader is the new group that is being run by Bob Vander Plaats after his successful effort to remove three state Supreme Court justices over the court's gay marriage ruling ... and it looks like Pawlenty will be just the first in a series of GOP presidential hopefuls to participate in such forums for the anti-gay group:
The series line-up begins with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on Monday, February 7. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and businessman and radio host Herman Cain have also made commitments to participate. Other invited speakers include former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, South Dakota Senator John Thune, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, and Indiana Representative Mike Pence.
“Iowans play a vital role in hosting the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus, and it is our privilege to offer this Presidential Lecture Series in order to provide our very influential base an opportunity to gain insight into our political process,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER. “Our base is serious about its role in the political process and the Presidential Lecture Series is a focused strategy to facilitate meaningful exposure to our constituents.”
It is worth pointing out that Vander Plaats' crusade against the Supreme Court continues to this day, leading a former advisor to declare that he has become "obsessed with the gay-marriage issue" and that his effort had deep support from many of the national anti-gay Religious Right groups, including the American Family Association and its bigot-in-chief Bryan Fischer.

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Gay journalist accuses Christian therapist of smearing his name over ‘intimidation claims’

The professional trial of a Christian therapist who tried to ‘convert’ a gay man has been halted after a witness was allegedly intimidated, Christian campaigners say.
However, the gay journalist who brought about the trial says that the claims are a “smear campaign” and that the therapist does not have any witnesses.
Lesley Pilkington was due before a panel of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy this week but one of her key witnesses is said to have received threats and menacing phones telling him or her not to attend the trial.
Ms Pilkington’s supporters say they are urging police to investigate the claims.
She was due to attend a hearing on Tuesday and may lose her professional licence after gay journalist and anti-conversion therapy campaigner Patrick Strudwick secretly recorded her trying to “cure” him of homosexuality.
But Mr Strudwick said that Ms Pilkington’s supporters were trying to discredit him and said that she did not have any witnesses because all parties were told that they would not be required nine days before the hearing was due to start.
A letter from the BACP to Mr Strudwick confirms that Ms Pilkington’s witnesses will not be called to appear before the panel.
Mr Strudwick added that witnesses’ personal details had been redacted on written statements so it was “impossible” for them to have been intimidated.
He said: “They are trying to discredit me and smear my name.”
“Every part of this is made up,” he added. “They are effectively accusing me of a crime.”
In a statement, the BACP said it had adjourned the hearing because it was “concerned that the confidential nature of [the] procedure was being compromised due to the disclosures made in the media”.
It added that it was “concerned” at the claims of intimidation.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, said yesterday that the “homosexual lobby” had been “extremely militant and sought to silence [Ms Pilkington] by threats and intimidation”.
She could not be reached for comment today.
The therapist, 60, told Mr Strudwick that his homosexuality was a “mental illness” and she could help him overcome it.
Mr Strudwick, who won several awards for his expose, was also told by Ms Pilkington that he must have been sexually abused as a child by a member of his family.
After visiting her for counselling in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, he reported her to the BACP.
Ms Pilkington has accused him of entrapment.

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