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Photos from the National Equality March

October 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, iQreport

david mixnerI wanted to share some of my photographs from the National Equality March this weekend. I hope you enjoy them.  I met some fantastic people and had a wonderful dinner at The District Chophouse with Genia Stevens, Andrea, Lester Leavitt, Mickey, Jonathon, Jae, Elisa, and, of course, our very own, Jude.

We had a bit of time to just kick back and get to know each other in person on Saturday night, but Sunday came at us fast and there was a lot of work to be done.

The speakers were fabulous and a lot of memories were made.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing stories of those I met with video and photographs.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photographs.  More photographs and videos from myself and the other iQreporters are available at http://iQreport.usfreedomring.com.

[picasa width=”400″ height=”400″ autoplay=”0″ showcaption=”1″]http://picasaweb.google.com/jaysaysdotcom/NationalEqualityMarch[/picasa]

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Go Back to the State You Came from for your Divorce

October 03, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

Stupid Things People Say About GaysRecently, District Judge Tena Callahan ruled that Texas’ courts do have jurisdiction to hear a suit for divorce filed by a same-sex couple married outside of the state.  The problem arose because over 3/4’s of voters in Texas (the state that ranked 39th that same year in education), agreed with a ban on same-sex marriage. – but no one ever voted on same-sex divorce.

Of course, even the granting of a divorce has (perhaps oddly) infuriated those opposed to gay marriage.  This outrage over the granting of a divorce directly contradicts those opposed to gay marriage.  For example, the opposition to same-sex marriage claims that they are trying to protect the sanctity of marriage not discriminating against a group of people. For them, they claim that it is not about us being “gay,” but instead about the institution of marriage.  However, the comments from their side seem to indicate that it is very much about discriminating against same-sex couples.

It’s interesting to note that we gays are now not only trying to redefine marriage, but trying to redefine divorce – is divorce part of “traditional family values” and a “moral necessity” as they claim marriage between only opposite sex couples to be?”

One particular comment caught my fancy”

If you don’t want to be married anymore [then] go to “that state” that allowed the marriage and file for divorce. If they won’t grant the divorce then just abide by the state rules where you reside – meaning if it is Texas then you are not married. -via Dallas judge clears way for gay divorce.

I wonder if we were to apply that reasoning to heterosexual couples how long it would take for them to be outraged.  Divorces, heterosexual or not, are expensive and time consuming, add the expense of having to travel across country, establish residency to meet jurisdictional requirements (when applicable by state law) or travel back and forth to attend court hearings and you have the perfect brew for a massive heterosexual marriage rights movement.

This outrage makes it painfully obvious that those opposed to the granting of the divorce aren’t really concerned with the sanctity of marriage like they claim, but instead they don’t like gay people and must prevent them from having the same conveniences they allow for themselves.

NOTE: For more of the column, Stupid Things People Say About Gays, click here.

Gearing up for the National Equality March: 11 Things You Can Do.

September 28, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured, iQreport, Thought of the Gay

NEmThe  National Equality March is just around the calendar corner, Sunday, October 11, 2009, in Washington D.C. Actually, there are events planned all weekend.

We know that there are many people who are going to the march. We also know that there are many people who would like to go to the Equality March but can’t. Either the timing is bad, they can’t afford it, or it’s too difficult to make the trip.

There are still ways that you can help. This message is for everyone, gay or straight. In honor of the eleventh of October, which is also Coming Out day, we have eleven ideas for you. Because ten ideas is so straight.

  1. Send a donation to Equality Across America where your donation is tax-deductible.  or your local Equality Now group.
  2. Subsidize a friend who wants to go. We at Jaysays have supported three people. Don’t know anyone? Donate to “Give Up Your Morning Coffee for LGBT Equality”
  3. If money is a problem, there are many groups offering low cost transportation and lodging. Look at the Equality Across America webpage. Find a friend to share a room with.  Get a group together and drive to Washington DC.  Check out Priceline, Hotwire or other sites known for cheap rates.
  4. If you live near a university or in a larger city, check out your local LGBT groups. In Madison, Wisconsin, for example, students can take a bus round trip to Washington, DC for $60.
  5. Save money by being more frugal. You can do it! Bring a lunch, give up your latte, don’t go out to dinner or the movies, no new CDs or video games, take those unused items to a consignment shop, or sell things on Craigslist or eBay.
  6. Tell your parents, significant other or friends, including your Facebook friends, that going to the Equality March is what you would like for Christmas or your birthday instead of a present. What better present can you get than the kind that gives all people equality?
  7. If you are going, offer to put the name of someone who cannot go on your sign. Represent others who cannot attend. Better yet, wear a White Knot for each person you are representing.
  8. Write to the president, your Senators and Congressional Representatives before the March, telling them what equal rights means to you.  You can do this by email and it is free. Also contact your state and local representative asking for equal rights in your state.
  9. Write to your local news stations and national news stations and ask them to cover the March.  Most networks have a website with a contact button.
  10. If you are at a college campus, participate in the Chalk Messages Project. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper before the march. Yes, people do read newspapers, especially people who do not read the Internet.
  11. Speak up whenever you hear someone make a degrading comment about LGBT individuals. Not just for this march. Do it year round. Because silence equals agreement. It’s really easy to say, in a nice voice, “I’m sure you don’t mean that because it could hurt someone. I have gay friends and it hurts me.”  You may not be able to change the world. But you can change the world within your reach.

We hope to see you at the march, but even if you can’t go, you can make a difference.

National Equality March Song Competition Finalists: Vote Now!

September 24, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

NEmThe National Equality March is fast approaching.  Organizers launched the National Equality March Song Contest weeks ago and four finalists have been chosen and I must say the finalists are as diverse as our community.  In them you’ll here the influence of show tunes, blues, jazz and new age.

Here’s your chance to vote for your favorite. Voting will end at 5:00 p.m. PST on October 1, 2009.  You may vote via YouTube or Facebook simply by rating the song on YouTube or giving it a thumbs up/thumbs down on Facebook.

Congratulations to all finalists.  Great songs!

“Stand for Love” by Toby Madigan:

“Courage of Our Convictions” by Julie Cox:

“Equality” by Todd Fernandez:

“Our Time Has Come” by Sean Chapin:

Lessons I Learned from a GLBT Town Hall Meeting

September 15, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Headline, Thought of the Gay

biphobiaTonight I sat in a room with roughly 30 other members of my local LGBT and allied community listening as Joseph Garrett moderated the conversation, asking one question, “What would you like from a Community Center?”  The list started fairly humbly with suggestions such as a visitors center, or a place for groups to meet.  But as the list grew, so did the dreams of a community that has so often been forgotten.  Eventually we had dreamed up a community center with after school programs, a nursing home for seniors, meeting space, offices for LGBT organizations, a place for LGBT kids to live should they find themselves on the street and a LGBT history museum.

The dreams flowed freely.  We dared ourselves to hope.

I’ve spent the past couple of hours contemplating this and still don’t have all the answers, but something did happen tonight at that meeting – we got to speak for ourselves.

That’s something I haven’t gotten to do much of in my local community.  Each time I’ve tried to get involved with a project, my emails go unanswered, my thoughts unheard, my abilities unused, my resources utterly untapped and my phone calls rarely returned (except by a sweet lady named Yvonne Jonas, the PFLAG mom).  Sure, I’ve dropped money in the donation boxes, attended fundraisers and all that stuff that makes us feel like I’ve done something to better “our community,” but be involved; have a voice?  That was something never allowed and I decided that there was no “community” in San Antonio, a conclusion I may come to regret – and a conclusion that biased me a bit about attending the meeting tonight.

I have learned my lesson, I think.  I’ve learned that, if I’m feeling excluded, I’m not working hard enough to include myself.  I’ve learned that for my voice to be heard in my local community, I must be willing to let people hear it as I have been through this blog, Closet Talk, Join the Impact and many LGBT forums, blogs and groups.

I hope you will all join me in not excluding yourself.

A Straight Person’s Perspective: The National Equality March and the LGBT Movement.

September 14, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Commentary, Featured

NEmThe National Equality March is coming soon. It’s just around the corner, October 10-11th. Thousands of people will gather together from all over the United States and many others will wish that they could attend. This coming together reflects a crystallizing moment in the LGBT movement for equal rights. The stars aligning if you will.

As a straight person who decided to start blogging about gay rights after Prop 8, I have gone through my own journey. While I had a few close friends who were gay, and I always felt quite welcome in gay social circles,  I really knew very little about gay activism. And I really did not know that many people who were gay, even though I have had gay friends for over thirty years.

In the last year I have taken trips to visit LGBT people that I met through the Internet and I know I have found some friends for life. Like Jay and Christopher, here on jaysays.com. Through Blogging, Join The Impact, Twitter, Facebook, my workplace and my church, I have truly lost count of the number of LGBT people that I have met.

Yet, I’m still an outsider. Always will be. And maybe that gives me an opportunity to say something.

It’s true. The only thing gay people have in common is that they are gay. One of the most surprising things for me is the diversity of opinions about LGBT topics, whether it is legal rights, gay culture or the hundreds of other facets of gay life. Does that sound like something a straight person would say? It is. I’m amused by the diversity and sometimes I want to whisper “you aren’t any different than the broad diversity within the straight community”.

Now here’s where I’m going to chime in with my two cents. Name a gay rights topic and you’ll get different opinions. Some folks support the National Equality March, some don’t. Some look at groups like HRC as slow, weak and using money for glamorous galas, others see them as the major force to be reckoned with. Some will accept the idea of civil unions, some won’t settle for anything less than the word marriage.

Do I know the right answers? Heck, even if I thought I did (which I don’t), I still feel like the onlooker who doesn’t get to vote. I’m not on the team, I’m a cheerleader.  Maybe being on the sidelines instead of the playing field has given me a different view. Do you know who is on your team? Look around. And I mean beyond the alphabet soup.

LGBTQAII people are

Young, Old, teens, Catholics, Jewish, Atheists, Black, Latino, Hispanic, Interracial, White, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Socialist, anarchists, capitalists, Wall Street brokers,  Teabaggers, female, male, intersexed, transgendered, Air Force pilots,  transsexual, introverts, artists, geeky, Mormons, scientists, doctors, Presbyterians, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, British, Dutch, Asian, Iranian, Canadian, Brazilian, Australian, Irish, New Zealanders, Icelanders, musicians, computer programmers, teachers, librarians, modest, humble, proud, arrogant, annoying, funny, empathetic, angry, aging hippies, PTA members, vegetarians, junk food junkies, couch potatoes, athletes, quilters, chefs, short order cooks, waiters, executives, travel agents, Navy seals, lawyers, Adam Lambert fans, car lovers, car haters, small town folk, big city folk, great dressers, could care less dressers, easily offended, un-offendable, loud, quiet, bookworms, movie fans, Marines Harry Potter fans, Shakespeare fans, opera fans, psychologists, nurses, dental hygienists, chemists, writers, journalists, movie stars, singers, dancers, and even hairdressers and florists. They are skeptical, hopeful, naysayers, cheerleaders, energetic, tired. They love chocolate, hate chocolate, drink coffee, hate coffee. They like to get up early, they like to sleep late. They love chick flicks, they hate chick flicks. They love scary movies, they hate scary movies. They love pickles, they hate tomatoes.

Your diversity is a strength. Each of you can reach out to someone who has something in common with you. But when it comes to fighting for rights, come together. So no matter what your differences, to win rights, it takes marching together. Imagine if every sign at the National March for Equality said something like “I’m a Mormon and I’m here with my Jewish friend”.  The reason military troops are successful is not because they fight for their country or their countries cause. They fight to save their best buddy who is in the foxhole next to them. No matter how different that buddy might be. (Ok, I know, DADT, it’s an analogy, ok?)

Why am I pointing this out? Again, I’m an outsider. So tell me if I am wrong. The LGBT movement, up until this march, has felt fractured. Hundreds of grassroots movements have sprung up and that is great. It shows tremendous energy and commitment. But this march. Cleve Jones. The memory of Harvey Milk. All are an inspiration, a moment in time about to happen. A National Movement of Voices can be heard.

When I heard Cleve Jones speak, someone asked him how to persuade others. He said “gently and respectfully”. I know that is not how some of you feel but hear me, or rather him, out. You don’t have to call another person names. Tell your story. Tell what this means to you. Cleve was emphatic that this is about legal and financial rights, not sex. Tell them about the rights that you are denied. If they bring up faith, tell them that their leaders are wrong. Become a real person to them. I’m sure each of you has formed a friendship with someone that you would have never predicted. Someone so unlike yourself, yet something clicked. It can happen. Maybe not with every person. But what if each of us reaches just a few?

But when it comes to fighting the opposition, when it comes to convincing legislators,  every voice must join together. When I was an itty-bitty hippie chick, it was called solidarity. Come out. Invite every straight person to come out and stand beside you. Invite a homophobe to coffee. That’s not a sign of weakness. I’m not suggesting compromising. I’m suggesting showing that each of you is a real person, worthy of the same rights, respect and acceptance as straight people.

Invite every LGBT group to connect and become a powerhouse. Your opposition has already done so.

If there’s one thing the anti-gay movement excels at, it’s gathering their followers under a few umbrellas. Yea, I know, they are sheep and you all are like herding cats. That might be true. But cats know how to demand what they want.  Sheep are no match for you.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (September 3, 2009 – September 10, 2009)

September 12, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsGay Sailor Brutalized by Own Unit and Discharged in CA (September 3, 2009)

Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Rocha was brutalized for more than two years by members of his own unit in Bahrain. He was returned to CA suffering from P.T.S.D. and was forced to admit to his sexual orientation – then was discharged under D.A.D.T. Others were also brutalized and the military is investigating.

Bill Recognizing Harvey Milk’s Birthday Passes CA Legislature (September 4, 2009)

Once again a bill to recognize Harvey Milk is waiting for the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – and would recognize Harvey Milk on his birthday – May 22nd.  If signed – Harvey Milk would join the only three other days of recognition in the state.

LGBT Activist Runs For Mayor in Idaho Town (September 5, 2009)

Melissa Sue Robinson is an LGBT activist and transwoman running for mayor of Nampa. She was previously married for 17 years and her ex-wife now plays a major role in her election campaign. Some of those not so pleased that she is running include a person who started a fraudulent Twitter account in her name – which has since been closed.

Los Angeles Mourns Death of Albert L. Gordon –  Gay Rights Attorney (September 6, 2009)

Albert L. Gordon was married and had twin sons – both sons are/were Gay. Mr. Gordon became an attorney in his 40’s and fought for LGBT rights. His first wife and one of his sons died before him. He was known as the leading pro bono lawyer to L.A.’s Gay community.

Catholic Church in Maine Supporting Anti-Gay Marriage Referendum (September 6, 2009)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has requested that its parishes have a special second collection this coming weekend – with the money collected to go to Stand for Marriage Maine. Stand for Marriage Maine is leading the effort to repeal legal Same-Sex Marriage in Maine – the Catholic Church is exempt from federal taxes as a non-profit religious institution in spite of its political dealings.

Openly Gay Man Accepted for Training in Church of Scotland Ministry (September 8, 2009)

The Church of Scotland has selected to train a Gay man –  in a Civil Partnership – for ministry despite a ban. Church officials backed his candidacy after receiving advice from an internal body that supports would-be trainees. The ban was put in place after the appointment of The Rev Scott Rennie.

Lesbian From U.S. Army Fighting Deportation From Canada (September 8, 2009)

Former Pte. Bethany Smith – who changed her name to Skyler James – requested discharge then decided to leave the U.S. Army after harassment and death threats from within her unit. She was unable to report the threats because of D.A.D.T. and was outed by another soldier. Skyler James is now fully employed and living in Canada. but faces deportation.

Proposed Law to Repeal Ban on Healthy Gay and Bisexual Blood Donations (September 8, 2009)

There is new proposed legislation which would allow healthy Gay and Bisexual men to donate blood. The legislation was approved by the Assembly Tuesday and is called the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution – and it moves to the state Senate in January 2010.

Gordon Brown Honors Contributions of Alan Turing During WWII in UK (September 10, 2009)

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician and was most famous for his work in breaking German Enigma codes during WWII. In 1952 he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ (for being Gay) and sentenced – then took his own life just two years after that. Gordon Brown acknowledged that a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT Activists made it possible for Mr. Turing to be honored.

mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: You Do Know Someone Who is Gay.

September 09, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

0006 crop - CopyThis is the story of my friend Kurt. I was the new kid in high school and I discovered that in a small town, it is difficult to break into social cliques. I was marginalized by the popular kids because my dad worked in a factory and I was from Chicago. One had to be in the right social circles. Somewhat ironic in a town of 8,000 after living in Chicago. One country club does not a social scene make.

The first student to approach me was Vicki, as she muttered in the library that they had no good books. She introduced me to  her brother, who was a living doll, cute butt and very funny. Kurt and I spent the better part of an evening at an “accidental”  date discussing the worlds problems, as teenagers love to do. I discovered that we had nothing in common and we argued for literally hours. He was a Republican, a bigot and, worst of all for this young hippie chick, he littered.

And yet, he was funny, witty, smart and completely charming. We became the best of friends and for many years people  believed that we were dating. It was always difficult to explain to potential boy/girl friends that we were just friends. Very few  got it and most were jealous. Kurt’s life became more troubled. He disappeared from school, starting doing drugs, then harder  drugs. His parents sent him to a psychologist and it got worse. When he returned after disappearing for a week, our circle of  friends discovered that he was doing heroin and had thoughts of suicide. We watched him like a hawk. He had many, many friends.

Not once did the thought cross my mind that he was gay. He chased girls like there was no tomorrow and he called kids queers and faggots. We would argue about that. He had me completely fooled.

After high school, we lost touch and when I looked him up, he was living in San Francisco, in the time of Harvey Milk. It was the only safe place to be out in that time.  He watched the White Night riots from his window as he lived near Civic Center. San Francisco was a place where he could be happy and began to accept himself. Then HIV came and wiped out the gay community. His partner died, his entire circle of friends died. He feel into a very deep depression. This was during the 1980’s when Republicans were doing things like putting bumper stickers on their cars that said “All the right people are dying of AIDS.”

Each day this month brings me closer to the grief that I know that I will feel. Because his birthday is at the end of September and his death was in early October. Outside of my husband, I was closer to him than any other man. He was my friend. We knew each other and loved one another unconditionally. I cannot begin to fathom the fear, the internalized homophobia and shame that he had to overcome. He was so smart and could have achieved anything. Instead, he fought a society that constantly told him that he was sick and a pervert. he loved his friends, was an amazing host, was knowledgeable in so many areas and was always entertaining. He was the epitome of graciousness, with lovely thank you cards and birthday cards. He was always excited when we visited and loved to show us his city. There is a hole in my heart that no one else will ever fill. I keep my memories of him alive on a flash drive, with photos, letters and music, that I store inside a little box from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, his favorite building. Not a gay bar. A church. An amazing church.

Every person who has lost a loved one, for whatever reason, knows what I mean. Everyone is human. Everyone is vulnerable and has feelings. Everyone can be hurt and struggles to protect themselves from hurt. My friend was as human, as worthy, as amazing as anyone else. Being gay was such a small part of his personality, of his potential. Yet others could see only that, not the real person underneath.

Someone you know IS gay. You may or may not know it. When I hear people say “I have gay friends and they know how I feel”, usually in reference to not supporting same sex marriage, I ask you “Are they really your friends? Have you asked them how your opinion makes them feel? Friend? Really? Or just acquaintances. While I applaud you for not preaching hatred, it is truly naive to believe that gay people don’t fall in love and don’t want stable, legal marriages. They are just like you and me. In the grand scheme of things, don’t each of us deserve the right to marry the person we love? How can love ever be wrong? How can a fight to legalize marriage take so long and so much money? How can love make us more uncomfortable than words of discrimination and marginalization. Do you really want to be the one to say “I won’t give you rights to Social Security, Medicare, tax benefits, the right to visit your partner in the hospital”.

Nothing will convince me that my LGBT friends are less worthy in any way. Not Shirley Phelps Roper, not Maggie Gallagher, not Pastor Steve Andersen, not Ann Coulter, not the Pope, not James Dobson, not the conservative in the cubicle half way down the hall from me, and most importantly, not the Bible. I have way too many LGBT friends. They are diverse, amusing, amazing, and a few are annoying. Because they are human. In the forty years that I have known gay people, and I’ve known a lot, not a one has tried to abduct my son or indoctrinate me with some kind of gay kool-aid. They talk about the same things as everyone else. Work, money, pets, car trouble, grocery shopping, their knee hurts, the kids don’t sleep at night, the cable company screwed up the bill. It’s only a myth that the gay lifestyle is glamorous. Most of them live just like you and me. Except we don’t have to be afraid that someone will kill us for being straight. Love is not a sin.

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 19, 2009 – August 25, 2009)

August 28, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsTrial Date Set for Fed Lawsuit Against CA Same-Sex Marriage Ban (August 19, 2009)

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker announced that the trial will begin January 11, 2010 in the federal lawsuit against California’s same-sex marriage ban.  Judge Walker ordered the depositions and the discovery process to start right away.  The Judge indicated that he was surprised Governor Schwarzenegger has taken such a passive role in the case.

Lesbian Couple Embraces Then Asked to Leave Restaurant in MD (August 19, 2009)

They noticed a heterosexual couple  kissing in another booth of the family restaurant – so they embraced each other – but did not kiss.  Aiyi’hah Ford and her partner Torian Brown were then asked to leave the restaurant in Silver Spring.  They returned with some supporters hoping for an apology – but the manager would not apologize.   Once they stepped outside the waitress followed them and apologized, then advised them that this sort of thing happens a lot at the restaurant.

LGBT Tenants in New York Mistreated by Co-Op Board (August 20, 2009)

A group of tenants who live at the Kew Gardens apartments have made complaints to the Co-Op Board regarding a leaking terrace that has caused damage to apartments connected to and below the area.  The apartments which were damaged are occupied by gay and lesbian tenants.  After filing the complaints, the tenants began receiving homophobic threats.

Late Lesbian Writer to be Honored in Ohio (August 20, 2009)

Writers have been honored previously in the state of Ohio – but never with their sexual orientation noted on the marker.  The marker, honoring Natalie Barney, might be the first with that distinction.  Natalie Barney was born in Ohio and was the author of lesbian and feminist themed stories.  She passed away in 1972.  The vote on the honor is scheduled for August 26, 2009.

West Hollywood Park Will Have Plaque Honoring Same-Sex Marriages (August 21, 2009)

The City Council of West Hollywood has decided to unveil a bronze marker at West Hollywood Park to honor Same-Sex Marriages.  The plaque will be unveiled on September 8, 2009 and bear a quote from Nelson Mandela: “I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me.  The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.”

Lesbian Families Gain in Parental Rights in Tasmania (August 21, 2009)

A bill which would give parental rights to both mothers in a lesbian family has passed the Lower House in Tasmania and is on it’s way to the Legislative Council.  The Gay and Lesbian rights group in Tasmania has praised this step forward.

Mayor in Massachusetts Will Marry her Partner (August 21, 2009)

Denise Simmons is known as the first black lesbian mayor in the United States. She was elected as mayor of Cambridge in 2008 and has served on the city council since 2001.  Ms Simmons will marry Mattie B. Hayes on Sunday August 30, 2009.

Copenhagen Might Change Wording of Civil Unions  Slightly (August 25, 2009)

Copenhagen already has Civil Unions for LGBT couples.  Currently when a couple enters a Civil Union, the presiding official pronounces the couple as Registered Partners.  A majority of the Copenhagen City Councilors are in favor of a proposal to change just one aspect of the current Civil Union which would allow LGBT couples to be declared Married.

Tucson Man Convicted in Attack on Transgender Woman (August 25, 2009)

Janey Kay is a Vietnam veteran who completed gender reassignment surgery early last year.  While at a a dog-racing track, Janey Kay was approached by Richard Ray Young and asked if she was a “Drag Queen.”  Ms. Kay answered no then Mr. Young began verbally and physically assaulting her.  Before police arrived Mr. Young broke away from security staffers and assaulted Ms. Kay once again.  Richard Ray Young was convicted of assault and disorderly conduct for the attack.  Mr. Young has said he is gay.
mjmj: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (July 11, 2009 – July 24, 2009)

July 27, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsCanada Health Collective Rx Denies Transgender (July 11, 2009)

A new pharmacy opened in Vancouver, Canada – operated by the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective. The pharmacy however does not offer its services to Transgender or Transexual women. A group called the “Femininjas” went to the pharmacy during the hours posted on the Collective’s website and found the doors locked. A statement which appears on the Collective’s website reads: “We feel that it is essential that a woman be born a woman and have the physiology of a woman and the psychological experiences of living as a girl and a woman in order to embrace the work of the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective.” The “Femininjas” are not the first group of ladies to be denied service.

Defendant in NY Murder Charged with Hate Crime (July 12, 2009*)

They were just attending a party – that’s all. It was last November on a Friday night. Lateisha Green, a Transgender woman. She went to a party with her brother – but wanted to avoid problems – so she dressed in male clothing. During the party some of the guests decided differently. These particular guests decided that she and her brother were gay – and started yelling “profane and vulgar comments” – according to police reports. So Lateisha and her brother Mark left the party – and just decided to sit in their car for a few minutes. While they were in their car – one of the party goers came out of the house with a .22-caliber rifle. According to police, “without a word, Dwight DeLee fired a shot. The bullet grazed (Mark) Cannon’s arm and with a deadly thud hit (Lateisha) Green, 22, in the chest.” She died. Her father, Albert Cannon said, “I’m hurt. Angry, upset. Mostly, I’m upset with society. How do we let our kids get this angry this young?” Dwight DeLee – is 20 – has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime.

*An update to this news item – (July 18, 2009*)

Dwight DeLee has been tried and found guilty of his crime. He has been convicted of “manslaughter as a hate crime for killing a Transgender woman he shot outside a party last year.”

Cleve Jones LGBT Activist on a Comeback in CA (July 12, 2009)

This is a man who has experienced and seen a lot – and is now becoming energized once again. Currently he has a labor union job (hotel union) and is organizing a march on Washington this coming October. Cleve Jones is also the person who created the AIDS quilt – which humanizes lives lost to AIDS. The quilt has 47,000 panels – which he weaved together after they were submitted in memory of those who died. He is working on organizing the march as well as an LGBT army. He is seeking an army of activists from each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts. Cleve Jones words best describe his intentions. He said, “We got locked into this pattern of fighting for fractions of crumbs – ‘Oh please, sir, in this country could we please not be fired for being Gay if it’s all right in this country for you to evict us for being Gay? It’s been this ping-pong with our basic civil rights….If you are a free and equal people, why would you settle for this?” The article also includes a great photo of him at his home in California. This is a great time for Cleve to re-energize our community!

Episcopal Church in U.S. Votes to Affirm Gay Clergy (July 13, 2009)

Since 2003 when V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was consecrated as an openly gay bishop – there have been a lot of tensions within the US Episcopal Church. At that time, “the Episcopal General Convention … passed a resolution that urged restraint by dioceses considering Gay candidates for bishop.” Recently Bishops gathered at the Episcopal General Convention voted to end the temporary restriction. It seems that more LGBT Episcopal clergy are able to live their lives openly – and possibly Bishop Robinson will soon be one of the many.

Police in UK Appoint Gay Liaison Officers (July 15, 2009)

The Suffolk Constabulary have created GLOs “… to increase and improve the trust and confidence of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people who work within the Constabulary and also those who live in Suffolk.” The idea is that these officers will be based in locations throughout the county – and provide guidance and references to support agencies and groups. Rod Flory is the diversity officer for Suffolk Constabulary – he is hoping this new addition to the police will give victims as well as witnesses the “confidence to report incidents.” The article did not mention specific incidents or crimes which might have led to this decision – but this seems to be a good decision. Hopefully this creation of the Gay Liaison Officers will lead to better relations and understanding between the LGBT community and the officers who are there to protect all. Then possibly also police departments here in US locales will be open to a more successful and productive similar relation to LGBT communities.

San Diego Pride Honored with Proclamation – Prior to Fest (July 16, 2009)

San Diego Pride has already held their Pride Fest – but even before it took place there was an even greater honor. A proclamation was awarded by city councilman Todd Gloria – which declared July as Lesbian-Gay-Bixsexual-Transgender Month. City councilman Carl DeMaio added, “And this proclamation is standing in line with proclamations on Cesar Chavez, for Martin Luther King.” Many members of the LGBT community were in attendance and thanked the council for their support of the coming Pride festivities. There were also some folks present who spoke out against allowing the festivities to take place. One person in particular became so disruptive during the meeting that he was escorted out after yelling at the council – but then he was allowed back in. “… and sat silently in prayer as the council unanimously supported the proclamation.” Another man was very vocal in his opposition – his name is James Hartline. Mr. Hartline lives his live as an “ex-Gay” and said, “The reality is that I was involved in the homosexual life for 30 years. I live in the homosexual community now and so I am day-in and day-out there.” He is now living as a heterosexual man with HIV. There are many in our community who come out later in life – and are just beginning to enjoy their lives. It is unfortunate that he has felt it necessary to retract from his true identity – and put aside his true sexual identity. Sadly he is trying to take the rest of our community with him. But – I do want to give a big “Thank-you” to the San Diego city council – and a great big “Congratulations” to San Diego Pride and the LGBT community there! Congratulations San Diego Pride !!

Univ. of Pune LGBT Course Growing in Depth in India (July 16, 2009)

The University of Pune in India started offering an LGBT course in 2007 – it was not the first. The University of Hyderabad had already started course offerings. The UoP was required to add a disclaimer that all students are welcome in the courses – they don’t “have to be gay.” Now there are students doing advanced degree research in LGBT studies. Recently two professors from outside Pune visited UoP and suggested that a workshop be set up for college-level lecturers – on the LGBT course. Raj Rao is professor at the UoP – he persisted until the course saw “the light of day.” Now he is hoping that with the recent amendment to Section 377 – that more universities will adopt the courses. Some students have decided that the LGBT coursework is a good source for advanced research – because other topics have been “done to death”. I highly encourage you to take a look at the article – including the picture showing Professor Raj Rao with a small pile of the books used in the courses.

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) Hates Homophobia (July 16, 2009)

My fellow readers – my fellow Harry Potter fans – I decided to add some fun to this post. Now I do remember reading/hearing speculation about some who think certain of J.K. Rowlings’s characters might be Gay. I have absolutely no problem with that – in fact I smiled and gave a little “yeah” of my own when I first heard/read that. Now Daniel Radcliffe has publicly said that some people think that he is Gay – and in fact his friends keep telling him about blogs which say it is so. Daniel said, “It’s wonderful. I grew up around Gay people my entire life, basically, that’s probably why I’m quite camp, and some people think I’m Gay when I meet them, which I think is awesome. It’s always good to keep them guessing. I don’t go on any blogs or chats or anything, but my friends are demons for them, and apparently someone said ‘Daniel Radcliffe is Gay. He’s got a Gay face!’ I really don’t know what a Gay face is.” (Please notice that I quoted all of that directly from the article – partly because I think his own words work so great.) Actually I am aware of Gaydar – but I also don’t know what a ‘Gay face’ is either. Enjoy the pictures in the article if you like. There have been so many negatives within our community that it felt good to report on something nice like this.

Simple Kiss and Hug Shared Between Couple in Salt Lake Brings Police (July 17,2009)

Matt Aune and his partner Derek Jones had decided to go out for the evening to simply have some fun. They eventually ended up at the Plaza near the Mormon Church – and were relaxed and happy so they shared a casual kiss and a hug. The men had seen other (heterosexual) couples doing the same and so they felt comfortable. Immediately two men in suits rushed up to them – with no identifying marks on the suits – and detained them. The couple were told to leave – but had absolutely no idea that the men wearing the suits were security or that they were on private property – so they declined to do so. What followed has led to a local “kiss-in” protest at the site – and now a growing national protest is being organized in many locations. The Nationwide “Kiss-In” is meant to protest this and other situations when same sex pairs exchanged a simple kiss (even on the cheek) or held hands in public – and police were called. The national protest will be held August 15, 2009. Please see the article if you would like to read a copy of the police report of this incident in Salt Lake.

Lesbian Couple in FL Celebrates 70 Years Together (July 19, 2009)

The couple originally met and became a couple in New York. Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu met at a party in New York back in 1939. They dated for a while – then moved in together. Although some very close family members knew about their relationship – for the most part the couple kept it very quiet. Ms Leto’s niece grew up believing the ladies were sisters – and referred to them as aunts. This continued until one family party when Ms Leto (just a little bit tipsy) confided in the niece – their little secret. The niece Patricia Dillon said, “She mentioned they got married. I was so happy, but then I got sad thinking that all that time they really couldn’t be upfront about it.” In 1996 Caroline Leto and Venera Magazzu registered as domestic partners in New York City. Some years later they decided to move to Florida – and used the opportunity to get more involved in LGBT events. In 2006 Ms Magazzu published their story in a book titled “An Unadulterated Story: Young and Gay at 90.” I did find some really good reviews of the book too! Congratulations to the couple of 70 years. Another wonderful example of just how same-sex marriage does not hurt the “sanctity” of heterosexual marriage.

Senate Okays Bill – is it Still The Hate Crimes Bill? (July 19, 2009)

A bill called the Matthew Shepard Hates Crimes Bill has been approved by the senate. Some see this bill as progress for our community – while others do not. Part of the concern is that the bill was passed as an amendment to a defense bill. The bill it was attached to adds additional funding to the military defense budget – plus funding for the F-22 fighter jet. The next step for this bill will be in a conference committee. There “Senate and House negotiators reconcile the chambers’ separate versions of the defense-authorization bill, which delineates Pentagon spending for fiscal 2010.” Since there are still decisions to be made – there will be further updates in future news happenings posts.

New LGBT Olympic Pride House for 2010 in Canada (July 19, 2009)

Usually at each Olympics there are Houses for each country – for socializing and having fun. In 2010 there will be a first for the LGBT community. At the Vancouver Olympics there will be place called Pride House – complete with a Pride flag hanging out front. This marvelous idea came from Dean Nelson – an Olympic gold medal winner. Pride house will be for Gay and Lesbian athletes and their friends and families. Nelson said, “It has never been done. It’s sort of a taboo subject that everyone is a little afraid to touch. But since we’re touching it, everyone is like, ‘Yea, you run with it.'” Mark Tewksbury won a gold medal in swimming – he came out in 1998. He is planning to be there – “And I’ll pull a few of my big-name Olympic friends with me.” Pride House will be located on the ground floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel in Whistler Village.

India Court Affirms Decision to Drop Section 377 (July 20, 2009)

It is really true. The recent joyous announcement that Section 377 had been overturned was celebrated – many rejoiced. Some were still a little concerned – the Supreme Court had asked the government to review the decision and file a report in six weeks. Well – the final decision has come down and “Attorney-general G.E. Vahanvati said there was no need for a stay on the high court order.” More celebrations were in order – and the hope is now that other states will feel even more inclined to overturn Section 377.

Ft Worth Seeks Fed Inquiry – Rainbow Lounge Raid (July 22, 2009)

This is a follow-up to a previously reported story. Several news items have shown up about what really happened that night at the Rainbow Lounge. Now it seems that some progress is being made. The City Council has officially requested a federal investigation into the police raid. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is also investigating – but in essence they are reviewing their own record. The Feds will hopefully be more thorough. One officer (involved in the raid) has been named specifically. Officer Jason R. Ricks – has previously had difficulties. His participation in the raid will be part of the investigation into what happened that night. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will be involved in the investigation as well.

Women From Salt Lake Walk U.S. for LGBT Homeless Youth (July 23, 2009)

Chloe Noble came out to her parents and was then forced to leave home when she was 20 years old. She struggled with being homeless for the next 10 years or so. Her parents were “very loving” – but they were LDS and in their perception being Gay or Transgender was a “mental disorder”. Fortunately she has been in a good relationship – she and her partner have shared a home for almost five years. Chloe identifies as “gender queer” – and she is traveling with her best friend Jill Hardman. They are walking across the nation for the benefit of LGBT homeless youth. When it is time for sleep all that matters to them is that “it’s a safe, dry place to sleep at night.” Ms Noble said, “We want people to really understand what kind of suffering they endure. We want to leave a lasting impression so people will look at this epidemic and want to do something.” Even though only about 5 – 8% of youth and young adults are LGBT – “they comprise 20 – 40% of the homeless youth population. These figures are according to the National Coalition for Youth. The article includes some fabulous photos from their journey – still in progress – definitely worth a peek.

Sailor Charged in Murder of August Provost at Pendleton (July 24, 2009)

Capt. Matt Brown is a spokesman for Navy Region Southwest. Capt. Brown announced that prosecutors have charged Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Campos – during a crime spree. Mr. Campos is also charged with several other crimes – leading up to and after the date when Seaman Provost was killed. He is facing charges “including murder, arson, unlawful entry, theft of military property and wrongful possession of a firearm. He’s also charged with soliciting a civilian in San Diego to kill another sailor the day after Provost’s slaying.” The Navy is denying that this is a hate crime. The charges have been filed and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Campos has been arrested for allegedly committing these crimes. It may never be known whether or not this was a crime of hate – because Seaman Provost was quietly Gay – but maybe in this case it is better that way. A crime was definitely committed – and those closest to him have suffered a loss. Possibly at this point it is best to make sure the right person is in custody – and that the survivors of August Provost receive every benefit they are entitled to. For those interested in additional details related to the charges – you will find them in the article – along with a picture of August Provost.

Physician Who Identified AIDS Epidemic Dies in L.A. (July 24, 2009)

Dr. Joel Weisman died at his home at the age of 66 – on Saturday July 18, 2009. His partner – Bill Hutton – said he passed away from heart disease and that he had been ill for several months. He was one of the first doctors to recognize the combination of symptoms along with the pattern – as the beginning of an epidemic. His practice was in Sherman Oaks in 1980 when “he began to notice a troubling pattern: He had three seriously ill patients with the same constellation of symptoms, including mysterious fevers, rashes, drastic weight loss and swollen lymph nodes. All three were gay men, whose health problems seemed to stem from defects in their immune systems.” Dr. Weisman decided to refer two of the patients to Michael Gottlieb – an immunologist at UCLA. Dr. Gottlieb also had a Gay male patient with a similar combination of symptoms. Dr Weisman and Dr. Gottlieb wrote a report – which appeared in the June 5, 1981 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – a publication of the Center for Disease Control. “That report signaled the official start of the epidemic of the disease that the federal agency later named Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.” Dr. Gottlieb said in an interview, “Joel was a very astute physician. He had a sense that something out of the ordinary was happening.” Dr. Weisman’s partner of 10 years – Timothy Bogue – died of AIDS in 1991.
mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.