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LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 26, 2009 – September 2, 2009)

September 06, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsFL Gay Adoption Ban Goes to State Appeals Court (August 26, 2009)

November 2008 a Miami-Dade County judge ruled that the Gay Adoption Ban is unconstitutional.  The ruling made in the case of Martin Gill and his partner who had adopted two young boys.  State attorneys have taken the case to the court of appeals and the ACLU is representing Mr. Gill.

Men to be Tried for Murder of Lesbian in South Africa (August 26, 2009)

Last year a group of men assaulted and then stabbed to death Eudy Simelane (29 yrs) who played on national sport teams.  Gay Rights activists are using this case to show that women continue to be raped in an attempt to change their sexual orientation.  Lesbians who attended the hearing were threatened by young men and the three men accused have pleaded not guilty.

Proposal in MI to Add Sexual Orientation to Anti-Discrimination Law (August 26, 2009)

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony recently on whether to add Sexual Orientation to their existing Anti-Discrimination laws.  This legislation would extend housing and employment protections to the LGBT community.  Recently Steven Harmon (15 yrs old) of Portage was beaten for being gay and his case seems to have added more impetus to the fight for the legislation.

Men Convicted For Assault on Gay Man in Texas (August 27, 2009)

Jimmy Dean was walking home during the summer of 2008 when he was brutally beaten by Bobby Singleton and Dean Gunter.  Mr. Gunter has already been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.  Officers classified the assault and robbery as a hate crime and Mr. Singleton – who more seriously assaulted Jimmy Dean – has now been sentenced to 75 years in prison.

Death of Sen Kennedy in MA is Loss for LGBT Community (August 27, 2009)

Many will miss Sen Edward Kennedy including his family, friends and the LGBT Community.  He was a strong supporter of HIV/AIDS funding, LGBT Hate Crimes legislation and Same-Sex Marriage.  In 1996 he was one of only 14 senators who voted against D.O.M.A.  Bye to Ted.

Camp in Canada for LGBTQ Youth Offers Comfort & Variety (August 27, 2009)

In Manitoba there is a one of a kind camp for LGBTQ  youth (ages 14 to 21) to have fun and just be themselves.  Those who are not yet out are also welcome to join in the activities and supportive atmosphere.  The camp has most activities available at other camps – but for those bored with the regular camp activities – there is an introduction to drag.

Female Transgender Inmate Sexually Assaulted in Hawaii (August 27, 2009)

She is a 31 year old Transgender female who has not yet had gender reassignment surgery – but she was held in a prison module for men.  While working on the breakfast cleanup crew a male adult corrections officer forced her to perform a sexual act.  An investigation has been launched and she will be released after having  served eight years of her 10 year sentence.

Uruguay House Passes Same-Sex Adoption Bill (August 27, 2009)

The Chamber passed the bill and it is now on it’s way to the Senate which approved a previous version to the bill.  They must now vote on the most recent modifications which would allow Uruguay to be the first country in Latin America to allow adoption by Same-Sex couples.

Transgender Women Stabbed in D.C.-One Dies (August 27, 2009)

Nana Boo and her friend were walking on the sidewalk when a man approached and stabbed them both.  Nana Boo’s wounds were caused her to die and her friend was severely wounded but lived.  The police said they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Action Taken as Result of Rainbow Lounge Raid in Texas (August 28, 2009)

The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission has fired two agents as a result of the raid.  Their direct supervisor Sgt. Terry Parsons  is also being fired effective September 2, 2009. Sgt. Parsons’ direct supervisor Lt. Gene Anderson will be suspended three days then on probation for six months, and Capt. Robert Cloud has received a written reprimand.

Lawsuit Filed by Gay Man – Victim of Harassment in PA – Reinstated by Fed Judge (August 29, 2009)

Brian Prowell of Penn Hills had filed a lawsuit against his employer after he was harassed by co-workers then laid off by his employer.  A federal judge then dismissed the suit claiming it was based on Sexual Orientation not covered under federal law.  A federal appeals judge reinstated the lawsuit stating the decision should be left up to a jury.

LGBT Group Requests Temporary Block of Referendum 71 (September 1, 2009)

The LGBT group Washington Families Standing Together are still working to keep Referendum 71 off the November ballot – and to allow the new law broadening recognition of Domestic Partner benefits to take effect.  The secretary of state’s office claims there are enough signatures to put the Referendum on the ballot, but supporters of the new law claim many signatures are not valid.

Vermont First Same-Sex Marriages Begin One Minute After Legal (Sept 2, 2009)

The new law was only one minute old when Bill Slimback and Bob Sullivan became one of the first couples to say their vows and become legally married.  They travelled from N.Y. and had a midnight wedding at a rustic lodge where the co-owner is also a Justice of the Peace.  Now five states allow Same-Sex Marriage.

School District Decides in Favor of Student in Minnesota (September 2, 2009)

Earlier this year two teachers repeatedly mocked a student who they believed was Gay.  The student Alex Merritt (18 yrs) said he was heterosexual but because the teachers persisted he eventually had to transfer to another high school.  The school district has recently made decisions and the two teachers are now on a leave of absence – and substitute teachers will immediately take over their classes.

Ex-Roommate of Murdered Transgender Woman Arrested for Sexual Assault in Colorado (Sept 2, 2009)

Angie Zapata was roommates with J.J. Alejandro for three months before she was murdered.  J.J. Alejandro is now in jail facing charges for sexually assaulting five teenage girls.  Authorities had difficulty finding Mr. Alejandro during the murder trial for Angie Zapata – but he did show up just in time to testify for the defense.

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 Notable News Happenings (June 2, 2009 – June 6, 2009)

June 08, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsWA LGBT Group Might Expose Petition Signers (June 2, 2009)

There has been a lot of discussion lately about publicly recognizing people who are anti-LGBT in their actions.  Previously, contributors to anti-LGBT legislation such as Prop. 8 in CA have been listed on weblogs and other internet sites.  When a registered voter signs a petition, and it has been properly certified, the names then do become a matter of public record.  Now two organizations are planning to create a similar type of post showing those who sign petitions for Referendum 71.  Recently WA passed an expansion of their Domestic Partner Bill and Referendum 71 is an attempt to overturn that approved expansion of LGBT rights.

Denmark Study – Kids of Lesbian Moms More Mentally Healthy (June 2, 2009)

According to a study done in Copenhagen – children raised in families headed by Lesbian mothers have a lesser chance of developing mental illness than those children raised in families headed by heterosexual parents.  Merete Lauberg of the University of Copenhagen said, “The findings suggest that concerns that alternative families have a negative effect on child development are over.”  Hopefully this will be the beginning of many more adoptions by LGBT parents  – to be.  Good news and definitely very interesting news for our community.

Harvard Joins Yale in LGBT Studies (June 3, 2009)

The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus has made a large gift to the university to endow a chair – being named for F.O. Matthiessen.  The gift will be used to invite “eminent scholars studying issues related to sexuality or sexual minorities” for a one semester period on the Harvard campus.  Professor Matthiessen was a Harvard scholar and literary critic who also was a gay man.  Candace Gingrich a youth outreach manager at HRC, and sister of Newt Gingrich said, “Any time a university as renowned as Harvard feels it is important and sees it as important to have an endowed professorship in LGBT studies is recognition that it is an important issue.”   Although Yale originally turned down the endowment they were offered, the university later accepted the endowment and also has an endowed chair in LGBT studies.

Catholic Charities in Legal Dilemma in UK (June 3, 2009)

Adoption is one way of growing a family in LGBT households.  Here in the U.S. some couples are finding it very difficult if not impossible to adopt.  For LGBT households in the UK the Charity Commission is the legal board in England and Wales which regulates charities.  The Charity Tribunal was set up as part of the Charity Commission.  Recently Catholic Charities has come under scrutiny for discrimination – because of their “heterosexuals only” policy.  The Catholic Church and Catholic Charities now are facing a decision of choosing between the tenants of the Church and their legal status as a charity in the UK.

New Hampshire Joins in Legalizing Gay Marriage (June 3, 2009)

Governor John Lynch signed the bill after it passed the state Senate and the state’s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.  The law will go into effect on January 1, 2010 – and will also recognize out-of-state gay marriages and civil unions.  “Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect, under New Hampshire law,” Lynch said in a statement.

Former N.C. Mayor Sues Radio Host for Libel (June 3, 2009)

Tom Fetzer, a former Raleigh mayor, filed a lawsuit against a radio show host – the purpose of which he claims was to protect his name.  Mr Fetzer claims that Curtis Wright knowingly forwarded an anonymous letter containing false information – which implied that Fetzer is gay.  Fetzer said in a statement, “It is justice that I seek, not vengeance.”  A 1994 state Court of Appeals ruling said that falsely accusing someone of being gay or bisexual wasn’t automatically slander because such an accusation is not tantamount to charging someone with a crime.   Fetzer is a candidate for chairmanship of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Gay Penguins Raise Family in Germany (June 3, 2009)

The penguin couple – at a zoo in Bremerhaven – were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.  The couple named Z and Vielpunkt have been happily raising the chick as their own since the zoo allowed them to adopt the egg as an “Easter gift”.  A statement from the zoo said, “Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual (penguin) couple to do.  The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring.”  Best wishes to the happy and growing family.

State Workers in AZ Could Lose Domestic Partner Benefits (June 3, 2009)

Last year then Governor Janet Napolitano’s administration added domestic partner benefits.  Critics of the benefit now site many reasons why they feel the benefits should be removed, including estimating a financial savings to the state.  Republican legislative leaders are currently proposing a budget which would eliminate those same benefits effective Oct.1 of this year.   “Department of Administration spokesman Alan Ecker said it’s impossible to know how many domestic partner benefits are going to same-sex couples because the state doesn’t track that information.”  Accordingly, there is no way to really determine the amount of money the state of Arizona would save by eliminating the benefits.

Ted Olsen & David Boies Have Filed Fed Lawsuit (June 4, 2009)

In a previous post an article was included about the Federal suit and some opinions both for and against the suit.  This particular article includes a more thorough background as to why Olsen and Boies joined with American Foundation for Equal Rights to file the suit.  Also included in the article is a photo history, “pictures of the gay-rights movement, from Stonewall to Prop. 8”.  I urge everyone to take a look at these historical and quite moving photographs – an appropriate and sobering reminder of why we are continuing to fight so hard for LGBT equality.

Staten Island Pride Parade Year Five: “We Are Here!” (June 6, 2009)

They were out and proud and having a lot of fun.  There were “church groups and students, seniors and toddlers, lawmakers, union members, business owners, and co-grand marshals riding in flag-draped convertibles”.  Hundreds of LGBT folks with their friends and families filled the streets in celebration of LGBT Pride.  Happily there were no protesters – just supporters and participants for the nearly 2-mile parade.  Jim Padula, who came out just a few years ago – in his 60’s – said, “Twenty years ago I would have been scared to be here.  Now it is like family.”

Close to 50,000 Attend Europride in Zurich Despite Rain (June 6, 2009)

Europride festival which was first held in London in 1993 travels to a different city each year.  This year it was held in Zurich, Switzerland and next year it is expected to be held in Warsaw.  The Christian Social Union (BCS) had called for the defense of the “Christian family model”, and some people were seen handing out their leaflets, but that stayed pretty quiet.  Michael Rueegg the organizer said while at Europride, “Up to now, there are about 50,000 people participating in the parade, but there will be some more people coming for the festivities later today.”  The article also includes a map of the location and pictures of the fun.