Tag: in Other news

in Other news…

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but it seemed like a good time to let people know what’s going on in the world of queer politics and activism.  I’ll try to post these more regularly again, but my schedule’s still a little sporadic to fix a concrete posting time.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy, and if you have other news blurbs that I’ve missed, please feel free to add them below.

  • Of course the big news lately is the flood of marriages in California (to which my own will soon be added), which has not caused the Biblical flood predicted by our right-wing religious compatriots.  In LA county alone, the first day of legal marriages prompted some three times the usual marriage traffic (pdf!).  If you need a real boost today, check out the Bilerico Project’s photo page, and bask in the joy of thousands of happy families.  

    The liberal media is stoking the flames, with noted leftist rag The Wall Street Journal posting an unequivocally positive editorial, “Gay Marriage is Good for America”:  

    In 2008, denying gay Americans the opportunity to marry is not only inhumane, it is unsustainable. History has turned a corner: Gay couples – including gay parents – live openly and for the most part comfortably in mainstream life. This will not change, ever.

  • From heaven to hell in one quick leap:

    Violence against the transgender community rarely makes the evening news, but the case of Duanna Johnson is so extreme that people are starting to pay attention.  While being booked for alleged prostitution in Memphis, a police officer called over to her:

    Actually he was trying to get me to come over to where he was, and I responded by telling him that wasn’t my name – that my mother didn’t name me a ‘faggot’ or a ‘he-she,’ so he got upset and approached me. And that’s when it started,” Johnson said.

    I can’t do justice to what happens next: you need to see the video for yourself.  WMCtv provides the full security clip, so you can see that it’s not being taken out of context (the incident in question starts around the 1:30 mark.)

    One police officer let go, another put into an office job, and a pending investigation with support from the FBI.  But the Memphis police is being flooded with complaints that this was not an isolated incident.  Do we laugh or cry at something like this?

    “It made me sick,” [Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin] said Thursday. “I was infuriated. I notified the FBI because they needed to investigate to see if this person’s civil rights were violated.”

    If this person’s civil rights were violated???

  • in Other news…

    Welcome to a (semi)weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “Other” community.

    • The New York Times reports on the worsening situation for queer Iraqis since the American invasion, which has allowed a sharp increase in religious fanaticism:  

      In 2005, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, calling for gay men and lesbians to be killed in the “worst, most severe way.

      He lifted it a year later, but neither that nor the recent ebb in violence has made Mohammed or his friends feel safe.

      The article covers the rollercoaster of social opinions on queer culture from 1990 through now, and is well worth the read.

    • Good luck finding student housing if you’re transgender: Southern Utah University is denying a transgender student housing until he can provide a doctor’s note (literally!) verifying his gender, a requirement not exactly placed on its other housing applicants.  The University’s policy requires proof of full, complete transition; otherwise says the housing director, “Where they’re in the process [of gender transition] I have no place to put them.”  Meanwhile the prohibitive cost of gender reassignment surgery will likely keep the student, Kourt Osbourn, from meeting the University’s requirements.
    • Accused of homosexual acts, Iranian Makwan Moloudzadeh was murdered in prison by guards earlier this month.  I’m not one to flare up in anger, but this is fucking barbaric.  In the meantime, the U.S. is still considering deportation of Iranian gays begging for amnesty… further proof that our own fundamentalists have more in common with Iran than they’d like to admit.

    More below the fold…

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “Other” community.

    Lots of good reading this week!

    • December 1st was World AIDS Day, a reminder that the epidemic continues unabated through most of the world, new and expensive medicines notwithstanding.  Various activist groups, from the Stonewall Democrats and the National Black Justice Coalition used to the day to note the increasing lack of interest in AIDS activism, but the most stinging indictment came from Charles King, president and CEO of Housing Works (a group that targets HIV/AIDS and homelessness):

      The reality is that AIDS is no longer so much a gay disease in the United States as it is a disease of race and poverty.  And that brings to light a dirty secret about the organized and politically engaged gay community.  We are overwhelmingly white and reasonably well-off, and our movement is almost exclusively about rights for ourselves and people like us.

      Check out the whole speech if you get the chance. (h/t Doug Ireland)

    • Uruguay prepares to legalize civil unions for unmarried couples regardless of gender.  This makes Uruguay the first Latin American country to pass equitable legal protections for both straight and gay couples, which puts them ahead of most of the United States.
    • A gay Muslim activist outs himself at an international conference on HIV in Muslim countries… with surprising results:

      The following morning, the ulama [scholars] had a surprise.

      Conference spokesperson and IRW head of policy Willem van Eekelen read their collective statement, saying that although Islam does not accept homosexuality, Islamic leaders would try to help create an environment in which gay people could approach social workers and find help against AIDS without feeling unsafe.

      “This first time ever that a high-level religious forum has talked, acknowledged and accepted gays,” said AbualSameed.

      “This will open the door to talks with the Muslim gay community and help other gay Muslims to come out in a safer space.”

      Suhail AbualSameed, a Jordanian living in Canada, decided to out himself to counter the harsh language his colleagues used to describe homosexuals: including the old standbys “pervert” and “rapist”.

    • The bureaucratic hell faced by immigrants gets an uglier twist in the case of Hassan Parhizkar, a middle-aged gay Iranian who faces deportation for being the victim of a scam artist.  Worse, Parhizkar’s sexuality guarantees him a hellish return to the country he fled in 1990 specifically because he was outed while a member of the Revolutionary Guard.  Gay City News has the entire story, from Parhizkar’s noncompliance with immigration law due to a con-man posing as an immigration lawyer to the practice of gay witch hunts in the Iranian military.  

      You can also sign an online petition protesting Parhizkar’s impending deportation or contribute to his legal fund (see link above for full details).

    More below…

    in Other news

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise ‘Other’ community.

    Quickie roundup this week since I’m out of town for Turkey Day:

    That’s all from me, folks: have a safe and happy holiday tomorrow, and I’ll see everyone when I get back!

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and otherwise “other” community.

    • Civil Unions are not equal to Marriage.  That’s the finding of a recent commission on New Jersey’s attempt to give same-sex couples full and equal partnership under the law while appeasing those who cringe at the expansion of the word “marriage”.  From a New York Times editorial:

      It is hardly a surprise that New Jersey’s civil union law is not working very well. During the past several weeks, dozens of same-sex couples have testified that the law has not provided the equal benefits that were promised when it passed.

      Now, the special commission that heard the testimony has made it official: the civil union law has been a “failure.” Frank Vespa-Papaleo, who is chairman of the commission as well as the state’s director of civil rights, said the law is not as effective “as if the word ‘marriage’ were used.”

      I don’t know if I’d call it a resounding “failure” if only a few private employers are dodging the law (most couples will still get benefits, and the state recognizes them as full and equal), but there’s no doubt that separate-but-equal status will always encourage dissenters to focus on the “separate” instead of the “equal”.

    • Speaking of which, laws that specifically invoke “married couples” are often cynical ways of passing anti-gay legislation without having to wear one’s bigotry on one’s sleeve.  Throw in an extra phrase like “for the good of the children”, and you have toxic legislation like the Arkansas ballot initiative to outlaw adoption and foster parenting … except for married couples.  It’s for the good of the children, of course.  (n/t Mombian)  A nice touch: the Arkansas News Bureau calls it what it is: a gay adoption ban.
    • Terrance at the Republic of T has dedicated this round of installments of his excellent Hate Crimes Project to anti-trans violence.  Today’s focuses on the murder of Thalia Mosqueda, a trans woman whose murderer argued that he was disgusted by her alleged advances because “he wasn’t gay”:

      Panic is a strange thing. We know all about “gay panic,” but what about “trans panic,” which seems to be at the root of so many anti-trans hate crimes like the murders of Bella Evangelista, Emonie Spaulding, Ukea Davis & Stephanie Thomas, and Nireah Johnson, just to name a few?

      Well-worth reading the whole series.

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise ‘Other’ community.

    • In yesterday’s elections across the country, over 30 openly gay candidates won seats ranging from board of education and city council to mayor and state legislator.  A number of candidates are also tied in elections whose margin is still too close to call.
    • Gay-baiting during elections isn’t just about scaring people with the specter of marriage: as dogemperor reported (first on dailykos, then updated at Pam’s), the American Family Association of Kentucky was behind robocalls that ranged from viciously anti-gay to subtly anti-gay.  You almost have to admire the backhanded sneakiness of this kind of message:

      For the first time in 20 years the homosexual lobby proudly endorses a Kentucky candidate for governor, Steve Beshear. Beshear is receiving major support from out-of-state gay activists and has publicly committed to same-gender relationships, employment of more homosexuals in state government including teachers, and support for homosexual adoption of children.

      If you believe these rights are fair please vote for Steve Beshear for governor.  Visit Fairness.org.

      Sadly for the AFA-KY, they were pathetically unsuccessful.  Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Beshear defeated the Republican incumbent by almost 20 percentage points.

    in Other news… International Edition! (with bonus Barack)

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “other” community.

    • If you really need your heart broken today, check out the state of Iraqi LGBT, a group that has been running safe houses in Iraq for people who’d otherwise be targets for brutal anti-gay violence.  Two of their shelters are scheduled to close due to lack of funds, and a recent attempt to raise money yielded relatively slim results.  The situation in Iraq is dire:

      Violence against all the gay community has intensified sharply since late 2005, when Iraq’s leading Shiite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa (religious decree) which declared that gays and lesbians should be “killed in the worst, most severe way”.

      Though there are many crises in Iraq, this is a rare one that we can have a direct impact on, since the houses provide shelter for victims under threat of violence.  Read through the site if you have the stomach for it, and please consider making a donation to maintain the shelters.

    • Congratulations to Singapore, which just decriminalized sodomy…. Whoops: only if you’re straight!  The Singapore parliament finally released legal restrictions on oral and anal sex, provided the participants = one man + one woman. In a seriously bizarre statement, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the government could not allow decriminalization of anti-family homosexuality, but then delivered this nugget:

      Gays “are free to lead their lives and pursue their social activities,” the Prime Minister said, citing the existence of gay websites and gay bars…

      Lee said keeping the statute unchanged, while not aggressively enforcing it, remained the best option.

      (h/t Towleroad)

    • In happier news, I’m sure you’ve heard that some character in some ludicrously popular series was apparently gay.  Major props to author J. K. Rowling, who just assured that her novels will be burned in schools for many decades to come.

      Seriously, major props to her: there’s no reason she had to go back and announce that a dead character in a completed series was gay, other than to stick it to the fundies.  Maybe I’ll actually read her books now, in gratitude!

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and otherwise “Other” community.

    • Starting with the good news… 2007 is a record year for the number of openly queer candidates running for political office in a year with no federal elections: a whopping 71, if you can believe that.  This includes people like Pam Bennett, a transgender politician running for city council in Colorado.  Only six states still have no openly gay or lesbian elected officials at any level…  including my home state.  Hoorah!
    • Now for more sobering news… In the course of the last 20 years, HIV/AIDS has gone from a mysterious “gay cancer” to an international crisis to a celebrity cause to background noise.  Most of what we hear in the news today involves skyrocketing rates in Africa and the debate over condoms, which is why the 2005 report by the Center for Disease Control is all the more sobering: among MSM (that’s “men who have sex with men”) in urban areas, 21% of whites and 46% of blacks have HIV.  If you live near D.C. and are interested, the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory will be holding an open meeting on October 24th, focusing specifically on the spread of HIV in minority communities.  More info here.
    • And some heartwarming news… counter to the largely negative story about living out in nursing homes that I posted last week, consider this: a 93 year old British man who recently came out in The Old Vicarage Nursing home has written a novel about forbidden love, The Heart Entrapped (h/t Towleroad).  Says author Mike Soper:

      “When all the old ladies heard about the book, they asked if they could read it. So I had to tell them I was gay and that it was a gay-themed novel.”

      Mr Soper, a former academic at Christ Church, Oxford, until 1981, said it had been nice to be honest about his sexuality after so many years.

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “Other” community.

    First, a friendly PSA: tomorrow is National Coming Out Day.  There are two very important things that members of the queer community can do: 1. come out to people who don’t already know, and 2. remind people who do.  As someone (I forget who) at the yearlykos LGBT caucus noted, even the friends and family who already know don’t intuitively realize that being queer is a 24/7, 365 day a year proposition: it helps to remind them that your difficulties didn’t end when they accepted you.  Good advice, as far as I’m concerned.

    In the meantime, a more stylish PSA from GLAAD, featuring some actor dude:

    News and stuff below the fold:

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and otherwise “Other” community.

    • First openly gay person to have a celestial body named after him?  The honor goes to George Takei, famous for his role as Star Trek‘s Hikaru Sulu, who came out in 2005 and has been working as an LGBT activist ever since – And now his name will grace the asteroid formerly known as 1994 GT9. (h/t Mombian, also mentioned in ek’s Morning News) By the way, if you’ve never seen Takei’s hilarious response to Tim Hardaway’s anti-gay comments, watch it now!
    • Senator Barack Obama has called on President Bush to reconsider his veto threat (yeah, right!) against the Hate Crimes Act, which recently passed in the Senate.  Obama was one of the bill’s co-sponsors.  In other candidate news: gaining some ground since his gaffes at the HRC-sponsored debate, Governor Bill Richardson has said he’d refuse an honorary chairmanship of the Boy Scouts of America, on the grounds of their discriminatory policies.
    • You know we’re achieving progress when we’re upgraded from comparisons to animal-lovers and murderers to comparisons to… kleptomaniacs!  The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church made the comparison in a speech yesterday in front of the Council of Europe (h/t Towleroad):

      Attempts are made to justify homosexuality by calling it a disease, the patriarch said. Yet kleptomania can also be considered a disease, he argued. “Why then no one advertises kleptomania while homosexuality gets advertised via gay parades?” he said.
        “It is advertisement that is being forced on people who are a very long way from it,” Alexy said.

      Dear Alesha (can I call you Alesha?): Your anti-gay speech is also advertisement that is being forced on people who are a very long way from it.  But I suppose we shouldn’t expect better from former KGB, now should we?

    More below…

    in Other news…

    Welcome to a weekly round up of news related to the gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and otherwise “Other” community.

    • We’ll start off with grin-worthy story from the least expected place.  While attending the hyper-right wing “Family Impact Summit” (or: “How can we use neutral rhetoric to support an agenda of hate?”), Jim at Box Turtle Bulletin watched as a member of the audience – a lesbian and mother of a seven-year-old – put the panelists in their place.  And all she did was ask simple, straightforward questions that cut through the thick haze of b.s. that passes for ‘evidence’:

      Peter Sprigg [from the Family Research Council] jumped in to assert that “without question” the best family structure was headed by a man and a woman. But Cathy persisted:

      …But now you’re devaluing, what, over fifty percent of the children who live with one parent or that one parent as died or that they’re divorced and now they’re just living with one parent. You’re devaluing them and that’s not fair.

      Right on.  It’s a shame someone has to make such obvious points, but we’ve learned not to accept better from this crowd: Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’intrate.  At least for today, we can applaud one woman who braved that viper’s nest.

    • Here’s what happens when you don’t have enough brave people: fearing a split in the Anglican Church over ordination of gay clergy and recognition of same-sex marriage, the American branch has caved to the demands of bigotry and supported a moratorium on both.  This, despite widespread support for by U.S. Episcopal leaders:

      The leaders of the 2.3 million US Episcopalians, however, reaffirmed their commitment to the civil rights of homosexuals and opposed “actions or policies that does violence to them, encourages violence towards them or violates their dignity as children of God.”

      Nevertheless, violation of their dignity as children of God will continue “until a broader consensus is reached.”  (h/t Pam’s House Blend)

    in Other news…

    This is a weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and otherwise “other” community.

    • Proof that non-heterosexual orientation is destructive towards a healthy military environment,… or not… the British Armed Forces are holding their third annual Joint Service LGBT conference.  Despite the repeated warnings of our brave Congressmen on this side of the Pond, you can almost hear the Queen’s military crumbling under the fear and suspicion that openly gay servicemembers create:

      All three services have approved the two day event, at which service personnel will be updated on developments in diversity training, participate in presentations and workshops, and take advantage of a social networking opportunity for personnel and their partners.

    More below…

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