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Saturday, February 09, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/09/02 Information is power!

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NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
Friday, Feb. 8, 2002
Those who Perpetrated this Cowardly Act should be brought to Justice, Says
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today expressed sympathy for a
Montana family whose house was burned down last night in what appears to be
retribution for taking part in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit
filed earlier in the week. Partners Adrianne Neff, Carla Grayson and their
infant son narrowly escaped the blaze through a window, but their house was
gutted in what fire officials believe may be arson. Federal officials have
become involved in the investigation, which is being handled as a triple
attempted homicide.
"Our hearts go out to this brave family who were nearly killed
because they courageously decided to fight for equal treatment and
fairness," said HRC National Field Director Seth Kilbourn. "We applaud the
authorities for moving quickly to fully investigate this apparent hate
crime. We hope law enforcement will arrest and prosecute these criminals to
the fullest extent of the law and send a strong message that these terrorist
tactics have no place in America."
On Monday, Neff and Grayson - along with other plaintiffs and PRIDE, Inc., a
Montana group representing gays and lesbians - filed a lawsuit in Federal
District Court in Helena seeking health benefits for gay partners of
University of Montana employees, where Grayson is a professor. The
defendants in the case are the university system, the state, the
commissioner of higher education and the Board of Regents.
The lawsuit gained local media attention and those publicly named in the
suit received death threats in the mail that read "die dyke", according to
the ACLU.
A special fund has been established to assist the couples with
costs associated with the fire and subsequent security measure. Checks can
be made payable to "Relief Fund" and send to P.O. Box 775, Helena, MT 59624.
"HRC will continue to closely monitor this case and is committed to
working with local activists to make sure justice prevails," said Kilbourn.
"Our community will not be harassed or intimidated into silence."
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2000 - the latest year for which
statistics are available -showed that as overall serious crime decreased
slightly nationally, with the Crime Index at its lowest level since 1978,
reported hate crimes have continued to rise and increased 2.3 percent from
1999 to 2000.
Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have more than tripled
since the FBI began collecting statistics in 1991, and comprise 16.3 percent
of all hate crimes for 2000 at 1,330. Hate crimes based on sexual
orientation continue to make up the third highest category after race and
religion, which make up 53.6 and 18.2 percent, respectively of the total,
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political
organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies
Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Transgender teen's killer pleads guilty

Ann Rostow, / Network
Friday, February 8, 2002 / 03:38 PM
SUMMARY: An 18-year-old pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of 16-year-old Fred Martinez Jr. in Colorado last June.
Shaun Murphy, 18, pleaded guilty to second degree murder on Thursday in the death of 16-year-old Fred Martinez Jr. in Colorado last June.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors dropped charges of first degree murder and attempted escape in exchange for the plea. Murphy will avoid trial and face a 4- to 48-year prison term when he is sentenced May 16.
Martinez, a transgendered Native American, was found beaten to death on June 21 in a gully south of the small town of Cortez. Police quickly arrested Murphy, who had attended a party with Martinez on the fatal evening of June 16, and who allegedly later bragged to friends that he had "beat up a fag."
According to police affidavits, a friend, Clinton Sanchez, told investigators that Murphy was with him at another friend's apartment that night when he left to get some marijuana. Later, Sanchez said, Murphy returned covered in blood, explaining that he had been in a fight.
Although Murphy admitted fighting with Martinez, he claimed the fight had nothing to do with sexual orientation or gender, and insisted Martinez had been alive when the fight was over. Initially, Murphy pleaded innocent both to first- and second-degree murder and was scheduled to go to trial on the charges next month.
Although Martinez was killed by a rock blow to the head, Murphy's defense lawyer told the judge at a preliminary hearing in September that Murphy had acted in self-defense. The case drew the attention of gay rights groups, who called for the murder to be labeled a hate crime based on Murphy's alleged "fag" comment.
At the Feb. 7 hearing, the dead boy's mother Pauline Mitchell said her son's killer deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail. "My home is so quiet without Fred," she said. "I have no one to laugh with. I just miss him so much."

Colorado teen sues gay-bashing suspects
Friday, February 8, 2002 / 03:43 PM
SUMMARY: A gay teen-ager, nearly killed in an attack a year ago, is suing four youths and two parents.
DENVER -- A gay teen-ager, nearly killed in an attack a year ago, is suing four youths and two parents.
Last February Kyle Skyock, a 16-year-old from Rifle, Colo., was found unconscious on the roadside by a jogger after being allegedly beaten by four teen-age boys because they thought he was gay.
According to Skyock, he left a party with four boys in car, when soon the car halted and Skyock was pulled from the vehicle and thrown to the ground. The boys quickly overpowered him, kicking him and ramming his head into the bumper.
They threw Skyock back in the vehicle and punched him some more. Then they pulled him out and kicked him again. "Faggot," and, "I want a turn with the bat! Give it to me. It's my turn, it's my turn," Skyock said he heard.
Police initially said they believed that Skyock was drunk and his injuries were a result of "falling down." Yet, Skyock's injuries included: large purple bruises on the front and back of his head; a fractured skull; a circle of burn blisters on his shoulder; a black eye; three broken ribs; a foot-shaped bruise on his stomach; and another bruise described by doctors as in the shape of a two-by-four.
Skyock and his family filed a suit Thursday in federal court in Denver, alleging that the four young men conspired under both federal and state laws to deprive Kyle Skyock, 17, of his civil rights. Six other claims allege that the four young men -- three of them are minors -- assaulted and falsely imprisoned Skyock.
Two claims of negligence and liability were filed against two parents of the young men.
The four teens were never served with criminal charges.
"As the facts of this case come to light, we are hopeful that the prosecutor will immediately file criminal charges against the alleged assailants and re-examine whether the assault was motivated by hate," said Human Rights Campaign's David M. Smith.
"We are profoundly concerned that this family has had to go to such lengths as hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit to try to ensure that justice is being served," said Smith.
"While civil claims do not achieve the same result as a criminal prosecution, it is the only course of action for the Skyock family to take at this time."
Equal Rights Colorado, a statewide legislative lobbying and advocacy group, said the attack on Skyock confirms the need for immediate passage of hate crimes legislation.
"Hate crimes legislation has stalled in the Colorado legislature for the last five years," observed Jessie Shafer, a board member of the organization. "This case demonstrates why additional protections are needed for Colorado's most vulnerable citizens."
Senate Bill 9, proposed legislation that would rename and expand existing laws governing hate crimes in Colorado, has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and is pending before the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill expands Colorado's existing ethnic intimidation statute to also include acts of intimidation based on disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. "If this bill were already on the books," said Shafer, "perhaps this tragedy could have been avoided. At a minimum, local law enforcement would have been better equipped to deal with it."

Man gay-bashed in Greenwich Village

Police in New York City say a man was assaulted by a group of 15 men in Greenwich Village early Thursday morning in what appears to be an antigay bias attack, Newsday reports. The 36-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was on his way to a bar at about 2 a.m. and was walking down Christopher Street near Hudson Street. He passed a group of men standing outside a PATH subway station on Christopher when one of the men in the group shouted an antigay epithet at him, police said. When he turned to see who had yelled at him, he was punched in the back of the head, the victim reported. He was treated at St. Vincent's Hospital for minor injuries and released.


Bail reduced for Pasquarelli and Petrelis

In a preliminary hearing Thursday for San Francisco AIDS activists Michael Petrelis and David Pasquarelli, Judge Perker Meeks Jr. reduced bail from $500,000 per defendant to $100,000 each.
Pasquarelli, a member of the controversial AIDS dissident group ACT UP San Francisco, and Petrelis, of the AIDS Accountability Project, have spent 71 days in jail since their courtroom arrest in late November. The pair are charged with numerous felonies and misdemeanors resulting from harassing phone calls they allegedly made to employees of the city health department and the San Francisco Chronicle. Petrelis and Pasquarelli deny the harassment charges and have said they were responding to what they claim are inaccurate studies by the health department and stories in the media about the rising number of STD cases among gay men in San Francisco. "Though we are pleased with the massive reduction in bail, we feel David and Michael should have been released on their own recognizance," said ACT UP San Francisco member Ronnie Burk. "Far from being flight risks, they are looking forward to proving their innocence at trial. Going after political activists is not the best way to spend taxpayers' dollars. Clearly this is politically motivated."

"Gay Robin Hood" pleads not guilty

A Manhattan gay man who allegedly embezzled millions from his employer so he could pay for, among other things, his now-deceased partner's AIDS treatment pleaded not guilty to grand larceny on Wednesday, according to the New York Post. Prosecutors say John Loan, 41, a former events planner for Alliance Capital Management, stole $3.4 million by charging Alliance for catering done by Loan's bogus company, Beautiful Parties. Loan claimed he spent the money charitably. "I started Beautiful Parties to get extra money" to pay for partner Jamie Nesky's AIDS treatment, Loan said in his statement. "He died. I started drinking and continued billing Alliance. I started giving money to Gay Men's Health Crisis [and] AIDS organizations and started helping nonprofit groups." GMHC has denied receiving any donations from Loan.

Trial Date Set in Calif. Dog Mauling Case

Friday, 8 February 2002
SAN FRANCISCO -- A trial date of February 19 has been set in the case against Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, charged in the mauling death of their neighbor, Diane Whipple.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports jury selection will continue through the end of the week and into Monday. The case has been moved to Los Angeles given the massive publicity surrounding the case in San Francisco.
Whipple, a 33-year-old college lacrosse coach, was attacked in her hallway Jan. 26, 2001, as she carried groceries to her apartment. The two large Presa Canarios that mauled her to death weighed more than 100 pounds each.
Authorities linked the animals to a dogfighting ring run out of Pelican Bay State Prison by two inmates. The case has many bizarre elements, one of them being that Knoller and Noel finalized the adoption of one of the inmates involved in the ring just days before the attack. Naked pictures of Ms. Knoller were found in his cell by investigators.
Judge James Warren ruled this week that allegations of "sexual conduct" between the defendants and the dogs could not be admitted into state's evidence. Warren then immediately sealed the transcript of the closed door meeting he had to hear arguments on the bestiality issue.
Warren did rule that the prosecution could reference the owner of the dogs and the prison gang to which he belongs: Aryan Brotherhood. Warren said, though, that the prosecution could not tell the jury the gang advocated white supremacy.
Knoller is charged with second-degree murder. Both Knoller and Noel are also charged with involuntary manslaughter and keeping vicious dogs. The murder charge carries up to 15 years in prison, the manslaughter charges up to four.
Sharon Smith, Whipple's partner sued and won the right to file a wrongful-death suit even though she is not a "surviving spouse" under California law. Superior Court Judge James Robertson said in July 2001 that because state law does not allow gay couples to marry, the surviving-spouse rule should apply to same-sex couples.

Churches Blast Quebec Over Partnership Unions

by Jean-Pierre O'Brien Newscenter in Montreal
(February 9, Montreal) "Homosexuals need therapy not marriage," a Quebec government hearing on creating Partnership Unions has been told.
The parliamentary committee began listening to deputations from the gay community earlier in the week.
Charles Apestèguy, a priest and vice-president of the Robert Rumilly National Information Centre, a Roman Catholic organization told the committee: "The law on civil unions is a major obstacle to the rehabilitation of those who want to follow this therapy."
"This law is contrary to moral order," he said.
Gilles Marcouiller, a pastor and a member of the Franco-Protestant Community of Loretteville, said there might be no proof children are affected by having gay or lesbian parents, "but there's no evidence they're not affected, either. ... Having children is a right, not a privilege."
Justice Minister Paul Bègin listened patiently to their arguments. Later, outside the hearing room, Bègin said: "The presentations we heard reflect what a certain percentage of the public believes. I don't share their point of view."
Bègin also said he had been swayed by presentations by gay and lesbian groups to expand the proposed bill.
The draft paves the way for civil unions between same-sex couples but omitted certain rights for gay and lesbian parents, like the non-biological mother's or father's being able to register their names on the child's birth certificate or take the child to a doctor.
Testimony about the discrimination children face by not having one of their parents recognized in law has opened legislators' eyes, he said. "We can conclude that people would hesitate to have a civil union if they don't get parental rights," Bègin said. "Both questions are linked together."

Mardi Gras Kicks Off

by Peter Hacker Newscenter in Sydney
(February 9, Sydney) The world's most outlandish Pride celebration is underway in Sydney. For three weeks Australia's GLBT community will dance, party, and parade, and despite a worldwide reluctance to fly, organizers say they expect the largest crowd in Mardi Gras history for the March 2 parade.
The festival includes 102 events spanning theatre, film, music, visual arts, literature and community, 52 of them free.
Saddled with massive debts from previous years and a reluctance from both the city and state government to bail out the festival, Mardi Gras has been scaled back this year. With the world clawing its way out of recession, major corporations are noticeably absent this year.
But, that didn't stop people from turning out for Friday night's launch at the Sydney Opera House.
Among the celebrities on hand were gay Canadian Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury and drag icon Vanessa Wagner. The highlight, though, was the keynote address, given mother of a man who defied Catholic Archbishop George Pell by wearing a gay pride sash during Holy Communion.
Pell has steadfastly refused to give gays and lesbians communion.
Nan McGregor wore the sash as she accompanied her son Kieran to mass in 1998. Pell refused to give her communion.
"Being told by Archbishop Pell to remove my sash if I really wished to receive communion (that day) was to me the epitome of hypocrisy," she said.
"I was in effect being asked to choose between the church of my birth and which was significant to my life and my gay child, and I would always choose my child." Mardi Gras wraps up March 2 with a giant parade.

Editors note: This is not a GLBT news item, but we all are "Royal Watchers" and Princess Margaret was closest to our hearts. She was the "Party Princess". She drank, smoked and stayed out all night at the hot London night clubs in the 50's and 60's. This did not sit well with the Palace, but she did not care. To learn more on HRH Princess Margaret and the rest of this very disfunctional family, read "The Royals" by Kitty Kelly. Also, the Royal web site has a tribute to HRH at .

Princess Margaret Dies at Age 71

Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) - Princess Margaret, the high-spirited and unconventional sister of Queen Elizabeth II, died Saturday after a life that echoed with regret and thwarted love. She was 71.
The princess died peacefully in her sleep at King Edward VII Hospital at 6:30 a.m., a statement from Buckingham Palace said.
Margaret suffered a stroke Friday afternoon and developed cardiac problems during the night. She was taken from Kensington Palace to the hospital at 2:30 a.m., the statement said.
Her children, Lord Linley, 40, and Lady Sarah Chatto, 37, were with her, the statement added.
A heavy smoker for many years, Margaret had suffered repeated respiratory illnesses and had part of a lung removed in January 1985. She had a mild stroke in February 1998 and another in March 2001.
Margaret was last seen in public before Christmas at the 100th birthday party of Princess Alice, the Dowager Duchess of Gloucester. Margaret was confined to a wheelchair and wore heavy dark glasses, her sight having been affected by a stroke.
The queen left Sandringham, her Norfolk estate, Friday and traveled to Windsor. The 101-year-old Queen Mother Elizabeth, who is recovering from a persistent cold, stayed on at Sandringham.
``I know the whole country will be deeply saddened by Princess Margaret's death. She will be remembered with a lot of affection,'' Prime Minister Tony Blair said as he arrived in Sierra Leone Saturday.
The princess' former husband, Lord Snowdon, said he and the children were ``extremely saddened.''
Buckingham Palace said the princess' coffin would rest at Kensington Palace for several days, to permit family and close friends to pay their respects.
The death will cast a shadow over this year's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Margaret died three days after the 50th anniversary of her father's death, and her sister's accession to the throne.
A full program of Jubilee celebrations is planned for later in the year. On Feb. 18, the queen is due to start a visit to Jamaica, New Zealand and Australia.
In the 1950s, Margaret's ill-starred romance with royal aide Peter Townsend made headlines around the world because he was divorced. Twenty-three years later, she became a divorcee herself - the first in the queen's immediate family - when her marriage to Lord Snowdon was dissolved.
Margaret had not remarried.
Despite the upheavals, the publicity and their different personalities, the princess and her dignified sister remained close.
``In our family,'' Margaret once said, ``we don't have rifts. We have a jolly good row and then it's all over. And I've only twice ever had a row with my sister.'' She didn't say what they argued about.
Margaret's cheerful informality was sometimes offset by an unsettling ``royal'' streak.
Even close friends had to call her ``Ma'am,'' although members of the family were said to get away with ``Margot.'' If any of her companions crossed the line of familiarity, they risked her icy, blue-eyed ``acid drop'' stare.
She once explained it as ``a defense mechanism. I'm not aware that I'm doing it.''
The high-spirited, party-going princess first ran afoul of royal protocol when she was 22, shortly after sister took the throne in 1952.
Margaret fell in love with Group Capt. Townsend, a hero of the Battle of Britain and a former aide to her father, King George VI.
The shock of the abdication of King Edward to marry a divorcee was still fresh in the public memory, and the Church of England forbade remarriage of a divorced person. The government firmly opposed such a marriage for the sister of the queen, who is temporal head of the state church.
After more than two years of negotiation, press speculation and enforced separation from Townsend, Margaret announced in October 1955 that she would not marry him, ``mindful of the church's teachings that Christian marriage is indissoluble, and conscious of my duty to the Commonwealth.''
Townsend, who remarried happily, reflected on his romance with Margaret in a 1978 autobiography: ``I simply hadn't the weight, I knew it, to counterbalance all she would have lost. It was too much to ask of her, too much for her to give.''
Margaret blamed the queen's private secretary, Sir Alan Lascelles, for campaigning against the match. He retired to an apartment at Kensington Palace, where Margaret lived, and she was heard to say when he walked by, ``There goes the man who ruined my life.''
Margaret was strictly brought up in the peculiarly isolated world of royal children, surrounded by adults, doted on by the public.
When Margaret and Elizabeth were born, their father was the Duke of York, second son of the king. The abdication of their uncle thrust their father onto the throne and set Elizabeth on the path to monarchy.
Margaret, 6, told her sister: ``Does that mean you're going to be queen? Poor you.''
An elderly courtier who collided with little Margaret Rose when she was cartwheeling down a Buckingham Palace corridor was said to have sighed, ``Thank God the other one was born first.''
Margaret was musical, liked to perform and had a gift for mimicry. Unlike most of the other royals, who prefer tweedy, outdoor pursuits, she supported the arts, loved opera, theater and dance. She was often seen at restaurants and nightclubs with groups of friends and smoked her ever-present cigarettes in a long, distinctive holder.
Jazzman Louis Armstrong, following a conversation with Margaret about music, told the press, ``Your Princess Margaret is one hip chick.''
In 1958, she began to see Antony Armstrong-Jones, a society photographer. She was 30 when they were married in Westminster Abbey on May 6, 1960. He became Earl of Snowdon.
By the early 1970s, the marriage was beset by rumors of infidelity.
In 1973, the princess, then 43, met Roderic ``Roddy'' Llewellyn, a man of no apparent means 17 years her junior.
They were romantically linked for half a dozen years, and the publication of a photograph of them together on the Caribbean island of Mustique was followed by announcement of the Snowdons' formal separation. The marriage was dissolved in May 1978, with little fuss from a public that expressed nothing but sympathy and regret for a woman who seemed never to have found lasting love.

As transsexual custody battle ends, judge hears from children

By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 9, 2002
CLEARWATER -- The marriage of Michael and Linda Kantaras played out like untold others. They dated. They married. They raised two children together.
And when the husband's affections fell to another woman, they brought their divorce to a judge to air out numerous complaints and to decide who should get custody of the children.
As their three-week custody trial closed in a Pinellas-Pasco courtroom on Friday, a judge now finds himself on new legal ground. The divorce of this couple forces him to grapple with an unusual question: Under Florida law, is transsexual Michael Kantaras a man who can legally be granted custody?
Lawyers recapped their case in closing arguments before Pinellas-Pasco Senior Judge Gerard O'Brien Jr. It may take two months or longer for O'Brien to decide which parent will get custody of the couple's 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.
"I'm not going to rush to judgment," O'Brien said as a national audience listened on Court TV.
The judge met with the two children for nearly two hours late Thursday without any of the lawyers or Court TV cameras present. He said the children, who live with their mother, wanted the chance to speak to him.
The judge said he wouldn't divulge details, and he told both children to keep their parents in the dark. "Do not probe either of these children about what they said to me," the judge warned both parents.
In closings, Michael Kantaras' lead attorney, Collin Vause, said his client cares deeply for the children and has exposed himself to embarrassment. But Linda Kantaras' attorney, Claudia Wheeler, said Michael Kantaras' belief that he is a man is recognized by doctors as a mental disorder.

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Friday, February 08, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 02/08/02 Information is power!

On the web: or


NEWS from the Human Rights Campaign

919 18th Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
** Related press releases from the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, the
Colorado Legal Initiatives Project (CLIP) and Western Equality will be
forthcoming. **
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2002


Claims Made after Criminal Charges were not filed a Year after Colorado
Assault, Says HRC
DENVER - The Human Rights Campaign expressed hope today that a federal civil
rights and a state tort claim filed today in Denver will help bring justice
to the Skyock family after the brutal beating of Kyle Skyock, a Rifle
teenager, one year ago. The case has all of the earmarks of a hate crime,
yet local law enforcement has yet to file criminal charges against Skyock's
alleged assailants, says HRC.
"As the facts of this case come to light, we are hopeful that the prosecutor
will immediately file criminal charges against the alleged assailants and
reexamine whether the assault was motivated by hate," said HRC
Communications Director David M. Smith.
"We are profoundly concerned that this family has had to go to such
lengths as hiring an attorney and filing a lawsuit to try to ensure that
justice is being served," said Smith. "While civil claims do not achieve
the same result as a criminal prosecution, it is the only course of action
for the Skyock family to take at this time."
HRC staff visited Colorado in December and has been trying to move
the case forward by working closely with the family and state and local
allies with the Colorado Anti-Violence Project, Western Equality and the
Colorado Legal Initiatives Project, which is the legal advocacy organization
providing pro-bono counsel to the Skyock family.
Last February Skyock, a 16-year-old from Rifle, Colo., was found
unconscious on the roadside by a jogger after being allegedly beaten by four
teenage boys because they thought he was gay. According to Skyock, he left a
party with four boys in car, when soon the car halted and Skyock was pulled
from the vehicle and thrown to the ground. The boys quickly overpowered him,
kicking him and ramming his head into the bumper. They threw Skyock back in
the vehicle and punched him some more. Then they pulled him out and kicked
him again. "Faggot." "I want a turn with the bat! Give it to me. It's my
turn, it's my turn," Skyock said he heard.
Police initially said they believe that Skyock was drunk and his injuries
were a result of "falling down." Yet, Skyock's injuries included: large
purple bruises on the front and back of his head; a fractured skull; a
circle of burn blisters on his shoulder; a black eye; three broken ribs; a
foot-shaped bruise on his stomach; another bruise described by doctors as in
the shape of a two-by-four.
"The facts show that two different medical authorities believe that
Skyock's injuries are consistent with assault, not simply 'falling down'
from intoxication," said HRC's Smith. "This includes the admitting physician
who is of the opinion that Skyock was beaten. Additionally, one of the
suspected assailants in the case allegedly made an admission to a schoolmate
the next day that Skyock was assaulted because he is gay."
Cases such as this, where inaction on the part of local law enforcement for
whatever reason, help show the need for the kind of federal resources,
assistance and oversight that could be provided under the federal hate
crimes bill, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act.
The FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2000 - the latest year for which
statistics are available -showed that as overall serious crime decreased
slightly nationally, with the Crime Index at its lowest level since 1978,
reported hate crimes have continued to rise and increased 2.3 percent from
1999 to 2000.
Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have more than tripled
since the FBI began collecting statistics in 1991, and comprise 16.3 percent
of all hate crimes for 2000 at 1,330. Hate crimes based on sexual
orientation continue to make up the third highest category after race and
religion, which make up 53.6 and 18.2 percent, respectively of the total,
Sadly, FBI statistics only give a glimpse of the problem. It is widely
recognized that hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation often go
unreported due to fear and stigmatization. Additionally, federal reporting
of hate crimes to the FBI by state and local jurisdictions is voluntary,
resulting in no participation by many jurisdictions each year.
For example, Colorado has a weak record on reporting of hate crimes
to the FBI over the last few years. Of the state's 234 "participating" law
enforcement agencies for 2000, only 34 reported any hate crimes (101
incidents total) at all, meaning 200 agencies in the state proactively
reported zero hate crimes for the year.
For 1999, the number of reporting agencies was 39 (148 incidents reported)
of 235, meaning the remaining 196 agencies proactively reported zero hate
crimes. In addition, Denver, as the nation's 25th largest city, only
reported 7 hate incidents for the year 2000.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political
organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies
Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and
safe at home, at work and in the community.
State Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Advocacy Group Says
Lawsuit Confirms Need for Hate Crimes Legislation
Media Contact: Jessie Shafer
Phone: 303-763-8863
Cell. 303-898-7771
DENVER -- Equal Rights Colorado, a statewide legislative lobbying and
advocacy group, says that the recently announced lawsuit stemming from the
February 2001 near fatal beating of a gay teenager in Rifle, Colorado
confirms the need for immediate passage of hate crimes legislation.
"Hate crimes legislation has stalled in the Colorado legislature for the
last five years," observed Jessie Shafer, a board member of the
organization. "This case demonstrates why additional protections are needed
for Colorado's most vulnerable citizens."
Senate Bill 9, proposed legislation that would rename and expand existing
laws governing hate crimes in Colorado, has passed out of the Senate
Judiciary Committee and is pending before the Senate Appropriations
Committee. The bill expands Colorado's existing ethnic intimidation
statute to also include acts of intimidation based on disability, age,
sexual orientation, or gender identity.
"If this bill were already on the books," said Shafer, "perhaps this tragedy
could have been avoided. At a minimum, local law enforcement would have
been better equipped to deal with it."
The District Attorney's office in Garfield County has not yet charged the
four alleged assailants with any crime, a decision that has come under heavy
public fire.
"The Bias-Motivated Crimes bill now pending at the legislature provides for
specific training for law enforcement personnel," said Shafer. "Such
training will be a powerful resource throughout the state, but particularly
in smaller communities."
Shafer cited other recent incidents as indicators of the need for new
legislation, including the 2001 murder of Cortez teenager Fred Martinez,
Jr., and the recent vandalism of a gay-welcoming church in Jefferson County.
Equal Rights Colorado is a statewide political advocacy group for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities and their families.

Sweden considers allowing gay adoption
Thursday, February 7, 2002 / 04:25 PM
SUMMARY: The Swedish government has introduced legislation to grant gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- The Swedish government has introduced legislation to grant gay and lesbian couples the right to adopt.
Marianne Carlstrom, Social Democrat member of Parliament, told a news conference: "Many children are already growing up in homosexual families, and this is about their rights."
The government said it hoped to have the bill passed by summer, but it would not come into force until 2003.
Sweden's RFSL gay rights group said the bill is likely to pass. RFSL said Prime Minister Goran Persson's minority Social Democrat government would win backing in Parliament from other parties. Carlstrom said she believed only the Moderate Party and the Christian Democrats would oppose the vote but would be unable to block it.

Judge orders Lon Mabon's arrest

A Multnomah County, Ore., judge issued an arrest warrant for the head of the far-right Oregon Citizens Alliance after he failed to appear in court Thursday. Lon Mabon, whose anti-gay rights crusade has caused a stir in recent elections, was supposed to be in court with his wife, Bonnie, at about 8:45 a.m. on Thursday. When the couple didn't show, Judge Ronald Cinniger ordered their arrests and set bail at $100,000 each. The Mabons, who hadn't been taken into custody as of Thursday afternoon, would be released if they paid 10% of the bail. Otherwise, they'll sit in jail until their next court date.
The Mabons were supposed to be in court because of an ongoing case involving gay rights activist Catherine Stauffer. A jury awarded Stauffer more than $30,000 after she was roughed up by former OCA communications director Scott Lively during an antigay event in 1992. A jury decided that Lively and two alliance operations--the nonprofit education foundation and the political committee created to support a 1992 antigay initiative--should each pay Stauffer. Lively paid most of his portion of the judgment, but the Oregon Citizens Alliance has not, and Stauffer is using the courts to get her money.
"The Mabons continue to assert that Oregon courts have no authority over them," said Brent Foster, one of Stauffer's attorneys. The Mabons say the foundation and the political committee have no money to pay Stauffer. Foster said it's just a shell game.
In a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, Mabon said he thought the hearing was scheduled for 11 a.m. Asked if he would have attended the hearing then, he said no. "I can't receive justice in Multnomah County circuit court," Mabon said. "I'm holding out for due process."
Mabon and the OCA are promoting a new ballot initiative that would change the oath taken by Oregon judges. The OCA is also using the courts to contend that most state judges are not valid officials because they haven't taken the proper oath. For at least 10 years, the secretary of state's office has sent newly elected judges a version of the oath that doesn't include the words and impartially, as required by the state constitution. The initial omission apparently was a clerk's error. Mabon contends that judges omit words such as impartially to avoid that standard. "The real issue is, no Oregonian would want to go into a courtroom where their rights are not guaranteed, and the judges never took the proper oath," Mabon said. Stauffer, a photojournalist, said it's much simpler than that: "It's clear that the Mabons would rather go to jail than pay any money to a lesbian."

Santa Fe, N.M., candidate's signs vandalized

Campaign signs for Patti Bushee, an openly gay candidate for mayor of Santa Fe, N.M., have been tagged with the word gay by vandals, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Bushee, who is currently a member of the Santa Fe city council, says 10 signs have been vandalized. "It ruined my signs--and my day," she said. "Here and there you can take a few knocks...but this is pretty intentional." Santa Fe police say they have no suspects.


More prospective jurors added to dog-mauling case

Stories about good dogs, bad dogs, and dogs that bite dominated the conversation during the second day of jury selection for a couple whose animals fatally mauled a San Francisco lesbian last year. At the end of the day, 37 people were placed in a pool of potential jurors for the trial of attorneys Marjorie Knoller and her husband, Robert Noel, joining 35 people who were selected Tuesday. The selection process was to continue Thursday.
Knoller, 46, and Noel, 60, are charged in the death of former Penn State lacrosse star Diane Whipple, 33, who was fatally mauled January 26, 2001, when she encountered her neighbor Knoller walking two huge dogs in a hallway of their San Francisco apartment building. The case was moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco because of extensive publicity. Nearly all of the prospective jurors questioned Wednesday acknowledged having heard of the case but said that they could judge it objectively. Only one man said he knew nothing about the case, adding that he felt he was "making a fool of myself" by admitting that. Knoller is accused of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and having a mischievous animal that killed a human being. Noel faces just the last two charges. Whipple's mother and Knoller's parents watched Wednesday as prospective jurors told stories about dogs they owned or of being bitten by their dogs or restraining them from biting other people. The most dramatic account came from an Asian-American woman who said her life was changed 20 years ago when a dog bit her infant daughter. "It was in a Third World country," she said. "People don't give shots. The dog died and was rabid." She said the situation was complicated by her family's history of allergies to the vaccine then given for rabies. She said she was so concerned about her child's condition that she dropped out of graduate school and stayed home with the girl. "I took care of my daughter," she said. "She's 20 now, and she's fine, but I had to miss school. I'm back in school now after 20 years." In spite of that experience, she said, she felt she could be a fair juror in the case, noting that she never took any recourse against the owner of the dog that bit her daughter.

Prominent West Hollywood businessman dies

Scott Forbes, who founded the legendary dance club Studio One in West Hollywood, Calif., has died. He was 57. Forbes died January 20 at a hospital from complications following elective surgery, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. Born in Boston, Forbes came to California in the early 1960s. He graduated from the University of Southern California and later practiced optometry in Santa Monica. Forbes then converted a former factory just off Santa Monica Boulevard into Studio One. The dance floor held well over 1,000 people, and its adjacent Backlot Theater presented cabaret performers such as Bernadette Peters, Joan Rivers, and Madeline Kahn.
Forbes designed the nightclub for people of all races and lifestyles, said his life partner, Bill Miles. "Scott thought it right that gays have a place to go to that was a dynamic spot, a place of prominence in the community," Miles said. In 1984 Forbes ran for city council, in West Hollywood's first election after incorporation, but finished in the middle of a crowded field. He served on the city's business license commission from 1994 to 2000. He later sold his interest in Studio One, which was renamed the Axis and now operates as the Factory. Over the past 15 years, Forbes ran a travel agency in West Hollywood.

Study Claims Gay Rage Real

by Beth Shapiro Newscenter, in New York
(February 7, New York) A study by researchers at Boston's Northeastern University claims that 'gay rage' actually exists.
Lead researcher, Dr. Richard H. Gramzow, said 'Gay Rage' results when heterosexual males are made to feel insecure about their masculinity.
He quickly adds that it only occurs in some men under the circumstances.
Gramzow said the findings appear to point to the psychological roots of homophobia and gay-bashing.
"Men with a threatened male ego may be typically more hostile towards gay men," he said, "and that could eventually translate into more aggressive behaviours."
He presented his findings at a meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.
'Gay Rage" has been used as a legal defence in numerous high profile homophobic attacks including the murder of Matthew Shepard and the killing of Pfc Barry Witchell. It is effective in about half of the trials.
Gramzow's study sought to determine the factors that drive prejudice.
He had 60 male and female college undergraduates complete questionnaires measuring their individual sense of masculinity and/or femininity.
The questionnaire included a list of personality traits such as "assertive," "nurturing" or "power-oriented." Students were asked "whether they saw that trait as being characteristic of themselves," Gramzow noted.
At the same time, the study participants were also asked their views on gay men and lesbians.
Analyzing the results, Gramzow said he found that, among men, "the higher the endorsement of masculine personality traits for the self, the higher the negativity towards gay men," and, to a lesser extent, lesbians.
He then tested what might happen when men felt their sense of masculinity was under threat. In a second study, he passed out bogus questionnaires aimed at generating fictional "Personality Profiles." As in the first experiment, participants were asked their views on lesbians and gays.
In a completely random fashion, Gramzow told half of the students that their Personality Profiles had tested high on "masculine" traits, while the other half were told they scored higher in "feminine" traits.
The result? "Male respondents who received feminine personality feedback subsequently reported extremely negative attitudes toward gay men," Gramzow reports, although their attitudes toward lesbians remained unchanged.
"The bottom line" Gramzow said, "is that heterosexual males appear to express antipathy toward gay men as a way to express their masculinity."
"It is not difficult to imagine that similar identity concerns could lead to more malevolent attempts to 'distance' the self from any suspicion of homosexuality"--even gay-bashing, he added. Gramzow noted in his report that previous research into anti-Semitism has yielded similar results, with test subjects' attitudes towards Jews increasing in hostility when their self-image was placed under threat.

"Sickness The Wages Of Sin" Vatican Advisor Says

by Peter Moore Newscenter in London
(February 8, Rome) AIDS activists in Rome are demanding an apology from one of the most senior advisors to Pope John Paul says
Archbishop Paul Cordes said that illness is the result of sin.
Cordes, the German head of the Vatican's agency for humanitarian aid, maintained that there was scriptural authority for the idea that those who contract illnesses do so because they have sinned.
He made the assertion while delivering the Pope's message for Lent.
During his sermon Cordes, that the root of much modern illness lay in sinful or immoral behaviour.
"Jesus heals sickness and banishes sin," he said. "He therefore teaches us that there is a link between sin and illness. This does not happen in every individual case, but it is a fundamental law. The history of salvation shows us that illness is a consequence of sin."
The remarks have angered many Catholics and caused a divide in the Vatican.
Hours after Cordes spoke out, the Pope's chief theologian, stepped in " to reassure those who were ill that they were not in fact paying for their sins".
Father Georges Cottier, said the Pope's Lenten message was aimed at urging genetic scientists and other health experts not to succumb to the temptation of "tampering with the Tree of Life" under the illusion that advances in biotechnology had made man his own creator. Cottier said Cordes had "perhaps gone too far."

Falwell Says God Loves Taliban

by Fidel Ortega Newscenter in Miami
(February 8, West Palm Beach) Last September Jerry Falwell blamed the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on gays, feminists, and the ACLU.
Now, he says God loves the Tliban. "Yes, God even loves the Taliban," Falwell told a Baptist group in West Palm Beach.
And, while he is not blaming us for 9-11 he continues to subtly imply it.
"If the church had been awake and performing that duty, I can tell you that we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today,'' he said.
Falwell also encouraged parents to send their children to Liberty University, the Christian school he founded in Lynchburg, Va., to protect them from a ``godless university where the professors don't believe in the Bible.''
Outside Berean Baptist Church where he was speaking, veteran Florida gay rights advocate Bob Kunst protested the appearance of the evangelist.
Kunst, who has been at the forefront of gay rights for more than 30 years held a sign calling Falwell the leader of ``America's Taliban.''
Falwell stopped to talk to Kunst on his way into the church. The two have been sparring for decades.
During his speech Falwell brought up the protest. "I'd love to see old Bob walk in here,'' he said. ``I'd tell him, `God loves you. He'll save you from a perverted lifestyle.''' Outside, Kunst scoffed at the suggestion. "It is Falwell who is perverting America with hate."

Spanish Gays Rush To Support Defrocked Priest

by Newscenter Staff
(February 8, Madrid) Father Jose Mantero has galvanized Spain's GLBT community. The Association of Gays and Lesbians is calling for Spaniards to stop giving money to the church.
The 38 year old priest came out in a gay magazine and was fired from the priesthood yesterday
Pedro Cerola, the president of the association, told a news conference that gays and lesbians should refuse to give "to an organisation that continues insulting and condemning us".
Cerola called the church a "well-oiled political machine for campaigning against homosexuality".
Meanwhile, the leader of the gay flank within the ruling conservative People's Party, Carlos Alberto Biendicho, threatened to reveal the names of three homosexual bishops with whom he claimed to have had sexual relations if the Church continued to punish Mantero. Mantero, who is the first Catholic priest in modern Spanish history to have publicly come out, is keeping a low profile. For the past week he has been staying with his family in Madrid.

Rightwing Group Begins Pressure Campaign On Paediatricians

Doreen Brandt Newscenter in Washington
(February 8, Washington) A conservative women's organization has begun a campaign to force doctors to denounce a call from their medical association to support gay and lesbian co-adoptions.
Concerned Women for America says it is telling its members across the country to ask their doctors to oppose the American Academy of Pediatrics " lurch into radical advocacy of homosexual parenting."
Sandy Rios, president of Concerned Women said: "Armed with the latest, most reliable information, we are asking our members to spread the word to their paediatricians and neighbours that homosexual parenting does not achieve the same results as mother/father married relationships."
The group has produced a letter and brief summary of studies for mothers and fathers to take to their paediatricians, who will be asked to contact the AAP and register their objection.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a statement Monday stating that children in gay households turn out the same as children in married families, and called for an end to laws giving preference to married couples in adoption and custody. "So now an AAP researcher has come up with a new word to slander the sane: 'heterosexist.' In their lexicon of lunacy, they are attempting to attribute abnormality to the normal and normalcy to the abnormal," said Rios

Boy George's Musical Extends Booking Period

Boy George's musical, Taboo, is expected to run at least until September.
Taboo has announced a new booking period, from April 8 to September 14.
The show opened to good reviews at the Venue off Leicester Square two weeks ago. Taboo is set in the club scene that surrounded the New Romantic period in the 80s.

UK: Elton John might rewrite national anthem

February 4, 2002,
POP superstars Paul McCartney and Elton John could be asked to write England's new national anthem if God Save The Queen is ditched - by popular demand.
One in three English people think that the National Anthem is outdated and should be changed in time for the Golden Jubilee celebrations and World Cup.
And the millionaire rockers would be the 'people's choice' to pen a new anthem, alongside West End composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber, a poll has revealed.
McCartney actually wrote a short song titled Her Majesty while still in The Beatles, and Elton revised his Candle In The Wind for Princess Diana's funeral.
Lord Lloyd-Webber, whose songs include Evita showstopper Don't Cry For Me Argentina, meanwhile, is among the Queen's favourite composers.
More than a third of the 1,000 people quizzed in the survey said the country needed a new song, with many preferring the patriotic Land of Hope and Glory.
Others said the nation needed a new song to reflect 21st Century England - and voted Midland pop superstar Robbie Williams the man best suited to sing it at the World Cup. (C) 2002 Sunday Mercury. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Gay couple continues fight for adoption rights

MIKE HENTZ/The Citizen
The state of Florida has entrusted foster parents Wayne LaRue Smith and Daniel Skahen with the care of Florida's abused, abandoned and neglected children for the past two years.
But current state law prevents the gay couple from adopting a child whose parental rights have been terminated by a judge. They will take the next step toward changing that law next week.
Skahen and Smith have navigated the state's legal system for the past two years. After filing suit challenging the state's ban, they have become spokesmen for gay adoption rights throughout Florida, which continues to uphold the nation's toughest ban on gay adoption.
Their most recent disappointment came in August when a federal judge upheld the Florida law, claiming the state believes a heterosexual couple offers a better environment for a child.
Skahen, Smith and their American Civil Liberties Union attorneys disagree, and they found a powerful and vocal ally this week in the American Academy of Pediatrics, which reported "there's no existing data to support the widely held belief that there are negative outcomes for children raised by gay parents."
The report said that "denying legal parent status through adoption ... prevents these children from enjoying the psychological and legal security that comes from having two willing, capable and loving parents."
The Key West men will be armed with the academy's report when they file an appeal Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1th Circuit.
They are joined in the landmark lawsuit by two other plaintiffs fighting for the chance to adopt. One of the men lives in Miami with a child who has been under his guardianship since the child's infancy, and the other plaintiff is a foster parent who has taken care of three non-related children since their birth, all of whom were born HIV positive.
Once filed, the state of Florida will probably have 60 days to respond before oral arguments are scheduled, said Eric Ferraro, an ACLU lawyer in New York, who has been working on the case.
He estimated the oral arguments will be scheduled this summer, and is hoping for a judgment within the year, he said.
If the appeal is denied, the next step would be to approach the Supreme Court.
Nationwide interest
The Florida case has garnered nationwide interest and support in many gay-rights organizations.
But Skahen and Smith, who have been accused of merely championing a "gay-rights agenda, are quick to point out that theirs is not entirely a gay-rights issue, but a children's issue.
The men began the legal wrangling upon learning about the 3,400 children in Florida who are eligible for adoption. These children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their birth parents and are placed in foster care or children's shelter for as long as necessary.
"We wanted to make a contribution to the lives of children in Florida who desperately need someone," Smith said. "Curiously, there's no prohibition against us being foster parents."
They could, by now, have devised a way to bring a child into their home through means other than public adoption. Many gay couples have raised infants born of female surrogates who were artificially inseminated, and Skahen and Smith have received offers from various women willing to carry their child. But they do not see any reason to bring another child into the world when there already are so many living without parents.
Foster parents
The men have been foster parents to 10 different children in the past two years. They ranged in age from infancy to 15 years old, and stayed for varying amounts of time. Some children stay only a week, while others remain with them longer. A child who just turned 4 has been with the couple for more than a year.
The issue of them being homosexual partners is not a prevalent one in their household or with their foster children, one of whom woke up with night terrors every 45 minutes.
"He would scream until one of us walked into the room, then fall right back to sleep," Skahen said. He and Smith eventually learned that the 2-year-old had constantly been left alone throughout the night, and just knowing that someone was actually in the home with him was enough to allow him to sleep.
"I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't difficult when some of the children leave," Smith said. "But it isn't about you, it's about the kid, and the help and care you give him or her while they are with you."
Skahen, a real estate broker, and Smith, an attorney, want to be able to offer that help, love and stability permanently. They hope the state will allow them to do so, for them and for the children who need them.
"In all likelihood, the child we adopt in Florida will have gone through the foster care system," Smith said. "We don't know what colors they'll be, what their ages or abilities will, but we'll take what shows up.
"Children come into state care only if they've been abused, abandoned or neglected. If we lose this case, then how is the state of Florida not guilty of abusing, neglecting or abandoning these kids since they know there are loving homes available to them?"
"If we lose, I'll tell the legislators, 'Fine, you won, but now what are you going to do for these kids?' "

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Dog-mauling case: Judge rejects bestiality / Network
Wednesday, February 6, 2002 / 04:13 PM
SUMMARY: A judge has refused to allow testimony about allegations of "sexual conduct" between two defendants and their dogs in the case of a lesbian who was mauled to death.
A judge has refused to allow testimony about allegations of "sexual conduct" between two defendants and their dogs in the case of a lesbian who was mauled to death in the corridor of her San Francisco apartment building last year.
Many rumors have surrounded the case, including one that alleged that the couple, Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, was having sexual relations with the dogs. A San Francisco Chronicle report also alleged that Noel and Knoller adopted a prisoner, Paul "Cornfed" Schneider, as a way to simulate a three-way marriage.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Warren ruled against any bestiality testimony on Monday after a meeting behind closed doors. He refused to elaborate on the ruling.
The trial was moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles because of intense publicity in San Francisco media outlets about the case.
Knoller, 46, faces second-degree murder charges. She and her husband face additional charges of involuntary manslaughter and keeping a mischievous animal that killed a human being.
Lesbian lacrosse coach Diane Whipple, 33, was mauled to death by the couple's Presa Canario dogs on Jan. 26, 2001.
Jury selection for the criminal case continued on Tuesday, with lawyers questioning candidates extensively about their views toward dogs, lawyers and prison gangs. Opening statements for the trial are scheduled for Feb. 19.

Jury selection proceeds in dog-mauling case

Thirteen prospective jurors have been dismissed in the Los Angeles murder and manslaughter trial of a couple who owned a pair of dogs that mauled a San Francisco lesbian to death. Some of the prospects dismissed Tuesday included a man who had a problem with attack dogs, a woman who said she couldn't look at pictures of the death scene, and a man who said he might not be unbiased. Thirty-five prospective jurors passed the first round of questioning. Another 50 prospects were due to be questioned Wednesday. Superior court judge James Warren said he expects to have a pool of 100 cleared by Friday. Lawyers will use peremptory challenges to form the final panel February 15, and opening statements will begin February 19. Prospects are being drawn from a group of more than 300 people who passed hardship screening last month and filled out lengthy questionnaires.
San Francisco attorneys Marjorie Knoller, 46, and Robert Noel, 60, are charged in the death of former Penn State lacrosse star Diane Whipple, 33, a neighbor who was fatally mauled on January 26, 2001, when she encountered Knoller walking two large dogs in a hallway of their apartment building. Knoller faces the most serious charge, second-degree murder. She also was indicted, with Noel, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and having a mischievous animal that killed a human being. The trial, which is expected to have four or five weeks of testimony, was moved from to Los Angeles due to extensive publicity in San Francisco. The defendants have connections to two state inmates who allegedly are members of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood prison gang. Two of the prospective jurors dismissed said they would have problems if reference to the prison gang came up in testimony. Both said they understand the gang to be a racist group. The judge has ruled that the jury will be allowed to hear the name of the gang but will not be told of its supremacist views. Of panelists who have been exposed to publicity about the case, one man said he was confronted at work by fellow employees who said, "Hey, I hear you're on the dog case." The man added, "So I'm sort of dodging bullets." Another man said he was watching CNN last week and saw a report about the case. "I closed my eyes and put my fingers in my ears and told my wife I couldn't see this. She's the custodian of the clicker."

Investors press Emerson on equality

Beth Shapiro,
Wednesday, February 6, 2002 / 04:17 PM
SUMMARY: Gay rights group Pride Foundation has filed a shareholder resolution with electronics giant Emerson to force the company to amend its employment opportunity policy.
NEW YORK -- Gay rights group Pride Foundation has filed a shareholder resolution with electronics giant Emerson to force the company to amend its employment opportunity policy to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The resolution was co-filed with Domini Social Investments, manager of the Domini Social Equity Fund, the nation's oldest and largest socially responsible index fund, and Janet Francis King, a private investor.
An identical resolution brought before last year's annual meeting was defeated but received over 12 percent approval, entitling the filers to bring the resolution forward again this year. Ongoing negotiations with Emerson have been unsuccessful.
"Emerson executives have stated their commitment to non-discrimination based on sexual orientation," said Adam Kanzer, Domini's director of shareholder advocacy. "We applaud the company for this commitment, but an internal, unwritten policy is not enough. We want Emerson to formalize this policy by putting it in writing for employees, customers and all the world to see." Nearly 300 Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. According to the Human Rights Campaign, over the past year, approximately 41 Fortune 500 companies joined these ranks by amending their policies.

Gay, transgender activists disagree on N.Y. bill

A New York State antidiscrimination bill has more support this year than it's had in the 30 previous years that it's been proposed in the state legislature, but a disagreement between a gay rights group and a transgender rights group could hinder its passage, Newsday reports. The problem, according to transgender activists, is that the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, which has already passed the state assembly and has the support of Republican governor George Pataki, does not include protections based on gender identity.
"Basic human rights will continue to be denied to the trans community without an amendment to this bill," said Joann Prinzavalli, a member of the New York State Transgender Coalition. But the Empire State Pride Agenda, a New York gay rights group that has been pushing for passage of SONDA for years, said any amendments to the bill at this point in the game would ruin its chances of passage. "We've waited long enough to get this done, and any last-minute, ill-prepared attempt to amend the bill is going to kill it," said ESPA spokesman Joe Tarver. Assemblyman Steve Sanders, one of the bill's sponsors, echoed Tarver's concern and added that he thinks transgendered people would be covered under the language of the bill as it's currently written. Still, transgender activists told Newsday that they are tired of taking a backseat in the fight for civil rights. "We helped [gay people] get where they are, and they've sold us down the river," said Sylvia Rivera, director of Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries.

NEA expected to call for end to harassment

One of the nation's largest teachers unions plans to issue a call aimed at ending harassment of gay students. The National Education Association is scheduled to release a report to its members that states that schools must be made safe for gay students. Penny Kotterman, president of the NEA-affiliated Arizona Education Association and head of the NEA's task force on sexual orientation, said people have the right to attend class or work free of harassment. A study last year by the University of North Carolina estimated that 5%-6% of students 17 or younger are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Kotterman said that means more than 2 million students fall into the category.


Arizona DP measures put on hold

Measures that would allow unmarried couples in committed relationships to register as domestic partners were put on hold in the Arizona house of representatives after being alternately called a threat to marriage and a step toward dignity. The house debated the legislation at length Tuesday, but backers postponed showdown votes indefinitely. They later said some potential supporters still have concerns left unanswered by the hurry-up handling of the measures.
Supporters outnumbered opponents on two procedural votes but were short of the 31 votes needed to pass the legislation in the 60-member house. "I believe it's close," said one opponent, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth (R-Gilbert). One of the measures would establish a domestic-partnership registry in state superior court. To be eligible to register, two people must be in a committed relationship intended to last forever, share living expenses, be at least 18, and not be married or in another registered domestic partnership. Under the second proposal, registered domestic partners would be granted basic rights regarding insurance, inheritance, and medical decision-making. Four states--California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York--now recognize domestic partnerships. Vermont allows the more far-reaching civil unions. Without such sanctioned recognition, gay couples must use wills, power-of-attorney agreements, and other contracts in order to gain access to some of the rights that heterosexual married couples automatically get.

Minnesota lawmakers protest DP decision

Some Democrats in the Minnesota house of representatives wore purple armbands Monday to protest a decision not to offer health benefits to committed partners of gay and lesbian house members and staff. Minneapolis representatives Scott Dibble and Karen Clark, the legislature's two openly gay members, criticized the decision in speeches each made on the house floor. Dibble said he and others would keep wearing armbands or lapel pins to voice their displeasure. "We are not going to stay silent about this," said Clark, who characterized it as "bigoted treatment of some of our very own hard-working staff members." On Friday the rules committee approved health benefits without the new offering. Senate employees will be eligible for the coverage, and most state employee labor contracts contain it as well. Many house Republicans and some Democrats oppose the coverage on moral and fiscal grounds. They say it recognizes gay relationships, discriminates against unmarried heterosexual couples, and is an added cost in a time of budget stress. Later this session the legislature must vote on the union contracts. It cannot amend them, and failure to ratify them would leave employees free to strike. A house ratification vote could come in a couple of weeks, said house majority leader Tim Pawlenty.

California man cleared of attempted murder charge

A Guerneville, Calif., man was cleared of an attempted murder charge in the stabbing of his gay former lover but was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in the butcher knife attack. A jury on Monday found Philip Bortolussi, 41, guilty of attacking his ex-partner nearly two years ago during an episode of domestic violence. The innocent verdict on the attempted murder charge means Bortolussi faces a maximum of nine years in prison, not the life sentence he would have faced on the attempted murder charge. Harold Ryder, 37, was stabbed twice in the back and suffered collapsed lungs. Having now recovered since the April 2000 attack, he testified against Bortolussi during the two-week trial. Bortolussi is set for sentencing March 4.


Iowa school officials: We weren't trying to avoid Gay Days

Creston [Iowa] High School officials say they postponed a band trip to Orlando, Fla., because more than 100,000 adults would be partying in some of the same areas the students might frequent. The fact that the partying adults will be in Orlando for the city's Gay Days festival had nothing to do with the postponement, said Todd Wolverton, the school's principal.
Wolverton said school officials realized a month ago that the trip for 70 Creston band students would coincide with the annual Gay Days celebration scheduled for May 28 through June 3. A travel agent told school officials that the festival is fairly small, Wolverton said. "We were under the impression it might just be a small gathering of folks and they might be at the park one of the days we were there," Wolverton said. Last week school officials learned that Gay Days attracts 100,000 adults or more. At that point, school administrators decided to postpone the three-day band trip so that it would begin the last day of Gay Days.
"From the school's standpoint, this has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the group of people who will be there," Wolverton said. "It didn't make one bit of difference what the nature of the group was. We did not move this trip because of the fact that it's Gay Days 2002. We moved this trip because of the fact that there would be 100,000-plus adults partying down there in some of the same areas where we were going to have our kids." Wolverton said he would have made the same decision had there been any other sort of large festival planned for that many adults.
Nan Schultz of declined to comment on the school district's decision but said that Gay Days "is a positive event that's now in its 12th year." Band parents are generally supportive of the decision to delay the trip, Wolverton said, although some students are "frustrated" they weren't consulted. Traci Crum is a high school senior who had planned to take the trip. Her father, Randy Crum, said Traci might decide to stay home because parents and students who handled the fund-raising and organization for the trip weren't consulted regarding the change in dates. "I want to believe that the district didn't change the date just because of concerns that gays and lesbians would be down there," Crum said. "But I don't know."

Nathan Lane to exit The Producers and enter new sitcom

Out actor Nathan Lane, who won a Tony award for his portrayal of duplicitous Broadway money man Max Bialystock in The Producers, will leave that show March 17, along with costar Matthew Broderick. The New York Times reports that British actor Henry Goodman, who won an Olivier Award last year for his portrayal of Shylock in a Royal National Theater production of The Merchant of Venice, will take over for Lane and that actor Steven Weber (Jeffrey, TV's Wings) is a front-runner to replace Broderick. Producers of The Producers offered Lane and Broderick lucrative deals to stay with the show--whose success is thought to rely, in part, on the chemistry of its two stars--but both declined, with Lane citing health concerns and Broderick having prior commitments to films. One new commitment for Lane will be the CBS series Life of the Party, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lane will star as a one-time TV star who lands a seat in Congress; the new sitcom is from writer-producer Jeff Richman. Richman is an Emmy-winning writer who was a co-executive producer on Stark Raving Mad and supervising producer on Frasier. Lane's last attempt at series television was the short-lived Encore! Encore! which ran on NBC in the 1998-1999 season.

Matt Damon, L.A. Gay Men's Chorus to guest on Will & Grace

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles makes its network television debut on the Thursday, February 7, episode of Will & Grace, which also features a guest appearance from Matt Damon (The Talented Mr. Ripley), as a singer in competition with Jack (Sean Hayes) for the last slot in the gay chorus. Will & Grace airs at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific (check local listings).


Survey: Bisexual male youths most likely to have risky sex

A survey of male high school students conducted by researchers in Massachusetts shows that bisexual teenagers are less likely to practice safer sex than gay or straight teenage males, Reuters Health reports. The researchers, reporting in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that young men who self-identified as bisexual were more likely to have four or more sexual partners and were more likely to have used alcohol or drugs before their most recent sexual encounter than were other survey respondents. Bisexual teenagers also were the least likely to use condoms. Overall, 33% of male teenagers with partners of both sexes said they used a condom during their most recent sexual encounter, compared with 66% of heterosexual male teenagers and 61% of gay male teenagers. Bisexual teens also were shown to be eight to 10 times more likely to have a sexually transmitted disease than their peers. Given the stigma associated with having same-sex partners, the researchers write that it is unrealistic to expect young men to obtain information on HIV/AIDS and safer sex from gay or bisexual support or education groups. "It may be possible, however, to make mainstream classroom instruction more inclusive and more culturally appropriate for sexual minority adolescents," lead researcher Carol Goodenow suggests. "It is critical that such programs be strengthened and that their message be clearly relevant to the needs and choices faced by all sexually active youths."

Quebec Begins Partnership Union Hearings

by Jean-Pierre O'Brien Newscenter in Montreal
(February 7, Montreal) The Quebec government has begun public hearings on a bill to legalize partnership unions.
Justice Minister Paul Begin said he wants to introduce legislation creating a Partnership Union Registry in this session of the National Assembly.
Begin announced the government would support partnership unions in December, during a Divisional Court challenge to Canada's ban on marriage.
The Constitutional challenge was brought by Rene Leboeuf and Michael Hendricks (pictured), who have been a couple for 25 years but not permitted to marry.
One of the first groups to appear at Wednesday's hearing was Table de Concertation des Lesbiennes et Gais du Quebec. President Pierre Valois attacked the principal of Partnership Unions.
"It creates two separate classes," he said. Valois likened the bill to "segregation in the U.S. South."
"I can't believe that in 2002 Quebec would create a distinct status for one of its minorities," said Irene Demczuk, president of the Quebec Coalition for the Recognition of Same-Sex Spouses.
The groups also criticized the legislation for ignoring co-parenting.
The proposed legislation does not recognize the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex couples who have children together. This means the non-biological mother or father cannot be registered on the child's birth certificate, sign report cards, register their child in school, take them to the doctor or hospital and take them on vacation abroad.
"It's often the children who suffer," said Claudine Ouellet, director or the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Quebec.
Justice Minister Begin said marriage falls under federal jurisdiction, but he said he is open to any number of modifications to the bill. "We want to hear from all the presenters first before we decide."
While the Quebec government moves ahead on Partnership Union legislation Leboeuf and Hendricks await a decision in their challenge to the government of Canada's definition of marriage.
A decision is also pending in a similar case in Ontario. Last year a British Columbia Supreme Court Judge ruled the issue of gay marriage is one for Parliament to decide, not the courts. Ultimately, though, it is expected the Supreme Court of Canada will make the final ruling. Under Canadian Constitutional Law, the High Court is obliged to hear any case that challenges law under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian bill of rights.

Faith Based Bill Dead

by Paul Johnson International News Editor in Washington
(February 7, Washington) The White House has given up on its Faith Based Initiative, a controversial plan that would have seen federal money go to help groups run by religions.
Instead, the Bush administration will back legislation giving new tax breaks to encourage charitable giving.
The Faith Based Initiative would have opened new government programmes to churches and other religious groups. It would have allowed these groups to maintain their exemption from civil rights laws and make hiring and firing decisions based on religion, even if they got government money. It also would have let them continue to skirt local laws guaranteeing rights for gays and lesbians.
Details of the bill first came to light last summer when the Washington Post uncovered secret meetings between White House staff and the Salvation Army to circumvent local gay rights ordinances across the country.
The compromise bill is to be unveiled today by the President. The legislation reached by key senators includes new money for a social services grant program that states use for child care, adoption and other social programs. The Senate bill also gives people who do not itemize their taxes a new break for giving to charity. It would expire after two years, as would new tax breaks for corporations.

Out Spanish Priest Defrocked

by Peter Moore Newscenter in London
(February 7, Madrid) A Spanish priest who came out in a much publicized article has been fired.
Father Jose Mantero became the first priest in Spain to publicly declare his is gay. He told the magazine Zero that he has had gay sex, and was coming out to draw attention to the Church's oppression of gays and lesbians.
Most people in his parish, in the fishing town of Valverde del Camino, said they were not surprised to find out their priest of 10 years is gay.
Wednesday, the Bishop of Huelva, Ignacio Noguer, issued a public letter saying that Mantero had placed himself ''outside the discipline of the Church on a subject of extreme gravity and scandal for the faithful.''
The Bishop's letter said: ''This obliges me, not without deep regret, formally to withdraw all ministerial licences from Mr. Jose Mantero."
Mantero left the parish shortly after the Zero article was published but said he wanted to remain a priest. In his letter, the bishop said he had tried in vain for several days to talk to Mantero, but the facts were so clear that they called for the application of Church law.

Portia Di Rossi 'Marries' Lesbian Lover

February 5, 2002, World Entertainment News Network
ALLY McBEAL star PORTIA DI ROSSI has exchanged 'wedding' vows with her gay lover - ex-BEATLE star RINGO STARR's step-daughter FRANCESCA GREGORINI.
The pair took part in a moving ceremony in front of friends at Rossi's 29th birthday party last week (ends01FEB02).
A source is quoted in British newspaper THE DAILY STAR as saying, "It just seemed natural for them to declare their love in front of all the people who mean so much to them.
"They promised to love one another for eternity.." (c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

Tournament organizer rues anti-lesbian complaint

Special to The Citizen/Michelle Wisniewski
Action begins next week in the Key West International Women's Flag Football Tournament.
The Key West International Women's Flag Football Tournament schedule has been changed amid rumors and accusations of homophobia in a town that prides itself on its "One Human Family" motto.
The change became necessary when it was learned, albeit at the last minute, that several games were scheduled to take place during school hours on two fields at Poinciana Elementary School.
One Key West resident, reportedly concerned that "the children will be exposed to lesbians," complained to City Manager Julio Avael and reminded him of an agreement between the city and the Monroe County School District that the fields can not be used by non-school groups until 3:30 p.m.
The flag football games are normally played on four different fields throughout the tournament that usually begins on a Friday and runs through Monday. Two of the playing fields are owned by the city while the other two are the property of the school district, as they are adjacent to the Poinciana school.
In past years, all four fields have been available from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. because Poinciana students were not in school Friday due to a teachers' professional day, and they also were not in school the following Monday in observance of Presidents' Day.
This year, flag football games begin a day earlier -- next Thursday, and Friday is no longer a professional day, so the students will be in school and could be using the fields for physical education classes. Thus, the scheduling conflict that has evolved in the past week.
An interlocal agreement between the school district and the city regulates joint use of fields such as the ones near Poinciana. That agreement states that the fields may not be used by non-school groups until 3:30 p.m. -- six and a half hours after the normal starting time for the flag football tournament.
The change in field availability has forced tournament organizer Diane Beruldsen and city recreation director Randy Sterling to adjust the times of about 24 games, but none has been canceled, Sterling said Wednesday.
The tournament games will last later into the evening, and daytime games will continue on the two city-owned fields, Sterling said.
The schedule change was a frustrating, but innocuous one for Beruldsen, until she learned of a complaint made by Key West resident Cecilia Vidal to Avael.
Beruldsen said she had submitted the dates of this year's tournament to the city recreation department about a year ago -- right after last year's tournament.
But nothing was mentioned about there being a conflict with the fields until the past two weeks. "It was explained to me a week ago that this woman had made a complaint about using the fields during school hours," Beruldsen said. "But I didn't know then that this was a lesbian issue."
"I think the school district could have told this woman, 'Look, it's too late to change everything for this year, but maybe next year we can look into it,'" Beruldsen said.
Avael, who spoke with Vidal last week, listened to her concerns and then sent an e-mail to the city commissioners about her complaint.
Vidal told Avael she had heard the games were to take place during school hours, and reminded him of the terms of the interlocal agreement. He told the commissioners the games would take place after school, and wrote he had assured Vidal that "the contract with the school board will be adhered to as written."
"Her alleged concern is that 'the children will be exposed to lesbians,' " Avael's message continued.
His meetings with Vidal were not the first he had heard of her concerns. Avael said Wednesday that Vidal had "vehemently complained" about the tournament in past years.
About three years ago, she mentioned to Avael she was concerned with some of the behavior the women demonstrated while watching the tournament, he said.
Sterling acknowledged that one concern centered around some spectators drinking alcohol. He said he mentioned the issue to Beruldsen and it was addressed. He also mentioned that Vidal seemed to have a problem with the women hugging one another during and after the game.
Vidal could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

South Florida leads nation in number of new AIDS cases

By Gregory Lewis Sun-Sentinel
February 6, 2002
Ula Zucker remembers vividly her first day of AIDS and HIV outreach work last June. She went to the Mango Festival in Deerfield Beach and was stunned by the nonchalant attitudes about the disease, which is the No. 1 killer of black people nationwide between the ages of 18 and 39.
But in South Florida, that statistic doesn't tell the whole story. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that in 2000, three of the top four metropolitan areas in the country for the number of new AIDS cases among people aged 18 to 29 are Miami, ranked first, and Fort Lauderdale, ranked third. West Palm Beach was fourth on the list, but unlike Miami and Fort Lauderdale, where the rates declined from 1999 to 2000, West Palm Beach's rate increased.
As Zucker delivered information about AIDS at the Mango Festival, she met:
a.. A woman whose six brothers and sisters all are HIV positive.
a.. A mother who had recently buried two daughters who had contracted AIDS.
a.. Several young men feeling immortal, who told her they didn't use condoms while having sex and believed, "I ain't going to get it. I know who I sleep with. I don't go out with dirty girls."
a.. But she also met a woman, married 15 years, who has sex with her husband only when he wears a condom. "I have a feeling he cheats on me," the woman explained to Zucker.
She gave Zucker hope that minorities in Broward County could be educated about how to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
The battle is big
But it is a battle of major proportions, say AIDS activists. AIDS is a fatal disease, but one that is almost entirely preventable.
Today is National Black AIDS/HIV Awareness Day, and nowhere in the country is awareness and education needed more than in South Florida.
"It's a sad thing," said Zucker, who works for REACH 2010 Coalition, a national initiative of the CDC to cut disease rates in minority communities by 2010.
The stigma of AIDS being a gay disease - though that is not exclusively true - and the belief that victims did something to deserve contracting it, such as using intravenous drugs or fornicating with dirty women or men, have hampered prevention efforts and sent HIV rates soaring, activists say. And that is particularly true among blacks in South Florida.
"We live in denial," said Gabrielle Tunnage, a community team leader for REACH 2010. "We don't read. We don't ask the right questions of the right people, like our significant others, and misinformation is killing us."
Statistics from 2000, the most recent year available, show that for every 100 white non-Hispanics infected with HIV in Florida, there are 572 blacks and 225 Hispanics.
While blacks comprise 21 percent of Broward County's population, they account for 51 percent of the county's reported AIDS cases and 61 percent of the reported HIV cases.
Blacks living in Broward who were born outside the United States (mostly in Haiti, Jamaica and other Caribbean island nations) make up 20 percent of the county's reported AIDS and HIV cases.
Even more startling, the CDC estimates that of every three people infected with HIV, one doesn't know it.
But Zucker said there are some signs of hope, at least in Broward: Of the unmarried men aged 18 to 29 surveyed last year, 60 percent reported using condoms, as did more than 50 percent of the unmarried women in the same age group. But only 30 percent of unmarried women more than 30 years old reported condom use. More than 2,000 people were surveyed.
"The prevention message is taking hold, and people are taking action," Zucker said. "But some are not, and they are infecting people."
Targeting minorities
Funded by the CDC through 2004, the REACH 2010 Coalition to Reduce HIV in Broward's Minority Communities does daily outreach, focusing on 18- to 39-year-olds who are at highest risk of becoming infected.
The project has selected 12 Zip codes as a target area. In those areas, workers mingle and talk with people, offering practical AIDS information packets, including condoms.
They are trying to scale a dangerous wall of silence.
"When you talk about AIDS, that's when the phones go the coldest," said Caribbean radio talk show host Jean Jabouin of Mystik 1580 AM, WSRF. "Our community is in complete denial. We're buying into the AIDS doesn't exist or it was manufactured by the government [theory]."
But Tunnage said, theories aside, "you can look at the hard numbers. There's not any place on the planet that has not been touched by this disease."
Marvin Dejean of Minority Development and Empowerment in Fort Lauderdale, who is also doing outreach with the REACH 2010 project, said being diagnosed with HIV or AIDS among Haitians is the equivalent of being marked with a scarlet letter.
"Haitians are very closed about it," he said, explaining that clients will tell counselors not to call their homes for fear others in the household will find out.
"We're still caught up in the idea that the disease is something very, very shameful," Dejean said.
Haitians and other black immigrants won't get tested for fear they will be reported to U.S. immigration officials and deported, he said.
The denial among blacks also extends to men who engage in homosexual activity but don't consider themselves gay because "they were not the receiver," Zucker said.
"In jail, a lot of brothers come out of there infected," she said. "The jail doesn't give out condoms. They haven't been tested so they go infect others. There's denial there. Who wants the shame [associated] with being gay?"
Infected females on rise
And another of the startling statistics is that black women are among the fastest-growing demographic groups being diagnosed with HIV in South Florida. In 2000, black women made up 75 percent of the reported AIDS and HIV cases in Florida, according to the state Department of Health.
"We have to empower women to take control of their sexuality," Dejean said. "They have to force the guy to have sex with a condom. They have to say, 'I don't want to have [unprotected] sex with you.'"
Efforts by REACH 2010 - which is based at Florida International University in Miami - and community agencies such as Hispanic Unity, the Urban League and Minority Development and Empowerment, along with the state Department of Health, focus on educating minorities and trying to reduce the rate of infections.
But, Dejean said, "it's a long uphill battle" to get blacks to stop ridiculing those who contract AIDS.
"We must keep educating how it works in the body," said Donna Nelson, regional minority AIDS coordinator with the state Department of Health. "But the stigma really affects the work we're trying to do in the community."
Said Tunnage: "It's really sad that being uneducated does hurt. You can't make a decision that will impact your life. It's not like it used to be when you could [only] get pregnant or VD. The only cure for AIDS is death."
Gregory Lewis can be reached at or 954-356-4203 Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Editors note: All day coverage of this trial on Court TV.

Wife: Image of manhood vanished at home

By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2002
Linda Kantaras says her transgender husband's outlook and behavior was a poor example for her children.
CLEARWATER -- To the world, Michael Kantaras acted like a man. At home, that facade of masculinity evaporated.
That's according to Linda Kantaras, his wife, who testified Wednesday in the couple's divorce and custody battle that her transsexual husband didn't privately display the kind of behavior she associates with a man.
And that presented a less than ideal male role model to her children, she said, and especially complicated their 12-year-old son's personal growth.
"I'm not saying by any means he runs around with a dress on or pumps," she said, speaking of her husband. "He doesn't have the demeanor behind closed doors that a man does. . . . I don't know how to explain it."
But she found a way. Linda Kantaras explained how her husband sometimes discussed her menstrual cycle.
"He would say, 'Well, I know what you're going through. I've been there.' I don't want to know things like that from him," Linda Kantaras said. "My husband should not be telling me things like that. . . . I never asked things about when he was a girl.
"I didn't want to ever remember Michael Kantaras as a woman."
Kantaras, 33, said she was pleased when her children were around other men after her marriage broke up. She said she witnessed her son grow in ways he hadn't before.
Her son, she said, "is going to grow up now and be a good, strong, stern man that people will respect."
At times, her vision of what she perceived to be a man appeared something of a stereotype. Kantaras complained, for example, that her husband had few male friends and didn't do traditionally male things with them, such as hunting.
Under cross-examination, Linda Kantaras was pressed on statements she made in court contradicting earlier testimony about how she could never view Michael as a man, especially in the bedroom.
In a previous hearing, Linda Kantaras told a judge, "I've never looked at Michael as a woman."
The case has focused on Michael Kantaras' true gender and whether, under Florida law, the couple's 1989 marriage was valid. In many other respects, it's a typical custody and divorce case with both parents claiming to be better able to care for the children.
Linda Kantaras has custody of the boy and his 10-year-old sister.
The boy, whom Michael Kantaras adopted, is Linda's from a previous relationship. Linda Kantaras had the girl through artificial insemination using donor sperm from Michael's brother. Kantaras is expected to conclude her testimony today in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court.

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