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Saturday, May 04, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/04/02 Information is power!

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Teen Claims Bias After School Bars Her Bid to Be Prom King

Sacramento Bee
by Sandy Louey -- Bee Staff Writer
SACRAMENTO -- An 18-year-old Encina High School senior is not being allowed to run for prom king because ... she is a female.
Kristine Lester said Thursday that school officials told her that her name would not be on the ballot because only males can run for king and only females can run for queen.
"I just wanted to do something different," said Lester, who is openly gay and plans to wear a tuxedo at Saturday's prom. "I'm not the feminine type to run for queen."
Lester said she believes the school is discriminating against her because of her sexual orientation.
Officials with San Juan Unified School District back Encina Principal Myrtle Berry's decision and denied there was any discrimination involved.
"We don't discriminate," said district spokeswoman Deidra Powell.
Copyright 2002 Sacramento Bee. All Rights Reserved.

Marc Hall To Receive Human Rights Award

by Jack Siu Newscenter
(May 4, Toronto) Marc Hall, the teen suing his school board for the right to bring his boyfriend to his high school prom, is to be given a prestigious human rights award.
The Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario has named Hall the winner of the John Damien Award. The award is only given 11 times since 1979. C M Donald, CLGRO spokesperson said that recipients are lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals who have made significantly contributed to the advancement of the struggle for lesbian, gay, and bisexual liberation in Ontario.
Monday, Hall' will seek an injunction barring the Durham Catholic School board from stopping him from bringing his boyfriend to the prom.
The 17 year old 'A' student was told by his principal at Monsignor John Pereyma Catholic Secondary School, in the Toronto suburb of Oshawa, that the Catholic Church could not permit a same-sex date at the prom.
After the school board refused to budge, Hall decided to go to court.
The award is named for John Damien, who worked as a steward for the Ontario Racing Commission until the early 70s when his doctor (in a breach of professional confidence) told his employers that he was gay. They fired him. The Ontario Human Rights Commission could not help since "sexual orientation" was not then a protected ground under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
In February 1975 CLGRO founded the Committee to Defend John Damien. This was the start of its "human rights campaign" which did not result in success until nearly 12 years later when, in December 1986, "sexual orientation" was added to the Ontario Human Rights Code. John Damien was seriously ill by then and, though he lived to see the Code changed, he did not live to receive justice.
Hall will receive the award at a ceremony May 19.
In notifying Hall of the honour, CLGRO said: "We are all impressed with your courage, dignity, and perseverance through this struggle."

Enrique Goes Gay in New Video

World Entertainment News Network
ENRIQUE IGLESIAS is set to thrill his gay following by setting a dream sequence in his new video, in a campy gay biker bar.
The video for DON'T TURN OFF THE LIGHTS won't encourage speculation of Iglesias' sexuality to go away -- but the singer is said to be delighted with the promo, in which he dresses in sexy leather.
Sources on the set of the video claim Iglesias spent time chatting to his gay co-stars in a bid to find out what they liked about him -- when the cameras weren't rolling.
Iglesias' last two videos have seen the sexy singer romancing ANNA KOURNIKOVA and JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT.
(c) 2002 World Entertainment News Network

New York bill would help gay survivors of 9/11 victims

The leadership of New York State--including Gov. George Pataki, senate majority leader Joseph Bruno, and assembly speaker Sheldon Silver--on Wednesday introduced a joint bill in the New York assembly and senate designed to help ensure that the surviving same-sex partners of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks will receive federal compensation benefits, according to a Thursday press release from gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda.
The September 11 Victims and Families Relief Act makes a number of technical adjustments, including making federal fund awards exempt from state income tax and clarifying the relationship of federal fund awards and workers compensation payments to victim families. Most significantly for gay survivors, the bill includes language in its legislative intent section specifying that it is the legislature's desire that they be eligible for federal fund awards.
The bill is expected to pass both the state assembly and senate and be signed by the governor because the senate and house leadership and Pataki already negotiated its contents prior to the bill's introduction.

Gay youth conference loses city sponsorship

City officials in Bloomington, Ind., have withdrawn their cosponsorship of a gay youth conference, saying organizers failed to tell them it was intended partly to counter a Boy Scout gathering set for the following week.
"I can't imagine why anyone would want to do anything other than welcome these 8,000 youngsters to Bloomington," deputy mayor James McNamara said of the scouts who will attend a National Order of the Arrow Conference in Bloomington on July 27.
A conference of the Sexual Minority Youth in the Heartland is scheduled in Bloomington for July 19-21. McNamara, who is gay, notified organizers of the gay conference this week that it would no longer be endorsed by the city because they had not disclosed that the event was planned as a "shadow or counter conference" to the Boy Scouts. "The city cannot countenance scapegoating good kids for decisions they have not made," McNamara said in an E-mail to the organizers.
The conference at the Indiana Memorial Union--which will proceed as planned, only without the city's endorsement--is aimed to help professionals develop better skills to meet the needs of homosexual youths, said conference organizer Doug Bauder. Indiana University's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Support Services Office is sponsoring the conference, and former U.S. surgeon general Joycelyn Elders will deliver the keynote speech.

Vatican offers little solace for gay Catholics

Amid the intensifying sexual abuse scandal in the American Catholic Church, the Vatican on Thursday stressed the need for Catholics to confess their sins--but said some "habitual'' sinners could never be forgiven. The Vatican didn't identify who these sinners are, but theological experts said Pope John Paul II was referring to gay people and divorced Catholics who remarry. The pope said last week that priests implicated in the abuse scandal can be forgiven.
"It is clear that penitents living in a habitual state of serious sin and who do not intend to change their situation cannot validly receive absolution,'' the pope said in an apostolic letter released Thursday. The letter didn't say what should be done with priests who sin, and it made no reference to the American scandal.

National fraternity boots local chapter for antigay actions

The national council of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity has voted to evict all of the members of its Michigan State University chapter for what some call antigay actions.
The unanimous vote, held Wednesday, followed a temporary suspension issued April 10 by the national organization and disciplinary action taken against the Michigan State chapter by a school fraternity system panel. The fraternity was punished after some of its pledges wore pink sleeveless T-shirts to two school cafeterias on April 1-2 that had antigay phrases emblazoned on the back.
Stephen Whitby, assistant executive director for the North Carolina-based national fraternity, said violations of the temporary suspension influenced the council's decision. "I think the action was appropriate and warranted considering the ongoing actions of the chapter," Whitby told The [Michigan] State News.
There are about 55 members of the Michigan State fraternity, with between 35 to 45 men living in the chapter house, Whitby said. None of the men will be allowed to live in the house after finals week, and all have been removed from the fraternity. Whitby said he expects the fraternity to be recolonized with a new group of students in the fall semester. The Michigan State Greek panel found that Pi Kappa Phi violated the system's antihazing and antidiscrimination policies and ordered the fraternity to write letters of apology and attend educational seminars. The panel also suspended the fraternity for one semester, prohibiting social gatherings at the house.

Study: Harassment of gays common at University of Georgia

A first-ever survey of sexual minorities attending the University of Georgia shows that half of all GLBT students feel unsafe off campus and that 10% have been threatened with physical violence.
The report, "In the Shadow of the Arch," details the responses to the surveys and suggests that the campus climate toward gay students may not be as welcoming as school officials would hope. Among the findings: One out of two respondents said they had experienced prejudice on campus; 60% knew someone who'd been shunned because of sexual orientation; one of 10 had been threatened with physical violence; and three of four knew someone who'd been verbally harassed.
"A lot of people hate things they don't even know about," junior Nica Clarke told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They see the stereotypes of gay people, and they presume that all gay people are like that because they don't know anyone personally."
Even the number of responses signaled a chilly environment for gays, said education professor Robert Hill, who was among the administrators and professors who oversaw the project. Hill said many gay and lesbian students at Georgia don't want to identify themselves. Researchers placed ads in the student newspaper and distributed 223 surveys but received only 82 responses by the December deadline.

Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson to star in Jane Anderson's Normal for HBO

Tom Wilkinson will star as a middle-aged man who begins exploring his transgender feelings, and Jessica Lange will portray his wife, in the HBO movie Normal, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film, which starts shooting this month in Chicago, is based on Looking for Normal, the acclaimed play from out writer Jane Anderson (If These Walls Could Talk 2), which had its world premiere last year in Los Angeles, starring Beau Bridges and Laurie Metcalf. Anderson will direct the made-for-cable movie.

Ron Nyswaner to adapt Trial by Jury for Sam Raimi

The Hollywood Reporter notes that out screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) will adapt D. Graham Burnett's nonfiction book Trial by Jury for a film to be directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). Burnett's book deals with his experience as a jury foreman in a gruesome New York murder case that involved transvestism, male prostitution, and a rape. At the end of the trial, the jury spent four days sequestered before delivering a verdict.
Nyswaner has also recently written Soldier's Girl for director Frank Pierson, about the 1999 murder of Pvt. Barry Winchell, who was killed by two fellow soldiers while he was in a relationship with a transgendered woman.

Memorial planned for BBC host Christopher Price

A public memorial will be held for BBC host Christopher Price on May 25 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London's Trafalgar Square, reports BBC News. Price, the openly gay host of Liquid News, was found dead in his London apartment on April 22; a postmortem examination into his sudden death has proved inconclusive. His family has requested that well-wishers not send flowers, although they have stated that flowers are acceptable if they are from "Kylie [Minogue] or someone equally famous and glamorous."

France Vote Pits Homophobe Racist Against Incumbent

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
(May 4, Paris) French voters go to the polls Sunday in one of the most divisive election campaigns in the history of the republic.
Polls show that French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is not likely to win. But, his expected to win about 30 percent of the vote, a prospect that has sent chills up the spines of many.
A third of the presidential vote could be a springboard for Le Pen's National Front candidates in next month's parliamentary elections.
Le Pen, is on record as not only opposing gay rights but believing homosexuality is an illness. His party manifesto says that if Le Pen is elected president, homosexuals would be offered "re-education".
He once called the Holocaust a footnote of history, and is opposed to immigration, believing only people with French heritage should be allowed to be citizens.
His second place showing in the first round of balloting brought thousands of people onto the streets throughout France. In Paris more than 1.3 million people staged a May Day protest against the right-wing politician.
Incumbent president Jacques Chirac recently told a French gay publication that he supports gay rights, but is opposed to granting marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
Friday, Le Pen said he feared widespread electoral fraud during of his showdown with the conservative incumbent president.
He accused Chirac of mounting a campaign of fear.
"I am here because the French decided to put me here -- all the rest of it is terrorism, manipulation and lies," Le Pen said, urging supporters to have courage in the voting booth.
Le Pen said that he would not be surprised if he won Sunday's election, but he said earning 25 percent of the vote would represent a respectable showing.

Capital Pride Grows To National Proportions

by Ben Thompson National Editor
(May 4, Ottawa) Pride celebrations in Ottawa have grown to take on a national flavour. And, while there won't be the million people on the streets that the Toronto festival attracts, Ottawa Pride will draw people from across Canada.
A week of social and cultural activities lead to the July 14 main event -- an afternoon parade that will start in Gatineau, cross the Ottawa River and pass Parliament Hill.
It will end at Bank Street for a free street party that is expected to draw more than 50,000 people.
Eight city blocks will be closed off for the party along Bank and Somerset Streets, the focal point of the city's emerging gay village.
Ottawa Pride has grown from a few hundred in 1986, to a parade and picnic that drew nearly 10,000 spectators last year. Organizers say participants began clamouring for a bigger event last year.
"We were growing constantly, but we felt we wanted the event to become a major city festival, that it's an event for everyone," says Jarmila Dokladalova, who chairs the the Pride Committee of Ottawa-Gatineau.
Organizers are also planning three stages of entertainment at the street party. The main stage features concerts by big-name and local acts, along with a DJ stage and a stage for other types of performances, Including a drag contest.

Malaysia suspends tabloid's permit after it reports top politician is lesbian

May 3, 2002, Deutsche Presse-Agentu
Local Malaysian tabloid Perdana Sari had its publishing permit suspended after it ran reports that a top politician in the ruling establishment was a lesbian, news reports said on Friday.
The move to suspend the permit on Thursday came a month after the tabloid ran reports alleging that up-and-coming female politician Azalina Othman Said was lesbian and had used funds from the United Malays' National Organisation (UMNO) party to buy a car for her lover, the Berita Harian daily said.
UMNO is the leading party of Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
According to a statement from the Home Ministry, which issues permits to the media under the Printing Presses and Publishers Act each year, Perdana Sari had "clearly contravened the ministry's guidelines and conditions of the permit, by publishing content which was shocking and immoral".
Perdana Sari's permit suspension, which means the tabloid cannot be published until August 1, follows comments from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad Wednesday that publishers who made wild allegations should not be given media permits.
Khalid Jafri Bakar, Perdana Sari's publisher, said he did not know why the tabloid's permit had been suspended, but said, "I think the stuff about Azalina was the reason".
The tabloid, which was launched late-March, had also shocked the public with its racy coverage, including a report about how pre-marital sex was freely practised in local colleges, together with a photo of a scarf-clad woman having sex with a man. Many Moslem women don scarves in Islamic Malaysia as a sign of modesty and in conformance with the Islamic code on dressing. Copyright 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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Friday, May 03, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/03/02 Information is power!

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Pope Condemns Gays As Habitual Sinners

by Jon ben Asher Newscenter
(May 3, Vatican City) The pope has issued his strongest condemnation of gays to date. In an apostolic letter, released Thursday, Pope John Paul II called on Catholics to confess their sins. But he said that some "habitual" sinners could never be forgiven.
The letter did not identify who the "habitual" sinners were, but Vatican theologians said he was referring to gays and divorced Catholics who remarry.
Only a week ago, the pope said that pedophile priests implicated in the sex abuse scandal in the US could be forgiven.
In his letter the pope said: "It is clear that penitents living in a habitual state of serious sin and who do not intend to change their situation cannot validly receive absolution."
Italian gay rights group Arcigay condemned the papal letter.
"Any isolated sexual act, even violent or with a minor, can be absolved if it's accompanied by a declaration of penance," said Sergio Lo Giudice, Arcigay's president.
"The choice of having loving, stable, responsible and conscious relations with a person of the same sex falls, instead, under the implacable hatchet of papal condemnation." Since the abuse scandal began, the church has attempted to blame gays in the priesthood for the molestation of young men.

Taiwan lets gays serve in military police U.K.
Thursday, May 2, 2002 / 11:47 AM
SUMMARY: Taiwan has dropped its ban on gays serving in the military police just days after newspapers said the country was putting the regulation in place.
Taiwan has dropped its ban on gays serving in the military police just days after newspapers said the country was putting the regulation in place.
Defense Minister Tang Yiau-ming told government lawyers that the ban against military police candidates with "sexual orientation impairment" would be dropped because "the military preserves the security of all citizens, including homosexuals."
The military never said why the ban was necessary. But Tang told lawmakers that until 1994, gays were barred from the military because they were believed to be ill or mentally unstable. About 10,000 military police guard important government offices and military installations on the island.

Rosenkrantz case goes to California supreme court

The California supreme court agreed Wednesday to review two cases that test the extent of the governor's authority over parole, promising to resolve an issue that could affect the fate of hundreds of imprisoned murderers, reports the Los Angeles Times. One of the cases is that of 35-year-old Robert Rosenkrantz, a Southern California gay man who at 18 killed a schoolmate who outed him on graduation night.
Rosenkrantz and the inmate in the other case, Mark Smith, were convicted of second-degree murder in separate 1985 killings. Both have maintained clean records while incarcerated and have been judged ready for release by the state Board of Prison Terms. Gov. Gray Davis, however, has blocked their parole, insisting they should serve more time. At issue before the justices is whether the governor's power to do so is absolute or subject to some level of oversight by the courts.
Legal scholars say the supreme court's decision to step in signals that the cases involve weighty issues deserving of quick resolution. The outcome, they add, will either boost or shrink the odds for many other murderers who claim Davis has blocked their release because he allegedly has a blanket policy against parole for murderers. Davis said the court's decision will settle "important constitutional issues regarding the governor's ability to protect the people of California from murderers who would otherwise be released on parole."
Attorneys for the inmates report having mixed feelings. If the high court had declined to review the Rosenkrantz case, a lower court's ruling that Davis improperly blocked his parole would have taken effect, resulting in Rosenkrantz's immediately being set free. Now Rosenkrantz and Smith must remain behind bars while the court considers their arguments. Their lawyers said they intend to ask the court to expedite the review, but even if that is granted, no decision would be forthcoming for months.
"We're disappointed in the short term, but we remain pretty confident that we'll prevail on the merits once the court looks at the facts," said Donald Specter, an attorney for Rosenkrantz. Rosenkrantz, convicted of killing a schoolmate who outed him as gay on the night of his high school graduation, has come to symbolize a widening movement against the governor's record of blocking parole for murderers.

The Rev. Paul Shanley arrested

A Roman Catholic priest who allegedly advocated sex between men and boys was arrested Thursday morning in San Diego on three counts of child rape, officials said.
The arrest of the Rev. Paul Shanley, one of the priests at the center of the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Catholic archdiocese, was announced by Emily LaGrasse, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office in Massachusetts. San Diego police spokesman Dave Cohen confirmed the arrest. The alleged victim, now 24, made the accusation to the district attorney's office this week, LaGrasse said. Officials allege that Shanley raped the victim between 1983 and 1990 at St. Jean Parish in Newton, Mass.
The criminal charges were the first to be filed against Shanley, who has been the focus of a civil lawsuit against the Boston archdiocese. Documents released in April show that archdiocese officials had previously received reports of Shanley's attendance at a 1979 meeting in Boston at which the North American Man-Boy Love Association was apparently created. Despite receiving dozens of allegations of abuse perpetrated by Shanley, officials did not warn the San Bernardino, Calif., diocese when Shanley moved there in 1990. While serving there as a pastor part-time, he also co-owned a clothing-optional hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., that catered to gay men.

South Dakotans arrested on HIV charges

Two more South Dakota men have been arrested and charged with intentionally exposing both male and female sex partners to HIV.
Brown County state's attorney Mark McNeary said Wednesday that James Lee Woods, 41, is now in jail, charged with four counts of HIV exposure involving three other men. Another man, William Kenneth Jenigen, 35, who earlier had been sought by authorities, turned himself in late Wednesday afternoon, Sioux Falls television station KELO reported. Jenigen, who lived with Woods, is charged with six counts involving three victims. He also is in jail.
Prosecutors say the Brown County allegations have no connection to last week's arrest of Nikko Briteramos, 18, who is charged with five counts of HIV exposure in Beadle County. In South Dakota, intentionally exposing someone to HIV is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Transsexual dad's custody fight intensifies

A transsexual father's battle for custody of his children has taken a new twist, with the children's mother now accused of physically abusing them, according to The Tampa [Fla.] Tribune.
Linda Kantaras split her son's lip and raced away from her estranged husband's home with her daughter hanging half out of an open car door, Michael Kantaras alleges in an emergency motion seeking immediate custody of the children. Michael Kantaras also wants his wife removed from the family's Pasco County home so he can move in with the children while she undergoes a psychological evaluation, according to the motion. Senior circuit judge Gerard O'Brien is scheduled to consider the request Thursday.
"The wife's behavior has become increasingly bizarre and in some instances violent toward the children," attorney Collin Vause wrote on behalf of his client, Michael Kantaras. Vause said he is requesting that O'Brien consider the custody issue on an emergency basis now because the judge is not expected to rule on which parent is more fit to raise the children for at least six weeks.
Before the judge can decide who should have primary custody of the children, he must decide whether the Kantarases' 1989 marriage was legal in Florida. Also, O'Brien must decide whether Michael Kantaras's subsequent adoption of the elder child and his listing as father on the birth certificate of the younger child are legal. Those questions have never been tackled by a Florida court. Michael Kantaras was born a woman but underwent sex-reassignment surgery in 1986.

Paternity Hope for Men with HIV

Thursday, 2 May 2002
NEW YORK -- The New York Times reports this week that with the advent of new fertility methods, men infected with HIV may no longer have to give up on the dream of fathering children.
In February, the ethics committee serving the American Society for Reproductive Medicine voted to remove HIV-related prohibitions on the delivery of fertility services.
New techniques that separate semen from the seminal fluid carrying HIV gives new hope to thousands of would-be gay dads who thought the possibility of fathering a biological child with a willing female would remain forever closed to them.
The obstacles remain formidable, however. The Times notes that several states - including California, Florida and Illinois - still prevent doctors from using HIV infected semen for artificial insemination.
The Times says that helping men with HIV have children is one of the last taboos for fertility specialists, who now routinely offer services to patients with advanced cancer, gay men who use surrogate mothers, single women who pick sperm donors from catalogs and women well past menopause.
While no statistics indicate how many of the nation's nearly 400 fertility clinics offer services to men with HIV, anecdotal evidence suggests the number is very small, perhaps only a handful. Complicating matters, most of these clinics tend to shun publicity out of concern they will scare away other couples.
Clinics say new techniques can minimize the risk of transmission from an infected man to an uninfected woman, but too few case studies have been documented to give professionals an idea of the risk. Treating women with HIV is more controversial still, because an infected woman is much more likely to pass the virus to her baby.
Dr. Mark Sauer of Columbia University says most of these risks can be minimized. He said he decided several years ago that the risk of transmitting the virus through the use of infected sperm could be greatly reduced by using a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, injecting a single sperm into an egg.
Dr. Sauer said his clinic had treated 54 infected men. So far, 29 women have become pregnant and have had their babies or are more than halfway through pregnancy. Thirty babies have been born, with nearly half the women having twins, as is typical in fertility treatment. He also noted that European methods in wider use have resulted in 250 successful pregnancies with no viral transmission. "I know a lot of HIV-positive people," Dr. Sauer told The TImes. "They are feeling well, they are doing well. Of course, a lot of them would want kids."

Gay Georgians Brace for Ugly Campaign

Thursday, 2 May 2002
Source: Southern Voice
The last time Georgians went to the polls to elect the state's highest offices, they faced the culmination of one of the most anti-gay campaigns in state history -- the 1998 lieutenant governor's race, where Republican Mitch Skandalakis repeatedly accused his opponent, Mark Taylor, of "selling out to Atlanta's liberal homosexual activists."
Four years later, Georgia politicians are emerging from one of the nastiest legislative sessions in recent history, where gays faced attacks from some members of both political parties, including Sen. Phil Gingrey (R-Marietta), who called homosexuality a "personal disaster" from the General Assembly floor.
The combative tone set in the legislative session foreshadows an election where openly gay and gay-friendly candidates may find themselves targeted, gay political activists said.
"Gay-friendly legislators like [U.S. Sen. Max Cleland] and Lt. Gov. Taylor will definitely be attacked because of their record on gay issues," said Georgia Stonewall Democrats Chair Wade Young. "It has the potential to get ugly."
Officials with Georgia Equality, a bipartisan gay political group, agreed.
"It was obvious to us that everyone was positioning themselves during the legislative session for an ugly campaign season," said Saralyn Chesnut, board co-chair.
All of Georgia's constitutional seats and statewide seats are up for election, meaning the governor, lieutenant governor, all state senators and representatives, one U.S. Senate seat and all U.S. House seats, are all being campaigned for "with big money and big issues," according to Chesnut.
When the longest legislative session in a century ended April 12, "campaign season officially began, and there are going to be some real barn-burners," said political scientist Charles Bullock, a University of Georgia professor.
"With redistricting, everything is up in the air, and candidates started coming out swinging early. They're nervous," Bullock said.
After taking last week to "percolate on it," Georgia's only openly gay legislator officially declared her candidacy for the newly approved District 57 this week.
"Of course I'm running again. Last time I checked we still needed clean air and clean water, and I know for a fact we haven't achieved equality yet," said state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates).
Higher up on the ballot, the big ticket races begin with incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes' reelection attempt against three Republicans looking to unseat him: former state Sen. Sonny Perdue (R-Bonaire), current Georgia School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, the highest ranking Republican in Georgia, and Cobb County Commission Chair Bill Byrne, who helped pass a controversial resolution condemning "the gay lifestyle," despite having a lesbian daughter.
"There is definitely going to be a backlash against the strong dictatorial partisanship Barnes instituted during the legislative session," said Mansell McCord, president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, the group for gay GOP supporters. "We will present a very strong Republican challenge."
Georgia Equality, Georgia Stonewall Democrats and the Log Cabin Republicans all say they will begin the process of sending out questionnaires to candidates, then doing interviews and finally announcing endorsements "over the next few months."
There will also be races for all 180 Georgia House seats, all 56 Georgia Senate seats, and all 13 of Georgia's seats in the U.S. House on the ballot, including the two new Congressional seats created during redistricting last year.
But gay activists say the highest profile fight will be for the one U.S. Senate seat up for election this year. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a Democrat and strong gay-rights ally, is currently challenged by conservative south Georgia Republican U.S. Rep. Saxby Chambliss.
"This is definitely one of the races of national significance that is being targeted by the Republicans," Georgia Stonewall Democrat's Larry Pellegrini said.
The other "to watch" race will be U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney's reelection effort, said Stonewall's Young, "because she has such a good record on gay issues."
Bullock believes the already nasty campaign between conservatives U.S. Rep. John Linder and notoriously anti-gay U.S. Rep. Bob Barr for the new District 7 seat will also "be a barn-burner, and worth following."
Staff writer Jennifer J. Smith can be reached at
To register to vote online:
Primary election: Aug. 20
Registration deadline for primary: July 22
General election: Nov. 5
Registration deadline: Oct. 7

Faulty AIDS Test Warning Expanded To Toronto Gay Clinic

by Jack Siu Newscenter
(May 3, Toronto) Tens of thousands of Canadians may have the AIDS virus without knowing it, despite being tested.
Toronto's Hassle Free Clinic is warning people who may have tested negative to return for new tests as soon as possible.
Health Canada has informed the clinic that a "rapid" HIV test called Fast-Check might be giving false negative results.
Hassle Free, on Church Street, in the city's gay village, is a popular location for HIV testing by gays and bisexuals.
The problem for Hassle Free is finding those people who were tested. Because it uses anonymous testing there are no names to correlate with results.
Concerns about the validity of the tests began a week ago in British Columbia.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control issued an alert for anyone who took the so called "rapid" HIV test in that province to immediately get retested.
The "rapid" testing method involved pricking a finger and testing for a reaction with a chemically treated strip of paper. Test results were given to patients within an hour.
"We can't take any chances," said Robert Trow, program coordinator of Hassle Free's men's clinic.
Trow said the clinic has stopped using the test, manufactured by BioChem ImmunoSystems, but he said that the clinic had used the test on between 1,800 to 2,000 people.
Health Canada is warning AIDS clinics across the country of its concerns about the test results.
The federal agency is advising clinics to return to laboratory tests, where results take several weeks to come back.

Lesbian Mom Sues Virginia Over Adoption Ban

Doreen Brandt Newscenter in Washington
(May 3, Washington) An Arlington, Virginia woman is suing the state for refusing to allow her to adopt a foster child because she is a lesbian.
Linda Kaufman, is an ordained Episcopal priest and works as a social services professional in Washington, D.C. In 1992, she adopted a boy from the D.C. foster care system.
Since 1999, Kaufman has been trying to adopt one or more foster children from Washington, D.C. but because she is now a resident of Virginia the adoption must to be approved by that state.
Virginia wants the case dismissed. The state claims Kaufman did not formally submit an application.
She will be represented in court today by Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Greg Nevins.
Nevins will argue that there was no need for the formal application because the state had informed the Washington child welfare agency it would deny Kaufman's application.
The D.C. agency then rejected her based on the information from the state.
"With this motion to dismiss, Virginia is just trying to avoid their judicial day of reckoning over its illegal and discriminatory policy," said Nevins.
"Virginia has stated that it will not approve Linda's application because she is a lesbian. Because of that, the social service agency cannot responsibly place a child with her and then be forced to crush a child's hopes of being adopted."

Taiwan: Gay Men Stalked By Blackmailers At Beach Resort

for UK
2 May 2002
Gay men are being targeted by blackmailers on a beach hideaway in Taiwan.
As homosexuality has become more open in Taiwan gay men have created their own "nude camp" located in Tamshui Township, Taipei County. But blackmailers have recently started to prey on gay men hanging out at the cmap on Sha Lun Beach, reports the Taipei Times.
Since news of the beach has spread over the internet, more and more gay men are flocking to the resort which has become a large cruising ground. Crime, however, has followed.
Blackmail victims are approached on the beach when they are alone by a single man. The victim is propositioned and suddenly when he shows interest three or four men appear and threaten to reveal his sexual orientation if he doesn't hand over all his valuables immediately.
Victims, who are afraid family will find out they are homosexual, rarely report incidents to the police.

PrideVision TV will be a first time exhibitor at this year's NCTA convention in New Orleans

The announcement was made today by John Levy, CEO of PrideVision TV and Headline Media Group. "We are very excited to be part of the NCTA as a first time exhibitor. Our presence on the floor signals our intent to launching this channel in the United States as well as our commitment to the gay community," said Levy. PrideVision launched last September in Canada, to a rally of support and excitement from the gay community. In Canada, Alliance Atlantis is a 30 percent shareholder in PrideVision, one of the fastest growing channels in the region. At the NCTA, PrideVision TV will be showcasing its programming, which features current affairs, focusing on issues specifically involving the gay community, and perspective on issues of general interest. Additionally, PrideVision TV delivers a slate of informational programming that includes health, fitness, relationships, lifestyle, personalities and travel. In its entertainment programming, PrideVision TV offers a number of popular dramas and variety shows from around the world as well as existing Canadian drama programs that appeal to the gay community. PrideVision TV is a wholly owned subsidiary of Headline Media Group Inc. (HMG), a publicly held corporation based in Toronto. HMG is a traditional and new media company whose primary assets are two specialty television service properties, The Score and St. Clair Group. The Score is a 24-hour-a-day specialty television service providing sports news, information and highlights and live event sports programming. The St. Clair Group focuses on sports marketing and publishes Performance magazine for many of the leading venues and arts organizations in Toronto. PrideVision will be located at booth #2036 on the convention floor.


Pop Queens Biff: Madonna Mad at Boy George

April 29, 2002, Newcastle Herald
IN what is sizing up to be the celebrity catfight of the season pop queen Madonna has taken a litigious swipe at fellow pop queen Boy George.
Madonna (who announced recently she prefers to be called `M') has taken offence at a song in the Boy's stage musical Taboo - now playing in London's West End.
The spoof of Madonna's eighties hit Vogue includes the lyrics `Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, that Madonna dyes her hair'.
According to our overseas spies, the diva Ms M is not amused.
For some reason Mads is offended by the song and the claws have come out to force the former Culture Club crooner to comply with her demands to remove it.
And while the Boy, right, reckons he's a calmer chameleon these days, it seems he has been hissing and telling.
`I though she was having a joke,' Boy George told a UK reporter. `I used to think she was an icon but she's more eyesore to me now. It's all so inoffensive - it's a tiny send-up.'
Copyright of John Fairfax Group Pty Ltd

Gibraltar Challenged on Gay Rights Abuse

The human rights activist Peter Tatchell has challenged the chief minister of Gibraltar over the British dependency's gay rights abuses.
Peter Caruana was strongly criticised when he addressed the Royal Commonwealth Society in London.
Caruana called Tatchell a "liar" when the outspoken activist said: "Gibraltar has the worst human rights record in western Europe."
Tatchell criticised the age of consent for gay men in Gibraltar, which currently stands at 18, compared to 16 for heterosexuals. He said that the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 1997 that a discriminatory age of consent is illegal.
Tatchell said: "By maintaining a discriminatory consent law, Gibraltar is defying the European Court of Human Rights".
He added: "Because there is no legal protection against discrimination for lesbians and gay men, it is lawful to sack them from their jobs, refuse them service in hotels or restaurants, and evict them from housing."
Caruana defended his government`s discriminatory age of consent of 18 stating: "What`s wrong with that?"
Citing human rights abuses against gay and disabled people, and immigrants, Tatchell told the meeting: "The credibility of Gibraltar`s claim to self-determination is undermined by Gibraltar`s failure to support the right to self-determination of other oppressed peoples."
© 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

Schools Fail to Address Homophobia

The government's schools inspectors board has criticised Britain's schools for failing to address homophobia.
In a report, published on 30 April, the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) concluded that: "In too many secondary schools homophobic attitudes among pupils often go unchallenged. The problem is compounded when derogatory terms about homosexuality are used in everyday language in school and their use passes unchallenged by staff."
The report is based upon a survey of 140 schools and discussions with 650 young people.
The report said: "Pupils felt that there were aspects of sex and relationships that they would want to discuss that appeared to be `no-go areas` for some teachers."
OFSTED quoted one teenaged pupil as saying: "We never talk about homosexuality. There are over a thousand boys in this school and it must be an issue for some of them. But the staff seem scared to talk about it."
The report recommended that in Key Stage 3 (11 to 14 year-olds) pupils should consider: "The importance of respecting difference in relation to gender and sexuality; how it feels to be different and be discriminated against and the unacceptability of prejudice and homophobic bullying."
It proposed that: "schools should make sure that homophobic attitudes do not go unchallenged."
Steve Bonham, of the lesbian and gay education group Schools Out! welcomed the report. He said: "OFSTED has highlighted the failings of many schools and issued clear guidance on good practice. Schools that wish to receive positive inspection reports need to ensure that their policies and practices follow official guidance."
Bonham said that Schools Out! had created new draft policies on equal opportunites and bullying in order to help schools implement fairer practices.
© 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

£15,000 Reward to Find Gay Killers

A reward of £15,000 has been offered for information that leads to the prosecution of those responsible for murdering the gay actor Michael Boothe.
Boothe was murdered in west London in 1990 by a group of men who have never been brought to justice.
Police are offering the reward in a renewed attempt to find Boothe's killers.
DCI Alastair Jeffrey said: "I believe this case is solvable. We will explore every avenue. There is no way people can keep a secret like this."
Jeffrey said that people's attitudes towards homosexuality have changed in the last ten years, and that this might encourage people to come forward.
He praised the lesbian and gay media, as well as campaigning groups such as OutRage!, which was formed in response to Boothe's death, for putting pressure on the police to review the crime for a re-appeal.
Jeffrey urged anyone with information to contact the Incident Room at Hendon on 020 8358 1865, or to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. © 1999, 2001 Rainbow Network. All Rights Reserved. Partnered with New Media Spark.

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GLBT NEWZ 05/02/02 Information is power!

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Businesses Now Fighting to Become the First Gay TV Network

Canadian Press
NEW YORK (AP) - Animal lovers, soap opera fans and science fiction aficionados -- all have their own cable channels.
But gay TV viewers in the United States have never had one devoted to their interests, but that's about to change. There's suddenly a race to reach that market. Two Viacom outlets -- MTV and Showtime -- are collaborating on a plan for a new gay-oriented premium service. Meanwhile, Canada's Pridevision TV is looking to expand into the United States.
Showtime, whose successful Queer as Folk helped change the business climate, has scheduled homosexual-oriented movies and programs on its Showtime Two service on Wednesday nights. Night Out on Sho Too Wednesdays begins May 22.
Homosexual activists say it's about time.
"Despite the progress the gay community has made in the mainstream media, it is still underserved as a television audience," said Scott Seomin, spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
MTV and Showtime's prospective gay channel has been talked about since 1994, but only recently have executives started outlining their plans to cable and satellite distributors.
Although Viacom still hasn't given the official go-ahead, "we wouldn't be going through all this if we didn't think the channel, as a consumer proposition, was going to be a home run," said Gene Falk, senior vice-president of digital media programming at Showtime.
Their plans -- even the channel's name -- have been kept under wraps. But Falk said Viacom's other successful niche networks, like MTV and Nickelodeon, should hint at the mix of games, reality shows, talk shows and movies that the channel will include.
John Levy, chairman of Pridevision in Toronto, believes his network has an advantage over Viacom.
"First of all, we exist," he said. "We have a commitment to do this thing on a full-time basis. We're not testing or doing a block of programming once or twice a week."
Pridevision's fare includes Locker Room, a comedy show about homosexuals in sports; Undercovers, a phone-in sex advice show; Dyke TV, a news and commentary show about lesbians; and Urban Fitness TV, a lifestyle show. Its on-air hosts are called "gay jays."
Seomin said he's been impressed. Pridevision's range of original shows is strong for a start-up, he said, and its executives show savvy in scheduling -- airing the camp classic, Mommie Dearest on Mother's Day.
Both prospective networks want to be premium services, meaning cable or satellite customers would have to request and pay for the channel. It wouldn't come as part of a general movie package.
One important area where they diverge: Pridevision offers late-night erotic films, and the Viacom venture won't.
"You almost can't launch the network if you don't have some form of erotica as part of it," Levy said. Otherwise, he said, "you're not being true to the community."
Falk said that most homosexuals can easily find erotica. What they can't find is other quality programming geared to their interests.
"As a gay man, I resent the notion that the only way you're going to sell me something is if it has porn on it," Falk said. "To say that it's the only way the audience is going to respond is, I think, offensive."
With some cable and satellite operators likely to be nervous about offering a network aimed at homosexuals, the decision to screen X-rated material could be suicidal, Seomin said.
"There are certain segments of the gay and lesbian community that would like to see the adult fare late at night," he said. "However, if they do offer it, they will be shooting themselves in the foot with operators. Let's get it on the air and change the programming down the road."
The conservative American Family Association plans to oppose any effort to get a gay-oriented channel established, whether it offers X-rated movies or not, said Ed Vitagliano, its spokesman.
"I have reviewed Queer as Folk," he said. "From our perspective, that was pornographic."
Vitagliano is concerned that, despite current plans, a gay channel will eventually be offered as part of a general premium package and it would be seen by unsuspecting eyes.
After years in which the homosexual audience has been ignored, why have the forces now been unleashed for competition?
Queer as Folk proved to many TV programmers that a gay-oriented program could be a ratings winner without a damaging backlash from cultural critics. GLAAD believes that since more homosexuals are coming out, ratings services are counting them as a visible audience.
At the same time, cable has shifted to the belief that niche networks are easier to establish and be profitable than those that offer general entertainment. Homosexuals are considered a loyal audience with money to spend.
The expansion of digital service also means there is more "shelf space" available for new channels on cable and satellite systems.
Even though its plans are still a mystery to the public, Seomin believes the Viacom venture is the most likely to succeed.
Both Showtime and MTV have a solid reputation in the gay community, he said. What is more important, Viacom's string of successful networks means the company has strong relationships with cable operators.
"There's also interest in having somebody new step forward to provide a service like this to counterbalance the power that exists in a company like Viacom," Levy responded. "I think it works for you and against you when you're talking about a big media company."
Pridevision also broadcasts Queer as Folk and some MTV programming in Canada. Presumably, for competitive reasons, an U.S. version of the network couldn't. The movies it licences may also be limited.
Pridevision hopes to get on the air in the U.S. this fall. Viacom offers no timetable. Neither network has announced an agreement by a cable or satellite provider to carry their service.
"We're not going to throw something on the air and put it out there and market it as if it were a race for the market," Falk said. "This is a smart, discriminating audience and when we do launch, we need to deliver on the audience's expectations." © The Canadian Press, 2002

Transsexuals Get Rights Law

NY Post
by Maggie Haberman
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Mayor Bloomberg yesterday signed into law a bill that will add transgender people as a protected group under the city's human-rights law.
Bloomberg insisted they're already protected under current law, but said he agreed to the proposal in order to reinforce that protection.
"It's a bill that deserves to be signed, and I'm happy to do it," he told a half-dozen transgender people at City Hall. NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

Taiwan Gays Protest Being Barred from Becoming Military Police

Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa)
Taipei (dpa) - Taiwan homosexuals Wednesday protested a defence ministry order that gay men should be barred from becoming military police.
"Our government has said on several occasions that homosexuals should enjoy equal rights as heterosexuals, but this rule shows how hypocritical it is," said Lai Yu-lin, spokesman for the Taiwan Tonzhi Hotline.
Tongzhi, or comrade, is the euphemism in Madarin Chinese for gays.
"We demand equal rights at work-place, including the military. We will go to the defence ministry to delivery our protest tomorrow," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
The United Evening News reported Wednesday that the defence ministry bars gay men from becoming military police because homosexuals cause security concerns.
Taiwan chooses from new recruits tall and handsome young men to become military police. Their job is to guard the Presidential Office building, the president's home and maintain order in cities.
The defence ministry Wednesday admitted the rule barring gay men from becoming military police has existed for years.
"It is just a requirement, like pilots must have good vision," the ETTV television quoted an unnamed defence ministry official as saying.
But the military police headquarters told the Central News Agency that it respects human rights and will work towards abolishing the rule.
Taiwan's gay rights movement began in 1983 and has won personal support from President Chen Shui-bian.
In September 2000, Taipei held its first government-funded gay festival and Chen received two U.S. gay rights activists. Chen told them homosexuals should fight for their rights.
dpa Copyright 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

French stage huge anti-Le Pen protest U.K.
Wednesday, May 1, 2002 / 04:40 PM
SUMMARY: More than a million people demonstrated throughout France on Wednesday against extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
More than a million people demonstrated throughout France on Wednesday against extreme-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen.
The protest, staged on Europe's Labor Day, was by far the largest turnout yet against the ultra-nationalist politician since he qualified for Sunday's presidential runoff with 17 percent of the vote on April 21. Even before a massive demonstration in Paris reached its peak, turnout in dozens of cities across France had reached nearly 900,000, according to the Interior Ministry.
That number that did not take into account the large Paris protest, which already had massed 200,000 people and was expected to grow throughout the afternoon.
In a speech, Le Pen promised an "electoral earthquake" in the election's final round, which pits him against conservative incumbent President Jacques Chirac, who is expected to win easily. "The ground's going to crumble under their feet," he said.
Borrowing Le Pen's earthquake analogy, one of the protest banners in Paris read, "17 percent on the Hitler scale," reported Reuters. Demonstrators also shouted "N like Nazi, F like Fascist."
Police and observers estimated the pro-Le Pen crowd at 10,000 to 12,000 people, though Le Pen's party claimed there were as many as 100,000 marchers. Le Pen, who has made it clear he is anti-gay, has been accused of racism and anti-Semitism numerous times. He blames immigration, particularly from Muslim North Africa, for unemployment, which edged up in March to 9.1 percent, and for rising crime. His success in the April 21 first round of elections stunned France and most of its allies and neighbors.

Man may have killed to cover up gay sex act

Prosecutors in Rapid City, S.D., say that a man on trial for the murder of an acquaintance killed to cover up a gay sex act--or possibly a rape.
Richard Gitter, 52, was found dead in a bathtub in Samuel Boston's apartment on March 17, 2001. Boston had called a 911 dispatcher to report that he was trying to revive an unresponsive man. Authorities began investigating after an autopsy determined that Gitter had died of strangulation.
Patricia Froning, spokeswoman for the state attorney general, says Boston strangled Gitter to cover up a sexual attack. "We would submit that this was a rape or an attempted sexual contact," she said. "Richard [Gitter] wakes up, struggles, and gets strangled, or he gets strangled to cover up a sexual contact." The defense contends that Gitter died of heart failure brought on by his use of alcohol and antidepressants, said Matt Stephens, one of Boston's lawyers.

Alltel quashes antidiscrimination proposal

Shareholders of regional telecommunications giant Alltel defeated a proposal to amend its rules to specifically forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the Lincoln [Neb.] Journal Star. Company officials said the company is nevertheless committed to diversity, inclusion, and the prohibition of harassment against its employees.
Alltel provides basic telephone service in southeast Nebraska and several other states, plus cellular phone service and other telecommunications operations. On Thursday at Alltel's annual meeting in North Little Rock, Ark., about 9% of voting shares were cast for the proposal, said Andrew Moreau, an Alltel spokesman.
"We are respectful of diversity, and our policies reflect that position," Moreau said. "The success of our policy is reflected by the fact we have an excellent equal employment opportunity record." But Ken Scott, a portfolio manager and social research analyst who introduced the resolution, said that isn't good enough. "We believe that only a formal, written nondiscrimination policy that bars discrimination based on sexual orientation sends the clear message that Alltel respects and values all current and potential employees," Scott said.

Ellen DeGeneres has high hopes for proposed talk show

In an interview with The Boston Globe, Ellen DeGeneres says she hopes that her proposed upcoming gig as a talk-show host is one that will last. "I'm hoping the talk show will take me far enough into the future so I don't have to do anything else ever again," says DeGeneres, who is about to kick off a nationwide stand-up comedy tour. "I never want to say 'never' [about doing another sitcom]. But it seems that because people know me so well, it's kind of hard for me to be a character. After the Emmys, especially, it felt so right for me to be onstage being me." While DeGeneres's upcoming talk show is contingent upon there being no conflict with her current CBS series, Globe reporter Jim Sullivan writes, "DeGeneres discusses the demise of The Ellen Show as if it's already a done deal."

Couple's Courtroom Slugfest Over $3.5M Lotto Prize

by Rich Peters Newscenter
Western Bureau Chief
(May 2, Vancouver) It could be called the lesbian version of the movie "Battle Of The Roses". The breakup of Marlene Sese and Belinda Ledesma could be heard across the city of Vancouver.
Sese, 38, and Ledesma, 51, began their relationship in 1983.
The couple became instant celebrities after Ledesma won $3.5 million in the lottery in 1998. They quit their jobs, and bought large homes in Vancouver and their native Philippines. There was a Porsche and a Mercedes to drive around in. They travelled, and generally led the good life.
But, when things soured the cudgels came out.
Sese took her ex to court, claiming half the lottery prize, half of the community property, and $5,000 a month in support.
But Ledesma countered that in April 2000, she gave Sese $100,000 to "make a new start" because she considered the relationship to be over.
Not so Sese said in her court filings. Although they fought constantly, they continued to share a bed and enjoy a sexual relationship she testified.
Then, in February of this year, Sese said, she found out that the $100,000 that Ledesma had given to her had been transferred back into Ledesma's account.
Sese told the court Ledesma agreed to return the money if she agreed to sign over her share of the Porsche and Mercedes that are in both their names.
Under Canadian law, the joint proceeds of a common law, or same-sex relationship are divided equally when the relationship ends.
Madame Justice Marion J. Allan, of the B.C. Supreme Court, ruled that the relationship had indeed ended in April 2000 and that Sese had waited too long to press her case. The deadline for filing an application for support expires one year after a couple breaks up.

Grandma Among Courage Award Recipients

by Newscenter Staff
(May 2, Miami) A Miami grandmother who overcame religious and community backlash to support her gay son has been given a prestigious national award.
When her son came out, Eva Leivas-Andino , faced the scorn or her neighbours, her church and was forced to deal with her own homophobia. She overcame of them and went on to become a full-time advocate of LBGT youth.
Leivas-Andino was one of four recipients of the Colin Higgins Courage Award. The awards are given each year to honour everyday heroes who demonstrate courage in the face of discrimination, intolerance and bigotry based on sexual orientation.
"We may be tempted to believe that just because 'Will & Grace' is a hit TV show and Rosie O'Donnell comes out of the closet, equality and acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is a fait accompli," said Charles Fernandez, spokesperson for the Colin Higgins Foundation and a program officer of the Tides Foundation.
"The experiences of the 2002 Courage Award winners prove that there are still blood and tears in the trenches where ordinary individuals battle bigotry in their daily lives," Fernandez said. "But most importantly, these heroes teach us that personal bravery shines a light on the struggle for LGBT rights, and that each of these lights is an important victory."
Among the other winners is D. Patrick Bynum. At the age of 12, the 15-year-old from Ozark, Mo., went twice before his local school board to ask for protection from beatings and harassment by his classmates. When the school board failed to act, he bravely took his battle to the next level by filing a complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, eventually winning.
Vanessa Duran, has lived a lifetime of being labelled and attacked for who she is. But the 17 year old from El Cerrito, Calif. has transformed her experience into art and activism, using film, video and photography as lenses through which to explore racism and homophobia.
Calvin Warren was taught by his church that his sexual orientation made him the "antithesis of black manhood." 21-year-old Calvin endured threats and regular harassment in his hometown of Newburgh, N.Y. to become an outspoken and dedicated gay rights activist and will graduate this month from Cornell University. Colin Higgins, acclaimed screenwriter, director and producer of films such as Harold and Maude and Nine to Five, established The Colin Higgins Foundation in 1986. In addition to the Courage Awards, the Foundation also funds film scholarships and has supported over 390 LGBT organizations, ranging from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender outreach and AIDS prevention programs.

Historic Gay Bar Victim Of Internet

by Peter Moore Newscenter
(May 2, London) One of the oldest gay clubs in rural Britain is closing and internet chat rooms are being blamed for its demise.
The Lord Raglan pub in Norwich was a regular watering hole and meeting place for gays in the area, but over the past few years patrons have dwindled to a few dozen.
The head of a local gay rights group says men now prefer to meet over the internet rather than face-to-face in a bar.
Neil Kittle, project officer with gay and bisexual support group TEN, said: "Traditionally men would normally meet in pubs. Now it is actually easier to just sit at your computer and contact people in that way."
Kittle said that gays in big cities still flock to the clubs, but in small villages it's easier to use the internet. Kittle lamented the closing. "The pub has done a lot to help bring the community together and raise money for AIDS."

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Wednesday, May 01, 2002

GLBT NEWZ 05/01/02 Information is power!

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U.S. Falls Behind Even Iran in Sex Education
According to a report from Population Action International, Iran is ahead of the United States when it comes to teaching kids about sex education. Adults may mean well when they try to protect adolescents from sexual activity, but they are actually keeping vital knowledge from them, and this holds true around the world, according to the nonprofit family planning advocacy group.
The Netherlands has an exemplary sex education policy, said the group, noting that statistics show the Dutch reap benefits from their policies including exceptionally low rates of teen-age pregnancy, HIV infection in youth and sexually transmitted diseases.
"Iran has a relatively strong public health system through which family planning and maternal health services are widely delivered," said Margaret Greene, one of the writers of the report, addressing a news conference. "In the United States we are increasingly headed toward a politicized content with no guarantee of medical accuracy ... whereas Iran has developed age-appropriate sex materials that are very accurate and explicit," Greene said. "I'd say there is far less hypocrisy in this area."
She also referred to moves in Congress, where a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday endorsed funding "abstinence only" sex education, defeating opponents who called for a broader sex-education curriculum providing information on birth control and sexually transmitted diseases. The panel also dropped wording in the bill that would require that sex education programs be backed by scientific research.
The group also pointed out that the religious leaders in Iran recently blocked moves to raise the legal age of marriage for girls from 9 to 15 and that Iran's sex education programs assume that all sexually active couples are married. In most countries, it is not assumed that adolescents can make wise decisions for themselves, said James Waggoner, president of Advocates for Youth, which supported the report. "Too many policymakers subscribe to the caricature of adolescents as mere hormone-driven accidents waiting to happen," Waggoner said.
The group was particularly against abstinence-only education programs, which teach that sex before marriage is wrong and do not offer any information to teens who may be having sex anyway. Waggoner said that the result can be deadly. "Our HIV rate for young men is three times higher than in the Netherlands. Our rate for teen births is 11 time higher than in the Netherlands. Our teen gonorrhea rate is 74 times higher than in the Netherlands," he said.
Studies in the past have concluded that open sex education including information about contraception that also attempts to build self-esteem can lower sexual activity rates and result in fewer pregnancies and cases of disease, the report says. "We have over 87 percent of Americans who believe there should be comprehensive sex education in schools and we have a Congress that does not support this in their legislation," said Population Action International president Amy Coen.
"It is a battle between religious conservatives and the rest of the country and the rest of the world. We are holding young people hostage to ... conservative Christian views and it really is an embarrassment."
Source: Reuters © 1999-2002

Brazil a Leader in Gay Hate Crimes

United Press International
SALVADOR, Brazil (United Press International via COMTEX) -- More than 100 gays, lesbians and transsexuals were killed in Brazil last year as a result of hate crimes, the largest number recorded of any nation, a gay-rights group in the northern state of Bahia said.
The report by Grupo Gay da Bahia says 132 homosexuals were killed in 2001 during violent acts targeting gays.
Between 1980 and 2001, GGB says 2,092 gays in Brazil were killed in hate crimes, an average of 104 deaths a year. The group says this is the highest rate in the world by far, with Mexico ranking second, averaging 25 killings a year.
"Brazil is the world champion of crimes against gays, lesbians and transvestites," according to an excerpt of the soon-to-be released report. "During Carnaval (the five-day countrywide celebration leading up to Lent), everyone applauds the gays on the catwalks, but during the rest of the year, they experience, humiliation, strikes against their character and death."
Among Brazil's 26 states, the industrial southern state of Sao Paulo ranks the highest with 24 reported killings last year.
According to the study, Pernambuco state and the country's federal district, Brasilia, are the most dangerous places for gays, as they recorded the highest rate of homosexuals killed through violent acts per person.
The GGB report says that only 10 percent of those who commit violence against gays ever serve time for their crimes.
Marcelo Cerqueira, coauthor of the report, "Cause of Death: Homophobia," said GGB gathered statistics on gay deaths from newspaper accounts and police reports.
Based in the Bahian capital of Salvador, GGB is the country's oldest organization defending gay rights. Founded in 1980, it is a member of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and has worked with Brazil's Health Ministry to combat the spread of AIDS.
The study on homosexual killings was funded by the World Bank, UNESCO and the Kimeta Society of Canada -- a funding body for gay and lesbian rights' groups.
GGB President Luiz Mott -- the report's other author -- said that though the repression of homosexuals is much greater in other countries, citing Muslim nations Iran, Iraq and Egypt, "homophobia is still very prevalent in Brazil."
Mott has called for a nationwide effort to fight prejudice against homosexuals in order to curtail hate crimes against them.
"We can only lower these rates implementing courses of sexual education at all school levels, approving laws that punish those who discriminate or commit violent acts against homosexuals and mobilizing the homosexual community to defend their human rights," said Mott in a recent interview with O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper. Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

Gay Victim Wants to Help Attackers

UK: A gay man who survived a knife attack has offered to help his attackers find the help he says they need. Andy Dunton, who is still recovering in hospital, said he felt pity for them.
He said: "I don't feel anger towards them. I feel more sorry for them than I do for me.
"In the past week there have been times when I have wanted to hit them but I think what I would like to do is meet them and ask them why they did something like this."
Andy, 38, chairman of Brighton and Hove Pride committee, was attacked by two hooded men as he walked along a footpath in Brighton, East Sussex, on April 22.
The 5ft 11in former bouncer, who was on his way home from a casino, was robbed and stabbed twice in the stomach and hand.
He underwent emergency surgery at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and afterwards doctors told him he was lucky to survive. Copyright © 2002 2dayuk. All Rights Reserved.

Us Weekly says O'Donnell's partner is expecting

Already parents to three adopted children, Rosie O'Donnell and her partner, Kelli Carpenter, may be expecting a fourth child, according to an article in next week's Us Weekly magazine. Carpenter may be "several weeks" pregnant, news that says will be repeated on Tuesday's edition of the syndicated TV show Access Hollywood.
Us Weekly, which hits newsstands on Friday, reports that O'Donnell, 40, and Carpenter, 34, were recently seen in the office of a New York gynecologist, where O'Donnell was overheard telling other women in the waiting room, "My girlfriend is here--she's pregnant." The account goes on to say that Carpenter came into the waiting room with a copy of a sonogram printout, which "excited" O'Donnell. O'Donnell's spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports. O'Donnell came out as lesbian and as Carpenter's life partner in an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Thursday only weeks ago, saying that she was speaking up to help overturn Florida's ban on adoptions by gay parents. In May, O'Donnell will end her six-year run on the popular syndicated talk show The Rosie O'Donnell Show; the reason for her ending the series, she has said, is to spend more time with her three adopted children: Parker, 6; Chelsea, 4; and Blake, 2.

Florida woman shot outside MCC

A Florida woman is in critical condition with a gunshot wound suffered when she tried to intercede in a confrontation between an estranged lesbian couple outside a church during Sunday worship in Pensacola, Fla. One of the two former partners also was shot but suffered only a minor wound. The shootings occurred in the church parking lot after the couple attended an earlier service at the Holy Cross Metropolitan Community Church.
Andrea Cobb, 61, was charged with two counts of attempted murder. She remained in Escambia County Jail without bond Monday. Nancy Browning, also a church member, underwent surgery at Baptist Hospital for a stomach wound she received after trying to break up a fight between Cobb and Joyce Anderson, who was treated for a hand wound and released from Sacred Heart Hospital.
The Rev. Sandy O'Steen said she had been counseling Cobb and Anderson since they ended their relationship in the past few weeks. AIDS outreach educator Ron Swiger was conducting an HIV screening in a mobile unit when he heard the first shot and then saw Browning step between the other two women. "She was saying, 'Don't shoot, don't shoot. If you're going to shoot, shoot me,"' Swiger said. "Then bang, she shot her." Swiger tackled Cobb, and another church member, Barry Reid, pulled the gun from her hand, witnesses said. "She seemed disoriented, and her eyes were glazed," Swiger said. Inside the church, an usher handed O'Steen a note saying someone had been shot. The minister didn't stop the service but asked someone to take over communion while she went to the hospital to be with Browning.

Louisville ordinance targeted

Two groups have emerged with the goal of repealing existing city and county gay rights ordinances when the governments of the city of Louisville, Ky., and Jefferson County are merged next year. The Pro-Family Coalition of Jefferson County held its first rally this month and plans to endorse a slate of candidates in the weeks to come. The second group is being organized by city council candidate Jeffrey Klusmeier, a Republican running in District 23, who says the Louisville ordinance is unfair to business and is unnecessary. Those council candidates who join his bipartisan coalition will be asked to sign a pledge saying they support repeal of both gay rights ordinances and would also back the issue's being decided by voters through a referendum.
The city ordinance bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Louisville and Jefferson County have adopted nearly identical ordinances, and under merger rules the county ordinance will apply to the city government. The city council, which takes office in January, has five years to pass its own version of the ordinance before it lapses.
C-FAIR, the political action group of the Fairness Committee, which supports the ordinances, has been polling and interviewing the candidates on a variety of issues, including the ordinances. It recently endorsed candidates in 18 of the 26 council races. "We don't take this law for granted," said Dan Farrell, a C-FAIR board member. "We know we are going to have to get good candidates that will support it. If merged government is going to be a step forward, we can't then go and take a step backward by repealing this law." Both opposition groups say they were prompted to organize after Democratic mayoral candidate, Jerry Abramson, stated that he supports the existing city ordinance and would veto the city council's attempt to repeal it.

Gay brewery goes out of business

The microbrewery that saluted Vermont's civil union law for gay and lesbian couples with its Vermont Pride Beer has gone out of business. Tuesday was the last day on the license of the Tunbridge Brewing Co., which had been in business for almost seven years. Most of the brewery's assets were auctioned over the weekend, said owner Liz Trott. "I have a broom and 600 cases of beer and a few kegs," she said. "I don't know...maybe we'll have a party."
Closing up the business, which had been operating out of the old creamery building in South Royalton for the past two years, has been emotional, Trott said. But keeping the company running has become harder, she added. Trott, who owns the company with her partner, Janice Moran, suffered a seizure last year and is still recovering, she said. During the past seven years the Tunbridge Brewery put out a variety of beers, including Telemark Mild, Covered Bridge IPA, Ox Pull Stout, and Sap Brew, a recipe that used maple sap in place of water. Vermont Pride, which was born as Gay Pride but was later changed because of a dispute over the recipe, did make it out into circulation briefly but suffered when Trott, dealing with her health and other family issues, couldn't put the full commitment into marketing, she said. "Vermont Pride made it out, but it's so critical to get out there to offer it and show it off to people, especially in the bars and the restaurants," Trott said.

Penn State students ask for help with hate crimes

Gay and lesbian student leaders at Penn State University say a center should be established on campus to help victims of hate crimes. Several gay students, including two who received E-mailed death threats last week, said at a news conference Monday that Penn State does not meet the needs of traumatized students. "Victims of hate crimes have nowhere to go," said David Davis, the openly gay president of the Black Caucus. "They have nowhere to turn to at this university."
Kamilah Cole, one of four students who received death threats last week, said she called a campus hotline designed to deal with issues of diversity and was referred to Penn State police. She said the officers were helpful in the investigation but were unable to provide her with the counseling and comfort she needed. The vice provost of educational equity, Terrell Jones, who has been praised by the students for his handling of the incident, said the university may consider such a center. Police and the FBI believe the antigay and racist messages came from an E-mail account belonging to a 17-year-old living in New Jersey. Authorities are pursuing a search warrant to gain additional information from America Online.

HBO: Six Feet Under, yes; Oz, no

HBO has ordered a third season of its gay-inclusive hit series Six Feet Under, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series averages 3.7 million homes and 5.6 million viewers among HBO subscribers, essentially equaling its first-season ratings. "I think that we would have had to really screw things up for there not to be a third season," said the show's out creator, Alan Ball, who adds that there will be some changes ahead. "We want to loosen up the serialized aspect of the show a little bit. We want to have the freedom to do more free-standing episodes so that not every single episode has to further every single story." The third season is expected to start shooting in September and is tentatively scheduled to launch late in the first quarter of 2003. In other HBO news, the network says that the sixth season of the homoerotic prison series Oz--also slated to debut in early 2003--will be the last. reports that HBO's programming president Chris Albrecht said, "Oz has been a landmark series for HBO, one that has had a tremendous impact on both subscribers and critics. We look forward to working with [executive producer] Tom Fontana again." Fontana added, "With these final eight episodes of Oz, I will finish telling the story I originally set out to tell."

Bisexuals Have More Mental Problems Report Says

by Peter Hacker Newscenter
(May 1, Sydney) An Australian study on bisexuals says they are more likely to have mental health problems than either gays or heterosexuals.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Australian National University found that young and middle-aged adults who identified themselves as bisexual had the deepest feelings of anxiety, depression and negativity.
Researchers interviewed 20-24 year olds in 1999 and 2000 and 40-44 year-olds in 2000-01 as the first part of a 20-year study into adult mental health in Australia. A total of 4,824 adults in Canberra were questioned.
The results appear in the May issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Adverse experiences in childhood and adulthood, poorer social support and financial problems were identified as the main risk factors behind mental health problems in bisexuals.
Gay adults also reported the same problems, although they were not generally as severe as among bisexuals. But both groups were identified as being more likely to have suicidal ideas or intentions than heterosexuals. The scientists write: "It is possible that having neither a clear heterosexual or homosexual orientation is an important stressor, in addition to the social pressures of having a different sexual orientation to the majority."

Protestors Shouts Tarnish Gay Film Fest

by Rich Peters Newscenter
Western Bureau Chief
(May 1, Regina) Protestors shouting anti-gay epithets attempted to prevent people from entering the opening the Queer City Cinema, Monday night in Regina.
The GLBT film festival is now in its fourth year. Inside the theatre, Prairie Pride Chorus unfurled a Rainbow flag and sang, "We Shall Not Give Up the Fight."
Queer City Cinema is the largest gay film festival in western Canada.
Crowds entering the hall had to pass through a dozen protestors carrying posters and yelling insults as police kept a close eye on the demonstration.
Longtime anti-gay activist Bill Whatcott said he was trying to discourage attendance at a festival, claiming that it "promotes homosexual sex and perversion."
Whatcott and his Christian Truth Activists denounced a $9,000 grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
One of the films to be screened, Eban and Charley, is about a gay relationship between a 29-year-old and a 15-year-old.
"It's child exploitation," said Whatcott. "This should not be taxpayer funded."
Festival founder Gary Varro dismissed Whatcott's protest. Varro said the film is about inter-generational relationships and is not promoting or criticizing such relationships. This year's festival will screen 90 films with an emphasis on gay youth and aboriginal and transgendered issues.

Activist Filmmaker Dies

by Newscenter Staff
(May 1, Boston) Nishit Saran an award-winning Indian filmmaker, gay rights activist and essayist has been killed in a car accident in New Delhi. He was 25.
Riding with Saran were four of his friends, including a popular Indian music TV host. They died instantly when a speeding truck ploughed into their car before fleeing the scene. The truck's driver was arrested the following day on charges of homicide.
Saran's 1999 personal documentary, Summer in My Veins, won high praise from critics and became an inspiration to many gays for its frank portrayal of his own reconcilement between family ties and homosexuality.
His films were won critical acclaim at film festivals around the world.
Saran was a 1998 graduate of Harvard University. After coming to Harvard in 1994, Saran became an active presence in the Harvard's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters' Alliance and was awarded a Detur Prize in 1996 for general academic distinction. As a senior, Saran was appointed to the Phi Beta Kappa academic honours society.
Fellow student, Rahul Sagar said: "It's hard to be gay in India, but through his work he gave people the courage to be who they were. He'd get letters and phone calls from people who said he changed their life." After his success in the United States and abroad, Saran shied away from the allure of Hollywood to return to New Delhi, where he was born, so he could continue making films and raising awareness of homosexuality in India.

Communications Giant Under Pressure To Bar Discrimination

by Newscenter Staff
(May 1, Boston) Telecommunications company Alltel has been given a stinging rebuke from major shareholders over its refusal to amend its non-discrimination policy to explicitly bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.
At the company's annual meeting this week, investors with 21 million shares of Alltel stock, worth more than one billion dollars, voted to support a shareholder resolution calling on the company to protect its GLBT workers.
Company management recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal.
12 percent of the stockholders voted against the company, and while the motion failed, supporters say it nevertheless sent a strong message to management.
The resolution also secured enough support to bring the proposal back again next year, according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules governing shareholder proposals.
Kenneth Scott, portfolio manager and social research analyst at Walden Asset Management in Boston, introduced the shareholder proposal. He also spoke for Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. located in Bethesda, Maryland, which is the lead filer of the shareholder resolution. Amnesty International USA, Tides Foundation, and individual investor Izetta Smith also co-filed the resolution with Walden.
"We did better than expected. When you combine the yes votes and those who abstained, roughly 12 percent of the votes went against ALLTEL management's recommendation opposing the equal employment resolution. That level of support sends a strong signal to management that shareholders care about the company's reputation for inclusiveness.
More than half of the Fortune 500 companies explicitly bar discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to Human Rights Campaign. Telecommunications companies with inclusive policies, as requested in the resolution, include AT&T, BellSouth, Nextel, QWest, SBC, Sprint, Verizon and WorldCom. National polls consistently find more than three-quarters of Americans support equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians and bisexuals. Conversely, a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force study revealed that 16 to 44 percent of gay men and lesbians in 20 cities nationwide have experienced workplace harassment or discrimination.

Skinheads & Grannies On March For Anti-Gay Le Pen

PA News & UK
1 May 2002
The French National Front was on the march today a bizarre mix of shaven-headed, leather-clad far right extremists, families with children and grannies.
Thousands joined a noisy march through the centre of Paris carrying banners declaring "Proud to be French'' and "President Le Pen''.
The march is in the run-up to the second round of the French presidential ballot in which Mr Le Pen confidently expects to poll more than 40% of the vote.
Le Pen has supported policies that include the enforced incarceration of people with HIV and AIDS. He is also accused of racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. He brushes all these claims off, maintaining he has the courage to say what people actually think.
Worryingly, if his centre left and centre right opponents believe his backing was just in the traditional mould of extremist supporters, today's crowds proved otherwise. Mothers and fathers held their children's hands and marched shoulder to shoulder with the leather-clad hard right faction, some sporting dark glasses and shielding their faces. There were pensioners too, in the middle of the throng, waving them French Flag and joining the chant of "Vive Le Pen''.
It was impossible to assess the numbers in the march, but many thousands had turned out to hear Mr Le Pen address the French electorate from a vast podium erected in the Place de L'Opera. Paris was closed for the May Day Bank Holiday with mere handfuls of tourists watching the spectacle.
This afternoon a counter-rally staged by anti-Nazi supporters was being held deliberately timed to start at least two hours after the Le Pen demonstration was due to have dispersed. Police were taking no chances, sealing off streets in the hope of ensuring the two political elements avoided contact later today. Virtually all shops, cafes and restaurants in the centre of Paris.

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First Home for Teens with HIV to Open in Midwest

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Dream House, the first residence in the Midwest for homeless teen-agers with HIV, is opening its doors May 6.
The 4,400-square-foot home, at 5355 Page Boulevard in St. Louis, will house up to 10 teen-agers. The goal of the residence is to give teens who have been cut off from family and community a safe and nurturing, homelike environment, said Mildred Jamison, CEO of Faith Village, which includes Dream House.
The residence will offer medical assistance, psychological and social support, home-cooked meals, recreational activities and other services. The house is funded by grants from the Dana Brown Foundation, the Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Oprah Winfrey's Use Your Life Award, private donations and fund-raisers.
Jamison opened Faith House 10 years ago as a home for drug-exposed and abused children up to 12 years old. (C) 2002 St. Louis Post-Dispatch. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

Cattrall Set To Swear Off Sex

NY Post
by Farrah Weinstein, NY Post
The sexiest cat on "Sex and the City" is reportedly calling it quits.
Kim Cattrall, who plays the sex-addicted Samantha on the show, told a British TV station that she's ready to move on.
"Six years for me is enough," said Cattrall in a prerecorded interview with Britain's Living TV. "There are other things I'd like to do."
The 46-year-old actress has shocked audiences with her portrayal of a single publicist in New York -- posing nude, engaging in sexual intercourse from a ceiling swing and having a lesbian affair with an artist.
Filming of the show, which pulls in around four million viewers per episode, was recently halted when Cattrall co-star Sarah Jessica Parker announced she was pregnant.
Cattrall, who starred in "Porky's," "Police Academy" and "Mannequin" in the '80s, will most likely focus on feature films.
It has been reported that Cattrall, who is married to millionaire businessman Mark Levinson, might play Mae West in a big-budget biopic about the legendary screen siren. NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COM are trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

At NRA gathering, speakers ridicule gays

Steve Friess, / Network
Monday, April 29, 2002 / 05:03 PM
SUMMARY: The NRA's annual convention in Reno, Nev., degenerated on Sunday into a session of gay-bashing, with one commentator calling talk show host Rosie O'Donnell as a "freak."
The National Rifle Association's annual convention in Reno, Nev., degenerated on Sunday into a session of gay-bashing, with one commentator referring to anti-gun talk show host Rosie O'Donnell as a "freak" for her recent admission that she's a lesbian.
During a two-hour panel discussion attacking the media for distorting the views of gun-rights proponents, all but one speaker took an opportunity to slam gays and lesbians -- including O'Donnell -- in some manner.
O'Donnell, who had a much-publicized 1999 tiff with actor Tom Selleck about his NRA support, is "not cool, she's the freak," said conservative commentator Debbie Schlussel, a frequent guest on "The Howard Stern Show" and Fox News.
Schlussel also referred to straight actor Jude Law, who she said admitted to hesitating before handling a gun for one of his films, as a "girly man."
Conservative pollster Kellyanne Conway complained that the media skips over gun-rights stories for its various pet causes, including reporting on gays. Gay issues "are not important to Americans," Conway said.
The media, she added, has somehow forced changes in the public school curriculum that has resulted in an ignorant public. "They're so worried now about how many mommies Heather has that (the teacher) runs out of time" to teach basic civic lessons.
Grover Norquist, an NRA national board member and columnist for the American Spectator magazine, took a shot, too. He noted that it might not be as evident to the media that most Americans favor gun rights because "we don't have annual parades for gun owners so everyone can appreciate that gun ownership is an alternative lifestyle and look at how great we are." He also insisted that the liberals "don't want you (men) to date girls."
Each of these comments brought applause and laughter from a crowd composed mainly of middle-aged hunting and shooting enthusiasts, as well as from the panel moderator, former "Dallas" star Susan Howard.
The Reno convention drew about 40,000 attendees, among them at least one member of the gay gun-rights group, the Pink Pistols. Tom Boyer, 44, of San Francisco, left the convention before the panel discussion and said he would take up the reported comments with NRA brass, adding that he found a generally warm reception overall.
Boyer noted that, at a members' forum in Reno on Saturday, he introduced himself as a Pink Pistol and urged the NRA not to mix other social issues into the agenda of the gun-rights organization. Other members supported that comment, he said. "I did have an NRA director come up and actually ask what he could do to help the Pink Pistols," Boyer said. "So there certainly is an outreach effort."

'Down-low' status threatens black women

Randy Dotinga, / Network
Monday, April 29, 2002 / 05:06 PM
SUMMARY: A year after the media pounced on the phenomenon of "down-low" gay relationships, interest in the topic is growing again.
A year after the media pounced on the phenomenon of "down-low" gay relationships, interest in the topic is growing again, in part because it could be endangering the health of many black women.
In the vocabulary of some gay men, "on the down low" refers to having a girlfriend but secretly continuing to have sex with men on the side.
A few weeks ago, the top-rated NBC television series "E.R." devoted a brief subplot to the topic, focusing on a love triangle between two black men and a black woman.
And last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, one of the nation's largest newspapers, published an article about fears that down-low behavior could be putting women at risk of getting HIV.
No one knows how common gay relationships are among men who are ostensibly heterosexual. "There's very little research here," Georgia State University researcher John L. Peterson told the Post-Dispatch.
However, some experts say secret gay relationships are especially common among black men, perhaps because they are less likely to be open about being attracted to men.
"These men feel they must remain a part of the African-American community but face stigma if they come out. So they continue to feel negatively about themselves regarding this part of their life," Peterson said last year in an interview with WebMD. "This constant anti-gay sentiment -- without any alternative to live out their lives in another community -- creates enormous self-denigration and poor self-esteem. This is very different from what white men experience."
According to the Village Voice newspaper, a federal survey in 2000 found that 25 percent of black men who'd had sex with men called themselves heterosexual, four times the rate among white men.
The Post-Dispatch speculated that down-low relationships may explain why federal officials estimate that 64 percent of women who get new HIV cases are black, even though African Americans make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population.
J.L. King, an activist and author, told the newspaper that he is worried about black men who are dealing with "invisible" gay black men. "We will continue to lose sisters because men will not come out," he said. An unidentified woman who was infected with HIV by her boyfriend urged the use of condoms. "I don't know one black, red-blooded man that's going to tell his woman he's bisexual or that he has been messing around," she told the Post-Dispatch. "Don't be ashamed to bring out a condom. If a person doesn't want to use a condom, then let him go."

Arkansas ban on gay foster parents challenged

A lawsuit challenging a policy that bars gay men and lesbians from becoming foster parents in Arkansas is moving closer to the courtroom three years after it was filed, according to the Little Rock Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Case depositions, which have been mired in pretrial disclosure disputes for the last two years, are expected to start as early as next month, and officials expect the trial to begin by early fall. Four gay Arkansas residents filed the lawsuit after the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board in 1999 barred all gays from becoming foster parents. The plaintiffs are asking a judge to declare the decision unconstitutional, saying it violates their rights to privacy and equal protection guaranteed by the Arkansas and U.S. constitutions. The review board also prohibits "people with a homosexual adult member of their household from becoming foster parents." Rich Rosen, the plaintiffs' attorney, said, "My personal opinion is that it had nothing to do with children and everything to do with politics." Arkansas and Nebraska are the only two states that specifically prohibit lesbians and gay men from becoming foster parents, according to the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.

Dallas gays may get workplace and housing protection

The Dallas city council is reviewing a proposal that seeks to protect gays and lesbians in hiring, housing, and public accommodations such as hotels and restaurants. Under the proposed ordinance, which was drafted by Mayor Laura Miller and four council members, employers with more than 15 workers would not be allowed to hire, fire, or in any other way discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. "It's a major step forward for the city of Dallas," said council member Ed Oakley, who helped draft the plan. "Austin and Fort Worth and Houston have already passed these ordinances. I think it just brings us into the 21st century."

Flag-stealing frat boys formally charged

Latah County, Idaho, prosecutor Bill Thompson has filed petty theft charges against two former University of Idaho student senators accused of stealing a gay pride flag from the campus's gay-straight alliance. Thompson said he could not prosecute the case as a hate crime because gender and sexual orientation are not protected classes under Idaho's criminal laws. Matthew B. Henman, 18, and Joel A. Sturgill, 21, each face one count of misdemeanor petty theft stemming from the March 31 theft and attempted destruction of a flag owned by a gay rights group on campus. Each could face a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Charges are pending against two other people. The initial police department investigation indicated that former student senator Kevin Smith, 20, also was involved, as was student body president Kasey Swisher. The three senators resigned April 10; Swisher resigned a day later.

Quebec to legalize same-sex unions

The Canadian province of Quebec is planning to give legal status to the unions of same-sex couples, Attorney General Paul Begin said Saturday, but the unions will not be called marriages. Quebec will join Nova Scotia as the only provinces that legalize same-sex unions. A draft bill, unveiled in the Quebec legislature on Thursday and expected to be adopted by the end of the current session, will give same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married heterosexual couples, including adoption and artificial insemination.


Egyptian Gays Go Deeper Underground

Monday, 29 April 2002
CAIRO -- Now under constant threat of harassment and arrest, their once well-appointed clubs now virtually abandoned or forced into serving a straight clientele, their baths which for centuries served as a meeting place for gay men now routinely monitored, gay life in Egypt in 2002 is a pale shadow of how things were just a few short years ago.
But despite the dangers, members of this proud community refuse to be knuckled under completely. The now three-year old government crackdown has done what government suppression of gay life has always done, pushed it deeper underground.
The brutal repression has also sparked debate over the morality of homosexuality, that in the face of rising Islamic extremism in Egypt, threatens to bring even greater government reprisals. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is said to have begun the anti-gay crackdown as a way to appease simmering fundamentalists that threaten the government.
One of the most prominent gay rights advocates in the country, a man who goes by the name of Horus and wears his hair in a ponytail, told the Reuters news agency that there are worst things than being the object of official harassment.
"Hiding is worse than being arrested," he said. "I want to feel dignity. When I was harassed, my friends told me, 'Cut your hair.' But I said no. That's not me. I don't want to hide."
"I don't want to stay in the closet forever," Horus continued. "I want to help people come out. I feel that I wasted my life in the closet."
In November, the government signaled it was moving into a more active phase of its persecution efforts when a security court sentenced 23 predominantly men to jail after a raid on the Queen Boat, a then-popular weekend venue for the city's gays.
Egyptian officials gave no official thrift to protests from human rights groups and Western governments about the arrests, declaring the matter one of safeguarding the country's morality. But some scholars have expressed the view that the attitude of mainstream Egyptians is not as rigid as the government believes.
"When push comes to shove, most people will say that homosexuality is a horrible thing, but not in the sense of 'Put them in jail'," said Hania Sholkamy, a professor of anthropology at the American University in Cairo. "Homosexuality is there. It's more accepted as a certain phase in life, long as they click out of it and then get a wife and 'become straight' again."
But talking about it, or claiming it as an identity, she said, is still not acceptable in Egypt. Some gay Egyptians told Reuters that many have left for the West, and that more are thinking about it. "Almost everyone I talked to wants to leave. They just can't," said a gay rights advocate. "I personally know four people who got political asylum in the United States."

Spanish Priest Outed to Parish by Ex-Lover

Monday, 29 April 2002
MADRID --A Roman Catholic priest in the southern Spanish town of Nerja has resigned his post after his embittered former lover distributed a home-recorded video tape of the two men having sex to local parishioners.
The Reuters news agency reports a statement from the office of the bishop in Malaga said the priest had "recognized his morally irregular behavior before the bishop...and gratefully accepted the help of the Church to transform himself as a person and as a priest."
Father Francisco Garcia told the news agency that the priest had resigned from the priesthood, but stressed that the resignation was only temporary. "He will continue to be a priest because he has recognized his mistake," Garcia said.
"I understand that this video spread around town was an attempt to shame the priest by a former 'friend' after the priest refused to carry on his relationship with him," Garcia said.
One Nerja parishioner told Spanish television: "He was a man worth keeping as a parish priest. His personal life doesn't interest me in the slightest."
Spain's Catholic Church regards gay sexual activity a sin but condemns discrimination against gay people. It does insist, however, that priests strictly uphold their celibacy vow. It is unclear what, if any, impact the scandal in America will have on how sexual misconduct is handled in Spain. Garcia said that even under these extraordinary circumstances, there was a well of deep support for the unidentified clergyman, and the reasons for that were simple. "The town supports him because he is a great priest."

Birmingham Rocked By Anti- Gay Violence

by Peter Moore Newscenter
(April 30, London) Birmingham has always been a tough city for gays. But, skyrocketing attacks on gays and lesbians have shocked even the toughest British cop.
The Birmingham police department has created a new programme called Pink Shield to develop ways of protecting gays in the inner city.
The innovative programme was launched Monday, with a $100,000 (Cdn) grant from the British government.
Sergeant Harvindar Khatkar said: "There has been little research into the current issues facing the gay community. Hopefully this project will uncover what crime problems they are facing, and help us develop a strategy to tackle them."
Pink Shield will attempt to identify ways the entire community can become involved in reducing harassment and physical attacks.
Khatkar said that all levels of government and community groups will be involved.
Groups such as Switchboard, Healthy Gay Life, together with national organisations such as Stonewall, the Terence Higgins Trust and the National Advisory Group, have pledged their support for the project. Project manager Mike Arnold said: "There are a lot off issues around how crime and criminality affects the quality of life of the gay community which are not fully understood. We want to find out the extent of these problems and work out ways of dealing with them."

Cal Foster Care System Fails Gay Youth Lawmaker Says

Mary Ellen Peterson Newscenter
(April 30, Sacramento) A California legislator says that the state's foster care system ignores the needs of gay youth.
Assemblywoman Judy Chu ( D-Monterey Park) is proposing sweeping reforms of laws involving children in foster care.
Chu says the changes would give children a shot at a brighter future.
Her bill was written with the help of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and is supported by the California Psychiatric Association.
A year ago, Lambda conducted an analysis of California's foster care policies and those of 13 other states.
What the Lambda report concluded is jarring, Chu said.
"I was alarmed, but not surprised to find out that the state does not protect gay and lesbian foster youths from discrimination," she said. "These youths have been marginalized and they need protections."
Chu's bill, if enacted, would see local governments to work together with mental health officials on counselling and other supportive services for gay and lesbian wards of the court.
It would also require the state Department of Social Services establish a statewide, toll-free hotline for gay or lesbian foster youths who are abused or in danger of being abused because of their sexuality.
Lambda Legal staff attorney Jennifer Pizer praised the legislation. "A bill that sharpens the focus on the legal duties of everyone who provides foster care can only help," she said.
The conservative Traditional Values Coalition says it will oppose passage of the bill.
Benjamin Lopez calls it a "heavy-handed approach to undermine the beliefs of Christian foster parents."
Another group, Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative watchdog organization issued a statement saying: "Nowhere does this bill mention that gay or lesbian foster children should be told that they can leave the homosexual lifestyle [or] about how important it could be for homosexual children to be placed in loving heterosexual homes." But, Eric Astacaan, with the California Alliance for Pride and Equality praised the legislation, saying gay and lesbian foster children "cannot remain invisible," to the state, which is entrusted to care for them.

Muslim States Oppose European Push To Reinstate Gay Group

for UK
30 April 2002
A European initiative to reinstate United Nations observer status for a Brussels-based homosexual lobbying organisation suspended for man/boy sex links has made Muslim states see red.
Pakistan along with other Arab countries will lead a fight today in the U.N. Economic and Social Council, or ECOSOC, to uphold a prior committee vote to continue blocking the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) from attending U.N. meetings and informal negotiating sessions closed to the public and press, reports the Washington Post.
The ILGA was stripped of its rank as a credentialed U.N. nongovernmental organisation (NGO) in 1994 - just a year after being accepted - because a founding 15-year member, the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), advocates and promotes man-boy sex.
At the January meeting, U.S. representative Richard Williams said the ILGA had satisfied U.N. demands to expel pedophiles.
In informal discussions on Friday, in preparation for the ECOSOC meeting today, French and German delegates announced they would try to overturn the earlier vote and get the ILGA reinstated.
The Pakistani delegate, Ishtiag H. Anrabi, said in an interview, however, that the ILGA has refused to provide a list of its members for independent verification of claims that pro-pedophile members have been expelled.
Kursad Kahramanoglu, ILGA's co-secretary-general, said the opposition stemmed from prejudice against homosexuality. "We have not been able to beat homophobia around the world. The situation is particularly difficult amongst the Islamic states," he told the Washington Post.
The ILGA is unwilling to make public its entire member list for review, Mr. Kahramanoglu said, because the information would be used by opponents to persecute homosexuals. "There are still countries in the world in which to be a person with a different sexuality is a criminal offence," he said. "One of ILGA's aims is to help these people, not to jeopardize their security."

Dawn French Set To Play Lesbian In TV Sitcom

for UK
30 April 2002
Dawn French is to take on the role of a lesbian in a new BBC1 sitcom.
French will play a shopkeeper with a female live-in lover in the new series, dubbed The Wild West.
"They are a co-dependent couple and want the security of living in a small community. The lesbian relationship comes about partly because the chances of meeting suitable men are limited," Producer Paul Schlesinger told Teletext.
The Wild West is written by Simon Nye, who created Men Behaving Badly.
She begins filming the six-part series in Cornwall this June. BBC comedy executive Michael Jacob added: "The six 30-minute episodes will be quirky. It is quite surreal and there will be this ferocious wind that blows through the village re-arranging everything. There is a local witch and wife-swapping."

Joan Collins Denies Sham Marriage Rumours

PA News for UK
29 April 2002
Joan Collins today angrily denied rumours that her marriage to Percy Gibson is a sexless sham.
The former Dynasty star said e-mails being sent to the press claiming that the couple had been sleeping in separate beds were lies. Rumours have been circulating that Collins and Gibson entered into a "lavender marriage", which they both deny.
"I find it very sad that someone is spreading this stuff,'' the 68-year-old told the New York Post. "We're extremely happy and very much in love. We couldn't be happier.''
Her 38-year-old husband said: "We sleep together every night.''
He added: "Whoever is doing this is one bitter person. We both have the e-mails in our possession. We're both fed up with having to respond to allegations just because someone sends them to a newspaper.''
Collins married Gibson, a US-based Peruvian, at a private ceremony attended by close friends in a London hotel in February. She has been married four times before and has three children and a grandchild. Gibson has said the couple are considering adopting a baby.

Mother-Of-Two Murder Victim Upset By Jealous Lesbian Lover

for Uk
30 April 2002
The lesbian lover of a murdered mother-of-two was "possessive and jealous" and prone to mood swings, a jury has been told.
Friend and neighbour Manon Cherry told Swansea Crown Court murdered mother Mandy Power argued with lover Alison Lewis because she was so possessive.
Mrs Lewis, a former policewoman, 33, had given Mrs Power a mobile phone and was furious when an ex-heterosexual lover phoned her while they were in bed together.
Mrs Power, 34, was bludgeoned to death in her south Wales home with children Katie, 10, and Emily, eight, and grandmother Doris Dawson, 80, almost three years ago.
David Morris, 39, of Craig-cefn-parc, in the Swansea Valley, denies four counts of murder.
Previously the jury heard that Morris had claimed that former woman's rugby international Mrs Lewis was "probably" the killer.
Mrs Lewis and her police sergeant husband Steven were arrested during the investigation, on suspicion of murder, and later released without charge. The twin brother of Mr Lewis, a serving police inspector and the first senior officer at the murder scene, was arrested, and later released, on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. The trial continues.

Bankruptcy, Ill Will Plague Bryant

April 28, 2002, St. Petersburg Times
Margaret Cole expected great things when she went to work at the Anita Bryant Music Mansion, a plantation-style showplace with towering white columns and sparkling chandeliers set in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
"There's something about the theater business that just gets in your blood," she said.
The first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night, Cole, a 58-year-old Baptist, felt she was doing something good for the world: Anita Bryant, the show's star, would belt out tunes from her '50s and '60s heyday, but the cornerstone of her act was a lengthy segment in which she preached her Christian beliefs.
Attendance was so sparse some nights that the manager put employees in the seats to boost the cast's morale. Cole, who worked in the ticket office, didn't mind.
"I thank God daily I have a Christian place to work," she told Tennessee labor investigators in August 2000. She scowled at locals who started to bad-mouth Bryant and Charlie Dry, the singer's husband and business partner.
But even Cole gave up on the couple after six months of bounced paychecks and daily promises that God would bring forth new investors. She holds little hope of ever seeing more than $6,400 in missed pay.
Here in the hills of eastern Tennessee, the story is much the same for dozens of others who labored, often for weeks or months without pay, to produce Bryant's jaunty, toe-tapping show, "Anita With Love."
Twenty-five years after her famous antigay crusade in Florida ended a high-flying career, Bryant, 62, is known in three other states for not paying bills. She has spent the past few years in small entertainment capitals across the Bible Belt, gamely attempting a comeback but leaving bankruptcy and ill will in her wake.
It has been a long, difficult slide for Bryant, who, as a wholesome, 30-something singer in the 1970s, was proclaimed the "Most Admired Woman in America" by Good Housekeeping magazine three years running.
In Florida, meanwhile, her name is surfacing once more as lawyers and gay activists try to repeal the state's ban on gay adoptions, blaming Bryant for its passage in 1977.
Back in Tennessee, the singer's latest foray unfolded in Pigeon Forge, part of a Smoky Mountain vacationland known for its theme parks, rustic lodges and music theaters where second-tier celebrities perform two and three shows a day. Some call it the "Hillbilly Las Vegas."
Many of the 60 or so Music Mansion employees had cars repossessed or were evicted from apartments. The general manager, a retired Army helicopter pilot who served in Operation Desert Storm, lost his good credit rating after unpaid vendors pursued him in court because he signed for deliveries.
"In my opinion, you do not do people like they have done people and live a Christian life," said Margaret Cole, who cannot explain the strange, faith-based hold that kept her in Bryant's service for so long.
"If I owed people like they owe people I would not be able to lay down at night and sleep."
Ashley Matthews, a dancer who is owed $3,200 in back pay, said the hard times left some workers so strapped for cash they stole popcorn and candy from the theater's concession stand so they could eat.
The theater's troubles do not appear to have had the same effect on Bryant and Dry, her second husband. The couple leases a $350,000 home tucked into a mountainside in the Smokies, where a local real estate agent reports they are paying the rent on time. The two-level home sits on a picturesque lake inside a gated community.
"They were always telling us God's going to come through," Matthews said of the couple. "They would attach his name to everything and if we didn't believe them, we didn't have faith. It didn't have anything to do with God. We knew their track record."
Bryant would not be interviewed for this story, leaving Dry to speak for her. During a brief visit with Dry on the porch of their home, the singer -- wearing glasses -- peeked out the door to ask if everything was okay. She spoke in the familiar, throaty voice of the long-ago Florida orange juice ads that made her famous. Then Dry shooed her back inside.
He said the latest bankruptcy is part of the couple's plan to divest of partners who reneged on promises to provide cash for the Music Mansion. He said he and Bryant tried to keep it running with their own money, and now plan to re-emerge with control of the theater and enough money to pay everyone back. Asked whether his critics in Pigeon Forge should blame his former partners for the troubles, Dry said two words: "Amen. Amen." (C) St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.

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