Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Let’s Face it – Homophobia is So Gay

"This week, we learned that virulently anti-gay Puerto Rican Senator Robert Arango was on a diet.
Like any straight man wanting to show off his sculpted new body, he posted pictures of his anus on the gay men's cruising software Grindr. Last week, a homophobic Indiana lawmaker, Rep. Phillip Hinkle (R), answered a Craig's List ad for an $80 male prostitute looking for a Sugar Daddy. After he was exposed by the escort, Hinkle said that he isn't gay and declared "I don't know what was going through my mind." And, of course, we all know about Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) who sought sex in a Minneapolis airport men's room by tapping his foot.
These tawdry tales of deception and deceit are tailor-made for the tabloids. They provide vindication for the LGBT community and punish villains who deserve their fate. However, it is time to look beyond the headlines and have the psychiatric community examine the heads of closet cases that inflict enormous damage on their own people. These disgusting betrayals are much greater than hypocrisy. They represent full-fledged pathology that has devastating consequences for the LGBT community."
 Falls Church News

(Extra)Ordinary Family: Inside the Transgender World

 "Young boys who say they are really little girls, girls who say they want to become men and their families who help cope with their children's extraordinary decisions are the people profiled in this week's edition of "Primetime Nightline."

From a 10-year-old who has felt trapped in the wrong body for years to a "trans-regret," a man who is one of the few people in the world to have changed his gender from a man to a woman and back again, "Primetime Nightline" looks at the issues surrounding transgender:
  • At 10 years old, with tears in his eyes, Jackie told his parents "I'm a girl and I can't do this anymore." Within months, with his parents help, Jack becomes Jackie.
  • Vanessa is 19 years old living and working in New York City. Vanessa was born as Pierry. At first, her immigrant family had a difficult time accepting their son as their daughter, but now that she has decided on surgery, they have come to support her.
  • Five year old Dyson Kilodavis is just like any other little boy except he has loved to wear dresses since he was 2: beach dresses, wedding dresses, disco dresses, cheerleader outfits and especially princess dresses. 
  • Kim Petras, a 19-year-old aspiring teen pop sensation from Cologne, Germany, was born as Tim Petras. Once a boy, Kim started living as a girl with long hair by age 10, and was tormented at school. By the time she was 11 she had found a sympathetic doctor who put her on blocker drugs that suppressed her male puberty.
  • Charles Kane has what's been called "trans-regret" -- a product of his own extraordinary choices. He is one of the few people in the world to have changed his gender from a man to a woman and back again.

Read the full report at - ABC News

State Rep. Deborah Mell has legal gay marriage in Iowa

"State Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago) quietly made Illinois history last week.

She got married.

To a woman.

Mell, 43, is the first high-profile elected official in the state to publicly enter into a same-sex marriage.

But she had to go to Iowa to do it.

It’s one of only six states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal. A judge in Davenport performed their civil ceremony last Wednesday.

Mell’s wife of one week is Christin Baker, 36, a national director for the YMCA. They dated for seven years."
-full report at Chicago Sun-Times 

Historic Pro-Gay Equality Shift Led by Millennials—Evangelicals Included

"The Public Religion Research Institute released on Monday “Generations at Odds: The Millennial Generation and the Future of Gay and Lesbian Rights,” a bookend to its June study on Millennials and abortion rights.

The report affirmed the steady upward trend in support among the general public for gay rights generally and marriage equality specifically, which PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones described as accelerating in the past two years. He said 2011, in which a number of reputable polls found majority support among Americans for marriage equality, marked a sea change in public opinion. Karlyn Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who commented on the new report, used historical data to highlight the dramatic change in public opinion on gay rights issues over the past quarter century, during which she said attitudes on reproductive choice, by contrast, were relatively stagnant. She said, for example, that the first poll in which she could find a question on marriage was in 1988, when only 12 percent agreed that gay couples should be allowed to marry and 73 percent disagreed."
- full analysis at Religion Dispatches

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Temple performs same-sex marriage ceremony; newlyweds hurdle barriers with love - The Times-Tribune

"The Simmonses have a relationship many people would envy.  The couple has known each other since kindergarten in Dingmans Ferry, Pike County. They became best friends as students at Delaware Valley High School. They realized they felt something more than friendship and dated for more than 5½ years. The couple planned for a baby and welcomed daughter, Taliah, into their South Carolina home in June. They were married Aug. 14, surrounded by family and friends in the tradition of reform Judaism. But there was something that made their union slightly different, a first for the Jewish congregation in Scranton - Jen and Naomi Simmons are a same-sex couple.

They had to leave the state for legal recognition of their marriage, making an appointment with a justice of the peace in Connecticut on Aug. 4. The couple then returned to family and friends in Pennsylvania for a traditional Jewish wedding Aug. 14, becoming the first same-sex couple married with the blessing of Temple Hesed in Scranton."

Chaz Bono reportedly on "Dancing With The Stars"

"Dancing With the Stars, which has had very little LGBT representation in all its years on the air, has reportedly signed Chaz Bono as a celebrity contestant for its upcoming season.

This is GREAT news if it does indeed come to pass.

It’s not only a personal opportunity for the only child of Cher and Sonny Bono to take on a physical challenge, having him on such a high-profile show will be the most exposure most people will ever have had to a transgender person.

Chaz transitioned from the female Chastity Bono to the male Chaz Bono and his journey was chronicled in the documentary Becoming Chaz and the memoir Transition: the story of how I became a man."

Fiji first to declare gay rights in Pacific - Fiji Times Online

"FIJI became the first Pacific island nation to formally decriminalise consensual homosexuality last year, the world's second largest gathering on HIV/AIDS was told.

Despite this significant step forward, there was a distinct lack of information about men who had sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in Fiji, a report tabled at the congress on AIDS said.

The report from Amithi Fiji ù a project that focuses on Fijian of Indian descent transgender and MSM ù said attempts were made by the Government to include in HIV surveillance studies of MSM and transgender (TG) issues."

Monday, 29 August 2011

Anti-gay Senator Roverto Arango resigns after seeking gay hook-up

The latest elected official caught with his pants down is Puerto Rican senator Roberto Arango, whose personal pics somehow wound up onGrindr. We say “somehow” because Arango, who leads the U.S. territory’s Partido Popular Democratico and has strong ties to the GOP, claims he can’t remember if he posted them or not.
“You know I’ve been losing weight. As I shed that weight, I’ve been taking pictures…  I don’t remember taking this particular picture but I’m not gonna say I didn’t take it. I’d tell you if I remembered taking the picture but I don’t.

Okay, some Jenny Craig-type snapshots got swiped and posted on a gay hookup site to embarrass a public official. That’s plausable. But how does Arango explain the down-on-all-fours/starfish picture? (Note: The particulars are blurred, but the image is still relatively NSFW.) Senator Robertowhose resignation was announced on Sunday, was married to Ana Margarita Barba and is the father of one daughter. He has opposed gay-rights legislation and worked on George W. Bush’s 2004  re-election campaign in Puerto Rico.
Roberto, estupido, if you want to post pictures on Grindr without getting caught, don’t wear a necklace people have seen you don in public. Just a suggestion.


Senator Arango has now resigned, leaving him more time to cruise the net.

Related posts:

Friday, 26 August 2011

Aquinas, "Nature" - and Sex.

Thomas Aquinas and Natural Law are often trotted out by the rule-book Catholics alongside the half-dozen clobber texts as a supposed justification for denying respect and equality to sexual minorities. I have absolutely no expertise in Thomist theology, but was intrigued by this observation, in a longer article ("The Other Side of the Catholic Tradition"), at the Washington Post.

Thomas Aquinas, who followed a century after Hildegard, wrote commentaries on 10 works by the greatest scientist of his day, Aristotle, even though the pope had forbidden Christians to study Aristotle. So controversial was Aquinas in his day that the king of France had to call out his troops to surround the convent where Aquinas lived to protect him from Christians aroused by fundamentalist clergy. For Aquinas, “revelation comes in two books—the Bible and Nature” and “a mistake about nature results in a mistake about God.” Aquinas insisted that one is always responsible to one’s conscience, more than to any other authority (emphasis added).

Lifting the lid on animal sex

 "In his new book Hung Like an Argentine Duck, Australian paleontologist Dr John Long aims to bring the weird and wonderful world of animal sexuality to the masses.
But there are also some interesting insights on human sexuality to be extrapolated from the book, challenging puritanical notions of what is ‘normal’ and ‘natural’: namely, that homosexuality is some kind of man-made choice, and that humans are the only species to indulge in sex for pleasure."

Indeed, once you’ve read Long’s passsages about dildo-wielding porcupines, bat blow jobs and necrophiliac snakes, you may be inclined to think we’re one of the tamer species in the animal kingdom.
“There isn’t any facet of human sexual behaviour that doesn’t already exist in the animal kingdom — the whole gamut of human sexual preference exists in animals in one form or another,” Long animatedly explained to the Star Observer.
“I must admit, a lot of it surprised me. We’re still learning new things all the time. I mention in the book that echidnas regularly have gangbangs, with five males to one female — that research was only published last year.”

In animals, [homosexuality] seems to be more about kinship and bonding, and how those animals fit in with a wider group or community, as opposed to a one-on-one pairing.”
In other words, those arguing that homosexuality is an evolutionary dead end are taking too narrow a view, with evidence that homosexual animals provide vital caring and support roles in animal communities, free from the burden of their own offspring.

'via Blog this'

Elmhurst College's Sexual Orientation Application Question First In The Nation

"Elmhurst College, a private liberal arts school located in the western suburbs of Chicago, this week released a new undergraduate application [PDF] for its 2012-2013 academic year including a reportedly historic question: "Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community?"

The question is the first of its kind according to Campus Pride, a national advocacy group working to foster more LGBT-inclusive college settings, whose executive director Shane Windmeyer described the move as "a distinct and unique paradigm shift in higher education" in a statement Tuesday."

'via Blog this'

Marriage grant funded salaries, rent

Marriage grant funded salaries, rent "Federal grant money awarded to a social conservative group to provide marriage counseling also helped pay some of its operational expenses while it was leading an anti-gay marriage campaign, according to grant documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

The $2.2 million received by the Iowa Family Policy Center between 2006 and 2010 helped hundreds of Iowans receive education and counseling, according to the documents. But it also paid for part of the salaries of five employees, rent, telephone, Internet and other expenses while it was fighting legalized gay marriage in Iowa."
-full report at Houston Chronicle:

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Lesson in Couple Stability From Homosexual Zebra Finches

Is it possible for male couples to form lifelong, stable and faithful relationships?
Well, we know that some do - just look at the pics of couples lining up to tie the knot every time a new state or country introduces same-sex marriage or civil unions. These always show a high proportion of male and female couples who have been in stable relationships for several decades, eager to demonstrate to the world what they already know: that to all intents and purposes, they are really married de facto, and need to make that de jure as well.
We also know that as a group, gay men are statistically less likely than heterosexual married couples to form these life-long, stable and faithful partnerships. To confirm that, all we need to do is to consider the number of gay seniors who live alone, with the numbers who live with the same partner they have been with all their lives. The proportions are quite different to those applicable to straight men.
This is often used as a argument against gay relationships and LGBT equality. For example, in a nasty piece at the NOM sponsored Ruth institute, Jennifer Morse has this to say:
We already know that in terms of economic behavior, male couples are different from female couples, and both are different from married couples. We also know that separation rates (ie divorces) are different for male couples and for female couples and both are different (higher, like way higher) than for married couples.
(In a breathakingly inappropriate headline, Morse her article as "Intelligent Replies to Idiotic Comments", but I let that pass. Rob Tisinai at Box Turtle Bulletin does a great job of showing her "intelligent" replies are made to demolish straw men -supposed that the proponents of marriage do not, in fact, advance. Read it).
I want to respond only to the one part of Morse's piece which is not just a straw man response, but one which is dangerous and deceitful sleight-of-hand, the quote above. Let's look more closely at what she is doing, and then provide a response which, be great serendipity, comes to us from - the world of birds: homosexual zebra finches.
The problem with Morse's argument is that she is not comparing like with like.

"male couples are different from female couples, and both are different from married couples"
Not so. What she should have introduced into this statement, but could not do for her ideological bias, are the qualifiers "unmarried" (before "male couples"), and "heterosexual" (before "married). Then we would have the fairly obvious truism:

"unmarried male couples are different from female couples, and both are different from heterosexual married couples",
Conversely, we could also say,

"married male couples are different from female couples, and both are different from unmarried heterosexual  couples"
Would that statement be true? We don't know: married same-sex couples have not yet been around long enough to have produced compelling long-term evidence one way or the other. We do however have evidence to support another statement that Morse could have made - but did not:

"unmarried heterosexual couples are different from heterosexual married couples",
One of the arguments against cohabitation before marriage is the abundant evidence that these relationship dissolve more easily and more frequently than formal marriages, with the attendant problems that can ensue for all parties involved - particularly the children. All relationships take work to make them endure. The stresses that contribute to relationship breakdown can be hard to resist at any time without reinforcement. The public visibility of a formal marriage, the vows that the parties have made and the legal obstacles in the way of divorce, all provide those reinforcements. It is no wonder that cohabiting relationships (gay or straight) break down more rapidly than married ones (gay or straight).
In addition to the standard difficulties in maintaining any long term relationship, gay couples have additional stresses unique to them, which arise from public prejudice and homophobia. (Things like the challenges of dealing with being fully out, or negotiating partial closets, problems for some couples with family acceptance, for instance). The apparent instability of gay couples may have more to do with their social circumstances, than anything inherent in the homoerotic orientation. To get a meaningful like for like comparison, we should be comparing  unmarried gay couples with unmarried straights, in a context where neither is handicapped by homophobia or public pressure. In the human context, this possibility simply does not exist.
In the natural world it does. Many animal species exhibit same-sex bonding and long-term couple formation. The animal kingdom  shows even greater sexual and gender diversity than the human one - and anything comparable to homophobia appears to be unknown. Published studies of individual species have shown that these same-sex couples are as stable as the mixed-sex counterparts. By great serendipity, the BBC has reported on another of these, a recent report of research into homosexual zebra finches, which corroborates my hypothesis above: that in the absence of homophobia, male couples can endure every are every but as stable as any others.

Male pair of Zebra finches
Same-sex pairs of monogamous birds are just as attached and faithful to each other as those paired with a member of the opposite sex.
The insight comes from a study of zebra finches - highly vocal, colourful birds that sing to their mates, a performance thought to strengthen the pair's bond.
Scientists found that same-sex pairs of finches sang to and preened each other just like heterosexual pairs.
The study is reported in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.

Related articles
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Census: More same-sex couples in more places

"Researchers from Alfred Kinsey to local nonprofits have tried for decades to count the United States' gay, lesbian and bisexual population, and still, there were no hard numbers.
But for the first time, the decennial census results report counts of same-sex partners and same-sex spouses, regardless of whether same-sex marriage is legal in their states.
Headlines from across the country reveal common themes: There are more people who identify as gay, and they've dispersed to more places."
-full story at

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Study links empathy, self-esteem, and autonomy with increased sexual enjoyment

"Sexual pleasure among young adults (ages 18-26) is linked to healthy psychological and social development, according to a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The study is the first to use a representative population sample of heterosexuals to find a relationship between key developmental assets and sexual pleasure."

Independence Party to campaign against Minnesota anti–gay marriage amendment

 "The Independence Party of Minnesota, one of three political parties in Minnesota with major party status, announced on Tuesday that it is joining the campaign to defeat a ballot measure that would place a ban on marriage for same-sex couples in the Minnesota Constitution if passed by the voters in 2012. The party announced shortly after the Minnesota Legislature passed the ballot initiative that it opposed the amendment, but the new announcement means party activists will actively campaign against the measure.

“Our platform declares that ‘We oppose having the government impose state-sponsored morality or values on people of good conscience with differing views,” chair Mark Jenkins said in a statement. “This is a perfect example.”

'via Blog this'

(Scottish) Charities unveil LGBT housing guide

One in five gay and lesbian people believe they are likely to be treated worse than heterosexuals when applying for social housing, according to new research.

The survey, carried out by charity Stonewall Scotland, revealed that the figure rises to one in four among young (18-24) and older (over 55) gay people.

The research also showed that gay women believe they are more likely to be discriminated against when applying for social housing and only 16% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people think their needs are considered when delivering public services.

Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, in partnership with Stonewall, which works to achieve equality for LGBT people, have produced a guide aimed at helping people fight potential discrimination affecting their housing rights

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Sister Mary Elizabeth Clark, transsexual nun.

The world’s first transsexual nun also deserves a mention in military history. She served twice, once as a man and once as a woman, before being honourably discharged (for the second time).

It was then that she entered religious life as an Episcopal nun.

From Matt & Andrej Koymasky:

Born in Pontiac, Michigan, Clark was christened Michael by his parents. But he soon realized nature had made a horrid mistake.
"From the time I was 3, I felt that I was different from other boys. I felt more comfortable in the company of girls. I tried to talk and act like a girl instead of a boy. I believed I was one of them - even though I knew I had a male anatomy. When I started going to elementary school, the other boys called me a sissy because I walked without 'macho' stride and carried my schoolbooks like a girl."
When he reached junior high school, Michael tried to talk to his parents about his mental torment. It didn't work. After finishing high school in 1957, Clark went on active duty with the Naval Reserve. Two years later he entered the regular Navy. Within a few months he took my greatest step to show everyone he was 'normal.' and got marreied. The marriage was very painful for both because he couldn't satisfy her needs and desires. It was further complicated by the fact that they had a son.
During this disastrous marriage he threw himself into Navy career, serving in Hawaii and Vietnam as an instructor in anti-submarine warfare, scuba diving and sea survival. In 1972, after 11 frustrating years together, Clark and his wife divorced. He hasn't seen his son since. After the divorce he married again. He was still desparately trying to be 'normal'.
"My new wife was a girl that I really intensely loved as a person. I still lover her today. We liked the same things - hiking, concerts. But she needed more from me than I could give. And she started having a guilt trip over our situation, thinking she was at fault. Finally I said to myself: 'My God, I'm reining this beautiful woman's life by keeping my secret from her.' So I broke down and told her I was a transsexual - a woman trapped in a man's body. Instead of making me feel ashamed, she talked about what we had to do."
She convinced Clark to tell his parents. Incredibly, they understood - a vast relief for him because he'd feared rejection. Then, with the encouragement of his wife and parents, Clark underwent psychological evaluation. It showed he realy was a woman inside. When the Navy found out about the evaluation, Clark was discharged. He had been an enlisted sailor in the U.S. Navy for 17 years, and rose to Chief Petty Officer. The discharge, though honorable, left him "angry and bitter" because he'd often been commended for outstanding service, he said. 
Clark underwent hormone therapy, and then, in June of 1975, had a sex change operation - emerging as Joanna Michelle Clark. Joanna divorced her wife moved in with her parents in San Jaun Capistrano, California, and began a new life as a clerk-typist. But in August of 1975 a Reserve recuiter visited her office and urged her to enlist again. She revealed to him that she was a transsexual, but he said he didn't think it would be a problem. And is wasn't. She was accepted, becoming a supplys clerk as a Sargent First Class in the WACs.... but 18 months later she was booted out of the Army Reserve. 
Ms. Clark fought the charges and discharge. The case was eventually settled out of court with a stipulation that the details of the settlement not be discussed. However, she received an honorable discharge, with credit for time served in the Reserve. The Army had capitualated on its charges... however, Ms. Clark had won a battle but lost the war. It remains unlawful for transsexuals to enlist in the services to this day, inspite of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
As Joanna Clark she lobbied successfully in 1977 for a law that allowed replacement birth certificates in the state of California. She later wrote Legal Aspects of Transsexualism, an important early document on the subject, still referenced twenty years later. She founded the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee, serving as chair for several years, seemingly tirelessly working to improve the legal status of TS persons. Joanna served with Jude Patton as a TS advisor with a Gender Identity Clinic during the early '80s. 
She decided to become a nun; the world's first transsexual Episcopal nun, founder and sole member of the Community of St. Elizabeth, a nonprofit religious organization. She took her vows at St. Clement's by the Sea Episcopal Church in San Clemente in 1988. She transferred to the Order of St. Michael in 1997. 
In 1990, as Sister Mary Elizabeth, she founded and continues to operate the largest AIDS and HIV online information BBS and website - ÆGiS (AIDS Education Global Information System;, a definitive and comprehensive web-based reference for HIV/AIDS-related information, to meet the need for access to up-to-date HIV/AIDS information by people in isolated areas.
"Of all the things I've done in my life, military-wise, or working with children, I don't think I've had anything in my life that I've had more passion for. I really can't put it into words. When you see letters from people and you know that you're helping them, that's what it's all about."

Chely Wright Married Lauren Blitzer - See Their Wedding Dresses: Pictures :

Country singer Chely Wright and partner Lauren Blitzer tied the knot Saturday at a private home in Connecticut – and now the happy newlyweds have shared a photo from their ceremony

Monday, 22 August 2011

Australia: Cairns Regional Council to adopt 'alternative' to formalised gay marriage

Cairns Regional Council plans to launch a same-sex couple register to provide an alternative to marriage for gay, lesbian and transgender couples.
An alliance of local support groups is working with the council on the register as a way of providing official recognition of same-sex relationships.
Proponents say it would provide a sense of wellbeing for same-sex couples and provide a legal mechanism to make it easier for them to prove their relationship. Similar relationship registers already exist in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania on both a state and local government level.
Full report at Cairns News 

For Australia, this is more than just a feel-good symbolic gesture. Although there is no formal legal recognition of same-sex marriages or civil unions, the legal system does offer de facto equality of treatment to same-sex couples - if they can demonstrate that a genuine partnership exists. Therein lies the difficulty, of course. I know from personal experience the value of a paper trail in demonstrating such a partnership. When my partner and I left South Africa in 2003, I was able to get a UK ancestry visa on the strength of my partner' ancestry: but to do so, we had to gather as much documentary evidence as we could to substantiate that our relationship was genuine and well-established. The Australian partnership registries, in Cairns and elsewhere, do not in themselves bring direct, tangible benefits, but they do open doors to claiming benefits as a de facto partnership,

They are also a symptom of the growing push towards gay marriage in Australia - and probably contribute to the national feeling of inevitability on the issue.

Gay marriage and adoption movement launches in New Zealand

 Today, New Zealand will Legalise Love.

Legalise Love, a movement to supporting gay marriage and adoption in New Zealand, has launched today.

As well as promoting the acceptance of non-heterosexual New Zealanders, Legalise Love will help Kiwis fight the legislative inequalities they face, which stop us from being an equal nation.

As a nation at the forefront of human rights, it's hard to accept that in New Zealand, we aren't all equal.

Taiwan hosts its biggest same-sex 'wedding' party - Yahoo! New Zealand Entertainment

About 80 lesbian couples tied the knot in Taiwan's biggest same-sex "wedding party" in a massive gesture that organisers said Sunday offered hope that the island will soon legalise gay marriage.

Many of the couples donned white dresses and veils for the "Barbie and Barbie's wedding", which was held overnight in downtown Taipei, attracting about 1,000 visitors, including friends, relatives and curious onlookers.

"I feel very hopeful that Taiwan will legalise same-sex marriage soon," said one of the brides, 32-year-old stylist Celine Chen, who plans a honeymoon in New York, which in June became the sixth US state to legalise gay marriage.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Strong Start For Gay Marriage Campaign In Maine

A campaign to legalize gay marriage in Maine with a citizen's initiative is off to a strong start, the AP reported.
In 2009, gay marriage foes narrowly (53%) repealed a law approved by lawmakers with a “people's veto” at the the ballot box.
Now, backers hope to make Maine the first state to legalize the institution through the same democratic process.
The state's largest gay rights group EqualityMaine gathered more than 5,000 signatures on Saturday, the first official day of petition-gathering. To qualify for the 2012 ballot, supporters need to collect the signatures of 57,277 registered voters.
-full report at  On Top Magazine 

Gay Politicians: French government minister Frédéric Mitterrand

b. 21 August 1947

In a cabinet reshuffle, President Sarkozy has appointed another openly gay man to the cabinet. ( The "Independent" says he is the first out French Minister, but that is incorrect. That was Roger Karoutchi, who disclosed in January that he is gay and happily partnered.)

From the Independent:

The film-maker, writer and TV presenter Frédéric Mitterrand, 61, nephew of the late President François Mitterrand, will become culture minister, a very high-profile job in France. This appointment, welcomed by many in the artistic world, will irritate the Catholic, conservative right. M. Mitterrand is a vociferous campaigner for homosexual rights and a columnist in the gay magazine, Tétu. 
(Biography at Wikipedia)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Idea of gay marriage slowly expands in Australia

TEN days out from the 2010 election, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott fronted a forum of undecided voters at Rooty Hill RSL, in Sydney's west. It was a media circus, to be sure, but it was also mercifully unscripted, perilous for the leaders, and all too rare in our politics.

One of the moments that lives in the mind was when Janice Waters from Old Toongabbie challenged the Prime Minister on same-sex marriage. Gillard reeled off Labor's policy and her own belief: marriage was between a man and a woman and there would be no change to the Marriage Act.

"I'm a taxpayer," the determined Waters replied. "I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I want to be able to say to that woman that I love, 'Will you marry me?', not 'Will you civil union me?' " The rousing applause that followed showed three things: an audience that felt free to stick it to the Prime Minister, a feeling there was a gap between what Gillard had just said and what was really in her heart, and some evidence that out here in the burbs, confronted with such personal ardour, folks were more relaxed about gay marriage than the woman who was seeking their votes.

-Full analysis at The Australian

Gay Marriage Supporters Launch New Campaign

Gay marriage supporters in Maine are launching a signature-gathering drive aimed at putting the issue to a statewide vote in the new year.
EqualityMaine says the effort launches Saturday in a number of communities including Portland, Kennebunk, Biddeford, York, Bangor, Ellsworth and Brunswick.

Deportation halted for lesbian Mexican national in same-sex marriage

A Colorado immigration judge halted the deportation on Friday of a lesbian Mexican national in a same-sex marriage who would be eligible for a marriage-based green card if not for the Defense of Marriage Act.

-full report at Washington Blade

Friday, 19 August 2011

Nebraska Opposition to Gay Mmarriage Softening - Poll

Eleven years ago, a majority of Nebraskans roundly rejected the idea of gay marriage.
Today, a slim majority of Nebraskans statewide still oppose gay nuptials, but a majority in Omaha say they support the legalization of gay marriage. 
Overall, Nebraskans' position on all things gay appears to be softening, as strong majorities told a polling firm this month that they would accept a gay grandson, embrace a lesbian friend and support allowing gay couples to adopt children.
-Full report at Livewell

Bill Nemitz: Marriage equality victory appears to add up in 2012

It's the obvious question now that same-sex marriage in Maine, defeated at the polls less than two years ago, appears headed for the 2012 ballot: What's changed?

Don't get me wrong. There always will be a significant number of Mainers who feel that marriage between anyone other than a man and a woman is a) a sin, b) a threat to civilization as we know it, c) a plot to turn classrooms into homosexual training camps or d) all of the above and then some.But as Bob Dylan observed all those years ago, the times they are a changin'.
The Portland Press Herald 

August 19: Renée Richards, Transgender Athlete

Transgender Pioneer
b. August 19, 1934
I made the fateful decision to go and fight the legal battle to be able to play as a woman and stay in the public eye and become this symbol.

Dr. Renée Richards became a transgender icon in 1977 when she won a lawsuit against the United States Tennis Association. Richards sued the Association for its refusal to let her compete in the U.S. Open women's division following male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. In a landmark decision, the New York Supreme Court ruled in Richards's favor.

Richards started playing tennis at an early age. Ranked among the top-10 eastern national juniors, she won the Eastern Private Schools' Interscholastic singles title at age 15. She captained her high school tennis team at the Horace Mann School in New York City and Yale University's men's tennis team in 1954.

In 1959, Richards graduated from University of Rochester Medical School. After serving in the Navy as Lieutenant Commander, she pursued a career in ophthalmology and eye surgery while continuing to compete in tennis tournaments.

At the height of her tennis career, Richards ranked 20th in the nation. In her first tennis tournament as a female, she reached the semifinals in the U.S. Open women's doubles competition. Following retirement, Richards coached tennis star Martina Navratilova. In 2000, the U.S. Tennis Association inducted Richards into its Hall of Fame.

Richards has published two autobiographies: "Second Serve Renée" (1986), also a TV-movie, and "No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life" (2007). She is a renowned eye surgeon and professor of ophthalmology at the New York University School of Medicine.

“The Second Half of My Life.” NPR: Talk of the Nation. February 8, 2007
Fee, Elizabeth, Theodore M. Brown and Janet Taylor. "One Size Does Not Fit All in the Transgender Community." Journal of Public Health, 93.6. June 2003
Selected Works
No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life (2007)
Second Serve (1986)
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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Coronation Street all set for pride parade

Coronation Street may have faced flak for being 'too gay', but the (British) soap is going to be loud and proud as it leads out the Manchester Pride parade for a second year running.
ITV bosses have confirmed they are to enter a float in this year's parade celebrating gay, lesbian and transgender culture in the city - after the success of last year's 50th anniversary of Corrie entry which went on to scoop Best Float.

And ITV has lain down the gauntlet to other entries, stating they are aiming to 'win again' with another flamboyant and colourful offering into the annual parade through the streets of Manchester on Saturday, August 27.
-full report at  Manchester Evening News

New poll: Majority prefer marriage for gay and lesbian New Jersey couples

"Four out of five New Jersey voters are now in favor of legal recognition of same-sex unions. This is according to a new Public Policy Poll (PPC) released today. The poll says 81 percent prefer legal recognition over no recognition for LGBT couples. Voters prefer same-sex marriage 47 – 42 percent, when asked about marriage equality as a simple yes or no question. They prefer legal civil marriage over civil unions when that component is added to the mix.
When asked. 'Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?, 'voters chose legal 47 percent over illegal, 42 percent.
When asked if 'gay couples should be allowed to legally marry, or gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry, or there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple's relationship?, 'voters picked marriage 41 percent, civil unions 40 percent, and neither, 17 percent."

Scottish Support for Marriage Equality Jumps

"A new survey of Scottish citizens has shown a huge increase in support for same-sex marriage rights over the past decade, leading LGBT rights groups to call for swift introduction and approval of marriage equality legislation."
-full report at The Advocate

Mexico City reaches 1,000th gay marriage - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

"Mexico City has marked its 1,000th same-sex marriage since lawmakers in the capital approved such unions in March 2010.

The city government says in a statement that about 6 percent of those getting married in same-sex weddings in the city are foreigners."

Monday, 15 August 2011

AFP: Taiwan gears for biggest same-sex mass wedding

Gay and lesbian activists display a rainbow flag at an annual parade in Taipei in 2008 

About 60 lesbian couples will tie the knot in Taiwan's biggest same-sex mass wedding in the hope that the island will soon follow New York to legalise gay marriage, an organiser said Tuesday.
Around 1,000 people have purchased tickets for the private event, which will take place at an overnight party in Taipei later this month, including visitors from China, Thailand and the US, said organiser AJ Wang.'We are celebrating the recent legalisation of gay marriage in New York and we hope that Taiwan will make the same move in the near future,' she said.'We also want the public to see that so many gay couples are committed to each other and they deserve to be recognised and treated fairly.'
Full report at AFP

Protesters make Noise to demand same-sex rights - National News, Frontpage -

Protesters make Noise to demand same-sex rightsThousands of people marched in Dublin yesterday to demand that same-sex couples be given the right to wed -- with a warning that it has become a major human rights issue.
Singer and gay rights advocate Brian Kennedy told a crowd of around 5,000 people that there is a huge gulf in rights between full marriage and the civil partnership legislation that came into affect this year.
Full report at - Irish Independent

BBC Nature - Homosexual zebra finches form long-term bond

Same-sex pairs of monogamous birds are just as attached and faithful to each other as those paired with a member of the opposite sex.

Pair of Male Zebra Finches
 The insight comes from a study of zebra finches - highly vocal, colourful birds that sing to their mates, a performance thought to strengthen the pair's bond.
Scientists found that same-sex pairs of finches sang to and preened each other just like heterosexual pairs.The study is reported in the journal Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.

The Gay Marriage Debate Hits Latin America - Fox News Latino

The Gay Marriage Debate Hits Latin America : "A year after Argentina became the first Latin American country to pass legislation to legalize homosexual civil unions, the gay marriage debate has heated up, as several countries consider similar bills.
Just this past week, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera proposed a law to recognize the unions, granting unmarried partners some of the same rights as married couples. In Colombia, they’re following this trend, with the constitutional court recently telling Congress to come up with a piece of legislation regarding gay unions within the two years. It informed the legislative body that same-sex couples constitute families and should be allowed to have the rights of heterosexuals.  
Read the full analysis at, Fox News Latino

Oregon gay-rights supporters aim for 2012 marriage vote

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown 
"The 2012 general elections may be more than a year away, but Basic Rights Oregon — the state’s largest gay-rights organization — already is planning a voter-education campaign on same-sex marriage.

The group plans to begin collecting signatures in October for a possible 2012 ballot campaign, said Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon.

The announcement was made during a Garden Party fundraiser in South Salem benefiting the organization.

“I fully support the work that Basic Rights Oregon does,” said Oregon State Secretary Kate Brown, the event's keynote speaker."
- Full report at Statesman Journal

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Companies are changing to support transgender employees

When workers undergo a change in gender, their employers need to address new needs
"IT specialist Brad Sensabaugh can't help but wonder how some of his colleagues at the TD Bank Group in London, Ont., will react when the story of his private life hits the media spotlight.
That he is anything more than the bright, tech savvy 33-yearold man they've come to know and respect in the months since he joined the bank has likely never crossed their minds.Even among those who know his past - that he was once a 'she' - there can be confusion.
'I think I pass very well,' he said in a recent telephone interview about his gender transition.
So unless you get into the nuances of saying, 'I was born female', they don't necessarily know which direction you are going or where you've come from."

Companies in Canada have come a long way in recent years in welcoming diversity into the workplace.

Read more:

Read the full analysis at Vancouver Sun

More Anti-gay hypocrisy: Indiana anti-gay politician in hotel male hookup.

"A married Indiana Republican state legislator who voted for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage sought to pay an 18-year-old man “for a really good time” in a hotel room, according to an email exchange published Friday by the Indianapolis Star.

The 1,600-word front-page story details the interaction between state Rep. Phillip Hinkle, 64, and 18-year-old Kameryn Gibson, who met the lawmaker after the sixth-term Republican responded to Gibson’s Craigslist advertisement in a men’s section of the site."

Greens call for free ALP vote on marriage laws

HUNDREDS of same-sex marriage advocates, some dressed as Jesus Christ and the Pope, gathered in Brisbane as part of a national day of protest yesterday.
Gay and lesbian rights protests were held across the country ahead of the ALP National Conference in December."

BBC News - Gay man and transgender woman wed in Cuba

"A Cuban man and transgender woman have married in what is being seen as the country's first 'gay wedding'.

Same sex marriage is illegal in Cuba, but bride Wendy Iriepa is legally a woman after undergoing one of the first state-sponsored sex changes in 2007.

Her fiance, Ignacio Estrada, is a noted dissident and gay rights activist in Cuba and is also HIV positive."

- video at BBC News

Same-sex marriage demo in Dublin

"Thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Dublin to march for civil marriage equality.
Singer Brian Kennedy will join members of the LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender - community, their family and friends for the demonstration."

- full report at Belfast Telegraph

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Two-thirds of Scots support gay marriage

"EQUALITY campaigners have called for swift legislation to allow Scots the right to same-sex marriages, after a new study showed the number who support the move has soared.

The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has revealed that in 2010 almost two-thirds of people (61%) supported same-sex marriage, up from 41% in 2002.

The report comes after a split emerged in the SNP over the issue of same-sex marriages. SNP MEP Alyn Smith criticised colleagues only days after John Mason, a nationalist colleague tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament, backed by three other nationalist MSPs, stating that no one should be forced to approve of same-sex marriage."