Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Guido Westerwelle, German Vice Chancellor

27 December 1961

Guido_Westerwelle (right)  and partner Michael Mronz  (L)

Guido Westerwelle is a German liberal politician, currently serving as the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (since 28 October 2009). He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions. Since 2001, he has been the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. A lawyer by profession, he has been a Member of Parliament since 1996.

Westerwelle joined the FDP in 1980. He was a founding member of the Junge Liberale, the youth organization of that party, and was its chairman from 1983 to 1988.

Having been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Secretary General of the party. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economy and took a leading part in the drafting of a new party programme.
In 1996, Westerwelle was first elected a member of the German Bundestag, filling in for Heinz Lanfermann, who had resigned from his seat after entering the Ministry of Justice. In 1998, Westerwelle was re-elected to parliament.
In 2001, he succeeded Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman, who however remained chairman of the FDP's parliamentary group. Westerwelle was then the youngest chairman in the party's history,
Until 2004 he was not openly gay, although this was fairly common knowledge in the general public. On 20 July 2004, Westerwelle attended Angela Merkel's 50th birthday party accompanied by his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was gay. It was the first time that he attended an official event with his partner. Today, he is frank about his homosexuality and lives together with his partner Michael Mronz. The couple registered their partnership on 17 September 2010 in a private ceremony in Bonn

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Bob Brown Leader of the Australian Greens

b. 27 December 1944

Australian senator, the inaugural Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, who was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia.Brown has led the Australian Greens since the party was founded in 1992 until the present, a period of growth to poll today at around 10% at state and federal levels (13.9% of the primary vote in 2010.

Brown lives in Hobart with his long-time partner, Paul Thomas, a farmer and activist whom he met in 1996.

(Included on the Same Same list of the 25 most influential Australians in  2010, 2009,20082007)

Like Michael Kirby, Bob Brown has appeared on every Same Same 25 list we've run, securing a huge number of nominations from fans of his political activism and advocacy for social justice.

In 2011 his influence is set to be greater than ever. The Australian Greens currently share the balance of power in the Senate and will hold the balance of power in their own right from July. Heading up the party is a leading light in national politics - Brown's been a public figure for 40 years and was instrumental in early gay rights reform.

"Coming out made [public] life harder," he told the Sydney Morning Herald recently. "It lost me an election in 1982 and in every letterbox in the electorate there were vile pamphlets about my sexuality. I was continually vilified in the streets. But it was the right thing to do and personally it made things a lot easier.
"I am always delighted when a young person comes up to me and says, 'Look, thank you for being who you are because it has meant a lot to me with my own struggle with my sexuality.'"
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Monday, 26 December 2011

West Virginia Delegate John Doyle Plans Civil Unions Bill

"West Virginia Delegate John Doyle has said he plans to introduce a bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.

On Thursday, the 69-year-old Doyle said he would not seek re-election next year after nearly 20 years of service.
“I have represented the 57th House of Delegates district for the last 19 years and I have decided not to run for reelection,” he said, WEPM Radio News reported.
Doyle did not say what was next for him: “I love the Legislature. I'd love to stay in it, but there are some other things I want to do and I think I better get to them while I still have a good bit of energy.”
He added that he would sponsor a civil unions bill during the upcoming legislative session.
“I'm not going to introduce a gay marriage bill simply because it has no chance of passing the West Virginia Legislature. We just might be able to get a civil union bill through, so I'm going to give it a shot.”
If approved, West Virginia would join Rhode Island, New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois and Delaware in offering the union. Lawmakers in Colorado are also expected to debate the issue next year."

Majority Of Virginians Support Civil Unions, Not Marriage, For Gay Couples

"A majority of Virginian voters support civil unions, not marriage, for gay and lesbian couples, a new survey found.
According to a Public Policy Polling survey released last week, a majority (53%) of respondents oppose the legalization of gay marriage, while 34 percent approve. Thirteen percent refused to answer.
When pollsters asked, “Which of the following best describes your opinion on gay marriage: 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?” support for gay marriage dropped to 31 percent.
But a majority of voters (59%) said they supported marriage (31%) or civil unions (28%) for gay couples. Thirty-eight percent said there should be no legal recognition and 3 percent refused to answer. 
-On Top Magazine

Democrats lead in support of gay unions with 70 percent, followed by 66% of independent and 39% of Republicans."

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David Sedaris (1956 – ) US

b December 26, 1956

Grammy Award-nominated American humorist, writer, comedian, bestselling author, and radio contributor.

The Greek - American writer and humourist, who grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, first came to public attention when he was invited to read extracts from his diaries on the weekly local program "The Wild Room", after the radio host Ira Glass discovered him reading it in a Chicago club. Later he made his national radio debut with his "Santaland Diaries", an account of vacation work as a Santa's elf at Macy's, New York. Since then he has published a series of books of essays and stories, largely comprising autobiographical anecdotes (exaggerated for comic effect).

His next book, Me Talk Pretty One Day, was written mostly in France over a period of seven months, and was published in 2000 to "practically unanimous rave reviews".[22] For that book, Sedaris won the 2001 Thurber Prize for American Humor, and was named "Humorist of the Year" by Time magazine. In 2004, Sedaris published Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, which hit #1 on The New York Times Nonfiction Best Seller list on June 20, 2004.

Sedaris is also a playwright, having written with his sister, actress Amy Sedaris, several plays under the name "The Talent Family".

His longtime partner is Hugh Hamrick.

Books by David Sedaris:

The Photographic Art of Herb Ritts

b. August 13, 1952
d. December 26, 2002

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ricky Martin – Pop Star

b.December 24, 1971

Enrique "Ricky" Martín Morales better known as Ricky Martin, is a Puerto Rican pop singer and actor who achieved prominence, first as a member of the Latin boy band Menudo, then as a solo artist since 1991.
During his career he has sold more than 60 million worldwide.

23 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011
No straight man could ever shake his bon-bon like Ricky Martin could. Despite years denying he was gay, eventually the Latin lovely fessed up and told us what we knew long before he did. In 2008, Ricky became a father to twin boys via a surrogate mum. And that spurred him on to post on his website in 2010 that he was, indeed, gay. “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man,” he wrote. “If I’d known how good it was going to feel, I would have done it ten years ago.” His admittance made him a trailblazer as the first multi-million selling Latino artist to come out.
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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

December 20,

b. December 20, 1933
As long as I have a breath in me, I will continue to fight for the rights of gay and lesbian students.

As a counselor and science teacher at Fairfax High School in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Virginia Uribe witnessed the troubles of gay students. The plight of one student who had been kicked out of his house and had dropped out of four different high schools because of sexual harassment convinced Uribe to take action. In 1984, she founded Project 10, a drop-out prevention program for GLBT youth.

Gay Marriage for Germany, France?

While the bulk of English language reporting on gay marriage has focussed on three English - speaking countries, the state level battles in the US, the promise of equality for the UK, and on the political push in Australia, there is also important movement in several European countries. Denmark and Finland have expressed their intention to introduce enabling legislation (in 2012 and 2013 respectively), and Luxembourg has already introduced legislation - it is just not clear when the process will be concluded.

Now, there are encouraging reports of progress in the European Union's two major countries, Germany and France:

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sia Furler, Australian. Singer/songwriter.

b. 18 December 1975
"I've always been honest if anyone ever asked me. Before I was actually successful I'd always said I've always dated boys and girls and anything in between. I don't care what gender you are, it's about people.

Pop, down tempo, and jazz singer and songwriter. In 2000, her single, "Taken for Granted" was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom. Her 2008 album, Some People Have Real Problems peaked in the top 30 on the Billboard 200. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2009, she won the award for 'Best Music DVD' and received six nominations at the ARIA Music Awards of 2010 and won 'Best Independent Release' and 'Best Pop Release' for We Are Born and 'Best Video' for the song "Clap Your Hands".

In 2008, Furler discussed her bisexuality in interviews with Scotland on Sunday and AfterEllen.com. In June 2010, Furler expressed a wish to marry her then girlfriend JD Samson of electro-punk band Le Tigre. The couple have since broken up.

She was included on a list of gay entertainers in the June–July 2009 issue of The Advocate, and was nominated for the Australian "SameSame25" awards as among the 25 "most influential" gay and lesbian Australians in 2010, 2009
"My name is Sia Furler. I am a unicorn fart. I was born out of the butthole of a unicorn called Steve. Someday I'll die. Between now and then I'm going to keep my shit together and sing my fucking heart out."

Clap Your Hands for our favourite singing star! The mega-successful yet humble Sia had unprecedented success in 2010 as the Adelaide-born songbird returned to Australia to accept ARIAs for her latest tracks.

Based in New York, she's enjoying making key music industry contacts - and can now name-drop with the very best of them - but often says in interviews that she misses Australia and one day hopes settle back down here with her DJ partner JD Samson.
Last year she released her fifth album which includes singles Clap Your Hands, Bring Night and You've Changed. The album, which is noticeably more upbeat than her previous few, was honoured picked up three ARIAs, including Best Pop Release and Best Independent Album.
Sia is currently touring Australia and NZ as part of the Big Day Out line-up.

-SameSame 25, 2010 
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Saturday, 17 December 2011

GOP Mississippi Mayor Outed - After Spending City Funds at Gay Adult Store

"An embattled Mississippi mayor has come out after an investigation revealed that he used city funds to cover personal expenses including a visit to a gay adult store.

The Tennessee-based publication The Commercial Appeal prompted the revelation from Southaven Mayor Greg Davis, after receipts provided by state auditors showed that Davis had spent thousands of dollars worth of liquor, expensive dinners and even a personal vacation, in addition to a charge for $67 at Priape, a store in Toronto that is described by its website as "Canada's premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop." Davis is said to have made the visit to the shop during a recruitment trip in Canada."
full report at Huffington Post
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Gerard Reve, Dutch writer

b. 14 December 1923
d.  8 April 2006

Together with Willem Frederik Hermans and Harry Mulisch, Reve is considered one of the "Great Three" of Dutch post-war literature. His 1981 novel De vierde man was the basis for Paul Verhoeven's 1983 film.

Reve was one of the first homosexuals to come out in the Netherlands, and is the country's best known, most popular, and most controversial gay writer. He often wrote explicitly about erotic attraction, sexual relations and intercourse between men, which many readers considered to be shocking. However, he did this in an ironic, humorous and recognizable way, which contributed to making homosexuality acceptable for many of his readers. Another main theme, often in combination with eroticism, was religion. Reve himself declared that the primary message in all of his work was salvation from the material world we live in.

His debut novel De Avonden (The Evenings [1947]) portrayed a disillusioned post-war generation. It contains some of Reve's dominant topics--(homo)sexuality, death and religion--and the main characteristics of his literary style, which often is ironic and archaic and mixes the lofty with the trivial. De Avonden is now considered one of the milestones of twentieth-century Dutch literature.


Terugkeer (1940),
De avonden (1947),
Werther Nieland (1949),
De ondergang van de familie Boslowitz (1950),
De taal der liefde (1972),
Lieve jongens (1973),
Een circusjongen (1975),
Oud en eenzaam (1978),
De vierde man,
Nader tot u,
Het boek van Violet en Dood,
Brieven aan Matroos Vosch 1975-1992,
Met niks begonnen, correspondentie met Willem Nijholt (1997),
Het hijgend hert (1998),
Verzameld werk, deel 6 (2001)

glbtq encyclopedia: Dutch and Flemish Literature
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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Anton Hysen ( 1990 – ), Sweden. Footballer

b. December 13, 1990

Swedish football player who plays in the Swedish fourth division for Utsiktens BK, which is coached by his father Glenn Hysén. Anton is a former member of the Swedish national under-17 association football team and was given a trainee contract with BK Häcken from 2007 to 2009, but was hindered by injuries and instead joined Utsiktens BK, for whom he plays in his third season. He was previously a member of Torslanda IK. His older brothers are football players Tobias Hysén and Alexander Hysén.

He came out as gay to the Swedish football magazine Offside in March 2011. Daily Mail has described Anton as the "first high-profile Swedish footballer to announce that he is gay" and as the second active professional football player to come out, after English footballer Justin Fashanu in 1990. The BBC called him "a global one-off". He told the magazine: "It is fucked up that no other Swedish player had come out yet. I am a footballer. And gay. If I perform as a footballer, then I do not think it matters if I like girls or boys. People may call me anything they want, it will just make me even more psyched".

He was named at number 27 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
Twenty years ago the only openly gay footballer was the late, troubled Justin Fashanu. And then, nothing. Now in 2011, God has answered our prayers with Swedish Anton Hysen. The 20-year-old sportsman with model looks is the son of Liverpool defender and Swedish international Glenn Hysén. In 2007, his dad made a surprise appearance at Stockholm’s Pride march, and spoke with great empathy of ‘A 16-year-old who didn’t want to come out because he feared what his teammates would think.’ No one realised at the time, but he was referring to his son. Anton admits he’s still surprised no other professional footballers have stood up to be counted. “It is completely strange, isn’t it?” he says. “It’s all fucked up. Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out.”
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Monday, 12 December 2011

Penguin (Gay) Parenting: Lessons for Gay Adoption

A few months ago, the Toronto Zoo was in the news, taking flack for a decision to separate two male penguins who had formed a pair bond.

In China, the authorities at a zoo in northern China have taken the opposite approach.  When they saw that a male pair had been attempting to steal eggs, they took the obvious, rational, decision. They identified a chick in need of parents, and set up an adoption.
While zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo were quick to separate Buddy and Pedro for mating purposes, keepers at Harbin Polar Land embraced their eccentric penguins by not only giving them a same-sex wedding ceremony worthy of Leslie Knope but also providing them with their very own baby chick to care for.
Adam and Steve had a history of stealing eggs from more-traditional couples during hatching season. So when keepers noticed a mother of recently hatched twins struggling with her parenting duties, they decided to give Adam and Steve the baby they were looking for.
While it might seem, well, different for a penguin chick to have two male parents, in fact, all penguins are known to have natural instincts for parenting, as males and females equally share in the responsibility to incubate and care for their chicks, before and after they’re born. For this reason, keepers at Harbin Polar Land  
Read morenewsfeed.time.com

Ignore the "wedding" - that's just an obvious, gimmicky PR stunt. There are more important lessons here.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Monica Marquez: Lesbian Judge for Colorado Supreme Court

While much of the headline news over the struggle for queer equality is devoted to the high-profile national stories, great progress is being made across a broad front at state and local level. This story, of an important judicial appointment in Colorado, is one of many that deserves wider attention:

Relief and skepticism both are greeting Colorado’s next member of the state Supreme Court. Monica Marquez is the first Latina and the first openly gay jurist on the state’s high court.
Marquez was named by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the court. Marquez is currently deputy Colorado attorney general and is past president of the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association.
A gay state senator tells The Pueblo Chieftain that Marquez’s appointment means racial and sexual preference barriers are no longer there. But a conservative critic of the court tells The Denver Post that he suspects Marquez was picked not because of her merits but to appeal to "special interests."

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Elio Di Rupo, EU's first openly gay government leader

 Iceland has Europe's  (and the world's) first openly gay or lesbian head of government, and Germany had for a time an openly gay deputy Chancellor (who is still very senior in government, as Minister of Foreign Affairs). Belgium now has the first openly gay or lesbian prime minister in the EU, and the first gay male in that position anywhere. After months of wrangling, the country has finally confirmed what has been clear for a long time. Elio di Rupo is to be formally confirmed as Belgian Prime Minister.
"Elio Di Rupo has been named the new, openly gay, Prime Minister of Belgium, after the country went a year and a half without a government.
King Albert II named Di Rupo yesterday, and he will become the second openly gay head of government in Europe following Belgium’s 541-day period without a federal administration.
Di Rupo will lead a complicated coalition in Brussels which represents a population divided into the French-speaking south and Dutch-speaking north.
The 60-year-old has become the first French-speaking leader in four decades.
Leader of the country’s Socialist Party, he will work with Christian Democrats and Liberals and three other parties after forming a coalition at the weekend."
-full report at  PinkNews.co.uk

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Court rules in favor of transgender editor at Legislature

The federal appeals court in Atlanta on Tuesday ruled in favor of a transgender woman who was fired from her General Assembly job after disclosing she was going to make the transition from man to woman.
The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means Vandy Beth Glenn is one step closer to getting her job back as an editor and proofreader of legislation. Glenn was fired in October 2007.
The court upheld a ruling last year by a federal judge in Atlanta. Glenn had not been allowed to return to her General Assembly job, pending the state’s appeal, but has continued to be paid her state salary.
Glenn was hired at the Office of Legislative Counsel in 2005 when she was a man named Glenn Morrison. That year, she was diagnosed with gender identity disorder, and her doctors recommended a gender transition for her health and well-being. 

'via Blog this'

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Australian Labor Party backs gay marriage.

 Today, while the Western hemisphere was asleep, the Australian Labor Party took the decision that has been building for months, and overwhelmingly supported a motion to amend the formal party policy, to provide backing for marriage equality.

This does not mean that Australia will necessarily get the enabling legislation passed any time soon. In a parallel decision, but by a narrower margin, the party conference also agreed that the party will allow a conscience vote when the matter comes before Parliament. Some MP's, including the Prime Minister, will use this latitude against. Without the support of some opposition MP's, the measure will certainly fail. The question then becomes, will the opposition similarly allow a conscience vote, and if they do, how many will vote in conscience in favour? It's too soon to tell.

What we do know, is that there will be a bill introduced to Parliament, and the opposition will be forced to take a stand - just as the ALP has done. With a comfortable majority of Australian voters have supporting equality, blanket resistance by the opposition is sure to lose them votes. Whether it comes next year, or later, marriage equality is now clearly on the way in Australia.

 Labor backs gay marriage. 

The Labor Party has voted resoundingly to change its policy to one of supporting gay marriage.
But federal MPs will not be forced to support gay marriage when the issue comes before Parliament next year because the party also voted to endorse a conscience vote for its politicians.
The votes were held this morning after passionate debate for and against the changes at the ALP national conference in Sydney.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had called for a conscience vote and personally moved the amendment backing this.
Had this been defeated, Ms Gillard’s leadership would have suffered a serious blow. She dodged a bullet when the conscience vote was endorsed by 208 votes to 184.
The platform change endorsed today says ‘‘Labor will amend the Marriage Act to ensure equal access to marriage under statute for all adult couples irrespective of sex who have a mutual commitment to a shared life’’.
The amendments to the platform also exclude the churches and other religious organisations from having to marry gay people if they do not want to.
-full report at  Sydney Morning Herald.
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