Monday, 31 December 2012

"Dear Abby": Best Advice - Ever.

30 years ago:

Dear Abby

I can not vouch for the authenticity of this – was this a genuine published response, or a modern spoof? I don’t know- but either way, the advice is sound.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

New Year Honours List: Michael Cashman, Gay Rights Campaigner And Eastenders Actor, Honoured

Gay rights activist and actor-turned-politician Michael Cashman was awarded a CBE in Saturday's New Year's Honours.

Cashman, 62, is probably best-known for delivering the first gay kiss on British prime-time TV, sparking record numbers of complaints but also many plaudits when his character Colin Russell pecked lover Barry Clark on the forehead in a 1987 episode of EastEnders.

Colin was the first homosexual character in the BBC soap, and his introduction caused huge controversy at a time when gay people were largely represented as camp figures of fun on TV.

He later recalled the public, political and media "hysteria" which greeted his storyline and the death threats and bricks through the window which followed the famous kiss. But he believes that Colin's story helped Britain become a more tolerant society, remembering: "On the second kiss there was barely any fuss. By the third kiss barely anyone noticed."

Openly homosexual before joining EastEnders, Mr Cashman went on to help found the gay rights campaign group Stonewall in 1989 and served as its chairman until 1996. He was also treasurer of actors' union Equity from 1994-98.

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Friday, 28 December 2012

Accelerating British Support for Equal Marriage, in Church

Three polls in the last 10 days have shown strong and rapidly expanding public support for marriage equality in law - including support for same - sex weddings in Anglican churches.

gay church wedding 3

The British opponents of marriage equality have been vociferous in their insistence that government proposals are in contravention of the public wishes. This is nonsense - reputable opinion polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of UK voters support the proposals for same - sex marriage. Three polls over the last week have confirmed this, once again.


A Yougov poll released last week, for fieldwork conducted 13th and 14th December, showed that 55% support "changing the law to allow same - sex couples to marry". Just 36% are opposed. The strength of support is also on the side of equality - 30% are "strongly" supportive, and 21% strongly against.

In common with regular findings from the US, support is heavily skewed by age group: only the 60+ age group is opposed, with those aged 16 - 24 heavily supportive, by 74% to 16%. Politically, both Labour and Liberal Democrat voters are strongly supportive, with Conservatives equally divided, 40%/40%. (It is likely that UKIP voters are the only significant party clearly against, but their responses are not disclosed in the cross - tabs). Together with reports of mounting rebellion in the Conservative parliamentary party, this gives the lie to Conservative claims to being the natural home for gay and lesbian voters - but I'm not going to hammer that point.


Another poll just released, focuses specifically on government proposals for same - sex marriage, in church, and the deliberate exclusion of the Church of England from this provision. This was a Comres survey conducted for the Independent, which reports

The public want the Government to go further on gay marriage by allowing Church of England vicars to conduct same-sex weddings, a poll forThe Independent reveals today. As some religious leaders used their Christmas sermons to attack David Cameron's plans, the ComRes survey suggests that the Church of England is out of touch with the public by opposing gay marriage. It defines marriage "as being between a man and a woman".

By a margin of 2-1, people oppose the Government's proposal to make it illegal for the Church of England to conduct gay marriages. Asked whether its vicars should be allowed to perform such ceremonies if they wanted to, 62 per cent of people said they should and 31 per cent disagreed, with seven per cent replying "don't know".

- Independent

The Independent does not release any more detail, continuing instead with reports of the responses by some bishops  to the plans, and Comres has not published any on its website. Pink News has a little more:

The idea of gay couples marrying in Church of England weddings is more popular among women with the figures 64 per cent in favour to 27 objecting. Among under 44's, almost three-quarters of people support the idea of church gay weddings. It is only in the over 65's where there is a majority in opposition, although it is not sizable - 50 per cent to 38 per cent.

Guardian / ICM

More than three in five voters support David Cameron's wish to introduce gay marriage, according to a poll conducted for the Guardian. The strong backing for a change in the law comes after the archbishop of Westminster queried the democratic legitimacy of the coalition plans.

The ICM poll conducted just before Christmas found 62% of voters now support the proposals, with half this number – 31% – opposed. Most previous polls have found opinion leaning the same way, although the two-to-one margin revealed on Wednesday is particularly emphatic.

What is most striking in this poll, is in how sharply opinion has shifted in favour, during the course of the year.

An ICM online survey for the Sunday Telegraph in March asked the identical question – which expressly reminds people that the option of civil partnerships already exists for gay couples – and established a 45%-36% lead for the reformers.

That significant hardening of opinion during the year will encourage Cameron, whose embrace of gay marriage has proved controversial, not only with religious leaders but also with the Tory backbench. And the new poll reveals a particularly significant swing towards the reform among the Tory base.

The Opponents' Claim

And yet - the opponents of equal marriage regularly trumpet the findings of their own survey, which allegedly finds that a strong majority of voters are against gay marriage.

The Government’s plan to redefine marriage in order to open it to same-sex couples could face serious opposition from the general public, according to a poll commissioned by Catholic Voices which is published today, a week before the Government begins its official consultation on the matter.

Seven out of 10 British people believe that marriage should continue to be defined as a lifelong union between a man and a woman, and more than eight out 10 think children have the best chance in life when raised by their biological parents, the ComRes online survey of more than 2,000 people found. The poll also found that people think the state should promote marriage, and that most people support the idea of civil partnerships.

“The results show that most people support the idea of civil partnerships for gay people while being firm that marriage should remain between a man and a woman,” said Austen Ivereigh, Catholic Voices coordinator. “The survey also shows that most people understand marriage to be a conjugal institution, which benefits children above all.”

- Catholic Voices

How are these seemingly contradictory results reconcilable?

This merits a closer look at the details of the survey on which it was based, conducted in February 2012, and released in March. Here's the crunch question, taken from the ComRes published tables :

Q.1 Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

There are two distinct technical problems in putting the question this way. As Anthony Wells has frequently noted at his respected blog, UK Polling Report, asking people whether they "agree or disagree" with any proposition, has a built-in tendency to produce results that favour "agree". When the question is presented as "Do you agree or disagree that gay marriage should be legally recognized", the result is likely to be completely different. A second problem is that the question on equal marriage was presented as the final statement in a series on marriage, with the preceding statements acting as a softening up process, leading to the result the survey sponsors were hoping for.

An additional, non - technical flaw lay in the presentation of the survey results. Although the questions did not in any way refer to the law, results were presented as if they represented opposition to changing the law. Here's the exact statement:

Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman

This refers simply to "continue to be defined" - not "defined in law", as the survey sponsors have presented it, in their campaign in opposition to marriage equality. Furthermore, the application is highly selective. It has been interpreted as opposition only to same - sex marriage, but could equally be used to support a campaign to end legal divorce, or to criminalize adultery. But these are claims the so-called "Coalition for Marriage" does not make. They, and the American National Organization for Marriage, are not really interested in working to strengthen marriage, or the genuine threats to existing marriage - merely ensuring that marriage should not be extended to same - sex couples. They are not working to strengthen marriage, but to restrict and so weaken it.

Significance of these findings

What can have caused this remarkable shift? 'Nothing in particular has occurred during the  year to move opinion - except the consultation itself. Before the government announced its intentions, there was very little debate about gay marriage. There appeared to be a fairly general acceptance that civil partnerships existed, and were virtually equivalent in law to full marriage - so that change was not needed. But that changed with the launch of the consultation process. Suddenly, private discussions, public debates and organized campaigns were everywhere - including the largest ever petition drive the country has yet seen.

All three of the most recent surveys are in broad agreement with the consistent findings of all previous polling research on gay marriage and the law: a clear and growing majority of the British people want marriage equality. The overwhelming support from the youngest age groups will ensure that this support will continue to grow, and is likely to accelerate once it becomes fact, and part of everyday life. This latest poll suggests that with public support also for gay marriage in the Church of England, pressure will start to build not just for gay marriage, but also for that denomination to revise its own opposition.

There is a delicious irony in complaints from the opposition that there was not proper "consultation". It is clear that there was - and it was this very process of consultation that led government to take very seriously the point made by the Church of England submission, that as the established church, legal provision for equal marriage could force it to provide for gay marriage in contravention of its own laws. It was for this reason that the Church was given a specific and very explicit provision in the present proposals, to prohibit it from conducting same - sex marriages. This has raised an outcry in some quarters over the apparent discrimination for which it has been singled out. This is not a flaw in the proposals, but in the Church itself. It can resolve the problem in one of two ways - either by taking a decision to remove its own present absolute prohibition on gay marriage, leaving decisions to local dioceses (as applies in Canada and the US), or by applying for disestablishment - removing its present privileged position in British religious life. Neither course is likely to be easy - but the problem is of the Anglican bishops' own making.

A rather different problem confronts the Conservative Party. Yet another recent poll has shown that for his clear support and vigorous action in support of gay marriage, David Cameron now has strong support from gay and lesbian British voters - but his own party is bitterly divided on the issue.  He is losing support among Conservative members as party leader, the promised free vote in parliament will see many Tory MP's voting against - and on the sidelines, his party is hemorrhaging voters and members to UKIP - in part, over gay marriage. David Cameron is out of touch with much of his own party base - but that base itself is out of touch with the country as a whole, and especially with the younger voters it must attract to win in the future.

Looking ahead, the message is clear. If there ever was any doubt that the country was ready for equal marriage, the consultation process has dispelled them. Support is overwhelming and growing, across a wide spectrum of the population. There has been extensive public discussion and debate, informally, in the press, on-line, in radio and television broadcasts, and in a formal government consultation process. The opponents have had ample opportunity to make their case against, which they have done to the best of their ability, with extensive practical support from the Catholic Church. They have made their case - and lost the argument.

The British people have instead decided in favour. Equal marriage in civil law, is on its way. Equal marriage in an expanding number of churches, will follow. It's just a matter of time.


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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Gay Marriage, Brazil: Now Recognized in Sao Paulo

A judge in the Brazilian state of São Paulo has ruled that gay and lesbian couples in civil unions will no longer have to apply to the courts to have their relationships "upgraded" to marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in the country's most populous state.
Sao Paulo state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto ruled last week that state notaries will be required to register same-sex marriages without first getting court approval.
Brazil currently requires couples in same-sex civil unions to apply to a state court in order to have their relationship recognized as a marriage.
Pinto said the judgement is “intended to enable the recognition and registration of the unions of persons of the same sex without legal provocation," and that his ruling “honors human the dignity of a portion of society.”
The measure will take effect in February, and could serve as an important precedent for other Brazilian states and Latin American countries.
Brazil has rapidly advanced its gay marriage and civil unions laws in the past two years — in 2011, Brazil's Supreme Federal Court approved same-sex couples to receive the same rights as married couples through civil unions.
In Latin America, same-sex marriage is only legal in Argentina and Mexico City, while same-sex civil unions are recognized throughout Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil and Ecuador.
With a population of more than 41 million, Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populous state.
Its capital, also named Sao Paulo, is the largest city in South American and the world's seventh largest city by population. Sao Paulo hosts one of the world's largest Gay Pride events with over 3 million participants.
gay pride sao paulo
gay pride sao paulo
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Generation divide on gay marriage (New Zealand)

Older people want marriage to remain solely between a man and a woman, while those aged under 40 support gay marriage, a survey has found.

Sixty per cent of those older than 65 were against same-sex marriage while 70 per cent of those under 40 were happy for gay people to tie the knot, according to a New Zealand Herald-Digipoll survey of 500, published on Thursday.

Overall, nearly 60 per cent of respondents backed changing the law to allow same sex marriage, while 38 per cent were against.

Labour MP Louisa Wall, who has put forward the bill to legalise gay marriage, says the generational divide on the issue could be because older people had not seen gay couples in a relationship when they were growing up.

"If [older New Zealanders] have grandchildren who are gay, or exploring expressions [of sexuality] you'll want to have the opportunity to celebrate with them," she told the paper.

"For your grandchildren to have the option to marry will be a wonderful thing."

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Taiwan government to study same-sex marriage in Asia | Gay Star News

Ministry of Justice commission study to attitudes to same-sex marriage in Asia

Taiwan Presidential Office Building
Taiwan's Ministry of Justice will commission studies into attitudes towards same-sex marriage in Asian cultures as part of research looking into legalizing gay marriage on the island nation.

Chung Jui-lan, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Justice's department of legal affairs said they wanted to enlist academics to study Asian attitudes to same-sex unions. The decision was made following complaints that a prior study only looked at Germany, France and Canada, Taipei Times reports.

Taiwan's Ministry of Justice are currently examining whether to change their civil code to accept same-sex marriage or to legislate for civil partnerships.

Separately a gay couple are suing the city of Taipei to get them to recognize their relationship. A ruling is expected at a court hearing tomorrow.

Also pressure group Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) is working towards collecting a million signatures in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Leader of the opposition Su Tseng-chang confirmed publicly that he supports same-sex marriage at Taiwan Pride day on 27 October. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Out Aussie Rules star to teach new players about anti-gay hate

Jason Ball hopes speaking to new footballers about homophobia will have a positive impact on the sport

Gay Aussie Rules football star Jason Ball will teach new players about homophobia.

The sportsman who came out in September will speak to the rookie athletes about gay hate during their induction training by the Australian Football League Players Association in January.

Ball hopes giving new recruits the chance to meet and talk to an openly gay player will make a positive impact on the sport.

'People are able to connect with a personal story a lot better than a bunch of rules or regulations,' he told MCV. 'That’s what I can provide.'

He added: 'It’s important when they’re just starting out and learning everything involved with being a football player, it does come with a lot of responsibility.

'This is why they have those camps, to give them an understanding of the fact that they are going to be a role model in society.'

Days after he came out, the 24-year-old launched a campaign urging the AFL to show an anti-homophobia ad at the end of the month during their Grand Final, the league's equivalent of the Super Bowl.

The league recently announced its support of the No to Homophobia campaign which he called 'a great first step' but added that the AFL needs to do more.

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Thai government drafting same-sex civil partnership law

 The Thai government has formed a committee to draft legislation on civil-partnership law for same-sex couples.

One of the committee members, Anjana Suvarnananda of LGBT rights group Anjaree told Gay Star News that the committee has already met and the timetable for drafting recognition of same-sex partnerships is six weeks.

'It's just drafting,' said Suvarnananda. 'And then they will send it to a legal department who will iron it out and make it more legal language. And then it needs to get approval from the government. I'm not sure how long it will take.'

No country in Asia currently has comprehensive civil partnership law. So if this legal recognition is passed, Thailand will be the first.

Thailand has a reputation for tolerance for LGBT people but there is no anti-discrimination law (and widespread discrimination) and even though it is a Mecca for sex reassignment surgery, Thai transexuals cannot change the gender written on their official documents. �

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Friday, 14 December 2012

Rainbow families : Gays granted more adoption rights

The Swiss parliament has voted to allow gay couples to adopt each other's children. However, the motion passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday was not as liberal as the original version approved by the Senate.

The Senate had approved a motion granting adoption rights regardless of marital status or sexual orientation, as long as the arrangement was the best option for the child in question. However, the House of Representatives altered the motion – specifying that a homosexual could only adopt the child of his or her partner.

In Switzerland, gay couples in a registered partnership are not allowed to adopt children. However, Swiss law permits a single gay man or lesbian woman to do so. This peculiar situation – which essentially punishes couples who have made a formal legal commitment to each other – is what sparked gay rights’ groups to ask legislators to amend the law.

Thursday’s developments were welcome news to homosexuals interested in adopting their step-children and gaining proper parental rights. However, gay rights groups will continue to push for full adoption rights.

In Switzerland it is estimated that there are several thousand children growing up in homes headed by same-sex couples.

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Scientists may have finally solved the puzzle of what makes a person gay, and how it is passed from parents to their children.

A group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuals get that trait from their opposite-sex parents: A lesbian will almost always get the trait from her father, while a gay man will get the trait from his mother.
The hereditary link of homosexuality has long been established, but scientists knew it was not a strictly genetic link, because there are many pairs of identical twins who have differing sexualities. Scientists from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis say homosexuality seems to have an epigenetic, not a genetic link.
Long thought to have some sort of hereditary link, a group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuality is linked to epi-marks — extra layers of information that control how certain genes are expressed. These epi-marks are usually, but not always, "erased" between generations. In homosexuals, these epi-marks aren't erased — they're passed from father-to-daughter or mother-to-son, explains William Rice, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author of the study.
-more at US News

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

New Poll: Three-quarters of public back back same-sex marriage

A new Ipsos-MORI poll for Freedom to Marry has found that three-quarters of voters support same-sex marriage.
The most popular choice – 45 per cent – was that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other but religious organisations should not be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people.
But a further 28 per cent of voters thought that gay people should be allowed to get married to each other and religious organisations should be required to provide wedding ceremonies to gay people.
This means nearly three quarters of voters – 73 per cent – want to allow gay marriage while less than a quarter – 24 per cent – do not.
Only one in six voters – 17 per cent - thought that gay people should not be allowed to get married but should be allowed to form a civil partnership.
An even smaller minority – just 7 per cent – thought that gay people should not be allowed to get married to each other or form a civil partnership.
Nick Herbert MP commented:
“This survey shows that a large majority of people are in favour of equal marriage with most of those wanting to protect the freedom of religious organisations to decide whether to conduct such ceremonies.
“This is why the assurances given by the Government today about the proposed legislation are so important. When religious freedom is protected, only a minority of voters agree with the opponents of equal marriage that gay people should only be entitled to civil partnerships.”
About the Ipsos MORI poll:
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,023 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 7th to 10th December 2012. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.
Click here for the top lines from the poll
Click here for the poll data

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Flirty fish may solve riddle of gay animals

Scientists have discovered male fish become more attractive to the opposite sex when they display gay behavior.

Researchers at the University of Frankfurt studied fish such as the Atlantic molly which is more attracted to male fish they see having sex with females.

The study published in Biology Letters revealed this behavior also worked when males were seen 'flirting' with other males, increasing their attractiveness to females as potential mating partners.

The team of scientists claim their findings may be the key to understanding why homosexuality is displayed in other animals.

'Male homosexual behaviour - although found across the animal kingdom - remains a conundrum, as same-sex mating should decrease male reproductive fitness,' the researchers said.

Uruguay Lower House Approves Gay Marriage

Uruguay has moved closer to legalising gay marriage after the lower house of Congress approved a law making all marriages equal.

The measure, which was passed by a wide margin, now goes to the Senate where it is expected to be approved. After a long debate, Uruguayan deputies voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday night to approve the Marriage Equality Law.
"This is not a homosexual or gay marriage law. It is a measure to equalise the institution independent of the sex of the couple," said Julio Bango, one of the bill's authors.
The bill now goes to the Senate where President Jose Mujica's governing coalition has a majority.
In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow gay members of the armed forces.

It would make Uruguay the second Latin American country after Argentina to allow gay marriages.
Uruguay's neighbour Argentina legalised gay marriage in 2010. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Mexico City since 2009. 
Same-sex marriages are legal in Mexico City, while civil unions are recognised in several countries in the region. In a recent decision Mexico's Supreme Court overturned a law in the state of Oaxaca that banned gay marriage. The ruling could pave the way to legalisation across Mexico, according to legal experts.

In May, Brazil's Supreme Court voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing same-sex couples the same legal rights as married heterosexuals.
via BBC News

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12 December: Volker Beck, German Politician

b. December 12, 1960

Volker Beck is one of Europe's leading advocates of GLBT rights. A member of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, Beck is the father of the German Registered Partnership Act
"Human rights that do not apply to everyone are not human rights at all."

Prior to becoming politically active in the peace movement in the 1980's, Volker Beck studied at the University of Stuttgart. In 1985 he joined the Green Party. In 1987, he became responsible for GLBT issues in the Green Party caucus in the Bundestag. From 1991 to 2004, Beck was spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Association in Germany (LSVD). He is credited with placing the issue of same-gender partnerships and a GLBT anti-discrimination law on the parliamentary agenda.

Beck has represented Cologne in the Bundestag since 1994. He is Green Party Whip for the Alliance 90/Greens caucus, a member of the Greens' party council, and human rights spokesman for the parliamentary group. He was legal affairs spokesman for the Alliance 90/Greens parliamentary group (1994-2002) and political coordinator of the Working Group on Internal and Legal Affairs, Women and Youth within the parliamentary group's executive committee (1998-2002).

Volker Beck believes that Germans must assume responsibility for their history before they can shape a future. He has sought compensation for victims of National Socialism, including financial reparations for persons subjected to slave labor under the Nazi regime, and advocated such acts of remembrance as the construction of a Holocaust memorial. Beck serves as a trustee of several foundations that remember victims.
Since 1992 he has lived with his partner in Cologne, Paris and Berlin.

In May 2006, Beck was attacked and injured by right wing extremists at Russia's first gay rights rally in Moscow. Images of his bloodied face published in the media evoked strong reactions internationally.

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The Art of Paul Cadmus: "What I Believe"

"What I Believe" (1947-1948) by Paul Cadmus (died December 12, 1999) was inspired by E.M. Forster's essay of the same name, in which the novelist expresses his faith in personal relations and his concept of a spiritual aristocracy "of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human condition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos."

Note the happy, sun-drenched same-sex couples on the left, and the miserable mixed sex couples on the right.

More by Paul Cadmus below the fold:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Photographic Art of George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes (1907 – 1955) was an American fashion and commercial photographer. Later in his career, a focus on homoerotic imagery started to take over his photographic life. He had begun in the 1930s taking nudes of his circle of friends and performers, and wsnt on to work with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, which now holds one of the largest collection of his male nudes.

George Platt Lynes, Gordon Hansen, c. 1952

George Platt Lynes, Male nude with tattoos, 1934.

George Platt Lynes, The Ritter Brothers
George Platt Lynes, Male nude Fire Island, 1952

George Platt Lynes, Mike Miksche  1952

Related posts:

The Photographic Art of Georges Platt Lynes
The Art of George Quaintance
The Art of Konstantin Somov
The Art of Paul Cadmus: "What I Believe"

The Art of Konstantin Somov
The Art of Charles Demuth

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Bishop Otis Charles

b. April 24, 1926

Bishop Charles was the first openly gay bishop in any Chrisitian denomination.

From LGBT Religious Archives:
Since 1979 he has been among a growing number of bishops who have spoken out for full and complete inclusion of gay and lesbian people in the church without restriction, recognizing their calling to ministry and rejecting the notion that a baptized homosexual must live a celibate life. In 1980, he was the recipient of the national Integrity Award. He is represented in Out in the Workplace: Gay and Lesbian Professionals Tell Their Stories.
Upon his retirement in 1993, Charles publicly announced his homosexuality, becoming the first openly gay bishop of any Christian denomination. That September he sent an epistle to his colleagues in the House of Bishops that said, in part: "I have promised myself that I will not remain silent, invisible, unknown. After all is said and done, the choice for me is not whether or not I am a gay, but whether or not I am honest about who I am with myself and others. It is a choice to take down the wall of silence I have built around an important and vital part of my life, to end the separation and isolation I have imposed on myself all these years."
John McNeil, former Jesuit and author of Freedom, Glorious Freedom speaks of Bishop Charles' coming out as "an extraordinary example (of the) public exposure... required... to... provide an image... of what it is to be mature as Christian and as gay" (pp.82-83). In Last Watch of the Night, Paul Monette wrote of Bishop Charles' coming out as "an important moment in gay and lesbian history, and a ringing challenge to the status quo of invisibility" (p. 304).
The Sunday edition of the New York Times (October 10, 1993) as well as both gay and straight press around the country reported the bishop's action. Boston's Bay Windows editorialized: "the news of a 67 year old bishop coming out of the closet is something at which to marvel. Charles puts it less grandly, however, saying simply that it was a matter of integrity."
After making his public witness Bishop Charles, who appreciates being addressed by his baptismal name, Otis, has welcomed the opportunity to share his story. Whether in an informal gathering or the pulpit, he characteristically begins, "I am a gay man, an Episcopal (Anglican) bishop, a queer who only just mustered the courage to publicly acknowledge the truth of my life."
Charles has continued as an active and voting member of the Episcopal House of Bishops taking many stands on behalf of his community. In 1995, Charles co-founded Oasis/California, the Bay Area Episcopal Lesbian and Gay ministry. In 1998, Charles was appointed Interim Dean of the School for Deacons serving northern California. During this time he also served as  Bishop-in-residence at the Church of St. John-the-Evangelist in San Francisco and a founding editor of Millennium3, an on-line and print publication distributed to all 13,600 Episcopal clergy. He was an Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of California until 2004.
Charles is currently working on his memoirs and editing a collection of personal reflections on the contribution of entheogens as an opening to mystical experience. Since 1993 he has been a resident of San Francisco where he lives with his partner, Felipe Sanchez Paris.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Simon Amstell (1979 – ), UK comedian, television presenter, screenwriter and actor

b 29 November 1979.

BAFTA nominated,award-winning English comedian, television presenter, screenwriter and actor, best known for his roles as former co-host of Popworld, former host of Never Mind the Buzzcocks and co-writer and star of the sitcom Grandma's House.

Amstell also performs as a stand up comedian. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August 2005–2007 and 2009. He has also appeared at the Carling Festivals in the Cabaret and Comedy tent.

He was named at number 26 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011

His groundbreaking quirky, funny, original interviewing technique on Channel 4’s Popworld is still the blueprint for T4’s presenting style. And being gay was not something comedian Simon kept quiet about for long once he became famous. In an interview with notoriously homophobic reggae star Beenie Man, Simon explained he’d just broken up with his boyfriend, and then asked him for a hug. And his role in the presenting seat for Never Mind The Buzzcocks brought him to a whole new audience. Simon used to feature a lot of gay jokes in his stand-up routine but later dropped them. “It feels really old,” he says. “No one cares any more. There are so many homos on TV. It’s why Matt Lucas ended up doing the only gay in the village. It was a twisted coming-out story because the old one is so boring.”
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Monday, 26 November 2012

Tom Ballard (1989 - ), Australian.Radio host and comedian

b.  26 November 1989

A tall, blond, fast-talking, openly gay, Australian radio presenter and comedian.

Ballard began his comedy career by playing Blitzen in a local amateur production of Rock n Roll Santa in 1997. He was a three-time Class Clowns National Finalist and a Raw Comedy National Finalist by 2006. He performed in Upwey, Warburton, Healesville and Lilydale as part of the Young Blood Comedy Tour in 2007 and was a guest entertainer in the 2007 Melbourne Comedy Festival's Eskimo Jokes show.
He was one quarter of The Comedy Zone at the 2008 Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Tom was a presenter for Warrnambool's 3WAY FM community radio station with Alex Dyson.[7] On the strength of his Raw Comedy performance, Ballard was given the chance to develop some demos with Australian youth radio station Triple J and, along with Alex, was given regular Mid-Dawn (1am to 6 am) shifts.
In December 2008, Tom and Alex were the presenters for the weekday summer lunch slot (10 am to 2 pm) and in 2009 moved to the weekend breakfast slot.[8] On 23 November 2009, Triple J announced that Tom Ballard and Alex Dyson would take over as hosts of the 2010 Breakfast show.

Included in the Same Same list of 25 Most Influential Australians, 2010

“Comedian, breakfast radio presenter and GLBT Youth advocate has achieved so much at only 21. I can't think of any performer more deserving to be in this list.”

Australia’s largest youth broadcaster's career and going wonderfully, from his early morning radio broadcasts to his hilarious stand-up comedy shows. In April 2009, Tom brought his debut solo show, Tom Ballard Is What He Is to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was the youngest person EVER to take out the prestigious Melbourne Airport Best Newcomer award. His show was also nominated for a Golden Gibbo Award; an award that recognises independent shows that "buck trends and pursue the artist's ideas more strongly than it pursues any commercial lure."

Growing up and coming out in regional Victoria wasn't too bad, he reflects. "I didn’t come out until I was in Year 12, so I was never the ‘gay kid’ at school," he told the Gay News Network last year. "But there were certainly a lot of times where you’d feel like you couldn’t talk about it.
"Everyone assumes you’re straight, particularly when you’re not an overly camp and obviously gay guy. I’d never had a girlfriend but I think people were kind of surprised in their own way, then they got used to the idea."
Tom Ballard is heading for a busy 2011 of touring his comedy to funny festivals around Australia.
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

John Amaechi, Professional basketball player

b. November 26th, 1970

“I am gay, black, British … and I am now asserting my activism.”

“It was absolutely my ultimate goal to play in the NBA,” says Amaechi. In 1995, his dream became reality.

John Amaechi is the first NBA player to speak publicly about being gay. In 2007, three years after retiring from pro basketball, he became one of only six male professional athletes in the four major U.S. sports to come out.
Esera Tuaolo, an NFL player who came out in 2002, said of Amaechi, “What John did is amazing. He does not know how many lives he’s saved by speaking the truth.”
Amaechi, the son of a Nigerian father and a white British mother, grew up in England. When he started playing basketball at 16, his right hand was nearly severed in an accident. As a result, Amaechi became ambidextrous, which helped him become a better basketball player. Amaechi played basketball at Penn State University, where he was twice selected a First Team Academic All-American.
“It was absolutely my ultimate goal to play in the NBA,” says Amaechi. In 1995, Amaechi’s dream became reality. He played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz. In 2000, Amaechi made headlines when he turned down a $17 million offer from the Los Angeles Lakers. Opting to stay in Orlando earning $600,000 a year, Amaechi remained loyal to the Magic, who hired him when no other team would.
Amaechi’s memoir, “Man in the Middle” (2007), explores the challenges he faced as a closeted professional athlete.
After the NBA, Amaechi returned to Britain, where he turned to television sportscasting and covered the 2008 Beijing Olympics for the BBC. In Beijing, Amaechi also served as a human rights ambassador for Amnesty International. He appeared on several episodes of “Shirts & Skins,” a Logo reality series, where he mentored a gay basketball team and shared his experiences as an out athlete.
Amaechi owns Amaechi Performance Systems. He is a psychologist with a management consulting company specializing in workplace diversity and workplace climate and culture challenges.
Amaechi established the ABC Foundation, which builds sports centers in Britain and encourages children’s involvement in sports and their communities.
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Cherry Jones, Actress

b. November 21, 1956

I was never in the closet. From the moment…I stepped onto the theatrical stage, I was always out. It was never an issue.”

Cherry Jones is a theater, film and television actress best known for her role as president of the United States on the FOX series “24.” A Broadway veteran, Jones is considered one of America’s foremost stage actresses. She has received two Tony Awards.

Jones grew up in the small town of Paris, Tennessee. Her mother taught high school and her father owned a flower shop. “I came from a very loving family where I knew I had their unconditional love no matter what,” Jones says.

With her sights set on acting, Jones enrolled at the prestigious Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, where in 1978, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. In 1980, Jones became a founding member of the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she played a wide range of roles.

In the mid-1980’s, Jones moved to New York and performed in Broadway productions including “Angels in America,” “The Night of the Iguana” and “A Moon for the Misbegotten.” In 1995, she received a Tony Award for her role in “The Heiress” and made headlines by being the first award winner to publicly thank her same-sex partner.

In 1998, Jones narrated a documentary film about the history of the gay rights movement, “Out of the Past.”
On the silver screen, Jones appeared in “The Horse Whisperer” (1998), “Cradle Will Rock” (1999), “Erin Brockovich” (2000) and “The Perfect Storm” (2000), among others.

In 2001, Jones costarred with Brooke Shields in the Lifetime Television movie “What Makes a Family,” based on the true story of a lesbian couple and a custody battle. “I’m more proud of that than anything I’ve ever done. There’s so much social worth to that film,” Jones says.

Jones is an outspoken advocate of gay rights. In 2004, she received GLAAD’s Vito Russo Media Award for her contribution toward eliminating homophobia.

In 2005, Jones was honored with a second Tony Award for her portrayal of Sister Aloysius in “Doubt.” After receiving the award, Jones thanked and kissed her partner, actress Sarah Paulson.

In 2009, Jones received an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a drama series for her role on “24."




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Friday, 16 November 2012

Lord Waheed Alli – Media Man and Peer

b.16 November 1964

British multimillionaire media entrepreneur and politician. He was co-founder and managing director of Planet 24, a TV production company, and managing director at Carlton Television Productions. He is currently chairman of both and Chorion Ltd. He is a Labour peer and is one of very few openly gay Muslim politicians in the world.

He started work as a junior researcher for a finance magazine and worked his way up in the media business within Robert Maxwell’s stable of publications. He then went to the City for a second career in investment banking, through which he became wealthy. In the mid-1980s he met Charlie Parsons, who was to become his business partner and boyfriend.

Alli joined the Labour Party at the persuasion of his neighbour Emily Thornberry. He is also close to Anji Hunter, Director of Government Relations in Tony Blair's first government.Prime Minister Blair used him for years as a means to help him reach out to a younger generation. He was made a life peer as Baron Alli, of Norbury in the London Borough of Croydon, in 1998 at the age of 34, becoming the youngest and the first openly gay peer in Parliament. The BBC summarised his appointment as "the antithesis of the stereotypical ‘establishment’ peer - young, Asian and from the world of media and entertainment".

He was listed at number 44 on the DS list of "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
Never heard of him? That’s because Lord Alli is doggedly working behind the scenes kind for us. The British multimillionaire and media entrepreneur is a Labour peer and one of very few openly gay Muslim politicians in the world. Much of Alli's work has been focused around gay rights, youth and education. He’s a patron of The Albert Kennedy Trust was a keynote speaker at the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights. “The last 13 years have been about extending and equalizing the rights of gay men and women and we’re completing a long journey,” he says. “The next decade will be defending.”
DS 50 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Russell Tovey (1981 - ), UK. Actor.

b. 14 November 1981

English actor with numerous television, film and stage credits. Tovey is best known for playing the role of werewolf George Sands in the BBC's supernatural drama Being Human[2] which started in 2008. In November 2011, Tovey announced he would be leaving Being Human to work full-time on his BBC Three sitcom, Him & Her.

Tovey is also an author, playwright, and screenwriter. He has written three plays (all unperformed as of August 2010), and one of his short stories was published in Company, a noted British literary journal.

Tovey says he came out to himself when he was 15 or 16, and to his parents when he was 18, which led to a falling out with this father, but they were later able to mend their relationship. In an interview with The Scotsman, Tovey said, "The only thing I can give to young gay people is that when I was growing up there were no role models that were blokey, that were men. Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, 'That's not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don't think I fit into this world.'"

He was named at number 22 on the DS list of the "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011
Is there no role Russell can’t turn his handsome face to? As well as Doctor Who, he’s appeared in Gavin and Stacey, History Boys, Ultimate Force, Marple and Him and Her. But it’s probably his role as loveable werewolf George in Being Human in which he’s best known. Russell is proof that genuine talent will never be overshadowed by sexuality. “When I was growing up there were no gay role models that were blokey, that were men,” he says. “Everybody was flamboyant and camp, and I remember going, 'That's not me, so even though I think I am gay, I don't think I fit into this world.