After chalking up 14,316 military discharges to its credit (261 from the last year alone), the reign of Don't Ask Don't Tell crumbled when Petty Officer 2nd Class Derek Morado's DADT-motivated hearing ended on Thursday with the three member panel voting unanimously to retain the openly gay soldier.
In what appears to be the first such action of its type, an Immigration Judge in Manhattan has adjourned deportation proceedings for the Argentine lesbian spouse of an American citizen to allow the couple to proceed with their application to have their marriage recognized for purposes of federal immigration law. [more inside]
February is Gay Black History Month. [SLYT]
GLBT rights advocate Carolyn Wagner has passed away. In 1996, Carolyn's 16 year old son, William, was assaulted in his school in Fayetteville, Arkansas, following years of anti-gay harassment. School administrators rebuffed his complaints, telling him to man-up. His mother, Carolyn, filed a complaint with the Office For Civil Rights that the Fayetteville Arkansas School District was in violation of their son's Title lX rights and succeeded in convincing the OCR that GLBT students are covered by Title lX, and won. [more inside]
A longitudinal study to be published in Jan 2011's Pediatrics (abstract, PDF of article) shows that GLBT youth are about 40 percent more likely to be punished by schools, police, and courts than their straight peers. [more inside]
Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance. In the past year, at least 29 people have been killed out of transphobia. The vast majority were poor trans women of color. One was a baby, killed because the father perceived the child to not be masculine enough. It's almost certain that the real numbers of dead are much, much higher.
Rudolf Brazda, one of the last surviving victims of violent persecution of GLBT people by the Nazi regime, and Adam and other deaf gays and lesbians relate their own kinds of It Gets Better stories.
Fort Worth city councilman Joel Burns shares his own anti-LGBT bullying story before Fort Worth city council this past Tuesday. [via Victory Fund] This is yet another successful video of Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign. [previously]
A federal judge has issued a worldwide injunction on the enforcement of the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, "ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops." [more inside]
Judge Rules "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is Unconstitutional - Judge Virginia A. Phillips of Federal District Court struck down President Clinton's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in an opinion (Scribd) issued late Thursday, ruling on the constitutionality of a complaint brought by the Log Cabin Republicans (PDF). President Obama's Justice Department has until a September 23 deadline to submit objections to the court regarding Judge Phillips's permanent injunction, which is uncertain given Obama's previous support of his Department of Justice defending the legality of DADT, despite his opposition to DADT in principle.
None On Record - Stories of Queer Africa. After the brutal 2004 murder of FannyAnn Eddy, founder of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, native South African Selly Thiam decided to start recording the stories of African GLBTs both on the continent and in the diaspora. The result is a growing oral document of "the hopes, struggles, challenges and joy of being a QLGBT African - in their own voices". [more inside]
Andrea Gibson, slam poet and activist, is not gentle with her truths. Her poetry focuses on gender norms, politics, and the struggles facing queer people today. Her poems include I do, Dive, Blue Blanket, and Photograph.
Unicorn Booty features gay-friendly North American businesses who buy a day to be featured with their own custom YouTube video, social media presence, and the opportunity for readers to win or obtain their products at a discount. 10% of their profits go to a different LGBTQ organisation per quarter. Past businesses featured include travel companies, cycling clothing, and grooming products dedicated to gay people.
A federal judge in California will hear closing arguments today in the landmark legal case that will determine the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban , first approved by voters as Proposition 8 in November 2008. Previously. also Previously. [more inside]
"Homer, I won your respect, and all I had to do was save your life. Now, if every gay man could just do the same, you'd be set."
Americans' Acceptance of Gay Relations Crosses 50% Threshold - To try to figure out why, NYT columnist Charles M. Blow taps sociologist Dr. Michael Kimmel and Professor Ritch Savin-Williams, who offer three hypotheses as to what may have lead to the surprising changes and what remains of the gender disparity in attitudes. [more inside]
Lesbian Hipster Chic "I represent a small community of high fashion dykes, and I’m not talking about femmes or lipstick lesbians, to use the terms so popularized in culture today. We are often mistaken for straight fashionistas. We are the women who popularized chic undercuts, skinny jeans with patent leather wingtips, sexy flannel, fitted motorcycle jackets, Doc Martens and James Dean vibes minus the James. We are grrls, we are bois, we are young women with a taste for rock n’ roll, a penchant for sex appeal and an undying love for Alexander McQueen, may he rest in peace... It is our duty, as (NSFW) model lesbians, lesbian models, (NSFW) hipster dykes and purveyors of lesbian chic to establish ourselves as a force within the canon of high fashion... We’re fashion fagettes and we’re taking over the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris. So let’s wrangle the model lesbians like Freja, Cat McNeil, Milou, Myf, Nimue editors like Kate Lanphear... and show fashion that as gay ladies, we not only epitomize the high fashion street style that has taken the world by storm, but we invented it." [more inside]
The Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative Christian organization, sent out an alert to its members about judge’s ruling to allow a lesbian couple to adopt a relative’s child that they had been fostering. It included an image that was purported to be of the couple. It wasn't. [more inside]
Though the District of Columbia just welcomed its first same-sex married couple under its new marriage equality law, neighboring Virginia is dealing with the possibility of further restrictions to GLBT residents. The newly-minted state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is advising (read: instructing) Virginia's public colleges and universities that, because the state assembly has refused to add sexuality to its classes of discrimination, that for public colleges and universities to use discrimination policies which include gays and lesbians would be beyond their authority. Gov. McDonnell rescinded previous executive orders from Govs. Kaine and Warner in order to remove sexuality from the list of discrimination protections, but today responded to the controversy by directing state agencies not to discriminate against gays. And it all has something to do with Fortune 500 Company Northrop Grumman.
Before he became a household name for "possibly gay figure skater," Johnny Weir skated to Lady Gaga, making him a totally AWESOME figure skater.
In its January 13, 2010 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the public broadcast of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a U.S. District Court case challenging the constitutional validity of California's Proposition 8, despite the ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker. Working directly from court transcripts and first-hand accounts from bloggers who have been present at the trial, marriagetrial.com is re-enacting the trial, to provide a "non-biased, objective presentation" of the case for public benefit.
An official military investigation into abandoning Don't Ask Don't Tell will begin today, lead by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. [more inside]
Anyone who was moved by Zelda Rubinstein's performance as the eccentric medium in "Poltergeist" will be dismayed to hear that she is seriously ailing. What you may not be aware of is her role, first in Los Angeles (way back in 1984), and later internationally, in gay rights and AIDS education advocacy. [more inside]
Today, the State of Washington becomes the first state in the history of the United States to pass a law supporting the equality of same-sex partners by popular vote. [more inside]
Bobbie E. Burnett is suing her employers, the Free Library of Philadelphia, for discrimination. She's been employed there for nearly 20 years, but transitioned to a female gender identity in 2001, at which point she says discrimination set in. "Slurs hurled at Burnett by some staffers include 'freak,' 'man in woman’s clothing' and 'nigger,' according to the suit. On one occasion, when Burnett expressed wishes for a nice weekend to a coworker, the employee responded with, 'Burn in hell,' according to the lawsuit." [more inside]
Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
"My answer is, I don't know. I don't know." US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker asked Prop 8 supporters to define the nature and extent of damage done by same-sex couples to the institution of marriage, and being unable to get any definitive answer, denied the request from supporters of Prop 8 to throw out Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ordered the case to trial in January 2010.
While Obama strongly reaffirms his promises to the GLBT community, not everyone is convinced. [more inside]
Being a same-sex, taxpaying couple is more expensive, overall, than being a straight, taxpaying couple, for the same services and benefits, when available.
Are the ties that bind gay men to straight women beginning to fray?
The latest tool to challenge homophobia: same-sex hand-holding. This past weekend, a same-sex hand-holding relay was held in London, to coincide with Olympic-related events. It's not just for gay and lesbian couples; sympathetic heterosexuals are encouraged to join in and take a stand, or rather a stroll, for tolerance.
In the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City at 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969 eight New York City police raided a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn (later deemed a National Historic Landmark). "As the police raided the bar, a crowd of four hundred patrons gathered on the street outside and watched the officers arrest the bartender, the doorman, and a few drag queens [see: police arrest reports]. The crowd, which eventually grew to an estimated 2,000 strong, was fed up."* Thus began three days of rioting and the advent of the modern gay rights movement. In honor of the Stonewall Riots, many gay pride celebrations around the world are held during the month of June, including this week(end)'s NYC Pride, celebrating 40 years of Stonewall's impact on seeking to bring civil rights to all, including the LGBT community. Happy Pride! [more inside]
A Gay Soldier's Husband — In the backdrop of the conservative activist Supreme Court's recent decision against hearing a challenge to the US military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, one gay American relates the difficulties he faces having a partner on active duty in Iraq. In Iraq itself, death squads continue to murder gay and lesbian Iraqis, while American occupying forces look the other way.
What with all the changes lately, sometimes I'm not sure where my right to marry whomever I want to has been ensured. Can I Marry Gay? is a handy reference with state by state information, and keeps me up to date. Worried about recent state Supreme Court decisions forcing you to join teh gay? Must I Marry Gay? is for you. [via mefi projects]
"Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence."
Long before becoming a national treasure and celebrity Twitter addict the 16 year old Stephen Fry sent a letter to his future self, to which he has now responded, in a letter first published in the 25th birthday edition of Gay Times.
Within the last few hours, a trend on Twitter has emerged in response to Amazon's removing the sales ranking of books they consider to have "adult content," which also keeps those books from appearing in search results. However, while seeming to unilaterally de-list any books with gay themes and characters, many books with adult heterosexual content were left untouched. [more inside]
Homophobia is still alive and well in... San Francisco?! The DNA Lounge, the high-tech nightclub of former Mozilla/Netscape wunderkind Jamie Zawinski, has apparently run afoul of the local Alcohol Beverage Control board. In 2008, during a period of time when the DNA Lounge -- with SFPD and neighborhood approval -- successfully appealed an ABC decision blocking the club from offering all-ages live music, the ABC sent agents into the club during their GLBT nights, and are now trying to shut the club down for "lewdness", "discrimination", and "running a disorderly house injurious to the public welfare and morals".(NSFW!) The DNA is determined not to go quietly into this goodnight.
"You take the gatekeeper and you confuse his mind. You threaten him and you throw him in the middle of nowhere. Then nobody knows where the gate is. As soon as you lose the whereabouts of the gate, then you have a culture going downhill. What keeps a village together is a handful of "gays and lesbians," as they call them in the modern world. In my village, lesbians are called witches, and gay men are known as the gatekeepers." The Dagara people of Burkina Faso. [more inside]
Suit alleges that her partner of 18 years and her children were denied access to dying woman in Florida hospital. Due to her organ donation, however, Lisa Marie Pond’s heart survives.
Mercedes Allen looks at who's in charge of deciding the fate of Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV. The APA (American Psychological Association) has announced it's intention to revise the DSMV (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The expert they've named to chair revisions on sexuality and gender is Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is the major remaining proponent of Reparative Therapy for LGBT folks. [more inside]
In 1974 - or 1976, depending who you ask - Armistead Maupin began writing "an extended love letter to a magical San Francisco” in the form of a serialized, fictional drama published originally in the Pacific Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner, originally called "The Serial" which then became collectively known as Tales of The City. It is a suprisingly beautiful, deep, emotional, cosmopolitan and lasting tale about life in San Francisco in the turbulent, heady days of the 1970s and 1980s. Widely credited with and cherished for helping spread a little of the openess, tolerance and acceptance that San Francisco is now famous for. It then became a series of books - Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You - and lastly, the spin-off tale of Michael Tolliver Lives. Almost exactly twenty years after first publishing, it then became an excellent miniseries from the United Kingdom's Channel 4, which aired in the United States on PBS, but not without protest or limitations. [more inside]
People with a History is "an online guide to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history." Ranging from the first stirrings of civilization to the modern day, People with a History gathers together original sources and academic articles dealing with queerness throughout history. To give you a feel for the wealth of material on the site, here are a few pages that caught my interest: The Vikings and Homosexuality, Coptic Spell: Spell for a Man to Obtain a Male Lover, an acount of a gay marriage ceremony described by Michel de Montaigne, But Among Our Own Selves (an 18th Century gay ballad), a chapter from The Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, a 7th Century Byzantine monk and bishop, which mentions adelphopoiesis, or the rite of brothermaking, Wu Tsao, 19th Century Chinese lesbian poet, and finally Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men.
The NY Times looks at the decline of gay meccas. The GLBT Historical Society of San Francisco has held several discussions about the Castro district. A shift in values, gentrification, and violence are named as factors in the "de-gaying" of the Castro. The area's famed Halloween party has been canceled and revelers told to stay out. What will happen to this gay destination?
Up for consideration is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has been written to provide a comprehensive Federal prohibition of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Last week, Barney Frank released a Statement saying that it is a mistake to continue seeking inclusion of "gender identity" as part of the Act. Or to put it in other words, there'd be protections for only the "GLB" part of the larger "GLBT community". [more inside]
Boys Don't Cry increased the visibility of female-to-male transsexuals with its shocking story of Brandon Teena. Previously a historical footnote, they've since used the Internet to come into their own, building communities (some geared towards TG youth and families of TGs | 2) and disseminating information, including practical resources such as how to pass as a man in public, standing to pee and shaving guides. Many have come out as transgender and lead successful lives as men. Personal stories include blogs and audio biographies. I can't fail to mention the first male porn star with a pussy, Buck Angel. (Wikipedia) Meanwhile, a debate rages in the lesbian community.
workplace protection--not as hotbutton as Marriage Equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, but far more essential
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow --a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994, the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act (text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
Official transgender blessings -- Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism (1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
New Hampshire approves same-sex unions with bipartisan, if contentious support, recognizing both in- and out-of-state unions and marriages. While New York's Eliot Spitzer follows up on a campaign promise, higher courts in California and Connecticut may make decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage later this year, deciding if a civil union is an adequate legal substitution for marriage.
As Wolfdaddy put it last time we did this: "Yeah, like we didn't know that already." - So as the Glass Closet gets a tad smaller, might we be rapidly approaching that long hoped-for "tipping point" where those inside the glass no longer feel the need to play word games and dance around who they are, instead of standing up to be counted?