Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gay Military Excluded From Equal Rights

With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gay & lesbian military are still being denied equal rights, benefits & protections that their heterosexual peers receive. As we approach the first anniversary of the release of Department of Defense policy guidance on the repeal of DADT, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis has called upon Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to take immediate action on equal recognition, benefits & family support for gay & lesbian service members stating, "The year that has passed since the Department of Defense said it would continue to study this issue should have been more than enough time for it to come to agree with the Comprehensive Review Working Group's view that fairness & equality should be the order of the day when it comes to allowing service members to designate a person of their choosing for existing military benefits wherever there is not a restriction imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act. To date, they have not done that & for service members affected by this, every day they delay matters to them & their families."
Now a program was announced last week which provides that if a service member is the victim of a sexual assault, counseling services should be made available to members of his or her family. It excludes same-gender spouses from those eligible for the counseling.
Updates to Come…
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

UN Warns Africa To Respect Gay Rights

Something positive to report in the world of global homophobia. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told African leaders at the opening of a summit meeting Sunday that they must respect gay rights. Ban stated, “One form of discrimination ignored or even sanctioned by many states for too long has been discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. It prompted governments to treat people as second class citizens or even criminals.” Homosexuality is illegal in several African countries. In Uganda our LGBT community has been fighting the Kill The Gays Bill for years now. British Prime Minister David Cameron stated last year he would consider withholding aid from African countries that do not recognize gay rights. Then there was last December at the International Human Rights Day at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “Some have suggested that gay rights & human rights are separate & distinct but in fact they are one & the same.” Ban finished his summit statement by saying, “Confronting these discriminations is a challenge, but we must not give up on the ideas of the universal declaration.” Read last month’s UN statement in comments. Updates to Come…:)
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gay Marriage For Rep Barney Frank

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank is planning to tie the knot with his partner Jim Ready. Frank, 71 & Ready, 42, plan to wed in Massachusetts where gay marriage has been legal for seven years his office confirmed. This is going to be the social event to be invited to in Massachusetts. The Congressman who represents Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District is stepping down in 2012 after 32 years of service because of redistricting changes that would force him to try to represent 325,000 new constituents for only a few years before he retires. Just think how effective he could be making calls to repeal DOMA, (the Defense of Marriage Act). I’m sure once Frank is married he’ll focus on the 1,138 federal rights of marriage that are denied to our legally married gay couples in America. Jim Ready has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding & other general handyman services. He is also a photographer & lives in Ogunquit, Maine. They've been together since 2007. Perhaps this will boost the possibility of passing marriage equality in that state as well. Updates to Come..:)
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gay Activist David Kato Remembered

Gay Activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death on January 26th 2011 in his home in Kampala, Uganda. He was an out gay Ugandan LGBTI activist & human rights defender & founding member of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). The man who killed him has been tried & sentenced to prison. The courts ruled it was not a homophobic hate crime to avoid any connection to the Anti Homosexuality Bill (AHB). The Ugandan LGBT community were angered & disappointed with the decision. One year later we revisit our memories of David Kato, we remember his fortitude & remarkable legal achievements, boldly guided by his vision of establishing a Ugandan gay village. But perhaps most of all we recall these words, spoken with more logic than defiance: “If we keep on hiding, they will say we are not here.”
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama Hardly Addressed LGBT Issues

The only mention of gay in Obama’s State of the Union Address was listing us as part of a categories of people who could serve in uniform & a reference to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal. “When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight,” Obama stated. John Aravosis, who’s gay & editor of AMERICAblog, thought as we did that Obama could have gone further in his speech to address LGBT issues stating, “I didn’t really expect him to come out for marriage equality or even announce his support for an executive order on ENDA. But at the very least he could have, should have, mentioned ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ & recognized the 2 lesbians invited to sit with the first lady. It was far more understated than I think it should have been”. The lesbians that Aravosis referenced were guests of Michelle Obama that attended the speech in the first lady’s box. One of the guests was Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace, who’s currently training to deploy to Afghanistan in the spring through the Afghanistan Pakistan Hands program & her partner Kathy Knopf participated in Wallace’s “pinning-on” promotion ceremony in December. The other was Lorelei Kilker, a 31-year-old analytical chemist from Brighton, Colo., was among a class of women benefiting from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s investigation of alleged sex discrimination at her former employer, the Western Sugar Cooperative. Obama made no mention of them in his address.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gay Ally Glenn Close Brings Us Albert Nobbs

Glenn Close first played Albert Nobbs 30 years ago off-Broadway. This is a labor of love for Glenn who stars, produced & has writer credits in this exceptional must-see film. ALBERT NOBBS is based on a short story about a woman living as a man & working as a male butler in a semi-posh hotel in order to survive in 19th century Ireland. Close's performance is amazing. Every moment of the performance is perfection. Some 30 years after donning men's clothing as an act of survival, she finds herself trapped in a prison of her invention. Albert dreams of a better life as a shopkeeper. Albert keeps these ideas to herself until the arrival of a brash painter named Hubert shakes up her world. Hubert turns out to be also a woman disguising herself as a man, played by Janet McTeer in a riveting Oscar nominated performance. Close is also nominated for an Oscar. The movie totally delivers a slice of gay life in the 19th century that makes us appreciate where our LGBT community is today & how much more work needs to be done to reach full equality. The film is beautifully directed by Rodrigo Garcia & opens on January 27th.
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Martina Navratilova Courting Gay Marriage

Finally Martina Navratilova spoke out about Margaret Court’s anti-gay position on same-gender marriage. If you have been following this story 69-year-old Court, an 11-time Australian Open champion is now a Christian pastor & took a very homophobic position against our LGBT community. A few weeks before this year’s tournament she told the media that “politically correct education has masterfully escorted homosexuality out from behind closed doors, into the community openly & now is aggressively demanding marriage rights that are not theirs to take.” Navratilova’s first match in the legends’ doubles were Sunday scheduled for Margaret Court Arena. Navratilova didn’t boycott but instead the longtime gay activist wore a rainbow patch on her sleeve as she & Nicole Bradtke beat Martina Hingis & Iva Majoli. Navratilova said she hadn’t spoken to Court for years. (See Martina’s reaction in comments…:)
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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Has Obama Evolved on Gay Marriage?

This makes things interesting. First we’re endeared by Obama’s belting out a very good Al Green rendition at an Apollo Theater fundraiser & now rumors have it that he just may be evolving on his position on gay marriage. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated on Friday that he wouldn’t rule “in or out” on the possibility that Obama may endorse gay marriage in Tuesday's State of the Union Address. “I will not rule anything in or out,” Carney stated. “I’m just not going to talk about — beyond pointing at his words — his personal views on this. I think his administration's policies on related issues are there for people to judge.” One question we ask: If not now, When??
I guess we’ll have to tune in & see. Updates to Come…:)
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Best 100 Companies Support Gay Equality

Without ENDA (Employment Nondiscrimination Amendment) it appears that our LGBT workforce has hit another milestone. For the first time ever all 100 firms on Fortune's Best Companies To Work For list are all companies that have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. Google came in as #1! It seems that in 2008, 95 of the top 100 Best Companies to Work For had already had policies in place & by 2011 that number was up to 99. "It's been gathering strength over the 15 years that we've done the survey," stated Milton Moskowitz, a co-author of the list. Similar progress has been made in benefits for same-gender domestic partners, which are now offered by 89 of the 100 companies listed up from 70 only 5 years ago.
For Complete List…
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

GLAAD 23rd Media Awards Nominations

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It’s that time of year when the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s LGBT media watchdogs announce the nominees for its 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. This is in recognition & honoring show biz for outstanding images of our LGBT community. Among the nominees: Beginners, starring Christopher Plummer & Ewan McGregor, Albert Nobbs, starring Glenn Close & Janet McTeer, J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Armie Hammer, Showtime's hit shows Shameless & The Big C, Glee, Modern Family, CBS ratings leader NCIS, Becoming Chaz, the AIDS documentary We Were Here, Dancing with the Stars with Carson Kressley & Chaz Bono, the wedding of a gay staffer on Conan, David Letterman's interview with Chaz Bono, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, TheRoot.com's "Black and Transgender: A Double Burden," & Lady Gaga for her Born This Way album.

We’ll be on the Red Carpet for OUTTAKE VOICES™ at the NYC GLAAD Media Awards on March 24th. Other events will be held in LA & San Francisco. Updates to Come...:)
For Full List & Info: glaad.org/mediaawards
Check OUT Our 2011 Coverage...:)
Exclusive Audio Interview with Ricky Martin & lots of Celebrities talk Gay Rights & Red Carpet Pix & Dish @ the 2011 GLAAD MEDIA Awards& More
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