Thursday, April 28, 2011

Marines get trained on accepting gay recruits

By Elliot Spagat, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO >> If a Marine spots two men in his battalion kissing off-duty at a shopping mall, he should react as if he were seeing a man and woman. If he turns on the television news to see a fellow Marine dressed as a civilian and marching in a parade with a banner that reads, "Support Gays and Lesbians in the Military!" he should accept it as a free right of expression.

Prescriptions for those possible scenarios are being played out at Marine bases as the military prepares to allow gays to openly serve, ending a 17-year-old policy commonly known as "don't ask, don't tell." Training for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines began early this year and is expected to finish by summer's end. The repeal goes into effect 60 days after the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that lifting the ban won't hurt the military's ability to fight.

"These changes are about policy," states briefing material for Marine instructors. "The policy is about adherence to orders and behavior, and not about beliefs."

The latest round of training material asks Marines to consider their reactions to a wide range of scenarios, from seeing a member "hanging around" a gay bar to hearing locker-room jokes from others who refuse to shower in front of gays. Members of the 1st Marine Logistics Group report to class Thursday at Camp Pendleton.

There is nothing wrong with "hanging around" a gay bar, the materials state. The officer who witnesses the loud locker-room banter aimed at gays and lesbians should remind the Marines any discrimination or harassment is inappropriate.

For those who oppose the new policy, the Marine Corps says it doesn't expect anyone to change their personal beliefs. Still, everyone must follow orders.

"You remain obligated to follow orders that involve interaction with others who are gay or lesbian, even if an unwillingness to do so is based on strong, sincerely held moral or religious beliefs," the training material states.

A top-notch recruiter who opposes the new policy cannot refuse a promising applicant on grounds of sexual orientation but might be considered for another assignment and, at the discretion of the Navy secretary, may be granted early discharge.

Chaplains who preach at base chapels that homosexuality is a sin are entitled to express their religious beliefs during worship.

The Marines expect to finish training on the new policy by June 1, Gen. James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, testified in Congress earlier this month.

Amos testified last year that permitting gays to openly serve could disrupt smaller combat units and distract leaders from preparing for battle. When he appeared this month before the House Armed Services Committee, he said he had been looking for problems that might arise under the new policy and hadn't found any "recalcitrant pushback."

"There has not been the anxiety over it from the forces in the field," he said.

Posted at http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/120864339.html and reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

We Say Gay: Tennessee kids fight bill that would prohibit discussing homosexuality in school

Cory Doctorow at 5:34 AM Thursday, Apr 28, 2011 Posted at Boing-boing, one of my favorite sites, http://www.boingboing.net/2011/04/28/we-say-gay-tennessee.html/ & reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

Mary Robinette Kowal sez, "Tennessee is trying to pass bill SB0049. The "Don't Say Gay" bill would prohibit speaking about homosexuality at middle schools and elementary schools, while talking about heterosexuality would be fine ('(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.') Kids at my nephew's high school protesting it. The bill goes to vote tomorrow."

We say gay for the students who won't be able to. This site is dedicated to fight against the Tennessee state bill SB0049 (Don't say gay bill), which would make it a misdemeanor to talk about homosexuality in grades bellow 9th. That is an obvious insult to our first amendment rights to free speech as well as it is a major blow to those young people who are shunned by their own parents for being gay and soon will not be able to talk to their school about it.

On this site we have collected some facts about the bill. We check and update the site daily or as updates about the bill come in. If you would like to sign the petition against this bill or help the fight just email me at wesaygay@gmail.com
We Say Gay (Thanks, MaryRobinette!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Opponents of gay marriage getting slimy and desperate

By Adam Serwer reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

There’s a very big story unfolding in California right now whose ultimate outcome could determine whether or not gays and lesbians will have the right to get married in the United States.

The story concerns Proposition 8, the statewide referendum banning same-sex marriage. Having failed to prove their case in court, Prop 8 supporters are now attacking the sexual orientation of the judge who overturned the referendum.

Supporters of Prop 8 were dealt a blow last year when Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that there is no empirical basis for the notion that same-sex marriages harm heterosexual marriages and therefore no compelling interest in preventing gays and lesbians from getting married.

Yesterday, same-sex marriage opponents filed a motion to have Walker’s ruling vacated, on the grounds that his being gay and in a long-term relationship amounts to a conflict of interest that should have forced him to recuse himself:

Given that Chief Judge Walker was in a committed, long-term, same-sex relationship throughout this case (and for many years before the case commenced), it is clear that his “impartiality might reasonably [have been] questioned” from the outset. He therefore had, at a minimum, a waivable conflict and was obligated either to recuse himself or to provide “full disclosure on the record of the basis for disqualification,” so that the parties could consider and decide, before the case proceeded further, whether to request his recusal. His failure to do either was a clear violation of Section 455(a), whose “goal ... is to avoid even the appearance of partiality.”

This argument is too clever by half, and relies on the same faulty argument put forth originally in defense of Prop 8: The qualitative judgment that same-sex relationships are inferior. Opponents of same-sex marriage are arguing, in effect, that because Walker was in a long term same-sex relationship, he stood to benefit personally from Prop 8 being overturned. They argue, naturally, that the issue is not Walker’s sexuality per se, but his relationship status. But by that logic the only way a gay or lesbian judge could rule impartially on matters involving gay rights is if they’re celibate.

The problem is that this same logic could be applied to a straight, married judge hearing the case. After all, supporters of the same-sex marriage ban are arguing that marriage equality is so damaging to the institution of marriage that the government has a vital interest in making sure gays and lesbians can’t get married. That means that a straight, married judge couldn’t be expected to be impartial, either — after all, according to supporters of Prop 8, “the further deinstitutionalization of marriage caused by the legalization of same-sex marriage,” would directly impact married heterosexuals. Therefore, a heterosexual, married judge could be seen as having just as much “skin in the game” as Judge Walker.

Proposition 8 supporters would never make that argument, of course, because the implication of their argument is that gays and lesbians are incapable of the impartiality expected of judges by their very nature. The notion that Walker’s ruling should be vacated is build on the flimsy assumption that gays and lesbians are different from heterosexuals in a manner that justifies denying them their fundamental rights. It’s also built on an unstated but core conservative view of the courts — that judicial “impartiality” is best defined as viewing the law through the cultural prism of a heterosexual, conservative white Christian judge. That’s partly why the impartiality Justice Sonya Sotomayor was viewed as suspect from the outset.

The real problem faced by Prop 8 supporters real problem is that their case is profoundly weak, and relies almost entirely on archaic and rapidly eroding social prejudices against homosexuality. During the trial, they only called one witness, and that witness was unable to provide a factual basis for the assertions being made by Prop 8 supporters — that extending marriage rights to gays and lesbians would harm anyone. Conversely, Prop 8 opponents were able to demonstrate, in vivid detail, precisely how they were personally hurt by California’s decision to deny gays and lesbians their fundamental rights.

Now Prop 8 supporters are reduced to arguing, essentially, that Walker’s ruling should be vacated because he is gay. Aside from the faulty legal reasoning, supporters of the law aren’t doing themselves any favors when it comes to convincing anyone that their position on marriage amounts to anything other than prejudice.

UPDATE: My mistake — Prop 8 supporters called two witnesses during the trial, not one. But neither was able to offer empirical evidence for the assertions made about the negative impact of legalizing same-sex marriage.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/opponents-of-gay-marriage-getting-slimy-and-desperate/2011/03/04/AFLxZ5pE_blog.html?hpid=z4

Monday, April 25, 2011

Robertson: Left Backs Abortion Rights To Make Straight Women More Like Lesbians

Submitted by Brian on April 25, 2011 - 9:20am Posted at Right Wing Watch. Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com I am not making this up. There is a video. I submit this for your entertainment.

Pat Robertson has figured out why President Obama supports the funding of Planned Parenthood and believes in a woman’s right to choose: because progressives want women to have abortions as a way to achieve equality for lesbians. While speaking with co-host Terry Meeuwsen of The 700 Club about the recent debate over Planned Parenthood’s funding, Robertson attempted to use “psychological stuff” to rationalize why progressives back Planned Parenthood and “this culture of death.” According to Robertson, progressives want straight women to “abortion their babies” to “put [lesbians] on a level playing field.”

Meeuwsen: There are lots of government-funded agencies in this country. Why do you think the President picked that one above all else to say, ‘not one penny’?

Robertson: Well it’s the left; it’s this culture of death. The far-left is livid about killing babies. They want to kill do this, they want to destroy. You go back, and I don’t want to play all this psychological stuff but nevertheless, if a woman is a lesbian, what advantage does she have over a married woman? Or what deficiency does she have?

Meeuwsen: Well, she can’t have children

Robertson: That’s exactly right. And so if these married women don’t have children, if they abort their babies, then that kind of puts them on a level playing field. And you say, nobody’s there to express that? Isn’t that shocking, well, think about it a little bit, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Independent Lens: Two Spirits

Event Starting Date: June 14, 2011 6:00 pm

Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com.

Two Spirits interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at the largely unknown history of a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders. Powerful and moving, Lydia Nibley’s Two Spirits explores the life and death of Fred Martinez and the ancient Native American two-spirit tradition. Two Spirits will premiere on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by America Ferrera, on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 (check local listings).

Fred Martinez told his mother he felt as if he was both a boy and a girl, and she explained that this is a special gift, according to traditional Navajo culture. But the place where two discriminations meet is a dangerous place to live, and Fred became one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at sixteen. Between tradition and controversy, and freedom and fear, lies the truth—the bravest choice you can make is to be yourself.

Two Spirits explores issues of national concern including the bullying and violence commonly faced by LGBT people, and the epidemic of LGBT teen suicide, and reveals the range of gender expression that has long been seen as a healthy part of many of the indigenous cultures of North America, and of Navajo culture in particular.

Location:
To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the companion website for Two Spirits at www.pbs.org/independentlens/two-spirits. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.

Support May Help Curb Suicide Among Gay Youths

Study finds marked benefit from student groups and anti-bullying policies in schools

Posted: April 18, 2011 By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Gay youths are much less likely to attempt suicide when they live in communities where they feel they have some support, either through gay/lesbian groups at school or simply because more same-sex couples live in the area, new research has found.

According to a report published online April 18 in Pediatrics, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) youths who live in a nonsupportive social environment are five times more likely than their "straight" peers to try to kill themselves.

"While there are a small number of prior studies that have demonstrated that school climate makes a difference for LGB students, this study is important because it extends our understanding to the broader surroundings of the community in which students and schools are situated," said Stephen T. Russell, a professor and director of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
"The study shows that the population density of same-sex couples ... is a strong and stable measure of the community/school climate and that this has a direct influence on the well-being of LGB youth," added Russell, who was not involved in the study.

According to the study's author, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholar at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, "previous studies showed that gay youth are more likely to attempt suicide."

Real-life experience has backed up that statement. In a one-month period last fall, the media reported on four incidents in which LGB youth committed suicide after being bullied because of their sexual orientation.
In addition, a survey conducted by the New York-based Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network found that nearly nine of every 10 gay, lesbian bisexual or transgendered middle and high school students said they were physically or verbally bullied in 2009.

To help counter this, syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who is gay, launched the "It Gets Better" campaign last September. Its YouTube site features successful gay adults from all walks of life talking about their experiences with bullying -- and how they came through it.

Hatzenbuehler's study was "one of the first to examine the role of environment" in bullying and suicides, instead of focusing on such individual risk factors as depression, which previous studies had done, he said.

The study also did not rely on the teens' own perceptions of their social environment but instead developed a set of five more objective factors to characterize the environment. They were:

• The proportion of same-sex couples living in the county
• The proportion of registered Democrats living in the county.
Hatzenbuehler said that earlier studies had indicated that political
ideology was associated with attitudes toward sexuality.
• Whether the school had a gay-straight alliance
• Whether the student handbook specified anti-bullying policies
• Whether the handbook included anti-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation

Hatzenbuehler surveyed almost 32,000 11th-grade students in 34 counties in Oregon, 4.4 percent of whom were LGB. He found that almost 22 percent of LGB youth had attempted suicide in the past year, compared with only 4.2 percent in the heterosexual population.

But living in a more supportive environment reduced that risk by 20 percent. A supportive environment was also linked with a 9 percent lower risk for attempted suicide among heterosexual teens.

"This is a road map for how we can begin to reduce suicide attempts among LGB youth," Hatzenbuehler said. "There are three relatively straightforward things we can do. If we allow gay/lesbian alliances in schools and include anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies in student handbooks, we can really reduce suicide attempts."

"Attempting suicide is not something inherent to being gay," he said.

More information: Mental Health American has more on bullying and gay youths. Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted at http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2011/04/18/support-may-help-curb-suicide-among-gay-youths
Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Father Kills Daughter’s Lesbian Girlfriend and Girlfriend’s Mother

Maria HPosted by Kevin Farrell on April 19, 2011 posted at http://unicornbooty.com/2011/04/father-kills-lesbian-daughters-girlfriend-and-gfs-mother/. Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com,

So, so, so completely heartbreaking.
It’s like Romeo and Juliet, except in Texas, and without the poisoning and the Romeo.

Also, Juliet’s father goes crazy at the end and kills nearly everyone. OK, so it’s nothing like Romeo and Juliet. It’s still a horrendous tragedy between two families.

Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, didn’t take kindly to his daughter being in a lesbian relationship with 24-year-old Norma Hurtado. Last night, Aviles and an unidentified Hispanic man drove to Hurtado’s home while Avile’s daughter was in the home.

The two men shot and killed Hurtado, and her 57-year-old mother, Maria Hurtado before driving away and leaving Avile’s daughter alone with the dead bodies of her girlfriend and her mother.

Statesman reports:Police could not say whether the crime would be considered a hate crime, saying that issue would be up to the district attorney’s office.

Aviles was detained in the Bexar County jail this morning, a U.S. Marshals Service official said, adding that they were working on transferring to Travis County.

UPDATE: The Austin Police Department has released the names of the victims in Monday’s double homicide. Norma Hurtado, 24, and Maria Hurtado, 57, were shot to death at their home in Southeast Austin, officials said.

EARLIER: A suspect in a double homicide in Southeast Austin was arrested early this morning in Bexar County and charged with capital murder, an Austin police official said today.

Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, was arrested about 4:30 a.m. in San Antonio by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Police say Aviles fired multiple shots into a home at the 7100 block of Dixie Drive near Salt Springs Drive about 6:45 p.m. Monday, killing two adults who opened the front door, police have said. The names of the people who were shot have not been released.

The headline for this story has been changed to reflect that it was a witness, and not police, who said the killings were motivated by a lesbian relationship.

My God. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Norma and Maria Hurtado, as well as the surviving Aviles daughter, who watched as the family who embraced her were gunned down by the family who rejected her. I can’t remember a story ever giving me chills like this tragedy.

Evan Rachel Wood is bisexual

Actress Evan Rachel Wood has stunned Hollywood by revealing she is bisexual and is looking for love with either gender.

"The Wrestler" star, who was previously engaged to shock rocker Marilyn Manson, has opened up about her sexuality, admitting she is happy to date either a man or a woman.

She tells Esquire magazine, "I was always into very androgynous things. Guys, girls...I'm into androgyny in general... I'm more of like the guy when it comes to girls. I'm the dominant one. I'm opening the doors, I'm buying dinner. Yeah, I'm romantic... (I'm) up for anything. (I want to) meet a nice guy, (or) a nice girl."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Video: New bill requires Social Studies lessons in gay history

New bill requires Social Studies lessons in gay history 

Posted in New York Times. Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

Well, there's Black History month, Hispanic Heritage month. Some are wondering why not teach gay history to students. The state senate has approved a bill and it's awaiting action by the state assembly. It's sponsored by Mark Leno of San Francisco and he joins me now. Thank you so much for joining us.
>> Thank you, Tamron.
>> Tell me how me how this came to you.
>> Well, we are currently censoring our history books when we exclude lgbt Americans from our lessons. Since the 1970s, our education code has required that the role and contributions of women, African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans, European-Americans be included in our history studies. We are failing our students, and I can document that by the tragic and ever growing epidemic of bullying on our school campuses and, in fact, the number of students who can no longer bear and endure the pain they have experienced at school are now killing themselves. We are now helping them by denying them the fact of a civil rights movement and that there is a history here, and there have been leaders not unlike Harvey Milk .
>> Some of those opponents out there say that the curriculum change adds nonessential material to the school day that is already short on time and in their belief it puts inappropriate emphasis on sexuality.  What is your response to that concern?
>> So this is no more about sexuality than when students are taught that a man named Dr. Martin Luther King who fought for civil rights was African-American, that Caesar Chavez was Mexican-American. Harvey Milk happened to be a gay American who was fighting for civil rights and was killed in his city hall office because of who he was. This is not teaching sexuality. It's teaching history and what the fight for civil rights equality, fighting for the great promise of our constitution that all men and women are created equal and should be treated fairly and equally under the law.
>> And as I mentioned, you're awaiting action by the state. Do you believe this will become a reality?
>> We had success in the state senate. We'll begin the process in policy committee in the next few weeks. We hope to get it to the governor's desk by the end of the summer.  I'm hopeful he will receive this with an open mind.
>> Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco. Thank you for your time.
>> Thank you. JuRmhttp://keystothecloset.blogspot.com
Reposted at p to text
Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian studen...
1.       

Gays fight for identity at religious colleges

Students worry if holding hands could jeopardize scholarships or risk expulsion
By ERIK ECKHOLM
Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian students have erupted in the places that expect it the least: the scores of Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities that, in their founding beliefs, see homosexuality as a sin.
Decades after the gay rights movement swept the country’s secular schools, more gays and lesbians at Christian colleges are starting to come out of the closet, demanding a right to proclaim their identities and form campus clubs, and rejecting suggestions to seek help in suppressing homosexual desires.

Many of the newly assertive students grew up as Christians and developed a sense of their sexual identities only after starting college, and after years of inner torment. They spring from a new generation of evangelical youths that, over all, holds far less harsh views of homosexuality than its elders.

But in their efforts to assert themselves, whether in campus clubs or more publicly on Facebook, gay students are running up against administrators who defend what they describe as God’s law on sexual morality, and who must also answer to conservative trustees and alumni.

Facing vague prohibitions against “homosexual behavior,” many students worry about what steps — holding hands with a partner, say, or posting a photograph on a gay Web site — could jeopardize scholarships or risk expulsion.

“It’s like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object,” said Adam R. Short, a freshman engineering student at Baylor University who is openly gay and has fought, without success, for campus recognition of a club to discuss sexuality and fight homophobia.

A few more liberal religious colleges, like Belmont University in Nashville, which has Baptist origins, have reluctantly allowed the formation of gay student groups, in Belmont’s case after years of heated debate, and soon after the university had forced a lesbian soccer coach to resign.

'Contrary to biblical teaching'
But the more typical response has come from Baylor, which with 15,000 students is the country’s largest Baptist university, and which has refused to approve the sexuality forum.

“Baylor expects students not to participate in advocacy groups promoting an understanding of sexuality that is contrary to biblical teaching,” said Lori Fogleman, a university spokeswoman.

Despite the rebuff, more than 50 students continue to hold weekly gatherings of their Sexual Identity Forum, and will keep seeking the moral validation that would come with formal status, said Samantha A. Jones, a senior and president of the group.

“The student body at large is ready for this,” said Saralyn Salisbury, Ms. Jones’s girlfriend and also a senior at Baylor. “But not the administration and the Regents.”

At Abilene Christian University in Texas, several students are openly gay, and many more are pushing for change behind the scenes. Last spring, the university refused to allow formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance.

“We want to engage these complex issues, and to give help and guidance to students who are struggling with same-sex attraction,” said Jean-Noel Thompson, the university’s vice president for student life. “But we are not going to embrace any advocacy for gay identity.”
At Harding University in Arkansas, which like Abilene Christian is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, half a dozen current and former students posted an online magazine in early March featuring personal accounts of the travails of gay students.

The university blocked access to the site on the university’s Internet server, which helped cause the site to go viral in the world of religious universities.

At chapel, Harding’s president, David B. Burks, told students that “we are not trying to control your thinking,” but that “it was important for us to block the Web site because of what it says about Harding, who we are, and what we believe.” Mr. Burks called the site’s very name, huqueerpress.com, offensive.

Most evangelical colleges say they do not discipline students who admit to same-sex attractions — only those who engage in homosexual “behavior” or “activity.” (On evangelical campuses, sexual intercourse outside marriage is forbidden for everyone.)

Abilene Christian sees a big difference, Mr. Thompson said, between a student who is struggling privately with same-sex feelings, and “a student who in e-mails, on Facebook and elsewhere says ‘I am publicly gay, this is a lifestyle that I advocate regardless of where the university stands.’ ”

Student ejected
Amanda Lee Genaro said she was ejected in 2009 from North Central University, a Pentecostal Bible college in Minneapolis as she became more assertive about her gay identity. She had struggled with her feelings for years, Ms. Genaro said, when she was inspired by a 2006 visit to the campus of SoulForce, a national group of gay religious-college alumni that tries to spark campus discussion.

“I thought, wow, maybe God loves me even if I like women,” Ms. Genaro recalled. In 2009, after she quit “reparative therapy,” came out on MySpace and admitted to having a romantic, if unconsummated, relationship with a woman, the university suspended her, saying she could reapply in a year if she had rejected homosexuality. She transferred to a non-Christian school.

Gay students say they are often asked why they are attending Christian colleges at all. But the question, students say, is unfair.

Many were raised in intensely Christian homes with an expectation of attending a religious college and long fought their homosexuality. They arrive at school, as one of the Harding Web authors put it, “hoping that college would turn us straight, and then once we realized that this wasn’t happening, there was nothing you could do about it.”

The students who do come out on campus say that it is a relief, but that life remains hard.

“I’m lonely,” said Taylor Schmitt, in his second year at Abilene Christian after arriving with a full scholarship and a hope that his inner self might somehow change. By the end of his first year, Mr. Schmitt said, he accepted his homosexuality. He switched to English from the Bible studies department, which, he said, “reeked of the past deceptions and falsehoods I’d created around myself.”

Rather than transferring and giving up his scholarship, he is taking extra classes to graduate a year early.

Some of the gay students end up disillusioned with Christianity, even becoming atheists, while others have searched for more liberal churches.

David Coleman was suspended by North Central University in his senior year in 2005, after he distributed fliers advertising a gay-support site and admitted to intimate relations (but not sexual intercourse) with other men. He calls the university’s environment “spiritually violent.”

Mr. Coleman, 28, is now enrolled at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minn., which is run by the more accepting United Church of Christ. He still dreams of becoming a pastor.

“I have a calling,” he said.

This article, headlined "Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity," first appeared in The New York Times. Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/
Copyright © 2010 The New York Times

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ignacio Rivera to provide keynote at 4th annual TransOhio Transgender & Ally Conference, August 5-7, 2011!


Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.
 
Ignacio Rivera aka PapĂ­ Coxxx is a gender queer Trans-Former born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Ignacio who prefers the gender-neutral pronoun “they”, is a performance artist, currently performing skits, spoken word, one-person shows and story-telling internationally. Ignacio is a lecturer, activist, new filmmaker and self-proclaimed sex educator.
 
Ignacio is the founder of Poly Patao Productions. P3 is dedicated to producing sex-positive workshops, performance pieces, films, play parties, panel discussions, social/political groups and educational opportunities that are specially geared toward queer women, transgender, multi-gender, gender-queer, gender non-conforming and gender variant people of color.
 
Ignacio is also one of the founding board members of Queers for Economic Justice, a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation.
 
 
The 4th Annual TransOhio Transgender & Ally Conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio the weekend of August 5-7, 2011 at The Ohio State University Multicultural Center at the Ohio Union.
 
Friday, August 5th: 2nd Annual Provider’s Day
Explicitly for medical, legal, and social work professionals (CEUs/CLEs)
 
Saturday, August 6th: General Conference
Covering a broad range of interests throughout the community
 
Sunday, August 7th: General Conference
Continuation of programs with a diversity of topics
 
Join over 300 Trans-Identifed individuals and Allies from across the country for seminars, presentations, panels, workshops, discussion groups and fellowship! 

National Coalition and Center for American Progress Release New Report, Changing the Game: What Health Care Reform Means for LGBT Americans

The National Coalition for LGBT Health and the Center for American Progress marked LGBT Health Awareness Week with the release of Changing the Game: What Health Care Reform Means for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Americans.

The report provides an overview of the health disparities experienced by LGBT people, followed by a brief discussion of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act that hold particular promise for improving the health and well-being of the LGBT community. The report continues into an investigation of four major areas where efforts by LGBT advocates and their allies in each state will be key to ensuring that the new health law delivers the largest possible positive results for the LGBT community when the law is fully implemented by 2014. These areas are achieving comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in health insurance exchanges, establishing LGBT-inclusive data collection policies, recognizing and including LGBT families in all health reform activities, and supporting community-based health interventions that are LGBT-inclusive.

Find out what’s happening in your state around health care reform and join the conversation! Go to http://lgbthealth.webolutionary.com/home

First posted in email from National Coalition for LGBT Health, reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

Once Agan: Jon Stewart, the Voice of Reason

Daily Show: Toemageddon 2011 - This Little Piggy Went to Hell

The media reports on a five-year-old boy with pink toenails like it's a story about incest or cannibalism. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-april-13-2011/toemageddon-2011---this-little-piggy-went-to-hell
Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

Lakers' Kobe fined $100K for gay slur

 Updated Apr 13, 2011 7:36 PM ET LOS ANGELES (AP)
The NBA fined Kobe Bryant $100,000 on Wednesday for using a derogatory gay term in frustration over a referee's call.
Kobe Bryant

VIDEO: Kobe yells slur

Did Lakers star Kobe Bryant, always a polarizing figure, cross the line in ripping a ref? You be the judge.
 
NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a swift disciplinary ruling after the Los Angeles Lakers' five-time NBA champion guard cursed and used the homophobic slur when referee Bennie Adams called a technical foul on him Tuesday night in the third quarter of a victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

''Kobe Bryant's comment during last night's game was offensive and inexcusable,'' Stern said. ''While I'm fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. ... Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.''

Stern's action drew praise from gay-rights organizations that had demanded a fuller apology from Bryant and condemnation of his words by the Lakers. Bryant, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying his words came strictly out of anger and shouldn't be taken literally.
''We applaud Commissioner Stern and the NBA for not only fining Bryant but for recognizing that slurs and derogatory comments have no place on the basketball court or in society at large,'' Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said. ''We hope such swift and decisive action will send a strong and universal message that this kind of hateful outburst is simply inexcusable no matter what the context.''

Bryant's words and actions were captured by TNT's cameras during the network's national broadcast of the Lakers' regular-season home finale.

Bryant punched his chair before taking a seat on the bench, throwing a towel on the court near his feet in frustration after picking up his fourth foul in the third quarter. He got his 15th technical of the season for arguing the call, one shy of the cumulative trigger for a one-game NBA suspension.

''What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period,'' Bryant said in a statement issued through the Lakers. ''The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone.''
The 32-year-old Bryant is a former league MVP, a 13-time All-Star, the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history and sixth on the NBA's career list after passing Moses Malone last month. He was the MVP of the last two NBA finals while leading the Lakers to back-to-back titles.
 
Bryant has been among the NBA's most popular players worldwide for most of his 15-year career, spent entirely with the Lakers, even after he was arrested and accused of sexual assault in 2003 in a case that was later dropped. He has several lucrative endorsement deals with companies ranging from Sprite to Turkish Airlines.

His No. 24 jersey was the league's best-selling uniform among fans during each of the past two seasons, and Bryant's jersey finished second to LeBron James' new Miami uniform in the NBA's annual rankings released earlier Wednesday.

Gay-rights groups quickly denounced Bryant's actions against Adams. Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, saw an opportunity to put a spotlight on the unacceptable nature of anti-gay slurs.

''Professional sports players need to set a better example for young people who use words like this on the playground and in our schools, creating a climate of intolerance and hostility,'' Barrios said. ''The LA Lakers have a responsibility to educate their fans about why this word is unacceptable.''

Known as a fierce competitor with a nasty edge, Bryant has ranked among the NBA's top 10 accumulators of technical fouls during each of the past six seasons, and he has edged right up to the line of serious NBA discipline this spring. He ranks second only to Orlando's Dwight Howard in technical fouls this season, mostly for arguing with referees.

Bryant was called for an additional technical foul that was rescinded Monday. If Bryant gets another T in the Lakers' season finale at Sacramento on Wednesday night, he would be suspended for the first game of next season, not for a playoff game.

The Lakers will open the playoffs this weekend at Staples Center.

Posted at http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/Los-Angeles-Lakers-Kobe-Bryant-fined-100-thousand-dollars-for-gay-slur-041311?GT1=39002 reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogger.com/

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Surviving Crime and Violence: Street Youth and Victimization in Toronto

There is a new report about homeless youth as victims of crime by Stephen Gaetz, Bill O'Grady and Kristy Buccierei. Surviving the Streets.JFCY.September16.2010.pdf (998.1kB)   I have posted it here as it has relevance to the conditions for LGBTIQ youth in transition.


Any parent would be outraged if their child was exposed to violence and crime. Any community would consider this to be unacceptable. Should we be concerned about the risks that young people who are homeless face? In our report, “Surviving Crime and Violence”, we explore the relationship between youth homelessness and criminal victimization. Our research highlights the degree to which the lives of young people who are homeless are characterized by high levels of crime and violence.

This report, prepared for Justice for Children and Youth, was led by Stephen Gaetz (York University) and Bill O’Grady (University of Guelph). Two hundred and forty four homeless youth in Toronto were interviewed in 2009 about life on the streets, including their experiences of criminal victimization. While street youth are often portrayed in public discussions as dangerous, threatening and delinquent, this new research highlights the degree to which it is street youth themselves who are clearly vulnerable to crime and violence.

The findings of this research reveal that street youth are victimized frequently, in large part due to the vulnerabilities that young people face when they are homeless. Particularly concerning are the findings which indicate that interventions to this victimization are not being effectively addressed by the criminal justice and shelter systems or by other professionals involved in the lives of street youth. We suggest that if the levels of violence and other forms of crime found in this study were being experienced by any other group of youth in Canada there would be immediate public outrage and considerable pressure for government to take action. Street youth deserve the same level of attention in responding to and preventing crime and violence that any other group of Canadian citizens are entitled to. Such attention is needed so that street youth have an opportunity to move forward in life.
 Download a PDF of the report 
Stephen Gaetz talks about street youth as victims of crime. Watch the video
Listen to Stephen's interview with CBC Metro Morning.


Monday, April 11, 2011

U.S. Panel Suggests Research Into Causes and Prevalence of Health Issues Facing Gays


By ROBERT PEAR Published: March 31, 2011, reposted at http://www.keystothecloset.blogger.com/

WASHINGTON — The federal government should systematically collect demographic data on gay, lesbian and transgender people and should conduct biomedical research to understand why they are more likely to have certain chronic conditions, the National Academy of Sciences said Thursday.

In a report requested by the National Institutes of Health, the academy proposed an ambitious research agenda to investigate the prevalence and causes of obesity, depression, cancer, heart disease and other conditions among gay people.

Federal officials had asked the academy’s Institute of Medicine to identify gaps in research on the health of gay Americans. Dr. Robert O. Graham, the chairman of the panel that did the study, said that was impossible.
“The available evidence on the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is sparse,” said Dr. Graham, a professor of family medicine at the University of Cincinnati. “Researchers need to do much more than simply filling gaps.”

The panel, appointed by the Institute of Medicine, said the government should finance research to develop standardized measures of sexual orientation and gender identity — “one’s basic sense of being a man, woman or other gender, such as transgender.”

Gay people often face “barriers to equitable health care,” decline to seek care in times of need and receive substandard care when they seek it, the report said.

“Fearing discrimination and prejudice,” it said, “many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people refrain from disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to researchers and health care providers.”

In addition, the report said, many doctors lack the necessary training. “Medical schools teach very little about sexuality in general and little or nothing about the unique aspects of lesbian, gay and bisexual health,” it said.

The panel said the National Institutes of Health should strongly encourage researchers to include “sexual and gender minorities” in studies whenever possible, just as they include women, blacks, Asian-Americans and Hispanics.

In its report, which offers a comprehensive survey of information about the health of gay Americans, the panel made these points:

·          “On average, men tend to show greater interest in sex and express a desire to engage in sex more frequently than women. These patterns appear to occur in both heterosexual and homosexual populations.”

·          Gay youths and adults are typically well adjusted and mentally healthy, but some research indicates that they are more likely to be depressed, have suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide.

·          “Lesbians and bisexual women may be at higher risk for breast cancer than heterosexual women.”

·          Some studies suggest that long-term use of hormone therapy by transgender people may increase their risk for cancer, but more research is needed.

·          In addition, the report said, “Some research suggests that lesbians and bisexual women have a higher risk of obesity than heterosexual females.” Lesbians may also have higher rates of smoking and alcohol consumption than heterosexual women, it said.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 1, 2011, on page A16 of the New York edition.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/health/policy/01gays.html?_r=1&ref=research

Disparities: Illness More Prevalent Among Older Gay Adults

By RONI CARYN RABIN Published: April 1, 2011

Older lesbian, gay and bisexual adults in California are more likely to suffer from chronic physical and mental health problems than their heterosexual counterparts, a new analysis has found. They also are less likely to have live-in partners or adult children who can help care for them.

The research brief was based on data from the California Health Interview Survey gathered in 2003, 2005 and 2007 by the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Older gay and bisexual men — ages 50 to 70 — reported higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and physical disability than similar heterosexual men. Older gay and bisexual men also were 45 percent more likely to report psychological distress and 50 percent more likely to rate their health as fair or poor. In addition, one in five gay men in California was living with H.I.V. infection, the researchers found. Yet half of older gay and bisexual men lived alone, compared with 13.4 percent of older heterosexual men.  

Older lesbian and bisexual women experienced similar rates of diabetes and hypertension compared with straight women of their age, but reported significantly more physical disabilities and psychological distress and were 26 percent more likely to say their health was fair or poor.

More than one in four lived alone, compared with only one in five heterosexual women.

Steven P. Wallace, associate director of the U.C.L.A. Center for Health Policy Research and lead author of the brief, said it was important to raise awareness of these disparities. “The gay culture tends to be youth-driven, and the aging community network doesn’t usually think about gay and lesbian elders,” he said.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 5, 2011, on page D7 of the New York edition.

Peer Support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Individuals


by Ronald E. Hellman, M.D., FAPA, Director,
LGBT Affirmative Program of South Beach Psychiatric Center published in Recovery To Practice Newsletter, reprinted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

The LGBT Affirmative Program (LGBTAP) of South Beach Psychiatric Center was initiated in 1996 as one of several multicultural services provided by this large, public sector community mental health center in New York City. The program is based at the Heights–Hill Mental Health Service in downtown Brooklyn, one of seven outpatient clinics at South Beach, which serves a multi-ethnic, low socioeconomic population with serious, chronic mental illnesses.

Several years into the program, we observed that our sexual minority population, much like our general psychiatric population with significant disabilities, had great difficulty reintegrating within the larger LGBT community and the general community at large, despite the provision of LGBT–affirmative therapies. We came to believe that it was incumbent upon us to facilitate the creation of a socio-cultural component within a recovery model, in addition to the psychosocial and medical services already offered.

This resulted in the creation of an affiliated membership program, the Rainbow Heights Club (RHC). As members, individuals did not have to be enrolled at the clinic, and this allowed LGBT patients from all over the New York metropolitan area to attend. The larger numbers helped to approximate the diversity found within the city’s LGBT community. And, with the creation of an LGBT consumer advisory group, members came up with a name for the club and helped steer program development.

LGBT individuals with major mental illnesses can be reluctant to engage in psychiatric treatment and adhere to treatment regimens over time, because they are less likely to identify with mainstream settings. They are a minority in these settings, and are also subject to stigma in the LGBT community because of their mental illness and in psychiatric settings because of their sexual minority status. And, unlike other ethnic and racial minorities, their families typically do not share their sexual identity. Thus they can be particularly prone to a lack of affirmation and supports.

LGBT patients have to adapt to largely heterosexual, cisgendered (those comfortable in their gender of birth) mental health settings in virtually all areas of service delivery. Well-intentioned, “integrated” settings fall short when they do not provide safe, culturally relevant opportunities for the alienated LGBT patient. Culturally appropriate programming, fostered at all organizational levels, has the power to transform these patients into LGBT persons in recovery.

A crucial component of recovery for the LGBT consumer is peer support. LGBT peer support allows for a process of authentic identification with others like oneself. It promotes forms of socialization, role modeling, and individuation not otherwise available in the generic setting. Mainstream cultural settings often inadvertently rob the LGBT patient of their experience as a sexual minority person with a different, yet valid, worldview. LGBTAP and RHC were organized to facilitate peer support by bringing a “proto-community” of individuals together that had never previously connected.

Separation from the dominant heterosexual, cisgendered world and connection with sexual minority peers is a common step in the healthy psychological development of sexual minority individuals. Major mental illness can tear people away from that process, and mainstream psychiatric settings typically provide no substitute. LGBTAP and RHC created the conditions and opportunities for these individuals to connect with each other, thereby creating a unique cultural community in which pride, place, self-esteem, support, and hope could be nurtured, as the weight of mental illness became merely a shared part of that larger process.

As a unique, regional program, RHC has served almost 500 members. Collaborating with staff and peer specialists, members have made their needs and interests known, the result being an ever-evolving program of groups, support, skills training, and advocacy. An outcome study of this recovery model found that participants attributed significant improvement in adherence with treatment regimens, reduction in psychiatric symptoms, enhanced self-esteem, improved stress tolerance and hopefulness to the program, despite an average of 16 years of previous psychiatric treatment.1 To appreciate the depth of this program, please visit http://www.rainbowheights.org.

1 Hellman, R.E.; Huygen, C.; Klein, E.; Chew, M.; & Uttaro, T. (2010.) A study of members of a support and advocacy program for LGBT persons with major mental illness. Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, 6(2), 13–26.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Now, for you polari fans...

"As feely ommes...we would zhoosh our riah, powder our eeks, climb into our bona new drag, don our batts and troll off to some bona bijou bar. In the bar we would stand around with our sisters, vada the bona cartes on the butch omme ajax who, if we fluttered our ogle riahs at him sweetly, might just troll over to offer a light for the unlit vogue clenched between our teeth." (Taken from the memoirs of renowned journalist Peter Burton, Parallel Lives)

Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Save the Date! HRC Columbus Gala

28th Annual HRC
 Columbus Gala Dinner
Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ohio State University, Ohio Union
1736 N. High St
Columbus, OH 43201

Dress: Black Tie Optional
Regular Price $175.00 + Box Office Tickets Service Fee



Kristen is organizing a table and you are welcome to help support this fantastic organization, celebrate the successes of the past year (DADT repeal!) and have a glamorous night on the town!

There will be entertainment, dancing, food and cocktails and both a live and silent auction. There is something for every taste and budget.

HRC is still accepting donations for the auction items. This is a great opportunity to reach a progressive audience and customers for your business. For more information on Human Rights Campaign (HRC) please check out our Facebook or website. Please contact Kristen at 740/788-0303 (or kframe@mhalc.org) for more information.

We ask that tickets be purchased on Box Office Tickets via www.hrccolumbusdinner.com, but a check is fine. Your check may be sent to Brock Leonti at 63 East Gay Street, Floor 2, Columbus, OH 43215. You'll need to indicate name, phone, e-mail and at which table you wish to be seated. Indicate captain table, Kristen Frame/DU, if you would like to sit with your DU friends.

Here is a great opportunity for a Denison alumni event. Kristen Frame ’89 is reserving a table for Alumni Club friends to attend the fabulous HRC Columbus Gala! This year’s event will be in the beautiful OSU Union Ballroom.

Friday, April 1, 2011

IOM REport Published

The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding

Released:
March 31, 2011
Type:
Consensus Report
Topics:
Select Populations and Health Disparities, Biomedical and Health Research, Health Services, Coverage, and Access
Activity:
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities
Board:
Board on the Health of Select Populations
At a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals—often referred to under the umbrella acronym LGBT—are becoming more visible in society and more socially acknowledged, clinicians and researchers are faced with incomplete information about their health status. While LGBT populations often are combined as a single entity for research and advocacy purposes, each is a distinct population group with its own specific health needs. Furthermore, the experiences of LGBT individuals are not uniform and are shaped by factors of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, geographical location, and age, any of which can have an effect on health-related concerns and needs. Researchers still have a great deal to learn and face a number of challenges in understanding the health needs of LGBT populations.

To help assess the state of the science, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) asked the IOM to evaluate current knowledge of the health status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations; to identify research gaps and opportunities; and to outline a research agenda to help NIH focus its research in this area. The IOM finds that to advance understanding of the health needs of all LGBT individuals, researchers need more data about the demographics of these populations, improved methods for collecting and analyzing data, and an increased participation of sexual and gender minorities in research. Building a more solid evidence base for LGBT health concerns will not only benefit LGBT individuals, but also add to the repository of health information we have that pertains to all people.

Available at http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2011/The-Health-of-Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-and-Transgender-People.aspx  Reposted at http://keystothecloset.blogspot.com/