April 12, 2008

Is the "Governator" a GLBT Ally?

Well, maybe not a full-fledged one yet, but he did come out very clearly against the proposed constitutional amendment in California that would ban same-sex marriage.

From the San Jose Mercury News via the Log Cabin Republicans:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he would fight an initiative to amend the California Constitution to ban gay marriage if it qualifies for the November ballot.

Schwarzenegger said he was confident that such an amendment, which already are on the books in 26 other states, would never pass in California and called it a "waste of time."

"I will always be there to fight against that," Schwarzenegger said, prompting loud cheers and a standing ovation from about 200 people at the annual convention of the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest gay Republican group.

The Austrian-born governor immediately cracked that he wished activists would instead focus on passing an amendment to allow naturalized citizens to run for president.

A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman, Julie Soderlund, said it was the first time the governor publicly stated opposition to the measure, though he has held the view for "some time."

"He has said he supports the will of the people and would enforce the rule of the court but does not support an initiative to change the Constitution," she said.

Click here to read more of the Mercury News story.

April 11, 2008

HIV Infections Up.....And So Is the Cost

In another HIV related story, this report points out a startling increase in HIV infections in the United States and an equally startling corresponding cost of treatment.

From PinkNews:

A US Centre for Disease Ccontrol HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, that was quietly released recently, shows a "catastrophic" 48% increase in US HIV infections between the years 2005 and 2006.

The number of infections jumped to 52,878 new reported cases in 2006 up from 35,537 reported in 2005.

With the lifetime costs of one HIV-infected individual's treatment and care estimated to be $600,000 (£302,000) , the new CDC surveillance numbers suggest a $36 billion aggregate cost for caring for these nearly 53,000 individuals.

"Catastrophe," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

"There is no other word to describe these CDC numbers which underscore the wholesale failure of US HIV prevention efforts."

Unfortunately, catastrophe seems to be the only way to describe these numbers. With all the effort the Bush administration has put into combating HIV in Africa (kudos for that), perhaps they need to keep a better focus on the home front.

Edition 2.10 of the International Carnival of Pozitivities is Available

From Ron Hudson:

Dear Friends of the International Carnival of Pozitivities (ICP):

It is a tremendous pleasure to announce the publication of edition 2.10 of theICP at Mshairi.

Mshairi is our first host from Africa, from Kenya exactly, whocurrently lives in London. I encourage you to bookmark this editionand visit it over time so that you can enjoy each of the contributionsfrom the world of HIV/AIDS. I hope that you will also join me inthanking Mshairi for her work this month.

This 22nd consecutive edition of the ICP features personal accounts,video, poetry, humor, a first chapter of a martial-arts fiction noveland the latest in news from the HIV/AIDS community. I hope that youwill spend some time reading and that you will leave comments for thecontributors.

April 10, 2008

Obama's Interview With The Advocate

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (previously endorsed by me) gave a wide ranging interview with The Advocate that covered most issues of any consequence specific to the GLBT community. Here is an excerpt that I believe should be a ray of hope about his committment to equality:

If you were elected, what do you plan to do for the LGBT community -- what can you reasonably get done?

I reasonably can see “don’t ask, don’t tell” eliminated. I think that I can help usher through an Employment Non-Discrimination Act and sign it into law.

You think it’s transgender-inclusive?

I think that’s going to be tough, and I’ve said this before. I have been clear about my interest in including gender identity in legislation, but I’ve also been honest with the groups that I’ve met with that it is a heavy lift through Congress. We’ve got some Democrats who are willing to vote for a non-inclusive bill but we lose them on an inclusive bill, and we just may not be able to generate the votes. I don’t know. And obviously, my goal would be to get the strongest possible bill -- that’s what I’ll be working for.

The third thing I believe I can get done is in dealing with federal employees, making sure that their benefits, that their ability to transfer health or pension benefits the same way that opposite-sex couples do, is something that I’m interested in making happen and I think can be done with some opposition, some turbulence, but I think we can get that done.

And finally, an area that I’m very interested in is making sure that federal benefits are available to same-sex couples who have a civil union. I think as more states sign civil union bills into law the federal government should be helping to usher in a time when there’s full equality in terms of what that means for federal benefits.

I assume you’re talking about the Defense of Marriage Act.

Absolutely, and I for a very long time have been interested in repeal of DOMA.

This sounds like someone who is comitted to moving forward toward GLBT equality but who is tempered with enough realism to have a notion of what he can actually get done.

Click here to read the entire interview from The Advocate.

April 09, 2008

Dropping Labels

What a good idea! Not surprising, it took a young man in the U.K. to start a campaign fighting the entire concept of attaching labels to a person and defning them by that label. There is an associated website at Ditch The Label if you would like to check it out.

From PinkNews:

An ambitious campaign that aims to change the ways in which young people label themselves was launched last week in the form of a funky teen-oriented website.

The website Ditch the Label (www.DitchtheLabel.com) was 'virtually' launched last Saturday night in a co-ordinated browsing of the new site, after being advertised via its original Myspace and the founder's personal Myspace sites.

The founder of DitchtheLabel is 17-year old student, activist and part-time model, Liam Hackett.

He developed the site primarily aimed at marginalised teenagers looking to break free from social stereotypes based on race, sexuality or gender.

The site aims to challenge negative stereotypes and provide a forum in which young people can share their experiences of prejudice and social labelling.

Based in Manchester, the prodigious teen first launched the website via Myspace in July 2007 and since then, the Myspace page has attracted more than 50,000 visits.

I'm happy to say that Hackett's MySpace site is already one of my Myspace site's friends.

The primary reason to attach a label to something or someone is to separate it from what is considered the norm, therefore relegating them to a lower standing and making it acceptable to ridicule and/or discriminate.

Since Jesus said we are ALL His children, labeling would seem to be against his will, wouldn't it? That's bad, folks. If we're all the same to Him, what right do we have to assign labels to our fellow humans?

Not much of one, I believe. As the site says, "you're a person, not a label."

April 07, 2008

A Castro Promoting Gay Rights in Cuba

No, not THAT Castor, but one who still may have some influence at high levels in the Cuban government.

From the BBC:

Raul's daughter, Mariela Castro, as head of the government-funded National Centre for Sex Education, is trying to change people's attitudes towards minority groups in the community.

She is currently attempting to get the Cuban National Assembly to adopt what would be among the most liberal gay and transsexual rights law in Latin America.

The proposed legislation would recognise same-sex unions, along with inheritance rights. It would also give transsexuals the right to free sex-change operations and allow them to switch the gender on their ID cards, with or without surgery.

There are limits: adoption is not included in the bill and neither is the word marriage.

"A lot of homosexual couples asked me to not risk delaying getting the law passed by insisting on the word marriage," Mariela Castro said.

In the early years of the revolution much of the world was homophobic. It was the same here in Cuba and led to acts which I consider unjust

"In Cuba marriage is not as important as the family and at least this way we can guarantee the personal and inheritance rights of homosexuals and transsexuals."

Click here to read the rest of the BBC's story.

April 06, 2008

April 25th is the National Day Of Silence

This year's national annual Day of Silence, when students observe a vow of silence to bring attention to bullying and harassment of LGBT students, will be dedicated to the memory of 15 year old Lawrence King. To read more about this event, and the connection to Larry King, go to:


I have to admit that my anger at the religious right gets even more intensified when I hear things like what I heard the other day on the radio. The talk show host said that we now know that Matt Shepherd was killed not because he was gay, but that it was a drug deal gone wrong!! I was stunned and absolutely speechless. He based this so called knowledge on the men who killed Matt and what they have said in prison. I'm sorry, but I don't think homophobes who killed a gay man are good witnesses of the truth!

It frustrates me that so many in our society still say that hate crimes against our community don't exist or that they aren't significant enough to worry about. To me, ANY beating or killing of a person because of their gender, orientation, skin color, religion, etc. should be something of concern to us.

As we remember Matt and Larry King this year, let's say a prayer for their families and, dare I say it, for all of the homophobes out there who think they're doing God's work or that the person they hurt deserves it. God can work on them too!