Monday, March 30, 2009

Spoken Word Poetry Reading and Workshop

Until the lion has his or her own storyteller, the hunter will always have the best part of the story. (Benin Proverb)
The Queer People of Color Student Org is hosting an inspiring night of spoken word poetry and music on Thursday, April 2nd at A Room of One's Own, 307 W Johnson St, Madison. Come out and listen to young storytellers speak poetical truths to live music performed by local artists. The goal of the event is to raise funds for the 2nd Annual Queer People of Color Summit, which will be taking place in Madison on April 11th.

The first hour will be a poetry workshop followed by performances from local poets and First Wave members.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fair Wisconsin seeking one-time volunteers

Fair Wisconsin needs volunteers to help us make phone calls at our office in Madison. This weekend and next weekend, we are setting up a phone bank to call the people who have requested absentee ballots for the Supreme Court election. We want to call them to remind them to fill their ballots out and send them in.

The following are the dates and times we will be making calls:

Saturday March 28th 2-4p, 4-6p

Sunday March 29th 3-5p, 5-7p

Saturday April 4th 2-4p, 4-6p

Sunday April 5th 3-5p, 5-7p

If you can commit to one or more of these shifts, please send RSVP to sfwmadison(at) fairwisconsin.com.

This week's news

Washington, D.C. - The White House has signed on to a United Nations declaration calling for global decriminalization of homosexuality, which President George W. Bush had refused to endorse when it was presented to the U.N. General Assembly in December.

The United States had been the only western nation other than the Vatican not to approve the declaration. Neighbors Mexico and Canada – along with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, all 27 member nations of the European Union and 34 other countries – signed onto the nonbinding declaration in December.

The United Nation’s remaining 126 member states did not, with more than 50 nations actively opposing it. Seventy U.N. members outlaw homosexuality and many make it a capital offense.

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New Orleans, Louisiana – The state of Louisiana must put both names of a gay couple on the birth certificate of their adopted son, according to a federal judge’s order.

Oren Adar and Mickey Smith adopted their Louisiana-born son in New York in 2006, but when Smith attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child (a routine part of the adoption process that makes it easier for adoptive parents to prove their parental rights and apply for things such as dependent health insurance coverage), the office of Louisiana state registrar’s office would not issue it, saying that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents.

With the help of Lambda Legal, Adar and Smith brought the case to court in October 2007. In December 2008, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey agreed with the plaintiff that Louisiana’s failure to recognize a court order issued by another state (the adoption in New York) was a violation of the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. He ordered Louisiana’s Office of Vital Records to put the names of both fathers on the amended birth certificate.

Last week, Louisiana attorney general’s office asked Zainey to reconsider the ruling or order a full trial. Zainey rejected the motion and ordered the state to comply with his original order within 15 days. Louisiana’s attorney general said he will appeal the ruling, and the Louisiana legislature is now considering a law that would make it illegal to revise birth certificates for people who would not qualify as adoptive parents in Louisiana.

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Guadalajara, Mexico, gets gay candidate for mayor


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Tennessee bill delayed would gag gay students, teachers


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Marriage equality opponents like to say that the dictionary definition of marriage is “one man, one woman.” Not so fast.

Merriam-Webster’s definition of marriage includes “the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.” Okay, so the dictionary writers get demerit points for using the term being defined in the definition, but they get a plus for recognizing reality, albeit a little late.

The dictionary began including this secondary definition in 2003, 14 years after Denmark became the first country to legally recognize same-sex marriages and 24 years after the first public same-sex wedding in the United States sanctioned by a Christian church.

A spokesman for Merriam-Webster says the dictionary expanded the definition to reflect the popularity of the term "same-sex marriage" in print and common usage.

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Peoria, Arizona - Gay student banned from wearing rainbow

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Gainesville, Florida - Gainesville voters decided on Tuesday to maintain civil rights protections for the city’s LGBT population.

Gainesville has protected gays and lesbians in employment and housing for a decade, but a socially conservative group balked when city council added gender identity to the human rights ordinance in 2007.

The group, called Citizens for Good Public Policy, collected enough valid signatures to have the measure put to voters.

The measure to repeal the ordinance would have tied the city’s human rights law to the protections offered by the state, meaning neither gender identity nor sexual orientation would be protected.

Citizens for Good Public Policy said that the main concern is the use of public restrooms by transgendered individuals. But passage would wipe out protections for gays and lesbians as well.

Leading up to the vote, Citizens for Good Public Policy mounted an aggressive TV ad campaign. In one ad, a young girl heads from a playground into a women’s restroom. A scruffy man, lurking outside, darts in behind her. “Your City Commission Made This Legal,” the words on the TV screen read.

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Washington, D.C. – Education Secretary pledges safe schools for LGBT students

This week's announcements

Thursday, there is an Amateur Strip Night at the Shamrock Bar featuring a number of Madison’s local hotties droppin' trou in an effort to make some money for the ASANA Softball Women's World Series in Madison coming this august. Show starts promptly at 9pm with drink specials and a local all-star lineup: couples, groups and solo acts will be performing for your viewing pleasure, and remember, all proceeds go directly to this summer's event.
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On Friday, Indie Queer is hosting another party at the Majestic Theater, 115 King Street. This is a very special discotech, the premier performance of a very special three-way dj set like of Dance Party Crews, Diamonds, OCD Automatic, and Double Drop. Marquee Room pre-party yet to be announced. This is a 21 and over event free before 10pm.
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Vamp and Cloud 9 continue their runs as a co-production of Stage Q & Mercury Players Theatre. Shows are Thursdays at 7:30pm, Friday through Saturday at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. Both shows are playing on a rotating basis with the other, check - madstage.com/bartell for more details. Bartell is located at 113 E. Mifflin St., Madison.
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On Sunday from 5:30-9:00pm the winter session final tournament of the Madison Gay Volleyball League will take place. The tournament concludes the MGVB season at Pooley's Sports Bar. Located at 5441 High Crossing Boulevard. 608.242.1888 for more information.
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And don’t forget, a week from Friday – that’s April 3rd, Morrissey is playing the rave in Milwaukee. Show is at 8:00pm and you can get tickets and more information at 414.342.7283.

…you can find all these announcements and more on our Facebook page and blog. That’s Queery on wort-fm on Facebook and queery-wort.blogspot.com. You can also listen to the show again on wort-fm.org or subscribe to our podcast.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tonight's show

Tonight we spoke to Helen Carroll, Sports Project Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, about negative college sports recruiting based on perceived sexual orientation. Negative recruiting can come in the form of comments like, "You don't want to be on that college's women's basketball team. They don't date boys," or "I wouldn't trust a coach who isn't married." Carroll talked about the efforts that college sports organizations are making to end this type of recruiting and foster a welcoming environment for all student athletes.

Carroll co-wrote The Positive Approach: Recognizing, Challenging, and Eliminating Negative Recruiting Based on Actual or Perceived Sexual Orientation with Dr. Pat Griffin of the Women’s Sports Foundation. You can read the 22-page report by clicking here.

After we talked to Helen Carroll, we interviewed members of the Madison Minotaurs Rugby Club, a member of the International Gay Rugby Association and Board (IGRAB). They explained to us the difference between rugby and football (not much in common, apparently) and told us about their upcoming Rugby 101 workshop this weekend for anyone interested in learning more about rugby. Don't worry if you don't want to get tackled - this will not be part of the workshop.

Minotaurs Rugby 101 is 4-6 p.m. this Sunday at Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St., Madison, WI 53704. Wear gym clothes!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Next week's show: College athletics

College athletics can be cut-throat. Some coaches and athletic directors will often scare young recruits away from rival teams by making claims that the rival team's coaches or players are "gay" or "lesbian". This practice of negative recruiting not only harms the individuals involved, but can negatively impact the ongoing recruitment of the best and most qualified coaches. Join Queery on Wednesday March 25th when we talk with Helen Caroll, the National Center for Lesbian Rights - Sports Project Director, about negative recruiting and how schools can identify and eliminate it. That's Queery, Wednesday March 25th at 7:00pm on W-O-R-T, Madison.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18 announcements

Well, other than the Hannah Free house party on Saturday and the plays Vamp and Cloud 9 there are some other things going on this weekend.

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All you hardcore goth and punk queers can check out the New Thrill Parade tonight at the Glass Nickel Pizza, 2916 Atwood Ave. These boys from the Bay Area often carry the “goth” tag, but their new album, Slumber in Colorland, has lots of post-punk overtone and the drummer (and recent Butt magazine cover star) Troy Delaney commands most of the attention. The doors are at 10:00 and Madison bands, Loop Retard and Sylvia Beach open.

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A new same-sex parents group begins tomorrow night at outreach – Madison LGBT center at 600 Williamson Street. The group meets at 6pm and is for any same sex parent or couples planning to become one? The group will talk, laugh and learn from one another. Children are welcome to come with parents but are not necessary for attendance. The group will meet the third Thursday of the month call 255-8582 and ask for harry for more information.

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Good news this week for the Dairyland Cowboys and Cowgirls. It seems the popularity of their Monday night dance lessons has created a demand for more advanced level dancing. Club 5, who hosts their Monday night dancing, has agreed to give them another night of line dancing, west coast swing, and two stepping. Beginning on April 3, Friday nights from 6pm to 10pm at club 5 will be for country dance. All levels of dancers are encouraged to come. For more information go to dcandc.org for more information.

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GSA for Safe Schools is now accepting nominations for educator and community activist awards! The deadline Friday, march 20, 2009. GSA for Safe Schools will award a community activist and an educator award at the 13th annual celebration of leadership. The event will take place on Saturday, may 16, 2009 at the Monona Terrace in Madison. Go to Gsaforsafeschools.org for more information 608-661-4141.

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The Mad Rollin' Dolls spring into action and host their fourth bout of the 2009 season at the Exhibition Hall at The Alliant Energy Center on Saturday, March 21st. Doors open at 5 p.m., and the first jam starts at 6 p.m. Vaudeville Vixens vs. Reservoir Dolls…..and,
Quad Squad vs. Paper Valley Roller Girls. Join the Dolls after the bout for the first-day-of-spring after-party at the Majestic Theatre on 115 King Street Featuring Knuckle Dragger, Warhawks and Daggermouth -- free with ticket stub,

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Sunday, there is an ASANA Softball World Series event on Sunday, March 22, 2009, at Village Lanes in Monona. This is a 9-pin tap team tournament. Top three teams between both shifts will receive special prizes! Registration fees will help raise funds for the women’s softball league world series in Madison this summer. Sunday’s event is from 10am – 2pm and you can get more information by contacting Ben Monty at (608) 358-1861.

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And the news about Milwaukee PrideFest is out….the incredible Cyndi Lauper will be the Friday, June 12th, headliner at PrideFest. Tickets on sale March 27th for general admission and for special VIP tickets! Check out www.pridefest.com for more info.

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Just a reminder that we have these and many more announcements and news stories on our Facebook page – Queery on WORT-FM. We now have one hundred fans!! You too can become a fan and get all the queer news, announcements and queer updates you can handle. That’s Queery on WORT-FM at Facebook.com.

And that’s all for announcements this week March 18, 2009.

Tonight's news

A three-fold spike in homophobic hate crimes in California’s Santa Clara County over the past year is being blamed on the fallout over Proposition 8, the voter measure banning same-sex marriage in California.

Last year, 56 percent of the hate crimes reported in the county south of San Francisco were designated as homophobic, compared with 15 percent the year before.

Deputy District Attorney Jay Boyarsky, who monitors hate crime’s for the D.A.’s office, said: “My belief from having done this work for many years is that surges in types of hate incidents are linked to the headlines and controversies of the day.”

Statistics from other California counties have not been published, but will be part of a state Attorney General’s annual hate crimes report to be released in July.

LGBT rights activists said they were not surprised by the report.

Leslie Bulbuk, president of Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee said: “When there’s a lot more information about gays and lesbians on TV or in the news, it brings out the worst in people who have an inherent bias against groups they don’t belong to.”

Proposition 8 leaders don’t dispute the findings but claim the report does not reflect cases in which supporters of the measure were harassed.

Frank Schubert of Protect Marriage said: “I certainly hope Proposition 8 did not result in more crime. But if it did, it did so on both sides.”

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Human rights groups say a Turkish transgender woman would be alive today if police had taken her pleas for help seriously.

The body of Ebru Soykan, a prominent transgender human rights activist, was found in her Istanbul home on March 10. She had been stabbed to death, according to news reports.

Soykan was a member of Lambda Istanbul. The organization said police had refused to issue her a protection order against a man who had beaten and threatened to kill her on several occasions in the month before her murder.

After Soykan insisted to authorities her life was in danger, the man was questioned by police and then released. The man is now under arrest for her murder, but has not yet been charged.

Lambda Istanbul and Human Rights Watch accuse police of not taking threats against members of Turkey’s LGBT community seriously.

This was the second killing of a member of Lambda Istanbul in the past year.

In 2007, Lambda Istanbul twice submitted 146 cases they had documented to the Istanbul Provincial Human Rights Board, many dealing with reports of violence against transgender people, including cases of violence by the police. Several of these cases had already been reported to the police with no action was taken. The then-deputy governor of Istanbul told the group that the governor’s office had found no records of these allegations and complaints in the police districts involved.

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A Lebanon, Indiana, High School student who sued the school after she was told she could not wear a tuxedo to the prom will be allowed to wear the tux after all.

The school district Monday reversed its policy requiring female students to wear dresses to the prom.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of the 17-year-old girl, who was not named.

Court papers identified her only as a senior at the school and described her as a lesbian who chooses not to wear dresses because she believes they represent a sexual identity.

The lawsuit alleged the girl was told by her principal that while the school’s dress code does not contain gender-based requirements, there is a special dress code for the prom. That code requires female students to wear a formal dress, the suit charges.

The ACLU, in the court filing, said the dress code discriminates against students based on gender. It further stated that because the school receives federal funds, the policy violated federal anti-discrimination law and it also violated her constitutional right to free speech.

When the suit was filed, the school said it was willing to meet with the student.

In a statement released Monday by the school district, Superintendent Robert L. Taylor said the dispute had been resolved.

A statement from Taylor said: “School policy for this year’s prom will be that all attendees shall wear appropriate formal attire with no gender-based attire requirements imposed. Female students will be permitted to wear tuxedos if they choose.”

The ACLU said that the student is pleased with the outcome.

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The confession of a Colorado man accused of fatally battering a sex partner with a fire extinguisher after discovering she was transgendered, cannot be presented into evidence, a district court judge has ruled.

Allen Ray Andrade, 31, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Angie Zapata, 20. The victim’s battered body was discovered in her apartment by her sister in July 2008.

Andrade was arrested near Denver after police responded to a noise complaint and found him in Zapata’s 2003 PT Cruiser, which had been missing.

Under questioning, Andrade allegedly told investigators he met Zapata through a social network designed primarily for cell phone users. The two met July 15 and spent the day together. Andrade allegedly told investigators Zapata performed oral sex on him but wouldn’t let him touch her. When he discovered she was biologically male, he killed her.

In the taped confession, he allegedly told investigators that he grabbed Zapata’s crotch area, felt male genitalia and became angry. He then took a fire extinguisher off a shelf and struck Zapata twice in the head.

But in a 24-page ruling, Judge Marcelo Kopcow said that Andrade’s rights had been violated because he had told police he was finished answering questions, but investigators persisted with questions leading up to the confession.

The judge did, however, allow the prosecution to present to the jury tapes of phone calls made by Andrade to his girlfriend from jail.

In one call he said he had “snapped” and that “gay things need to die.”

In ruling that the tapes could be played for the jury Kopcow said that prisoners “have little, if any, reasonable expectation of privacy while incarcerated.”

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A federal judge has ruled that a student club promoting tolerance for gays at a north Florida high school must be allowed to meet.

U.S. District Judge Henry Adams issued the decision Wednesday in a case involving two students from Yullee High School near Jacksonville.

Adams ordered a local school board to grant official recognition to the Gay-Straight Alliance and afford it the same privileges as any other student organization.

The school district had argued in court that it would grant school access to the group if its name were changed, citing the name as its chief objection. But the judge ruled that the group did not need to make a change.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of two gay students.

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The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military’s policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman.

Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed. In a statement released Thursday, Moran said the discharged soldiers included an intelligence collector, a military police officer, four infantry personnel, a health care specialist, a motor-transport operator and a water-treatment specialist.

Moran, a member of the House panel that oversees military spending, asked: “How many more good soldiers are we willing to lose due to a bad policy that makes us less safe and secure?”

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was instituted after President Bill Clinton tried to lift the ban on gay service members in 1993. It refers to the military practice of not asking recruits their sexual orientation. In turn, service members are banned from saying they are gay or bisexual, engaging in homosexual activity or trying to marry a member of the same sex.

The military discharged nearly 10,000 service members under the policy in a 10-year period, from 1997 to 2007. The number fired each year dropped sharply after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, when forces were stretched thin. Whereas more than 1,200 were dismissed in 2000 and 2001 for violating the policy, about half as many were fired in 2007.

The Pentagon has not released its 2008 figures.

The White House has said President Barack Obama has begun consulting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on how to lift the ban. But the administration won’t say how soon that might happen or whether a group of experts will be commissioned to study the issue in-depth, as some Democrats have suggested.

Likewise, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill support repealing the ban but have not promised to press the issue immediately.







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The National Insurance Institute authorized Israel's first-ever "maternity" leave for a male couple on Thursday. Yonatan Gher, director of Jerusalem's nonprofit Open House Pride and Tolerance organization, has received institute approval of a 64-day leave from work on the occasion of the birth of his biological son, delivered by a surrogate mother in India.

His partner of seven years commenced formal adoption procedures, so that the child will be formally recognized as his as well.

Despite confirmation of the leave, Gher has not received an answer to his request for reimbursement of hospitalization costs.

The process began two years ago, when the couple realized formal adoption by a single man or two gay men was not an option in Israel. They did not want to agree to joint parenthood with an Israeli woman, because they said it would expose the child to a situation similar to divorce.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Next week's show

Please join us next week when Queery goes to the stage. We’ll be joined by Tara Ayers of Stage Q to discuss the productions Vamp and Cloud 9, and we’ll also speak with Angela Prestil of the production Hannah Free – a play performed at Stage Q that has been signed for the big screen, starring Sharon Gless.

Catch us on WORT 89.89 FM in the Madison area or on www.wort-fm.org at 7 pm CDT, Wednesday, March 18.

Announcements: March 11, 2009

A reminder that you can still get tickets to the limited showing of Vamp, a supernatural girl meets girl romantic comedy, a co-production of StageQ & Mercury Players Theatre written by Ry Herman; directed by Tara Ayres. The show is on Thursday and Friday at the Bartell Theatre, Madison, and will continue to run throughout March. Contact the theater at 608-661-9696 EXT 3 for more information and show times.

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Proud theater, Madison’s very own lgbtq youth theater troupe, is holding a fun and exciting evening of open mic activities on Saturday, 2009 from 6:30 to 9 pm at the ‘Escape 100% Fair Trade Java Joint & Art Gallery’ located at 916 Williamson Street in Madison, Wisconsin. The event titled ‘At The End Of The Rainbow III’ is being held as a fundraiser for the Proud Theater organization. Proud Theater is an award-winning group that fosters self-expression and self-empowerment for Madison-area youth ages 13 to 19 who identify as LGBTQ, or who are the children of LGBTQ parents, or allies of the LGBTQ community at large. All proceeds donated to ‘At The End Of The Rainbow III’ will be used to help finance Proud Theater’s year end culminating performance ‘Proud Theater: Full Circle’ which opens may 28th, 2009 at the Frederic March Play Circle located in the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin - Madison campus. People wishing to participate in ‘At The End Of The Rainbow III’ are encouraged to sign up for a 5 minute spot in advance by sending an e-mail to proudtheater@gmail.com. Walk-in participants will be included as space allows.

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Later in the evening on Saturday, Indie Queer is throwing a glo-party at the Cardinal Bar at 418 E. Wilson Street. Vinnie Toma, OCD automatic & dj queen dj are joining forces for this 18 and over event that starts at 9:00pm. For more information, check out indiequeer.com

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On Sunday afternoon, the next Madison PFLAG meeting will address legal options and protections for same sex families. Attorneys Carol Gapen and Lynn Bodi, from the Law Center For Children & Families, will present the pros and cons of the various options available in establishing a legal relationship between children and both their parents, as well as other factors to consider in protecting same-sex families. Discussion will begin at 2 p.m. and a support meeting will follow at 3:10. Free. Friends meeting house is at 1704 Roberts Court, Madison. For more information, call Kay at 608-221-1956, or see www.pflag-madison.org

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Also on Sunday, Capitol Pride is hosting another benefit to raise money for this year’s Madison pride events. Sunday’s event will be a Guitar Hero Tournament Battle at the Shamrock Bar -117 West Main Street. This will be a two-player elimination battle with all registration proceeds benefiting Capitol Pride. The fun starts at 2pm and will continue to 7pm.

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Just a reminder that we have these and many more announcements and news stories on our Facebook page – Queery on WORT-FM. We now have one hundred fans!! You too can become a fan and get all the queer news, announcements and queer updates you can handle.

This week's news: March 11, 2009

Queery News 3.11.09

Baldwin to introduce DP bill this month

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin, intends to introduce legislation this month that would benefit partners of gay federal government employees. Baldwin said during a Center for American Progress conference call Thursday, she intends to introduce the Domestic Partner Benefits & Obligations Act “shortly.”

Baldwin spokeswoman Jerilyn Goodman later said Baldwin hopes to introduce the legislation this month.

The bill would grant partners of gay federal employees the same benefits available to spouses of straight employees. Versions of the bill considered in the last session of Congress would have granted benefits such as access to health benefits, life insurance and disability benefits.

As in the last session of Congress, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) will sponsor legislation in the Senate and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, will co-sponsor the Senate bill., Goodman said.

Baldwin intends to drop the House version of the legislation simultaneously with the introduction of the Senate version of the bill.

Baldwin announced her intention to reintroduce the legislation in a conference call geared toward the release of a report on federal benefits that are denied same-sex couples because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Center for American Progress report draws attention to three Social Security benefits that are denied to gay couples, even if they are married in a state that recognizes same-sex unions.

The three benefits are: the spousal retirement benefit, which enables a spouse to receive one-half of their partner’s benefits upon retirement in lieu of their own benefits; the spousal survivor benefit, which entitles a spouse to take their partner’s entire benefit after their death; and the lump-sum death benefit, which entitles a surviving spouse to receive a $225 lump-sum payment for funeral arrangements.



Call for Nationwide Rallies on Marriage Decision Day

While Californians and people across the country wait for the state supreme court's decision on same-sex marriage, activists are asking people to come together and make their voices heard.

Activists are organizing gatherings in protest or celebration on what they have dubbed the Day of Decision – the day California's supreme court rules whether to uphold or strike down a marriage ban narrowly approved by California voters in November.

The demonstrations, spearheaded by Robin Tyler and Andy Thayer, will mirror events that followed the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults. The demonstrations in 2003 were held in 50 cities across the country.

Thayer, co-founder of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network said: "By organizing now, we are also sending a message to the court that people are watching what they do, and that if it's a bad decision, our community will not go softly into the night. If we win, these actions will be celebrations and an attempt to push the momentum of a California victory to other states and regions."

The court is required to rule within 90 days to reject or uphold Proposition 8, the measure rescinding the same court's ruling from last May that allowed 18,000 gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. There will be 24 hours' notice before the ruling is released.

For more information on the events or to organize one, visit DayofDecision.org.


Kentucky anti-gay adoption bill advances

Legislation that would bar unmarried couples in Kentucky from adopting or fostering children has passed a key committee and now advances to a vote on the floor of the Senate.

The measure states that anyone “cohabitating with a sexual partner outside of marriage” cannot be considered as a foster or adoptive parent.

Although the bill affects all unmarried couples living together, it’s seen as specifically targeting same-sex couples.

Opponents of the measure accused Republican Senate leaders of dirty tricks over the way the committee vote was taken.

The Justice Committee meeting was announced as the Senate was being adjourned for the day and the bill passed 9-0 with no discussion.

Opponents said Friday that no notice that the committee was about to hold a vote on the bill was given.

Democrat Sen. Kathy Stein, who opposes the bill, called the move “legislation by ambush.”

Last week, almost 200 people demonstrated against the measure at the Capitol.

The Fairness Campaign, an LGBT civil rights group, organized the rally.

Chris Hartman, executive director of the Fairness Campaign said: “I find it very interesting that this was a secret meeting that very few people knew about. This seems purposeful to exclude any real debate or discussion.”

But Republican Sen. Robert Stivers, a key supporter of the bill, denied there had been an underhanded move to hold the vote although he admitted he did not know if notices of the committee meeting had been distributed.

The bill is modeled after a similar ban that was approved by voters in Arkansas last November.

Minnesota bill would make marriage gender neutral
Legislation that would amend Minnesota’s marriage law to make it gender neutral has been filed in the state Senate.

Currently the law defines marriage as a contract between “a man and a woman.” The bill, proposed by five Democrats, would change the definition to “two persons” opening up marriage to same-sex couples.

The bill also would remove a ban to gay marriage and the section preventing the state from recognizing same-sex marriages from another state or country.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but no hearings have been scheduled.

Democrats control both houses of the legislature, but Republicans say Gov. Tim Pawlenty would likely veto the bill, should it pass.

In a bid to make the legislation more palatable to Pawlenty, the author’s included wording that it in no way condones homosexuality or “any equivalent lifestyle.” The bill also states the measure cannot be used to promote homosexuality in public schools.

Still, Republicans say they will vote against the bill. GOP leaders also said they’re looking at a new attempt to advance a proposed amendment to the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The proposed amendment was filed in the legislature in 2004 and 2006. It never made it out of committee.

Last year, an attempt to pass same-sex marriage legislation failed, but LGBT rights groups say they now believe they have the votes.


(Jacksonville, Florida)

An attorney for two gay students at a north Florida high school told a federal judge Thursday they should be allowed to form a campus club promoting tolerance toward gays, despite a school prohibition.

But a lawyer for the Nassau County School Board said the group’s name, Gay-Straight Alliance, is against school policy.

Yulee High School students Hannah Page and Jacob Brock, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, are suing the school board to overturn its decision banning them from forming the club. Yulee is about 25 miles north of Jacksonville, near the Georgia state line.

ACLU Attorney Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., argued that Page and Brock had been the target of anti-gay epithets and threats of violence at school and wanted to start the Gay-Straight Alliance to open discussion among students.

Attorney Frank Sheppard, who represents the school board, said the district’s main complaint is the name of the group, saying it does not approve of groups dealing with sexual orientation and noted the school has an abstinence-based sex education curriculum.

He said: “If they change the name and comply with Nassau County School Board policies, they can meet.”

After the hearing, Page said the group doesn’t want to change its name because it represents what the club is about.

School officials had no problem with the idea of tolerance and rejecting bullying, Sheppard said, but they believe the club will be disruptive.

Rosenwald noted that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets on campus. He told the judge that an FCA booklet includes references to sexual issues, including a student pledge to remain sexually pure and an article about dealing with homosexuality in the locker room.

The ACLU recently won a similar case in Okeechobee. A judge there ruled schools must provide for the well-being of gay students and cannot discriminate against a Gay-Straight Alliance.

Rosenwald said the Okeechobee County School Board paid $326,000 in attorney’s fees in the case.


National interest in PFLAG growing

The passage in November of anti-gay measures in four states and the release of the films “Milk” and “Prayers for Bobby” have led to increased interest in the group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays or PFLAG.

The national organization said since election day it has received at least 75 inquiries about starting new chapters in communities across the country.

PFLAG, which has nearly 500 chapters and affiliates across the country, said it’s working with local allies who have expressed interest in bringing the organization to their communities.

California, Florida and Arizona passed constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage in November and Arkansas voters approved a law barring gays from adopting or fostering children.

The critically acclaimed “Milk” profiles the election of Harvey Milk, one of the earliest gay politicians, to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was assassinated a year later. “Prayers for Bobby” tells the true story of mother Mary Griffith’s journey from rejecting her gay son to becoming an advocate for LGBT rights.

Jody Huckaby, PFLAG’s national executive director said: “If there’s a silver lining to the set-backs our families experienced on Election Day, it’s that our allies in communities across the country have started to mobilize at the local level and work for change. Today, our families, allies and loved ones are organizing and pressing for change as they never have before.”

Huckaby said PFLAG’s national headquarters has received inquiries about starting new chapters in states including Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio , Florida, California, Utah, Texas and Idaho.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Resources for people hurt by the ex-gay movement

A few weeks ago, we interviewed the director of Save Me, a fictional film starring Chad Allen (swoon) about the experiences of two men who fall in love at an ex-gay ministry. (Whoops.)

We followed that interview by talking to Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out, an organization that focuses on exposing the lies that many religious groups and the "ex-gay" movement tell about sexual minorities. Besen recommended some resources for ex-ex-gays and other interested folks, including the new (and free) "Ex-Gay & The Law" pamphlet published by Truth Wins Out and Lambda Legal, which explains how people can take action when ex-gay ministries violate the law. Another good resource is the blog Ex-Gay Watch.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Next week's show

There's a storm brewing at the West Bend Community Library! The library board is facing ridicule for having young adult books that portray sexual minority people in a positive light. Join Queery on Wednesday, March 11th when we discuss the controversy with Cindy Crane, executive director of Wisconsin’s Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools and also Joyce Latham, UW-Milwaukee Library Science Professor.

That's Queery: this Wednesday, March 11th at 7:00pm on W-O-R-T, 89.9FM. You're listener sponsored - for all members of the community - radio station."