Monday, November 30, 2009

New LGBT publication in Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:
Wisconsin Gazette, Shorewood, a bi-weekly publication targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender readers, published its premiere issue Nov. 19. Distributed at more than 300 sites throughout metro Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine, Madison and other areas, Wisconsin Gazette is owned by Leonard J. Sobczak.

AIDS Memorial Quilt in Madison

From HIVictorious:
AIDS Memorial Quilt. Remembering history to shape the future.

Overture Center Main Lobby
201 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday, December 3, 2009
10:00 am – 10:00 pm

The AIDS Memorial Quilt is an expanding memorial to the lives of people lost to HIV/AIDS, created by those who loved them. It is the largest community art project in the world, totaling more than 45,500 individual panels that commemorate more than 91,000 people.

View 21 12′x12′ blocks of the captivating quilt in person, brought to Madison in recognition of World AIDS Day (December 1) by the UW Health HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Program, with financial support from Becker Law Office, the Wisconsin AIDS/HIV Program and our many generous allies and friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This week's announcements

On Saturday, Women4Women Goes to the Movies. Women4Women will meet at OutReach, 600 Williamson St., at its regularly scheduled time of 3:00 p.m. and decide which film to see. Following the film, folks will gather for coffee or a bite to eat to discuss the movie.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., Unified for Equality is meeting at Outreach Community Center, 600 Williamson St., to plan for the December 5 Marriage Equality March at Wisconsin’s capital.

Stay at Outreach afterward because, from 5:30 to 9:30 on Sunday, OutThere will hold a Thanksgiving weekend potluck People of all ages, races, genders, and sexual orientations are welcome to attend. A panel discussion on Spirituality and Religion will begin at 7:30.

After spending your entire weekend at Outreach, you can head east to MATC-Truax, where MATC Pride will host a Transgender Workshop to educate people of all gender identities and expressions about transgender issues. The workshop takes place on Monday, November 30 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at 3550 Anderson St. in Room 142.

And finally, Tuesday Dec. 1 is World Aids Day. AIDS Network invites you to its annual Volunteer Recognition Awards and Memorial Service from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Madison, 1609 University Avenue. Please contact AIDS Network at 608.252.6540 with any questions.

Tonight's Show: Transgender Explained for Those Who Are Not

Tonight on Queery, we'll be talking with Joanne Herman, a former columnist for The Advocate and author of the new book Transgender Explained for Those Who Are Not. Join us for a great conversation about the T in LGBT.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bishop Morlino shuns Catholic group on allegations that it supports gays and abortion

LifeSiteNews.com, a news Web site geared toward religious conservatives, reported that Madison's Catholic bishop, Robert Morlino, is one of four bishops nationally that has decided to withhold diocesan funds from the national office of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). CCHD is an anti-poverty organization run by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and has come under attack recently for partnering with organizations that support or offer comprehensive sex education, including information about birth control, abortion and homosexuality, or tolerate homosexuality and socialism. Detractors state that CCHD should not be associating with such organizations, even if its funding does not directly support activities contrary to church teaching.

The CCHD says that its funding choices have been screened by the bishops and do not support contraceptives, abortion, or the promotion of homosexuality.

This past weekend, Madison did not participate in the annual special collection for CCHD, in which dioceses across the country ask local Catholics to make a special offering to the organization. This is the second year that Madison has not participated. According to LifeSiteNews:

As he did last year, Bishop Morlino chose to allocate the national campaign's portion of the [CCHD] collection to a different cause. Last year, the funds were sent to the Hurricane Ike recovery fund, and this year he allocated the contributions to the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have an international outreach to the elderly.

In a November 11th letter to the faithful of his diocese, Bishop Morlino assured them that the diocesan portion would continue to support "important tasks of assisting the poor of our own diocese."

He insisted, however, that their money would not be allowed to support groups violating Church teaching. "In light of recent discussions and protests regarding money from CCHD going to fund ACORN and other entities which do not uphold, and sometimes act in opposition to, the teachings of the Church," he said, "I feel it necessary to make clear that your money will not go to such groups."


Some CCHD detractors have demanded that CCHD end its partnership with the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera because of a report that it provided Spanish-language support to the Gay Neighbor campaign, which encourages Milwaukeeans to get to know LGBT people in their communities.

More anti-LGBT hate crimes reported

An increasing number of hate crimes against sexual minorities are being reported to the FBI. It's unclear whether the number of these hate crimes is increasing or more of them are being reported. The Matthew Shepard Foundation released the following statement:
Annual statistics for 2008 collected by local law enforcement agencies nationwide show an 11 percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation, according to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

While the overall number of hate crimes of any kind grew by about 2 percent from 2007 to 2008, the 11 percent hike in anti-gay incidents, and a 9 percent increase in hate crimes based on religion, demonstrate the continuing danger posed by bias against others based on their differences.

The FBI report shows 7,783 hate crimes voluntarily reported to the agency by participating law enforcement agencies, involving a total of 9,691 victims. A majority (58 percent) of the 1,706 victims targeted for their sexual orientation were gay men.

Roughly a third of the cases were physical attacks, another third were intimidation and the remaining third were vandalism or property damage.

The FBI cautioned that year-to-year comparisons are difficult due to the change in the number of law enforcement agencies which chose to participate. The number of participating agencies rose by 449, or 3.4 percent, versus the prior year.

“While it is important to respect the cautions voiced by statistical analysts, the continuing, steady emergence of extremely violent anti-LGBT hate crimes in recent weeks also argues in favor of taking the increase seriously and redoubling prevention efforts,” said Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Just in the prior week, authorities announced they were investigating the murder of Jorge Lopez in Puerto Rico as a hate crime, and a 16-year-old gay Houston high school student reported being assaulted with a metal pipe by a group of assailants despite having sought help from school administrators ahead of time due to rumors circulating about the planned attack. These are only two of the several anti-gay attacks reported in recent months, many of which have not been covered by mainstream media outlets.

“Coming just weeks after President Obama signed new, LGBT-inclusive hate crimes provisions, the rise in reported hate crimes against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is sobering, whether due to increased reporting or increased frequency of the crimes, or both,” Marsden said. “We all must do more to send the message that these attacks are unacceptable.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lutheran churches in Wisconsin discuss breaking off after pro-LGBT vote

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published this article Thursday about a group that is seeking to break off of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) because it voted this summer to accept pastors who are in committed same-sex relationships.

Lutheran CORE (Coalition for Renewal), based in Minnesota, is working on creating a new denomination for disaffected churches who are currently members of the ELCA. A few congregations in Wisconsin say they are considering leaving the ELCA, but no definite decisions have been made yet.

The ELCA and Lutheran CORE should not be confused with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), a separate denomination that holds to a more literal interpretation of the Bible, forbids the ordination of women, bars women from serving as voting members of church bodies that make decisions affecting men, and teaches that the theory of evolution is false. ELCA churches tend to interpret the Bible in its historical and social context, allow women to be voting members of church bodies and to be ordained, and tend not to take a stance on the origins of life, allowing both creationists and proponents of the theory of evolution to be members and promote their viewpoints.

Federal judge orders administration to provide health insurance to wife of lesbian court employee

A federal appeals court judge has ordered the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to provide health care benefits to the wife of a lesbian federal attorney in California. The attorney, Karen Golinski, married Amy Cunninghis in California in 2008 when same-sex marriages were legal in that state.

According to Judge Alex Kozinski, a Reagan appointee, said that federal law requires the government to provide health insurance to the spouse of any covered employee who is legally married in his or her state of residence.

More info:
Obama Administration Ordered to Give Benefits to Lesbian Partner - Edge
Give in on same-sex benefits, judge orders feds - San Francisco Chronicle

Canada considers refugee statues for lesbian who fled U.S. Army

Two years ago, Bethany Smith was outed by fellow soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., after they saw her holding hands with a girlfriend at a local shopping mall. What followed was a barrage of physical attacks and threatening notes, at which point Smith figured that being dismissed with an honorable discharge under the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy would be just as well. However, her sargeant told her she would not be dismissed and that she would be deployed to Afghanistan with the same soldiers who were currently threatening her life.

Smith went AWOL and fled to Canada, took a new name, and is going through the Canadian courts trying to win asylum after the country's Immigration and Refugee Board rejected her claim. On Friday, a Canadian federal judge ordered the board to reconsider Smith's case because it had failed to consider the discrimination and harassment she faced in the military.

For more information:
Lesbian US war deserter wins stay of deportation - La Crosse Tribune
Pte. Bethany Smith Fled to Canada to Avoid Soldiers' Death Threats. Will They Let Her Stay? - Queerty

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Puerto Rico murder may be prosecuted as hate crime

Puerto Rican police have charged 26-year-old Juan Martinez Matos in the murder and mutilation of 19-year-old Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado this past weekend. Martinez told police that he killed Lopez after discovering he was a man. Martinez said that he had approached Lopez for sex under the impression that Lopez was a woman.

Martinez is in jail under a $4 million bond. So far, the government has charged him with first-degree murder and weapons violations. LGBT activists and at least two New York congressional representatives are pushing law enforcement to try the case under Puerto Rico's 2002 hate crimes law, which has not been applied in the at least 10 anti-gay slayings that have occurred in the U.S. territory since its passage, according to Pedro Julio Serrano of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

U.S. Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY), who was born in Puerto Rico, released this statement Tuesday about the murder:

“I strongly condemn this horrible crime and urge that it be treated as the heinous hate-crime that it is. Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to address just this type of offense. I urge the federal government to provide Puerto Rican authorities with assistance in this investigation. The parties responsible must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of either Puerto Rican law or our new federal hate crimes laws.

“I am particularly troubled by the alleged comments of one of the police investigators of this terrible act. Our justice system and our law enforcement officials should never allow their personal biases to interfere in their work investigating and enforcing the law.

“Gay teens in Puerto Rico, like gay teens anywhere, must be able to live in peace and feel safe in their communities. As a tolerant society, we must be vigilant about the rights of all and always ensure that the law is on the side of the vulnerable and the victimized.”


Some additional articles:
Murder charge filed in Puerto Rico teen slaying - Associated Press
Activists, politicians, urge Puerto Rican authorities to prosecute López murder as hate crime - Edge

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This week's news roundup: Nov 18, 2010

On Monday of this week, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker vetoed a proposal to look into allowing county employees to include domestic partners on their health insurance plans. Walker, who is running for governor in the 2010 race as a Republican, said that the county should not consider spending money on additional benefits at a time that it is trying to get its employees to accept stagnant wages and curtailed benefits in order to make up for budgetary shortfalls.

The County Board voted 13-6 to look into the cost of extending domestic partner benefits at its Nov. 5 meeting. It will decide tonight whether to override Walker’s veto. If it overrides the veto, the county would only look into the logistics and cost of providing benefits. A separate vote would be needed later to put the benefits in place.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

According to ABC News, Supreme Court Justice today told students at Ohio State University "Did any provision of the Constitution guarantee a right to abortion? No one thought so for almost two centuries after the founding. Did any provision in the Constitution guarantee a right to homosexual sodomy? Same answer."

Scalia failed to comment on the enshrinement of slavery in the Constitution as originally ratified. Nor did he mention the right of non-whites to be counted as citizens of the United States, the right of interracial couples to marry, and the right of African-Americans and women to vote without interference – most of which were not considered rights guaranteed under the Constitution until almost two centuries after the founding of our nation.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

University of Wisconsin-River Falls is planning to offer a new course on LGBT history and current issues. The course, which will be offered as part of the school’s women’s studies program, is being developed by the women’s studies coordinator and a psychology professor.

Women’s studies coordinator Michelle Parkinson says that a recent campus incident involving anti-gay graffiti shows that the community needs to learn more about LGBT issues. The course will be offered for the first time in Fall 2010 or Spring 2011. Parkinson said that she hopes this will be the first step toward offering a certificate in LGBT studies at UW-River Falls.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

In Alabama, a Tharptown High School prom committee member will likely be permitted to attend prom with her girlfried in spring, according to Alabama newspapers. School officials had previously told Cynthia Stewart that she would not be allowed to bring her girlfriend, who attends school in another district. After the American Civil Liberties Union contacted the school board, officials reversed their decision and said that the girlfriend will be allowed to attend as long as she passes the screening process required of all dates from outside the school district. Tharptown High School routinely checks the names of prom dates in the months before the dance to keep out students with behavioral problems or criminal records.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Yesterday, Puerto Rican police arrested a suspect in the murder and decapitation of a 19-year-old gay man. The burned and dismembered body of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was found on a road outside of the town of Cayey this past weekend.

Puerto Rican Web site Primera Hora reported that police arrested a 28-year-old man and impounded two vehicles in the investigation. A representative of the FBI in Puerto Rico said that the bureau is assisting local police in the investigation and determining whether the crime was a violation of federal civil rights laws. Puerto Rican activists suspect that the murder was an anti-gay hate crime meant to frighten the LGBT community. If so, it could become the first case to be tried as a hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into federal law on October 29.

While regional police director Hector Agosto condemned the crime as “ruthless,” police investigator Angel Rodriguez enraged Lopez’s friends and LGBT activists with his statement (translated from Spanish), “Someone like that, who does those kinds of things, and goes out in public, knows full well that this might happen to him.”

Many commentators said that Rodriguez was trying to justify the murder and should be taken off the case, but police director Agosto defended the investigator, saying his words had been twisted around and in no way were meant to disparage gays or lesbians.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Several major American LGBT newspapers were shuttered this weekend as their holding company filed for bankruptcy. The papers include the 40-year-old Washington Blade, Atlanta’s 21-year-old Southern Voice, the 35-year-old Houston Voice, and the South Florida Blade, founded in 2000. Staffs of the defunct papers say they plan to start up new LGBT publications to serve their areas.

Window Media, the owner of the papers and no relation to Microsoft, gave no warning to the papers’ staffs. Even editors-in-chief showed up to work on Monday expecting to cover news, only to find that the locks on their buildings had been changed. They communicated news of their closings through Twitter.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

And on the more hopeful side, a 10-year-old in Arkansas made headlines when he refused to say the pledge of allegiance because, he said, he wouldn’t feel right saying there is “liberty and justice for all” when gays, lesbians, women and people of color are routinely denied both.

After a substitute teacher repeatedly nagged fifth-grader Will Phillips to stand up and pledge, he told her to go jump of a bridge. The school’s principal disciplined Phillips for talking disrespectfully to his teacher, but not for refusing to say the pledge. Phillips wrote a letter of apology to the teacher.

Phillips reports that some of his fellow students call him a “gaywad,” but says he will continue to refrain from saying the pledge until the United States truly does provide liberty and justice for all.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Argentina may become the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriages. A male couple received a marriage license in Buenos Aires on Monday after a judge ruled that civil rights provisions in the country’s constitution override a ban on same-sex marriages.

The ruling applies only to the couple in question, but could be used as legal precedent by other same-sex couples seeking to be married.

Argentina's legislature is considering proposals to define marriage more inclusively so that same-sex couples can marry. The legislation is supported by the ruling party.
According to the Argentine Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Federation, 70% of surveyed Argentines support civil marriage for same-sex couples. Four jurisdictions in Argentina currently recognize civil unions. Uruguay is the only Latin American country where civil unions have legal status nationally.

Tonight's Show: Transgender Week of Remembrance

Join us for Queery tonight as we talk to representatives from local LGBT campus groups about events they are planning around this year's Transgender Day of Remembrance. Get ready for a vigil this Friday, a film series about the intersection of race and gender, and in-depth workshops about transgender experiences. All activities are open to transgender and non-transgender alike.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tonight's Show: Remembering David Runyon's "Nothing to Hide"

We had a great time talking about Nothing to Hide, which at 20 years was the longest-running LGBT television program when its creator and producer, David Runyon, died in 2001. Scott Seyforth from the UW-Madison history department and Eric Allin of Madison’s public access television station WYOU, the home of Nothing to Hide, talked about the historical importance of the show, and we played a couple of show excerpts, including the speech of Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus when he signed the nation's first gay right's law in 1982.

On Friday, WYOU will be transferring the show's master tapes to UW-Madison Memorial Library so it’s accessible to historians and community members. Dedication festivities will be held on the library's 4th floor (featuring brand new cork planks, we're told) from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM on November 12. Featured speakers include U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin and State Representative Spencer Black.

This week's news roundup

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association passed a resolution calling for repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The resolution received overwhelming support from AMA membership and virtually no opposition, even from the uniformed services representatives in attendance.

At issue before the AMA was the chilling effect that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has on the provider-patient relationship and the resulting impact on access to quality healthcare for active duty troops. Military medical providers have been compelled to divulge personal information about patients to military commanders, resulting in the widespread concern among troops regarding medical confidentiality. Sometimes troops opt to suffer in silence or hesitate to seek treatment for potentially life-threatening conditions out of fear for their careers, some have left the military to get proper treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other combat-related ailments.

-----------------

On Tuesday, the New York State Senate delayed a vote on a bill that would make it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry there.

According to The New York Times, Governor David Paterson had placed the bill on the agenda for an emergency session Tuesday, and gay rights lobbied for an immediate vote. But supporters were having difficulty securing the 32 votes needed for approval in the Senate, and a dispute between the governor and legislative leaders over a budget deficit held up votes on major legislation.
Both supporters and opponents are taking advantage of the delay to lobby for votes.

-----------------

In Cleveland, Ohio, an LGBT rights group delivered more than 2,500 postcards to City Council members Monday to support legislation prohibiting discrimination against transgender citizens, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Last year the council began tried to add transgender identity to the city's anti-discrimination laws. However, the move was shot down by a 13-7 vote.

Additional hearings on the measure are scheduled for later this month. Proponents are hopeful, citing that several Council members who oppose the legislation serve constituencies where a majority support it.

-----------------

A French court on Tuesday allowed a lesbian woman to adopt a child with her partner after 11 years of legal battle, according to the Reuters news agency.

French law allows single people to adopt but not same-sex couples. Some couples get around the ban by filing an application in the name of only one partner and checking the "single" box, but the woman was determined to have her right to adopt as a couple recognized by the courts.

She prevailed on Tuesday when an administrative tribunal in her town overruled the regional authorities, who had rejected the woman's application.
Supporters are optimistic that the ruling may eventually influence legislature on a national level.

-----------------

The findings of a new study from the RAND Corporation and the University of Florida regarding the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy challenges the assumption that allowing openly gay and lesbian military personnel to serve in the U.S. armed forces could harm military readiness.

The study surveyed military personnel who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and found that having a gay or lesbian colleague in their unit had no significant impact on their unit’s cohesion or readiness.

About 20 percent of those polled said they were aware of a gay or lesbian member in their unit, and about half of those said their presence was well known. In addition, three-quarters of those surveyed said they felt comfortable or very comfortable in the presence of gays or lesbians.

The study found that just 40 percent of the military members surveyed expressed support for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a reduction from previous surveys. 28 percent opposed it and 33 percent were neutral.

-----------------

The Jakarta Post reported today that a recent conference among moderate Muslim scholars in Indonesia has reached a consensus that there is no reason to reject homosexuals under Islam.

Some of the scholars said that condemnation of homosexuality by Muslims is based on narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teaching. One speaker said that heterosexuality is a social construction that has ultimately led the majority to ban homosexuality. Others stated that homosexuality is from God and should be considered natural.

While several scholars in attendance maintained the view that Islam condemns homosexual behavior, many moderate Muslims see the conference as a major step toward LGBT tolerance for the religion.

-----------------

On Saturday night, the U.S. House passed HB 3962, a health care reform bill that includes a number of provisions of benefit the LGBT community and other minorities, reports 365gay.com.

Among these is a direction to the Department of Health and Human Services to address health disparities of a number of specific population groups, including those based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It makes low-income HIV patients eligible for Medicare coverage earlier in their illness. And it prohibits discrimination in health care based on “personal characteristics extraneous to the provision of high quality health care or related services.”

Some have expressed concern that the language of the provisions, championed by Representative Tammy Baldwin, does not specifically refer to LGBT individuals. Others see the legislation as a tremendous advance for the health needs of the LGBT community.

-----------------

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to hear an anti-gay group’s constitutional challenge to the recent law that created a domestic partner registry for gay couples. The suit, brought by the right-wing Wisconsin Family Action, claimed the registry violates a state Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or any similar status. The court rejected the case without comment.

Lambda Legal and Fair Wisconsin, the two groups leading the defense of the registry, applauded the court’s decision. However, some legal experts point out that the suit is not necessarily dead; it can simply be initiated at the Circuit Court level instead, as is the usual course for such suits.

RI Governor uses the slippery slope argument to veto same-sex partners' funeral rights

Rhode Island's governor, Don Carcieri, vetoed a law yesterday that would allow Rhode Islanders in same-sex relationships to make funeral arrangements for their deceased partners. His excuse?: "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue."

Right. Planning a funeral is so much like being married.

Another tidbit from Carcieri: "If the General Assembly believes it would like to address the issue of domestic partnership, it should place the issue on the ballot and let the people of the State of Rhode Island decide."

Because people's legal rights should always be subject to majority vote, right?

P.S. The Rhode Island legislature is expected to override the governor's veto in a close vote. Keep watching ...

Mormon church headquarters back LGBT rights law

The leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the LDS church or Mormons) based in Salt Lake City, Utah, have given their support to a citywide ordinance to outlaw most housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Salt Lake City Council passed the ordinance unanimously last night. The church's stance can be partly explained by the exceptions that the law allows for religious organizations, which may continue to consider sexual orientation as a factor in employment.

"The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage," said Michael Otterson, the director of public affairs for the LDS church. The LDS church gained national attention last year for its strong support of California's Proposition 8, which removed the right of same-sex couples to marry in that state.

Whether the rest of Utah will follow remains to be seen. Salt Lake City is among Utah's least religious and most socially liberal communities.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Auditions for SAPPHO IN LOVE by Carolyn Gage

From StageQ:
StageQ is holding auditions for its production of comedic romp, SAPPHO IN LOVE, by Carolyn Gage. The play will be directed by Katy Conley. Auditions will be held on Monday and Tuesday, December 7th & 8th, 2009, with callbacks on Wednesday, December 9th.

Auditions are at 7:00 pm. They will take place at 148 E Wilson Street, first floor. Appointments may be arranged for a different date.

Actors will read from the script, and may be asked to work together in groups, so wear clothes to move in. Copies of the script are available upon request to sappho@stageq. com.

Roles are available for one girl, age 8 – 11, and at least 16 women, from late teens to late middle-age. There are roles for 5 or more naiads, and women who have acrobatic, modern dance or contact improv backgrounds are encouraged to audition for those.

Performance dates for SAPPHO IN LOVE are February 12 - 27, 2010. Rehearsals will begin January 4th.

Contact sappho@stageq. com or call 608.661.9696, ext 3 with questions.

SAPPHO IN LOVE is a riotous romp across the slippery terrain of Lesbian romance, as the goddesses on Olympus (Aphrodite, Artemis and Hera) come down to earth to recruit among Sappho and her followers on Lesbos. Classical comedy ensues.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sherry Wolf on Maine's repeal of marriage equalty

Sherry Wolf, who appeared on Queery a few weeks ago to discuss her new book Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation, published an analysis of the Maine vote in the online edition of the Socialist Worker yesterday.

She argued that the vote reflects the lack of progressive organizing in rural areas and points to the need to guarantee civil rights at the federal level. She points out that, when the Supreme Court struck down laws against "interracial" marriage in 1967, only a fifth of Americans would have voted in favor of such marriages. This, she wrote, shows just how flawed it is to be subject civil rights to popular prejudices.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Next week's show: David Runyon

On Nov. 11, we'll be talking to Scott Seyforth of UW-Madison and Barbara Bolan of WYOU about "Nothing to Hide," the longest-running LGBT television program anywhere at the time of the death of its producer, David Runyon, in 2001. The show ran on Madison's WYOU community television station and, in recognition of their historicity, the master tapes are being transferred to the UW-Madison Memorial Library and will be digitized for use by historians and community members. There will be a ceremony and celebration at the library on Nov. 13, and volunteers are needed to help move the tapes. (To volunteer, contact Barbara Bolan at 608-258-9644 and barbara.bolan@wyou.org.)

Here's more info from WYOU:
WYOU Community Television to Bequeath David Runyon’s “Nothing To Hide” Master Tapes to UW’s Memorial Library

Summary: 25 boxes filled with 800 Runyon master tapes will be carried on foot by WYOU to UW’s Memorial Library on Friday, November 13th for a bequeathal reception. Tammy Baldwin to speak. Will create largest archive of its kind in the nation.

Madison, WI – WYOU Community Television is pleased to announce that it will transfer ownership of the master video tapes of Nothing To Hide, the late David Runyon’s long-running television show, to the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Library. A special reception marking the Memorial Library’s acquisition will take place on Friday, November 13th, from 4:30pm – 6:00pm in the Library’s 4th Floor Commons. Speakers set to commemorate the event include Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Representative Spencer Black, Wisconsin State Legislature, Ken Frazier, Director of the UW-Madison General Library System, and Richard Russell, political activist and one-time WYOU Board Chairman.

WYOU volunteers and community representatives will gather at 3:30pm at WYOU, located at 609 E.Washington Ave and transport 25 boxes of tapes in a procession across the Capitol Square, along State Street and ending at the UW’s Memorial Library, 728 State Street.

Nothing To Hide ran during prime-time on WYOU from 1981 – 2001. At the time of Runyon's death in 2001, "Nothing to Hide" was the longest-running LGBT television show anywhere in the world. David Runyon, the creator and producer of Nothing To Hide, honed his television and documentary skills at WYOU. The video tape archive is noteworthy for its range of topics. Included in the collection are lectures by nationally known authors and social critics, speeches by LGBT history-makers, and documentary footage covering local and regional events. Upon its acceptance into the Library System, the collection will become the largest LGBT cable access video archive of its kind in a public repository in the nation.

The preservation proposal for Runyon’s Nothing To Hide collection came from a group of faculty and staff at UW-Madison. Representatives of the proposal approached WYOU about its 800-tape collection as well as local LGBT advocacy center, Outreach, owner of 50 tapes from the collection. Outreach, Madison’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center is also donating tapes from its collection.

The Memorial Library will archive the collection, digitize the masters and place the shows in circulation for access by scholars, students and community members. This will create the largest public repository of such materials in the nation and will add another unique research collection to Memorial Library.

WYOU is the public access television station serving the city of Madison and Dane County in Wisconsin. The station has been a resource to the citizens of Madison since 1976 for the production and distribution of locally produced programs. WYOU producers include students and teachers, conservationists, social workers, accountants, activists, healthcare workers, independent filmmakers and members of local religious organizations. The WYOU mission is to stimulate and facilitate open community use of the public access station for the development of local television programming. The station educates the community in the use of digital cameras and editing software and provide facilities for independent producers to learn how to create programs.

Summary of arguments in yesterday's Wisconsin marriage amendment hearing

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a brief article on the arguments made for and against the constitutionality of the referendum that resulted in the 2006 marriage amendment, which restricted marriage to heterosexual couples and put domestic partnerships and civil unions in legal limbo. The State Bar of Wisconsin has a more detailed report.

Marriage repealed in Maine

Or, so it seems, with most of the vote in. Observers expect there will be a recount since the vote results so far are pretty close, with 53% voting to repeal the state law allowing same-sex marriage and 47% voting to uphold it. Here is an article at ABC News.

Much to the disappointment of the National Organization for Marriage, however, pro-equality folks plan to continue their stance in favor of civil rights and do not plan to commit mass suicide, while the population that stands against civil rights has an older demographic and is likely to shrink by natural attrition over the coming decades.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Queery now on Twitter

You can follow us at QueeryRadio on Twitter. You don't have to join Twitter to read our updates.

Arguments in Wisconsin marriage amendment case to be heard tomorrow

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will here oral arguments this morning in McConkey v. VanHollen, a case that challenges the validity of the 2006 Wisconsin marriage amendment. The amendment passed in a statewide referendum, where voters were asked:
“Marriage. Shall section 13 of article XIII of the constitution be created to provide that only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state and that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state?”
McConkey has sued the state, arguing that the referendum combined two separate questions (one regarding the definition of marriage and one regarding the legality of domestic partnerships and civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples), and therefore violated state provisions that a referendum should address only one issue.

Jessie Otradovec of LGBTI Equality Now invites supporters of McConkey to gather as a group to hear the arguments and educate the public on this issue:
The McConkey v. VanHollen Oral Arguments are being heard tomorrow at 9:45 am. 231 East Wing of the State Capitol. Let's meet at the East entrance. It is only scheduled to go until 10:45, so please be there if you can at 9:45. We will also be out on Library Mall at Noon- come hand out fliers with us and make a statement for equality!

Jessie provided this link from the MAL Contends Wisconsin news blog as background.