Sunday, January 31, 2010

No Viking-Packers make-out sessions during the Superbowl

CBS has rejected an ad for, a men-only dating site, for airing during the Super Bowl. It features a Viking fan and Green Bay Packers fan who unexpectedly resolve their differences after brushing hands in a potato chip bowl.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Italy designates cell block for transgender prisoners

Responding to human rights concerns, Italy will move about 30 transgender prisoners to a designated prison block in Tuscany, according to the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph. The block was created to protect transgender prisoners from harassment from non-transgender inmates, advocates say.

Bisexuals no longer have to pay double the fee on eHarmony

Good news for bisexuals who want to date via the internet and like eHarmony's faith-based matchmaking approach: The heterosexual dating service and its gay sister Web site, Compatible Partners, plan to settle a discrimination lawsuit by linking to each other and no longer requiring members to pay double fees to use both services, according to the Associated Press.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Show recap: Proposition 8 Trial Tracker

We spoke with Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, who has been liveblogging from the federal trial challenging the constitutionality of California's amendment revoking the right of same-sex couples to marry in that state. You can follow Jacobs' blog here.

We had some technical issues with the sound during our news segment at the beginning of the show-so if you heard us live or on our podcast, you missed half of the news. Here's an edited version of the entire episode that somewhat fixes the problem.

On Feb. 10, we'll have New Yorker writer contributor Margaret Talbot, who has also attended the Proposition 8 trial, about new developments and how the case would fare before the U.S. Supreme Court. You can find her daily updates on the trial and surrounding issues here.

Human Right Campaign releases state-by-state report on LGBT equality

The Human Rights Campaign has released its annual Equality from State to State report on laws in the 50 states affecting LGBT civil rights. Wisconsin highlights include proposed legislation to reduce bullying in schools and the establishment of domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. But - oops - the report mistakenly states that opposite-sex couples can also register as domestic partners. (Never fear, one of our intrepid reporters has called HRC asking that they correct the report, so maybe it will be fixed by the time you read it.)

You can download the report here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Openly gay UW-Madison grad seeks Illinois senate seat

Jacob Meister, who earned his law degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the only openly gay candidate seeking the Democratic nomination for Barack Obama's old senate seat in Illinois, according to NBC. You can read more about him here on the NBC news site.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This week on Queery: Prop. 8 on trial

Do voters have the power to take civil rights away from minority groups? Is that what we mean when we talk about ‘democracy’? Those are the central questions at issue in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, a lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that took away the established right of same-sex couples to marry in that state.

Join Queery on Wednesday, January 27, 7 p.m., as we speak with Rick Jacobs of California’s Courage Campaign. Jacobs has been attending the historic trial, providing moment-by-moment internet updates to readers around the world. We’ll talk about the testimony that could change the course of history. That’s Queery on WORT 89.9 FM.

UW-Whitewater police looking for perpetrators in Dec. 15 attack

UW-Whitewater police say they welcome tips about a Dec. 15 attack on a woman whom the attackers thought was a lesbian. The attackers are described as three college-aged white males.

Lesbian co-parent wins shared custody in Kentucky

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled on Jan. 21 that individuals who have played a parental role in a child's life but are not biological or adoptive parents can petition for shared custody. The ruling requires Phyllis Diane Picklesimer to share custody of her biological son with her former partner, A.J. Mullins.

Hawaii senate authorizes civil unions

The Hawaii senate has passed a bill to establish civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the state. Civil union status would provide the same "rights, benefits and responsibilities" as marriage does under Hawaii law, but would have no legal status under federal law.

The bill now moves to the state's house of representatives.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tonight's show: New Harvest Foundation

Tonight on Queery, we'll talk with Tret Fure and Woody Carey, co-chairs of New Harvest Foundation, which provides grants to LGBT organizations in south central Wisconsin. We'll also have clips from a recent presentation in Madison by Dr. Adam Schesch, a local historian who’s studied global resistance movements. He thinks the same tactics can be used to forward LGBT liberation, including same-sex marriage.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Announcement:The UW-Madison Educational & Psychological Training Clinic offers low cost counseling services

From OutReach:
The UW-Madison Educational & Psychological Training Clinic offers low cost counseling services

The UW Educational & Psychological Training Clinic (Rm 316, Educational Science Bldg, 1025 W. Johnson St.) in co-operation with OutReach, is making counseling services available on a sliding scale to the LGBTQ communities. The services are provided by counseling psychology graduate students and are supervised by licensed psychologists/counselors. They provide services to individuals, couples, and families with a variety of pressing concerns such as anxiety, depression, grief, and general life adjustment problems. Bi-lingual counselors and interpreters (Spanish) are also available. Clinic hours are 5-8pm Mondays and Wednesdays. For appointments and an initial screening please call 265-6120.

D.C. judge: No referendum on same-sex marriage

From Human Rights Campaign:

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, applauded a D.C. Superior Court ruling that, for the second time, rejected a proposed initiative to roll back legislation passed by the D.C. Council extending marriage in the District to same-sex couples. In June, a D.C. Superior Court judge rejected a similar lawsuit with the same intent – to force a public vote on legislation that, at the time, allowed D.C. to recognize marriages by same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions.

[The Jan. 14] ruling upheld the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics’ ruling rejecting the proposed initiative as an improper subject matter for a public vote. The lawsuit was brought by several national anti-gay activists and backed by thirty-nine Republican members of Congress. The legislation extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in the District is set to become effective at the conclusion of the Congressional review period, likely in early March.

In her decision, Judge Macaluso determined that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled properly that the proposed initiative would violate the D.C. Human Rights Act. Under D.C. law, no ballot initiative may authorize discrimination under the Human Rights Act, which, among other things, prohibits the government from denying services or benefits based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Petitioners had argued that D.C.’s human rights protections dating back to 1979 were invalid; however, Judge Macaluso ruled that the D.C. Council acted within its legal authority when it adopted these vital anti-discrimination provisions.

“This second, back-to-back ruling by the D.C. Superior Court is an overwhelming victory for fairness, the rule of law and the protection of all D.C. residents against discrimination,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “D.C. has the right to govern itself and make its own laws without the interference of thirty-nine Republican members of Congress, more interested in scoring cheap political points than in the everyday lives of D.C. residents. As D.C. law justifiably recognizes, no initiative should be permitted to strip away any individual’s civil rights. It is heartening that two different judges upheld the anti-discrimination protections wisely enacted by the Council more than thirty years ago. ”

The Campaign for All D.C. Families – a coalition of D.C. residents and allied civil rights organizations – along with D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality and four same-sex couples who reside in the District were granted friend-of-the-court status and filed a brief in support of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics and the District.

Solmonese concluded, “HRC will continue its strong support of the Campaign for All D.C. Families and D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality until marriage equality is a reality for everyone in the District.”

Tom Williamson of Covington & Burling LLP, counsel for the Campaign for All D.C. Families, stated, “Judge Macaluso applied the law impartially in this case, recognizing the D.C. Council’s right to define the initiative process consistent with the D.C. Charter. The decision upholds the Council’s right to broadly protect human rights for all District residents.”

Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley, Pastor of Covenant Baptist Church, said, “As a minister who’s been serving the Ward 8 community for over 40 years, I am pleased that the D.C. Superior Court has upheld the right of the D.C. Council to prohibit discrimination in our community. I think this decision will be a unifying moment that helps bring healing to many families in the District. Gay and lesbian families are an integral part of our community and our church.”

At this time, five states recognize marriage for same-sex couples under state law: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The D.C. marriage law is likely to become effective on March 2, 2009. Five states—California, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada—provide same-sex couples with access to the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island and Wisconsin provide same-sex couples with limited rights and benefits. New York and Washington, D.C. recognize marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into outside of the jurisdiction.

California recognized marriage by same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. Couples married during that window remain married under California law, but all other same-sex couples can only receive a domestic partnership within the state. The state will recognize out of state same-sex marriages that occurred before November 5, 2008 as marriages and those that occurred on or after November 5, 2008 as domestic partnerships. The Proposition 8 vote has been challenged in federal court; a trial is currently underway in San Francisco.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit:

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens.

Hawaii set to vote this week on civil unions

Hawaii's legislature is set to vote on creating civil unions for same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the state. The Washington Post reports that a vote on the issue last year "easily won preliminary passage in the Legislature," but opponents - mostly from Catholic and evangelical Protestant groups - are holding protests in an effort to convince legislators to vote against civil unions this time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti quake devastates HIV support group for MSM

The International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission reports that the earthquake last Tuesday in Haiti killed 14 men at a meeting of SEROvie, a support group for HIV-positive men who have sex with men. IGLHRC is accepting donations on behalf of SEROvie so the organization can continue to offer services, as well as emergency aid.

Friday, January 15, 2010

How gay are we?

The Advocate has named Madison the "5th Gayest City in America," which would be a great honor if it weren't for the sneaking suspicion one gets that they've never been here. To wit:
"Madison is often called the Berkeley of the Midwest—the east side is hippie-crunchy, there’s a brand-new gay dance club (Plan B), and heaps of cute blond dreadlocked nuevo organic farmer dudes can be found at the Willy Street Co-op or the Farmers’ Market drinking their own beer from mason jars."
Let's deconstruct this:
  1. "Berkeley of the Midwest"- No, Berkeley is the "Madison of California."
  2. "heaps of cute blond dreadlocked nuevo organic farmer dudes" - I don't know about "heaps"; most of the dreadlocked dudes at Willy Co-op have auburn to black hair. I only spot a blond one maybe every three shopping trips. Also, I'm not quite sure what "nuevo organic" means. As for the "farmer," the moniker could apply to, at maximum, one in ten dreadlocked dudes, which should be obvious since there are only two farms within city limits and most produce farmers from Mount Horeb don't come here daily.
  3. "at the Willy Street Co-op ... drinking their own beer" - And getting thrown out. I don't know where Willy Co-op got this freewheeling reputation. It must have come from people who've never been there. The vibe at Willy is like Whole Foods, without the perniciousness.
  4. "at ... the Farmers’ Market drinking ... beer from mason jars" - Um, I'm pretty sure that Wisconsin still has an open container law, because I see it being enforced all the time downtown. If we're going to drink our own beer in public, we're not going to do it from mason jars so that everyone can see what we're doing. We're going to drink it from plastic Canada Dry bottles.
  5. "drinking their own beer from mason jars" - We homebrewers put our beer in Grolsch bottles, not mason jars. Anyone who has ever brewed knows that making beer in a mason jar invites explosions. You drink hooch from mason jars, and none of us would know anything about that, because distilling hooch at home is illegal.
By the way, the "gay" here seems to be intentional, focusing on gay men to the exclusion of LBTs - although the article confusingly alternates between using the term "gay" to mean "gay men" and using "gay" to mean "queers." For example, it apparently included Tammy Baldwin among Madison's "gay elected officials," but clearly wasn't counting her when it looked at "gay dating profiles per single male population" and probably wasn't referring to her, or women in general, when it looked at "cruising spots per capita."

Speaking of cruising spots, I've got to wonder how "cruising spots per capita" makes a city gay. Even assuming the cruising involves men only, a lot of the men involved in cruising don't view themselves as gay. That's why sexual health educators talk more often about their work with "men who have sex with men," not "gay men."

The Gayest City ranking criteria were: same-sex couple households per capita, statewide marriage equality, gay elected officials, gay dating profiles per single male population, gay bars per capita, cruising spots per capita and gay films in Netflix favorites.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Random Harvest is canceled tonight

From StageQ:

Dear friend of StageQ,

Tonight's (Thursday) production of Random Harvest is canceled due to cast illness. You still have two more chances to see the show, on Friday and Saturday, so please come on out!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tonight's Show: Queers in History

Join us tonight for a conversation with Keith Stern, author of Queers in History, a new encyclopedia of 900 public and not-so-public LGBTQ people of note that Wired magazine calls "history and dish garnished lavishly with innuendo, riddled with sarcasm and schmooze."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Following the Prop. 8 trial

You can't watch it on television, at least for now, so here are the next best things:

Portugal's parliament approves marriage equality

Portugal's parliament has voted in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, but the law includes a caveat that prevents same-sex couples from adopting children.

The law is now in committee and will come back to parliament for a final vote before going to President Anibal Cavaco Silva for ratification. Cavaco Silva has indicated in the past that she is not in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry.

You can read more about the vote at the BBC Web site.

Friday, January 8, 2010

New York senate rejects marriage equality

The New Jersey Senate voted 20-14 against marriage equality last night. Five senators abstained from voting and one was absent. You can read more in this The New York Times article.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wisconsin Capitol Pride seeks volunteers

Wisconsin Capitol Pride is in search of volunteers for various fundraisers and the parade, as well as for the pride celebration. If interested,e-mail

Judge decides to broadcast federal marriage trial via YouTube

A federal judge has decided to allow the trial on the constitutionality of California's Prop. 8 to be videotaped and broadcast on YouTube. You can read more about the decision here.

The trial will be a test of federal protections for minority groups. The plaintiffs will argue that Prop. 8, which removed the right of same-sex couples in California to wed, is a breach of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires states to provide equal protection under the law to all people within their jurisdictions.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Domestic partner registrations low in northwest Wisconsin

Only 17 couples have registered as domestic partners in Wisconsin's seven northwest counties, according to an article in the Superior Telegram. Of these, Douglas County has the highest number of registered domestic partnerships, with six female couples and one male couple.

That compares with the statewide figure of 1,285 domestic partnerships.

News Jersey to vote on marriage equality Thursday

The New Jersey senate has scheduled a vote on extending civil marriage rights to same-sex couples for Thursday. Read more here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Announcements from OutReach

The week's announcements and events from OutReach, Madison & south central Wisconsin’s LGBT Community Center at 600 Williamson Street, Suite P-1, Madison. OutReach will be closed, Friday, 1/1, and Saturday, 1/2 for the Holidays except for select group activity. Otherwise, office hours are M-F: 10am to 7pm, Saturday: 12-4pm.

All events are at OutReach unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday (1/3)
  • New Year’s All-Ages Potluck Celebration, 6-9pm: Join OutThere (18-24 year old LGBT social group) and OutReach for an all ages potluck to celebrate the end of the holidays and the beginning of a new decade!
Monday (1/4):
  • Living As A Gay Man 6pm
  • Bi the Way 7:30pm
Tuesday (1/5):
  • LGBTQ Al Anon Meeting (for family & friends of alcoholics) 5:30pm
  • Gq (GenderQueer) Group Meeting 8pm
  • Effective Strategies for LGBT Rights: New Directions, 7:00 pm on the Evjue Stage at the Bartell Theater, 113 E Mifflin Street in Madison: a presentation by Adam Schesch, Ph.D. on effective strategies for LGBT liberation. Dr. Schesch is a local historian who has studied global resistance struggles, and movements for liberation. He will be speaking about how to apply that cross-cultural experience to current battles for LGBT rights in this country, including same-sex marriage. There will be an open discussion with the audience following Dr. Schesch’s talk. The event is free and open to the public.
Wednesday (1/6):
  • Cross-dresser Support Group 7pm
Thursday (1/7):
  • Business Alliance Monthly Meeting 6pm
  • SalonQ Adult Discussion Group 7pm
Friday (1/8):
  • Madison Area Transgender Association Support Group 7pm
Saturday (1/9):
  • Women4Women Social Group 3-5pm: Begin the New Year by getting all of your legal protections in place. W4W will feature guest speakers from Krueger & Hernandez SC, Attorneys at Law who will talk about Civil Unions, Domestic Partnership, and Estate Planning for the LGBT Community. For more information about OutReach's Women4Women group, call Outreach at 255-8582 and leave a message or email: Donna at
  • LGBTQ Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Group Meeting (closed meeting--open to recovering alcoholics only--not family and friends) 6pm
Sunday (1/10):
Monday (1/18)
  • In-service on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Resources for the LGBT Community, 6-7pm: Representatives from Domestic Abuse Intervention, Rape Crisis Center, and Meriter Hospital’s SANE Program will be on hand to answer your questions on resources available and LGBT access to those resources during this presentation. The general public is welcome and event is of no cost. Please RSVP if possible with Harry at OutReach (255-8582 or as space is limited.

Upcoming: New Groups Starting at OutReach in the New Year

Queer Meditation Group will meet the 2nd & 4th Thursday at 7pm starting January 28th. Everyone in the LGBT community is welcome. Format:
  • -20 minute meditation, partially guided
  • -listen to a lecture
  • -discussion
  • -occasional guest speakers

The SOFFA Support Network is a drop-in peer support group for those people who find themselves in the significant other, friends, family or ally (SOFFA) role in a transperson’s life. The group is a place to share both the losses we experience in transitioning with our transperson, as well as embrace the joys. Topics covered in this group include identity politics, the process of grieving, coming out to friends and family, navigating relationship changes, and the legal rights for trans couples. This group is open to all people, whether they identify as straight or queer, as long as they are a SOFFA. The group will run every other Tuesday at 7pm at OutReach starting January 19th. For more information, contact Tiffany at

Reading, Writing & Relating LGBTQ Narratives is a workshop open to all LGBTQ adults that aims to bring together a diverse group of individuals for meaningful and thought-provoking dialogues in a welcoming environment. We will read and respond to LGBTQ literature, produce personal narratives by sharing our stories orally and/or in written form and—most importantly—have the opportunity to make connections with each other that both honor our differences and contribute positively to our sense of community as LGBTQ people.
Meetings will be held at OutReach starting in late January or early February on Wednesday nights (bi-weekly). For more information, become a fan on Facebook or write to:

Ongoing groups with funky schedules

SalonQ Adult Discussion Group January Schedule--all at 7pm -- Dates: 1/7, 1/12, 1/21, & 1/26 Come join us—come prepared to mix it up in an inclusive fashion with cool people in the comfy surroundings of OutReach. We are a weekly group alternating between Tuesday and Thursday nights. For info or to get on the e-mail list: call 255-8582 or e-mail Harry at

Q Cinema International Film Group—January Schedule---all at 6:30pm at OutReach
  • January 13th: Madam Sata (Brazil): A story inspired by the life of one of the most remarkable figures in Brazilian popular culture, João Francisco dos Santos (1900-1976). In turn, bandit, transvestite, street fighter, brothel cook, convict and father to seven adopted children, dos Santos--better known as Madame Satã--was also a notorious gay performer who pushed social boundaries in a volatile time. The story begins in 1932, in Rio de Janeiro's bohemian Lapa district, when João Francisco is about to achieve his dream: becoming a stage star. In the sordid yet lively world of Lapa--populated by pimps, prostitutes and other denizens of Rio's underworld.
  • January 27th: Fire (India): Taboo-busting drama about forbidden passion between two Indian wives. It is said that when this movie premiered in India , posters were torn down and there was a lot of public protest. This film powerfully demonstrates the struggle of two women in love in a culture so deeply entrenched in ritual and tradition. All this against a backdrop of an India which itself is struggling for freedom from these same values. This film is both political and personal and never too preachy or idealistic on either front. A true film such as this one deserves to be seen by all people of the world.

Community meeting on Tuesday

StageQ, Perfect Harmony Men’s Chorus, Our Lives Magazine, Gay-Straight Alliance for Safe Schools, Leztalkmadison, OutReach, Wisconsin Capitol Pride, the Business Alliance and AIDS Network announce a presentation by Adam Schesch, Ph.D. on effective strategies for LGBT liberation. Dr. Schesch is a local historian who has studied global resistance struggles, and movements for liberation. He will be speaking about how to apply that cross-cultural experience to current battles for LGBT rights in this country, including same-sex marriage. There will be an open discussion with the audience following Dr. Schesch’s talk. Come prepared to think, to talk and to plan!

The event will take place on Tuesday, January 5 at 7:00 pm on the Evjue stage at the Bartell Theater, 113 E Mifflin Street in Madison. The event is free and open to the public.