Archive for September, 2008

Anita Bryant’s Home State “Scores One” for Gay Adoption
September 20, 2008

Florida and Mississippi have laws forbidding Gays to adopt children. However, the Miami Herald online reported on September 9, 2008:

“A Monroe Circuit Court judge has ruled Florida’s 31-year-old gay adoption ban ‘unconstitutional’ in an order that allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since 2001.”

“Declaring the adoption to be in the boy’s ‘best interest,’ Circuit Judge David J. Audlin Jr. said the Florida law forbidding gay people from adopting children is contrary to the state Constitution because it singles out a group for punishment.”

Because the particulars of this case involve adoption by someone who was already a guardian, it may not qualify as a precedent-setting ruling to open the way for gay adoption in the state of Florida. Nevertheless, it is a victory to be celebrated, and Curcuit Judge David J. Audlin Jr. is to be applauded for his ruling.

Most of the comments to the online story were positive, with only one complaining about a “left-wing judge” ruining the country.

(see http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/679552.html for complete story)

As we move forward in our quest for equal rights under the laws of this country (United States) we are constantly reminded that more and more of the populace at large have become more accepting of us as LGBT people in the community.

I celebrate this tiny victory today. A toast to claiming new ground! Orange juice, anyone? 🙂                          -MsQueer

 

P.S. If the “Anita Bryant” reference has you baffled (proving you were most likely born after 1970) see my addendum giving a little background information in the first response by MsQueer.

©2008 MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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World Suicide Prevention Day and The Trevor Project
September 10, 2008

Today, September 10, 2008, has been proclaimed “Trevor Project Day” in the state of New York, to coincide with “World Suicide Prevention Day” and “National Suicide Prevention Week.”  I share this email which I receive from The Trevor Project. (If you wish to receive updates on their programs, you can request that at www.thetrevorproject.org). -MsQueer

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE EMAIL: trevor-day-announcement

Here’s a copy of the accompanying press release (reformatted to please the blog editor!):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Jacque Wing / The Trevor Project

310-271-8845, ext. 226

Jacqueline.Wing@TheTrevorProject.org

 

MEDIA ALERT

 

SEPT. 10 PROCLAIMED “THE TREVOR PROJECT DAY” IN NEW YORK

The Trevor Project Day to coincide with National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day

 

WHAT:

 

New York Gov. David Paterson will proclaim Sept. 10, 2008 as The Trevor Project Day in the state of New York. The Trevor Project operates the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. The Trevor Project Day strategically occurs during National Suicide Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology. The day coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

 

In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week, World Suicide Prevention Day and The Trevor Project Day, The Trevor Project will launch and participate in a variety of initiatives to build awareness regarding suicide, specifically among LGBTQ youth. These include:

 

 

  • Launch of The Trevor Project School Workshop Program, which will use a structured curriculum in schools to address topics around sexuality, gender identity, the impacts of language and behavior, and what it means for young people to feel different.

 

  • Launch of an all-new “fan page” on Facebook.com promoting The Trevor Project, its mission and its services to members nationwide.

 

  • Volunteer counselors from The Trevor Helpline as well as staff members from The Trevor Project will participate in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sat., Sept. 13 in Santa Monica, Calif., to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

WHEN:

 

National Suicide Prevention Week: Sept. 7 through 13, 2008

The Trevor Project Day: Sept. 10, 2008

World Suicide Prevention Day: Sept. 10, 2008

 

WHY:            

           

Suicide is one of the top three causes of death among young people (15 to 24-year-olds). Only accidents and homicides occur more frequently as causes of death among young people.

 

LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

 

LGBTQ youth who come from a rejecting family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

 

# # #

 

 


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John McCain and the LGBT Community
September 8, 2008

Okay, here we go. MsQueer goes political. (Is that like “going balistic?” Maybe this election…)

I have another blog where I’ve gotten very vocal regarding this election, despite my original intentions to steer clear of that. And I had a couple of great lines about Gay Republicans, but then I remembered that this site is about Dignity and Respect. (Sigh!)

So, I’ll just deliver this straight (you should pardon the expression) off the cuff. Although we as LBGT people have seemingly become one of the primary groups to be courted for our vote in this election, John McCain isn’t even trying. Give him an “A” for honesty. But give him a big “F” for anything resembling an equal rights/human rights view of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals or Transgendered persons.

I found a great article that summarizes Mr. McCain’s view and background as a politician thus far.  Thanks to Kathy Belge at About.com: Lesbian Life, I give you the portal to her wisdom:

http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbianactivism/p/JohnMcCain.htm

Let the LGBT Voter beware: when asked about Gay Adoption, McCain replied that he felt two-parent families were best suited to adopt. Two-parent families? So one partner counts and the other is — chopped liver?

I can honestly say that McCain doesn’t make it hard for a person to find out where he stands on LGBT Rights issues. Some candidates hide their truth amongst cleverly crafted interweavings of platitudes and promises that pale once you discover some off-the-cuff comment made “in private” or a carefully planned agenda for securing special interest votes.

At any rate, I have been pretty vocal about the other side of the ticket at http://debadler.wordpress.com. Let’s just say that as a woman, the Dems have pretty effectively alienated me, but not as much the Republicans with their choice of a woman VP that was supposed to get my vote because I’m a woman? PLEASE!

Each of us will ultimately have to make up our own minds based on criteria that will likely include our LGBT identities as only one aspect of our total being and interests. No election has ever been a cut and dry, black and white simple decision, and 2008 will be no exception. Its important that we vote based on a criteria each of us can fully embrace at heart, not just intellectually based on others’ recommendations.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain. We, as LGBT people, have more work ahead of us to resolve prejudices between us, as well as between us and others. Perhaps as we become more fully united amongst ourselves, with true compassion and acceptance of our diversity, we will have less opposition from those who view us as opposed to their values. Perhaps they will come to see that we share their values of the importance of family and community in a far more inclusive way. -MsQueer

©2008 Deborah Adler and MsQueer.com. All rights reserved.

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LGBT Community Loses a Friend with Passing of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones
September 4, 2008

U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (Democrat) died Wednesday night (August 20, 2008) of a brain aneurysm. A Champion of individual rights, she was a compassionate and staunch friend of the LGBT Community. -MsQueer

More from Associated Press below, as well as a link to an article appearing in The Gay Peoples Chronicle (Cleveland, OH) and Gone But Not Forgotten:

‘Incalculable loss’ _ US Rep. Tubbs Jones mourned

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Tributes from political allies and even one-time enemies came pouring in for Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a trailblazer whose energy and outspokenness made her one of Congress’ most dynamic leaders.

Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died Wednesday evening after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm. She was 58.

“She poured her heart and soul into her job,” said U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. “She worked so hard and gave everything she could. I’m devastated. Wherever we’d go, we’d speak of each other as brother and sister. It’s an incalculable loss.”

Tubbs Jones represented Ohio’s heavily Democratic 11th District for five terms. She was the first black woman to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and the first to serve as a common pleas judge in Ohio.

The congresswoman suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in suburban Cleveland Heights on Tuesday night. She had been driving erratically and her vehicle crossed lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said. An officer found her.

An aneurysm is a dangerous weakness or bulge in a blood vessel that can leak or rupture, causing bleeding. In Tubbs Jones, the aneurysm burst in an inaccessible part of her brain, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital in East Cleveland where Tubbs Jones died. Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, incorrectly announced her death about four hours before she died.

Tubbs Jones, who chaired the House Ethics Committee, was a passionate opponent of the war in Iraq, voting in 2002 against authorizing the use of military force. Just as the war was starting in March 2003, she was one of only 11 House members to oppose a resolution supporting U.S. troops in Iraq.

“I am going to miss her as a friend and colleague, and her leadership will most certainly be missed by her constituents, northeast Ohio and the state as a whole,” said Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio.

She was one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s biggest boosters during the primaries and was to have been a superdelegate at next week’s Democratic National Convention in Denver.

She switched her backing to Sen. Barack Obama in June, but said he could not win unless Clinton’s supporters rallied behind him. She also said Obama should consider Clinton as a running mate.

The Clinton family released a statement saying Tubbs Jones was a “one-woman force for progress in our country” and that they shared a friendship with her that “deepened through every trial and challenge.”

“Over the course of many years, with many ups and many downs, Stephanie was right by our side — unwavering, indefatigable,” the statement said.

Obama called Tubbs Jones “an extraordinary American and an outstanding public servant.”

“It wasn’t enough for her just to break barriers in her own life. She was also determined to bring opportunity to all those who had been overlooked and left behind — and in Stephanie, they had a fearless friend and unyielding advocate,” Obama said in a statement.

On the Ways and Means Committee, Tubbs Jones opposed President Bush’s tax cuts and his efforts to create personal accounts within Social Security. In 2005, she opposed certifying his re-election because of questionable electoral results in her home state.

“She was an effective legislator who was dedicated to helping small businesses, improving local schools, expanding job opportunities for Ohioans, and ensuring that more of them have access to health care,” Bush said Wednesday. “Our nation is grateful for her service.”

Tubbs Jones grew up in a working-class area of Cleveland, the youngest of three girls. Her father, Andrew Tubbs, was a skycap for United Airlines at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Her mother, Mary, was a homemaker and later a factory worker.

Tubbs Jones studied sociology at Case Western Reserve University on a full scholarship that she attributed to affirmative action efforts.

After graduating, she worked for the city sewer district and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Tubbs Jones also served as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge and prosecutor before running for political office.

Former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes made Tubbs Jones his hand-picked successor in 1998.

“I wanted somebody whom I felt could carry on what I tried to do for 30 years in that congressional district,” Stokes said. “She did it. She took it to a higher level, a new level. She made me so proud.”

Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Eric Resnick, in his August 29th article for The Gay People’s Chronicle, described Stephanie Tubbs Jones’ dedication to and impact upon the LGBT Community:

“Throughout her life and especially during her tenure in the House, Tubbs Jones was a steadfast supporter of equality, civil rights and the LGBT community….

“Tubbs Jones was one of the first high ranking officials to speak out against the 2004 Ohio constitutional marriage ban amendment, and she actively campaigned for its defeat to conservative black churches. A year earlier, she was one of the first elected officials to endorse the domestic partner registry in Cleveland Heights….

“In 2005, Tubbs Jones was honored by the AIDS Taskforce of Cleveland with a Voices Against the Silence Award, and by the Cleveland HRC Committee with its highest honor, the Equality Award. A year later, BlackOut Unlimited presented her with their Black Gay and Proud award.”

 For the complete article, see: http://www.gaypeopleschronicle.com/stories08/august/0829085.htm

See Also GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – OBITUARIES http://gonebutnotforgotten2.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/congresswoman-stephanie-tubbs-jones/

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Watch What You Wear To A Federal Building!
September 1, 2008

According to Douglas Morino, staff writer for the Los Angeles Daily News, Lapriss Gilbert, of Van Nuys, California, was forced to leave the Federal Building on what had been a “routine trip to the Social Security office” last Monday.

The reason?  She was wearing a T-shirt that said “lesbian.com.”

Apparently the guard, working for Paragon Security Company, hired by the Department of Homeland Security, felt that “lesbian.com” – which, by the way, is an educational and resource website for gay women – was offensive.

Note: the woman is Afro-Anerican. Afro-American and Lesbian…that’s obviously a matter for national concern. Except that Lori Haley, a federal spokeswoman for the office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division which falls under the umbrella of the Homeland Security Dept, “said the guard was out of line.”

Haley is quoted in Morino’s article as saying, “We believe that the actions of the contract security guard were inappropriate and unaccaptable…”

The guard tried to cite The Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property as his justification for keeping Ms. Gilbert out. Accept she was conducting herself, according to all witnesses, very respectfully and in a quiet manner. It was the guard who was doing all the shouting.

Not only has Haley’s department given Paragon official notice of the inappropriate conduct of their personnel, Lapriss’ mother, Tanya Gilbert, just happens to be a longtime gay rights activist.

Tanya Gilbert, who had called the LAPD police to protest her daughter’s treatment, plans to contact her attorney to file a lawsuit.

Right On, Mom!

To the Federal Building’s credit, before the officers arrived along with a federal agent, Lapriss had been escorted back into the building and to the front of the line.

Now, what happens the next time some sub-contractor decides to super-impose his/her prejudice, moral judgements, or “values” in a public situtation like that?  Even the ACLU said this type of discrimination in a Federal Building was rare – but it happened.

Wearing a T-Shirt that sports a slogan comes under the First Rights Amendment of Freedom of Speech. I’ve seen alot more offensive shirts than that. And how about those boys who walk in with their shorts half way down to their knees and their underwear showing? What kind of treatment do they get?  If they’re Afro-American? If they’re Caucasian?

So everyone within reason agrees in this case that one person was out of line. Then we need to see what are the procedures for weeding out that one personality type from potentially dangerous scenerios such as this.

Since “9-11” our freedoms have been eroded in a purposeful campaign based on keeping everyone afraid. Put somebody in a uniform and give them “authority” – and watch what else we lose.

Here’s another question: Was that guard armed?

On Monday, Lapriss Gilbert lost some time out of her day. Thankfully, she didn’t lose her life. -MsQueer

see full story: http://www.dailynews.com/ci_10301518?source=rss_viewed

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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