An ABC-TV affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., reports that bullies lured a 15-year-old lesbian into a remote area and cut off her ponytail, leaving her with a bald spot in the back of her head. The attack happened about 50 miles from Sacramento.
May 19, 2013
May 18, 2013
Aqua Girl is underway in South Beach and hundreds of supporters gathered Friday night for a VIP reception at the Lincoln Road Garage to celebrate this year's event, which runs through Sunday.
Honorees at the VIP party: Community Leader Alison Burgos (pictured top row center with her family), who co-founded Aqua Girl; and Volunteer of the year Mary Joe.
Click here to view more pictures from the party. Photos by STEVE ROTHAUS / Miami Herald Staff.
BY DAVID CRARY, AP NATIONAL WRITER
With its ranks deeply divided, the Boy Scouts of America is asking its local leaders from across the country to decide whether its contentious membership policy should be overhauled so that openly gay boys can participate in Scout units.
The proposal to be put before the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council on Thursday, at a meeting in Grapevine, Texas, would retain the Scouts' long-standing ban on gays serving in adult leadership positions.
Nonetheless, some conservatives within and outside the BSA community have denounced the proposal, saying the Scouts' traditions would be undermined by the presence of openly gay youth. There have been warnings of mass defections if the ban is even partially lifted.
From the other flank, gay-rights supporters and some Scout leaders from politically liberal areas have welcomed the proposed change as a positive first step, but are calling on the BSA to go further and lift the ban on gay adults as well.
PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande has signed a law authorizing gay marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, after months of nationwide protests and wrenching debate.
His signature means the first gay marriages may be celebrated in France within about 10 days. Hollande's office said he signed the bill Saturday morning, a day after the Constitutional Council struck down a challenge to the law.
Hollande, a Socialist, had made legalizing gay marriage one of his campaign pledges last year. While polls for years have shown majority support for gay marriage in France, adoption by same-sex couples is more controversial. The bill prompted months of widespread protests, largely by conservative and religious groups. Some were marred by clashes with police. It became a flashpoint for frustrations at the increasingly unpopular Hollande.
May 17, 2013
The South Florida Mustangs became popular in the 1980s and 1990s with gay square dancing. The group is back, with classes to be held in June in Wilton Manors.
Here's the news release:
EVER WANT TO TRY SQUARE DANCING?
The South Florida Mustangs, the first GLBT International square dance club organized in 1980, opening its doors, its arms and its hearts to Everyone, regardless of gender, culture, race, ethnicity, sex or identity will be offering its open spring beginner's classes on Thursdays, June 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 7pm to 9:30pm. Positively no previous experience required. We'll teach you the ropes beginning with an allemande left and a do-si-do. All you need is a desire to have fun.
Come check us out any Thursday to join in the fun, meet our members and see if you'd like to add this activity to your social calendar. Dances are held at Island City Park Preserve, 823 NE 28 Street, Wilton Manors, FL 33334. Questions? Feel free to call Ken 305-343-1710; Randy 305-458-1649: Tom or Chris 954-525-8365. Dance fee only $5.00, No charge to observe.
Through the year we host house parties, restaurant outings, international fly-ins, and an annual convention. Already a square dancer ? Our caller, in addition to calling beginner's classes, also calls mainstream and plus levels to our newest graduates, and advanced and challenge levels to us old timers. We hope to see you there.
News release from the White House:
Video Message by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on International Day Against Homophobia, May 17, 2013
Today, as we commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, we rededicate ourselves to a basic but essential truth – that human rights are universal and must be protected for all. Homophobia, sadly, is present in every corner of our world. And, it is a problem we continue to face here in the United States.
At the United Nations, the United States is standing up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and fighting to ensure that their voices are heard and protected. The United States was proud to co-sponsor and adopt an historic resolution at the UN Human Rights Council condemning human rights abuses and violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
We will continue to work in every possible arena to protect communities and promote societies in which everyone – especially LGBT youth – can live safely and without fear regardless of who they are or whom they love. We call on all nations and all peoples to join us in ensuring that human rights are universally protected everywhere every day.
BY MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI, ASSOCIATED PRESS
TBILISI, Georgia -- Thousands of anti-gay protesters, including Orthodox priests, occupied a central street in Georgia's capital Friday, with some threatening to lash with stinging nettles any participant in a gay pride parade which was to take place there.
Police in Tbilisi guarded several dozen gay activists and bused them out of the city center shortly after they arrived at the gathering. Those occupying the street held posters reading "We don't need Sodom and Gomorrah!" and "Democracy does not equal immorality!"
Police, however, failed to prevent scuffles, which resulted in 16 people getting injured, the ambulance service said.
A number of protesters carrying bunches of stinging nettles threatened to use them on gay activists. They insist that homosexuality runs against Georgia's traditional Orthodox Christian values.
Father David, a priest who was one of the organizers of Friday's anti-gay rally, said the parade "insults people's traditions and national sentiments."
A gay rally in Tbilisi last year was also short-lived and ended in a scuffle.
Georgia's authorities had given the green light for the gay parade to take place, saying that all Georgian citizens, irrespective of their sexuality, are entitled to voice their views in public.
"We are against the propaganda of homosexuality," 21-year-old student Nikolai Kiladze said. "If we need to allow parades like this in order to become a member of the European Union or other Western organizations and blocs, then I'm against joining these organizations."
Georgia's human rights ombudsman, Uchi Nanuashvili, said it is "deplorable" that gay people's constitutional rights were violated on Rustavi Street on Friday.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick suddenly resigned Friday afternoon. Graddick became president 13 months ago, succeeding Jarrett Barrios, who resigned in 2011 along with six board members following a scandal involving AT&T and support for a proposed merger with T-Mobile.
Here's GLAAD's news release about Graddick's resignation:
STATEMENT REGARDING RESIGNATION OF GLAAD PRESIDENT HERNDON GRADDICK
New York, NY, May 17, 2013 – GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization, today announced the resignation of President Herndon Graddick.
Under Herndon's tenure, GLAAD began campaigns including a national call for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. The organization also announced a continuation of its commitment to incorporate bisexual and transgender people as well as allies from diverse backgrounds in GLAAD's work to shape the media narrative and build public support for LGBT people.
“GLAAD is very grateful for Herndon’s work championing LGBT rights, especially his work on behalf of the trans community,” said GLAAD Board of Directors Chair Thom Reilly. “On behalf of the entire organization, I want to wish him the best.”
“I'm proud to leave GLAAD with a stronger, more efficient organization and an incredibly talented and experienced Board and staff. I'm happy the role I was able to play in advancing the need for our community to fully support the rights of our transgender brothers and sisters. Our movement is benefited by the leadership not only of heroes like Evan Wolfson, Chad Griffin, Mara Keisling, and Kate Kendell, but of the necessary and vital blogger and grassroots communities. I look forward to returning to a private life and supporting the fight from behind the scenes,” said Graddick.
GLAAD's Chief of Staff Dave Montez is serving as Acting President. In addition to continuing to lead GLAAD's development team, he will oversee GLAAD's staff on the ground in Dallas next week throughout the Boy Scouts of America's vote on whether to end their ban on gay scouts and leaders as part of GLAAD's Boy Scouts campaign. GLAAD staff members are continuing work to share stories in the media of marriage equality in advance of next month's Supreme Court decision as well as pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, increased trans visibility in the media, LGBT acceptance in professional sports, and building acceptance of LGBT people.
“GLAAD makes a great impact and the Board has complete confidence that Dave's proven leadership in building coalitions across diverse communities, advocating for lasting change, as well as fundraising for social justice causes will continue to forward the work of GLAAD in his role as Acting President,” said Reilly.
The GLAAD Board of Directors is scheduled to meet later this month in New York City to determine next steps.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The European Union is calling for action to counter discrimination and violence against homosexuals after a major survey revealed many gays are living in fear across the 27-nation bloc.
Morten Kjaerum of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights says action is needed "to break down the barriers, eliminate the hate and create a society where everyone can fully enjoy their rights."
The survey of 93,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people showed that more than 80 percent of the group are verbally abused or bullied at school, nearly one in five feel discriminated against when seeking work and a quarter of the people have been attacked or threatened in recent years.
The survey was released Friday at a conference in The Hague, Netherlands, on the International Day against Homophobia.
From reporter Michael K. Lavers of The Washington Blade:
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—The Puerto Rican Senate on Thursday approved a sweeping bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and government services in the U.S. territory.
May 16, 2013
BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Thomas Barker, vice chairman of Miami Beach’s gay Business Enhancement Committee, recently made the case to other committee members for expanding city employees’ domestic partner benefits program. Last week, suffering from a sudden case of shingles while visiting family in Orlando, he himself became beneficiary.
“I had a high fever and neurological pain all over. I got sick in Animal Kingdom and went straight to the emergency room, where they kept me for four days,” said Barker, 29. “If I didn’t have the benefits, I probably would have gone to the emergency room, but I would have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bill that I couldn’t afford. Or I wouldn’t have gotten the care I needed because they would have kicked me out of the hospital.”
Barker owns a small marketing company with one other employee and can’t afford group insurance of his own. He’s had insurance through the city of Miami Beach since he and Robert Rosenwald, a senior assistant city attorney, became registered domestic partners on Nov. 3, 2011.
Miami Beach has offered domestic partner benefits for city employees since 1998. Seven years later, the commission required that most contractors doing business with the city also offer equal benefits to domestic partners.
“The Equal Benefits Ordinance governs companies that contract with the city, that they not discriminate and provide equal benefits for domestic partners as they do for married couples,” said Rosenwald, 43.
Because the U.S. government doesn’t recognize gay marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships, private and public employees who receive health insurance benefits for their partners must pay federal income tax on the value of the premiums. Recently, some businesses and governments have begun to pay for the extra tax.
Last November, Hallandale Beach became the first city in the nation to offer tax reimbursements for employees in domestic partnerships. This week, city commissioners unanimously voted that vendors with five or more employees and city contracts worth $50,000 or more also offer domestic-partner benefits.
In March, Bay Harbor Islands voted to offer domestic partner benefits to city employees. A few weeks later, commissioners agreed to also pay the federal taxes, becoming the first Miami-Dade County municipality to do so.
On May 6, West Palm Beach agreed to reimburse partnered employees for the federal tax. "It’s not a gay issue," said Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "It’s a pay issue."
Miami Beach is poised to do the same in June.
Many Florida colleges and universities, including University of Miami, Miami Dade College, University of Florida also offer domestic partner benefits. Florida International University gives a stipend to domestic partners equal to cost of health insurance for a legally married husband or wife.
A common concern about offering partner benefits is company cost. It’s usually low because so few employees, both gay and straight, actually sign up. Among the reasons: Many are single; some LGBT employees are closeted; others have partners who are covered by their own health insurance at work.
Miami Beach has about 3,500 employees and only 16 with domestic partners take the insurance. Office Depot, based in Boca Raton, reports similar findings. With 9,154 employees, only about 50 take insurance for domestic partners.
Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay-rights group, since 2002 has tracked companies that offer benefits and protections to LGBT employees with its annual Corporate Equality Index.
“We need to have consistent equal protections under the law for all workers including those that are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender,” said Deena Fidas, deputy director of HRC’s Workplace Project.
“In the last few years, I’ve seen a significant uptick in Florida businesses with regard to implementing inclusive nondiscrimination policies and equitable benefits,” Fidas said. “We’re seeing more Florida companies offering protections based on gender identity. You’re seeing more companies with what’s called ‘transgender inclusive' health coverage. When medically necessary, if a transgender person needs to access mental health counseling, hormone therapies and sometimes surgery, that as part of the overall employee benefits package, those medically necessary procedures are covered.”
Several large companies with big presence in South Florida receive perfect 100 scores on HRC’s index.
“Office Depot as a publicly traded company wants to support its entire client base,” said Frantz Tiffeau, the company’s senior manager of diversity initiatives. “For reasons of doing the right thing, it makes sense to support [the LGBT] community. Members of employees’ families, the employees themselves. It makes good business sense. If they feel that support from a company, they’re going to support that company, as well. Most corporations and counterparts I deal with, it’s part of a standard companywide benefit in global corporations based in the U.S., both public and private.”
Tiffeau, who is based in Houston, said that “we’ve had employees say they only came to Office Depot because of the 100 percent HRC rating and what it meant to them.”
American Airlines has received a 100 score every year since HRC began rating companies, spokesman Bob Witeck said.
“Twelve years later, their culture is now invested in doing it. It’s a no-brainer,” said Witeck, a Washington, D.C.-based communications consultant who specializes in the gay marketplace. “And It’s bigger than just LGBT. It makes [American Airlines executives] sensitive to how that perception is and other kinds of groups and demographics.”
Large Florida companies with domestic-partner benefits on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index
Airport & Aviation Professionals, Naples
American Medical Depot, Miami
Anspach Effort, Palm Beach Gardens
ASTAR Air Cargo, Miami
Atlantic Biologicals, Miami
Biomed Plus, Miami
Burger King Corp., Miami
Citrix Systems, Fort Lauderdale
DHL Holdings (USA), Plantation
Distribution Video & Audio (Dva), Palm Harbor
Foley & Lardner LLP, Miami
GeoSyntec Consultants, Boca Raton
Gmp Wireless Medicine, Fort Lauderdale
Hand Innovations, Miami
JB Dental Supply Co., Fort Lauderdale
Medical Staffing Network, Boca Raton
Miami Herald, Miami
Moredirect, Boca Raton
Office Depot, Boca Raton
Pegasus Airwave, Boca Raton
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Miami
Ryder System, Miami
Spherion Corp., Fort Lauderdale
Starlims Corp., Hollywood
TG Medical, Jupiter
Vehicle Maintenance Program, Boca Raton
Source: Human Rights Campaign
Rank Company Name No. of Employees
9 Ultimate Software 1,440
32 J M Family Enterprises 3,737
65 Darden Restaurants 177,655
76 Baptist Health South Florida 14,145
77 Publix Super Markets 151,889
All five Florida companies include sexual orientation in their written nondiscrimination policies. Baptist Health South Florida and Publix Super Markets, however, do not offer domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples.
News release from Stonewall Summer Pride:
Stonewall Summer Pride has announced that WSVN Channel 7 News Anchor Craig Stevens will be this year’s Stonewall Summer Pride Twilight Parade Grand Marshal. Stevens, originally from Falmouth, Massachusetts originally moved to South Florida in 1992. In addition to his Anchor duties at Channel 7, he is also an Adjunct Professor at Barry University teaching an introductory course in news writing.
Stevens is active in a number of charities and organizations. In 2009, He was elected to the Board of Trustees for the United Way of Miami-Date. He also serves as Channel 7’s spokesman for Habitat for Humanity, which seeks to improve our community by promoting home ownership. Stevens serves as a vice-president of the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences where he also chairs a committee that specializes in mentoring young TV professionals throughout the southeastern United States.
Stevens will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal to the Stonewall Summer Pride Twilight Parade which takes place at 7:30 pm on Saturday, June 22nd. The parade, featuring an extra-ordinary display of fabulous floats and costumes will run along Wilton Drive, beginning on the south end of the drive at 20th Street and running north ending at 5 Points.
Stonewall Summer Pride 2013, “Journey to Equality” comes to Fort Lauderdale on June 22ndand 23rd in Wilton Manors. The event begins on Saturday evening with the Twilight Parade and entertainment on the main stage and continues on Sunday June 23rd with the annual Street Festival, Vendor Marketplace, a full schedule of Live Entertainment, Kid’s Zone and a whole host of other activities.
For more information on Stonewall Summer Pride, please visit stonewallsummerpride.com.
From Huffington Post:
Click here to read the complete article.
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has long been a supporter of legislation to ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. But on Wednesday, he revealed a more personal reason for his support.
"My niece is a lesbian," Reid said during a sit-down with reporters. "She's a school teacher. Her employment shouldn't be affected with that. We should have a law that says that, not just the good graces of wherever you work."
ThinkProgress: Mondale, Dukakis join every living Democratic presidential nominee for marriage equality
Former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis told ThinkProgress this week that they support marriage equality. With their endorsements, every living former Democratic presidential nominee is now on record in support of same-sex marriage.
Every other living Democratic nominee had previously made their support explicit.
Jason Collins would always make excuses for why he wasn't interested in the women his twin brother and sister-in-law would set him up with on dates.
Jarron Collins still never figured out that Jason was gay.
Jarron joked Wednesday on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" that he missed "red flags" about Jason, who recently came out as the first active gay male athlete in one of the major U.S. sports.
The brothers, who played together at Stanford before playing in the NBA, appeared together on the show and discussed how Jason finally let Jarron know after being hesitant for so long.
"He's my best friend and any time you come out to someone, you always have that apprehension that they're going to reject, even though I knew that that wasn't going to be the case," Jason Collins said.
Jarron was supportive but said he botched his response at first, saying things such as "Are you sure?" and "Since when?"
"He's my twin brother, of course I was going to be supportive of him all the time," Jarron said.
Jarron said since Jason's announcement, he's been approached by other men asking if he is Jason. To help clear that up, Kimmel gave him a T-shirt that read: "I'm the straight one."