Lou Chibbaro reports:
Dr. Saul Levin, who last year became the first openly gay head of the D.C. Department of Health, was named on May 15 as the new chief executive officer and medical director of the American Psychiatric Association.
An APA spokesperson said Levin, a psychiatrist who has specialized in substance abuse treatment, becomes the first known out gay person to head the APA, which was founded in 1844 and represents more than 33,000 psychiatric physicians in the U.S. and abroad.
Dr. Levin testified in support of the birth certificate bill last Thursday. (But that link is to GLAA's testimony.)
Tara Culp-Ressler reports in ThinkProgress:
Not content with attempting to impose his anti-abortion agenda upon the women who live in the nation’s capital, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) now intends to push for a nationwide bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. Franks, who invoked the illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to justify his decision to re-introduce a 20-week abortion ban in DC, now says that Gosnell’s crimes have compelled him to amend his bill so it applies to women across the country....
However, that’s a gross mischaracterization of the state of legal abortion services throughout the country. Abortion opponents have repeatedly attempted to twist the facts surrounding Gosnell’s high-profile murder trial to make it appear as if his crimes are rampant throughout legal abortion clinics. But that’s simply not the case. The Philadelphia-area abortion doctor was guilty of much more than simply breaking Pennsylvania’s law that criminalizes abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy; he was also able to offer discounted prices for his services because he didn’t employ medical professionals or adhere to safety standards. Gosnell’s “house of horrors” isn’t analogous to the way that legal, sanitary late-term abortion clinics provide care to the women who need it.
I can't believe we have to fight this all over again, 40 years after Roe v. Wade. I am so tired of the religious fanatics and bullies in this country.
About 20 witnesses testified at the May 16 hearing on Bill 20-0142, the "JaParker Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013," and all were in favor. It was a joint hearing by the Committee on Health and the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary. Read GLAA's testimony, in which we endorsed the bill with the changes requested by the DC Trans Coalition.
With the recommended changes, this is going to be model legislation and help fulfill DC's promise of trans equality. Kudos to all, especially Andy Bowen, Lisa Mottet, Bob Summersgill, our Council allies, and Health and Judiciary committee staff. I am so proud of our coalition. And the three students from Cesar Chavez Public Charter School who testified were great.
BTW, one of the Cesar Chavez students was a friend of JaParker. And JaParker's parents testified. So the hearing took on the aspect of a memorial in addition to a legislative hearing. I thought it was rather remarkable that not one person showed up to oppose the bill. The haters are obviously out there; but they did not crawl out from under their rocks to attend the hearing.
The practical question is whether the changes can be made to the bill and a markup scheduled to allow for the two requisite readings of the bill is legislative sessions before the summer break. It's iffy. Then there's the much more complex surrogacy bill, which will almost certainly not be done and passed before the break. But the Judiciary staff are working apace.
Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper runs face-first into a wall. The Nats won the game, but let's hope he recovers and doesn't forget the reason for the warning track again.
Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Barber blames a new strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea on liberals.
Alan Colmes presses AFA spokesbigot Bryan Fischer to give an example of his own destructive sexual impulses, since he's so concerned about others'. Very funny.
The Blade reports. This is disturbing news. T.H.E. has been the key organization providing services to the trans community in D.C. Like several people quoted in the article, I had not heard about this crisis until this week. I would like to advise community members who want to support them on what to do; but we will have to wait for guidance.
The death on Friday of a West Hollywood man from bacterial meningitis has raised concerns that the disease has spread from New York to the west coast. It is spread by saliva, not by sexual activity. Frontiers LA reports:
Bacterial meningitis is usually severe, according to the CDC, causing brain damage, hearing loss, disabilities and death. However people can recover if treated early so anyone who suspects they might have been exposed or are at risk of being exposed or are experiencing any symptoms should immediately see their healthcare provider. Symptoms are: a sudden fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light, and mental confusion. These symptoms can appear quickly or up to seven days after exposure and should not be mistaken for the flu.
Meningococcal infection is contagious. You can catch it in larger groups gathered together, or through germs spread through secretions exchanged through kissing, sharing cups or utensils, coughing, sneezing, or being in close contact with someone who has meningitis. People with a compromised immune systems – such as HIV disease – are particularly susceptible. The CDC also says: “Fortunately, most of the bacteria that cause meningitis are not as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.”
One can also prevent catching the disease through practicing good hygiene such as washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough, don’t share food or drinks and clean contaminated surfaces with soap and water or a disinfectant.
Metro Weekly reports.
On Thursday, March 28 in federal court, U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola found Lt. Dan Choi guilty of failing to obey the order of a law enforcement agent in his protest at the White House fence three years ago, and ordered him to pay a fine of $100 (rather than the maximum penalty of $5,000 and five years in jail). Metro Weekly reports:
In court on Thursday, Choi represented himself, cross-examining witnesses and making a series of disjointed points in order to defend himself against the charge. But Choi seemed scattered throughout the exercise, at one point breaking down into tears as he showed the courtroom a video clip of "The Rachel Maddow Show," the show on which he initially came out by publicly stating he was gay.
Following his tears, Choi got up and loudly told Facciola that he was ready for closing arguments. Facciola called a recess and ordered the parties to come back for closing arguments later that afternoon. Choi then had what several friends and observers characterized as a "breakdown," during which deputies from the U.S. Marshals Service forced the audience to exit the courtroom.
According to Choi's fellow activist Staff Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, who peered through the glass on the courtroom doors, Choi was on the floor of the courtroom during the episode. At one point, Choi was heard sobbing, "I don't want to do this any more!" before several marshals exited the courtroom, carrying Choi, by his arms, with his legs in the air as Choi cursed at them, even telling one of the deputies, "Fuck you, you're a coward."
"I think he's tired, he's been under pressure for so long," Ben-Shalom said of Choi's mental state.
After the sentencing, Dan said he refused to pay the fine. Judge Facciola said he had a right to appeal. And so the drama goes on.
What is the point of continuing this fight? One of the traditions of civil disobedience is embracing the punishment (like Dr. King in Birmingham jail). Dan is a wounded warrior who should be urged to pay the nominal fine and focus on healing--not be egged on like a man on a ledge being encouraged to jump. Our compassion should trump our need for a martyr.
Dan has PTSD. He has talked of suicide. His main publicity photo is of him in a crucifixion pose handcuffed to the White House fence. He is mentally ill. He needs and deserves healing, not enabling by people seeking not equality but an excuse to perpetuate their outrage. His breakdown in court on Thursday should be the last straw that prompts people to pull back and reconnect with reality. Dan played a part in the fight to end the gay military ban, but there were countless people who labored and held on in the struggle for years who deserve respect as well--not dismissed with contempt in service of the myth that Dan's media appearances were the key factor. The judge on Thursday showed great restraint, which was appropriate with a returned servicemember bearing the mental scars of his service. But at long last, enough. It is time, out of simple decency, to turn away from the public spectacle of a man's self-destruction.
Bob Summersgill commented on Facebook, "A $100 fine for civil disobedience is a win. Everyone else declared victory with the repeal of DADT, so now should Dan." Amen.
This just in:
Rally for Trans Health Equality and Economic Justice
Date: March 30, 2013
Columbia Heights Civic Plaza Circle (14th and Park NW).
For more information contact:
Nico Quintana nicoquintana1 at gmail.com
For the first time, LGBT equality groups and labor unions folks are working together to advance access to basic health care for transgender people, and to expand health care insurance to cover trans-related health care nationwide. The March 30th Rally for Trans Equality and Economic Justice will bring together local trans communities, activists, union members and leaders to celebrate our victories and to continue to build momentum and power to fight for trans equality, trans economic justice and equal access to quality jobs, health care and housing for DC trans residents. Speakers will include local activists, labor leaders, artists, and poets.
Rally message: We want full coverage of all transgender health needs across all insurance policies –public and private in dc now.
Organized by: DC Trans Coalition, The National Transgender Month of Action 2013: Trans Health Care Access, SEIU, Pride at Work, DC trans organizers
Good news from the governor of New Jersey.
Activist Wayne Turner, the longtime leader of efforts to allow medical marijuana in the District, submitted testimony to the D.C. Council today opposing the latest ill-founded effort to restrict cultivation centers. Here is an excerpt:
It has been a long journey to be on the verge of fully implementing DC’s medical marijuana law. However, I am deeply concerned that this Council is going in the wrong direction, and is putting unfounded fears and misconceptions ahead of facts and the needs of patients across the District.
I strongly oppose the proposed legislation before you today and urge you to reconsider imposing undue and irresponsible restrictions on the District’s nascent medical marijuana program. Adding further restrictions on the location of dispensaries and cultivation centers is unnecessary and will ultimately harm seriously ill patients by limiting access to therapies that may ease their suffering.
GLAA applauds Wayne for his strong defense of a rational and fact-based approach to public health. Our policy statement on medical marijuana is here.
A documentary on the late former New York mayor Ed Koch opens at the Avalon Theater on March 8. Zeitgeist Films provides this synopsis:
Former Mayor Ed Koch was the quintessential New Yorker. Ferocious, charismatic, and hilariously blunt, Koch, who died in February at the age of 88, ruled New York from 1978 to 1989—a down-and-dirty decade of grit, graffiti, near-bankruptcy and rampant crime. First-time filmmaker (and former Wall Street Journal reporter) Neil Barsky has crafted an intimate and revealing portrait of this intensely private man, his legacy as a political titan, and the town he helped transform. The tumult of his three terms included a fiercely competitive 1977 election; an infamous 1980 transit strike; the burgeoning AIDS epidemic; landmark housing renewal initiatives; and an irreparable municipal corruption scandal. Through candid interviews and rare archival footage, Koch thrillingly chronicles the personal and political toll of running the world’s most wondrous city in a time of upheaval and reinvention.
An interview with the director is here.
NYT reports on the death of President Reagan's surgeon general, C. Everett Koop, at age 96.
Our friend, longtime activist Gil Gerald, provided the Reagan-era photo above by Jim Marks and wrote on Facebook:
Former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has passed away! I recall organizing this meeting where he is pictured before meeting with a delegation of us working on issues of HIV/AIDS in communities of color. He was an ally and an early advocate for policies and actions the Reagan Administration and Congress failed to follow. I will never forget my being puzzled by his final statements on that. He promised to convey our concerns to the 'most important' person at the White House when he next met with them in a few days. He continued, "and that person isn't the President." I missed out by never asking him to clarify what he meant. Thank you Dr. Koop for your efforts against Tobacco and against the spread of HIV.
Dr. Koop was a leader in confronting HIV/AIDS at a time when leadership was in short supply. May he rest in peace.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Contact: Rick Rosendall
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients. GLAA presents awards to local individuals and organizations that have served the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the national capital area. The awards will be presented at GLAA’s 42nd Anniversary Reception on Thursday, April 25 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Washington Plaza Hotel at 10 Thomas Circle, NW. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased by contacting GLAA at email@example.com or (202) 667-5139; a range of donor levels is also available.
GLAA’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:
Brendon Ayanbadejo, linebacker for the NFL-champion Baltimore Ravens, posted the above photo of himself and his now 22-month-old son Amadeus Prime on Facebook on January 31 with this note:
#tbt this summer with amadeus prime when we were at the starting line of our journey to the Super Bowl. After this Super Bowl journey we have one more major fight on our hands and that is repairing the tiny hole in my sons heart called an ASD. Although this particular ASD does not affect Amadeus as a child it will ultimate destroy his heart and lungs as a young adult thus needs to be repaired. Thank you for all the love and support. We are looking forward to a successful #superbowl followed by a successful surgery!!!
(According to hashtags.org, #tbt "refers to ‘Throwback Thursday,’ the weekly Twitter tradition where users post photos from a ‘while’ ago on their timelines." Good to know.)
ESPN reports that Ayanbadejo's six-year-old daughter Anaya only learned about her baby brother's heart condition last night as she held her daddy's hand while he gave a post-game interview. He and her mother, Natalee Uzcategui, were waiting until after the game to tell her, and Brendon just blurted it out to the reporter without thinking. These intrusions into a family's struggles are unavoidable amidst a media-saturated football championship, especially when Daddy is an outspoken voice for marriage equality and players for the other team spent the previous week making embarrassing anti-gay remarks. But reading the story and seeing this photo of Brendon with his adorable and happy son reminds us of the human dimension at the heart of our struggle. Best of luck to Amadeus Prime on his surgery, and to his whole family, especially his big sister.
Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has invited Brendon to appear on her show later this month to discuss his team's victory and his support for marriage equality (since he said he wanted to use the attention from a Super Bowl victory to help advance the cause). Ellen tweeted last night:
Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow
Unbelievable. Congratulations to the Ravens and my friend @Brendon310. I'll see you soon!
Meanwhile, in a pre-game interview, President Obama answered "Yes" when asked if the Boy Scouts should end their policy of excluding gay boys.
Three-term New York mayor and perpetual bachelor Ed Koch, who had a long and bumpy history with gay rights activists and was widely regarded as a closeted gay man, has died at age 88. NYT reports.
Ginia Bellafante wrote an interesting piece a couple of weeks ago on Koch's handling of the AIDS epidemic.
The Illinois Family Institute last week hosted a forum on same-sex marriage for pastors. Here, "former lesbian" Linda Jernigan talks about her conversion from homosexuality. As usual with such people, she attributes her own particular addictions and pathologies to all gay people. Actually, no, Ms. Jernigan, I do not have to be inebriated to make love to my man, the details of which are none of your business. But it's not just about sex. It's about love. We have gone to a lot of trouble to be together over nearly twelve years. If it were merely about sex, it would be far cheaper to call a local escort service. The saddest thing about the "ex-gay" lie is that its advocates have convinced themselves that this pathetic testimony by damaged persons is legitimate, humane, and somehow connected with defending families. All they are doing is attacking families, while helping no one.
For Release: Monday, January 28, 2013
Contact: Rick Rosendall 202-667-5139
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launches its 2013 Election Project and releases both its questionnaire for D.C. Council candidates and its policy brief on local LGBT issues in Washington, D.C., "Agenda: 2013." This updated compilation of local advocacy on a wide range of issues is intended for candidates in the April 23 special election for At-Large Councilmember as well as journalists, activists, and the general public. "Agenda: 2013" is online, in both PDF and HTM formats, at:
GLAA's D.C. Council candidate questionnaire is online at: http://www.glaa.org/archive/2013/cqspecial.pdf
GLAA's Election Project 2013 main page is at: http://www.glaa.org/archive/2013/election2013.shtml
The "Agenda: 2013" policy brief is divided into six broad subject areas: Marriage and Family, Public Health, Public Safety and Judiciary, Human Rights, Youth and Seniors, and Consumers and Businesses. It is prefaced by a two-page Action Item Summary listing specific actions GLAA seeks from D.C. officials. Included are 88 footnotes to provide documentation and to facilitate further investigation of the issues raised.
The following are some of the legislative and oversight actions GLAA seeks from D.C. Councilmembers:
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "It is a tribute to the strength of coalition efforts in the District that 'Agenda: 2013' reflects input from allies across the District's entire LGBT community and its supporters. The resulting policy brief is the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C."
On January 28, 2013, GLAA will email its questionnaire and policy brief to every candidate in the April 23 special election for At-Large Councilmember. (The filing deadline for the primary was January 23.) The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is March 7, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the primary candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues.
Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Nation's Capital. GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of gay families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
Paul Ryan is at it again. It's not just that the radical right learned no lessons from their defeat in the 2012 election. They are absolutely determined not to learn any such lessons. It is important for the rest of us to keep in mind that the fanatics who lost have not disappeared and are not giving up their efforts to control women's reproductive choices.
Right Wing Watch shares the latest lies from Peter LaBarbera of the misnamed Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
The much-admired AIDS activist Spencer Cox has died at age 44. Above is his final interview, conducted by David France for "How To Survive A Plague."
My latest column looks at how America's gun fixation holds the nation hostage. Here's an excerpt:
We are awash not just in guns but in the assumption of their indispensability. Author Jonathan Rauch endorsed the Pink Pistols movement in 2000: "We have tried to make a political virtue of our vulnerability, but the gay-bashers aren't listening. Playing the victim card has won us sympathy, but at the cost of respect. So let's make gay-bashing dangerous."
I appreciate Rauch's caveat that we "shouldn't play Dirty Harry," but how to make that stick? The recent shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis over loud music belies our self-assurances.
As an activist, I have never considered myself a victim. I do not have to prove it by joining the gun culture. When I was born in D.C. in 1956, an historic bus boycott was underway in Montgomery, Ala. Those brave African-Americans were armed only with discipline, resolve and faith, while facing greater danger than we.
Read the whole thing here.
Matt Barber is at it again, disguising his anti-gay hatred as concern for children and cloaking it in fake science that traces its origins to the notorious, long-ago-discredited Paul Cameron. The lies are refuted here, here, here, and here.
It occurs to me that we should add a category "Whackjobs" to this blog.
Ricky Martin joins Chita Rivera and others for the annual "Gypsy of the Year" AIDS benefit.
CODEBREAKER tells the story of one of the most important people of the 20th century. Alan Turing set in motion the computer age and his World War II codebreaking helped save two million lives. Yet few people have heard his name, know his tragic story, or understand his legacy. In 1954, Turing committed suicide at age 41 after being forced to undergo chemical castration to “fix” his sexual orientation. He left behind a lasting legacy and lingering questions about what else he might have accomplished if society had embraced his unique genius instead of rejecting it.
The US film showings are with TODpix that follows a "theatrical on demand" strategy where when 50 requests are made for a film they attempt to arrange it. It is unclear if tickets can also be purchased at the box office. The film will be available on DVD in 2013.
The plaintiffs fighting this "ex-gay" therapy fraud are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Cambridge, Minnesota pastor Ryan J. Muehlhauser has been charged with eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for molesting men while counseling them on overcoming homosexuality. So they're still gay, and now they've been abused by someone claiming to help them. Your faith offerings at work, Cambridge! Pardon my irreverence in the face of people being victimized, but the more this keeps happening, the more a sense of unreality sets in. The frauds who keep hiding their personal issues being this poisonous junk science need to be exposed and stopped from doing any more damage.
Justin Snow reports at Metro Weekly:
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins hinted at legal action against Dan Savage today after the founder of the It Gets Better Project unleashed a tirade against Perkins and the FRC during a speech at Winona State University in Minnesota.
Speaking to university students last week, Savage said Perkins "sits on a pile of dead gay kids everyday when he goes to work."
Savage went on to say that Perkins and FRC have played a role in the number of suicides among LGBT youth because of the message they send to parents, including telling those parents to reject gay children.
"Tony Perkins tells the parents of queer kids to do what Tony Perkins damn well knows drives those kids to suicide," Savage said. "Why would someone who calls themselves a Christian do that? Because every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council."
No, Tony, don't throw Dan into that briar patch! Savage has this to say:
Sue me, Tony. I'd love to see you talk about my "issues" on a witness stand.
I realize that this isn't how you think the world is supposed to work, Tony. You believe—and you're old enough to remember a time when—people like you were free to say vile and disgusting things about people like me without anyone objecting. Certainly people like me weren't allowed to call people like you out. You still believe you should be free to lie about me and other LGBT people with absolutely impunity—we're all pedophiles and terrorists and Satanists—and that we should have to shut up and take it because... well, I'm not sure why you think we're not allowed to respond when you lie about us.
Maybe that's something we could get to the bottom of during the depositions.
California Gov. Jerry Brown struck a landmark blow in the battle against junk science by signing legislation banning so-called reparative therapy for LGBT youth. The Chronicle reports:
California has become the first state in the country to ban controversial therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to outlaw them Saturday.
The bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive.
"This bill bans non-scientific 'therapies' that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery," Brown said in a statement to The Chronicle.
Truth Wins Out, which has led the effort to expose the fraud of "ex-gay" therapy, celebrates the bill signing:
“This is a historic day that protects LGBT youth from child abuse disguised as genuine therapy,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “We thank Gov. Brown for signing legislation that can serve as a model for similar bills across the nation.”
Bryan Fischer here is talking about Democrats' support for women's right to choose abortion. I myself have been called a genocidaire (as the French elegantly put it) for this very reason. The distinction between one's personal moral beliefs and one's view of what should be the law in a religiously diverse society is entirely lost on these theocrats, of course. But we must keep pointing out their disrespect for that diversity, and calling them out for their bullying, for the sake of our fellow citizens who are paying less attention and are more susceptible to their propaganda. This election will be won at the margins.
(Hat tip: George Bakan)
Thanks to the 49ers. They should have more company.
(Hat tip: RightWingWatch)