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March 13, 2014

Ugandan activists challenge Anti-Homosexuality Act in court

BuzzFeed reports. Bravo and best wishes to Frank Mugisha, Julian Pepe Onziema, and their fellow petitioners.

Barney Frank on export of hate by American evangelicals


March 11, 2014

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013 (blog)

For Release:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Revises Ratings for Evans, 2 Others

At its March 11 monthly meeting, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance considered new information provided by D.C. mayoral candidate Jack Evans, D.C. Council Chair candidate Calvin Gurley, and Ward 6 D.C. Council candidate Darrel Thompson, all Democrats. GLAA adjusted the rating of each. Evans now has a rating of +9, Gurley has a rating of +1, and Thompson has a rating of +3. GLAA has a longstanding policy of reserving the right to re-rate candidates based on new information received during the campaign. GLAA ratings are on a scale of -10 to +10.

Jack Evans (original rating +8, revised rating +9) had already submitted a strong questionnaire, and had received the maximum record points for his long track record of solid support of LGBT issues. He has the longest record of support of any candidate. The hard-to-get championship point was initially withheld because it is about recent leadership on an LGBT issue, and his initial submission did not document the required extra effort. On February 14, subsequent to GLAA’s initial ratings announcement, Evans provided documentation to show that in the summer of 2013 he drafted and moved legislative language in the Committee on Finance and Revenue, which he chairs, entitled the "Marriage Equality Estate Tax Clarification Act of 2013." As he explained, "This subtitle directs the Chief Financial Officer to make any changes to estate tax forms, instructions and regulations necessary to make it clear that all married couples are eligible for estate tax benefits regardless of whether such marriage is recognized under federal law." GLAA agrees that his action as committee chair merits a full championship point.

Calvin H. Gurley (original rating 0, revised rating +1) submitted a late questionnaire response on February 20; GLAA has re-rated him accordingly. His answers, however, are uninformed, argumentative, and lack substance. He does agree with GLAA on some issues. For that, and for having supported marriage equality against opposition in Ward 5, his original rating of zero has been upgraded to +1.

Darrel Thompson (original rating +2, revised rating +3) was originally rated solely on his questionnaire, which GLAA found weak. On February 26, he submitted information on his record. He was awarded a record point based on his work as a senior staffer to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, and then-Senator Barack Obama on a series of legislative initiatives advancing LGBT concerns.

GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "The leading development in this round of mid-campaign adjustments is the revised rating of Democrat Jack Evans (+9), which puts him in a tight cluster with Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray (+10) and fellow Democratic challenger Tommy Wells (+9.5). GLAA does not make endorsements in partisan races."

All three re-rated candidates’ revised submissions are provided on GLAA’s website at the links below.

Jack Evans, Democrat for Mayor
Revised rating: +9

Calvin H. Gurley, Democrat for Council Chair
Revised rating: +1

Darrel Thompson, Democrat for Ward 6 Council
Revised rating: +3

A revised breakdown of the ratings points awarded to each candidate is online at:

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 LGBT families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.


March 10, 2014

The South's Stunning Embrace of Gay Marriage

Robert P. Jones writes in The Atlantic on changing attitudes toward gay marriage in the nation's most culturally conservative region.

Black Lesbian Couple Found Dead in Galveston County, Texas

Horrific news from Texas.

Swanson: Disney's 'Frozen' Is A Satanic Push To Turn Kids Gay

Right Wing Watch shares the latest in wingnuttery.

Meet the American Pastor Behind Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown

Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.

Tammy Bruce at CPAC 2014

Homocon Tammy Bruce is shown here moderating a panel at CPAC 2014. I avoided watching the right-wing confab, but each to their own taste.

WaPo: D.C.’s complexion is changing. Will the next mayor reflect that?

Marc Fisher wrote an essay for Sunday's edition of WaPo discussing the role of race in the D.C. mayoral election. I was interviewed for the article and am included in an accompanying photo gallery. When I spoke to Fisher I was not aware that the story would focus on the politics of race. (He may not have known it at the time either.) I personally am not basing my decision as a voter on racial considerations.

April 30 - GLAA 43rd anniversary awards reception

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013 (blog)

For Release:
Friday, March 7, 2014
Contact: Rick Rosendall
(202) 328-6278

GLAA Announces 2014 Distinguished Service Awards

The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., is pleased to announce its 2014 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 43rd Anniversary Reception on Wednesday, April 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 1904 14th Street, NW (at T Street). Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at or calling (202) 667-5139; a range of donor levels is also available.

GLAA's 2014 Distinguished Service Award recipients are:

  • Jerry Clark
  • Alison Gill
  • Earl D. Fowlkes, Jr.

Continue reading "April 30 - GLAA 43rd anniversary awards reception" »

GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Date:March 10, 2014
To:Tommy Wells, Chair
Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary
From:Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Subject:Testimony on Office of Police Complaints

Please include this as testimony for the record on the Performance Oversight Hearing held by your committee on March 7, 2014.

I am Rick Rosendall, President of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which has been fighting for LGBT equality in the District since 1971.

The independent Office of Police Complaints (OPC) grew out of the recommendations of a task force in the late 1990s in which I represented GLAA. OPC employs the best practices of citizen oversight of law enforcement, with the goal of improving public confidence in the police. OPC Executive Director Philip K. Eure and his staff have shown expertise, integrity, and a commitment to fairness for all – not just those who file complaints, but those against whom they are filed, and the wider community from which both are drawn.

The Office of Police Complaints (OPC) released its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2013 on March 4. As it summarized in its news release:

Continue reading "GLAA submits testimony on Office of Police Complaints" »

March 06, 2014

Lupita and Conan on working the cape

I have no particular reason to post this interview with Lupita Nyong'o and Conan O'Brien. She is just so stunning and poised. Their discussion of the advantages of wearing a cape does remind me of a revue at the National Theatre in the mid-1980s (it was an MLK Birthday celebration) in which a bunch of us from the Gay Men's Chorus were in the balcony watching an Elizabethan dance troupe which, let's just say, was way more gay than we were. One of the dancers wore a cape, and his absurdly elaborate and stylized moves caused a very bad boy among us (whom we nicknamed Crystal) to call out, "Work the cape, honey." I remember my friend David Sisson dissolving into tears of laughter.

(Hat tip: Rod 2.0)

Russian LGBT athletes hold Open Games despite official harassment, cancellations

I missed this item from WaPo when it came out on Sunday. Good for the U.S. Embassy and the Russian athletes.

(Hat tip: Lisa Keen)

Feder: Gays In The Military, 'Armed With Vibrators,' Greater Threat Than Putin

Um, what?

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

Sarah Palin explains Vladimir Putin's manly qualities

(Photo: Reuters)

Here's the latest on international affairs from the former half governor who can see Russia from her house, in an interview with Sean Hannity:

People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.

Laura Clawson writes at Daily Kos:

Here's hoping the producers of Saturday Night Live have Tina Fey on the phone right now, begging her to appear this weekend. Because Sarah Palin just wrote their script for them, no revisions or edits needed.

Stan Solomon: Obama's gay, not a real American

I should really add a new category "Crackpots" for this sort of item. Right Wing Watch shares this video in which Phyllis Schlafly applauds Stan Solomon's homophobic rant against Obama.

Scientists May Have Discovered Way to Treat HIV Without Medications reports:

News coming out of the White House today shows that a technique supported by the National Institute of Health using genetic modification of cells has proven a safe way to treat and control HIV without drugs.

Our friend Ernest Hopkins comments:

One of several very exciting new studies demonstrating the importance of the investment in basic research and HIV specific research. The NIH is an amazing institution and the breakthroughs in scientific understanding coming from hard, deliberate work over a number of years is deeply gratifying.

D.C. Council's action to decriminalize marijuana possession

Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday mentioned the D.C. Council's action to decriminalize mj possession. (He also mentioned the bill last fall.) Oh, what we have to do to get attention!

GLAA endorsed the "Simple Possession of Small Quantities Of Marijuana Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2013," Bill 20-409, in our 2014 policy brief.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) issued the following statement:

In a country where many states are permitting medical marijuana, or have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, I do not expect Members of Congress to interfere with D.C.’s local right to pass its own law on marijuana decriminalization. If Members try to interfere, however, I will stoutly defend D.C.’s right to pass such legislation, just as 17 states have already done.

March 05, 2014

Holy Cazzo

Pope Francis has said the Catholic Church might accept gay civil unions.

Pope Francis reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to gay marriage on Wednesday, but suggested in a newspaper interview that it could support some types of civil unions.

The Pope reiterated the church's longstanding teaching that "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, he said, "We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety."

States, for instance, justify civil unions as a way to provide financial security to cohabitating couples, the Pope said in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday in Corriere della Seraan Italian daily.  State-sanctioned unions are thus driven by the need to ensure rights like access to health care, Francis added.

This shows how much elections matter.

March 4 in gay history: Mattachine Society of Washington DC Declares Homosexuality Not A Mental Illness: 1965

From Box Turtle Bulletin:

Mattachine Society of Washington DC Declares Homosexuality Not A Mental Illness: 1965. We often think of Stonewall and 1969 as marking the of the more assertive gay rights movement, shoving aside the prior generation’s timidity and accommodation. But as I’ve written before, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you really wanted to point to a pivotal year which truly marked the beginning of the beginning of a self-confident and assertive stance on gay rights, that year would be 1965, not 1969. That year, began with a San Francisco police raid on a New Years’ Day party (see Jan 1). The community’s reaction resulted in the appointment of the first ever police liaison to the gay community and forever changed that city’s politics. Then later that month, The Washington Post, published a five part series which was the first relatively judgment-free, balanced, mostly accurate and sympathetic portrayal of gay people in a major newspaper (see Jan 31).

On March 4, 1965 marked another momentous occasion when Frank Kameny shepherded this resolution through the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.:

“The Mattachine Society of Washington takes the position that in the absence of valid evidence to the contrary, homosexuality is not a sickness, disturbance, or other pathology in any sense, but is merely a preference, orientation, or propensity on par with, and not different in kind from, heterosexuality.”

Continue reading "March 4 in gay history: Mattachine Society of Washington DC Declares Homosexuality Not A Mental Illness: 1965" »

Office of Police Complaints issues annual report for FY13

The D.C. Office of Police Complaints continues to do independent review of citizen complaints of police abuse. OPC issued its annual report on March 4.

March 04, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o on beauty

I encourage you to take the time to watch these remarks by Lupita Nyong'o on the gatekeepers of beauty and learning to love oneself and the beauty inside that has no shade. This was prior to her winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. What a class act this young actress is, and how well she is using the limelight. Brava.

Jason Collins makes Brooklyn home debut

From Monday night's game against the Bulls, Jason's first game on the Nets' home court. The Nets fans gave Number 98 a standing ovation when he entered the game. This makes me so proud and happy I could bust.

Republicans From the West Give Support for Gay Marriage


NYT reports:

Evoking Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, a group of Western-state Republicans plans to enter the battle in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, urging a federal appeals court to declare gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional.

The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The document is a friend-of-the-court brief, being filed to the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver. That court is hearing appeals from Utah and Oklahoma to reinstate their restrictive marriage laws.

Thanks to Al Simpson and his colleagues.

(Hat tip: Charles Francis. Photo courtesy Made In Wyoming.)

Mugabe: 'I understand we have a group of homosexuals in this country'

(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Love the scarf. Will someone please strangle him with it?

Fox news babe asks a civil rights question, doesn't like the answer

I think this is Megyn Kelly talking to Bernie Goldberg, but I confess these Fox News models all start to look alike to me. I think Margo Channing had it right when she handed Max Fabian the bicarb: "One good burp and you'll be rid of that Miss Casswell."

March 03, 2014

American troops perform in drag; WND gets its panties in a twist

Some American troops donned drag for a charity performance in Okinawa. World Net Daily is appalled.

Disney will end Boy Scouts funding

The Walt Disney Company has decided to end its funding of Boy Scouts of America over the group's policy against allowing adult leaders.


Kerry on Russia's 'incredible act of aggression'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.

Ellen's Oscar selfie

Ellen's selfie with several stars during the Oscar telecast last night established a new retweet record, with 1.8 million RTs as of midnight EST.

The hottest guy in the picture (IMHO), charmingly enough, was not one of the stars but Lupita Nyong'o's brother Peter, whom she called "Junior" during her acceptance speech. They are a photogenic family. Okay, Bradleys, you're cute too.

Metro Weekly reports on GLAA ratings, Stein endorsements

John Riley at Metro Weekly reports on GLAA's ratings and the Gertrude Stein Club's endorsements in the April 1 D.C. primary. (The Stein Club so far has only done its Council endorsements; its mayoral endorsements meeting will be held on March 6.)

12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay

The radiant Lupita Nyong'o gave an eloquent acceptance speech as she won an Oscar last night for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. It also won for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. This is the first film by a black director to win the top prize in Oscar's 86-year history. A fine moment of recognition for a magnificent, powerful film. It is a much-needed corrective to filmic falsehoods from "The Birth of a Nation" in 1915 to "Gone With the Wind" in 1939. Congrats and thanks to its makers.

March 02, 2014

Douthat: The Terms of Our Surrender

I do not agree with Ross Douthat's distinction between racial discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination. I was in the room (as was the fabulous Bob Summersgill) at a crucial meeting in the fall of 2009 when the call by the Archdiocese of Washington for an Arizona-style religious exemption (among other things) was discussed. I said absolutely not. Any house of worship can bar me from its sanctuary, deny me its sacraments, and denounce me from its pulpit; and I have defended the right of our opponents so to do. But in the provision of public accommodations, discrimination cannot be countenanced. This is a diverse society, and LGBT folk will be equal members of it.

At least Douthat recognizes that he is losing.

World War 3 Russia vs Ukraine and Europe Simulation

Prediction: this is not going to happen. But Winter Storm Titan is headed for the eastern U.S.

David Ortiz would welcome a gay teammate

(Photo courtesy USA Today Sports)

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz says, "It’s the (expletive) 21st century, man. Get over it."

Here's sending Big Papi a big wet smooch. If there is anyone in professional sports that I especially wanted not to be a homophobe, it is this big-spirited man who got a pass from the FCC for an f-bomb on television last April in Fenway Park, and who is the heart and soul of his championship team.

Tim Cook Erupts After Shareholder Asks Him To Focus Only On Profit

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/ Getty Images)

Tell it, Mister Cook.

(The Apple CEO, in case you missed it, is openly gay.)

D.C. activists critical of MPD actions that led to transgender woman's arrest for an expired driver's license

John Riley at Metro Weekly reports a disturbing story that illustrates a continuing problem of DC police profiling of transgender people, especially trans women of color.

March 01, 2014

Global LGBT recap

Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches, who is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, reports on the situation for LGBT people in several countries around the world.

February 28, 2014

Gay Uganda’s plea: ‘Don’t cut aid, you’ll make it worse’

Amid calls (including by Sen. Patrick Leahy) for a freeze in American aid to Uganda in the wake of President Museveni signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ugandan gay activists are saying such a move would be counterproductive. Gay Star News reports:

Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, has said he does not support aid cuts.

‘We can’t afford to create new victims,’ he said on Twitter this week. ‘We should go after the crazy politicians! Not innocent Ugandans.’

America's presence and aid dollars in Uganda give us leverage that we would lose if we withdraw. It is a very frustrating situation, to say the least, but we should not react in such as way as to leave LGBT Ugandans worse off. And we should seriously consider the views of Ugandans who are enduring the persecution.

Collins scores in Nets win, expected to play for rest of season

Nets center Jason Collins scored his first points as an openly gay player Thursday night in his team's 112-89 win over the Denver Nuggets. He also met with the parents and brother of Matthew Shepard, whose death in 1998 inspired Collins to wear the number 98 on his jersey. He gave one of his jerseys to the Shepards after the game. He is reportedly likely to be signed for the rest of the season.

The 12-year NBA veteran has proven his ability to play. That he is so poised and photogenic makes him very well suited to his role as a gay pioneer.