Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Morning Sweep

Another anti-gay Republican lawmaker (this time from Washington) has found himself in a gay sex scandal. How cliche this is becoming... Good As You has full coverage.

New scientific research suggests that HIV came to the US from Haiti (via Africa) in 1969 and infections spread for about 12 years before the virus was detected.

Long Island is about to get its first-ever gay friendly business directory.

The New York Times yesterday featured a story about the decline of "gayborhoods" in American cities, specifically discussing the Castro in SF, West Hollywood in LA and the West Village in New York City.

A Baltimore-based transgender Methodist minister will be able to keep his job, according to the church's top court.

Syracuse University is taking steps to make its campus health center more LGBT friendly.

An NYU student/columnist thinks that people shouldn't be able to choose a sexual orientation preference when searching for roommates.

A recent poll of New Jersey voters shows that 48% support same-sex marriage, while 44% oppose it. Three in five between the ages of 18-29 support same-sex marriage compared with a near even split among voters aged 30-64. Unsurprisingly, people who have gay friends or relatives were much more likely to support full marriage equality than those who didn't.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Morning Sweep

Anti/ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin's appearance at a Barack Obama campaign event in South Carolina was widely popular among the crowd he was meant to draw, despite the outcry from the LGBT community.

Disappointingly, Barack Obama made it clear to Iowans that he does not support gay marriage, but instead prefers civil unions.

Libby Post calls all of this Obama criticism nonsense, saying that the LGBT community is too easily distracted with trivialities of the moment and should focus on long-term obstacles like the confirmation of anti-gay judges.

Six of Sweden's seven political parties support legalizing gay marriage, including the Moderate Party, the party of the current prime minister. In Ireland the government is considering legislation that would legalize civil unions for same-sex couples.

Fred Thompson's position against civil unions didn't go over so well in New Hampshire.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at where Minnesota's congressional delegation stands on the federal ENDA and Hate Crimes bills. Would be great if one of New York's papers did something similar...

Salon has the new gay stereotype.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Morning Sweep

New Jersey's Civil Union Review Commission hears from couples who claim that they are not getting the equal treatment that the civil union law was meant to ensure.

A columnist for the Albany Times-Union writes about J.K. Rowling's announcement last week that homosexuality exists in the wizarding world...and suggests that conservatives should--if they choose to get all up-in-arms about the sexuality of fictional characters--look into the behavior of some other well-known wizard-types.

The Boston Globe writes about MassEquality's identity crisis.

Religious groups in Iowa gathered over the weekend to protest the possibility of marriage equality coming to the Hawkeye State.

Country singer John Rich (of a band called Big & Rich) compared same-sex marriage to incest and is getting lots of backlash because of it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Obama talks to The Advocate

The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld (formerly of the New York Blade) had a conversation today with Barack Obama about the Donnie McClurkin issue and Obama's general ideas on how to get more Americans to understand and support the LGBT rights movement.

The interview notably reveals that Obama's campaign didn't really have an understanding of who McClurkin was vis-a-vis the LGBT community. He also describes his race with Hillary Clinton as "running against the dominant brand name in the Democratic Party over the last 20 years." And he truly seems taken aback with the accusations that he is not "out there" enough on LGBT issues, claiming that "there has not been a stronger and more consistent advocate on LGBT issues than I have been."

Read Eleveld's full article here.

ENDA troubles

The White House's Office of Management and Budget has put out its official position on ENDA and cites religious freedom and protecting the Defense of Marriage Act as two major reasons why the bill would be vetoed if it made it to the president's desk.

Also, The Hill reports that freshmen Democrats have led the charge to kill the Baldwin Amendment, which would reinstate trans-inclusive language in the bill. Without it, ENDA is a sexual orientation non-discrimination bill, not an LGBT-non discrimination bill.

House Education & Labor Committee Chairman George Miller said that the amendment would not go forward if House Democratic leadership did not believe that it had the votes to pass.

The House vote on ENDA was postponed earlier this week and has yet to be rescheduled.

Morning Sweep

Although Cornell students and Ithaca "townies" may clash over many things, the fight for LGBT rights seems to be the area where the two communities work well together.

Mitt Romney sparred with a 15-year old in Massachusetts resident over his back-and-forth position on gay rights and abortion. Mother Jones writes about Log Cabin's campaign against Romney.

AfterEllen reviews Oprah's "Gay Around the World" episode, in which Oprah claimed that a global gay rights revolution was underway.

Same-sex marriage was an issue of debate between two candidates running for a state senate seat in New Jersey.

Mike Gravel tells Queerty that he and Dennis Kucinich are the only presidential candidates supporting full equality for LGBT people--and that our community should expect nothing less from any candidate.

Davis Senior High School in Davis, CA elected a gay couple as their homecoming royalty.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Morning Sweep

The Pride Agenda talks to Gay City News Editor Paul Schindler about 2008 election strategies.

A Fort Worth, TX councilman uses anti-gay tactics to try to get a fellow Republican elected.

Sweden moves closer to legalizing gay marriage and Austria moves towards a "civil partnership" law.

Barack Obama--in an effort to appease gay voters--added a gay clergymember to his South Carolina gospel tour in order to offset the furor caused by including anti-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin.

A group started by black leaders is working to build support within the black community for same-sex marriage.

It's not often that a Democrat from San Fransisco provides what ends up being the crucial vote to confirm a racist and anti-gay federal judge, but that's exactly what Senator Diane Feinstein did.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weiner on ENDA

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn) spoke on the House floor last night about the need to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA. He's the first member of the New York Congressional Delegation to do this, and we applaud him for his leadership on this issue. We hope other New York Members of Congress follow suit.

Also important--Rep. Weiner stated that if the Baldwin Amendment should fail, members should not vote to pass the stripped version of the bill--not accept "half the loaf," as he put it--and wait until Congress was in a place to pass a bill that would include GLB and T. He points out that House action on the bill is likely to be symbolic anyway (because of Bush's threatened veto).

Morning Sweep

The ENDA vote in the House has been delayed and President Bush says he'll veto the bill, if passed.

Cornell University was awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars by Campus Pridefor its "LGBT-friendliness."

Oprah today will be taking a look at how gay people around the world are being treated.

One of our favorite LGBT blogger/activists takes a much-needed swipe at Perez Hilton.

Ben Smith writes about blacks and gays in South Carolina, referring to Obama's McClurken ordeal. And Queerty reminds us that Obama isn't the only one making nice with anti-gay community leaders.

I'm surprised that almost three days of massive Southern California fires have passed before we saw asinine (but expected) statements like this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Morning Sweep

Brett Krutzsch writes a great column in Newsday about how the Larry Craig scandal has resurfaced old stereotypes about gay people.

Rudy Giuliani apparently told Family Research Council's Tony Perkins that he would support a constitutional amendment on marriage if several states started passing marriage equality laws or DOMA was threatened.

The Spencer, NY high school student who was sent home for wearing a "gay? fine by me." t-shirt has been vindicated.

California Governor (and marriage bill veto-er) Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging Republican presidential candidates to focus on issues that appeal to the center, rather than constantly pandering to the religious right on issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Barack Obama is getting a lot of flak over his decision to campaign with an anti-gay gospel singer in South Carolina.

After answering questions posed by Sen. Russ Feingold, Bush's nominee for U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey appears to be relatively pro-gay.

Openly gay candidate for Colorado's 2nd House District (Boulder) Jared Polis is not happy that he was excluded from a campaign training conference. Similarly, Jim Neal, running against Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina, has seemed to slip of the DSCC's radar. If elected, Polis/Neal would be the first openly gay men elected to the House of Representatives/U.S. Senate--something that Democrats should embrace.

Radar brings us the world's gayest logos. (via Good As You)

Brits react (very favorably!) to Dumbledore's coming out party.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Morning Sweep

Rudy Giuliani, stooping to a new low (yes, it's possible), is now bashing New York City for political gain among conservatives.

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee won the straw poll at the "Values Voters Summit" in Washington, DC. Good As You has collected all of the significant speeches from the summit.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling over the weekend revealed that Professor Dumbledore was gay.

Poland's anti-gay leadership was soundly defeated in parliamentary elections held yesterday. The new government, likely to be headed by Donald Tusk, will hopefully be much more LGBT friendly.

Queerty points out that Barack Obama is actively courting some notorious anti-gay types in South Carolina.

Openly gay businessman/Democrat Jim Neal is challenging Elizabeth Dole for a North Carolina Senate seat. NC native Pam Spaulding couldn't be happier.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't let the door hit ya...

It's with more than a little schadenfreude that we welcome the news of Sam Brownback's withdrawal from the presidential race. The U.S. Senator from Kansas is notorious for his anti-gay ways, so having one less in an already crowded field suits us just fine. Brownback never really connected with voters--even social conservatives, the ones that you'd assume would be his natural base. So it's with a tail between his holier-than-thou legs that the Senator makes his way back to Topeka to no doubt ponder "what's next?" like his good friend and current lost boy, former PA Senator Rick Santorum.

It was Brownback who was Robin to Santorum's Batman in the 2004 and 2006 conservative movement to write anti-marriage equality language into the U.S. constitution. If you google Brownback and marriage amendment, you'll no doubt find Santorum also making one hateful comment or another. Rumor has it that it was Santorum who helped Brownback "rediscover" his faith while both served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the mid-nineties. Precious.

Whether it was LGBT issues, stem cell research or reproductive rights, these two were constantly at the forefront of making sure that any forward movement on progressive issues was either squashed or reversed. Fortunately, we now know how Santorum's U.S. Senate story ended. And Brownback has already declared that he won'd seek a third term.

Santorum recently mentioned that he's considering a run for Pennsylvania governor. Brownback has repeatedly stated his intent to run in Kansas' 2010 gubernatorial race. Just because these men are out (or on their way out) of federal politics, doesn't mean that they can't continue to do considerable harm to LGBT people. Hopefully national and local LGBT groups will continue to keep an eye on both Brownback and Santorum as they plot their next moves.

For now, Brownback still has almost two and a half years left as a U.S. Senator. Let's hope his voice becomes even more diluted. And let's hope for a few more early exits (Mike Huckabee, anyone?) from the most anti-gay of the prospective presidential candidates.

Morning Sweep

LGBT rights are sure to be a focus of conversation at the Values Voters Conference, which will host John McCain, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney. You can see "semi-live" video of the conference at Good As You.

The U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force unknowingly placed recruitment ads on gay websites, according to the New York Post.

Virginia's State Senate may switch from a Republican to a Democratic majority after elections next month. This has some Republicans taking a friendlier approach to LGBT issues.

House leadership will allow Rep. Tammy Baldwin to introduce an amendment next week that would restore gender identity protections to ENDA.

A column in the Washington Blade calls for activists to stop their "Barney bashing."

David Mixner uses the Pride Agenda, MassEquality and Equality California as examples of a trend that sees more effective activism in the LGBT rights movement on the state level rather than the federal level.

Being gay and Muslim was the topic of a speech given at Columbia yesterday, as part of the university's Queer Awareness Month.

Workshops for gay and lesbian couples who are/are interested in becoming parents will be held across the state in the next couple of months. Here's some info on the one in Binghamton.

Students at Potsdam High School in Potsdam, NY are lobbying to allow a lesbian couple to be eligible for Homecoming King and Queen.

Gay City News provides its review of last week's Fall Dinner

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Transgender-less ENDA advances

The House Education and Labor Committee today advanced the non-transgender inclusive ENDA bill to the House floor. The Gay City News has the most complete coverage.

Four New York Representatives are on the committee. Only Yvette Clarke, Democrat of Brooklyn, voted no to sending the bill to the floor. The remaining three: Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of Nassau; Timothy Bishop, Democrat of Suffolk; and Randy Kuhl, Republican of Southwestern New York all voted to send the non-inclusive bill to the floor.

Three other Democratic Representatives opposed advancing the stripped version of the bill. They were: Rush Holt of Princeton, NJ; Linda Sanchez of Los Angeles, CA; and Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, OH.

Rep. Tammy Baldwin plans on introducing an amendment on the floor to add gender identity language to the bill, but it's unclear as to whether or not the votes are there to approve the amendment.

Read House Education and Labor Committee press release on the vote here.
Read Committee Chairman George Miller's statement on the vote here.

More press/blog coverage of today's committee vote here, here, here, and here.

Morning Sweep

The Washington Post on the ENDA situation--oddly enough, the reporter briefly compares removing gender identity language from ENDA with removing an agricultural subsidy from a farm bill.

Queerty analyzes HRC and determines that the country's largest LGBT rights group is a Washington insider.

The Nation takes a look at the ENDA debacle and one conclusion drawn is that the "compromise" version of the bill has the flavor of the Clinton-era gay rights compromises that led to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and DOMA.

Good As You shows us what the other side is doing to defeat ENDA.

No charges will be filed in a case dealing with an anti-gay attack in Rochester last June.

Cornell University's Student Assembly passed a resolution calling for gender-neutral on-campus housing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Morning Sweep

Matt Lauer left much to be desired in his interview with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig. Good As You points out that bloggers were the target of Craig's ire (which Lauer again played right into) during the interview.

Queerty posts comments by Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon talking about the need for the LGBT rights movement to have a bipartisan strategy.

Longtime LGBT activist Ginny Apuzzo has been appointed to the New York State Commission on Public Integrity by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

In June 2006, Rufus Wainwright performed Judy Garland's legendary 1960 Carnegie Hall concert here in NYC--at Carnegie Hall. A portion of the ticket sales went to support the work of the Pride Agenda and the CD and DVD of the performance will be available in early December.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Speeches from the Fall Dinner

Last Thursday night was our annual Fall Dinner at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Midtown Manhattan. The event is the Pride Agenda's largest fundraiser of the year and brought together a mix of donors, activists, elected officials and celebrities.

Speakers at the Dinner included activist/blogger David Mixner, UFT President Randi Weingarten, NYS Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith, NYS First Lady Silda Wall Spitzer, Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle and Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell. Caroline Rhea emceed and LaChanze performed. It was a great evening.

Below are speeches from Mixner, Weingarten and Van Capelle:

(Part 2)

(Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4)

Other elected officials in attendance were: U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Anthony Weiner and John Hall; NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn; NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; NYC Comptroller William Thompson, Jr.; NYS Senators Tom Duane, Marty Conner and Liz Krueger; NYS Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried, Sam Hoyt and Matthew Titone.

And, in case you missed it, our friends at Good As You and Queerty joined the fun, too.

Morning Sweep

The New York Times reports that NYC's domestic partner registration fee is being reduced by one dollar--from $36 to $35--in order to match the state's marriage fee. I guess it's one more step towards equality...

NYU gets four out of five stars from a rating system created to determine a campus's gay-friendliness.

A column in the Washington Post--part of the paper's "On Faith" series--discusses how white evangelicals might be moving towards the center on some gay issues.

A study is underway to try to determine whether or not being gay is genetic. (via Good As You)

Marriage Equality New York staged a protest outside of NYS Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno's Saratoga Springs office.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Morning Sweep

A memorial was held over the weekend for Michael Sandy, the Brooklyn man who was killed a year ago on Oct. 8. Two of his attackers have been convicted of manslaughter as a hate crime.

SUNY Buffalo's LGBT group put on a drag show for their celebration of "Coming Out Week" and used the event as an opportunity to gather student support for the marriage equality bill in the State Senate.

Anti-gay groups in Oregon again failed to get the needed signatures to put an important piece of pro-LBGT legislation on the state ballot.

The AP reports on LGBT groups increasingly engaging straight allies to help in the fight for equal rights.

Venezuela's government under Hugo Chavez is rewriting the country's constitution to include protections for gays and lesbians.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger again vetoed legislation that would have made marriage legal for same-sex couples.

An openly lesbian prison guard in upstate NY has been awarded $850,000 by the New York State Division of Human Rights because of sustained sexual harassment from a male coworker.

Transgender characters are popping up in multiple television shows this season--some good representations, some not so good.

Queerty came to our Fall Dinner last Thursday and made this nice video.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Morning Sweep (well it's still morning to us)

We're still in recuperation mode after our Fall Dinner event last night in midtown Manhattan, so pardon the delay in posting the sweep.

The New York Times finally decides it's time to talk about the ENDA controversy, citing it as one of several examples where the Democrats are reportedly being torn between making compromises to pass legislation and satisfying the demands of their liberal base. Gay City News has the latest, from an LGBT community perspective, on Barney Frank and ENDA.

Nationally prominent labor leader Randi Weingarten accepts the Pride Agenda’s Community Service Award at last night's NYC Fall Dinner and talks for the first time at a public event about being a member of the LGBT community. Azi Paybarah talks to Randi Weingarten after her speech. The NYT's Sewell Chan interviews Randi further about last night.

Good As You covers last night's Fall Dinner and gives its impressions about the political message being sent by the program's speakers.

A second defendant is found guilty of a hate crime in the Michael Sandy murder, but not without some controversy. Read here and here.

New York City-based law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP becomes the first law firm to be named a Community of Respect (R) by the Anti-Defamation League.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tedisco's use of the Dignity for All Students Act for political gamesmanship is unacceptable

Earlier this afternoon, Liz Benjamin posted a video clip of Republican Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco suggesting that the anti-bullying bill currently before the state legislature (passed in Assembly, not in Senate) should be amended to include Gov. Spitzer. Tedisco called Spitzer "the biggest bully in the State of New York" for his actions relating to the immigrant driver's licence proposal, which state Republicans largely oppose.

Using the extremely serious issue of bullying in schools--which affects the lives of thousands of New York youths--to fire a political shot at the governor is highly irresponsible for an elected official. We at the Pride Agenda have just put out the following statement:

Pride Agenda criticizes Tedisco for politicizing
anti-bullying legislation

Statement by Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle
“On the day when the Pride Agenda is honoring Randi Weingarten for her work with the UFT and NYSUT to make schools safer for our youth, James Tedisco is using the serious problem of bullying in schools for blatantly partisan purposes.

His comments are inappropriate and unacceptable behavior for an elected official. He should be part of the solution in Albany and not part of the problem.

Bullying and harassment on our schools is a huge problem. Twenty-eight percent of LGBT students drop out of school, more than three times the national average for heterosexual students. Thirty-one percent of LGBT youth are threatened or injured during a typical school year.*

The Pride Agenda, NYSUT and more than 120 organizations that are part of the Dignity for All Students Coalition have been working hard to pass the Dignity for All Students Act for eight years now.

James Tedisco needs to show real concern for our youth and not be using this legislation to score cheap political points.”

*National Mental Health Association

Morning Sweep

Today is HRC's "National Coming Out Day"

LGBT groups at college campuses across the nation typically celebrate Coming Out Week through various events/activities: Syracuse's University Senate passed a proposal that would give equal benefits to same-sex partners of university employees. Georgetown students tried but failed to get the university's president to join in the campus festivities. USC (my alma mater) and Michigan saw some anti-gay drama. USC's Daily Trojan responded. And Penn State's LGBT group and campus Democrats held a forum on LGBT issues.

A USA Today poll of American youth found that the majority see Christianity as "judgemental, hypocritical and anti-gay."

A general manager at Microsoft in Seattle has announced that he will be transitioning from Michael to Megan.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Morning Sweep

Khadijah Farmer, who was kicked out of a women's restroom in the Caliente Cab Company restaurant last June because a bouncer mistook her for a man, filed a lawsuit against the restaurant yesterday.

"Dear Abby" columnist Jeanne Phillips has announced that she's all for marriage equality and will receive an award from PFLAG called "Straight for Equality," which honors straight allies who are making an impact within the LGBT rights movement.

T.R. Knight is the star of the first of GLAAD's "Be An Ally and A Friend" PSA campaign.

Finally, the BEST analysis of the Larry Craig situation was on last weekend's SNL Weekend Update. Check it out below.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Morning Sweep

The New York Times looks at the challenges faced by gay and lesbian senior citizens.

Opponents of Oregon's recently passed domestic partnership law failed to get the required amount of signatures needed to block the bill and put it on the state ballot.

Even China is beginning to discuss gay marriage--and its major religions (Buddhism and Taoism) have no problem with homosexuality.

Equality California has produced a TV ad promoting same-sex marriage in the face of Gov. Schwarzenegger's (second) threatened veto of the marriage equality bill passed earlier this year by both chambers of the state legislature.

The Daily News reports on meth problems within the Bronx LGBT community.

Here's Nancy Pelosi's speech from this past Saturday's HRC gala in Washington, DC. (via AmericaBlog)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Morning Sweep

HRC's sole transgender board member Donna Rose talks to The Advocate about why she resigned earlier this week amidst the organization's handling of ENDA.

Longtime LGBT activist Roey Thorpe talks to The Ithacan about being the first openly gay elected official in Tompkins County.

MSNBC reports that some Democrats in conservative-leaning districts support the sexual orientation part of ENDA, but are "not comfortable" with gender identity protections.

Mitt Romney's campaign responds to the ad that Log Cabin is running against him in Iowa.

Sweden looks set to become the next country to legalize same-sex marriage.

The New York Post once again has to apologize for using a nasty slur against LGBT people in a recent article--in this case, the paper referred to a transgender person as "she-male."

A recent police regulation requiring a permit for any "gathering" of more than 50 people has some in the LGBT community taking to the streets.

Rochester's gay and lesbian film festival "ImageOut" begins this evening and runs through the next ten days.

David Mixner has some heartfelt words reminding all of us that those living today with HIV/AIDS still need love and support from family and friends.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Here's to Herbert Muschamp

“We were the children of white flight, the first generation to grow up in postwar American suburbs. By the time the ’60s rolled around, many of us, the gay ones especially, were eager to make a U-turn and fly back the other way. Whether or not the city was obsolete, we couldn’t imagine our personal futures in any other form. The street and the skyline signified to us what the lawn and the highway signified to our parents: a place to breathe free.”

Herbert Muschamp, January 8, 2006, “The Secret History of 2 Columbus Circle” in the NYT

Herbert Muschamp, architectural critic for the New York Times from 1992 to 2004 died this week in Manhattan at the age of 59.

When I read Muschamp’s critiques, I never quite knew what he would say or where he would go. One thing I did know – they would be interesting, usually quirky and always insightful. He connected the social and political currents of the day to the architecture of that time and often in a way that startled and amused readers.

Take for instance his 2006 essay on 2 Columbus Circle, where he said, “No other building more fully embodied the emerging value of queerness in the New York of its day.” How could that line not get my attention and make me want to read all 5,900 words he wrote about Edward Durrell Stone’s controversial Columbus Circle building?

Muschamp was from a generation of gay men that migrated to New York in the 1960s. They -- and I’m quite sure there were also good numbers of LBT people too – would build zones of freedom in New York and every big city across the country. And once freer than they could ever be in the small towns and suburbs they came from would build communities and families and eventually acquire political power.

Now New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, DC, Atlanta and so many other big cities are our community’s political engines, projecting our voices for equality and freedom across our states and the country and sooner or later back to those small towns or suburbs so many of us came from.

So here’s to Herbert Muschamp. You realized your potential and you lived as free as you could live during the time that was given you. You were part of our community’s great awakening. Let’s hope we can all do just as well.

Log Cabin's anti-Mitt Romney ad

Log Cabin Republicans have been running this ad in Iowa so that GOP voters there are clear on exactly who Mitt Romney is and what he's said in the past (despite what he's saying now to win over the Party's base).

Very interesting the approach taken here--no mention of LGBT issues, but the point comes across clearly.

Morning Sweep

The U.K.'s PinkNews, Europe's largest LGBT news source, takes a look at the U.S. Presidential race.

Good As You has a thorough update on what's going on with the ENDA craziness.

How scary is this?

The Episcopal/Anglican row over whether or not to allow the consecration of gay bishops seems to be getting more complicated by the moment.

According to a recent Columbia University study, white gays and lesbians have more mental issues than black or Hispanic gays and lesbians.

New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici is to announce his retirement today, which will mean another Republican Senate seat will be up for grabs in the 2008 election. There is a good chance that the seat could be filled by a LGBT-friendly Democrat.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Morning Sweep

The national press finally realized that something was going on with ENDA.

The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center, based in Kingston, is filing a lawsuit against the city for alleged discrimination in a decision denying them tax exemption status. Kingston's mayor--a supporter of the group--says that the LGBTQ Center is simply being treated equally.

In a State Senate race in a Democratic-leaning Northern Virginia district, both the Republican incumbent and the Democratic challenger openly support a number of pro-LGBT bills and oppose the state's constitutional amendment limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Morning Sweep (Afternoon Edition)

We apologize for the delay in getting the Sweep up this morning. It's the beginning of October and we at the Pride Agenda have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger!

HRC joined the call to Congress against stripping trans-inclusive language from ENDA and Rep. Frank and Speaker Pelosi announced that the bill would be delayed to allow more time for review. Good As You posted Stonewall Democrats' "ENDA--Accept No Substitute" petition. Pam Spaulding reports that there was many things wrong with the "revised" version of ENDA.

More strange details of the defendant in the Michael Sandy murder trial who claims to be gay (and therefore shouldn't be convicted of an anti-gay hate crime).

You may have already seen this, but if not check out The Advocate Editor-in-Chief Sean Kennedy's love fest to Hillary Clinton.

David Mixner profiles two actors who have come out of the closet and are dispelling the myth that gay actors cannot play straight roles.

Lots of action on college campuses: Georgetown students are protesting a hate crime allegedly committed by the 19-year old son of a former member of the Bush administration. And Yale Law School students come out against "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

Monday, October 1, 2007

New York State Democrats pass resolution calling for passage of GENDA

In light of the great news that the New York State Democratic Committee has stated its support for the passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), we asked Melissa Sklarz to tell us in her own words why GENDA is important and what needs to happen next. Melissa was at the New York Democrats’ semi-annual meeting today in Garden City when they passed the resolution in support of GENDA. She’s the Director of New York Trans Rights Organization (NYTRO).

Today, on October 1, 2007, the New York State Democratic Party passed a resolution supporting the quest for transgender and gender variant civil rights and the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) in an effort to bring New York State in line with what other states have done throughout the US.

In 2002, an attempt was made to amend the Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act (SONDA) to include language added to protect “gender identity and expression”, with a legal definition to explain this phrase. However, the amendment was defeated in the New York State Senate, and so a go-alone bill called GENDA was created.

In 2002, a similar bill was passed in New York City that created legal protection for trans people in areas like employment, housing, and public accommodation. In the subsequent years, guidelines were created by the trans community in an effort to add depth to this new idea. Areas included protection in schools, shelters, and public restrooms.

But outside of New York City, Albany, Ithaca, Suffolk Country and a few other areas, trans people in New York can still be fired from their jobs, arrested for using public restrooms, and denied apartment leases.

Many of us have horror stories about changing gender. Many of us have lost jobs, lost the love of our families, or wandered lost in a maze of inadequate or inappropriate health care. Many of us have stories of substance abuse that make a difficult situation almost impossible. Many of our young people turn to street sex or sex work to survive. And I know from my own experience, there are certainly no prizes for a young male to decide to live life as a female and cope with the lack of compassion from an uncaring culture.

We do not think GENDA will necessarily change the culture overnight, but it is a beginning. With state-wide legal protection, the culture of transgender people and the non trans majority will change. Options will grow, behavior will modify, and some conflict will be resolved. Like all struggles, they will not happen immediately. One only needs to view the issue of marriage equality over the last 10 years to see how public dialog can change an idea and culture.

As a trans woman in New York, I am grateful for the effort of the New York State Democratic Party and look forward to the Legislature passing the GENDA Bill in 2008. To make this happen, it is imperative that all progressive and caring people join together to help educate New Yorkers and our legislators that we are your sons and daughters and desire a level playing field in which to survive.

Melissa Sklarz
Director of NYTRO

See the full version of the resolution here.

Morning Sweep

An openly gay New York City police officer is bringing harassment charges against the NYPD. The officer has faced threats, name-calling and career stagnation while serving in precincts in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village.

Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart writes a column about what he calls "Pink Panic" in the Republican Party, and specifically calls out Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, McCain and Huckabee for their lack of courage or leadership.

The new ENDA, stripped of trans-inclusive language, is set to move through committee and onto the House floor for a vote this week. New Mexico Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson released a statement calling for gender identity to be included in ENDA.

Gays and lesbians are intensely brand loyal, according to a new study--and loyalties are often tied to a brand's visibility in LGBT media or how publicly supportive a brand is of LGBT rights.

Proud Parenting notes that the the radical Christian right is losing its grip on the Republican Party and may, therefore, consider running a third-party presidential candidate.

The New York Times on Sunday reported on gay life in Iran, directly refuting the comments made last week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

And Saturday Night Live had this to say to the Iranian President.