News Briefs

Boyfriend Shoots Trans Woman

Tameka McCloud, 19, a Minneapolis transgendered woman, was shot several times in the head and body on September 29 by Carlos Harris, 16, her apparent boyfriend who attacked her when he discovered she was transgendered, PlanetOut reported.

McCloud is in serious condition at the Hennepin County Medical Center. Harris has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and second-degree assault.

Youth activists organized about 130 people for a march and candlelight vigil for McCloud last week in Minneapolis.

Parliament Tangle with Partnerships

The British Parliament is looking at including the right for gay couples to receive the pensions of deceased partners to its bill to grant limited recognition to same-sex couples. The fate of the legislation is in doubt, mainly because Prime Minister Tony Blair allowed it to originate in the House of Lords, ceding to the peers additional control over the legislation.

The House of Commons stripped the bill of a “wrecking amendment” introduced in Lords to have the bill include relatives in the definition of partners, but it is unclear whether the peers won’t just vote to put the disabling amendment back in. There is strong speculation that the Lords will retaliate against the Labour government’s ban on fox hunting by tampering with the gay bill.

The United Kingdom is behind most of the rest of Western Europe in recognizing gay relationships. Holland and Belgium accord full marriage rights to same-sex couples, with Spain poised to follow. The Scandinavian nations, along with France and Germany, recognize some form of civil pact between gay partners.

If Parliament can settle on a bill by the end of the session on November 18, the first legal ceremonies for gay couples could take place in late 2005.

Log Cabin Sues Military

The Log Cabin Republican Club has filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C. Federal District Court on behalf of its gay and lesbian members in the military, requesting a declaration that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that excludes being out in the armed forces is unconstitutional. The club is being represented by the law firm of White & Case on a pro bono basis. They cite the 2003 Lawrence decision of the Supreme Court overturning sodomy laws as a basis for revisiting an issue that the high court has so far refused to hear. They also reference the court’s Romer decision in 1996 that banned government discrimination against gay people based on animus or “morality.”

In a release, Patrick Guerriero, Log Cabin executive director, said he was “confident” the challenge will succeed.

Lesbian Warning from Oklahoma Senate Candidate

Gay Marriage Before Canadian High Court

Justices of Canada’s Supreme Court heard arguments for and against a parliamentary bill to open marriage to same-sex couples nationwide. Most Canadian provinces already recognize the right of gay people to marry through provincial court decisions. The Liberal government referred the bill to change the federal marriage law to the nation’s high court in what some have characterized as an effort to delay having to vote on the issues in Parliament.

In response to right-wing arguments that the court would be ignoring an ancient tradition if it found a constitutional right for gay people to marry, Justice Ian Binnie said, “Why is it that the divine rights of kings has to give way to constitutional change, but marriage doesn’t?” He also called the reduction of marriage to procreation “an oversimplification.”

A new poll from the Toronto Globe and Mail found 53 percent of Canadians in support of giving gay couples the right to marry and 43 percent against.

U.S. Gays on Catholic Hit List

The conservative group Catholic Answers, which operates the Web site catholic.com, published a “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics” in a full-page ad that ran in USA Today, saying that it is sinful to vote for someone who supports abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning of humans, or letting gay people marry. The group calls these issues “non-negotiable.”

Several Catholic bishops have stepped forward to say that it would be a sin to vote for John Kerry for president because he supports abortion rights.

E.U. Nixes Anti-Gay Italian

Rocco Buttiglione, of Italy, was prevented by a 27-26 vote in the European Parliament’s Justice Committee from becoming the new E.U. justice and home affairs commissioner due to his views on homosexuality. While he claimed he would defend gay rights, Buttiglione, who has close ties to Vatican officials, said he personally considers homosexual activity sinful.

Sergio Lo Giudice, leader of Arcigay, the Italian LGBT rights group, praised the decision, saying, “The Vatican’s backyard ends at the Alps.”

Sorry Candidate

South Carolina’s Rep. James DeMint, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is not sorry for saying that gay people should not be schoolteachers. The candidate has apologized, however, for including in his anti-gay tirade, the remark that “I would have given the same answer when asked if a single women who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend should be hired to teach my third-grade children.”

Happy Birthday, Oscar

October 16 is the birthday of Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (1854-1900), who arrived in New York in 1881 and said “with nothing to declare but my genius.” The milestone is being marked with events around the world, including a free staging of Doric Wilson’s “Now She Dances: a nightmarish fantasia on the trial of Oscar Wilde” by the TOSOS II company at 3 p.m. on Saturday. (See listings on page 10 for full details of program.)

Studio Denies ‘Closeting’ Alexander

Rumors that Warner Brothers executives have cut a sex scene in Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” between Colin Farrell in the title role and Francisco Bosch, as Bagoas, Alexander’s young Persian lover, are being denied. A spokesperson for the studio said, “Any speculation that the studio is trying to cut scenes from ‘Alexander’ based on their depiction of the sexual relationships of the lead character is false and does not accurately represent the content of the film, which portrays Alexander the Great as heroic and a man of his time and culture.”

Record Kiss-In

Women assembling in Provincetown for the 20th Annual Women’s Week on October 16 at noon will try to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by setting a record for women smooching together, led by lesbian couples who have recently married. About 250 women are expected to attend the event. The kisses are scheduled to last for up to 12 seconds.

Murder Music on the Run

The campaign against virulently anti-gay lyrics in Jamaican reggae dance hall music is having an effect. Peter Tatchell of the British group Outrage!, a leader in the fight, reported in the New Statesman, “Two months into the campaign, dance hall reggae chiefs held a ‘crisis’ summit. They are now talking about ‘ridding reggae of homophobia.’” Tatchell himself is under police guard due to credible threats that a Jamaican gang has been hired to kill him.

In addition, corporations in Jamaica are distancing themselves from artists famous for their murder music. PlanetOut reported that Cable and Wireless Jamaica, Red Stripe, and Pepsi-Cola will not sponsor the singers unless they stop the gaybashing. Puma dropped them earlier this year.

End to Sandals Scandal

The thirteen all-heterosexual Sandals resorts in the Caribbean will now welcome same-sex couples, capitulating to a pressure campaign by London mayor Ken Livingstone who barred the company from advertising in his city’s subway.

In the United States, the late Marilyn Cooper of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays led a one-woman crusade to get Sandals to end its anti-gay policy in the 1990s.

Anniversary of First March

October 14 marks 25 years since the first national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender march on Washington, when more than 100,000 poured into the nation’s capital to demand equal treatment. Among the lead organizers of that 1979 march were New Yorkers Leslie Cagan and Steve Ault, still active in United for Peace and Justice, which has staged the largest protests against the war in Iraq, and Joyce Hunter, now director of the Community Liaison Program at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University.

Star Wars

Michael Jackson is “very angry” at Eminem for portraying him as a child molester in his new video, “Just Lose It,” in which Eminem dresses like Jackson, “sitting on a bed with young boys jumping in the background,” the Daily News reported. “The lyric says, ‘Come here, little kiddie, on my lap.’” BET has pulled the video.

And Sir Elton John has semi-apologized for accusing Madonna of lip-synching at her concerts. “It was probably a bit unfair because there are people who lip-synch worse and whole shows are lip-synched,” John said during an L.A. fund-raiser. “Her show is not wholly lip-synched. Madonna is a great artist, a great performer, and a great writer.”

Andy Humm is a co-host of “Gay USA” seen Thursdays at 11 p.m. on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107, simulcast at mnn.org channel 34, and on Directv nationwide._

Andy Humm can be contacted at AndyHumm@aol.com

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