News Briefs

Armed Robbery in Prospect Park

Two men, who were engaged in an intimate act in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, were robbed and shot early in the morning on October 6, according to the New York City Police Department.

The men, both Brooklyn residents, were accosted by an armed man near the park’s Vale of Cashmere, a noted gay public sex spot in the woods above the zoo, at 5:30 am. The shooter, described as a clean-shaven black male, in his 20s, roughly six feet tall and weighing between 140 and 160 pounds, demanded their cash. The gunman shot one man, a 28-year-old, in the chest and then took his wallet. As the other man, a 29-year-old, tried to flee, he was shot in the leg. The gunman left and the two men exited the park near 455 Flatbush Avenue where neighbors called police. Both men were reported in stable condition at Kings County Hospital.

Police searched the park with dogs and a helicopter but the gunman was not found. Two shell casings were recovered at the scene.

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Vatican Now Just Wants Three Years of Abstinence

The evolving but not yet published Catholic Church policy purging homosexual and bisexual men from seminaries is now said to require that candidates certify that they have not engaged in homosexual activity for three years and do not have an “attraction” to the gay subculture, “even if it is only intellectually,” a report in Corriere dell Sera, an Italian newspaper, said. The policy should come out in writing in November.

Father Bernard Lynch, an out gay priest and psychotherapist now living in London, wrote Gay City News in an e-mail, “It reminds me of the nursery rhyme ‘Grandmother, grandmother Gray. Will you let me out to play? Yes, but don’t go near the water, you will hunt the ducks away.’ In other words, any self-respecting, other-loving gay person is not welcome in seminary. Any self-hating, LGBT-denigrating homophobic priest or seminarian is welcome. How dehumanising? How unChristian. It is not unlike the policy toward the Jewish people up to very recently.”

Father John McNeill, also gay and author of “The Church and the Homosexual,” wrote, also via e-mail, “This is a repeat of a directive sent to the seminaries over 20 years ago ordering them to only accept candidates whose homosexuality is ego-dystonic. In other words accept only those gay candidates who are mentally ill. God help the Church.”

In a recent speech on the subject in Chicago, McNeill said, “We must free ourselves from any attachment to the institutional church, whether that be to have their approval or the equally destructive attachment that comes from anger at the Church’s injustice. We should see ourselves as equals and siblings to Church authorities.”

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Freddy Ferrer on Gay USA on October 27

Democratic mayoral candidate Fernando Ferrer has agreed to be interviewed on the “Gay USA” cable TV show this reporter co-hosts with Ann Northrop. The program will air on Thursday, October 27 at 11 p.m. on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107 and simulcast online at MNN.org channel 34. It is seen nationally on the Dish Network through Free Speech TV.

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Help Find Condoms in the Schools

Condoms are supposed to be available free in every high school in the City, but implementation of that program fell off in the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, along with the six mandated AIDS lessons in every grade, which are even scarcer.

The Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project is kicking off a campaign to “Find the Condoms in Your School” on Saturday, October 15 at NYU’s Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, Room 808 from 7-10 p.m. “Learn how you can participate in the campaign, pick up a Find the Condoms survey, and sign up to receive community service hours” in this youth driven campaign, the group’s flier said.

For more information, call Sarah at 212-966-0466 x 1302, email her at showell@champnetwork.org, or visit champnetwork.org.

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Anti-Gay Initiative Challenged in Florida

Proponents of a state constitutional amendment in Florida acknowledged in court papers that the measure would ban both marriage and civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Nadine Strossen of the American Civil Liberties Union called it “dangerously deceptive” and is asking the state’s Supreme Court to invalidate it.

Initiatives are supposed to deal with one issue only, but courts in other states have allowed them to go forward with the dual purpose of denying both marriage and other benefits to gay couples.

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International Group Attacks Uganda

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission condemned Uganda President Yoweri Museveni for enacting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, the first country to do so.

“Uganda is engaged in an active campaign of legislative overkill and coercion to silence an emerging community,” said Cary Alan Johnson, the group’s specialist for Africa. He said that in a country where sodomy is punishable by life imprisonment, “marriage is not really at the top of the community’s list of needs.”

Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of IGLHRC, said, “The government of Uganda may be lulled into believing that its financial supporters don’t care how it treats its lesbian and gay citizens. They are wrong.” She is asking Museveni to comply with the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights to which Uganda is a signatory.

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Study on How HIV Hurts Brain

It is not news that HIV affects the brain and often causes dementia. But a new U.S. study found that “the brains of HIV patients were 15 percent thinner in areas that control language, planning, and movement,” HealthDay News reported. “It didn’t matter if the patients were on a drug regimen known as HAART,” which has restored relative health to many people with HIV.

“The drugs clearly aren’t stopping the destruction of brain tissue,” neuroscience researcher Paula Thompson of UCLA said. The researchers’ use of high-tech scanners allowed them to see how HIV inflicts damage on the brain “in great detail.” She said, “The brain becomes a kind of sanctuary where the drugs can’t follow.”

Dr. Nick Fox, a neurologist at University College London told the News, “It reminds us of the need to aggressively treat the threats to our limited stock of gray cells.”

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Transgender Rights Protected at 40 Colleges

Tufts University has become the latest institution of higher education to ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression, the Transgender Law and Policy Institute reported. Arizona State University also recently amended its policy.

“For a college to say that it will not discriminate against gender-diverse people will mean little if transgender students cannot find housing on campus in keeping with their gender identity, if they cannot use bathrooms safely, and if they cannot gain access to appropriate health care,” said Brett Genny Beemyn, a board member of the group and coordinator of GLBT Student Services at Ohio State University.

The City University of New York is the only school in this state among the 40 with the transgender-friendly policies. Students experiencing discrimination based on their gender identity or expression could invoke the New York City Human Rights Law, which bans such bias.

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Massachusetts Out-of-State Gay Marriage Ban Challenged

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which ruled in 2003 that the state could not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, heard arguments this week about the constitutionality of a 1913 law that Republican Governor Mitt Romney has used to deny gay couples from outside the state from marrying there. The law, written back then to keep interracial couples from going to the Bay State for a license, ostensibly forbids clerks from marrying couples whose marriage will not be recognized by their home states.

Romney invoked the law even though several state attorneys general such as Eliot Spitzer in New York indicated that their state must recognize legally contracted same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

Massachusetts Chief Justice Margaret Marshall asked Peter Sacks, the assistant attorney general defending the law, when the last time the 1913 statute was enforced prior to 2003. “I don’t know,” he said.

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LGBT Croatians Take Out Ad

More than 1,200 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and supportive heterosexual Croatians took out full-page ads in the nations newspapers declaring, “I don’t want to hide anymore.” They only gave their first names and a letter designating their sexual orientations and gender identities. Dorina Manzin, leader of Iskorak, Croatia’s LGBT group, told the BBC, “Even though it’s just a symbolic coming out without full names, this is a good reflection that gays in Croatia are gathering courage to fully expose themselves and that society is growing more tolerant.”

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Gay Republican Creamed

Patrick Guerriero, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans, had a pie thrown at him during a National Coming Out Day speech he was giving at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Someone else then pulled a fire alarm and the hall was evacuated, the News Observer reported.

“I’ve had a lot of rhetoric thrown at me, but that was the first pie,” he told the newspaper. The pie thrower missed his face but splattered his suit coat.

The identity of the attackers was not known. Bernard Holloway, who organized the gathering, said, “There was a lot more unease amongst queer-identified people on campus just seeing Patrick come than amongst conservative-minded people.”

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Boy George in Deep Doo-Doo

George O’Dowd, 44, the British singer known as Boy George, faces up to 15 years in prison for charges stemming from his alleged possession of 13 bags of cocaine in his Little Italy apartment in Manhattan on October 7. The police came to the apartment on a call from O’Dowd reporting a burglary. When they arrived, they said they found him stoned and the cocaine on his computer table. He is charged with drug possession and filing a false report. His lawyer, Lou Freeman, said the illegal drugs did not belong to O’Dowd. “He’s a very social person. He has a lot of people over to the apartment,” the attorney said.

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Christian Coalition Big in Deeper Doo-Doo

Loe Beres, chairman of the Christian Coalition in Portland, OR that sued to stop Multnomah County from issuing marriage license to same-sex couples, is accused by three women in his family, now in their 50s, of molesting them. “I was victimized and I’ve suffered my whole life for it,” one of them told The Oregonian. “I’m still afraid to be in the same room with him.”

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Tab Hunter Prefers the Back of the Bus

Faded actor Tab Hunter was on “Larry King Live” promoting his book this week in which he writes about his closeted gay life in Hollywood. A caller asked what his “take” was on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s veto of the first same-sex marriage bill passed by a U.S. state legislature. “Well, I just don’t think we’re ready for it yet.” King asked him, “You’re against marriage?” Hunter replied, “I just don’t feel the time is right.”

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Imus Bigotry Continues

NBC, which censored Kanye West for criticizing President George W. Bush, refuses to comment on the daily dose of racist and anti-gay bigotry served up on Don Imus’ radio show that they cablecast on MSNBC-TV every morning. Journalist Philip Nobile, who has been tracking Imus for years, reported that this week on the show “the Saudi royals were called ‘towelheads,’ the French ‘potato-eating faggots,’ Attorney General Gonzales was parodied in thick Spanish accent, Harriet Miers and Sandra Day O’Connor were ridiculed as old women with walkers and colostomy bags, and there was a lesbian reference (‘Everybody’s lappin’ it up!’) regarding Secretary Rice.” That’s what passes for entertainment at NBC.

Cindi Creage of GLAAD, in an e-mail response to a request for comment, wrote, “I immediately reached out to alert MSNBC that a participant on the IMUS in the Morning Show used the word ‘faggots,’ and asked for an explanation of how this made it onto their broadcast. I am awaiting a reply.” Hope she has better luck than this reporter.

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