VOLUME 3, ISSUE 319 | May 6 – 12, 2004
Anti-Gay Violence Rises
Last year saw an unprecedented amount of exposure for LGBT issues from the success of TV shows like “Queer Eye” to the Supreme Court decision declaring sodomy laws unconstitutional to the worldwide debate over same-sex marriage. But an anti-gay society does not give up without a fight, from legislatures to the streets. The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project reported this week that reports of violent attacks on lesbians, gay men, people of transgender experience and bisexuals rose 23 percent in 2003 and 46 percent in the last half of the year, as compared with the same period in 2002. Anti-LGBT homicides were up 80 percent in New York, from five in 2002 to nine in 2003.
“At the end of June when the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision striking down sodomy laws across the country, we predicted that it would be an alarm bell for the bigots that perpetrate violence against this community,” said Richard Haymes, director of AVP, “however, even we could not have predicted the extent to which LGBT people would be targeted.”
Even allowing for the fact that relations with police have improved and that more LGBT people feel empowered to report incidents to authorities and AVP, the increases are alarming. Assault was up 13 percent, sexual assault or rape increased 16 percent, and the use of weapons in attacks went up eight percent, with a 50 percent increase in the use of firearms and “a 47 percent increase in the use of bats, clubs, or other blunt objects,” an AVP release said.
Reports of anti-LGBT violence were up 75 percent in the Bronx, 37 percent in Brooklyn, 28 percent in Queens, 18 percent in Manhattan, and remained level in Staten Island (though rising 100 percent in the second half of the year).
LGBT African Americans experienced the largest increase in anti-gay attacks, up 49 percent.
AVP plans community forums throughout the city to respond to the rise in anti-LGBT violence. For details and the full report on the 2003 statistics both in New York and nationally, go to www.avp.org.
Catholic Alumni Form Association
On May 1in Philadelphia, representatives of 32 Roman Catholic university alumni gathered to establish the National Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning Association of Catholic Colleges, Universities, Seminaries and Schools of Religion—GLACCU for short. Its mission, “is to create an educated voice in the public domain to encourage discussion and undertake justice-focused public policy regarding homosexuality, spirituality, and civil rights.” The group will assist LGBT alumni/ae of Catholic schools in establishing independent organizations, such as those from Notre Dame and St. Mary’s College in Indiana.
Last week, more than 120 LGBT alumni/ae from Catholic schools gathered in New York to celebrate the launch of the new association.
Brooklyn Bridge Demonstration on May 23
We may not yet be able to march down the aisle in New York, but Marriage Equality is leading a march across the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, May 23 to “send the message that LGBT New Yorkers demand to be recognized and to receive equal treatment for their families under the law.” Marchers will gather in Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn (C train to High Street) at 11 a.m. and proceed across the historic span to Battery Park for a rally.
Ellen to Go “Six Feet Under”
Ellen Degeneres is set to play herself in an episode of the award-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under.” In the third episode of the season, Keith, played by Matthew St. Patrick, takes on the job of being the bodyguard for a teen pop star (Michelle Trachtenberg) who makes an appearance on Ellen’s daytime talk show.
German Labor Ruling
The German federal labor court has ruled that a public employee who is part of a same-sex couple joined in a life partnership (or “Eingetragenelebensgemeinschaft”) has the same rights as a married public employee to higher “location allowances.” The law also allows foreign same-sex partners of German nationals to obtain an unlimited residence permit and help in obtaining a work permit, Expatica (Holland) reported.
Poet Thom Gunn Dead at 74
British expatriate Thom Gunn, whose poetry celebrated gay life and chronicled the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, died on April 25 in his adopted city of San Francisco, where he moved in the 1960s. In his “Passages of Joy” (1982), he wrote, “I like loud music, bars, and boisterous men/That help me if not lose then leave behind,/What else, the self.”
His 1992 “The Man with Night Sweats,” the Guardian (UK) said, “the poet who had sought to lose ‘the self’ found himself ‘less defined’ and ‘unsupported’ as his self-defining friends died of AIDS,” and included “major poems about mutability and mortality, endurance and celebration.”
Christians Opposed to Federal Marriage Amendment
The board of the 1.3 million-member United Church of Christ came out against Pres. Bush’s proposal to amend the Constitution to bar same-sex couples from marrying. In a statement, the board said it acted “because there is a need to end the rhetoric which fuels hostility, misunderstanding, fear and hatred expressed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, and the denial of their equality under the law.” They added, “Any amendment that would limit rights rather than expand them, has no place in our nation’s constitution.”
Amen to that.
The Alliance of Baptists, which broke with the Southern Baptist Convention, issued a statement saying its members “decry the politicization of same-sex marriage in the current presidential contest and other races for public office,” the Raleigh Biblical Recorder reported. The Alliance spoke out against the Federal Marriage Amendment and endorsed “the rights of all citizens to full marriage equality.”
Aussie Lesbian Candidate Parties with Anti-Gay Leader
Dr. Ingrid Tall, the lesbian former president of the Queensland chapter of the Australian Medical Association and parliamentary candidate, had Prime Minister John Howard as her guest of honor at her political fundraiser, despite the Liberal Party leader’s attempt to ban same-sex marriage. Asked by The Australian if she agreed with Howard’s stance, Tall said, “I really don’t want to talk about that…anything else, but not that,” although elsewhere in the story she is said to be “upset” with Howard’s anti-gay crusade.
“You’ll start a great campaign and I’ll support you very strongly,” Howard told Tall in front of the press outside the party. She will be running against an incumbent Labor MP, Arch Bevis, who has condemned Howard’s attempt to bar judges from ruling that same-sex marriages can take place in Australia.
Howard has allied himself with Pres. George W. Bush, including the decision to invade Iraq.
AIDS Czar Cancels Poz Subscription
Poz magazine celebrated its tenth anniversary with a cover photo by Spencer Tunick featuring 80 naked people who are either HIV-positive or involved in AIDS work. The only complaint that founder and chairman Sean Strub got was from Dr. Tom Coburn, a former Republican congressman who is the co-chair of President Bush’s Advisory Task Force on AIDS. “He’s a doctor,” Strub told the NY Post. “Why is he so disgusted with naked bodies?”
Coburn is running for the U.S. Senate in Oklahoma. His spokeseperson told the paper, “His problem was having all these naked bodies on a cover destined for his waiting room.”
AIDS Demo in D.C.
A national coalition of AIDS groups is planning a march on Washington on Thursday, May 20, to protest cuts in AIDS programs, the failure of the U.S. to deal with the global AIDS pandemic, and “attacks on scientific research” in the field. Protesters will rally in Folger Park at 11 a.m. (3rd and D Streets SE) and march first on the Republican National Headquarters, then the Democrat HQ, and on to the steps of the Capitol. Civil disobedience is planned. For more information call Michael Kink at Housing Works at 518-449-4207.
Gay Episcopal Bishop Marries
The Rt. Rev. Otis Charles, the first Christian bishop to come out (albeit after his consecration unlike N.H. Bishop Gene Robinson) has married Felipe Sanchez Paris in San Francisco. Four clergy assisted in the ceremony at St. Gregory’s of Nyssa Episcopal Church, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, on Charles’s 78th birthday last weekend.
Charles was Bishop of Utah for 15 years, was married for 42 years and had five kids, came out to his wife in 1976, “but he didn’t come out publicly until he retired eleven years ago,” the paper said.
“I am ashamed of myself for remaining silent when the church was involved in an acrimonious debate about the whole question of gay people in the life of the church. I couldn’t live with that any longer,” he said.
Charles met Sanchez Paris, 62, “a retired professor and political organizer with four ex-wives and four children,” according to the Chronicle, two years ago.
Those Darned Heterosexuals
In Ankara, Turkey, Mehmet Halitogullari strangled his 14-year old daughter to death to restore the family’s honor after the girl had been kidnapped and raped. The girl pleaded for her life, but her dad ignored her as he wrapped a wire around her neck.
The European Union is pressing Turkey to end the practice of “honor killings” if it expects to become a part of the union.
Gays Lead the Hit Parade
The top three singers on the “10 Most Played Artists on British Radio” survey of 600 stations are George Michael, Elton John, and Robbie Williams (in that order). “I can’t believe it,” Michael told the BBC. “I only made six albums in 22 years so I don’t know how this happened. I’m the luckiest writer on earth.”
Kylie Minogue led among heterosexuals, coming in at fourth place.
The Gay “View”
Hurricane Entertainment is pitching a gay male version of the all-female ABC daytime talk show “The View,” the NY Post reported. Among those who taped a pilot for “TVQ” are Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, Simon Doonan, the creative designer for Barney’s, “Oprah” producer Patrick Riley, writer and “Daily Show” contributor Frank DeCaro, James Aguiar, stylist to the stars, and actor T.R. Pescod.
Andy Humm is co-host, with Ann Northrop, of Gay USA on MNN. It can be seen Thursdays at 11 PM on Time-Warner 34 and RCN 107 and is simulcast at mnn.org
Andy Humm can be contacted at AndyHumm@aol.com