Ten years after the 1999 Australian Open, where Amelie Mauresmo publicly acknowledged that she is a lesbian, Billie Jean King spoke to TENNIS.com about her own rocky coming out nearly three decades ago. King, the first prominent athlete to come out, was forced to do so after she was outed in a 1981 palimony suit filed by her ex-lover. See Tennis icon Billie Jean King reflects on coming out, gay players in sport
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Theater directors and students at more than 40 high schools across the country have selected a new show for their big springtime musical this year: “Rent: School Edition,” a modified version of the hit Broadway musical that, while toned down a bit, remains provocative by traditional drama club standards.
Too provocative, in the view of some high school officials and parents. At least three of the planned high school productions, in California, Texas and West Virginia, have been canceled after administrators or parents raised objections about the show’s morality, its portrayals of homosexuality and theft, and its frank discussions of drug use and H.I.V., according to administrators, teachers and parents involved in those cases.
“Rent,” which ran on Broadway for more than 12 years and in 1996 won the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award, is based loosely on Puccini’s opera “La Bohème.” It centers on a group of artists, straight and gay, living in the East Village. Some are H.I.V. positive; some are drug addicts; some are in recovery.
None of these aspects have been altered for the high school version. The main changes are the deletion of some profane dialogue and lyrics as well as a song, “Contact,” that is sexually explicit. In “Rent,” that song accompanies the death of Angel, a gay drag queen with AIDS; in the high school version, his death unfolds in an earlier song.
The 2008-9 school year is the first in which the school edition of “Rent” — which was approved by the estate of Jonathan Larson, the “Rent” creator who died in 1996 — has been available to high schools.
See 3 high schools cancel “Rent” productions amid objections over gay, HIV themes
The New York Times
The Employment Nondiscrimination Act, lifting the military gay ban and providing domestic-partner benefits to federal employees are the chief first-term goals cited by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. “We should absolutely be holding our elected officials, including President Obama, to their commitments to support those three pieces of legislation — and our elected members of the House and Senate to deliver on those,” he said. Dallas Voice
Ellie Schafer, a veteran softball player and co-founder of the ForeUS lesbian golf tour, talks to OutSports.com about her new career move as director of the White House Visitors Office, how she got involved in politics and her work on the Obama presidential effort. Outsports.com
Some top LGBT advocates believe the tone of anti-gay rhetoric getting sharper, in response to a boost in LGBT support on the national level, while others think conservatives are shifting their tactics to push for more anti-LGBT laws. “The more gains you make and the closer your opponents are to losing, the more ferocious they are in the way in which they lash out. That is just the nature of social change,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. Washington Blade
A proposal giving same-sex couples the same legal protections and benefits as married couples cleared a difficult legislative hurdle and is headed to the Senate for a vote.
The measure allows for domestic partnerships for unmarried couples, including gay couples.
See Domestic partnership bill heading to Senate
El Paso Times – El Paso,TX,USA
Mayor Sam Adams, addressing a business gathering for the first time since the state began investigating his relationship with a former legislative intern, said he believes he can remain an effective leader.
The assertion comes despite doubts held by some that Adams, who has fielded several requests to resign and could face a recall campaign in July, can continue to advance Portland’s economic interests.
See Embattled out Portland mayor believes he can still do job
American City Business Journals/Portland, Ore.
A defiant Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Jordan, said Friday he won’t let his ouster from two key legislative committee chairmanships stop him from defending marriage against “an increasingly vocal and radical segment of the homosexual community.”
Earlier Friday, Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, took the unusual step of publicly announcing he was removing Buttars as both chairman and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee
The decision also strips Buttars of his chairmanship of the Senate Judicial Confirmation Committee. Buttars, re-elected last year to a third term, remains chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and vice-chairman of the powerful Rules Committee.
Waddoups said his action should not be seen as a punishment for anti-gay statements Buttars made to a documentary filmmaker, which include comparing gay-rights activists to Muslim terrorists and calling them “the greatest threat to America going down.”
The Senate leader said Buttars is considered by his colleagues to be a “stalwart” who “represents the views of many of his constituents and many of ours.” Waddoups acknowledged he did not agree with everything Buttars said, but he repeatedly declined to be specific.
See Utah lawmaker who made anti-gay comments removed as committees’ chairman
The Deseret News (Salt Lake City)
Nick Shalosky, 21, a member of the Charleston County District 20 Constituent School Board and the first out elected official in South Carolina, details how he used social network Facebook to run his winning, write-in campaign. “Facebook provided me with an avenue to quickly organize after jumping into the race with only two weeks before Election Day,” he writes. “Such rapid mobilization might not have been possible only two years ago. But, with a Facebook page and a knowledge of online organizing, I secured my winning margin without spending a penny.” The Bilerico Project
Nearly three dozen major LGBT groups, including HRC, The Victory Fund, National Black Justice Coalition and the National Center for Transgender Equality, have begun a dialogue on ways to cope with declining financial support because of the struggling economy. Cost-saving options range from teaming up for health care, computer services and other administrative expenses to even combining groups with similar missions. Advocate.com