State Senator Shirley L. Huntley, a brassy, big-haired Democrat from Queens who opposes same-sex marriage, received a call on Wednesday that left her momentarily stunned.
Maya Angelou was on the line, and she wanted to know if the senator might reconsider her position. Ms. Huntley, hardly the type to be played for a fool, at first thought her staff might be pulling a fast one.
“I said, ‘What?’ ” Ms. Huntley recalled on Thursday, adding that she was not convinced that it was Ms. Angelou until she heard her deep timbre. “I heard the voice, and I said: ‘My God. It is her.’ And that was that.”
Ms. Angelou’s call — one of three the poet and author placed to state senators this week — was part of an effort by prominent supporters of gay rights to persuade reluctant senators to vote for the same-sex marriage bill before the Legislature. Cynthia Nixon, co-star of HBO‘s “Sex and the City,” who is a lesbian, and Paul Tagliabue, the former commissioner of the National Football League, who has a gay son, are among the other high-profile people who have lent their celebrity to the cause.
The Assembly passed the bill, promoted by Gov. David A. Paterson, on May 12, but gay rights groups remain short of the support they need in the Senate. With just four weeks left before the Legislature adjourns, those groups have been increasing their efforts to reach out to senators.
See Celebrities Champion State’s Same-Sex Marriage Bill
New York Times
In its latest ad campaign, Gillette’s reaching out to a new market: aspiring body shavers. AdAge passes along Gillette’s “How To Shave Your Groin” YouTube spot. The title pretty much says it all. (We’ll spare you the details — like the need to use “short, light strokes,” for example). Check out the full video:
Adam Lambert says role models come in a variety of different forms – even in eye makeup, fingernail polish and tight pants. “It’s a really, really cool thing,” the American Idol runner-up says, “to be able to show people that you can be yourself, and you should be proud of yourself, and you should own who you are and what you’re about, and never make apologies for it.” So to those who speculate about his sexuality, he has a message. “Calm down,” he says, and “keep speculating.” See Adam Lambert On His Sexuality: ‘Keep Speculating’ * Tags = gay men gay news lesbian news transgender bisexual
David Hyde Pierce talked about his anger over Prop 8 on “The View” on Thursday.
Pierce married his longtime partner last year, but has always stayed quiet about his personal life until now.
“Brian and I always kept a low profile, we didn’t hide our lives,” Pierce told the ladies. “We got married very quietly last October 24 and thought that was fine, and then suddenly the state of California said, ‘no it’s not.’” See WATCH: David Hyde Pierce On His Marriage, Prop 8 Anger * Tags = gay men gay news lesbian news transgender bisexual
Statewide Action: On Heels of Prop 8 Ruling, “Meet in the Middle for Equality” Rallies ,Civil Rights Advocates in Fresno for LGBT Equality on a Federal Level
Saturday, May 30, 2009, 1st Statewide Action After the Proposition 8 Decision
7:50 a.m. – Equality March Kickoff; 8:00 a.m. – March from Selma to Fresno
1:00 p.m. – Rally at steps of Fresno City Hall
March from the intersection of W. Front St. and Whitson St. in Selma, CA, then along the Golden State Highway to the Meet in the Middle rally location at Fresno City Hall, 2600 Fresno Street, Fresno, CA 93721
Equality March speakers at Selma Kick-off include:
Anne-Marie Williams of Jordan/Rustin Coalition
Nii-Quartelai Quartey of Courage Campaign
Yardenna Aaron of Here to Stay Coalition
Andrea Shorter of Equality California (EQCA)
Roland Palencia of HONOR PAC (English/Spanish-language)
Rally Speakers at Fresno City Hall Location include:
Robin Tyler, the original plaintiff in Tyler vs. the County of Los Angeles
Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA
Christine Chavez, Latino and African-American Leadership Alliance and Granddaughter of Cesar Chavez
Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Rabbi Denise Eger, Congregation Kol Ami & California Faith for Equality
Father Geoff Farrow, Former Catholic Priest for Fresno’s Saint Paul Newman Center
Lt. Dan Choi, West Point graduate, recently discharged under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
Reverend Eric Lee, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Reverend Dr. Amos Brown, Third Baptist Church, San Francisco
Rick Jacobs, Chair and Founder of the Courage Campaign
Cleve Jones, founder of Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and Harvey Milk intern
Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award Winning Screenwriter for Milk
“With this ruling, Californians are experiencing a great loss – a loss of justice, loss of compassion, and a loss of humanity. But rather than become disabled by our grief, we must shift our shame to strength and revitalize for the sake of the entire American LGBT community. We must use this ruling as a catalyst for an even greater goal and a greater good,” said Robin McGehee, lead organizer for Meet in the Middle.
Over 100 organizations from around the state have endorsed Meet in the Middle for Equality. The Courage Campaign and White Knot for Equality are providing buses to bring activists and progressive allies from San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco to the middle of California. Additional active participants include the California Nurses Association, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Equality Action NOW, Equality California (EQCA), Equal Roots, Freedom Action Inclusive Rights (F.A.I.R.), Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Network, HONOR PAC, Jordan/Rustin Coalition, Marriage Equality USA, Martin Luther King Legacy Association, NAACP Youth and College Division, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, and the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco.
They don’t give their names, but viewers can see their faces plainly and what these teens are saying is shocking parents. “I ended up having sex with more than one person that night and then in the morning I was trying to get morning-after pills,” one of the girls said. “I was, like, 14 at the time.”
It’s just one of dozens of stories from teenage girls in a new documentary by Canadian filmmaker Sharlene Azam that aims to shed light on the secret, extremely sexual lives of today’s teens.
After four years researching for the documentary, Azam told “Good Morning America” that oral sex is as common as kissing for teens and that casual prostitution — being paid at parties to strip, give sexual favors or have sex — is far more commonplace than once believed.
“If you talk to teens [about oral sex] they’ll tell you it’s not a big deal,” Azam said. “In fact, they don’t consider it sex. They don’t consider a lot of things sex.” See Teens: Oral Sex and Casual Prostitution No Biggie * Tags = gay men gay news lesbian news transgender bisexual
A group of ministers and same-sex marriage opponents filed a request today calling for a citywide referendum on whether the District should recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
The group, Stand 4 Marriage, said it will begin collecting signatures to try to force the issue onto the ballot. Earlier this month, the City Council and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) agreed to recognized gay marriages performed elsewhere.
The opponents formally requested today that the Board of Elections convene a meeting to decide whether the issue is eligible for a referendum. If the Board agrees, the opponents will have to collect signatures from 5 percent of registered voters. If an election is called, the legislation will be stayed until that referendum occurs, the opponents say.
“The recognition of same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia is a bad idea for our citizens. At a minimum, it should not be allowed without the approval of voters,” said Bishop Harry Jackson, Senior Pastor of Hope Christian Church “Thirty states in America have voted on whether gay marriage should be legalized, and every state has opposed it because legalizing gay marriage has significant consequences for society. It is only right that voters in the District of Columbia also be allowed to vote on this important issue before it is imposed on its residents.”
Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), the sponsor of the legislation to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere, said he is bewildered by Jackson’s strategy. Noting the District’s progressive reputation, Mendelson predicted District voters would reject efforts to stop same-sex marriage. See Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage: Group Calls for Citywide Referendum Washington Post – United States * Tags = gay men gay news lesbian news transgender bisexual
AIDS/LifeCycle 8 to Raise $10+ Million to Fight AIDS 2,200 cyclists to start San Francisco-to-Los Angeles ride May 31
SAN FRANCISCO and LOS ANGELES, CA — More than 2,200 bicyclists from 41 states and 14 nations will stream out of San Francisco on May 31 en route to Los Angeles as participants in the colorful and emotional AIDS/LifeCycle, the world’s largest annual AIDS fundraiser.
The 545-mile trek is expected to raise more than $10 million to support vital HIV/AIDS-related services at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The event also raises awareness about the disease, particularly significant this year following a recent survey revealing a dramatic drop in the sense of urgency about HIV/AIDS and persistent misconceptions about HIV transmission and treatment among Americans.
Participants on the weeklong ride include cyclists and a volunteer support crew of hundreds of “roadies” who range in age from 18 to 78. Whether gay or straight, HIV-positive or HIV-negative, expert cyclists or novices, they share a commitment to reducing new infections and the suffering caused by AIDS.
“People come to AIDS/LifeCycle to fight a disease,” said Mark Cloutier, CEO of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and one of the cyclists. “But the event is also a celebration of health. Participants have the physical strength to complete a challenging course, and the emotional connectedness to help others succeed on an exhausting, yet exhilarating journey.”
Riders train for months to prepare for the rigorous ride, and raise a minimum of $3,000 each to support the work of the two sponsoring organizations. The event has raised approximately $50 million to fight AIDS since it began in 2002.
“The economic recession has deeply impacted HIV/AIDS service providers on all fronts. Charitable giving and government funding of HIV/AIDS support services are dropping while the number of people who need free or low-cost services is going up,” said Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. “Our participants and their supporters recognize the urgent need for HIV prevention. I’m proud of the AIDS/LifeCycle community, and I’m deeply grateful.”
During the seven days of AIDS/LifeCycle, an estimated 1,080 Americans will become infected with HIV. There are 1.1 million Americans living with HIV — the highest number in the history of the epidemic — 1 in 6 of whom are Californians. Gay and bisexual men bear the brunt of the disease, representing 73 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases in California and 53 percent nationally. Communities of color are also disproportionately affected; although African Americans comprise 6 percent of the state’s population, they account for nearly 19 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS.See * Tags = gay men gay news lesbian news transgender bisexual
June 3rd Judiciary Hearing Will Debate Uniting American Families Act
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first-ever hearing on The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a bill to end discrimination against lesbian and gay Americans in U.S. immigration law and allow lesbian and gay citizens to sponsor their partners for residency in the United States.
The hearing was scheduled by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the lead Senate sponsor of UAFA. Witnesses will include binational couples who have been separated, or face separation, because of discriminatory U.S. immigration law.
An estimated 36,000 binational couples are affected by U.S. laws prohibiting gay and lesbian Americans from sponsoring their partners for residency. Countless lesbian and gay families, including many with children, are torn apart by U.S. immigration law, or are forced to leave the United States to remain together. While 19 other nations allow lesbian and gay citizens to sponsor their partners, the United States continues to discriminate against tens of thousands of families. As the nation prepares to consider immigration reform, the Judiciary Committee hearing will provide an important opportunity for lawmakers to hear from some of those families.
The session is set for Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 – Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.