San Francisco – Today President Obama announced that he will honor assassinated civil rights leader Harvey Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor recognizing significant contributions to the nation and the world. The President will also honor Senator Edward Kennedy and tennis legend Billie Jean King, an open lesbian and longtime champion for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, with the Medal of Freedom on August 12.
Last year, EQCA sponsored the first bill in the country to officially honor Milk, the nation’s first openly gay man elected to major political office, but the Governor vetoed it. Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced the Harvey Milk Day bill, sponsored by EQCA, again this year. The legislation would require the governor to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, designating it as a “day of special significance,” to recognize Milk’s work to secure equal protections.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org
NEW YORK, NY - – - The Issues Magazine launched “Our Genders, Our Rights,” its Summer 2009 edition. A unique combination of articles, poetry, art and videos focus on a topic that is both utterly fundamental and wildly revolutionary: gender norms and gender identity.
Top writers discuss sex-selection abortion, gender expression, “Intersex” self-identification and a first-hand account of forced sex roles inside a polygamist compound in Texas.
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Merle Hoffman’s editorial, “Selecting The Same Sex,” provides philosophical and personal insights into the issue of sex-selection abortion.
“There is one place where the definition of gender remains binary — in the womb. When it comes to sonograms, amniocentesis and standard pre-natal testing, there are no nuances. Here, the pronouncement, ‘It’s a girl,’ can translate into fierce and instant parental rejection. The fact is that when the issue is ‘sex selection abortion,’ the same sex is always being selected — female.” For Hoffman, this issue highlights questions of ethics, human rights and the moral autonomy of women.
“It’s about separating the chooser from the choice,” writes Hoffman.
In “Busting Bogus Biology and Beliefs” Mahin Hassibi notes: “For centuries, social constructs held that women owed allegiance and obedience to their husbands; children were the property of their fathers, who owned the children’s mothers.” Today, Hassibi says, discoveries in biology and reproductive technology may soon trump historical and cultural restrictions that wrongly limited women’s lives.
“My children would have undoubtedly been among the 439 seized in the raid,” writes Carolyn Jessop of the sweep through the polygamist compound. In, “American Taliban: Sect Controls Women’s Destinies,” Jessop gives an inside view of the abuse, misogyny and control of women’s bodies that continues today.
Writers also plunge into transgender concerns. “Asylum Pitfalls May Await the Transgender Applicant” by Victoria Neilson discusses the difficult process for trans applicants in the U.S. Eleanor Bader’s “Trans Health Care Is a Life and Death Matter” describes a pioneering feminist health program for trans patients in the South.
Photographic performer Tammy Rae Carland visualizes gender fluidity as the featured artist, and art editor Linda Stein conducts an interview with Elizabeth Sackler, whose passion for feminist art resulted in a new center at the Brooklyn Museum.
On The Issues Magazine (www.ontheissuesmagazine.com) is a progressive, feminist, quarterly online magazine. Read more at the site — free and with archives from 1983. Merle Hoffman is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.
President Obama, attempting to spotlight those who have acted as “agents of change,” today announced that he will bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, on a cast of living and deceased figures widely known in politics, the arts and sciences, sports and social movements.
The 16 honorees named by the White House today include Harvey Milk, the San Francisco city supervisor who led an early movement for gay rights in public life and was assassinated. They include the late Republican Congressman Jack Kemp, a football legend as well, and the ailing Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.
The president’s choices, who will be honored at a White House ceremony Aug. 12, include American civil-rights activist the Rev. Joseph Lowery and South African freedom fighter Desmond Tutu. They include a pioneer in sports for women, tennis star Billie Jean King, and the first woman on the Supreme Court, retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
They include actor Sidney Poitier and singer Chita Rivera.
Obama names Medal of Freedom recipients, including Harvey Milk …
They include actor Sidney Poitier and singer Chita Rivera.
Human Rights Campaign Calls on the LGBT Community and Allies to Participate in National, Grassroots Push to Lobby Congress Face-to-Face
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today launched a national, grassroots campaign called “No Excuses” to demand action from Congress on key issues of equality. Designed to take advantage of the congressional summer recess, when members are in their local offices and meeting with constituents, “No Excuses” will mobilize HRC’s 750,000 members and their allies to meet directly with lawmakers and push for federal legislative change. Members and supporters can get involved by visiting: http://noexcuses.hrc.org.
“While we salute and acknowledge the heroic members of Congress who have worked tirelessly on our behalf, far too many have dragged their feet on basic matters of fairness and equality that have lingered too long and hurt too many LGBT people and their families,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Yes, there are many challenges facing this Congress and this president. But LGBT people often face additional hardship protecting their families, their loved ones and their jobs, and too few in Congress are willing to champion these issues of basic fairness. Now, more than ever, members of the LGBT community need to make their voices heard face-to-face and in the districts where they live.”
Using innovative online tools, one-on-one trainings and staff and volunteer follow-through, HRC members will press lawmakers to end discrimination in the military, treat all legally married couples equally, pass immigration reform that recognizes and honors LGBT families, outlaw workplace discrimination for LGBT employees, and treat all federal employees’ compensation equally.
The interactive “No Excuses” website allows supporters to download a meeting toolkit, schedule a meeting and report back on how it went. To take action, visit: http://noexcuses.hrc.org.
The in-district meetings will focus on the following key legislative priorities in the 111th Congress:
–Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married lesbian and gay couples more than 1,000 federal protections;
–Prohibit workplace discrimination for the LGBT community by passing an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA);
–Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to ensure that service members who contribute to our nation’s security are no longer summarily discharged for who they are;
–Pass immigration reform that recognizes permanent same-sex couples and ends the painful separation of families;
–And provide health benefits equally to the nearly 3 million federal government employees, including same-sex domestic partners.
Simon Karlinsky, an openly gay distinguished professor in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on the history of homosexuality in Russia, died July 5 due to congestive heart failure. He was 84.
Mr. Karlinsky’s death was announced by his husband, Peter Carleton. The couple lived in Kensignton.
For more than 30 years Mr. Karlinsky taught at UC Berkeley. He was an author and editor of books on Gogol, Nabokov and Chekov, and an internationally known expert on the history of homosexuality in Russia.
He was born on September 22, 1924 in the city of Harbin, a Russian cultural outpost in Manchuria (now China).
Want to predict which state might move next to legalize same-sex marriage? You might count Catholics. The higher their percentage of the population, the more likely the state is to… support gay rights.
This counter-intuitive finding is brought to you with a tip of two hats — mine to Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics and his to Robbie Jones who led Silk to a new study soon by be published by two Columbia University political scientists.
Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips examined public support and resulting political policy on eight issues including marriage, housing, adoption and hate crimes.
The main thrust of the study was to examine whether there is “pro-gay bias in policy making” (the authors conclude no) or a tyranny of local majorities “in which anti-gay majorities trump minority rights” (the authors again say no).
USA Today -
Quote of the day, from Kid Rock, to Rolling Stone, via Page Six, about Twitter:
“It’s gay. If one more person asks me if I have a Twitter, I’m going to tell them, ‘Twitter this [bleep], mother[bleep]er.’
“I don’t have anything to say, and what I have to say is not that relevant. Anything that is relevant, I’m going to bottle it up and then squeeze it onto a record somewhere.”
Kansas City Star -
“I’m not a terrorist,” he tells the Iraqi police who surround him. “I want you to know I am different. But I am not a terrorist.”
To some fundamentalist Iraqi Muslims, Ahmed Sadoun Saleh was worse than a terrorist.
He was gay. He wore his hair long and took female hormones to grow breasts. Amused by his appearance, Iraqi police officers stopped him in December at a checkpoint in a southern Baghdad neighborhood dominated by radical Shiite militias. They groped Saleh and ridiculed him.
The assault was captured on video and circulated on cellphones throughout Baghdad, says Ali Hili, founder of London-based Iraqi LGBT, a group dedicated to protecting Iraq’s gays and lesbians. Shortly after the video was made public, Hili says Saleh contacted him, fearing for his life, and asked for his help to flee Iraq.
“Unfortunately, it was too late,” Hili says. Saleh turned up dead two months later, he says.
At least 82 gay men have been killed in Iraq since December, according to Iraqi LGBT. The violence has raised questions about the Iraqi government’s ability to protect a diverse range of vulnerable minority groups that also includes Christians and Kurds, especially following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities last month.
Mithal al-Alusi, a secular, liberal Sunni legislator, is among those who blame the killings on armed militant groups such as al-Qaeda and the Mahdi Army militia.
A Dane has been charged with committing a hate crime for allegedly throwing fireworks at athletes during a gay sporting event in Copenhagen.
He is accused of throwing fireworks into the Oesterbro stadium where the World Outgames running competitions were being held.
One US athlete suffered a light injury to his hand.
The attack marks the second suspected hate crime at the Outgames after three men were assaulted in the street.
In the stadium incident, the alleged perpetrator was apprehended by runners from the Sparta Athletes club as he attempted to escape.