Oct 31, 2011

GATHERING TO HONOR THE DEAD WITH THE LIVING: All Saints Day, celebrated on October 31 and November 1, with unique traditions throughout Guatemala

The Giant Kites of Sumpango carry messages to the heavens
All Saints Day, celebrated on November 1, is celebrated with unique traditions throughout Guatemala. Giant kites are flown in the cemeteries of Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango near Antiqua Guatemala.

Remembering dear friend and loved one Jose Luis A.R., 1997, R.I.P.

Each October 31 and November 1, families all over central America gather to honor their dead in family cemeteries. Plots are cleared of debris, flowers are placed, and candles are lit. It is a day of celebration, of remembering and honoring those who came before.

The Cemetery at Sumpango, Sacatapequez, Guatemala
Photos thanks to Juan Carlos C.F.

Oct 30, 2011


Barack Obama, President of the United States of North America
SANTIAGO, Chile — ¨Latin Americans give U.S. President Barack Obama the highest approval rating for any leader in the region.

Obama is rated 6.3 on a scale of one to 10 in the survey conducted by the Chile-based Latinobarometro polling organization. He is closely followed by Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff at 6.

Latinobarometro polled 20,000 people in 18 Latin American countries. The leader with the worst mark is former Cuban President Fidel Castro at 4.1. Next lowest are Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, who tied at 4.4.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has 4.9 and Chilean leader Sebastian Pinera got 5.1. HERE

·  Thanks to Towleroad, sidebar
·  Thanks to Latin America´s Latinobarometro

Oct 29, 2011

A NOTE TO DEMEANERS OF LGBT PEOPLE: Please stop living in a world of your own pretend/faking and grief-for-others making.

It´s TRUE, we´ve always been right here next to you!

Dear Heterosexual co-beings,

It´s time! It´s time again that we get something cleared up between us. Just you and me or maybe even we and some of you that make life difficult for LGBT people. If you are troubled by ¨Gay¨ people in your life it may be time to settle down, take a deep breath and stop living in a world of your own pretend/faking and grief-for-others making. We are part of your very own,  personally related, worldwide family of brothers and sisters, friends, coworkers and  we are your everyday loved ones and equal ¨beings¨ who make up your life.  Hark!  We´re here, you´re here and that will never change because nothing has changed except we´re all attempting to live in a world of  responsible reality instead of denial.  No muss, no fuss, relax, we are like you...always have been.

Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury practices his sometimes harmless, sometime not, well skilled art of pretend. 

¨BE STRONG, for those who are not. BE VISIBLE, for those who cannot. BE, for yourself and us all. Yes, we are fighting for the right of civil marriage, but it is far more than that. We are also fighting so that the next generation does not have to grow up in shame and live in fear.¨ Fr. Geoff Farrow HERE

· Thanks to Gay Spirit Diary, sidebar
· Thanks to Father Geoff Farrow, sidebar
· Thanks to Josh Thomas, Stonewall ¨Everything Changed¨ Blog entry HERE.

PLEASE MEET BEVAN DUFTY: Candidate for San Francisco Mayor

Bevan Dufty, Board of Supervisors, San Francisco, California
Electing LGBT Leaders to Change America´s Politics

¨Bevan Dufty just completed two terms on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors representing the same district Harvey Milk represented in the late 1970’s. But his record of service to San Francisco and the LGBT community in the Bay Area goes back to the moment he first arrived in his beloved city, when he served as a staffer at city hall and then Director of Neighborhood Services.

Now Bevan is ready to lead this remarkable city as mayor, and the Victory Fund is proud to endorse this outstanding public servant.

“I want to lead a dynamic, responsive and effective City government for all San Franciscans. My goal is for people to love their government the way they love their city,” said Bevan.

Bevan is particularly passionate about bringing new job opportunities for all San Franciscans, especially in the fields of biotechnology, clean and green technology and digital media. He wants to continue to reduce street homelessness, boost education infrastructure citywide and manage the city’s budget in a way that serves vulnerable populations while still attracting business investment in the city.

Please support Bevan’s campaign and help elect an outstanding openly LGBT leader mayor of one of the world’s great cities.¨ HERE

·  Thanks to Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund
·  Thanks to Bevan Dufty, Supervisor, San Francisco

Oct 27, 2011

SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE: ¨Dictators Get the Deaths They Deserve¨

¨...if a tyrant is executed while crying for mercy in the dust, then that, too, is a reflection of the nature of a fallen regime and the reaction of an oppressed people.¨
“ALL political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure,” wrote Enoch Powell, the controversial but often perspicacious British politician, “because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” But the political lives of tyrants play out human affairs with a special intensity: the death of a democratic leader long after his retirement is a private matter, but the death of a tyrant is always a political act that reflects the character of his power. If a tyrant dies peacefully in bed in the full resplendence of his rule, his death is a theater of that power; if a tyrant is executed while crying for mercy in the dust, then that, too, is a reflection of the nature of a fallen regime and the reaction of an oppressed people.

Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi
This was never truer than in the death, last week, of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. The only difference between his death and those of so many other tyrants across history was that it was filmed with mobile phones, a facility unavailable to contemporaries of, say, the Roman emperor Caligula.

Despite brandished phones and pistols, there was something Biblical in the wild scene, as elemental as the deaths of King Ahab (“the dogs licked up his blood”) and Queen Jezebel (thrown off a palace balcony). It was certainly not as terrible as the death of the Byzantine emperor Andronicus I, who was beaten and dismembered, his hair and teeth pulled out by the mob, his handsome face burned with boiling water. In modern times, it was more frenzied than the semi-formal execution, in 1989, of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, but not as terrible as the ghastly lynching, in 1958, of the innocent King Faisal II of Iraq (age 23) and his hated uncle, who were supposedly impaled and dismembered, their heads used as soccer balls. In 1996, the pro-Soviet former president of Afghanistan, Najibullah, was castrated, dragged through the streets and hanged.

Western leaders and intellectuals find Colonel Qaddafi’s lynching distasteful — Bernard-Henri Lévy worried it would “pollute the essential morality of an insurrection” — yet there are sound political reasons for the public culling of the self-proclaimed king of kings. Colonel Qaddafi’s tyranny was absolutist, monarchical and personal. The problem with such dictatorships is that as long as the tyrant lives, he reigns and terrorizes. As Churchill put it, “dictators ride to and fro upon tigers from which they dare not dismount...¨ read the whole fascinating/sensible thing, HERE

·  Thanks to Frank Schaeffer, sidebar
·  Thanks to Simon Sebag Montefiore

AGAIN AND AGAIN -- THEREFORE: ¨We recommend that The Episcopal Church respectfully decline to ratify The Anglican Communion Covenant as proposed¨

Subject: The Anglican Communion Covenant
Adopted without opposition October 16th: Resolution

WHEREAS: The churches of the Anglican Communion are held together in an indissoluble spiritual bond as members of the body of Christ and are called, individually and collectively, to "be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us" (Ephesians 5:1-2) The Episcopal Church Diocese of Eastern Oregon

WHEREAS: Within that indissoluble bond of love, each member church must discern where the Spirit of God is calling them as they live out their promise made in baptism "to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves," ever mindful of their primary call to further the present-and-coming reign of God; and

WHEREAS: After prayerful consideration of The Anglican Communion Covenant, the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon, in Province VIII of The Episcopal Church, believes that the Covenant does not further the reign of God; and

WHEREAS: We believe that Section Four in particular by its adjudicatory nature -introduces an adversanal element that could wound the Communion;

·  Thanks to The Rev. James Mosier and the Rev. Kathryn Macek
·  Thanks to The Clergy Collegium
·  Thanks to The Diocese of Eastern Oregon, TEC
·  Thanks to The No Anglican Covenant Coalition, International

Oct 26, 2011

THE BOLD/BRAVE NEW TUNISIA VALUES INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM: The dignity of Homosexuals has a right to exist!

¨Some are concerned what social changes might come with the victory of Tunisia’s Islamist party in the country’s first free vote since the Arab Spring overthrow of autocratic president Ben Ali.

Nahda party spokesman Riad Chaibi has offered reassurances that the new leadership does not want to deprive citizens of individual freedoms, going so far as to say that being gay is “a matter of dignity”

¨Chaibi, who spent five years in prison for his opposition to dictator Ben Ali, said that in Tunisia “individual freedoms and human rights are enshrined principles” and that atheists and homosexuals are a reality in Tunisia and “have a right to exist.” According to Chaibi, in the case of homosexuals there is also “a matter of dignity, because society sees them as undervalued.”

Given that Tunisia has a history of stigmatizing and punishing people who are gay, this would be quite a bold step. Chaibi also said that women will not be forced to wear veils and people will be allowed to drink alcohol, promising a coalition government approach that values freedom. Detractors of the Nahda party have suggested that its actions in the mosques do not match its talking points to the public...¨ please read it all, HERE

· Thanks to Think Progress, sidebar
· Thanks to The Nahda Party, Tunisia

IT´S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS: Some of the elected ¨evangelical¨ thugs/maddogs/bigots and thieves of Uganda reintroduce ¨Kill the Gays¨ Bill to Parliament!

The First Lady of Uganda, MP Janet ¨Gays have Gods curse¨  HERE Museveni
¨Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality (aka 'Kill gays) bill was reintroduced to parliament yesterday.

Anglican MP David ¨Kill all the Gays¨ Bahati, prominent member of the dictator/president Museveni´s ruling party and author of the ¨kill the Gays¨ Bill and extended Ugandan member of Washingtons ¨C¨  Street Family Quick Reference Guide to ¨C¨ Street ¨Family¨Members
Have you met MP David Bahati´s colleague MP Odonga Otto, who says he'd kill his own son if he found out he was Gay? HERE
The bill includes the death penalty for some offenses, provides for Ugandans fleeing the country to be extradited, requires that all people in Uganda report homosexuals and would ban advocacy by anyone for LGBT human rights...¨

The bill includes the death penalty for some offenses, provides for Ugandans fleeing the country to be extradited, requires that all people in Uganda report homosexuals and would ban advocacy by anyone for LGBT human rights...¨ read it all (if you have the stomach for it), HERE
Anglican Archbishop Henry Orombi/Uganda, spiritual advisor of MP David Bahati, ¨C¨ Street accomplice, North American property poacher and anti-lgbt demonist  The Two Faces of Grace, HERE
Jesus wept
·  Thanks to Paul Canning
·  Thanks to LGBT Asylum News, sidebar

Oct 25, 2011

PRIME MINISTER TSVANGIRAI/ZIMBABWE: ¨...withdrew his objections to constitutional recognition of gay rights¨

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe
¨On a visit to London last week, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told the BBC that he would not object to the recognition of gay rights in the new constitution. This is a very different stance to the one he took in March 2010 where he sided with President Robert Mugabe’s hostile stance about LGBTI persons.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has performed a U-turn on gay rights, and now wants to see homosexuality decriminalised in a new constitution currently being drafted.

Only last March, Tsvangirai came out in support of President Robert Mugabe’s hostile stance on gays, charging: “Women make up 52% of the population... There are more women than men, so why should men be proposing to men?"

Homosexual acts are currently illegal in Zimbabwe. Mugabe once said gays were "worse than pigs and dogs", sparking international condemnation.

But on a visit to London last week, Tsvangirai sat down for an interview with BBC Newsnight, which was due to air on Monday night, in which he withdrew his objections to constitutional recognition of gay rights...¨ read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Prime Minister Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe
·  Thanks to African Activist, sidebar
·  Thanks to the BBC, United Kingdom

Oct 24, 2011

Religion is the largest stumbling block to Gay people: ¨Hate is a disease of the mind...¨

Randy Roberts Potts and his grandfather Pastor Oral Roberts
¨...Gay people are people …plain and simple. Just as you and I…who dress warm in the winter, eat food so we will live another day and love life and those close to us. We do what we think we need to do to be happy, healthy and alive…this is exactly what Gay people want too. They want to be happy, they want to be healthy and they want to live and love as they feel happy doing. That’s all…end of story...¨ please read it all by Randy Roberts Potts, the grandson of Oral Roberts, HERE

·  Thanks to Randy Roberts Potts, HERE
·  Thanks to By
·  Thanks to Addicting Info, sidebar

Oct 23, 2011

Oct 22, 2011

PLEASE MEET: Victoria Kolakowski, first openly transgender U.S. trial judge

Victoria Kolakowski, Judge
“I have been very fortunate to have a successful career as a public servant, and I feel an obligation to serve my community as a role model as well.”

Victoria Kolakowski is the first openly transgender person to be elected a trial judge in the United States.

¨Born in Queens, New York, Kolakowski graduated from Stuyvesant High School. She was the first person in her family to attend college. Kolakowski earned master’s degrees in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, public administration and divinity. She received a law degree from Louisiana State University.

In 1990, Kolakowski moved to Berkeley, California. She served on the Oakland Budget Advisory Committee and was an administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission.

In 1994, the East Bay Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club named her Woman of the Year. In 1995, she received the Outstanding Woman of Berkeley Award.

In 2010, Kolakowski campaigned for a judgeship on the Superior Court of Alameda County, California. She won by 10,000 votes. Her victory was significant, not only for the transgender community, but also for women, who occupy a small percentage of judgeships. She received Equality California’s Equality and Justice Award...¨  please read Victorias personal story, HERE

· Thanks to LGBTQ History Month
· Thanks to LGBTQ Nation, sidebar
· Thanks to Equality Forum
· Thanks to Victoria Kolakowski, Judge

Oct 21, 2011

WHINERS/COMPLAINERS/BIGOTS/DECEIVERS -- THE ALL NEW UN-AMERICAN GOP: Republicans ignore the successful foreign policies/actions taken by President Barack Obama

A Great American Leader, President Barack Obama
"Is there no Republican that can be gracious and statesmanlike in this situation? We removed a dictator in six months losing no American soldiers, spending, like, a billlion dollars rather than a trillion dollars, and engendering what appears to be good will to people who now have a story of their own indpendence to tell. Anybody want to give credit? What the f**k is wrong with you people?"  Jon Stewart, read moreHERE

·  Thanks to President Barack Obama
·  Thanks to Jon Stewart
·  Thanks to Towleroad, sidebar

Oct 20, 2011

FROM THE CUBAN GOVERNMENT WITH LOVE: “the current challenges require (...) confronting prejudices and discrimination of all kinds that still persist in society”.

¨Cuban blogger Francisco Rodríguez Cruz Español, Aqui reports that the official papers for the January Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, its first in fourteen years, includes opposition to discrimination against LGBT people.

Cruz says that the document includes two new party objectives:

54. Confront racial, gender, religious, sexual orientation and other prejudices that may generate any form of discrimination or limit people from exercising their rights to, among others, occupy public posts, and participate in the political and mass organizations and in the defense of the country.

65. To reflect in the audiovisual media, the printed and digital press Cuban reality in all its diversity regarding the economic, labor and social situation, gender, skin color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and territorial origin...¨ HERE

·  Thanks to LGBT Asylum News, sidebar
·  Thanks to Paul Canning
·  Thanks to Francisco Rodríguez Cruz
·  Thanks to the January (2012) Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba 

Oct 19, 2011

Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo: “We need decriminalization of LGBT all over the world”

UN Conference: Urgent need to fight to the global decriminalization of homosexuality
“Compass to Compassion – Discovering a Common Way to LGBT Global Equality”

¨Almost 100 prominent leaders, after two days of intense meetings and workshops, have agreed that there is an urgency to form an international coalition to fight for the global decriminalization of homosexuality.

It is a crime to be gay in 76 countries across the globe, mostly in Africa and Asia, but those attending the consultation heard from speakers who warned of a growing movement sponsored by America’s Religious Right to criminalize homosexuality here and abroad.

“Compass to Compassion – Discovering a Common Way to LGBT Global Equality” brought together faith, secular, academic, government and media leaders for the consultation on Oct. 11-12 in the grand Social Hall at Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University.

This was the third consultation by this informal group, which was charged by the Human Rights Watch to form a network of progressive faith leaders to counter the attempts by Uganda’s Parliament to pass the “Kill The Gays” bill. The first meeting was in June 2010 and the second one was in December 2010, both conducted at the UN Church Center in New York City.

Last week, the consultation attendees, now including many secular as well as faith leaders, discussed concrete ways to extinguish homophobia across the world and to end punitive laws that deprive LGBT people of jobs, education, housing, equal rights, dignity and, in a number of countries, their freedom or their lives.

Focusing on Uganda and religious extremists

Day One put the focus on Uganda, often called the “line in the sand” over criminalization of homosexuality, as well as religious extremism on LGBT people abroad.

Keynote speaker Jeff Sharlet*, the journalist who penned “The Family,” a book that exposed the Religious Right’s hold on American politics, told attendees that The Family is the most influential fundamentalist group in Washington, D.C., and has been meddling in Uganda and other parts of Africa for decades. The ¨Underground¨ FAMILY: A ¨Quick Reference¨ list of American and Ugandan perpetrators

Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, a retired Anglican leader who has been hailed as the Bishop Tutu of Uganda and a straight ally, spoke about his grassroots effort to minister to LGBT people in his homeland and about the resistance he faces.

“We need decriminalization of LGBT all over the world,” he said.

Other speakers warned of the growing religious movement called Dominionism and whose supporters want to turn the United States into a Christian nation and remake laws to reflect a strict evangelical point of view. American politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have embraced this controversial movement, which is dividing even evangelicals, said the Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, project director of the Political Research Associates...¨ HERE

·  Thanks to LGBT Asylum News, sidebar
·  Thanks to The Rt. Reverend Christopher Ssenyonjo, Uganda
·  Thanks to Human Rights Watch
·  Thanks to Political Research Associates
·  Thanks to Jeff Sharlet
·  Thanks to Ken Williams

Australian foreign minister to call on Commonwealth to repeal anti-gay laws

¨Australia’s foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, will urge Commonwealth countries to decriminalise homosexuality.

Heads of Commonwealth countries are to meet in Perth next week for the annual heads of government meeting (CHOGM).

According to the Sidney Star Observer, Mr Rudd’s spokeswoman said: “Australia is a global advocate of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Australia encourages all countries to decriminalise homosexuality by removing all laws imposing criminal penalties for homosexual conduct...¨ please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Pink News, United Kingdom
·  Thanks to Jessica Geen


Oct 18, 2011

ANTI-GAY BILL IN NIGERIA: “When the senators had sufficiently ventilated their anger and opposition to the issue of same sex marriage, Senator David Mark put the question to vote, the ayes unanimously had it...¨

¨No one can feel the rain on our skin for us¨
¨Nigeria’s newspaper readers have reacted angrily to debates on the floor of the Nigerian Senate about a proposed law prohibiting same-sex marriages.

“The sad fact is, this is very much a vicious cycle. These politicians (like our parents, family members and neighbours) have no reference point. When they look around they do not see role models of same gender loving people, they do not hear stories of how the gay people in their own backyard are simply trying to navigate life – no different from anyone else.”

She added, “They only see stereotypes and one dimensional images of what being gay/lesbian means. Yes, and we too are caught up in the vicious cycle, yearning to come out, but fearful (and shamed) that we will be persecuted, excluded and rejected by the people we hold dear.”

Caston said, “I am a believer that if we want to see change we need to tackle the ’cause’ and not the ‘effect’ – this debate is all about the effect. Tackling the cause means us having the courage to show our parents, families, neighbours that being gay/lesbian is simply being human.”

Caston pointed out, “The fact is when we collude with our culture through silence and blindly signing petitions then we are no different from the politicians. They hurt us on the outside, we hurt ourselves from the inside. The politicians are simply saying out loud, what so many gay/lesbians silently/passively say to themselves through their behaviour. Only our courage can liberate us.”

Another commentator Johnson Chuks backed Caston saying, “I’m with Emily Caston on this. We are the only ones that can prove to our world that being gay is not a disease because we are the only ones that know better. No one can feel the rain on our skin for us.” ...read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Behind the Mask, sidebar
·  Thanks to Ms. Caston and Mr. Chuks

Oct 17, 2011

PLEASE MEET TAIGA ISHIKAWA: Taiga has been elected Japan’s first openly gay politician!

Taiga Ishikawa
TOKYO - Taiga Ishikawa, the first openly gay politician in Japan to win an election, Tuesday hailed the result as a victory for the rights of sexual minorities.

"I hope my election victory will help our fellows nationwide to have hope for tomorrow, as many of them cannot accept themselves, feel lonely and isolated and even commit suicide," he told AFP.

Ishikawa, 36, won a seat in a Tokyo ward assembly in local elections on Sunday. Prior to his victory, no openly homosexual politician had won office in Japan.

He said he hoped his victory would help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"Many LGBTs, or sexual minorities, realise the fact when they are at elementary and junior high schools, many of which are operated by the municipality," Ishikawa said.

"As a ward assembly member, I would like to reinforce support to LGBT children at schools." HERE

·  Thanks to Taiga Ishikawa
·  Thanks to The Citizens of Tokyo, Japan
·  Thanks to  6 Theory, HERE

Oct 15, 2011

IF YOU ARE GAY, YOU ARE BLESSED BY GOD: ¨You have the capacity to love another human being, and nothing is more sacred or godly than that...¨

¨...The last bastion of the civil rights movement is the stigma and exclusion of gay people from our churches and from our secular society. Yet, they can be seen to be a gift to us from God in that, despite their terrible persecution, many remain steadfast in their loving relationships. Despite all of the barriers set up by Christians and non-Christians alike, many remain in committed relationships.

Being constitutionally gay is not a disorder any more than having brown eyes is a disorder! Most gay people have been born that way and like the old Sunday School saying goes, "God doesn't create junk."

If you're gay, you have been blessed by God in that you are capable of loving another human being. The most dangerous people in the world are those who either have nothing to lose or who are incapable of loving others. There is no reason not to assume that God blesses the monogamous gay couple every bit as much as He blesses the heterosexually married couple...¨  read it all, HERE

· Thanks to the Reverend Dr. Jerry Maneker
· Thanks to A Christian Voice for LGBT Rights, sidebar

Oct 14, 2011

ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: A celebrated figure amongst the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community and a staunch support of equality and gay rights.

Anglican Hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
¨Outspoken Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in solidarity has joined the University of Cape Town in creating the first ever local ‘It Gets Better’ campaign video.

The video forms part of the global campaign targeting sexual minorities who experience discrimination in secondary schools and beyond. To view the videos visit HERE

‘It Gets Better’ Cape Town was launched for free viewing on YouTube on Tuesday, October 11 2011. Later this month, part of the collection of videos will be screened at the Out in Africa: South African Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

The director and producer of the series Andrew Barry, a Master of Philosophy in Education student at UCT said, “I want sexual minorities in Cape Town to know that there are individuals and organisations who will support them.” please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Behind the Mask, sidebar
·  Thanks to Mongezi Mhlongo
·  Thanks to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican Hero
·  Thanks to Andrew Barry

Oct 13, 2011

A SALUTE TO COMMON DECENCY AND EQUALITY: Alison Nathan Confirmed As Federal Judge Despite Strong GOP Opposition

Alison Nathan, Senate approved to serve the  Federal Court
Without a single vote from any Republican, today the U.S. Senate narrowly approved the nomination of Alison Nathan to the federal bench.

"The President welcomes the confirmation of Alison Nathan. She will serve the American people well from the District Court bench." Five members of the Democratic caucus did not vote for Nathan's nomination, and no Republicans voted for it. Less than three months ago, U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oeken, was confirmed with the support of 28 Republicans. Oetken also sits on the Southern District of New York bench and currently is the only out gay male judge serving in one of the lifetime tenure positions in the federal judiciary...¨  HERE

·  Thanks to Chris Geidner, Metro Weekly
·  Thanks to Joe.My.God., sidebar 

Oct 12, 2011

PLEASE MEET ¨ALEX¨: ¨I am a female to male transsexual in the middle of my transition, but mostly, I'm human...¨

¨My name is Alex. I guess an introduction is in order but I don't really know who I am.¨
¨Actually Alex isn't really my legal name so even in my first words this starts to get a bit complicated.

I am a student, and if you ask any of my classmates who I am, you will probably hear that I am a 19-20 year old boy, well-read for my age, openly gay and that I am someone almost everybody likes but nobody knows. If you ask my mother, the picture may be somewhat different. I believe that she will tell you that I am a 27-year-old married mother of three.

It's two different pictures and they are both quite right. I am 27 years old according to my papers, but I have missed so much in my life that I feel like a teenager but at the other hand, I have lived through so much, so in some ways I feel more experienced than some middle aged.

I am a female to male transsexual in the middle of my transition, but mostly, I'm human, and transition isn't something just us trans dudes get to experience. Everyone has to change; it's a part of life and living. Transition is universal everyone has to re-experience themselves in order to grow. I have to do a lot of changes that are ordinary and some changes are more unusual.

I grew up in a very small village in Sweden at the same latitude as Alaska. My family was Pentecostal Christian and the rest of the village was “heathen”. They saw my family as very strange, and I was the weird one in my family. By then I had no words to express what was wrong with me, all I knew was that I wasn't ok.

I saw my childhood as a waiting room with uncomfortable chairs where you don’t know if they will call your name in the next minute or in a couple of years, and that my life was not going to start until they called my name.

When puberty struck me I got more and more clues about what was wrong with me. I never heard of transsexualism, and I didn't make any bright science realizations either. Instead I used my knowledge from Church...¨ please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to Beyond Ex-Gay, HERE
·  Thanks to ¨Alex¨ Narrative

IT´S RAINING AS HARD AS IT CAN: Prayers please for the humble people of Mexico and Central America

Our volcanos, rivers and coastlines runneth over!
The rains have been fierce overnight and into today and are pounding as I type.  The internet connection and the lights return briefly from time to time.  The poor and very low income folks have been greatly impacted again as their homes are fragile with mud floors, tin roofs and lightly framed walls (usually of cardboard or metal sheeting).  Already there is terrible destruction in some of the Pacific costal communities and also up in the highlands of Guatemala, ¨the Quiche¨.  We understand that the storms will continue today and into tonight and possible tomorrow and Mexico has Hurricanes directly striking their mainland right now...please keep us in your prayers.

Lord have mercy

Oct 10, 2011

LET US PRAY: May the Archbishop of Canterbury continue to condemn ¨lawlessness¨ and ¨mindless and godless violence¨ throughout the Anglican Communion...

Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury in Zimbabwe
...May all Anglicans/others be spared persecution, demonization, physical/emotional abuse, outcasting and discrimination in Nigeria, Uganda, Jamaica, England and beyond!  Amen Leonardo Ricardo

¨I am full of admiration for the personal courage being shown by Rowan Williams in undertaking his current visit to Zimbabwe. Williams stirs mixed feelings in many Christians who hold their faith from quite different perspectives. Many have expressed a sense of frustration, disillusion, sometimes betrayal, a sense that he does not go far enough or conversely acts in ways that are so cautious or expedient as to verge on the pusillanimous.

Those accusation certainly cannot be levelled at him this week. He has ventured into an environment where some have expressed the strongest animosity towards him and shown themselves capable of carrying out violence. He has previously opposed Mugabe and he spoke out strongly against "lawlessness" and the condemnation of "mindless and Godless" violence seen in Zimbabwe. It is admirable that he is prepared to confront Mugabe face to face. Some might say it is naive of Williams to think that any such meeting will achieve anything or foolish that he is not deterred by the very real possibility that Mugabe will turn it to his advantage. Undoubtedly, Mugabe will try to gain some sort of mileage out of the situation, but I am of the opinion that he will find it hard to look anything other than what he is when faced with William's undoubted goodness...¨ read it all, HERE (emphasis added by Leonardo Ricardo)

·  Thanks to Significant Truths, sidebar
·  Thanks to Dr. Rowan Williams
·  Thanks to Anglicans in Zimbabwe

SLAYING THE BEAST? ¨Foreign aid for countries with anti-gay rights records to be slashed¨

United Kingdom: ¨David Cameron has pledged to slash aid to African countries with poor records on homosexual rights.¨
The Prime Minister will tell struggling nations they will receive funding ‘fines’ if persecution of gays continues.

The Government has already cut aid to Malawi by £19million after two gay men were sentenced to 14 years hard labour. The southern African nation also plans to bring in tough anti-lesbian laws.

Malawi has received £200million from Britain over the past three years.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell could also reduce aid to Uganda and Ghana unless they drop laws against gays.

Uganda, which is due to receive £70million in 2011, plans to punish homosexuality with the death penalty...¨  please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to The Daily Mail, United Kingdom
·  Thanks to Daniel Martin
·  Thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin, sidebar
·  Thanks to Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, United Kingdom

Anglican LGBT Activist David Kato, Uganda, R.I.P.

MAY WE HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE?: LGBT ¨Anti-bullying¨ and ¨Gender Nondiscrimination¨ bills become LAW in California!

Victim of Bullying, Seth Walsh, R.I.P.
¨California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law an anti-bullying measure named after gay student Seth Walsh.

Walsh is the 13-year-old boy who hanged himself after he was endlessly harassed by classmates who perceived him to be gay. He died 9 days after his mother Wendy Walsh found him hanging from a plum tree in their backyard. A federal investigation concluded that Tehachapi Unified School District failed to properly respond to the teen's ongoing harassment.

The legislation was introduced by openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Democrat from San Francisco, and cleared the Assembly on June 1 on a 52-26 vote.
Senators approved the legislation with a 24 to 14 vote on September 7.

The new law mandates that schools post anti-bullying policies throughout campuses, provide complaint forms on their websites and give schools a timeline to investigate and resolve complaints...¨ HERE

Jerry Brown, the younger, Governor of  (D)
¨California Governor Jerry Brown on Monday announced that he had signed into law a transgender protections bill.

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887) takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in non-discrimination laws.

“Californians support fair and equal treatment for everyone, but many employers, landlords and transgender people themselves are unaware that the law protects transgender people,” Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, said in sponsoring the bill. “As a result, transgender people experience housing and employment discrimination and often are not even aware they have any recourse. AB 887 will strengthen our state's anti-discrimination laws and move us closer to equality for every Californian.”

The law also makes it clear that gender identity and expression are included in the definition of gender and sex in all California codes.

Brown also signed into law The Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433), sponsored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach.

Lowenthal's legislation makes it easier for a transgender person to get a legal gender change by streamlining current law...¨ HERE

·  Thanks to On Top Magazine, sidebar
·  Thanks to Governor Jerry Brown, California
·  Thanks to Bonnie Lowenthal, Long Beach Assemblywoman
·  Thanks to Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Assemblyman

Oct 8, 2011

LGBT ¨PIONEER¨ ACTIVIST PAULA ETTELBRICK, R.I.P.-- “Paula is a legendary figure. She was an passionate organizer, a smart lawyer, an incredibly astute lobbyist and a fighter to the end...¨

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum remembered Paula Ettelbrick, pictured, for her groundbreaking career as a LGBT activist who she said “fought with every fiber of her being.”

¨Paula Ettelbrick, the former legal director of Lambda Legal, the former executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and a heralded LGBT activist of more than 25 years, passed away Friday at the age of 56, after a battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

Ettlebrick was a fiery activist who took many fights to the court room and won. She pushed and prodded government officials for every inch of equality she could extract, and often gave much better than she received. Paula Ettelbrick was always tilting at windmills and meeting new horizons, as recently as 2003 when she moved into international gay human rights, having spend the majority of her career in domestic gay politics. She was as comfortable in the classroom teaching students as she was taking on homophobes at the barricades; she worked as an executive in the board room and battled federal and state representatives. Sadly, Ettelbrick has lost a life-​ending battle and the LGBT community will be much poorer for her absence...¨ please read it all, HERE

·  Thanks to The New Civil Rights Movement, sidebar
·  Thanks to Paula Ettelbrick, R.I.P.
·  Thanks to Tanya L. Domi, Columbia University

Oct 7, 2011

The Disease to Please: Are You Being Congenial or simply a Pro-Covenant Co-dependent? Hello? Bishop Victoria Matthews?

Bishop Victoria Matthews, Christ Church, New Zealand
Being Nice and Being Enabling Are Not the Same Things (well, maybe sometimes at the Anglican Communion)

¨Although a person may tolerate and learn to accept and live with abuse, neglect and disrespect, that acceptance is not a function of kind congeniality or of gracious tolerance. It may be an illness in-and-of itself. We call it co-dependency.

Getting along and being pleasant are two of the core characteristics of what is generally meant when we describe a person as being congenial. When these behaviors and attitudes persist, however, in the face of abusiveness, neglect or disrespect, they may not be elements of congeniality at all but rather of what we call co-dependency.¨  David A Reinstein

Our Unity in Christ: In Support of the Anglican Covenant

An Apologetic Series

¨People are sometimes surprised that I support the proposed Anglican Covenant because there is a widespread belief that the crafters of the Covenant intend to stop new developments in the Communion. Similarly, many Anglicans believe that if there had been a Covenant 25 years ago, we would not have both sexes elected and consecrated to the episcopate. (“We would not have women bishops,” they say, without speaking of “men bishops.” Bishop is not a gender-exclusive noun, and women is not an adjective.)

Are YOU activating the disease to PLEASE Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, when validating the punitive Anglican Covenant?
The real question to consider, as we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed Anglican Covenant, is whether it would help or hinder inter-Anglican communication. The 20th and 21st centuries have restructured the way that communication happens across the world. As I write this, the rumor has begun that Rowan Williams will step down as the Archbishop of Canterbury next year. Every sort of media, from blogs to newspapers, speculates on who will succeed Archbishop Rowan, although Lambeth Palace has declined to comment on the rumor...read more, by Bishop Victoria Matthews HERE

¨My friend Jim Beyer has written a great response to a post by Bishop Victoria Matthews' of New Zealand¨  Mutha+

Peter Arnett, a legendary TV and print news reporter famously wrote:

“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town, regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong. [“Major Describes Move,” New York Times, February 8, 1968.]

It awakens my sense of irony to note that Mr. Arnett is a New Zealander. I have no idea if he is an Anglican, but his description of the US (failed, we now all know) strategy in Vietnam is apt for the defense of the Anglican Covenant mounted by Peter Carrell and his boss, Bishop Victoria Matthews. They stand willing destroy the communion to save it. While Matthews’ defense of the Covenant achieved only incoherence, Carrell peels down the layers and give us clarity. The picture is really, really ugly...¨ please read it all, by Jim Beyer, HERE

¨In American parlance especially in the South the term 'nice' is what boys and girls are taught from first breath. 'Nice' becomes the be-all-and-end-all of all social engagement. Nice is more important than truth, 'nice' is more important than kindliness. It is more important than agreement, compassion, meaningful exchange, or even love. 'Nice' is a plastic expression of pleasantry that usually masks integrity...¨   HERE  by Mutha +

·  Thanks to Stone of Witness, sidebar
·  Thanks to David A. Reistein
·  Thanks to Mutha+
·  Thanks to Jim Beyer
·  Thanks to Comprehensive Unity,  No Anglican Covenant Blog HERE

QUESTIONABLE ETHICS? ¨Justice Thomas’ conduct does not meet the high standard we must demand from those entrusted to sit on our nation’s highest court¨

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas,  The Supreme Court of The United States of America
Several members of Congress have filed a formal ethics complaint HERE against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas because of his wife's prominent role with the Tea Party.

"Public records demonstrate a failure by Justice Thomas to exercise the care expected of a Supreme Court Justice," the letter says. "Not only did Justice Thomas fail to report at least $1.6 million in income from his wife's employer, but the very public role played by his wife as co-founder, president and CEO of Liberty Central clearly merits investigation considering that federal law bars judges from participating in any matter in which their impartiality could be questioned. "The very public role played by his wife in opposing healthcare reform, and Justice Thomas’ insinuations in public speeches that he supports her positions, raises clear questions about the appearance of bias," it continues. Public records demonstrate a failure by Justice Thomas to exercise the care expected of a Supreme Court Justice," the letter says. HERE  (emphasis added by Leonardo Ricardo)

Virginia ¨Ginni¨ Thomas and her husband, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas
¨When we’ve heard in the past about Virginia Lamp Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, it was usually as his fellow RV road warrior. But Ginni Thomas is now much more high-profile. The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that she has launched Liberty Central Inc., a conservative non-profit inspired by the Tea Party movement...please read it all, HERE

Experts tell the L.A. Times that Thomas’ work doesn’t violate ethical rules for judges, but that it could give rise to conflicts of interest for her husband.

¨People are already pointing out that the 5-4 decision in Citizens United cleared the way for Liberty Central to fill its coffers with corporate cash.

So what exactly does Virginia Thomas plan to do with Liberty Central? From the L.A. Times: HERE

·  Thanks to Joe.My.God., sidebar
·  Thanks to People For the American Way, sidebar
·  Thanks to Justin
·  Thanks to Kathleen Hennessey
·  Thanks to Kashmir Hill
·  Thanks to The Los Angeles Times